In her hut, Marta lay staring at the grass roof; it had been a fitful sleep. Bouts of fitful tossing were triggered by images of John. She wasn’t sure if he would fit in, or remain on Irian Jaya, but she hoped he would stay. She couldn’t believe her feelings for this man, and passed them off as curiosity. After all, he was fresh and full of conversation. But she had met men and women who came to visit as evangelical missionaries, preaching for a short time before moving on. Pilots, doctors and other medical persons came, as well as the Peace Corps and United Nations workers. None had the allure that John already had over her. He seemed to own some part of her, and she wasn’t ready to give it over.
She had to get him out of her mind....her heart. No, she couldn’t admit he had her heart. She finally rolled from her bed for the short trek to the stream where she washed. On the way, she saw John and the old man.
She saw John smile, John get up and trot toward her. He looked like he had also had little sleep, something she attributed to being in new surroundings. She wondered if he could tell she hadn’t slept either.
“I just shared a strange sunrise with that man over there. He is the saddest, quietest person I have ever seen. What’s his story?” John asked.
“He does that every morning without fail. He wakes and watches the jungle until the sun comes up. Several years ago, some of the villagers were kidnapped. He believes if he keeps up his vigil that his wife and son will return,” Marta replied.
John looked back in time to see the sad man shuffle sadly away.
Jeffrey W. Bennett, is the author of Commitment-A Novel and other non-fiction books, novels and periodicals.