Friday, November 18, 2005


Had visions of serene monks trooping out any minute to rescue me…but then life was not a movie, and my wait was not about to culminate in so dramatic a fashion. Although I had made the great escape, the resucers were not in the know.

The tears washed away a mixture of fear, pride and hatred. I just decided to wait. It’s not that no one ever came out of the place. Maybe there would be day trippers who would be returning soon…Hmm at least I had not lost hope…

I looked around. Everything seemed to be at rest. At peace. I knew I had made the right decision. Maybe soon I would blend right in. And become one with the drooping and gentle leaves. Maybe I would learn to move as quietly among people as the breeze was moving between leaves. Maybe I would exorcise all the ghosts that haunted me all my life.

As the light slowly went down a small twinge of panic crept into my wait. What if there were no day trippers? What if the gates were closed because they had all relocated somewhere else? What if they were all in a no-communication mode? What if the taxi driver had misled me and had deposited me to an abandoned place…

No I would not allow negative thoughts to enter such a beautiful space. I knew I had a goosedown sleeping bag tucked away in the backpack. Oh, what if the monks were strictly vegan? Would they faint at the sight of the sleeping bag and
throw me out?

But first they would have to let me in!

My thoughts were so loud I put a hand on my mouth, just to check if I had mouthed them.

That’s when I heard a twig crunch. It was not a natural sound. It had to be someone stepping on a twig. And there was no telling where the sound came from.

I was so lulled by the peace that I had forgotten to be alert. But that little out of place sound was enough. I leaped up, scooped my backpack and dashed behind the nearest tree. I had been trained for just such a moment. I only hoped my heart was not beating as loudly as I thought it was. I dared not look if I had left behind any obvious clues by the gate, so I simply stayed right there, stuck to the tree, hoping no creepy crawly would choose that moment to wander down to have a look at me.

It could not have been more than a minute. My escape had ended. It was the end. Someone was standing in front of me.

I did not want to see them.

I did not have to close my eyes. Because I did exactly what I was loath to do: fainted in an inelegant heap at the feet of my pursuer. No fight. Not one single kick, not a single scream. I had disgraced myself by behaving like a chit of a girl in those beastly romances. And whoever was standing in front of me was going to be no hero.


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