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Published: July 18th 2013
Sunita visits Frank, but is more intent on getting him to help her fill in a French Embassy job application than on love-making. She sits primly on the edge of the bed with the application form on her lap. He sits next to her, as he used to do when she was teaching him Nepali.
“Why do you want to leave the UN?” he asks.
“Because I don't want to remain in the office after you have gone,” she says, and then adds: “I don't want to fall in love with the person who replaces you.”
“Don’t you believe the bajay’s prediction? He said we’d marry and have children.”
“One son,” she corrects. “No he didn’t. He said you will marry someone from a different caste. He didn’t say you will marry me.”
“I’m sure he meant you.” he says. She shrugs, and looks down at her hands. “Maybe you'll fall in love with a Frenchman at the Embassy,” he says.
“It is possible,” she says.
“You promised you’d never marry if you couldn't marry me,” Frank says.
“Oh, I don't understand why people love each other. I am sure I will fall in love again.”
“So you don't mean what you say,” he says. “You don't keep your promises.”
“You are no better. You will look for someone else too,” she says.
“I didn't realise you’d be so weak.”
“Oh, you are weak, aren’t you!” She bursts into tears. He puts his arm around her. She pulls away.
“Is there no hope?” he says.
“I don’t know. I cannot disobey my mother and brother. Maybe one day they will change their minds, but it will be too late. When you go you will forget about me.”
“I promise I’ll wait for you.” They look sadly into each other’s eyes, searching for the truth.
He kisses her and she responds to the invitation, but a sudden bang of a firework sabotages the effort. They burst out laughing, which is not what either of them are in the mood to do. He gets up and starts working on her application at the table. She calls him back and they try again. But again he fails her.
“Are you angry?” she asks.
“No. Not at all. I'm just not in the mood,” he says.
“Do you love me?” she asks.
“Je t’adore,” he says. She smiles sadly and rests her head against him. They sit like that, comforting each other, until it is time for her to leave. He tells her that he will find a good job in England and when he has enough money he will buy a nice house, and call for her. When her mother sees that they are determined to marry, she will surely relent. He can offer her a better life than the Pradhan boy, and that will surely be the deciding factor. Sunita says little, but finds comfort in his words.
The application is abandoned.
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