The Woman on the Beach

With the weekend came some free-time and beautiful weather.

A short ride down the road, across the treacherous street that leads to Pondicherry, is a small village.  Beyond this lies the beach, which is virtually devoid of women.

I do, however, spot a woman pacing up and down the stretch of sand, covered in heavy-looking garments.   She is hooded, as if she is hiding from more than just the sun.

She carries a sack of coconuts, and sells them to beach-goers for 15 rupees each (25 centimes).

I call her over to buy a coconut, and she says almost nothing.  She sits down, her face peeking through the hood of her shawl and begins her work.

With her sickle-shaped tool, she hacks away at the coconut, making a hole in order to access the reviving juice held within.

I finish the juice, and she takes the empty coconut from me.  Skillfully, she opens the shell to reveal the meat, and carves a shard of shell into a small spoon.

I pay her and she walks away, hiding herself once again beneath the heavy fabric.  I realize that I know her no better now than I did before.  Her visibility is fleeting, as she walks the beach like a specter, appearing only to those willing to acknowledge her presence.  People search not for her, but for the promise of the nourishment of a coconut on a hot, sunny day.

 

-David

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