The Wandering Tree, Part II


huruma3_icon.gif juwariya_icon.gif

Scene Title The Wandering Tree, Part II
Synopsis After years apart, Huruma and her daughter Juwariya are finally reunited.
Date December 4, 2010

Mount Moriah Monastery

Two syllables never hurt so much.


With her arms wound tightly around her mother's waist, Juwariya Dunsimi presses her scarred cheek to Huruma's shoulder, eyes shut and body warm to the touch. There is a breeze about her, an evanescent wind that swirls the warmth of the monastery around both she and Huruma, as if they were the center of their own cyclone. Perhaps that notion is mirrored in Huruma, but replacing a cyclone of wind is a cyclone of emotion. Juwariya's is far more level, far more measured and even. Anxiety, nervousness, they are both there. But suppressing all of that is nothing but an innocent daughter's love for her mother.

Their reunion comes in the eyes of the house of God, before a shrouded statue of Christ and in the dimn light of a cloudy day filtering through the cathedralesque windows of the monastery. Juwariya is in no haste to let words complicate this meeting, and the love she expresses for the woman who maimed and abandoned her is perhaps naive.

At the least, it is impossibly forgiving.

Huruma was never on the receiving end of many embraces such as this one; she still isn't, and it is an odd sensation that sends millions of bolts through her. It is made better- or worse- by it being Juwariya. While her arms don't go out to swallow the girl up, her hands hover up to meet this inevitable event; everything about Huruma is far more powerful than that grip around her waist, but the hands that wrap gingerly around her daughter are shockingly not. She's not certain how to do this, though Ju seems to be. Huruma allows herself to have that uncertainty, until the warmth sets in, and the breeze makes itself quite apparent. Then, it only is a matter of Huruma's hands at the middle of Juwariya's back, pulling her close while her face lowers to put her cheek up against the rough felt of the hat. Tight, not rough- present, but not as enveloping as the girl's. She is practically certain her heart beats right through her ribcage.

The statue stares down at them, and Huruma meets its face when her head lowers; maybe this is fitting, after all. After a moment the rest of Huruma's arms wrap firmly around her. Okay. Okay. This is not so hard to physically do, even if it may be one of the most difficult things to process. A hug should not be this taxing.

"Mama," Juwariya begins again without hesitation, "mama I missed you so much, Nana told me you wouldn't come until after Christmas." It's as though they hadn't been separated for all the years they have, as if they'd only been apart a few months. Sliding her hands up to Huruma's shoulders, Juwariya leans back and offers a smile so large that it almost seems too big and too bright for her face.

"Mister Joseph has been such a nice man t'me," she admits with a furrow of her brows. "Brother 'as been so busy, but he misses you so much. Nana's friend the turtle has told me stories about him when he's too busy t'visit me. An' we talk about all th' things in th' world," she's tugging Huruma, leaning backwards, trying to draw her down to the bench.

"Mister Joseph says tha' one day, when it is safe again, I can go see Brother back home. But until then, he's gonna' keep me safe so that you don'ave t'worry about me." Her brows lift, smile remains impossible wide like a half moon. She is ever so much the brightness and the warm breeze, she is the emotional equivalent of a warm summer morning.
Every time that she says those two syllables, Huruma can feel an inordinate pressure building in her head. The smile- oh- Jesus Christ- it is a blindingly sweet thing. She did not get those facial muscles from her mother, surely. Huruma's mental haze pulls her down to the bench as summoned, her hand roaming on its own for her daughter's, despite the latching and the tugging and the thereness. Even on the bench, the floor feels wobbly.

"The turtle." It comes out as a sigh, and she can make an educated guess. Huruma tries to keep her eyes on Juwariya's face, resisting the temptation to start searching her for something else- something besides that moonlit smile, those doe brown eyes, and the thin scars on her face. She knows- remembers- putting them there, and it stings like hot metal. "I wish I'd known you were here, b'fore…" The secondary sting is the uncomfortable and unfamiliar one in her eyes.

Huruma picks up her other hand, weighty on the swivel of her wrist, fingertips to her daughter's cheekbone, where the smallest scar runs. The memory is vivid.

"You know now," is simple enough when Juwariya says it, taking one of her mother's hands in hers and turning it over, looking at the creases on her palms, the tiny scars on her knuckles, the way she treats her nails and skin. Then, as if it were completely acceptable, she lifts Huruma's hand up and presses it palm-first to her cheek, eyes falling shut and a softly contented sound rumbling in the back of her throat.

When Juwariya's dark eyes open, Huruma sees so much of Dajan in them; That kindness, that gentle nature. "Mama, are you goin'ta stay here with me now? Are we gon'to be a family?" Her smile comes again, heartbreaking in its optimism. "Nana said you would'no come b'fore Christmas, but you are here now. Will y'spend Christmas with me? That is what I have been wishin' for since that nice old man brought m'here."

Juwariya squeezes her mother's hand in both of hers, runs her thumbs along the underside of her knuckles. "I will make y'somethin' so you have a present too."

