Editor’s note: The following is the latest in a series of stories written by local author Richard Mays the Daily News is featuring on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The stories, presented in serial fashion, are works of fiction.
As if broken out of her trance, she snapped her head back and suddenly realized that she was not alone.
In a well educated voice, she answered, “I’m not doing anything, Officer.”
Jacob walked slowly toward her. She was of Asian descent wearing an expensive coat and with very well groomed hair. Both Jacob’s training and gut instinct told him that he had nothing to fear from her.
“I know, I just wanted to see if you needed any help?”
She wiped her eyes of a small tear, “I am fine. Thank you, Officer.”
He continued toward the front of the car. As he passed by, she was unaware that he was instinctively scanning the interior for anything out of the ordinary. He found nothing surprising or suspicious.
“I am a police officer from the town of Greensburg. You are not from around here, are you?” he asked in a voice that he hoped would make her feel at ease.
“No, sir. I just arrived in your Indiana this morning. I am from Indonesia.”
“Oh, wow! I’ve heard about that place. It seems that you have something on your mind. Anything I can help with?”
She smiled a small broken smile, “No, Officer, I was just thinking.”
When Jacob saw the smile, his brain began to search his memory, “Do I know you?” he asked.
She shook her head, “No, sir. I just came to America yesterday.”
Jacob could not place her face, he put the thought to the back of his mind. “So, what brings you to Greensburg?”
She hesitated for an instant and then said, “It is complicated.”
Jacob’s face flashed an infective smile and then he said, “You are in great luck today, I specialize in solving complicated problems.”
She searched his face and came to the same conclusion that almost everyone comes to when they meet him: this police officer is someone who is honest and can be trusted.
“I am going to meet my family.”
“You’ve never met your family?” he puzzled.
She shook her head, “My father died of cancer six years ago. My mother died in a plane accident when I was a little girl, and my grandfather died three months ago.”
Jacob was trying to follow but was being left behind in the story. “I am sorry for your losses.”
“Terima Kasih, Officer”
“Excuse me?” he asked.
She bowed her head slightly and said, “I am sorry, Officer. Terima Kasih means thank you in Indonesian.”
Jacob nodded his head, “That’s very cool.”
She smiled an appreciative smile and continued. “My grandfather was the former vice-president of Indonesia, and he was a very powerful man in the government.”
Jacob said, “I am impressed.”
“Thank you, Officer.”
Jacob was gratified that she trusted him with private information about herself.
“Grandfather was very strict and enjoyed controlling people, especially his family.” She paused for just a second before continuing, “Last week, my mother’s secretary told me that my father was not my father.”
“Oh,” slipped out of his lips.
She smiled slightly and said, “My mother was unmarried when she became pregnant. This is considered a great disgrace in Indonesia.”
Jacob was unwittingly receiving a class in culture that he was not expecting.
(See Thursday’s Daily News for the next chapter in this ongoing story.)