As though the gods granted the wishes of the people, peace had once again settled in the village. With the war dwindling into reconciliation, the economy becoming prosperous, and employment skyrocketing, the villagers rejoiced. Not a while ago, the High Order held a rally in celebration for such successes; people would cry and bow down to the Lama as he went through a procession. Hysteria stampeded the event, but it never failed to make the Lama smile. He said to everybody that with the complete start of the spiritual mission, the heavens would now bless the village with salvation for a thousand years. The people applauded, they went heads over heels for him. They considered this time to be the most spectacular moment in history; soon Yebuka, the 28th Lama, would have himself immortalized as the greatest ruler to have ever reign the village.
A day after, Sachen and her family hung out at a local lodging in the mountains. From the balcony, they eyed on the wonders of nature beyond them. The hills sloped and flowed over the landscape, and the flowers painted over them with their colors. The fragrance of the petals stirred the air, the noses of Datai, Saraji, and Monkhuba tingled. The birds swooped down to the mountains and hunted some prey. A breeze coursed through the sky, and it made its way to the family. They soothed their breaths and slumped on their chairs.
A waitress coming to the balcony, she then served the family a stack of pancakes and other cuisines. Monkhuba, sitting next to his sister, clapped his hands and giggled. The pancakes jiggled on his plate.
“Happy fourth birthday Monkhuba!” Saraji pinched her son’s cheeks.
“Isn’t it great that you get to come here and enjoy the scenic view? It’s all thanks to your daddy right here!”
“Hey hey, I spent my hard-earned money to stay at this lodging for three days, for our little boy.”
“That’s right! And also, we have to wait until next year when he reaches five years old, so that we can enroll him in kindergarten.”
“Honey, I don’t think we need to worry about that right now. Let’s have a good time.”
“Oh dear, you are right. I am thinking too much about it. Monkhuba! Eat properly, you’re getting syrup on your clothes.” Saraji snatched a napkin from the side and swabbed the kid’s mouth. She then began to eat her chicken salad. “Sachen, are you happy that your brother is growing up? Soon, he will be a healthy, strong boy. He has not been sick lately, so that’s a good sign.”
Sachen leaned her arm against the balcony railing. The hills drowned her eyes. Her heartbeat submerged into murmurs, and everything in her head transformed into fleeting bubbles. Her mother repeated herself again and again. Monkhuba nudged her elbow, and Sachen leapt a little.
She turned to her parents.
“What is wrong Sachen?” Datai asked, his legs were shaking.
“Something has been on your mind? Maybe it’s because you are staying too long at school… I believe that the reeducation classes are taking a toll on the kids’ health. Have you seen the students my dear? Their eyes look weary, and they look like their limbs are about to fall apart.”
Saraji grinned. “Well at least they are studying hard. Due to the fact that a lot of students had caused an absolute riot a while ago, they had to deal with the consequences. To think that they’d protest because of some forgery scandal, it’s ridiculous! They’re mad I say, and it is perfectly right for them to attend the re-education classes, so that they will start to learn what is correct.”
“I can’t disagree to that. But Sachen, if you are studying too much, lay off the pressure. There’s no need to cram the books and papers into your brain. Besides, the grades in that type of class don’t count. I presume you are just there to learn about the righteousness and virtue of history and the High Order.”
Sachen rolled her eyes, she plucked her fork and stabbed the pancakes in front of her. A goo of sugar and egg yolk liquidated throughout the porcelain dish. Then looking at her brother, Monkhuba curled his fingers around his sister’s sleeve, and called out her name.
Sachen smiled for a moment; her lips then retreated into a frown. She leaned over to Monkhuba.
Her brother rolled his tongue, he slapped his palms on the table.
“What is it? You haven’t finished your pancakes halfway. I can’t possibly do that. It’s your birthday today, eat all you want.” Sachen patted Monkhuba’s head. He resumed making a mess of himself.
Datai cleaned his fingers and sighed. He let out a burp, and in turn, Saraji flicked the back of his head. “After we are finished,” he said, “do you want to watch the stars together from the hills? I heard that there will be a meteor shower.”
Saraji’s eyes shimmered. “A meteor shower? That’d be fantastic! Oh, we haven’t seen one in a long time honey. The last time… I think it was eight years ago, when we were starting off as newlyweds. We were dancing under the meteor shower, and as a funny man you are, you proposed that we should build a ship so that we can fly alongside the meteors.”
“W-wait, I said that? Sounds embarrassing, if you ask me.”
“I don’t think so at all. But anyways, I am looking forward to seeing it. You kids, make sure to stay up late, because we’re going to roam about the hills and find the highest spot. The balcony, the lodging for that matter, is not high enough. I want to experience the sightseeing, just the four of us.”
Monkhuba laughed, he babbled something about building a ship with wings in order to take his family throughout the trail of stars and galaxies. Datai and Saraji cheered and clapped for him, the latter said that it might be possible. They then returned to their meals. When they finished, the waitress pinned them a bill; Datai choked on his water from the triple digits.
The flowers spread their specks of pollen, they glittered the landscape in a yellow fuzz. The birds soared and set their course on the horizon, they cawed. The view couldn’t get anymore better. But Sachen held eyes of glass; darkness reflected everything. She ran her hand along her chest, and the growth of the chills frosted every inch of her palm. From that fateful day to which she could not remember, it left her with a hole and would ache her body every now and then. The pain might last for an eternity.
The bubbles in Sachen’s mind popped and sizzled into a cloud of fog. Her memories of the past evaporated, those painful and blissful ones with the person she had cherished and loved the most.
The Happy Village</span