Huruma's hands could hold the world, it seems like. Long, slender fingers, open palm a half shade lighter than her skin, sharp nails, the majority of scars along her knuckles and unsurprisingly, her trigger finger. Not as calloused as they could be, but still just a bit rough. Her thumb draws over Juwariya's cheek, lips creasing at the corners. For all the defacement, her children are still beautiful.

She lets her hand be cradled; as much as it is new, Huruma isn't sure she wants to stop it. "I don'know." It's a sheepish admission, and Huruma turns her eyes away a moment- as if any disappointment might make Juwariya dissolve into a gawky-limbed puddle. Not knowing what the girl can stand hearing is making this very difficult. Can she understand duty? "I have- people that need me, in th'city."

"You are safe, here, with Joseph. But they do not'ave a mister Sullivan t'take them away somewhere safe. All sheep need someone t'protect them from wolves." Hopefully that is something that may be relatable. "I think that I would like t'spend Christmas with you, but I know I cannot say so yet." This would be so much simpler if she could be free to bring Juwariya to her, but unless something happens- that is not going to.

Briefly, visibly, Juwariya's smile fades as she listens to her mother. Her brows furrow, worry presents itself in both her expression and in a tremor through her emotions. But when that worry is actually expressed it is not wuite what Huruma may have been expecting. "Who is going t'protect you, Mama?" The hand is squeezed, brought to her mouth and held there so that words can be both felt and heart. "Is there a mister joseph for you too?"

Big, brown eyes stare up worriedly to Huruma, and for as heart-breaking as Juwariya's concern is, her next comment may instill a tiny bit of range that will be directed at someone older, more distant, and likely cackling into her cupped hand at this very moment. "Have you foun' a husban' yet?"


"Nana says tha'you need t'settle down, an' find a husban' so that I can have a pro'pa daddy, an' so tha'you a'happy again." Her smile grows, bright and white and ever energetic. "Maybe if you have foun' a husband, than we can have Christmas together? Will… will y'bring me a daddy home for Christmas if you can come?"

Yes, Etana is cackling somewhere.
Huruma hopes that there's someone back home that would do what Juwariya wonders. She can't answer that, it appears. And especially not at the next part- she has to literally bite down hard on her tongue to suppress a noise of exasperation, lest she spook her daughter. Both eyebrows bend down and knit in the center, a horizontal line of consternation. There's not much to say. When Etana said it, Huruma felt free to snap back about priorities, but when little Riya asks it, she isn't sure how to actually respond.

"Nana. Nana says a lot of things." Of course, now Huruma is actually flashing back to other things- people- men- and it makes everything a little more hot under the collar. So plain even a child can see it, much to Huruma's self-aware dismay. Something that she cannot help. "I- no. I haven't. I don'think you should listen t'Nana's gossiping."

"It is ver'entertaining," is said with such child-like honesty. It is very entertaining.

Juwaryia's brows raise, and without warning or hesitation leans up and forward, alighting just a little out of her seat to press her lips to her mother's cheek before slowly sinking back down and squeezing that hand held so firmly in her hands. "Mister Turtle says tha' you have a lot of important things t'do, an' that one day me, an' you and Brother'll be t'gether, an' that it'll be back in our home, free." There's a warm smile, that distinctive pearly-white smile.

"I wan' to meet Badrani. Brother says'e is jus' like he was when he was little. I d'not remember that too well." Drawing Huruma's hand up to her face again, Juwariya brushes her mother's knuckles across her cheek, as if to imply like this, mama. "Can y'stay long enough," she wonders aloud, "t'tell me what we were like when we were little?"

"And troublesome…" Huruma murmurs before she is abruptly kissed on the cheek. She nearly shies away from it, though moreso the speed at which it came. She takes her other hand and puts it down on the bundle of fingers for a moment, before it is lifted up and her daughter makes with the contact on her face. Huruma finds a bit of flesh between her thumb and curled forefinger. She is such a dear little thing, and it pains to know what she's thinking in that head of hers.

"I can try." Huruma only had them for a couple months, at most, she can hardly remember. But one thing that Dajan did with her, almost a year ago, was tell her about his life. She can try to recall that, and maybe give Juwariya what she wants. If it doesn't work, it doesn't work. Lifting her arm away from being grasped, Huruma lets it slide over the back of the bench and around Juwariya's slimmer shoulders. "I can try, but you must promise to be wary of Nana's gossip."

If one more person in her family asks her when she is going to find a husband, Huruma's eyes will probably burst out of their sockets. An ugly business, even if inwardly there might be some answers.

Impish is Juwariya's smile, impish and small this time. Maybe she knows, maybe she understands, but the bubbling font of happiness that is her emotional state masks any cunning that might be behind those innocent eyes. She leans into the arm around her shoulder, leans her head on her mother's chest and closes her eyes. This is all Juwariya Dunsimi needs, this closeness and this familiar companionship.

No apologies, no guilt, no words. Just the mother she knows had been waiting for her, and the embrace of her strong arms around her delicate shoulders. If the two syllables of Mama were surprising for Huruma to hear, the next three words may well lay her out flat.

"I love you."

What more does anyone need?

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