He was almost 40 and spoke with great wisdom. As he explained, it was clear we could not survive on the dwindling resources we had on the island. Our original 53 were now 97 and always growing. I guess when stuck on an island, sex happens, a lot. His ideas were quite controversial but seeing the sacrifices we were having to do I had to agree with him. There was the small island across the way. Yes the trip would be dangerous but the island had its own resources. Why starve ourselves when we could send some of the residents across the channel to harvest the resources over there. The main opposition was coming from the ones that had actually been on the other island. There was no shelter or water from what anyone could remember. However, the island was never properly searched and our only hope was to find resources elsewhere, it was the only other place.
I had been skeptical of his ideas, but seeing Lawrence half melted and probably on his death bed, I knew Kapena was right. Omar had to stop fighting the reality we were living. The island was no longer the fertile paradise we had grown in and it would never be that again. Yes the ones sent over might not make it, and that was a horrible thought, but we thought we would not make it on the big island when it all started.
With my support Kapena would be able to convince enough of the residents and take control away from Omar. We barely survived the winter, we were not going to survive the summer unless more boys were sent out to get burned like Lawrence or drown in the nightly hurricanes. The madness and denial of the truth of our situation had to stop.
Over the summer months Omar kept sending boys out to face their death in search of food every night. A couple joined Lawrence in the infirmary but thankfully none died. Kapena and I continued our efforts to sway the popular vote to the colonization of the small island. I kept busy visiting as many people as I could on a daily basis. Every moment of my life was either spent next to Lawrence or fighting for our cause.
The visits with Lawrence were heart wrenching, as Martha explained it, he had fallen into a coma from his injuries. I would talk, read, sing and tell him about what Kapena and I were doing. I pretty much had moved myself into the infirmary with him. I would watch him sleep and hope Mother Earth would spare my boy from an early death. Martha would routinely change his bandages until they day came they were no longer needed. His skin had healed, healed as much as it would. The burns had become random mounds of hard flesh. The scars stretched from the top of his now half bald head, all the way down to his knee. His left eye was covered with a patch being that there was no eyelid to protect it. He was still my Lawrence, my beautiful boy but I knew he would never be the same, if he ever woke up. He shouldn’t have been outside…
Every second with him gave me the fuel to keep on the good fight for Kapena and me. Unfortunately, the fight took longer than I would have ever expected. The fall harvest season was quickly approaching. We increased our colony meetings to daily. In every single one of them the tension increased. The harsh reality we were facing was slowly becoming more and more evident to everyone. The number of supporters for Kapena increased slowly but steadily. We were two or so weeks away from the fall harvest season when the vote finally swayed our way. For the sake of diplomacy Omar remained in power but Kapena would execute and be in charge of the relocation.
That night as I was telling Lawrence of the great news I felt his hand tighten around mine for the first time. At first I thought it was my imagination but slowly his right eye begun to blink and his gorgeous blue eye looked deep into mine. He looked lost and confused but obviously recognized me. Tears streamed down my face as I hugged and kissed him repeatedly. I held his face between mine and welcomed him back. My shouts of jubilation soon had summoned Martha to the room. Once I was done smothering him, I allowed her space to check him out.
Everything checked out fine and after a few drinks of water he was finally able to speak. I could see the pain and regret in his eyes as he stared deep into my soul. I hushed him before he could apologize “Shhhh, it is not your fault my boy, they should have never sent you outside.”
His body had healed but as he looked at himself in the mirror I knew the road to recovery had just started. The small hand mirror flew out of his hand and across the room. As the glass shattered on the wall I knew something inside of him had broken as well. I comforted him but I couldn’t heal him, just help him grow to accept it. The pain in his eyes ignited the last bit of fire I needed to finish the relocation process.
After a bleak summer I had lost 10 pounds and was ever tired. But now, now I had all the energy I needed. We had figured much of the details of the relocation. We would double our efforts over the first two weeks of fall harvest so that we could send the chosen ones across with a decent amount of provision. The crossing would take a few hours but once they were over, they would have two to four weeks to find shelter and continue their hunting and gathering of provisions for the winter freeze. The hazards involved with the trip and relocation had people incredibly and rightfully concerned. It was going to be an extremely challenging situation but it had to be done.