The Decision

Deliberating between leaving everything in Bali, dropping everything she had built up in the past few months, everything she had worked on to grow out of the past...deliberating between that and remaining put, on holiday, superficially carefree and joyous, had left Linda wandering the quieting down streets of the neighbourhood just outside her resort. She hadn't gone home after her session with the strange fortune teller. She hadn't wanted to see Sylvia, or any potential brown boys that would come skipping in her way as she made the short trek back to her bungalow. That would have just triggered her...


To do what?


She wasn't sure.


She submerged into the recesses of her own mind to find out that exact potentiality. But all that came up was Jeremiah’s face. Of course.


If Jeremiah was truly alive...but no. Once more, as had happened a hundred other times, her trained mind forced back any such contemplations. Just as the doctor had taught her, Breathe in, breathe out, and let the silly, absurd thoughts wish themselves away and leave you in peace, she told herself as she walked the dark dirt paths. She weaved among the huts and gardens, conscious of some passerbys’ strange darting looks in her direction as she, a white woman out so late at night, made her way dazedly to…where? Linda mused, a picture of drama unfolding before her eyes as she let her mind wander. She was going away from all sort of civilization, far far into the deep unknowns of this mystical land…Away from Jeremiah and people and pain and regret and uncertainty…


As if by the strike of some sorceress’s magic wand, one laughing at Linda’s own fearful mind, she rounded a corner of yet another pair of inwardly leaning huts and faced the scene of several little brown boys racing around a little tree, its branches stretching out in crooked lines like contorted elders at a gathering. The faces of the children, running around in nothing but dirty rags hanging from their skinny hips and screaming in excitement, shone with delight, joy, mischief, and happiness. They radiated a naive and at the same time cheeky happiness Linda had seen in Jeremiah's face when she had met him.


And suddenly, as if by will of that same magic wand, Linda's face was beaming in an ear-to-ear smile. And she wanted to join in. To play. To play pretend perhaps, but that didn't matter. Weren't all games pretend play?


This moment was so beautiful, the boys so beautiful and good and radiant. What if Jeremiah could be just like that? Right now? If she moved now, acted...somehow, Linda felt that somehow she could reach him, feel where he was and make him smile and play and be happy like all those other children his age. Like he deserved to be.


She had failed him once but she wouldn't again. She had been unkind. Sylvia, perhaps through no real knowledge of it herself, had opened Linda's eyes to the blindness which had engulfed and strangled her all these months. The doctor visits, the therapy – all had been further factors to the ensuing stranglehold which had brought her further away from her goal, had let her lie to herself and not be found, hiding, a coward, from realising within her own mind what it was that she truly desired of herself. Expected of herself. And owed to Jeremiah.


In the distance, the sea waves rippled beneath the dome of a dark sky, aglow with a neon amber where its vaporous depths met the surface of the water: the sun setting low shed its final lights on a sleepy world. Looking out towards the hazy light, a sunset so endearing it would set even the eyes of the most severe of men to water, Linda wrapped her arms around her though she was not cold. Pressing her fingers into her skin, she looked on, hugging herself to give strength to the poor, hopeless woman she had become through weakness of mind and spirit. She would not let grief do that again. Not until she knew there was definitely nothing to fight for. But she didn't know that yet.


The boys had left. All had turned deadly still in the ensuing darkness of the night. Turning her head to where the land met the sea, and the direction she would be flying in tomorrow, heading for Bangkok, to where the orphanage had stood, she murmured, a promise, a prophecy, a vow into the stunned darkness:


"I'm coming, Jeremiah."


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Away from Jeremiah and people and pain and regret and uncertainty… Normally teachers would say avoid the overuse of 'and' and other conjunctions but in this list each item is emphasised by the preceding and. It is a list and it could go on forever and that is the implication of the style. Sometimes rules are made to be broken. This is one such occasion.