Flashback

Last year, Lake Toba, Sumatra. I woke up early. Doors were kicked, hit, out of the blue. I lay in bed, pretending to be asleep, afraid that I would end up as a target. Thinking, about my way out- who to turn to. Knew no one, apart from some local people. I thought about the essentials. What to take: passport, money, cards, some clothes, and whatever more I still had in my handbag. How to stay safe and how to survive. After twenty minutes it was over. He calmed down and went back asleep. Next to me.

A few hours later. He was working. First in the garden, then at the restaurant. Seven days a week from eight in the morning until midnight, sometimes later.  A hard knocked life. No money, no parents, no possessions, no freedom. He came back for a smoke. I told him that I had been awake and afraid. He would never hit me, he swore.

I walked into a restaurant. Try to come up with something. A plan. What to do. Someone asks me for a lighter. I order a beer. The lighter  guy asks me about my life story. A very direct question. That makes me shy, I prefer to lead the questions. I decide to tell. I Six months earlier I had fallen in love with a proud man from Lake Toba.  I came back, but realized that it was too hard to overcome all the differences.

I tell my company goodbye, pass  the orchestra of frogs down the road and walk back. Into  the night.

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