â€œOld coot, bastardâ€ exclaimed Jalal having inhaled some of the dust kicked up
â€œWell what do you except man, after the way you spoke to him we could have at least gone back with himâ€ muttered zarmina, knowing they would probably have to in the next hour or so as the afternoon sun was burning fierce in the sky without any clouds in sight.
â€œCmon zari donâ€™t be so naive, all of these places are extremely expensive and we both know he wanted to just up his commissionâ€
â€œFine lets find us a shack by the water then, you can catch fish and then skewer me every night and we will be happy ever afterâ€
â€œThatâ€™s not what I want!!!â€
â€œThen what the hell do you want Jalal, ok lets walk a little further okâ€
â€œFineâ€ He took her hand and trudged along the beach, walking past the estates sammy had shown them onto an emptier area of the beach, they saw some cows grazing peacefully, small straw huts along where they stood and walked on further till they came to another estate, a little run down but standing firm against the wind, some of the windows looked broken but were firmly shut as they strode up to the wooden fence surrounding it.
â€œJalal this place is emptyâ€
â€œWell we wont know till we ask will weâ€ he said as he walked past the fence and into the yard to rap sharply at the door with a glass pane set in the middle with a white cloth covering it from inside.
â€œSee no one there loveâ€
He rapped again and suddenly the cloth was turned to the side and the wrinkled old face of an local Sinhalese woman about 60ish looking appeared beaming before them.Â Her small and petite frame pressed up against the door and her eyes sharp through the glasses perched at the corner of her nose.
â€œWho are you, I donâ€™t have any money to buy anythingâ€ She said as she eyed the couple standing at the door, their clothes shouting foreigner in a tongue she knew well.
â€œNo we, could you please open the doorâ€ Said Zarmina as she strode forward smiling.
She nodded and turned the latch, sliding the door open and stepping out, her hair whitened with time and her gaze still fixed upon them.
â€œYes now, donâ€™t tell me you are lostâ€
Jalal peeked over his wifeâ€™s shoulder and smiled his most charming smile
â€œNot at all. We are just looking for a place and saw yoursâ€ he said
â€œNot for saleâ€ the old one shook her head defiantly her eyes now piercing them
â€œOk but maybe, we can take a look and rentâ€? Zarmina leaned in trying to show confidence and warmth with her body language as she had read about in one of those all explaining books.
â€œHmmmm rent, you have money?â€
â€œYes yes some moneyâ€ Jalal couldnâ€™t help himself as he slid out from behind his wife not noticing as she gripped his hand we arenâ€™t looking for much just a clean place to stay a bit.
â€œ I donâ€™t want your moneyâ€ the old one suddenly smiled revealing her white teeth, startlingly unaffected by her age. As if her whole body was in another time zone and her teeth in another.
â€œThen whatâ€ Jalals face almost about to collapse as his mind whirled in twenty different directions trying to grasp at some solution to make the old hag agree.
â€œWell for starters you both can come in and have some tea with me, its not often an old soul like me gets new visitorsâ€ the woman nodded as she turned around and walked inside her home leaving the door ajar for them to follow.
â€œJalal I really donâ€™t thinkâ€ Zarmina had barely completed her sentence when her husband walked in dragging her behind him with his hand on hers, one she had precariously held to contain his excitement only moments ago.
He led her into the interior of the home and it smelt old, clean but old as if one was entering into another far more saner world. He saw the old woman lighting a small candle Â lamp in the lounge area and followed the light as they sat down on the soft plush sofas, wide and cradling as the sea before this home.
â€œNow make yourself at home and I will get you some mint tea, its really special up from tea estate In nuwar eliya have you two been there yet?â€
â€œNo actually we were planning to see it but my husband here has this crazy idea of spending all our money on living hereâ€ blurted out Zarmina not being able to get any vibe from the place she sat in.
The old lady smiled again that same brilliant white smile and winked at Jalalâ€™s wife
â€œWell you canÂ scarcely blame that thought, I have never ever wanted to move away from the seaâ€
She shuffled off to the pantry or some other place where she kept her tea as Zarmina looked at Jalal who seemed to be already stark raving mad about this place, well he had been a bit mental to start with on this idea but now he was just looking around with puppy dog eyes full of wonder.
â€œJalal, earth to Jalalâ€
â€œWhat zari cant you feel itâ€
â€œYes actually I can feel it, it feels like we are going to live here and im not too sureâ€
â€œThe place speaks to me love, one can almost feel the time hereâ€¦and the vibe is just oldâ€
â€œYes old and weird man, this place and this lady living alone hereâ€
â€œSo an old lady cannot live alone eh?â€ cooed the host as Zarmina almost jumped out of her skin, she didnâ€™t even see her come back in the room, how could something this old be so â€¦silent.
â€œNo no I didnâ€™t meanâ€¦well you know ummâ€ she stammered as the old one poured them two cups set in perfect bone china, undoubtedly from an expensive shop, it had that look of old regality. Little mermaids painted in blue around the gilt edges of the cups.
â€œIts ok love, you see in this day and age and before it as well tis always better for a frail one such as me to live alone after..well after such a tragedyâ€ she leaned her head to the side and sniffled in an old linen handkerchief she pulled out.
â€œWhat tragedy?â€ Jalal almost begged her
to be continuedâ€¦â€¦.