She begins the work at dawn. Trims off the spine of the coconut leaves and saves them (they will make a good broom one day) and divides each leaf into halves. Then spinning one ribbon around each hand, she weaves each ketupat with care. The call to morning prayer accompanies her as she tends to her task.
Her children soon join her, curious tiny fingers digging into the piles of unwoven ribbons. She teaches them, and Ra pays close attention and tries to follow her instructions. Meanwhile Ruu soon gives up after a couple of minutes and begins a new tying game of his own.
When a good handful of ketupat are prepared and tightly woven, she brings the bowl of rice, and they fill each pouch one-third of the way. Even Ruu can help with this, and for a few blissful moments her sons chatter happily about all the foods they love to eat with the steamed rice. The mention of rendang spurs on a painful memory.
It was Raed’s favorite dish on the Eid: chopped lamb or beef spiced in a dark curry paste, or opar ayam to go with the ketupat. The dishes would populate their table like fully blossomed flowers in a garden. But the children loved the rendang most, like their father.
This will be the first year without Raed.
As she prepares the meal, she could have sworn the laughter outside had dimmed. The ghosts of the past were still laughing, a haunting reminder of what they had lost. Of the love that had slipped through her fingers. Like of her magyx which she must now keep behind doors.
They dine out in the patio under the sun and the warm breeze on their face.
The sun shone as a reminder that today all sins are forgiven.
She breaks the first ketupat and thinks of Raed.
All is forgiven.
Their children laugh with anticipated delighted at their meal. Somewhere up above, their father is smiling down at them.
All is forgiven.
The crossed weaving pattern of the ketupat represent the sins of a human, while the pearly white rice within is the purity of the human soul at its core.
Rien blinks and nearly weeps.
The children’s laughter clink with their plates as they chat happily over their meal. Two beautiful young boys, unknowing their mother would weep while they slept, her tears diluting the scent of spices in the palms of her healer hands. Rien, who now doubled her strength, doubled her smile, as Raed no longer stood beside her as it was meant to be. Who moved them to this mountain village, for their best interest, at the expense of her own freedom of displaying her magyx. But her sacrifice was nothing to the pain of having lost her husband, for grief was a terrible enemy with his sword plunged into her chest, unyielding. Of the guilt, the fear, of what may come to pass for her children.
All is forgiven…
but how do I begin to forgive myself?