the return trip home, was not to happen as intended due to a glitch by Sebastian's
travel agent. The couple's tickets, allegedly valid for twelve full months, were only good
for three, meaning those in their possession—according to the principal carrier, Egypt
Air—had already expired, which meant, in turn, that the airline's agreeing to honor them
(having missed the mistake themselves back in Dar) was a courtesy not to be abused by
extending the extension. Nairobi-Cairo-LA-San Francisco would proceed as re-booked—tears,
and a half day of sulking (Yayuk's reaction) notwithstanding. Responsibilities awaiting in
California disheartened Sebastian. Banalities like finding an apartment, reactivating
lapsed automobile insurance, resuming employment, etc., all must be attended to sooner,
rather than a week or so later.
"What's the difference to you," he muttered, "you're on
Months they had been together, and still he missed the point; Yayuk
would be sharing their imminent reentry. His return to the work-a-day world
would be hers, as well. Bonds had formed. Concerns, once disunited, henceforth
Sebastian then recalled a scene from their sojourn to Nakuru, Yayuk's
halting words come back to remind him:
"I am in change," she had imparted after a long day's
marvels. "My inside woman and little-girl-self feel strange. Before I knew a man, my
life could independent. Now I must be thinking one hundred times about another. I cannot
acting selfish; I feel silly, if I do. I must be finding a bridge between our cultures. I
need smooth. I need collect things that will fit my heart with yours."
Sebastian harkened to this replay, as he had to its original, letting
Yayuk's thoughtful phrases flow.
"Your culture always compare people, always changing partner—this
one a plus, this one a minus, always looking for perfect, but never will find. My culture
choose one person with care, then keep. If not fit perfect, fix, by being patient, by
being learn. That's I like from Indonesian. That's I believe."
A blueprint for longevity had been drawn by Ms. Kertanegara—plans that
both seduced and troubled Sebastian's heart...
... as locales changed, magically it seemed, from
The Coffeehouse on Mama Ngina Street in downtown Nairobi...
... to Café Soma at 12th Street and Howard in
San Francisco, a transition accomplished within sixty-some hours, covering twenty-thousand
miles by air, between atmospheres as disparate as Neptune's is from Mars'. Yet the faces opposite
each other somehow stayed the same—and not the same...
...Yayuk's more mature, more poised, her child-adult dichotomy
having formed an odd composite of shrewd naiveté...
... Sebastian's somewhat older, lines more
groove-like, eyes intensified, as if staring out of sockets scooped of
self-concern, a partnership having dawned, a caring for another, Yayuk mattering to him
as much as he to her.
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