The Meadow Annual Literary Arts Journal 2018

The Meadow 147 “They have wild orchids in America,” I say. “You will see. We will find them with Paul.” “Not like these. There can be no orchids like these in that barren land.” Tala has been my fire since we met and married, a beautiful orange flame that refueled and sustained me after the war. But tonight my energy to fight is gone. I check our bags one last time while in the bedroom Tala chants: Sri Ram , Sri Ram. Abba, Abba. When her prayers become silent, I go into our room and slip into my night sarong. On her small altar she’ placed a Moon Orchid. “Soon we’ll be with Paul,” I say. “We will see how he lives and meet the people who have become his friends. Maybe someday they’ll be ours.” “Those people are not important, Joseph.” Her black eyes flash with yellow as she turns down her side of the bedcovers. “Sanjeev Preekash has a daughter finishing medical school in England. She will soon practice medicine in Malaysia.” “Ahhh. I heard you women matchmaking at Senaiah’s.” I shake my finger at her and pull the covers over my chest. The familiarity of friendships, and that we are cared for and will be missed settles over me. “This is the responsibility of a mother,” Tala says. “And the Preekashes are a fine family.” “Yes, they are,” I agree. “Sanjeev recently joined the city council in Johor Bahru.” “So then, it is settled.” Tala places candles before the white Moon Orchid. “Paul will be well-suited.” “Paul?” My mind is halfway into a night’s sleep, but suddenly I’m alert. “Suited?” “We will bring him home,” she says. “And he will marry Kilyani Preekash.” It’s as though I’m back on Mitsushima, helpless against the future. Some plants are born in moist black earth, but some

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