The Dream That Would Not End (Act II)


Dimitri watched her as she pointed, giving directions. She was the essence of beauty, reminding him of his former wife. She too was an attractive woman, beyond compare to any other. His heart ached for the loss but could not help to feel as if this young lady was simply the embodiment of his late wife. Her mannerisms even resembled his dear beloved Katrina. He couldn’t help himself when he blurted out, “We are going shopping in Sarajevo and we would love you to join us. Maybe you and one of your friends might light to escort us?”

Kerima was bit stunned by the sudden proposal. It must have shown in her face because he came back quickly with, “I’ll be happy to pay you for your time.”

The thought of women who were known for working the streets after dark, preying on innocent soldiers came to her mind and she was disgusted by the comparison. She dropped her arm and stepped back in disgust. Again, he tried to show her he meant no harm, “I mean it, I don’t want anything from you other than your company and conversation. You can bring anyone with you that you want.”

Kerima looked behind her to see who might be interested, if anyone. Latia stepped forward, a stocky dark skinned girl with thick black hair pulled back in a pony-tail, who like Kerima, had lost everything in the war, including her fear. She too was dressed in a skirt with a shawl draped about her shoulders which did little to cover the ragged sweatshirt she wore. She had found it in a trash pile somewhere among the many mounds of refuge that were all over the city. She didn’t care how it looked. Latia was about function, not style.

“I’ll go,” she said, jutting her chin out at the fancy car before them, “What do we have to lose. Besides, we could use the money. C’mon, I’ll protect you.” She grabbed Kerima by the arm and stepped forward.

Dimitri welcomed them into the back seat with him, gladly scooting over to make room. Latia stepped inside first, scooting close to Dimitri, followed lastly by Kerima, who softly closed the door behind her.

Dimitri called to the driver once they were safely inside to carry on. The car sped away as the remainder of the girls scattered, some heading home to tell of the latest event that had just transpired before them. Others merely followed the others to the places where they had found shelter; homeless since the war.

As the car sped back to the main road as Kerima had directed, Dimitri got to know more about the young ladies as they traveled toward Sarajevo. Latia was only sixteen at the time, but very bold and determined for her age. Kerima, just a year older, was the class act Dimitri had envisioned from the curb. She sat mostly quiet, interjecting in Latia’s tales only when requested. She smiled politely and offered little more than what was asked of her, which left Dimitri wanting to know more. Latia was glad to tell enough about them both, so that Kerima merely had to nod in agreement for the most part.

It was from Latia that he learned they were both Muslim, which he expected, both had lost their families in the war and both had lived alone since, surviving on the kindness of their neighbors and friends. They too, like himself, had suffered much and were still trying to recover; as were they all.

The drive was mostly uneventful along the country roads, passing by the occasional wreckage from the war, remnants of a bitter history. They finally reached the shopping district of Sarajevo, an area that had been restored since the war. Here, vendors sold everything from food to clothing and everything in between. Dimitri asked the driver to pull over where they could get out and made arrangement for him to pick them up after a couple hours. They spent the remainder of the afternoon going from booth to booth, sampling various foods, clothing and enjoying the time away from the harsh realities of the recent past that still remained as vivid reminders all around them. The light soon waned reaching the edge of the mountains that surrounded the city and the driver was waiting for them when they returned to the rendezvous point. They all loaded back into the car, and where soon whisking along the roadways back to their home, enjoying cups of ice cream along the way. It was nearly dark when they pulled up to the end of the street where Latia had directed them to go. Dimitri honored his deal with the two, pulling out two crisp twenty dollar bills, handing one to each of the young ladies whose eyes widened at the sight of money. They thanked him and as they slid out of the car, he motioned to Kerima to come close again.

“Please don’t think it rude of me, but I would be thrilled if you would do me the honor of joining me for lunch this coming Saturday. I will take you to the restaurant of your choice in Sarajevo. All I ask is that you be my friend.”

“What about Latia,” she asked, looking back over her shoulder at the brash girl who now stood waiting with her hands on her broad hips.

“Certainly she is welcome to come along,” he said smiling and nodding toward her.  Latia smiled back acknowledging his attention.

“Ok, we’ll meet you here. What time?”

“How about eleven in the morning,” he said grinning broadly.

“That will be wonderful.”

“Great, we’ll pick you both up then.”

“Do we need to wear anything special,” she asked, knowing in the back of her mind that her wardrobe consisted of only a couple other pieces of clothing. Nobody had much of anything left, so what they did have was scavenged from the debris that littered the town.

“Whatever you chose will be fine,” he replied, “We’ll have a wonderful afternoon, like today.”

“Great, we’ll see you then,” she said, stepping back from the car and waving goodbye.

[Look for Act III to continue the story…]

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  1. Pingback: A Dream That Would Not End (Act I) | Author Timothy W. Tron

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