jolantru: (sing to the dawn)
[personal profile] jolantru
She has made up her mind. She has to leave her home, even if it takes courage and sacrifice to do so. Her home is comfortable, perhaps too comfortable, with the gentle presence of her mother who harvests herbs and dries them in the little courtyard. She knows that there is drought and that her friends are all leaving for a place faraway from home. Something burns in her chest. Elation? Nervousness? Hope?

She puts down the fish net she has been mending for the whole morning, staring at the intricate links. The net is old, with wear and tear showing. Her father uses it faithfully and makes his catches with it. He has never complained about the net, for it has brought them food on the table and some currency to use for basic luxuries. In fact, her household has been self-sufficient all along. Quietly determined, hard working folk, thrifty. Then, why is she the only one feeling as though she has to leave her home as soon as possible?

Traitorous mind, she blames herself and brushes her hair. She is young and filled with the energy of youth. She sees her reflection in the old yellowed mirror on the earthen wall. She is not wearing the traditional garb now, not while she is at home. Yet, if she decides to walk around the village on errands or just for a simple stroll, she will don her short jacket and loose black pants as well as her beloved silver waist belt and her favorite floral-patterned kerchief that she would wear around her head.

Self-consciously, she touches her hair once more, feeling her fringes with her fingers. She would later tie her hair with her combs. She feels a pang of sadness. It might be the last time she is walking around the village, the last chance she might see the rows of drying fish and fishnets or listen to the songs sung by the married women as they carry out their chores for the day.

* * *

The smell of brine fills her nose as she walks onto the creaky jetty. Ahead of her, in the form of a large nondescript trawler, is her key to the new place. Nanyang. It sounds so distant, so unfamiliar. Yet, she has heard stories from people who heard from other people, stories of wealth and opportunities.

She has come prepared for her journey. A simple cloth-bag with essentials, a few changes of clothes and some dried fish. She has heard that the food is meager onboard these trawlers. She has also worn her bamboo hat, her jacket, pants and patterned kerchief. Around her waist the silver waist belt, a gift from her mother, feels cool.

Her mother. She steels her heart and walks forward. Already the last stragglers are quickly boarding the boat.

“Wait! Wait! Wait!” A woman’s voice, hoarse from running and exertion, shakes her confidence, makes her almost turn around.

Her mother. She walks faster. The gangway is open before her. She just has to cross the jetty and walk into the dark recesses of the boat.

“Wait! You are making a mistake! Don’t go!” The woman’s voice quavers as if she is about to cry. Her mother is a tough woman. The thought of her crying breaks her heart, almost softens her resolve.

She slowly wheels around and sees her mother dressed in the garb of an older married woman, with more subdued colors. There are tears in her mother’ s eye and her mouth moves voicelessly as if she is struggling to speak.

“I have made up my mind,” she says to her mother and the woman gasps, turns pale. “I am leaving for Nanyang.”

Her heart breaking, her spirit sobbing, she turns determinedly back to the gangway, refusing to look behind her. She crosses the gangway in a burst of pain and relief.

Date: 2009-05-28 03:39 am (UTC)
dechant: (Default)
From: [personal profile] dechant
Oh, gods, this almost made me cry with the protagonist('s spirit). The level of detail in this is staggering.

Date: 2009-06-09 03:28 pm (UTC)
sheafrotherdon: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sheafrotherdon
Oh, goodness. This is so moving - thank you for it.

Date: 2009-06-10 02:15 am (UTC)
lady_ganesh: A pink lotus floating in a bowl (lotus)
From: [personal profile] lady_ganesh
Thank you for sharing this.

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