From “The Voiceless”:
Several hours pass, and I still have no fish. I’m dripping with sweat and shaking with hunger. Casting modesty aside, I plop down in the water and stare at my lap. With a cautious lowering of her body, Susanti sits next to me. “Susanti,” she says. I smile, but it’s chased away and replaced with a look of timid fright as she reaches her hand out towards my cheek. As she makes contact, my pulse hammers in my ear and for a moment I forget how to breathe. Remembering myself, I scramble to reposition my legs. She waits until I stop moving and touches my cheek again. Her fingers trickle down to my throat. I clamp my eyes shut. She withdraws her hand, and my eyelids part. Her palm is pressed against her own cheek. “Susanti,” she repeats. Her hand returns to my cheek, and this time, I keep my eyes open. Understanding reaches me. I trudge ashore and point the fishing stick at the wet sand. With jerky motions, I write my name in a jumbled scrawl. It’s the only word I know how to write.