The Inklings: Chapter 30

When D’arby got to the workshop after breakfast Ark was the only person still waiting there. Everyone else had already gone to start the garlic harvest. Ark handed D’arby a small shovel and a dented stainless steel drink bottle and they headed off to join the others.

On the way Ark remarked that he didn’t mind Jinabu staying in his house, but that having Andrew there too was pushing the boundaries of his generosity.

“You don’t know when Andrew is planning to leave, do you? He must have a job to go back to, surely?” Ark asked D’arby.

Unfortunately D’arby couldn’t provide an answer, but did promise to try to find out.

D’arby and Ark soon arrived at the garlic crop, where about a dozen adults were busy digging up garlic bulbs and several grubby children were running around. After the garlic bulbs were dug up they were placed gently on the back of Ark’s truck.

By mid afternoon D’arby was as much an expert at removing leaches as he was at digging up garlic. Fortunately though, only a few garlic bulbs remained in the ground and the spirits of the pickers were rising. They’d gone without a lunch break in order to finish the job earlier. As the last garlic bulbs were placed on the truck there were cheers. Then Ark got into his truck and drove slowly and carefully off towards the drying shed. By now most minds were on the home brew fridge at the workshop.

Meanwhile, Andrew and Jinabu were preparing dinner together silently, while each of them reflected on what had been a strange day.

The baby had slept most of the day and hadn’t cried at all. This meant that Jinabu had been able to gather her thoughts.

Andrew had also been able to gather his thoughts, but he put that down to the excellent cup of coffee that D’arby had made for him.

When Jinabu got up that morning she was already in a better mood than she’d been for a while. She’d had quite a bit of sleep during the night and could smell that there was a nice breakfast waiting for her.

As Jinabu ate her eggs Andrew watched and wondered whether it was a good time to talk about going home. Andrew had never before wished he could read Jinabu’s mind. “I’ve always assumed I knew what she was thinking” realized Andrew.

Without meaning to, Andrew began to think out loud. “I’m sorry” he said to Jinabu. Jinabu stopped chewing and stared at Andrew. She wanted to talk but her mouth was full. As she swallowed her eggs Jinabu imagined what Andrew would have said if she’d spat out her half-chewed eggs so she could reply faster.

Finally Jinabu was able to reply with “Which thing are you saying sorry for?”

Andrew felt hurt by that comment. He wondered how many thing Jinabu had on her list, but he decided to stay on track and answer Jinabu’s question. “For saying you weren’t respectable and insisting that you change, and all the other things I said on Sunday.”

“And for calling my family ‘useless?’” Jinabu asked

Andrew wanted to say no, but realized that he could say something that might make them both satisfied “I’m sorry for calling your family useless hippies” said Andrew, while thinking “Now that I’ve seen the people here I wouldn’t call your family hippies anymore.”

Andrew really was feeling sorry for what he’d said to Jinabu, but it was more for practical than emotional reasons. He and Jinabu had a child now, which would tie them together forever, whether they liked it or not. When Andrew weighed up the embarrassment that Jinabu would sometimes cause him against the upset and inconvenience that would be caused by her refusing to come back to him, it became clear that he’d be better off letting Jinabu be herself if it meant that the three of them could live together in some kind of harmony.

Jinabu was also thinking practically. She realized that it would probably be harder for her to be a single mother than to put up with the stuff Andrew sometimes said.

After breakfast Jinabu and Andrew went for a walk. Andrew carried the baby and Jinabu carried the camera. As they explored the farm they tried to agree on a baby name. Jinabu pretended she wanted him to be called Carob, just to see how far she could push Andrew that day, but Andrew could tell that she was joking. They still didn’t agree on a name but at least they weren’t being rude to each other.

Then Andrew changed the topic and started to talk about his plans for when he got back home. At first he used “I need to” and “I want to” and then he sneakily replaced the beginning of his sentences with “We should”. This was his indirect way of asking Jinabu whether she would come back with him. Jinabu listened and nodded and eventually started adding things to the list, saying “We also need to”. When Jinabu did this Andrew became almost giddy with happiness – he was so relieved that they would soon be back to their regular, respectable life. Eventually Andrew and Jinabu calculated that they needed to leave for home the next day in order to have enough time to get all their jobs done before Andrew’s paternity leave was over.

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