Sunday, March 01, 2009

How's Min?


It being the summer holidays, I made a brief trip to Singapore to eat and shop.

On return to Jakarta I went straight to Min’s house to see if he had survived my few days absence. A pale and mournful-looking Min took my hand and squeezed it.

"How’s Min?" I asked Wati, Min’s mum.

"He hasn’t been sleeping well," she said. "He was calling out your name."

That made me feel worried and guilty. I changed the subject. "How’s the vegetable cart?" I asked.

"Min’s dad has been out selling vegetables," said Wati, frowning.

"Where does he get them from?" I asked.

"He has to get up before dawn and go to the market at Kebayoran Lama. That’s a long walk. Hours."

"And how’s Aldi? Is he going to go to school here in Cipete or stay in North Jakarta?"

"He’s got to finish the term at his old school," said Wati, "back where we used to live."

Gani, Min’s brother-in-law, came for a walk with me and Min to the home of Nuryati, the girl with the skin problem. Her skin looked less red and crusty.

"How are you feeling?" I asked her.

"A little better," she said with a charming grin.

I gave her moustachioed father more money for the next lot of medicine. I noticed that he looked well fed and he had a good skin. Presumably, unlike his daughter, he didn’t get his hands dirty on the rubbish tip.

~

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