Continued from here.
You can leave your 5 word sentence starter with every completed section posted.For those of you who want to play "catch-up" here are the previous sections in sequence.PART 1PART 2PART 3PART 4PART 5PART 6PART 7PART 8PART 9
A teapot with 2 cups sat on the table between the 2 rattan chairs on the verandah. Mina sitting in one of the chairs poured herself a cup, leaned back sipping the rich brew and soaked in the night air. There was a peaceful glow about her. The kind of glow a musician would feel just after completing a piece of music and knowing that it was accomplished without a single thought of technique. She heard a sound, turned her head to its direction, smiled slightly and put her finger to her lips. Just then the door to the verandah opened slightly.
“Over here, Sofia.” Mina gestured invitingly. “I have made some tea for us.”
The young widow walked out shyly. “I opened the front door after I changed into my clothes like you asked me to.”
“Thank you. Mr. Osman will be here soon. I wanted him to know that it was safe to enter now that our ‘women’s matters’ were complete.”
The both of them giggled at this. Sofia sat and took a sip from her cup. “I want to thank you again for doing this for me.”
“It is I who should thank you.” Replied Mina.
“For what?” Sofia looked surprised.
Mina smiled. “For wanting me to… and for being my first guest here since my return.”
“Are you lonely out here?”
“No. But it is nice to have someone to talk to for a change.”
Sofia took another sip but Mina noticed a sense of expectancy about her. Finally she she looked at Mina, “Miss Mina, can I talk frankly with you?”
“Of course. What is it?”
“It’s not that we are not allowed to mourn… but it is our custom not to show grief so that the souls of our loved ones can move on freely. I only cried once since… the accident… when they told me.” A tear began to well up in her eyes. “But then the fishermen on the boat told me what happened. They said that he died laughing. They said that everyone was scared… but he was laughing… then the wind blew hard and a wooden pully hit him in the head and he fell in.” She took another sip but now smiled. “He was always laughing. They said that he was laughing when he fell in. For that I am glad.”
“What kind of a man was he? “ Mina asked as she shot a glance to where Kamal now stood.
“He was a very handsome man. A very… passionate man.” Sofia blushed and giggled a little to herself, surprised by what she was revealing. “A very intelligent man too. You know he went to the city to study engineering… but he came back 2 years later and became a fisherman. I asked him once why he came back. He said that things were moving too fast in the country… especially in the city… that people were losing their ways and their souls in the name of progress. He said that in the city… even hospitality now had rules. He said that if this was progress he did not want to have anything to do with it. He did not see any reason to help the country lose its soul… so, he came back.”
“Was he a good father?”
“He was like one of the children. We are not rich… but I think that he spent more time playing with the few toys we bought them than they did.”
They both laughed. Sofia continued, “I know the children will be well cared for. I know that even if I do not remarry… the men in the village will be good examples for them… and they will know their father through those men.”
“They will be lucky. It’s a luxury I never had.”
“But didn’t your mother remarry?”
“When I was 5… my stepfather is a kind man but I never knew my father like your children will.”
“Perhaps if you stay… you can.” Mina looked at Sofia and smiled. “Forgive me Miss Mina. I think I said that for selfish purposes.”
“Sofia, it’s OK to be selfish sometimes.”
“If that is the case I wish…” Sofia took in a deep breath. “The last 2 days… there are so many things I wanted to say to him… I…”
“Sofia, I should go in and pack all the instruments in the bag. While I’m inside… you sit here and say everything you want to say to him.”
“Miss Mina… I will look silly…”
“No… no… when I was studying overseas I saw something similar being done in grief counseling. It really seemed to help those who lost someone. When I go inside… just pretend that he is sitting in this chair.” Mina rose to go throwing a look to Kamal and communicating with her eyes to sit in the chair she just vacated.
Sofia turned around. “What do I say? How…”
Kamal was now sitting in the chair. “There is a language that men and women share… lovers, partners… just speak in that language you shared together. Just call me when you are done.” As Mina left the verandah she saw recognition in Kamal’s eyes and a deep affection for the woman who sat in the chair in front of him.
For the next 15 minutes Mina sat on the front stoop watching the flying foxes begin to take flight in the night sky in search of ripe fruit. The faint smell of ripe durians floated in the air. Down the road, in the distance she saw the headlights of a car approach. It pulled up and Mr. Osman stepped out.
“Is she ready?” he asked.
“She will be.”
“Good. I saw her walking here earlier so I gave her a lift. A woman in her condition should not be walking alone at night… it’s almost 9 o’clock.”
“It is very kind of you to do this for her.”
“No, Miss Mina… the kindness is yours. She told me why she was coming here.”
Just then Sofia appeared at the doorway. “I’m ready Mr. Osman.” Sofia walked down and slipped on her footwear. “I am very grateful to you Miss Mina.”
“Did you take the medical charts you brought with you?” asked Mina.
“I have them in my bag… thank you.”
Osman opened the car door to the passenger side and Sofia stepped in. Mina stepped over and looked at Sofia through the window. “Remember, we want to keep your iron levels up. So lots of green leafy vegetables and petai sambal once every 2 weeks to clear your kidneys.”
Sofia smiled. “Miss Mina, I thought with all your western education you would be prescribing pills for me.”
“Sometimes Sofia… the old ways are the only ways. Please feel free to call on me if you have other concerns.”
This perked up Osman’s ears. “Can I assume by this that you have arrived at a decision?”
“I may have.” Mina watched the car rumble down the road back to the village.
“Now what do I do?” She turned to see Kamal standing at the foot of the stoop.
She looked at him, frowned a little then brightened. “Now we will take a walk to the bamboo grove at the back of the house.
EDIT: Chances are pretty good that the final section will be posted sometime tomorrow (Saturday). I'll try my darndest... unless it desides to take me on yet another ride... and it could be a pretty long section. In the meantime... think of a title and post it when the final section is up. Perhaps we'll set something up to vote for the title. :)