untitled 5-3-1 c

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Continued from this post.

I may add to this as the weekend rolls along.
Contributers to this section.
(The) subtle movement caught her eye.... apj

From the quagmire of this.......kien
The village children stopped playing…lolly

again she hear the flute... sol

she needed the fresh air....lime

she was a good bitch... ssm

A subtle movement caught her eye as Mina strolled through the open pasar or market of the village. It almost seemed as if everyone stiffened ever so slightly at the sight of her. She was used to this. Even though she was born in the village she was always considered an outsider. Her father had died suddenly after her birth and her mother moved back to the city soon after to begin a new life. The 8 weeks she spent every year with her father’s parents until she was 17 hardly qualified her as a true resident. Although she had a deep affection for the place she never dared call it home.

She headed to a local coffee shop to meet with a certain Mr. Osman who was one of the local “arrangers” in the village. He was one of an exclusive group of 5 elders who were part legal advisors, part brokers, part negotiators, and part mediators. Each one of these individuals had a direct family line to the first 5 settlers in the area. Local lore had it that the original 5 were captains of rival pirate vessels who formed a collective to more efficiently ply their “trades” in these waters.

On the padang (field) across the street from the coffee shop a small group of children were gleefully engaged in a game of “gasing” or tops. The object of the game was to strike the top of your opponent out of the circle drawn in the dirt and of course to spin the longest. Mina stopped outside the coffee shop to watch for a bit marveling at the level of skill these children had already attained. It was also a curious delight for her to know that there were still places in the world where children still played these sort of games outside.

In the musty but pleasant coffee shop Mr. Osman, a slight gentleman with a kindly face rose from his usual table to greet Mina as she entered.

“What’s news?” He greeted her, extending his hand lightly touching hers then bringing it back to touch his chest… the traditional Malay handshake. They exchanged pleasantries and he invited her to sit with him.

“The storm last night blew off the roof off the kitchen…”

“How unfortunate… are you OK?”

“I’m fine thank you. I have a list here of materials for the repairs and… “

“Please give it to me.” Osman looked at the list impressed by the detail. “Yes, it does seem like it’s all there. I’ll arrange for everything.”

“Thank You Mr. Osman. You are most kind.”

“The materials will be delivered this afternoon. I’m afraid however that work may only be able to begin tomorrow. A fishing boat did not return this morning and most of the men are still out searching…”

“The storm last night?”

“Yes, but we are hopeful. Here in the village most of our men learned to swim before they could crawl. In fact, your grandmother use to say that they were swimming in the womb and only stopped to be born!” The old man chuckled.

“Oh, I will not be needing help to build.”

The old man stopped laughing and looked at her quizzically. “Are you planning to build it yourself Miss Mina? A western education has certainly made you very resourceful.”

Mina couldn’t help but laugh. “No, no… someone has already offered to build it for me.”

“I see. Of course… someone from the village?”

“I think so.”

“What is his name?” She was about to answer when an Indian man walked into the coffee shop. “Excuse me, Miss Mina…” Then, calling to the man. “Yes, Mr Sami…”

As he walked over the Indian man shared a look of dread with the Chinese owner of the coffee shop. He then whispered something into Osman’s ear. Mina also noticed the absence of gleeful laughter from the children outside. The village children stopped playing and seemed to be staring at something down the road.

“Begging your pardon, Miss Mina… I’m afraid there is some bad news.”

“What’s wrong?” Instinctively she blurted, “The boat?”

“Yes, unfortunately we lost one of our own in the storm last night.” They all made their way to the front of the coffee shop as a quiet procession of men accompanied a stretcher carrying a covered body. “Miss Mina, due to the circumstance your materials can only be delivered tomorrow.”

“Of course. I understand.”

“Pardon me, arrangements have to be made.” With that the old man walked out and joined the procession.

Once it passed, Mina looked across to the padang where the children seemed to resume their game where they left off. They continued to play with glee as if this was an everyday occurrence. She found this a little peculiar but passed it off and headed back home.

As she walked down the road, Chong, the owner of the coffee shop looked out at the padang then to Mr. Sami. “Sami, did you see her look across to the padang?”

“I did.”

“Let’s make sure Mr. Osman is informed of this.”

continued here.


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