As I got out of the car the acrid smell of burning marijuana was apparent. The wind was changing direction on a whim so it was impossible to know from where exactly not that it concerned me much.

As I sat at Sins shop looking at the people strolling past on their way to or from the bizarrely named walking street market…. Bizarrely named for it was in a car park extending over the sea. Well there was an overflow extension that actually did go onto the street but…… Well as I sat in Sin’s shop I saw a woman. A woman both young and attractive with the contrast between jet black hair and unmade up white face striking. Even more striking with the severely pulled back hair held in a tight pony tail and with a simple white shirt, not a T-shirt but a white button up and black trousers of some cut or other. Beauty doesn’t need the thrills of colour or fashion or make up or bejewelment to be recognised as beauty. A simple unadorned pure beauty. And not just the look but also the act. She was arm in arm with an older woman. A much older woman in simple purple sarong and silk blouse. Maybe a mother or grandmother. Time and distance had passed by before my eyes averted from the young woman to the older and at that distance I couldnt judge age. Helping the old woman to slowly walk along the street and then across the road in a sudden burst of speed I didn’t expect from the older woman but which was probably still slow for the younger one.

The last time I spoke to my mother I was drunk and now I am worried that I upset her in some way. Unforgivable of course. But my own conscience will punish me enough with my fears of a wrong or harsh words totally undeserved. And of course I wont have the courage to make an out of routine call to check if everything is OK or what was said and make it right. I will await the month to pass before my next long distance call and even revel in the feeling of guilt and gradually decreasing self loathing for something that may have been said and been noticed, may have been said and not been noticed, may not have been said at all but just exist in my imagination, an imagination set to create the persona I currently seek to know for at least a few hours, days or a month. But it will fade as the days tick by and even if some hurt were caused by the time the month comes forgivenmess will have been found by mother and I wont even notice a difference in tone or mood and I will then rest assured that I never indeed did upset her assuaged by hjer again.

Muoi had finished her degree and then returned home to care for her aging sickly mother. After the passing of her mother, her sister needed supporting as she went through university and early work days living away from home and the house they were jointly buying for the family needed caring for. Muoi then lost her job and received no money for the lay off as the family that ran the business upped and offed to Australia to start a new business. Muoi in her late thirties found a new job for less money. Upon her sister’s wedding her sister and her husband moved into the house but come every holiday the married couple would go away leaving Muoi to care for the house which couldn’t be left unattended at such times of known burglary risk. Muoi invested her savings as meagre as they were with a partner in a small run down resort in some unfashionable part of the North. It got few visitors and then one day some natural disaster took away every building in it, few that they were. Muoi’s brother was diagnosed with the worst kind of diabetes which wasnt made any better by a fairly uncontrollable drinking habit. Of course he moved into the house and Muoi took care of him. Muoi will shortly be fifty. She would like to give up work and start a small business but she has too many people to care for and that would be too risky. Muoi continues. Muoi is one of the happiest people I know.

I sit watching the stream of people to and from the market with their little plastic bags with the little foam boxes with the food inside hanging form their wrists and hands and their little plastic bags with some piece of clothing or some toy or decoration in. Still every now and then as the wind continues it random swings around the compass the waft of burning marijuana can be caught, just caught in the night air.


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