Aikon kept standing in front of his sister, watching her finally sleeping, thinking about the thought that had crept into his mind while Mira went over to her bedroom to undress her husband, the third time now. Aikon sat down on his bed and watched his sister for a while longer, but then he went to his parents’ bedroom. Leaning a...gainst the doorframe of his parents’ bedroom and watching his mother tucking his father under his blanket, he mumbled, a bit absent-minded as if he was still in his thoughts, ‘Mum, I was thinking.’
‘Yes?’ Mira looked up at him, but then finished tucking in her husband. ‘What did you think about?’
Very slowly and not looking at her, he said, ‘What would have happened if Dad would have been alone?’
Alarmed, Mira jerked up and looked at her son’s troubled face. Just as she wanted to answer him, Crayn muttered in his sleep, ‘Mira, Talon, Tamo, Matica, ooooh, Mira.’ Mira looked back at her husband, bent over him and stroked his cheek then kissed him. ‘All is well, my love. You’re home and safe now. I know you have to tell us a lot, but for now sleep the healing sleep.’
Mira squared her shoulders and, putting her hand on her son’s head, went with him back to the living room. Here they sat opposite each other at the table once more. Mira put her elbows on the table and her chin into her cupped hands, jabbing her cheeks with her fingers and looking at her son’s distressed face. Deep furrows showed on her forehead as she narrowed her eyes. ‘What did you say before?’ she asked him again because she wanted to have time to think about his question. It had troubled her before. She was thinking about it already but would have never acknowledged it. But now she had to, since her son was asking that particular question she had pushed away. She didn’t want to think about that. It was too awful.
‘Don’t worry. It was nothing,’ Aikon said, realising what an awful question that was.
Mira acknowledged, ‘No, don’t say that, Aikon. I heard you anyway. It is a question we should talk about. I was thinking
about it already, but I have to confess, I pushed it out of the way. But we have to and we should think about it and talk about it; otherwise it will bottle up in us. It has to come out. It is important. Well, I heard what you asked anyway, Aik, as I said before.’ Mira closed her eyes as she continued, ‘You asked “what would have happened if Dad would have been alone?”’
Aikon stared at his mother for a second then hesitantly and quietly he whispered, ‘Yes, I did. So Mum, what would have happened …’
‘Oh God!’ Mira called out, letting her arms crash on top of the table and she sat up straight. Then she lifted her hands and clutched her mouth with them, staring at her son for a full minute. ‘You’re right, Aik,’ she finally spoke through her fingers. ‘What would have happened if …? Inconceivable, unthinkable.’ She shook her head. ‘I was thinking about that already, as I said before. But not in detail. I pushed the thought away, out of my mind. Didn’t want to think about it.’ She put her hands back on the table then grabbed Aikon’s hand and squeezed it.
Aikon mentioned, since his mother kept silent, ‘We have to tell Pajaro that no one ever should go alone anymore.’
Mira looked at him with wide open eyes, then she nodded. ‘Yes, that’s the solution. You’re right. Very good indeed.’
Aikon nodded, saying fiercely, ‘Yeah, it’s way too dangerous. Something like that didn’t happen up to now as I see it, but it can always happen again. And, if no one was there to help that person, what then? Well, yes, Mum … what would have been if Mat wasn’t with Dad? No one knew what had happened, so no one expected it and so no one would have gone out to find him. Maybe, yes, only after he didn’t come home the normal time. But until then? It probably would have been too late then.’
Mira’s face distorted more and more. She also nodded. And then she whispered, ‘Oh my God. You’re so right, Aik. But … we won’t think about it. It didn’t happen.’
‘But it could!’ Aikon interrupted her mother’s thought.
Mira continued as if she didn’t hear her son saying those words. ‘That’s just too dreadful.’ She was on the brink of crying out hysterically but pulled herself together. Instead she shook her head fiercely, looking at her son for a full minute again then she
said, ‘That person, and that would have been Dad in that case, would be … would have … oh no.’ She covered her face in her hands, and through her fingers she mumbled, ‘I can’t think about it, not to mention say it out loud.’ She pressed her eyes shut.
Aikon murmured, ‘Yes, I thought as much. And Mum,’ he grabbed her hand and pulled it down then he squeezed it, ‘I’m sorry, but I had to know. It went through my head since they came home. I had to ask it. I had to know.’
‘It’s okay, Aik.’ Mira grabbed her son’s hand tighter with both of her hands now. ‘It would have come out anyway, one way or the other.’
Presently both looked at the leaves on the table. Aikon asked, ‘What should we do with the leaves?’ He pulled his hands out of his mother’s hands and grabbed the leaves and let them glide through his fingers.
‘We’ll leave them here until tomorrow, until Mat can show me how to apply them the right way. I don’t know how. I believe they have to be applied a special way.