Literary Yard

Search for meaning

By: Aviva Derenowski

Photo by Jill Burrow on

The need for a child penetrated every atom of Mama Boa’s soul. She and Papa Boa got together in love and devotion. She prayed and cried and promised anything God might desire. Still, she remained barren. There was no meaning to her life. Her connection with Papa Boa wasn’t enough of a draw to stay alive.

Mama Boa walked into the Indian Ocean, and her fleshy toes stroked the sand. The water calmed her nervous calves. The little waves sparkled her knees and climbed up to her thighs. The water soothed her hands, and her skirt clung to her body. The ocean was up to her waist. Her toes moved deeper.

The reek of dead fish filled the air on the beach while she inhaled deeply the scent of the Indian Ocean. The smell got closer to her sensitive nostrils with each pace. The aroma was fresh and poignant, alive and forever present. She was on her way home to be with her Maker.

She kept her thin lips tight, and when she swallowed, she felt her anxiety building. The ocean palpitated against her mouth, and her tongue felt numb. She wondered what they ate in Heaven if they ate at all.

The sun was setting on the Indian Ocean. Nobody noticed the young two-legged Boa getting deeper and deeper in the water. The fishers cast their nets and showed each other their gains of dying fish.

“Splash,” the Indian Ocean whispered, again and again, crashing on her torso. Then there was a  profound silence. Nothing could penetrate it but the voice of God. When he had something to say, he wasn’t subtle. She heard His voice, ‘Go back; it’s not your time yet.’ So Mama Boa turned around, obeying His command.

As if in a trance, she heard Papa Boa crying while running toward her like mad, “Mama Boa! Mama Boa! We’ll find a way.” He hugged her, kissed her, and begged her never again to try taking her life. “We’ll find a way.” He kept murmuring his mantra.

She leaned her wet body on his muscular one and sobbed as if there was nobody else on the beach but them. “He told me to come back,” she said, “God told me it wasn’t my time.”

Papa Boa started laughing. “I knew the Old Man was on our side. He will help us find our son.” He closed his eyes and recited the Psalms, “Find solace in the Lord. He’s our Shepherd.”

They fell on their knees, on the cool sand, begging God to lead them to their son.

In the orphanage, Snakey felt his parents’ presence not far from the beach – he was to be their son. 


  1. A poignant story taking us to a positive ending. Deserves wider readership perhaps in a magazine.

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