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+RAMEEZA NASIM , the next entry**
Before Jay, the only boys I knew were the ones I grew up with. Our mountaintop- paradise was so cut off from the rest of the world, strangers never came to Ban (Village) Phone Phim. The village was landlocked and surrounded by high mountain chains which had up to now protected us from the outsiders; in a cocoon of bliss as well as ignorance.
My father was someone different from us too.  He came here for the first time during the Indochina wars.  Decades later, with the threat of communism looming, Jay and other people also came.  Our place had always been swamped with strangers.  My grandmother Ounsa said:
“We have many neighbors who like to dominate us.  Long before the French occupation the Burmese had been here, so had the Siamese, the Khmer, the Vietnamese, and then we had the pale-face Japanese soldiers who liked to used up all my drinking water and then fill my empty water jars with their shit.” She paused for breath, then went on to say:
 “The women were the land!” Her voice rising now with emotion. “We believed in and worshiped love. Furiously produced babies every year.  Ah... And, yes, I called your mum- Mieng Ma after one of these basters from Myanmar!”  she sighed, bending down to make a wrap of betel nut parcel as I sat beside her, transfixed.
“...And when that stopped or worse still, when the men abandoned us for younger concubines, we women seek solace in Buddhism and non-attachments.” She spat out red betel juice before sighing deeply:
“We chopped off  our long hair and spend our lives serving the monks.” she continued,  “one of those monk became your mother's second husband. She went on to have eight more babies. Ah...” She said as she looked far out over the Mekong where the sun was setting low.  She smiled her sweetest smile and lied down on the wooden pillow just like the Buddha and closed her eyes. The history lesson was over for me, that day.
I remembered seeing bloody hues of sunrise dyed my mother's face red.  Her arms hung up on to a rope which was strung to the teak rafter. Her knees bent, touching the floor in a crouching position. She yelled and pushed and grunted. She screeched obscenely between pushes. Rivulets of salty sweat flowing down between her two large breasts.  When she spotted me, mother stared at me with horror on her face and said weakly to my auntie:
“elder sister take Niccy away.  She' s too young to understand what's going on.” Then mother shrieked like a pig as a butcher slashed his throat.
“Mother,” I cried out, “I am twelve years old!”
“Go away.” She shouted. I ran out of the stifling hot room and crashed into the large water jar. The same jar that grandmother told me, the Japanese shat in when they had drunk all the water dry. Kneeling on the balcony, trying to pick up the pieces and put them back together, I sobbed and begged my step-father to punish me.
“That jar was your grandmother's dowry.  It's cost as much as a baby buffalo.”
I buried my face in my hands and wailed but instead of beating me, Pho (father) Sing ran into the house.
“Mother-in law” he sobbed, “My wife is dying...Go get first aunt Boun...” Listening but not quite understanding, I heard my mother screamed again, this time louder. My nostrils began to feel as if they were stuffed with cotton wool. On her second shriek, I broke for the door but it was promptly shut in my face.
Aunt Boun came bounding up the path to our house, bared footed. Her silver hair was tied in a bun at the nape of her neck.  She climbed quickly up the steps, flies buzzing around her ankles.  With a sneer she pushed me aside and open the bedroom door without a backward glance.  I covered my ears and weeped as mother's agonizing wail seeped through the wall of slats bamboo.  An icy chill filled my heart.
Aunty Boun came out at last, rushing toward me and slapped my face.  With a yelp of pain, I covered my face and wept loudly.  Aunty said:
“Another brat who is neither fish nor fowl”.  Without so much as looking back to see the result of her physical and verbal insult, she strode out of the yard wiping my mother's bloodstains from her white blouse.
At around noon, I was allowed inside to see my mother.  The Devil woman who delivered the baby was accurate, my sister was a product of yet another mixed blood coupling. Mother must has been fond of the foreigners or they were fond of her.  The baby was named Lou Lou.
My gaze traveled between the pale body of the naked baby and mother who lay on the wooden teak bed, her blood soaked the jute rug.  She lay there like a dead fish with her mouth open, hardly breathing. Her naked belly and thighs exposed.
I turned my head from them, disgusted by the sight of those two sad creatures. I backed out of the room and stumbled off as far as I could go; deep sorrow filled my young heart.
'Neither fish nor fowl', I whispered to myself over and over again heading toward the Mekong.

@Rameeza Nasim; I have obmitted certain explixit content= This is part one=
Your English is so good… You are so beautiful”
I knew now that all the flattery he showered me with were lies. One thing stuck in my mind that day (which I could never forget), the exact same day which I smelt the strong feminine stink on him; the odor of sex!
That memory cut my heart to ribbons. I was angry and sad.  I grieved for my lost naiveness. I blamed him for destroying my innocent.  He had closed me up like a lotus flower at sunset. I had learn too late the ways of betrayal.
I was sixteen years old when he came into my life. He took me away from the place I was born and made a new woman out of me. Jay Konrad had never before been to a village with no electricity, no plumbing and no tarmacadam roads.
Our settlement with its bright green rice paddies, surrounded by a darker greener forest was bewitched and enchained, in between, the majestic mountains and a mighty river. The feeling of being trapped between these two powerful natural bounds had never fazed me, until I met Jay.
“The heaven is so broody today, just like the Scottish sky,” Jay commented as we walked hand in hand.
“The monsoon is coming very soon.”
Jay looked at me hard. “You have just spoiled the moment for me.”
“I am sorry,” I said, wondering exactly what I did wrong.
Jay hated the rain and complained when the road was flooded.  By 'road' I meant the muddy path formed by human and animal' s foot prints.  He complained that there were no man-made parks to stroll around in. So for a change that day, he took my hand in his and we headed toward the bank of the Mekong.
“Your hands are so small, they are lost in mine”, Jay stated and lifted my left palm up to his lips and kissed each finger tenderly. “I am very fun of you, you know”, he said to each one of them, ever so tenderly.
Jay loved walking along the bank of the river but hated it during the monsoon season:
“And to think I got away from Scotland to come here. Rain, rain, and rain,” he brooded.  His bright blue eyes darkened to that of the Mongolian jade.
“The river is all swollen up. It looks angry.”
There was no pleasing him; when the sun came out, he moaned even more:
“And the diabolical sun rays burn my eyes!” He wore sunglasses even when he slept.

