Missiya, the Wild One by Vijita Fernando

Missiya, the Wild One by Vijita Fernando

This is an unusual story of a beautiful young girl. Her name was Missiya. She was not like all the other girls in her village. There was something special and charming about her. She often ran, smiled and laughed. Not only was the girl good-looking, but she also had a strong will and a cheerful personality. Sometimes she shocked people by her boldness. No wonder that from a very young age Missiya attracted a lot of men. She started meeting them in the woods. The girl was poor and had to sell the only thing she had – her beauty. Women hated her, and parents tried to keep their children away from her. But one day Missiya’s life changed forever. The police came to arrest her and no one saw her again. Missiya was keeping a dark secret: in desperation she had committed a terrible crime.

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Missiya, the Wild One by Vijita Fernando

Childhood is a time of innocence, when life is simple and uncomplicated. Children, watching the comings and goings of adults, often see things that they don’t understand until years later, when they are adults themselves and know the ways of the world.

And the ways of the world are sometimes rather sad…

There is still talk about her in the village, all these years later. She did not come back after she went away so suddenly that morning … no one really cared to find out what happened to her. But they did not forget her. Even recently an old man in the village said her name, Missiya, with sadness in his voice.

Missiya, the Wild One by Vijita Fernando

And the village never again knew anyone quite like her. They remembered her not so much for her good looks as for her boldness. She was good-looking, though. But in those days there was no way a good-looking girl could escape from village life and make an exciting future for herself. What could Missiya do, except sell her good looks while she was young? Selling them for so little – almost nothing.

Every time I go back home to the village I see Missiya in my mind. She had brown skin which shone with good health, and a beautiful, strong body. She moved beautifully too. She used to carry a full pot of water on her hip and use her other hand to pick a fruit or a branch off a tree for firewood. She was full of fun. She ran when there was no need to run, smiled all the time and laughed often.

The women envied her, and felt jealous of the way men watched her lovely body.

Missiya never married. She never wanted to be like other village girls, who spent time getting to know boys, walking in the fields, talking of love, and making careful plans for the future. Missiya’s house was usually full of men, and her parents did not mind her free and easy ways with the young men – and older ones – who crowded into that little house. No surprise, then, that before she was sixteen, people were already talking about her!

As a child I couldn’t take my eyes off her. She had a pair of eyes which seemed enormous to me. Her smiling lips were full and red with betel juice. She used to laugh at the way I watched her, wide-eyed. Under her breath and still smiling, she used to whisper something which I knew was not meant for my child’s ears. But there was no harm in her – it was her nature, her love of life!

But there were things I did not understand about her. Sometimes she was my friend. On some days when I saw her, she used to greet me cheerfully, take my hand in hers and take me into the woods to pick fruit, show me the animals and birds and a thousand secrets that lay hidden there. But there were days when she pretended not to see me and looked away, as she hurried into the woods. That always made me sad and I felt a warm tear roll down my face. At those times I used to look away too, pretending to look at a wild flower or watch some insects on the ground…

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