Gift

by - January 22, 2019


The police had lost track of the man who had killed her family. But she found him after years of resentful patience.





She stood silent in the shade.

He was hunched in the wet paddy fields, hands busy picking and pulling. Thin arms and tan skin wrinkled under the hot noon sun. Someone patted him on the back. He straightened, taking off his straw hat, wiping the sweat off his forehead. Face gaunt and hair unfamiliarly white, he smiled then followed the rest of them. The job was done for the day.

He was walking away from her.

Immediately, she rushed forward only to trip. Her backpack fell opened, discarding sheets of documents, newspaper clippings and what left of her life — a few of her children’s clothes and her husband’s songkok.

A photo of a cruel face mocked her then. An old kris laid close to her. She grabbed the dagger, standing up now, cheeks flushed hot. The monster was weak now. She could seek justice now because the police had failed.

But the soft beats of a nearby bedug made her turn. So did he. And a heartbeat later, a soft breeze came with the clear call to prayer. A call to them to remember Allah, the Great One. The Best Judge. She dropped the dagger.

She wrote on a small paper then unclasped her necklace. It glittered with childish reminiscence. She wrapped them into her silk handkerchief and called out to a boy fishing nearby.

With a nod later, the boy hurried for the old man. She left, not wanting to see more.

And he opened his gift. He gasped at its contents then fell to his knees. Tears dropped endlessly onto the necklace he had once given away with love.

Curious, the boy peered over his shaking shoulders. The message read, “I forgive you, Father. Come home.”



Part Of The Anthology: Minimal 2019

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