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The Story Of The Ocean People

Diriye Osman

(Many thanks to Diana Valencia Duarte for inspiring the title of this story).

My beautiful, great grandchild,

I have lost my sight, but my spirit sees all. Such is the power of our people. Such is the sixir of Somalinimo, which is to say blackness and beauty, and everything in between.

I am an old woman—a hundred and three to be exact—but I still love like my heart is young like the bloom of a hyacinth. It takes faith and fact to love this way, but I do it because to be Somali, which is to say black and beautiful and everything in between, asks the universe of me, including skin and soul and salaat.

This is how deep I love, sweet, great grandchild.

You tell me that you're transcending this gender. You say that being a woman is not who you are, but you do not consider yourself male, either.

My sight cannot spell what you say, but my spirit understands everything, everything, everything.

I am sorry for calling you my great granddaughter in the past: you are my great grandchild.

When I close my eyes, I think of the history of us; the story of the ocean people and you, my great grandchild, are included in the texture of this kinetic narrative.

You, my great grandchild, whom I have loved since you were blooming like a hyacinth inside your mother's womb, bolstered by four hundred thousand prayers, do not know the full story of your flowering.

You, my great grandchild represent the earth's core. You are the source and the citation of a life lived at the centre, not the margins. You are my greatest hope for a future I will not live to see. You are emblematic of the Most High at His most mesmeric. You must remember this.

This is a grace note because your sweetness is a mellifluous salutation towards the sun. You embody bravery and steam and unshackled strength.

I will soon belong to the moon and the soil, but I am proud of you, wondrous being.

May you know love that is worthy of all the gorgeousness you have to offer. May you know that you come from a long line of miraculous spirits, some of whom did not possess the courage you so easily embody.

May you know that you are protected like the softest magic; may you know that you are treasured like the most sacred kiss.

You have my blessing always, always, always.

You are the story of our future.



ARTWORK: The image illustrating this short story was made by Diriye Osman using a combination of artificial intelligence, digital paint and collage.

SONG OF THE MOMENT: 'Fight For You' by H.E.R.

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