21. Tamavua Hurricane!

A few weeks later I found a 1 bedroom apartment in Tamavua which was near to my eldest sister’s home.  Still trying to make a ‘go’ of my marriage I shared this news with my wife.  Having the knowledge that it would be just the two of us and possibly other factors -I don’t really know, she actually agreed to move in with me.

Just a couple of weeks into our attempt, our struggle -cannot lie as it was such- another surprise was dished up.  I came in from work one afternoon and Hemma was not at home, as was the normal scene.  Our apartment was trashed and I mean like ransacked!  Clothing, groceries, bedding, papers you name it, strewn all about the place.

I found no note, no dear John letter, no obvious reason for this scene and no, the thought never crossed my mind that she may have been in danger.  We were clearly in a troubled relationship and well, in my gut it was plain that she did this damage herself.  What!?   I’m being honest here about what I felt at the moment; judge if you must.

I understood nothing and I knew even less than that.  Frozen in the corner of the room just looking around, aloud I cried, ‘Oh God!  Why did she do this?’  I thought if she wanted to leave me, just leave!

This takes so much poison and hatred in one’s system to do such a thing, think about it; the energy spent in destruction.  Intense hatred, lack of knowledge and God knows what else it takes to fuel such obliteration.  How much more torment and painful heartache must one endure, I just had to ask myself this question …only repeatedly it seemed.

And in all fairness, at some small point in this time, I realized she’s suffering something of her own heart and mind, right?  I mean massive pain can cause one to do … I still don’t think it’s right to be destructive.

I know, I know we all handle things differently, I get that.  Alas I can only speak for myself and I do know that I didn’t betray her trust.  I must go to the ocean, wash my face and awake myself from this nightmare!

After a while I called my sister, telling her what I came home to.  The family came right away and assisted me with a clean-up.  I packed my things and they took me back to my mother’s home.

At this point my family was ready to go to war with my in-laws.  My mama (elder uncle) came as soon as he could in order to try and calm everyone down; get our heads screwed back on.  We had to be logical in our thoughts and plans.


In retrospect, as I’ve experienced the remaining 64 years of my life, I really do not blame her for some of the behavior she demonstrated.  I saw for myself that there are certain types of parents who do interfere too much, causing confusion for their young children who are just trying to act grown-up within the situations which their parents put them in, in the first place.

Her reactions at that time must’ve been perhaps a defense mechanism for all that her young life had already dished up as she really was still, only a child herself.  I was not so much more grown-up than that.  The one difference I had going on was that I had left Fiji for a while and saw there was more to life than what the eyeball currently saw every morning.

2.  📽 the Cinema … part 1

Now I am wondering, do our island dogs look the same as the ones in Japan or England or any different from say the dogs in Africa?  Do they bark with an accent or is it all the same?  What about the people – how do they look when they smile or get angry and do the babies and children sound the same when they cry?

What about cowboys, do they really have gunfights and why do they say doggie when they talk about their cows?  I had to know!

📽 In the meantime my friends and I would get together on the weekends, most often going for ten-cent matinees, which bought us front row seats, the balcony costing two shillings.

Usually it was Captain America who ruled our weekends!  🎞 These shows were presented serial style in that there would be 2 episodes shown back-to-back on the big screen.  I do have fond memories of that pleasant theatre.  It even had a nice little café downstairs.

I was especially taken with their terrific papaya, 🍓, mango,  🍌 and  pineapple 🍍 milkshakes.  I can see the making of these milkshakes right now!  There were the always-fresh cut-up fruit chunks to one side of the counter, the🥛and ice cream on the other.

The ingredients were put into a silver can then mixed, blended and poured into the glass but only half the way.  The maker then placed the can up on the counter with the remainder of your shake and doing it with such great flair: perhaps it was just the thrill in anticipating the cool delicious milkshake at the cinema!

Needless to say the theater owners always made certain there was a nice variety of cool refreshing tropical fruit juices to savor as well sodas.  The café served up flavorful fish & chips, sandwiches, the best milk-coffee on the island, cupcakes and candies too.

Private vendor citizens were able to sell their freshly roasted warm peanuts and muttar (green peas) to the moviegoers, but they had to do this outside the theatre doors.

As a young lad around 10-11 years of age, I used to go with my brother-in-law and his brothers to the American soldiers’ camp in Tamavua.  We could sell snacks to them like narongi (tangerines), bananas, salted and dry roasted peanuts, and muttar.

We also offered an immediate favorite; rolled roti filled mostly with spicy-curried veggies and sometimes we filled them with chicken curry too.  I remember we would get a lot of silver dollar coins in our payments from these uniformed guys.

They must’ve liked us well enough because in the evenings, sometimes we would get to stay there in the GI soldiers’ camp (as we called it) and watch American movies.  These were projected on to a screen that was set-up outdoors.  They watched mostly Westerns and I quickly came to realize that John Wayne was my favorite cowboy!

I paid as close attention as I could to the friendly American military persons.  I silently noted to myself their demeanor and from what I could tell, I liked the attitude they demonstrated towards one another as well as how they interacted with us, the island natives, as we are that.

I was relaxed there, feeling perfectly comfortable.  These friendly experiences sparked a yearning to go to the USA and get myself a horse, some boots, a canteen and learn how to sling a gun or two!



See you next Sunday night for the continuing chronicles!