Saturday, March 26, 2011

Laila hoped she explained the meeting place correctly to Star. The market was a noisy, busy place this morning, lots of people talking to the various vendors and looking at items for sale. Teenagers were wandering, enjoying the last days before school started and the younger ones just happy to be outside in the sunshine. There were booths and stands for everything imaginable. Fresh fruits and vegetables, homegrown bouquets of flowers, their sweet scent filling the air. Colorful fabrics and clothes waved in the breeze. Laila laughs at two little girls getting their faces painted, a fairy on one cheek and a flower on the other.

Engrossed in the sights around her, she doesnt hear Ramji until he is right behind her. Leaning over her shoulder from behind he whispers in her ear, “Hello Laila....”

Laila smiles, beyond happy that he was here, and leans back a bit. She tilts her head up, “Hello to you too.”

“These are for you..” and he takes her hand and places a small posey of flowers in them.

“Oh... its beautiful. Thank you...” She turns and looks into his eyes and for a moment there is no market, no other people, no one to tell her she cant or shouldnt feel what she is feeling.

Laila brings the posey to her face, the flowers reminding her of home, small white cliff roses and crocus, even pink Christ's thorns. It was custom in her country for a man to give a posey to a girl he wanted to court. The thought has her smiling again as Alise and Star catch up.

“How did you get here so fast? We left before you did..” Alise isnt annoyed, simply curious, not knowing a lot about the riders.

Star gives Laila a hug. “Have you been here long?”

“No...not long. What are you shopping for? Anything special?”

Star giggles in that odd, breathless way she has and says, “Clothes. My jeans are getting tight and I cant zip them without feeling squished. Look....” and she lifts her shirt revealing a bare tummy sticking out of partially zipped jeans.

Mon Dieu Star. That cannot be comfortable.”

“It isnt...” Star lowers her top and looks around the market.

Laila tentatively runs a hand over Stars tummy. “When is the baby due?”

“Rowan says the end of January.” Star sighs. “I will not be able to wear any of the jeans Alise gave me... and I love this pair.”

“I am sure we can find you some things here that you will like.” Alise tightens the knots in the scarf that cradles Gracie close to her. “Give Mera to me, I can put her in here with Gracie so you can look and try things on.”

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