It was mid-afternoon, when Siti and I had the opportunity to talk about our marriage preparation. The Sun was shining brightly. The air was hot and humid. But the shades afforded by the leaf canopy of the large fruit trees have made the weather somehow tolerable. Besides, the slight breeze that occasionally blew from the direction of the river brought coolness and freshness to the otherwise stagnant air.
“Siti,” I called softly, my right hand holding a trunk of a cashew nut tree.
“Hnge hnge.” She hummed musically as she approached me. Wow! That romantic sound again made my heart grow fonder. Besides, the two weeks that we didn’t see each other also accounted for the feeling of fondness. After all, it has been a common belief that absence makes the heart grow fonder.
“This piece of land is now belonged to us. What do you want to do with it?” I tried to take advantage of her good mood to discuss something that are of interest for both of us in the future.
“I don’t know. I haven’t thought about it yet.”
“What about replanting this cashew nut orchard? The trees seem a bit old.”
“May be we should wait.”
“Wait? Until when?”
“I don’t know. Just wait, that’s all.”
“Until we get married. Is it what you want to say?”
“If you want to understand it that way, it is fine with me.”
There was silence between us. I guess that was the end of the conversation on the topic of cashew nut orchard. There was no point pursuing it any further, simply because she has no interest in it. Besides, it had become clear that she would not talk about future plans that involve lands and houses or even marriage ring. I was lost for word to describe how I feel about the situation. She had something in her mind, and that something had been blocking any thought about our future together, and she had clung tenaciously to that nagging element.
A puff of breeze cooled off some of the heat that had suddenly radiated from the inside of my body. We were still engrossed with our own thoughts when a small yellow-coloured breast perched at the branch of a rambutan tree not far away from where we were standing.
“That is “kelicap”,” I broke the silence, while my finger was pointing at the bird that had already flirted to an adjacent tree.
“Yes. That is kelicap. It is beautiful isn’t it?” She answered excitedly, as she saw the little creature which by now had moved to another branch, perhaps searching for food.
“Yes. But those two birds are more beautiful.” I pointed my finger to the right. “And they are romantic too.”
One of the birds was grooming the feathers of the other. On seeing the birds, Siti uttered some words that seem to give some key to what I should be doing.
“Of course they are! How I wish human can learn from that yellow breast common Iora.”
After a few second of silence, I called her name. “Siti! I will try. But you have to help me.”
Siti looked straight at me for a few moments. Then she said, “Let’s get back to the house.”
I obliged. We walked side-by-side. “Have you searched for a job, yet?” I asked, trying to keep the mid-afternoon conversation alive.
“No. I am thinking of pursuing my PhD.”
“That’s good. What are going to study?”
“I’ll show you when we reach the house. Thank you for asking.”
Is that it? It must be. It must be that she had missed the feeling of being cared for as I did back during our childhood days. Ureka!
"You are welcomed."