Sunday, 28 September 2014

PAWNING PEARL - A Serial Novel - Chapter 5

Simon Thambisa came to on his couch with a damp cloth on his forehead, and a worried looking Pearl bending over him. "Simon..." He pushed himself up and she fell back. "Sir...Are you well?"

"Yes...a dizzy spell... A dream..."

Behind Pearl a tiny face peeked. Simon gasped. "Oh! Not a dream..."


"The children, these children..."

"Oh Sim-Sir, they were so hungry! I have never seen people eat so much!"

Simon felt faint again. Locusts! She had invited a swarm of locusts into his house.
"Miss Chabalala, this is just not done." he began, even as Pearl lay a gentle hand on his forehead.

"Sir, you feel a little warm. You may be coming down with the flu. I am making you some hot tea and putting you to bed."

"Miss Chabalala, the children-"

"Now Sir, don't you worry, I will look after the children. You must worry about yourself, about getting well."

She was helping him up off the couch, wedging her slight shoulder under him, guiding him out of the lounge and into his bedroom.

She sat him down, and untied his shoes. Simon lay back dazed, silenced; unmade by the tender concern in her touch, her eyes, her voice.

"Miss Chabalala about the children..."

Pearl stopped at the door and turned "Sir...Even now, ill as you are, your first thoughts are for these little orphaned ones," her eyes glimmered with tears, "I cannot tell you how I admire you Sir. You are a great man."


Half way through the night Simon heard a fearful cry, a soft weeping, then a gentle voice. He rose, and walked on bare feet down the corridor. In the lounge, on his beloved Italian leather couch, was the boy, fast asleep under a blanket (and an unlovely sight indeed!) with his mouth agape and his over-sized feet jutting out.

Simon followed the murmurs and  stood outside Pearl's door.  He hesitated then pushed the door open. Pearl sat on the side of the bed, cradling the child. Rocking her, humming a little song, making strangely comforting nonsense sounds.

Simon Thambisa felt a wave of envy (or was it jealousy?) overtake his mighty frame. He wanted to be small, frail and afraid, if that would make Pearl Chabalala hold him that way.

Soon the child was asleep, and Pearl gently eased her down onto the bed, tucked the comforter tenderly around the tiny face. She stood and taking Simon's hand silently led him into the kitchen.

She set the kettle to boil, and prepared the teapot. "I am sorry we woke you, Sir, and you so ill, but Thali is so afraid." She set the mugs on the table, and poured in the tea. "Bad things happen to little ones on the streets, you see."

Simon bowed his head in shame over his steaming tea."I am much better now, yes, much better...And the little one is safe here, always. Tell her that, tell them both. Tell them they can stay."

"Oh Sim- I mean Sir! You don't know what this will mean to them! I thought you would let them stay a week, until we could get them to an Orphanage, but this...Oh Sir!" Tears were running down Pearl's cheeks. "Sir, you are giving them a home, a family."

Simon Thambisa made incoherent sounds deep in his throat.

Pearl took his hand, pressed it to her forehead."I love you, Sir, respectfully, forgive me Sir..." And Pearl cried and cried, tears of joy that somehow wounded Simon's heart deeper than cutting knives.

Manuela Cardiga


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