Chapter 5

Written by: Suraya Dewing

My dear sister Sandra

I am deeply concerned. I sent you four letters but you have not replied. Are you okay? If I don’t hear from you in the next month I'll go back to Santa Monica since that is where we last met before going our separate ways; me to New Zealand and you to Jakarta to rent your house out.

Santa Monica holds so many poignant memories and I know it’s a special place for you….Maybe you've gone there on a kind of pilgrimage and not left a forwarding address. I hope that is the explanation…as simple as that.

Remember our first visit there? Peter seemed rather listless and we worried. One balmy night, as we sat on the pier, people laughing all around us, Peter breathlessly whispered, "I have leukemia."

The crushing silence was unforgettable. But then he repeated it and we definitely knew this was no joke. I wondered how we missed the signs. Caught up in our own worlds, I'm ashamed to say.

We returned to Jakarta, you gave up your legal practice and nursed him. Helen and I helped where we could but I still wonder if it was enough. When Harvard offered Helen a professorship I expected to go with her. Instead, she went alone. Whatever she once felt had gone, she said.  Soon after that Peter died. You nursed my broken heart and hopefully I supported you.

A year later, we returned to Santa Monica.

I’ll never forget that dusky, clement evening on the pier. The Ferris wheel was lit up and couples laughed as it turned…first it struggled up, hung in the air then as if some giant hand let it go, it went free falling down.

Remember the musician singing the Blues. He was very dashing in his colourful silk waistcoat. After every song he took a low bow while waving his bowler hat with a grandiose flourish. The crowd loved it. His voice was like golden syrup. You eventually gathered up the courage to ask him to sing Elmore James’, 'Dust my Broom'.

He smiled chivalrously then said, “Sho’ ma-am, if you sing along with me.” And you did, “I’m gonna write a letter…”

You genuinely smiled for the first time in months. After the long, dark days of nursing Peter, I wanted you to flirt your little heart out. I reckon that Blues singer thought you were pretty amazing. And you are.

I wonder if you are still singing with him. It’d be splendid if you are. He was one very handsome dude with that wide smile and those shining white teeth. What a marvellous adventure that would be!

 I sincerely hope you have gone to New Orleans with that Blues singer, whose dark eyes filled with promises to take your sadness away.

My darling sister, where can you possibly be? If you don't reply to this letter I will definitely cut my trip short. Your tenant might know where you are. I am truly very concerned.

Comments

Loved your chapter Suraya. You have brought the background needed for this serial to continue to the foreground.
This such a beautiful chapter, Suraya. Very poignant and so scarily real to life. Loved it. :)