Venturing cautiously through the jungle, you refresh the wifi networks just often enough to zero in on the signal. As the little icon fills up, so too does your confidence. Soon, the brush clears up and you find yourself standing outside a large hut just as your phone dies. You feel your way to the front door and give it a few sharp knocks - whoever is inside will surely forgive the intrusion.
The door creaks open, spilling light onto you. A woman peers out of the gap and gets a good look at you before sticking her head out. "Why hello there, dearie. What brings you out here at a time like this?" Her voice is sweet and disarming.
"Sorry, I got lost. Any chance I could borrow a phone charger?"
"Oh, come in, come in. The jungle's no place to be wandering around in the dark." She ushers you inside, and you follow. She looks not quite old enough to be your mother, but her voice and delicate movements exude motherly vibes. Her ebony hair is tucked around her neck, and when she turns you see it extends to her breasts, which look sizeable even beneath her loose nightgown. Her eyes are dark and her features creased with smiles. She is stout with hands that look calloused and worn, but gentle.
It's a cozy little one-room hut/house. The walls are adorned with local figurines and art. In one corner sits a desk covered in recipe books with a bulky grey laptop whirring away amid the mess. The kitchen features a petite sink and narrow countertops with various utensils and cookware cleverly tucked away in every nook and cupboard. The wall-mounted oven is notably large compared to the rest of the kitchen, and before it sits an equally massive table with a single chair. At the far end of the house, partially obscured by a curtain, is the "bedroom." Curteously, you leave your flip flops at the shoe-rack beside the door and follow the woman inside.
"The name's Tevita," she says, clearing the kitchen table and pulling out the chair. "Come, have a seat, er..."
"Chel, you can call me Chel." You graciously accept the invitation to sit.
"Make yourself at home, Chel." Tavita softly squeezes your shoulder and turns to the cupboard to retrieve a kettle. "Don't mind the mess, haven't had any visitors for a spell."
"It's no problem. Sorry to barge in like this, my phone died and this was the only place I could find in the dark." You rest your arms on the large table, feeling a bit tired after the ill-conceived night trek.
Tevita fills the kettle with water and plops it on the stove. "Don't worry, don't worry. I'll have some tea boiling in no time."
"Do you have a charger? Just need it long enough to call my friends, then I'll be out of your hair."
"Of course, of course. Should be somewhere over by the computer." Tevita is prepping a mixure of leaves into an infuser while the water heats up.
You get up and walk over to the desk. There are all sorts of recipe books, some old with oil-stained pages, and some new with crisp, colorful images. None of them appear to be vegan, however, so you give them any more than a passing glance. You see a wad of thin white cable poking out from beneath a stack of printed-out recipes. Removing the pages reveals five other phones of various sizes lying beside the charger. "That's a lot of phones," you say, unplugging the cable from one of them and stuffing it into yours.
"Ah yes, I haven't managed to sell those ones yet." Tevita doesn't look up from prepping the tea.
"Is selling phones a good side hustle on the island?"
"You do all you can with all you have, that's what my mother always said." The kettle begins to sing and Tevitha removes it from the stove, gently pouring a cup.
"What kind of tea is that?" you ask, returning to your seat at the kitchen table.
"Old family recipe, local ingredients."
"I guess most of your foods are local, right? It must be pretty cool to live on a tropical island."
"Truth be told, the food here gets pretty same-y. The best food is imported." Tevitha winks as she slides the teacup over to you.
You blow away the steam tendrils from the hot beverage. It smells of sweet nectar with a refreshing, pungent, mint-like accent. Nevertheless, it's still too hot to sip, and you figure it can't hurt to let it steep a little longer. "I'll text my friends real quick while it cools, there should be enough battery by now."
"Won't your friends be sound asleep?" Tevita clasps her hands and smiles softly. "It's no trouble, Chel. Won't you at least stay for dinner?"