As the sea roared and rumbled, he only had his mother in sight, she grew small and restless each day. All he knew was pearls since the day he was brought to this earth, the sea was his life, and pearls were the cure to his mother's restlessness. All he had was her, he couldn't bare another day seeing her that way.
So there he was, his skin thick and dark, his ribs sticking through his chest, his curly black hair soft in the wind, fighting the mighty storm, it was him against this unforgiving world. Praying loudly to the waves "be kind my friends" until the waves themselves cut that day short. "Back to the shore, empty you return" answered the waves. There he sat with a half wrecked ship, and his bag of pearls, his lifetime's fortune.
He's heard of the city once, when the neighbor's son was born. Their son wouldn't budge to a thud or a shout, they had to take him to the city to be cured, and now he hears fine. They say there are high buildings, higher than the south sailing dhow right side up. They also say they love pearls in the city, they pay a bountifully to get them. His mother's cure would cost him a fortune and he was determined to save her.
So he set sail on foot to the city, a direction his compass has never been. The asphalt was warm and rough, it didn't feel good on his bare feet, his hair was still, and the sun was an occasional visitor through the buildings that were indeed as high as they say.
"The pawn shop", a big red sign read at the bottom of the building. Peeking through the door, he enters, overwhelmed by the stairways and doors, he looks through a small window to see a little man. He is short and wears a striped shirt with round thick glasses, he is constantly counting in a mumbling voice with his eyes looking down.
"Excuse me sir, may I pawn my pearls please", the boy asked.
"today is not s good day son" Mumbling to himself, the man looked up and looked down again.
Nervously turning back, the boy drops his bag of pearls, as he watched them scatter, a young woman walks in. She wears bright green covering on her feet, he's never seen something so shiny, he wondered why she wore them. He looked down to his exposed toes and saw his pearls all over the floor. Before he could say anything, the girl was on her knees collecting them, as they knelt there gathering, pearl by pearl, the girl's eyes grew wider, "I have never seen anything like it" she said. "what are they and where do they come from?"
He looked up, surprised and offended by her question, "they grow on trees" he said jokingly then thanked her and went home to his mother.
That night the boy twisted and turned, thinking, what was a good day to pawn pearls, and how did that girl not know what pearls are. He thought of her and her ignorance, were all city people that way he wondered. He went to sleep praying for a good day to come.
The next morning the boy set sail to the city again, this time prepared and determined to not waste another day, when he arrived he noticed some strange looking object on the outside of the building, long snake like things that wrap around it, but he quickly re focused to his purpose, "Today is worse than yesterday " the short man with the glasses said, just when the boy turned, there was a shimmering under the door in front of him, before he could take a closer look, the girl opens the door and locks it shut.
The boy quickly kneels down, only to discover that one of his pearls was stuck under the door. The girl kindly answered his plea and unlocked the door for him to retrieve his pearl. Inside, the boy saw more of the strange looking snake like forms. "What are they and where do they come from" he asked her. She looked at him with her big eyes and started to explain. The boy was fascinated, not by the room, or the city, or the strange thing on her feet, but by her big brown eyes that gazed back at him. "They're all connected, it's a hydroponic system, you've never heard of it?"
The boy's daily city visit saw seventeen suns, everyday his stay lasted longer. With each passing day the boy longed to go back and pawn his pearls, and if he was lucky, he would see the girl. He asked the short man behind the counter at the pawn shop about her, he said she's the daughter of the architect of the building and that she comes almost every day to tend to her hydroponic project, he also told him about the tree that was across the shop. She planted it the day her mother died and built the hydroponics around it, it's been her project ever since.
The more the boy learnt about the system the more eager he was to know about her, her mother and her city life.
Every day, the boy snuck into the building, entered the room and dropped a pearl into a small opening in one of the snake like things. The boy returned home fulfilled, his pearls pawned and helped take care of his mother.
The boy only retuned to the city when news broke of a pearl tree, a magnificent phenomena that has never been seen before. Rushing through the streets with excitement, making his way through the crowd, there it was better than he imagined, a tree full of pearls, shining loud. And there she was... bright green boots, big brown eyes, “they're all for you" he said.. "and yes.. They do grow on trees".