This is for TauRian Meeza, I will cut and paste my piece here:

Craft of Style - Week 4 - Infusing Concrete Style with Thought and Feeling

Instructions: Writing in the third person, describe a house from the point of view of a mother or father whose daughter has just left home and married a man the mother or father despises. Don’t refer to the wedding itself, or to the mother or father’s hatred of the son-in-law. Focus on the house as she or he experiences it in the wake of the daughter’s departure.

Then describe the same house from the point of view of the same mother or father—except this time the daughter has left home to marry someone the mother or father genuinely loves and approves of.

The two pieces combined should total 600-750 words.

Word count: 374

She had always wanted to know what lily-yellow looked like. Now she thought that $20 per liter was too much for Brown-Eyed-Susan vomit. Her eyes traversed the living room. Leering portraits of grimacing kids; stern, despicable unsmiling uncles gone to war; eight-year-old daughters in chaps, bored and unthankful for the loving attention and nurturing. The harsh glare of the evening sky illuminated every speck of dirt.

She turned and mounted the stairs, her hand trailing on the cold railing. Like a hedgehog, the splintered wood pricked her hands. God, how this banister needed sanding. With each footfall, the steps groaned ominously.

On the second floor, she tugged open the window that always stuck. One, two – with a wrench, it smashed open, crashing against the upper sill. She rammed a piece of wood in it to force it to stay open, leaned on her elbows, clamped her hand on her chin and stared monotonously out the window, the drapes beating her back in the wind.



The citrus yellow walls almost threw back a lemony scent. Her eyes traversed the living room. Portraits of the family captured in time; kids with unbounding energy that did not allow them to sit still even for a moment; stern, implacable uncles lost to war; eight-year-old ragamuffins too small to climb onto the pony she’d sidled up to. The soft rays of the setting sun descended on them, illuminating a swirl of dust motes like stars on a dark night.

She turned and mounted the stairs, her hand trailing on the railing, rubbed dry and burnished by generations of children tripping down, yelling, smiling, calling to one another as they rushed outside to play. Her hand hit an uneven part and she pulled it back, a drop of red wallowing out. The sharp pain reminded her of the cry when Gina stubbed her two at exactly this place, and she smiled.

On the second floor, she tugged open the window that always stuck. Finally, with perseverance the window gave way and allowed her a view of the park. She propped it open with the piece of wood reserved for this, leaned on her elbows, cradled her chin in her hands, and stared thoughtfully at the scene beyond, the gauze drapes brushing her lightly from behind.

Example of "No Ideas, but in Things":

"To men like that, time was a surfeit, a barrel they watched slowly drain. When really, he thinks, it's a glowing puddle you carry in your hands; you should spend all your energy protecting it. Fighting for it. Working so hard not to spill one single drop."

Craft of Style - Week 3 - Cut it Out

For instructions, see Jan's post.
Roughly 1/2 cut.

I used the revised week 2 assignment in my comments section.

The phone rings. "Give me your address." I do.

There is a crack in the wall. My eyes traverse the crack, mind empty. When I get to 15 inches, the doorbell rings. My stomach revolts.

His phone is an appendage. With his right hand, he finishes typing the line. He looks up. Contact. A smile of joy. He is wearing a crisp suit, a nun’s habit for a consultant.

If God were watching, he would have screamed, Run.

"Come in."

I show him around. His eyes devour the towers of boxes, scribbled “Kitchen” or “Pants.” Belongings waiting patiently for a home in a drawer. Signs of an aborted move, a cardboard waterfall caught by an early frost. One hit, and the world shatters. Tread lightly.


“I have to leave at six.”

It is five forty-five. I am stunned. “I guess you don’t want one, then.”

“Now that I’m here, I think, yes, I’ll take one.”

I turn my back to him and focus on the coffee machine.

“It’s new,” I hear myself say.


It’s hard to think of what to say to someone you haven’t seen in two years.

He types busily away.

I don’t drink coffee. It was bought for him. My hand encompasses each ingredient. Slow and deliberate.

My brain races. How to say it? So little time.

The coffee machine spurts. I reminisce about my ex-colleague. We used to eat dinner together, I played with their kids. We went to Christmas mass. That sort of friendship.

When their third child came into the world, it was a perfect little image of God – except for the heart. Stephanie remained in the clinic. Tom made money, watched the kids, kept everything together. Except when he called, crying his eyeballs out. I offered a sympathetic ear.

That was Tom, then.

I glance over my shoulder.

This is Tom, now.

Cell phone in hand, busily typing away, consultant’s brows furrowed.

I try to superimpose the crying Tom.

I can’t.

I wonder if his memory works.

I hand him the latte. No wait. I remind him of his family crisis. I tell him now I need help.

He listens. He sees my apartment with new eyes, notices my agony, hugs me, promises confidentiality. He thanks me for sharing.

He departs. I can call anytime, he says, holding my gaze.

I send him a mail. I wait for his reply.

I didn't know the wait would have no end.
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