AFTER THE WAR
story ANWAR RIDWAN (Malaysia) Masita had just finished bathing by the well. Quickly, she yanked off the towel hanging from the laundry pole and began to rub herself vigorously. As she dried her feet, she noticed that dawn was approaching. But the village was quiet and peaceful, and she was sure that its inhabitants were still deep in their dreams. The branches of the trees lined up near the well shivered slightly in the cool morning wind. The crowing of roosters and the chirping of birds grew louder. Masita looked east, through the branches of the nangka and the leaves of the savo, and saw a red streak of sky. After scooping up a pitcher of water to wash her feet, she went home. But she stopped after a few steps. In the morning haze, Masita saw the silhouette of a man walking toward the well. page 67 A hundred paces from the well to her house is not a great distance. But for the past twenty years, it had always made her uneasy, as if something terrible was waiting for her here. Her heart pounding, she waited for the man to approach. Masita knew only one way to protect herself if he tried to hurt her: by shouting. Loud enough to wake up the whole village. A cry that must be followed immediately by help. "Are you finished, Mom?" Masita let out a sigh of relief. She heard the question clearly. It was Jali, her only son, who asked. His question dispelled all her fears on this cool morning. "Yes," Masita said. (She didn't know why she had answered her only son so curtly at such a good hour in the morning.) Masita stood quietly for a while longer, until she heard the sound of water splashing by the well. Jali began to sweat. Masita walked slowly toward the house, her feet heavy. She hung her head low, remembering a certain event... "God save our homes and the village," Masita began her prayer when she heard the roar of planes heading south overhead. Masita looked up and saw through the morning haze a line of planes that looked very much like cranes. The planes were bound ... Read more
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17.08.2023 (304 days ago)
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