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￭ In our image and our likeness
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2016-04-17 | |
Pak Dayaji worked in the sawah of the village. They saw it was nothing for him. From the time of his early withdrawal from school at 17 until his death 45 years later when he was hit from behind while riding his motor scooter, he worked both seasons each year in the sawah.
Eva played in the sawah. Everyone talked of how lucky a farmer would be to have her by his side. In stories after her death, but before the death of her sister, they told of how they had stopped working and smiled and clapped to see her dance around the sawah water's edge atop the earthen wall. How she had spun, skipped and sang. She sailed through the sun. When there had been no school, she carried lunch to her father, working in the sawah. When there had been school, she gathered crop with her mother after studies.
Everyone wanted to be safe in the sawah. Everyone wanted her sister to live.
The younger daughter only went to the sawah begrudgingly. She preferred to stay home. She cooked. She cleaned. She sewed. The village said she would keep a wonderful home for anyone lucky enough to marry her.
The two had been born one year and three months apart. They died within three weeks of each other.
Eva, the sawah dancer, felt quickly that something was wrong. She felt warm in the shade by the sawah. She did not crave the lunch she carried for her father and herself. She felt cold in the sun. But she waited until it was too much work to dance before she said anything. Then she lay in bed while her father went alone to work in the sawah. No one smiled. The fear was unrelenting.
The younger daughter continued to clean. She carried meals to the sawah dancer. She steeled herself against the mirror of her own mortality which lay in the form of her sister.
Her parents had the younger sleep in the living room, away from the sawah dancer. She would wait, watching the family portrait above the bedroom door. But it was too late. It was in the first week of the fever when only the sawah dancer knew and the younger daughter, unusually warmed beside her in bed, suspected. A delicate, careful bug came and fed in turn on the older and then the younger.
And in that way, the two daughters were taken from their parents, removed from the village and remembered in warning as the two sisters.
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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