Tuesday, November 1, 2016

"The Brahmin's Son"

“’You will go into the forest,’ he said, ‘and become a Samana. If you find bliss in the forest, come back and teach it to me. If you find disillusionment, come back, and we shall again offer sacrifices to the gods together. Now go, kiss your mother and tell her where you are going. For me, however, it is time to go to the river and perform the first ablution.’” Siddhartha, Herman Hesse

She told the building owner that a resident destroyed doors and put bullet holes is several walls. She made Harvey replace and spackle. She wandered the halls, checking his work, complaining when he missed a spot or spent too much on the doors.

“I thought that new doors would help freshen-up the place.” She only grunted at his point.

Now, as she sat in front of her storage closet that sat behind her desk, she took a deep breath and sighed. Residents had complained at first, yelled at her second, and threatened to move out third. She only glared at them and didn’t utter a word.  No point, really, no water means, no water. But she wasn’t without her own. After years here she’d learned to prepare for the worst. The storage closet had only one key and it was around her neck.

Now, Munny stood in front of her, like Siddhartha waiting for his father to release him. A slight smile and clear eyes made “Ms. Ellen,” he called her, shift uncomfortably in her chair. She liked her chair.  She’d spent months looking in thrift stores for one. Now it and everything else felt displaced under the gaze of Munny Pang.  His slight build and stillness made her think he was an illusion, perhaps a specter. She felt a slight tightness in her chest.

“Ms. Ellen,” He spoke first.
“No.” She said.
He pulled out a twenty-dollar bill and placed it on top of the detridus on her desk. It was crisp, clean and brand new.
“No.” She repeated.
“Ms. Ellen, I’ve never missed a payment and never been a problem.”
“You know it’s temporary, and I haven’t enough to make tea. I don’t need much.”
She finally met his gaze.  “Fine.” She fished out a half empty Crystal Springs bottle from the top drawer and tossed it at him. 
He smiled deeply. “I knew you cared.” He said. He turned and walked away.

She sighed, and quickly reached for the twenty.