It was noon and I was preparing a meal for myself, and went to wash at the pump. As I splashed the cool water on my face, I heard a noise behind me. I turned around startled. A tall man stood by the edge of the courtyard, looking hot and dusty. His face was young, but weather-lined and showed the wear of survival.
‘Forgive me, I did not mean to startle you,’ the stranger said.
I stared at him. The accent in his voice looked like he was not from these parts.
‘What brings you here?’ I asked him as he moved towards me.
‘I’m Jamie, I’m looking for work, do you know of anything available?’
His broad shoulders and lean body were no strangers to hard work.
‘Perhaps, I can help you’, there are chores to be done which have been neglected. Do you intend to stay long in these parts?’
‘I never try to plan the future’, was his reply.
A week passed and then another and still Jamie stayed. I enjoyed having him around. I so wanted his lips to touch me, feel his body on me, but he didn’t look at me the way the others did. He would set off to work in the mornings and retire in his quarters no sooner he was done.
’I’ll be leaving soon’.
My heart stopped for a moment.
‘Works almost finished,’ was all he said.
I spoke in a whisper. ‘There is always work to be done……’
‘But’, he answered, ‘It’s time’.
The following day, I watched him go. He didn’t look back. The summer dragged on. The days became hotter and the red earth in the courtyard cracked in the blistering heat. The days seemed long and empty but the nights were the hardest to bear. Being tortured by restless dreams, the only person who came in my dreams was the tall handsome stranger. The weeks dragged on into months. Life went on.
******************** to be continued ********************