“Write a scene where the only spoken dialogue is ‘uh-huh’, ‘um’, ‘urrrr’, ‘mm-mmm’.”
I still wasn’t quite sure where I was. I knew our plane had crashed somewhere in the Pacific, but there was no telling where exactly. All I could see was a sea of palm trees spreading in every direction and to my right (south, if my 5 year-old compass-obsessed self had passed on the right knowledge) I could hear what I could only imagine was the ocean.
I had already been walking a few hours and, in response to my achingly hungry stomach, I was suddenly thanking myself for having had the presence of mind to grab some of the pretzel packets that had landed on the seat next to me.
As I was pulling open the teensy package, I was suddenly very aware of the fact that I was being watched by two very eager, observant eyes.
Standing two feet away from me was a child not older than ten. He didn’t look like he had been on the plane, so I assumed he must have been local to the island.
I also assumed that my American Sign Language would get nowhere with him as well. This wasn’t going to be easy. I’d have to resort to pointing at things. Lovely.
Before I could even start fabricating a question, however, the boy pointed at my hands. There was nothing particularly special about them except for the fact that I was still holding my pretzels.
I blinked back at him. Now I could see that beyond being eager and observant, his eyes were also hungry. I pointed to my pretzels and motioned my hand towards him questioningly.
“Uh-huh,” he uttered as he nodded. I guess that one’s universal.
I slowly walked towards him, holding the pretzels in front of me the whole time, and as soon as I got to him, he snatched them quickly from my hands, but did not eat them immediately. He grabbed one, smelled it, and then raised his eyes questioningly at me.
“Um?” he asked, nearing the pretzel to his open mouth and surprisingly yellow teeth. I nodded vigorously, smiling. I was hoping that this might be my guide to the closes town or village. I had to be as encouraging and non-threatening as possible.
He plopped the pretzel into his mouth. As he chewed that first bite, his eyes suddenly lit up. In what seemed like ecstatic, childish glee, he let out a guttural “urrrrr!” sound as he jumped up and down on the spot.
While he celebrated his first pretzel and stuff the rest of the packet’s contents into his mouth, I suddenly got a glimpse of some light smoke and some roofs in the distance. A town! I was so close!
Holding up my second package of pretzels, I tapped my companion on the shoulder to get his attention. His eyes focused in on the small bag.
Using my well-developed pointing abilities, I asked if he could take me to the town, and promised that I would give him the pretzels in return. He seemed puzzled by my request and communication methods at first, but once he understood, he was all too pleased to grab my forearm and pull me down the hill we were on. All through the descent to the town, his eyes would not stop glancing back at the pretzels to make sure they were still there!