The lush greenery amongst the mountains and the misty air that blew in the mornings during Spring was a source of energy and life for little Min in this idyllic hamlet. She plucked the flowers and the berries, the wooden hand cart behind, filled with firewood and dry sticks. Sometimes, she sat and gazed at the crowded bus which passed through the faraway dusty road and vanished amongst the clouds and the gorges. She wondered about its destination and dreamt about the far off places it could visit.
The days were all same and mundane, with endless household errands to be completed before Min could get ready for school, and the same routine continued once back. Recently, there was a new development while returning from school; she suspected that someone followed her when she climbed the narrow lane towards their house, but when she looked over her shoulder her suspicion had no evidence.
Late at night when her mother entered the room, Min whispered to her mother, “Ma, I want to discuss with you something, but I know you’re also busy with the factory work and tired with all the household chores.”
Her mother asked with a concerned look on her face, “Tell me, what happened?”
“Ma, of late when I return from school, I hear footsteps and whispers near our house but I can’t see anyone around.”
Her mother went silent and had a cold look on her face which scared Min. She quickly hugged her mother and said, “Don’t worry, all will be fine.”
Her mother nodded in negation and said, “I had a plan in mind which I was sceptical about executing but now I think I must dare.”
Her mother firmly but affectionately pulled Min and said, “You’re all of twelve years old now; you’re a big girl to take care of yourself.”
“Ma, what’s the matter?”
“Pack your belongings, I’ll explain to you later.”
The next day Min’s mother howled near the abyss, holding a tattered scarf and the wooden cart of Min. The neighbours and the log merchant, in whose factory she worked, tried their best to pacify and console her.
Six years have passed, and as usual Min’s mother while returning from work entered the church. The prayer services were over when the father ushered Min’s mother to meet him. The father smiled and handed a letter to Min’s mother.
Uncontrollable tears flowed when she read the letter and saw the photo.
Thank you for everything. That night if you were not bold enough to take an immediate decision of sending me to the missionary convent school, I would have been in a brothel by now. I heard the log merchant, who had planned to kidnap and sell me, had passed away. I’m eighteen years old and an adult now. I’m studying at the Nursing College and also working part-time and earning. Soon I’ll bring you here, till then take care.
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