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2016-02-23 | |
Pak Junowo pulled the long curtain closed on the window. The dusk sun was not particularly hot; the day had been particularly cool. He was wearing a light sweater vest. It was the light, not the heat he was blocking with the curtain. When he worked, he felt sensitivity was important. He worked in relative darkness, and once he had worn earplugs each time he sat at the sewing machine until he had finished the batik shirt he was working on. He wondered whether he would need a pair of earplugs for this set of garments as he spread the white material across his table.
It should be elegant, simplicity – something in him wished it could be magical.
It was not right that his sister's oldest daughter should die. He thought back on their childhood. His sister had always been a light, he thought. Blessings that Abdul, my only son lives and is healthy; but the things I have done, which my sister would not have thought.
He marked a line on the fabric. His shears were so fine, he scarcely worked them as they slid.
Measuring the dead was tragic, brutish he felt. It was well with him that the winding sheets, the shirt, the waist wrapper, the head veil, and the loin cloth were all of fixed measure. He felt a primal, unsettling suffering at the propinquity with the dead. It would be far worse now, being his niece.
When you have done any singular thing for a considerable time, there may be instances when the thing seems to carry itself out. No matter how frequently this occurs, it seems never to occur when it is most desirable.
As he drew each line in chalk he thought of Indayani washing the body of her daughter. Eva – having been of age spared him any role in the washing – would be inclined on a table. He knew her mother would wash her seven times for her living sister and the village. The young woman's hair would be braided into three braids. And when his sister had finished drying and covering the body, she would come for the five white garments. The garments were nearly ready. He thought of his younger niece. She was not yet of age.
He closed his eyes, reddened from concentration, and prayed that she would be spared.
The ordering of the Desa Cycle was crafted using sequences generated by Random.Org
disclaimer: This work does not reflect the United States Peace Corps, the United States government, nor the government of Indonesia.
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