ÁineWhen we got back to camp it had turned dark. The fire had been lit and the children were watching the flames dance in awe, not making a single move. A few of the boys were playing football with a coconut. I smiled to myself. I know I didn’t look like it with wavy brown hair and rosy cheeks, but I was a football player at heart. I would probably join them another day. Nora’s hawk eyes caught us watching. Her short, grey bob was untidy which was a first, she seemed the most organised person ever “Hurry up!” she barked “You two think we have time to be standing around all day? I have thirty- two people to feed!” I mumbled an apology but she was still giving us the death glare. “Jeez, I’m happy about missing school and all but like I’d rather have Mr Mc Geehan than her, you know?” “Well I don’t really know who that is but yeah” “Oh I keep forgetting you don’t go to my school, where do you go?” “Everton grammar” “That’s in Derry! My friend Niamh goes there!” “Yeah she’s a year below me, she mentioned you before” Niamh is a teeny bit obsessed with Sienna and is always bragging about her bff in Dublin “Ooh I hope she said nice things” she said wide eyed “Yup” “Oh my god, he is coming over!” I didn’t even need to ask who.
Joey, the boy she has liked for three days. Joey was the kind of boy that flicked his hair every three seconds. He was walking towards us with his friend ‘torch’. Every time someone asked how he got that name Joey burst out laughing and he just said “Long story” and starts laughing himself. Orla is trailing behind them; she is just two years younger than us (she’s twelve) but they treat her like a five year old. Nevertheless she is unswervingly loyal, never leaving their side. She tried this with Sienna but she was shot down, Orla got a dirty look every-time she tried to approach us, especially when she brought her brother and sister six year old twins. I remember the look of disgust on Sienna’s face and I laughed, it was though Orla had just admitted to murder. Nora calls all our names and I’m a bit surprised she’s managed to remember; she has been so busy cooking, bossing, making plans etc maybe she was a nice person after all. We all join the queue; Sienna is busy talking to joey, and torch is teasing a few of the coconut players, Orla just staring an eager expression on her face.
I turn to the little girl behind me; she has really red cheeks and short ginger hair. “Hi” I say the girl looks at me and grins “Hi, what’s your name? I’m Áine by the way Áine Gallagher, and I’m nine in three months and hmm one, two..” she counts “ fifteen days! Isn’t that exciting?” “Yes it is” I liked this little girl’s spirit in a situation like this. “I’m Vee Heart” I say to her “I love your name, it sounds like sweets!” “Well Vee is short for Violet” “Is that like a purple colour, guess what? I love purple” the way she said it she made it sound like the best coincidence ever. “I like purple too”
I don’t really but I am not going to burst her bubble. She looks so excited- all wide eyed and smiling. Áine jumps up and down then hugs me. I have now reached the top of the queue I’m actually so happy right now, I haven’t ate since the morning – I had a few bugs and part of a weirdly shaped fruit. Theodore smiled at me and handed me over some fish and a bit of rice, and I thanked him, and he laughed “Not me my wife did the cookin’, ‘n’ there’s some good news, some of the wee lads playing around the other side of the island and found Elizabeth’s suitcase” he nodded to a middle aged woman sitting beside her husband and two children, who looked haunted. She had a right to be though one of her children had died in the plane crash. That haunted me too. Theodore continued “She had a lot of useful stuff in there - clothes, sweets, hair slides, shampoo, we can use her straighteners to hammer things and well more but I can’t remember, we’re sending out a few people tomorrow out to that area to see if there’s any more luggage” That was really good news! Maybe someone would have a phone or something. “That is great, tell me if I can be of any help” He nodded and started dishing Áine out some food I could hear her chatting away to him about how nice all the food looked and how sunny it was and for the first time I wondered where her parents where. Maybe she was in the same place as me. No she was too happy. No person can be that happy if that happened to their parents.