Church Tag Comps.

‘Everybody listen up!’ yells our youth leader. ‘Girls, be here by 8.00. Boys I want you all here by 7.00; 7.30 at the latest! None of this ‘Island time’ business, we start marching at 9.00 sharp and I want our church to march as one…’ Along with the rest of our youth, I am seated on the now moist grass facing our leader as he talks. His intimidating features give off a don’t-mess-with-me look as his huge body frame towers over the kid’s closest to him. His face being time ravaged though strong is set on a concentrated look where his lips form a tight line, his chubby cheeks slightly pink from yelling, his thick wild eyebrows are furrowed together yet his hazel-brown eyes are playful, ageless and eloquent with knowledge. Looking around me; a boy about a year older than I am is seated to my right but slightly in front holding a little girl, his black shirt hugging his body perfectly defining his well-toned muscles, his sonny-bill haircut and olive skin gently glowing under the moonlight. As if on cue his head turns towards me, a smile tugging at his lips. I mentally kick myself as blood rushes to my face, suddenly thankful that it is dark so he couldn’t see my embarrassment. Trying to keep what is left of my dignity I casually look to my left and see the older girls listening intently while the older boys behind are chucking grass at one of the boys -who has decided it was his nap time- and trying to suppress their laughter when some grass landed directly on his face. Catching my cousin’s eyes I smile and shake my head. Idiots.

‘…Okay that’s us for tonight everyone, kuikui ke lotu then home time and rest up for tomorrow.’ My eyes automatically close until the prayer finishes and together with the rest of my youth I get up quickly making my way to the safety of my vehicle to avoid any more embarrassment.

8.10 AM. Looking around I is amazed. The vast emptiness of the fields, which was quickly filling with a bustling crowd of families appeared to shrink in size...