It’s a dizziness that stems from the sea, like a kind of spell cast by the sun and the reflections that is befuddling me and draining my energy. In spite of the torrid heat I feel cold. Denis’s sister and her fiancé help me stretch out in the bottom of the pirogue, in the shade of the sail that is flapping in the breeze. Denis cups seawater in his hands and wets my face and body. Then, punting with his pole, he steers the pirogue over to the shore. A little later we run up on the white beach, near the point of the Morne. There, a few small trees grow - velvet leaf soldierbushes. With Denis’s aid I walk to the shade of one of them. Denis’s sister encourages me to drink a sour substance from a gourd; it burns my tongue and throat and wakes me up. I already want to stand, walk back to the pirogue, but Denis’s sister tells me I must stay in the shade util the sun has begun to go down towards the horizon. The old man has remained in the pirogue, leaning on the pole. Now they’re moving away on the shimmering water to fish some more.
Denis has remained sitting next to me. He doesn’t say anything. He’s just here with me in the shade of the small tree, legs covered with patches of white sand. He’s not like those other children who live in grand estates. He doesn’t need to talk. He’s my friend and his silence here beside me is a way of saying so.
[The Prospector, Le Clézio, J. M. G.]