Dadong Manis had become blind through old age but that didn’t keep her from keeping her kitchen clean. This room and the small veranda in front of it was the entirety of her world, and she left no part of it unattended. She would squat on the floor sweeping with one hand and follow the broom with the other hand to make sure she hadn’t missed anything. None of this was done for sympathy, it was simply her job to do.


Her granddaughter would come to visit and the elder woman would also use her hands to see how the girl was doing. She would first touch her hair to see if the girl was wearing it long or short these days. Then she would touch to girl’s chest to see if she was becoming a woman yet. Then she would squeeze her slender arms hoping that the girl was putting some meat between her skin and bones.

Her husband was a surly man who scared his grandchildren. But he was devoted to his wife and was never too far away in case she had to admit she needed help with something. He was loyal to her throughout their lives together, and after she died he followed her quickly into death.