“My brother’s house,” Iisaaq said as Kuua carried Gabin’s kitbag to the door. “You can stay there.”
“And your brother?”
“Dead.” Iisaaq shook his head, stalling any further questions Gabin might have. “You can use his house. But first you have to meet Naqiit.” Iisaaq kicked the sand from his boots then opened the door to his house. He gestured for Gabin to go on ahead of him, tapping his shoulder and pointing to the scattering of shoes of all sizes just inside the door. Gabin removed his boots and padded into the kitchen.
Naqiit was taller than her husband, as slim as her daughter, with those same wild eyes, temporarily tamed or constrained by the kitchen walls, but with a spark of light suggesting she was eager to soar. She brushed her long black hair to one side, clapped flour from her hands and then greeted Gabin with a brief shake of the hand. She said something to Iisaaq before setting a pan of water to boil on the hob.
“Naqiit doesn’t speak English,” Iisaaq said. He gestured at the square table in the middle of the kitchen and they sat down. Naqiit leaned against the counter, picking at soft clumps of flour that had escaped her dough. She looked at Gabin, spoke, and then stared at her husband as he answered. “I told her you are a fisherman, that you arrived in Greenland on a trawler.”
“It was a container ship,” Gabin said.
Iisaaq discarded the detail with a shrug. “But you will learn to fish. I will teach you.”
Naqiit lifted the lid from the pan as the water bubbled. The steam evaporated quickly in the dry Greenland air blowing in from outside. Biibi clumped up the stairs and into the house. She hid behind one of Iisaaq’s fishing jackets hanging in the hall, pulling it across her body like drawing a curtain, hiding her mouth and nose as she looked at Gabin. Naqiit called out to her and Biibi twisted out of the jacket and onto the deck, calling for her brother.
Naqiit placed three mugs of coffee and two glasses of thin juice on the table. She sat down next to Iisaaq. Her eyes glittered with tiny squares of light from the kitchen window, capturing Gabin’s attention, so much so he had to wrestle his gaze from hers as Iisaaq started to speak. Gabin waited for him to switch back to English.
“Naqiit is worried,” he said after a sip of coffee. “But I have told her you are our guest, that you will stay in Sakka’s house for as long as you need to.”
“That’s kind of you,” Gabin said.
Iisaaq laughed. “You say that now, but you will have to work. You will fish with me. It will be a good way to get to know the area and some of the people.”
“Just a few,” Gabin said. He looked up as Kuua clumped into the house with Biibi close behind him, walking in his shadow, as if he was a shield.
“The people of Illorsuit at least,” Iisaaq said. “You can start with them.”
To be continued…
Copyright © Christoffer Petersen, 2021.
This is a work of fiction. All characters, organizations, and events portrayed in this novel are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.