Chapter Five

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The next few days were filled with us two, trying to figure each other out. We, I think, had gotten our basic words down, like and, her, his, those sort of words. He wanted to teach me more of the nouns, like fire, or hawk. Soon, though, we were just talking in English, since he understood that I was not a fast learner, and he was.

He pointed to me, stammering. "You...Emily...Me....Ikshu?"

I nodded and clapped my hands. "Good!"

He seemed proud of himself. "Emily want pond?"

My shoulders slouched. "...A pond? Do I want to see a pond?" When Ikshu nodded, I felt accomplished, myself. "Alright, then. Show me the pond, and then we'll continue our lessons."

Ikshu laughed, a sound that reminded me of the small creek that I had only been able to listen to for about two days before I was taken here. That was almost four days ago. It just hit me, at that moment, that this hostagement or whatever you would call it might go by quicker than expected.

Anyways, Ikshu lead me into the forest. I hadn't left the camp ever since I arrived, so it felt good to be under the blankets of the pines again. The sun was hidden from my eyes, and since the days were longer than I remembered them being, the fiery sun had no troubles blazing heat down past the needles. 

Ikshu turned to me. "pimàdagà?" He asked.

I swallowed and watched Ikshu struggle to make elaborate hand gestures. Finally, I understood what he went when he went to a doggy paddle position. I cleared my throat. "pimàdagà, swim."

Ikshu nodded. "Swim." 

So I followed him deeper into the forest, listening to Ikshu tell me a story I couldn't possibly understand. I caught a few words, but they didn't connect. I was left hanging, and it made me disapointed, since it seemed like an interesting story.

When Ikshu was done, he eyed me, remembering that I could not speak Algonquin, the language of the Arapaho. Meriwether Lewis told that they had the most complex style of speaking, but it just seemed like gibberish to me.

I felt a pang of homesickness--even though there is no home to be missing. Maybe Papa had started on the cabin. I wish I knew. I just wish I wasn't here, stuck with these people who cannot even speak my own language. Suddenly, the world just seemed so...different, like another country.

It took all of my imagination to remember that this was America. I was the greater one among these Indians. Why did I go with Papa? Surely they wouldn't kill him over some silly land. There was something called 'sharing' that I guess the chief couldn't understand.

Something started to bubble in me as we came to the edge of a fairly beautiful pond, lined with lily pads with purple flowers sprouting on the top. Ikshu, without hesitation, ran into the pond, making check that he splashed as loudly as he could. That feeling in me burst. Why was he so annoying?

We spent the rest of the day pretending to enjoy each other's company, but I guess I didn't make it easy for him. Whenever he pointed to something, wanting to know what it was in English, I would shrug and look away. But nevertheless, Ikshu did teach me some new words.

shawenindjigewin = grace

nandawenindjige = wanting

I told Ikshu, or somewhat summarized, that I thought that those two sounded rather the same, even though their pronounciations were completely off key from each other. He told me, "ikwesins, odjiminshin,"

I tilted my head and asked, "Ikshu, you know I do not know what that means."

He nodded and smiled, which made me want to punch him and smile with him at the same time. It was the first time I saw that his caramel eyes were dark, but also sprinkled with tiny flecks of gold. His hair, shining from still being wet, plastered onto his head. So, instead of hitting him, I smiled back. He laughed at my ignorance, then took my hand.

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