untitled 5-3-1 k - the final installment.

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Continued from here.

For those of you who want to play "catch-up" here are the previous sections in sequence.

They made their way through the orchard to the edge of the bamboo grove. On their way there Mina had picked some frangipani flowers and picked some limes. Upon reaching the bamboo grove she gathered the flowers in her hands. She turned to look at Kamal.

“Are you ready?” she asked.

Kamal nodded. She tossed the flowers toward the bamboo not really knowing what to expect. She was relying totally on the instinct… an inkling that compelled her into these actions. Then it grew dark as if a cloud passed above blocking the illumination from the moon and when it brightened again seconds later a path appeared through the bamboo grove. It was the same path that had appeared to her 3 nights ago on that stormy early morning. Mina could not help but think now how that seemed like almost a different lifetime away.

They looked down the path. It led about 20 yards to a stream. She gave 2 of the limes to Kamal.

“Throw one in before you cross the stream… and then the other after you have crossed.”

Kamal asked. “What is beyond the stream?”

“I do not know… and I won’t until I cross it myself one day.” Came her calm reply. “This is as far as I can guide you.”

Kamal took a step toward the path then stopped turned and looked at Mina. “What will become of my wife and children?”

“Those are now the concerns for the living to deal with, Kamal. You just have to trust that they will.”

Mina watched him walk down the path, cross the stream and disappear into the jungle on the other side. She waited for the path to disappear but it remained open.

“You do realize that by guiding him here that you have accepted the responsibility for your lifetime.”

Mina turned around to see her grandmother holding 2 limes in her hands. “Nenek, I thought you had already…”

“How could I? Only the living can open the path. I never influenced your decisions in life… and it would have been unfair to begin in death.” She kissed Mina on her forehead. “Remember my child, unlike the lovers you have had… this is not something you can discard once you tire of it.”

A tear came to Mina’s eye. “I know Nenek… I know.” Mina felt her face flush as she looked at her grandmother. “But how did you… know?”

The old lady smiled sweetly. “You still carry the essence of your last lover with you.” She kissed Mina on her forehead again and began walking down the path.

“Nenek, I understand that the children are those who are yet to be born… but what is the music of the flute?”

The old lady looked at the bamboo around her and said in a very matter of fact manner. “It’s the bamboo singing.”

Mina said nothing thinking perhaps this was one of those things she was supposed to just accept.

But the old lady continued. “Some of them have snapped off at the top… and with the right breeze blowing over the hollows… they sing. Just like people… every grove has it’s own song.”

Mina watched as her grandmother crossed the stream to disappear into the jungle.

Mina made her way toward the kitchen as the kettle whistled. She carefully took it off the fire and poured some into the teapot. She put it on a tray along with 2 cups and carried it up to the verandah.

“Miss Mina? Hello?”

“Ah, Mr. Osman! I have just made some tea for us. Please join me.”

Osman walked up and made himself comfortable in one of the 2 rattan chairs. He took a sip then smiled at Mina “It’s been over a year now that you’ve been here, hasn’t it? Are you still happy here?”

“Yes, yes I am.” Just then the cry of a baby came from inside the house. “Excuse me for a moment.”

“Of course.”

Mina walked in and soon the crying subsided and she returned to the verandah. “She was just awakened from her nap… she’s sleeping again.”

“How old is she now? 4 months?”

“She’ll be 5 months in 2 days.”

“She looks pretty just like you.”

“Thank you. Are you flirting with me Mr. Osman?”

Osman laughed. "Why should I stop now?" When the laughter stopped he continued. “And the father?”

Mina looked at him and smiled... but then decided to respond. “We have been talking. We have not made definite plans yet. He doesn’t understand this world… so, we’ll see.”

“I apologize for prying… “

“No, no… I would not have volunteered the information if I didn’t want you to know.” She paused then continued, “After all the help you have given me… I… I thought you should know.”

There was a quiet moment between the two as they sat on the verandah enjoying the sound of the birds sing in the afternoon sun. Mina then got up walked over to a basket and picked up 2 limes. She then placed them in Osman’s hands.

Osman looked at the fruit then up at her, “All details have been taken care of… my son will be the new arranger. It’s time for the next generation… your generation to guide the village”

Mina looked at the old man with affection. “I want to thank you for everything you have done for me. Without you Mr. Osman… I would still be looking for home. Now come… follow me.”

They walked through the orchard picking frangipani flowers on their way to the bamboo grove. As they approached it a slight breeze picked up and the bamboo began to sing it’s song.

EDIT: Well, that's it... now back to real life and to cage up Morty. For those of you who have put up with this indulgence... thank you for taking this journey with me.

FYI... I will let it sit for a few weeks before I come back to it for edits and rewrites.


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