Thursday, June 28, 2007


by Jolanda Dubbeldam

Jolanda Dubbeldam in sunglasses

Dry thunder rumbling in the background. The sweet smell of mint rising from just-watered earth. Tiny purple flowers poking their unplanted faces into her little herb garden. Two or three sunflowers swaying in the hot breeze. How odd that her conscious mind was clear and sharp as ice while engulfed by this rage that made her jaw clench and cheeks burn.

She turned to face the waiting man slouching against her deck chair, one hip jutting out as if he were so relaxed, so nonchalant, that his very bones were giving way. Irritating man! She struggled to speak calmly - what she wanted was answers, not a shouting match. “But you’re the one who first told me the story!”

He leveled his gaze at her arrogantly, obviously quite unimpressed, or doing a first-rate job of seeming to be. Slowly he raised his shoulders into an exaggerated shrug. The message was clear: so what? Though he found it unnecessary to actually speak.

She presses her eyes shut, willing to keep her head from thumping. “I fired a man because of you. A man who you worked with side-by-side on my land for almost 10 years … he’s got kids to feed!”

The man stretches his arms over his head, aligning his joints and spine pop pop pop. “I seen what I seen, that’s all.”

Silence. No movement. She tries again, quieter now. “If you saw him take the necklace, how could it possibly have ended up here on my porch, when Jose hasn’t been around in days?”

Again that shrug, less pronounced this time. Obviously bored by the conversation, uninterested in the discussion. “Anything else? I got chores waiting on me.”

The woman stared at him wide-eyed for a moment, feeling that righteous anger leave her like air from a punctured balloon. Leaving her feeling worn out and out of hope. Isn’t that just the way things always go in this place. Try as you might to pretty it up, the ugliness is always hiding just below the surface.

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