Dejected. Demoralized. Defeated.
That voice from inside the farmhouse had ruptured my balloon of salvation. I smiled weakly at the kindly pregnant woman, nodded my understanding, and began to climb back aboard the DRZ.
Not so fast.
Turning toward that front door and the unseen person behind it, Lady Preggers detonated in a fury of rapid fire Mongolian verbiage akin to a six barreled gatling gun. Her barrage continued, rising in volume and rapidity, all in one breath, pummeling the front door with a stunning display of shock and awe that, by every law of the natural world, should have shattered the door asunder into a thousand splinters of wood.
Silence from the hidden antagonist.
Now properly warmed up, she unleashed another verbal onslaught while standing stoically in the freezing rain, soaked to the core, the storm’s thunder and lightning no match for her wrath. If Mjölnir had suddenly appeared in her hand, I would have been surprised not at all.
Meekly and with the tiniest token of resistance, the male voice responded with two or three words. Before he could utter a fourth, she silenced him with a final shotgun blast of exclamations. A single syllable of surrender from the door and that was it. The battle, or more accurately, the massacre, was over.
With her Extinction Level Event now complete, she returned to a visage of kindness and graciousness. “Please,” she stated to me with another motion toward the side door, “you are most welcome here. Come inside, there is fire and tea and food.”
She could sense my hesitation, and she closed the deal with another charming smile. “Do not worry. A misunderstanding is all. Come, come, please.”
I had no actual desire to argue and feared the outcome even if I did. I stepped inside out of the rain and was met with a wall of beautiful warmth from a large stove in the center of the room. Milk tea was steaming, a large skillet of meat, potatoes and rice was simmering, and within seconds, I was drooling.
She pointed me to a table where two girls in their late teens were already seated, while Lady Preggers moved gracefully toward the stove, utterly uninhibited by her massively swollen belly. I contemplated if she’d be delivering this very night. Would it be triplets? Yet she moved as lithely and strongly as a gymnast in her prime. I realized then and there that out here in rural Mongolia, ain’t no such thing as maternity leave.
After gulping a full mug of that delicious tea, I had to know. “How is it that your English is so good?”
She allowed a slight smile. “I am an instructor of English at a small school. During the summers I also visit the farms to teach.”
Stupefying. What were the odds, I wondered to myself, of encountering an English teacher in some tiny corner of the Mongolian mountains, right at the precise moment in which I needed some serendipity? I didn’t have time to ponder the variables as she then unveiled another bombshell.
“This is not my home. I live nearby but was visiting my friends here. I need to go now, I was just leaving as you arrived.”
My eyebrows raised and I knew she could read my thoughts: once my guardian departed, there’d be no one to stop the family patriarch from murdering me in my sleep. She then introduced the two girls and gave assurances that they’d look after me for the remainder of the evening. Do they know martial arts, I wondered? Would they be heavily armed? Did they understand the threat?
Lady Preggers stood to leave, and I got to my feet to express my gratitude with a jumble of unorganized words. She stated her own appreciation, as she was thrilled that an American would come so far, to such a remote region, to experience the Mongolia that constituted her everyday life. She stepped out into the wet blackness and I was instantly melancholy, knowing that I would never see her again.
She was right: the two young Mongolian warrior princesses took superb care of me, one of them in particular. Her name, best I could understand, was Ahgula, and she was delighted for the chance to meet an American and to practice her English. She led me to the ger where a bed was prepared; it was cold in there but my sleeping bag and some blankets made it wonderfully cozy.
We chatted for almost an hour until it was clearly time to turn in. As one might expect, both females conspicuously retreated into the farmhouse, leaving me alone in the large ger.
Stretched out upon the bed, I looked up at the roof and listened to the torrential rain. A constant bombardment of thunder was now overhead and lightning flashes could be seen through the fabric walls. Unconcerned, I burrowed happily under the warm covers.
“Let it happen,” was my final thought before exhaustion took me. “For I am safe.”
+++++++ (To be continued) +++++++