The day was dawning, hens had started crowing and birds were singing. It was the middle of June, and I, as the last one in the family, woke up at around 6 a.m. My mom was sitting beside the open-fire and boiling the water, the last task before our breakfast was ready.
“Son, go bring some fire-wood! It is almost running out here,” said my Mom.
I then looked for some dry and broken tree branches in the fence and went back to her with some so-called fire-wood.
“There is no more salt. Go ask for some salt from your aunt,” said my Mom again.
“Ahh….” I whispered disappointingly.
I did hate to ask something from someone, especially from my relatives. However, I still went to my aunt’s house, which was just next to mine.
“Aunt, can I get some salt?”
“I don’t have that much salt left, but go get some from the kitchen,” replied my aunt uncomfortably.
After I borrowed some salt and went back to my home, I saw my father with butchers and some other old men coming back to our home. The butchers looked a bit drunk and definitely hideous in my eyes. After a while, when I was brushing my teeth with the salt I got from my aunt, a lot of people from the village were coming to our house.
“Mom, what are they doing here?”
“We have the Kayin Spiritual Worship event tomorrow,” replied my mom.
I didn’t understand what she said, so I finished brushing my teeth and watching my face. Meanwhile, my father and the butchers went out of the house and headed to the pig behind the house. Many people were following them, so I followed as well.
While my father was preparing food for the pig, that was almost as old as my younger sister, the butchers were honing their spears. People gathered to look at the pig eating her last breakfast.
I stared at the pig thinking of her death, but she seemed neither to notice nor worry about this. She was just desperately trying to finish her food, which gradually made me angry.
“Why are you just eating your food?” “You should run away immediately!” I said mutely to the pig.
“Hey, children, children, go away. You are not supposed to be here.”
“Go play somewhere far from here” shouted my uncle.
It was about 5 am, when the sunshine had yet to reach the earth. I was sitting between my younger sister and father, and my mom was between my father and my elder sister-who was beside my younger sister. My eldest sister and brother were both away from home studying at their schools. There was a round table in front of us; full of spicy sour chicken soup and rice in one platter altogether.
My father then started whispering something that nobody could hear; for about two minutes he seemed to be saying something to our Kayin Spirit. While all the people in the village were staying quietly and looking at us, my father started eating a bit and then my Mom, followed by my elder sister, me and my younger sister.
After all ate a bit of chicken and rice, “You all can eat now” said my father. So everyone started to eat in one platter altogether by our hands. The chicken tasted sweet, sour and spicy. My younger sister and I wanted to taste the soup. But we dared not to taste the soup as children were not usually allowed to drink soup at the dining table. I didn’t understand that, while they were having the taste of chicken soup, why I wasn’t allowed to have it. That was unfair and I was mutely furious at them.
After we finished eating, people waiting in and outside of my house had already taken their places and were ready to eat at each circular table; with their children and basically all their family members. They had rice and pork curry at their tables. They were desperately enjoying their breakfast of pork, which used to be my beloved pig.
“Can I have more meat?” “Oh…what an oily pig.”
Everyone had their own excuses, but they liked it. Yes, they obviously liked my pig just because I could see their oily lips.
The sun light was starting to touch the floor of the house, by passing through the holes in the roof; when people were engrossed in the taste of the pork. But I couldn’t stand watching people eating my beloved pig anymore. So I left them all to play with my cousins, who were about 100 meters away from them.
We climbed up the guava trees as we did the day before this day, and played. But this time we didn’t hear any screaming of the pig, as we had the other day – because the pig was already in our stomach.
On the day before this day, I was playing on the guava tree with my cousins after our uncle shouted us to leave the pig killing area. At that time of playing, I almost forgot about the pig. But suddenly, we heard the screaming of the pig, which was so loud that we immediately stopped playing. She screamed and screamed until her voice was gradually cracking. The sound made me ache, as though someone had squeezed my heart. I closed my ears with my fingers and couldn’t stop imaging of the appearances of the pig. I then felt warmth on my cheeks, which people call tears – were falling down to the ground after rolling off my cheeks.
I was playing with my cousins on the guava trees, whilst people in the village were finishing up their breakfast – some had already gone. One of my cousins suddenly made a long hiccup, pulling me from my thoughts. It smelled like pork.
As a seven-year-old boy, I thought, “Oh…the pig is still screaming.”