Here is the next part of Nanima Book 2.
Early on in Maliyan’s stay in Euroka’s hut, a woman knocked on her door.
“Hello,” said the woman in a surprised but friendly manner. “I’m Laura-Bella, an artist friend of Euroka. Is he out?”
After explaining where Euroka was, Maliyan invited her in because she didn’t appear to want to go. Also, she seemed to sense what Euroka might be doing. Anyway, Maliyan liked her. Laura-Bella looked around the hut carefully, paying particular attention to the didgeridoo on the bed.
After that day, she often called in to ask Maliyan if she wanted to join her on her morning walk along the Bell. Intelligent, creative, and emotionally available, she made a natural and interesting female friend for Maliyan. However, it wasn’t her intelligence, creativity, or emotional availability that was the deciding factor in her friendship with Maliyan. It was pain. Not the sort of pain that generally accompanies humans from birth to grave (with only minor variations), but the pain that accompanies a serious student of life. It was the sort of pain that pushes one to let go of the known and reach for something else. It was the sort of pain that makes growth inescapable, irresistible, and irreversible.
A week ago, Laura-Bella walked back to Luna Tiks with Maliyan after their morning excursion along the Bell.
Suddenly, she turned to Maliyan with plaintive eyes and said, “Let me in.”
Maliyan’s usually sweet composure turned into a much more intense one. She did not need to ask what Laura-Bella meant. Nor did she want to waste time by objecting that she was already in.
“Yes, with this condition,” said Maliyan with unflinching eyes.
She waited for Laura-Bella’s entire sharpened focus—a focus drawn from lifetimes previous as much as current.
“You must entirely accept the relationships in my life,” said Maliyan, “and the form they take (including yours with me).”
Being a passionate and whole-hearted person, Laura-Bella immediately opened her mouth to accept.
However, Maliyan stopped her and said, “No, think on it a while. Once you accept, if you later wish to withdraw your acceptance, you will suffer deeply.”
A touch of panic crept into Laura-Bella’s eyes.
Maliyan softened her demeanour and said, “I would never hurt you. I could not hurt you, but it’s the nature of the beast.”
She glanced through the shop window and saw that Luna was watching them intently.
“The same is true for us all,” said Maliyan. “If we taste the fruit ahead and then reroute, we will never again be satisfied with anything less than what we reached for with our higher self.”
* * *
One week later, at the Bell:
“I have made my decision,” said Laura-Bella with the conviction of a soldier ready to risk all in the battle.
Maliyan didn’t ask what her decision was. Instead, she bent down and took some earth from the banks of the Bell. Mixing it into a paste with the river’s water, she put it on her thumb and drew a line down Laura-Bella’s forehead.
“I name you Bell-Bell,” said Maliyan. “You run with this river.”
“You have dirt on your face,” Luna said to Bell-Bell in Luna Tiks.
She laughed but didn’t wipe it off. After she left, Luna recalled her and Maliyan’s conversation outside the shop window a week ago.
“What do you two talk about that’s so serious?” he asked Maliyan.
Seriousness wasn’t a major feature of Luna and Maliyan’s relationship. Nor was it the way to reach Luna. He was a feeler, much more than a thinker. He was loved and hurt, won and lost, helped and hindered, healed and harmed by virtue of the heart. He hated conflict and did not deal with it well. Luna and Maliyan’s relationship had its inevitable ups and downs, closeness and distance, but they didn’t fight. On the rare occasion that Maliyan got mad with him, he was so badly affected by it that she very quickly regretted it. He was not robust in that way. Emotional stress could really throw him. Maliyan felt that, with time, he would become less prone to such delicacies, but for now, she made it her business not to stress him unless essential. Regardless, that did not eliminate all the stress he did to himself.
* * *
At that moment, the building owner of the dance school across the road came in and ordered his usual coffee.
“Got anyone interested in taking over the dance school lease yet?” asked Luna.
“No, mate,” said the man.
Although he called Luna his mate, he wasn’t really a mate to anyone, and Luna neither liked nor trusted him. But, he was business. Luna sometimes joked to Maliyan that he was as bad as the guy, “Both selling our souls for business.”
“Do you think we could offer him free coffee in exchange for me practising in the dance school while it’s unoccupied?” Maliyan asked Luna.
Luna said, “There’s no we in the coffee. It’s mine.”
Nevertheless, a little later in the day, he passed Maliyan a key and said, “His words were, ‘You can use it, but if anything happens to the studio, it’s on your head, and it will cost you much more than coffee.’”
* * *
Late afternoon, when the summer heat was quietening its burn, Luna returned to his morning question and said, “I was being serious. I want to know what you and Laura-Bella talk about. Let me in. ”
Maliyan sighed slightly and started to brightly relay some of the things that Bell-Bell liked to talk about. Within two minutes, Luna had lost all interest.
“Okay,” he said with glazed eyes. “That’s enough in. I’m going out. Out to walk Iggy.”
At the mention of his name, Iggy appeared by Luna’s side. Luna touched him adoringly, turned his gaze to Maliyan, put his arm around her whole body, and kissed the top of her head.
“Love you,” he said on the way out.