Gin stuffed the newly acquired clothes into his small cupboard, while Mari sat at the edge of his bed. She stared at the blank wooden walls, the wooden floors, the tiny, termite eaten drawer near the bed and the slow creaking fan, that seem too exhausted to continue turning. She then looked up, outside the window, at the glowing sun, washed blank moon, and the pieces of clouds floating idly in the vast expanse of the sky.
“It must be nice to live so high up.” She said, turning to Gin, who was stuffing a red cotton shirt into the overflowing drawer.
“Not really.” He grunted as he shoved the clothes with a final push in the tiny closet. “It’s too ....stuffy” he huffed as he sat heavily on his bed. “Ma liked it up here though.” He said nostalgically, his voice dropped.
“Your ma must have been a very nice woman.” Mari commented.
“Tell me something about her.” Mari looked at Gin like a child waiting to hear a bed time story.
“She was a very silly woman. She acted more like a child then I did at times.” A wistful smile broke at the edge of his lips. “She was scared of boiling oil, she’d brake the plates and bowls and then blame it on an imaginary cat-pixie ; she could never iron clothes without setting them or fire; in fact, she almost burned down the house once while trying to boil water-” he sniggered slightly at the memory.
“How’d she do that?!” Mari looked intrigued.
“I don’t know, she just ran into my room screaming ‘the water is burning! The water is burning!’ That’s the reason why I learned to cook basic meals. But, she wasn’t all that childish; she had a job as an illustrator for a newspaper cartoon, and was extremely good at making up stories.” Gins eyes grew wide and child like while he talked about her. He crossed his legs o the bed as he sat opposite Mari and began to mimic his mother.
“She’d tell me every day –‘you should always do the right thing Gin, even if it makes you unpopular with others, cause that’s the only way you’ll be popular with yourself.’ – It was her principal in life and she followed it down to the last letter. If she ever saw a dog being kicked, or even a wrapper being discarded on the floor, try to make whoever it was stop whether a stranger or not.” Their laughter rang out like Christmas bells, filling the small room with the life it once lacked.
“And what about your papa?”Mari asked as she regained her composure.
“No idea.” He shrugged his shoulders. “I never knew him. Ma got serious and upset when I asked about him, so I stopped asking.”
“Oh, ya.” She looked at her feet, as though she had remembered something she had not before.
“Don’t you live with your papa Mari?” Gin asked.
“Yap! He was the best papa ever!! She yelled.
“He was? Gin asked.
“Huh?” Mari looked at him unable to comprehend the question.
“You just said –he was the best papa ever- he’s still around, right.”
“Of course!” She answered. “It was just a slip of the tongue.” She seemed to get nervous, as she twiddled with her fingers. “I’ve got to go now. Daddy will get worried.” She quickly shuffled her things together and trotted to the door.
“It’s getting late, should I drop you home?” Gin asked confused.
“Nope, its ok I know the way.”
“I thought you have bad road scence, like my ma.”
“Na; once I know a road, it is difficult to forget.” She shuffled towards the door. She stopped half way out the door and looked back at Gin, “Promise me one thing Gin,” she said, “No matter what happens to me, or anyone else, you’ll continue smiling, and doing the right thing.” She turned around before whipping her head right back around to look at Gin. “Oh ya; please, don’t get too close t the ledge.” Her voice had taken a more serious tone.
“Hey, come on, it’s not like your leaving or anything.” He looked at her, perplexed.
She simply turned around, and smiled gently at him, a sweet sad smile, that one gives while lying to a child to protect them. “Of course, but just promise me. “she whispered
“I promise” he mumbled unsurely as she closed the door behind her.