My thoughts now turned to home. I reached for my cell phone in my pocket. It was the latest model and could reach a satellite even from this remote place. It wasn’t in my right pocket, so I checked my left. I checked my back pockets. It wasn’t there. I searched the ground, thinking it must have fallen out. I trudged back toward the hut, still searching.
If I hadn’t remembered which hut I had just come out of, I could have found it simply by the smell. It had only been a few minutes, but the temperature was rising fast and as the heat came in, the bile turned more sour and permeated deeply. How do they clean this stuff up here? They must be smart enough to puke in the forest.
I searched my pallet, and the fur hide, holding my nose with one hand, fighting off the urge for a repeat performance. No cell. The hut was bare, the dirt floor packed down, even a small cell phone would have been easily spotted lying on the dirt. Nothing. I went back outside and checked all around the hut. I must have been carried in, but from where? Possibly from the pier. I began searching the most direct path between the hut and the pier.
When I had reached the middle of the small ring, people began emerging from their huts. Or maybe they were there the whole time. I hadn’t paid any attention to the slight, dark bodies before. They had the tan colored skin girls spend hours in the sun or tanning beds to achieve back home. They had dark hair and wore close to nothing. Some kind of islander, I guessed. I decided to try talking to them before they got too close. Who knows what they thought of me!
“Hey! You, uh, find a cell phone?” I made a phone gesture with my finger and thumb to my ear and mouth. They just stared at me. They probably didn’t know about phones. How did I get myself lost on a primitive island?
They turned away from me, as if speaking were a disgrace or a social faux pas. One male bravely spoke nonsense at me and pointed with his whole arm towards the rainforest. Maybe I had come from the forest and he was kindly asking me to return. I stared at him. He repeated himself, then walked toward the forest. He beckoned at me to follow him. That gesture must be universal. I followed him. Maybe he had something important to show me. “Did you find my phone?” No answer. He stopped and pointed to a worn path barely visible between the trees and undergrowth. He held his arm up an awkwardly long time, pointing down the path and stared at me. I guess it was time for me to go.