Wednesday 24 August 2022

Fleeting Beauty by Kathy Whipple, ginger tea

 Evening light shone melon-orange in the sky and golden through the rice panicles. I walked towards the sea on a rain-soaked road. A gecko scampered across my path. Crickets chirped in unison. I took deep breaths of heavy, floral scented air.

            A small, barefoot boy with smooth, brown skin and flyaway hair interrupted my reverie. There was a large gap in his mouth where he’d lost his two front teeth, reminding me of my own children at his age. He held out his hands like a cup. A fly clung to his cheek.

             I looked around for a mother. For anyone.

Kasih uang bu,” he said. Give me some money, Miss.

His searching eyes bore into mine.

I shook my head in anger that the child had to beg.

“Too young,” I thought. And wished I had a few rupiah for him.

With down-cast eyes, I turned my pockets inside out to show the boy I had no cash.

A wide smile spread across his face. He reached inside his pocket as he stepped forward.  Into my hand he slipped a nut, shiny and smooth.

Before I could acknowledge the gift, he left running through the rice fields, head bobbing.

I held that nut sacred, and watched through tears as the sun sank below the horizon.


About the author

Kathy Whipple is a musician, artist, and writer living in Boise, Idaho. Her writing is inspired by her travels and time living in Southeast Asia. She has previously published in CafeLit, Spillwords, Madswirl, and Friday Flash Fiction


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