Andi’s Mom

by jeannabauer

She scooted over on the stair when I came out the door. We sat together.

“I’m sick. No English.” She motioned to the entire left side of her body. I’d later find out, it was a stroke – not even one year ago. There is a drawing in the living room of a stunning women in traditional Indonesian dress. It’s Her. She’s wearing a crown, a brown dress & decorations around her arms. She was a well known traditional dancer. Now, the music can’t be too loud in the house. For a while, she rented out traditional clothing for weddings & was a make-up artist. Next year, her daughter will get married.

The “no English” wasn’t completely true. We talked a little. Then the grocery store cart pulled up. The cooler taped to the back – fish, chicken, chicken innards, bags of blood. Produce & crackers & spices. Through the gate they whispered about me. The saleswoman – fasting for Ramadan – pulled out a wooden block & chopped the chicken on the street. The neighbor lady, the one with the green house appeared & cleared up their questions about me. “No speak Indonesian”, “From America”, “Like Indonesia, 2 weeks”. She disappeared, her phone rings a lot.

A few minutes later, the store was gone. She’ll make homemade broth & soup. A pile of chicken nails remained on the street. The flies seemed to enjoy them. The group of school girls in their matching converse shoes didn’t notice. Then the grey cat came & finished them up.