She ran across the muddy fields barefoot, her breath hastened as she knew that generous lady with her horse and cart full of goodies must have been here for almost an hour now. Her scrawny legs carried her as swiftly as they could across the countless puddles of rainwater. The empty and oversized rattan basket bounced around, tapping rhythmically against on her tiny back with her every footstep. She was their only hope. Her urgency must have distracted her as she lost her footing and tripped, both hands gliding forward into the mud in front of her. She spread her fingers wide open, creating a nice brake before she landed face down.
Her panting increased but she had no time to lose. Her body covered in splatters of brown and bits of grass. Not a pleasant sight for the kind lady but she knew what’s more important. She had to get there, now. Driven by that thought, she sprinted like a deer leaping towards freedom, in the direction of that one person whom she knew will keep everyone alive.
She spotted the crowd from a distance now. As she drew nearer, she saw that familiar scene. The beautiful horse, its colour much like mahogany, and his owner, the lady picking up bags of rice and dried foods from her cart and handing them to young children crowding around her. She slowed down and wondered if they would say the same things they did the last time.
Just as she was distracted by her thoughts, a hand waving at her caught her attention. It’s the other lady! She’s in green today. Standing behind the cart, away from the center of all activity. Feeling relieved, she inched stealthily towards the lady in green, wary not to draw any unwanted attention. She quickly hid behind the cart, before leaning forward to peek at everyone else.
She felt the basket behind her lifted and she spun around. The lady in green looked at her, with a finger to lips as her other hand gently placed the basket into the cart. She then lightly pushed the petite figure into the open.
She froze and their eyes met. It was Delee.
“Where’s that huge basket of yours?” Delee’s eyes scanned Yamani before raising an eyebrow.
“Her name’s not Yamani! It’s like calling you Delolee!” Finally, a familiar voice. “Her name is Yani.” Kelya walked right next to Yani and hooked her arm. “And she’s my friend.”
Delee scowled before a figure towered over him. “Delee, I told you to be nice to ladies, didn’t I?” Delee froze and the 2 girls giggled. It was Delee’s dad, and everyone in town knows how afraid Delee was of his dad, even though his dad is a really nice man.
“Hello ladies!” Delee’s dad squatted in front of Kelya and Yani. “Yani, are you alright?” He asked as he looked at Yani with his eyes full of concern. The brown patches all over Yani was a dead giveaway. Yani nodded, her eyes met Mr. Jamiyah’s for a brief second before they glued to the stone at his tattered sandals. Mr Jamiyah patted Yani’s head and he stood up, his hand holding onto Delee’s shoulders, who had long lost his tongue the moment his dad came over.
“Alright then, see both of you again.” Mr Jamiyah’s warm smile blended in perfectly with the cool field breeze that carried the warm sunshine with it.
“Bye Mr. Jamiyah!” Kelya chirped. Making sure Mr. Jamiyah and Delee are a good distance away, Kelya took a final look around to make sure no one was in earshot before she broke the silence. “Where’s your basket?” She whispered under her breath. Yani pointed at the cart. Kelya nodded and grabbed Yani’s wrist. “Ms. Helda needs to know you’re here.” Kelya walked forward without looking back at Yani, with a determination that pulled her along.
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