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The Smiling Mask.an African Short Story ch 4
The Smiling Mask - Chapter 4
Was there something magical in the mask, or was what she was experiencing something that had been deep within her for a long time? Had her journey to South Africa awakened awareness in her soul for a land and people that were crying out for help? Had the person who carved the mask and then placed the design of a fish on it really sent her a message or was the message already in her heart and only needed an excuse to come out?
She searched for answers but found only questions. She knew however that she would have to answer the call that was speaking to her in no uncertain terms. She had to find the person who had carved that mask. She had to ask that person why they had carved the unlikely design of a fish on the mask. Her mind was in turmoil, and yet she knew that she had to go back. There was no logic involved, only a stirring in her soul. How in the world could she possibly find the source of the mask and the message that was possibly no message at all?
At first Roy had thought that she had caught some mysterious disease and her mind had been affected. Go and see your doctor, he advised. Then he suggested therapy, and even her friends whispered that Jennifer has really lost it in a big way. She was in between jobs and did not really have to work anyway as Roy earned a great salary as a lawyer in one of the big legal firms in Atlanta. It was to convince him and her that this was something that she had to do, that was the difficulty.
He now seriously regretted that he had let and even encouraged her to join her friends on their trip to South Africa. He even considered getting rid of the mask that seemed to be the cause of all this trouble, while she was out of the house. At the same time he knew deep down in his heart that if Jennifer decided to do something it was pretty useless even trying to change her mind. Removing the mask would not solve the problem and possibly only make matters worse. And so Jennifer began to plan her return.
The one person that could help her was the guide that they had hired in East London. Perhaps he would understand? After all he is an African and it is there were all this had started. So she contacted John and confronted him with the problem. At first he had seemed confused about exactly what she wanted, but then, as understanding developed, he promised to make enquiries, but at the same time did not sound too hopeful. One thing he knew, and that was that the mask was from Mozambique. Meanwhile she planned her trip back to South Africa and set up an appointment to meet him in Johannesburg with the understanding that he would talk to Jimmy about where he had bought the mask.
Roy was not happy about this “hair brained’ trip and suggested that at least she take someone with her. No one was really available and he could not get away from an important case he was busy with. He pleaded with her to wait a while rather than go on this “wild goose chase”, hoping that she would “get over it.” There was, however, no stopping this woman who seemed to be driven by a force that had taken control of her. So it was with great apprehension that he waved goodbye on the airport at Atlanta as she set of on her crazy quest. “John will look after me and he will be taking his daughter Mary, who knows Mozambique better than he does, with”, she assured her husband who was hardly assured. What had happened in the past few weeks had left him wondering how a settled and reasonable life could suddenly be turned upside down.(to be continued)