Headline February 12, 2017/ ''' !WOW!-SUM * WONDER-ESE * '''

''' !WOW!-SUM * WONDER-ESE * '''

''DO YOU KNOW THAT THERE is a  horse that acts as library in Indonesia?''
She looked at him, puzzled. ''A horse?''

He nodded. ''Her name is Luna.  She travels from school to school with the boxes of books balanced on her back. Children will queue under the scorching sun to borrow books from her. Isn't it beautiful?''

She gave him a smile. It was the same smile that stole his heart 28  years ago.

They sat side by side under an overgrown tree. The leaves glistened in the warm sun. It had poured all night yesterday, but this morning, the sky was clear. The smell of soil lingered, mixed with sweet frangipani fragrance.

In Catalunya, April 23  Sant Jordi day,'' he continued. ''The men give the ladies red roses. In return the ladies get them books.''
Tilting her head, she asked, ''Will you give me a rose?''
''Why not? And so, you'll get me a book?''

''Most likely, but I might be tempted to buy something I want, so I can nick it once you forget about it.''
He laughed. ''There's no way I'm going to forget a gift from you.''
''That's sweet.''
''Back then.....'' He bit his lips.''If I had known you were going to leave me,I'd.......''

Sighing, she stretched her fingers while averting her eyes. She always did that whenever she felt uncomfortable.
He looked at her.''I shouldn't bring it up, should I?''
''It's all right,;; she said, but she still still didn't look at him. ''That aside, where's your wife?''

He forced a laugh. ''We had a row, so she's been avoiding me.''
This time she turned to face him.
''It's not because of me, is it?'

His heart skipped a beat. ''No, it's not. Don't be silly.''
''Then what happened?''
''I quit my job.''

She furrowed her brow. ''I thought you liked your boss.''
''I do, but.......'' He scratched his head.

''There's something else I really wanted to do.'' He paused. He had rehearsed the words over and over in his head, but that didn't make it any easier to say them out loud. ''I'm planning to volunteer as a teacher in Laos.''
He cleared his throat. ''Yup.''

''Why Laos? have you been there?''
''Not really,'' he answered. ''But Laos has one of the lowest literacy rates in Asia.''
She sighed again. ''You love reading so much, and you love sharing that with others.''
''You don't like it?''
''I didn't say that, it's just........why so sudden?''

The wind blew and shifted the tree branches. Droplets of water fell on his arms. He wiped them off and shrugged. ''Mid-life crisis?''
''At 32?''

He laughed, but she kept her mouth shut. The stillness reminded him of those days when she was still in the hospital.

*The room she had occupied had always been quiet. It wasn't that they didn't want to talk. rather, they didn't really know what to talk about. And the silence, it was deafening, he finally brought some books and read them to her. 

Those were the books he liked. Comics, adventure stories, joke books. But for the first time in years, he saw her smiling.*

''Is it because I told you I wished I could read?'' she asked, rousing him from his thoughts.  
''Perhaps,'' he answered, realising she would figure it out anyway.

''Do you know that I used to hate you? You could run, you could go to school, you could read. You've had plenty of friends and could go anywhere you wanted. 

And I spent most of my life being confined in hospital room undergoing pointless treatments My days were numbered the moment I was born. And you, I could tell from your eyes that you pitied me.''

He felt a lump in his throat.

''But those books, they saved my life. They brought me to places I thought I would never reach. Those visits, when you taught me to read, they were my most precious memories of my life.''

''Stop exaggerating.'' He looked down to hide his embarrassment. ''But I know you can understand why I wish to volunteer.''

''What about your wife?''
''She'll understand eventually.''

''Don't be too confident,'' she laughed, before pausing. ''But in this case, you won't be able to visit me often, right?''

That was true, but he didn't want her to be sad. ''I promise to come at least once a year.'' He stood up to clean up the offerings he had laid in front of her tomb.

''It's getting hot. I've got to go,Sis.''

She nodded and smiled. ''Take care, and try to make up with your wife.''
''All right,'' he said before walking away.

The next time he came for Her  death anniversary, he would be sure to bring more stories.'
With respectful dedication and  with many tears, to the World. See Ya all on !WOW!  -the world Students Society, and Twitter-!E-WOW!  -the Ecosystem 2011:

''' Writing For !WOW! '''

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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