Determination – Part 3
By Thiyam Ningol Dr. Nalini
She had seen more than enough in the past 5/6 hrs. That was not the life style she had come looking for. She knew she couldn’t hang around there longer. She would be spotted by the captain as he did last night. She started walking.
Suddenly she remembered the piece of kitenge she was given by her cousin. She mentioned it was one of the products of the factory where she worked.
She forgot she was in the middle of the road; she started fumbling in the cloth bundle she was carrying. A pick-up truck was approaching at full speed, it screeched and stopped just few millimeters away from Grace and her son. Half of her bundle of cloth was already under the front left wheel. Panic stricken, she could not move away from the spot. All the energy had been drained away. For the moment she forgot where she was and what she was doing. Two gentlemen came down from the pick up and examined her. Seemed normal. They helped her to get up, the driver backed the car and they handed over her bundle. It was all dirty. One of the men took out a note of 2 thousand shillings and handed over to her and asked for excuse. Seeing their kindness, Grace got her senses back. She looked for her kitenge piece and read the name of the factory. She asked the people to take the 2 thousand shilling back but help her to reach the factory.
They felt pity on her and one thing they were sure, she was not a beggar. They dropped her at the gate of the factory and asked her to keep the money also.
She asked the askari (watchman) at the factory gate to help her find her cousin. The askari laughed. She was told to wait till 8 A.M when the workers start reporting to work. Nowhere to go, Grace decided to sit in a shade, feed Arnold and wait. Soon she noticed people coming in; they produced a piece of something, showed it to the askari; wrote something in a long, thick note book and they entered one after another. She was thrilled and excited to see the parade. She was watching them with interest. After sometime, she noticed another group of people coming out from another door. Each time somebody passed through that door a sound buzzed. It was very amusing. She compared captain’s strict rules with the one which she was seeing. This one seemed stricter.
She was so absorbed with the scene of people going in and out that, she did not notice someone staring at her. She felt a sudden push on her chest and heard the angry voice
- Hey you! What are you doing here? Don’t tell me you are looking for me. I smell danger.
Slowly Grace regained control. She found her cousin standing in front of her, shaking her.
Mary was just coming out after finishing her night shift. She could not believe her eyes when she saw the figure that looked like Grace standing near the gate and watching people. At first she thought it was just resemblance. A second thought made her look closure. Yes, she was correct. It had to be her. She heard the rumor about Grace looking like pregnant, her disappearance for few months and strange atmosphere in the house. But because of fear, nobody wanted to know the truth. Every family member knew the nature of Grace’s father. Anybody who opened the mouth about any type of rumor would be tortured even severer than the culprit himself or herself. When she saw the little baby along, she knew definitely it was Grace.
Grace told Mary she had ran away from home. She needed some temporary help.
Mary was furious.
-You want uncle to kill me? No, no, just get lost! I can’t help you.
-Mary! Please just few days only. Help me. I don’t like to cause any problem for you. Just one week.
If I didn’t have the child, I wouldn’t have needed anybody’s help.
Mary glanced at the baby; Arnold gave a sweet smile, a 5 months old baby’s innocent, social smile.
Mary could not refuse.
On the way to her place, Mary emphasized that it was strictly for one week only.
When they reached the place, Grace told Mary everything except the identity of Alex. She lied to Mary. “During the time when the rain started, there was a boy near her; she had never seen him before and later after that day.”
Mary believed her and sympathized her. Advised her never to believe any man especially in the big city.
Grace did not need to be told that having sex meant making baby. She understood through bitter experience-one sex, one baby.
They decided planning how to spend that one week together. Grace took out her 2 thousand shillings as the capital of their trial business, business of making doughnut.
The 1st day business did not go well, but at least she did not loose her capital. On top of that she had some doughnut for herself. She didn’t remain hungry.
Day by day she learnt more tactics of pushing her sale. Whenever a customer bought her doughnut, she used to tell them that she prepared it especially for him; that the recipe was from Europe and so on. People knew she was telling lies but they found it interesting and amusing to buy from her. She knew most of her frequent customers by name and that made the customers feel more intimate.
One week passed. Neither Mary nor Grace mentioned about the time factor. They both knew Grace could survive now.
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