Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith

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Poem: "Pull Something out of the Bag"

This poem was written outside the regular prompt calls, inspired by discussions with [personal profile] dialecticdreamer. It also fills the "thriftshop" square in my 8-2-19 card for the End of Summer Bingo fest. It has been sponsored by [personal profile] janetmiles. This poem belongs to the Aquariana thread of the Polychrome Heroics series, and directly follows "Made for Togetherness." Its sequels are "Nothing Is More Comforting" and "Serenity, Hope, Balance."


"Pull Something out of the Bag"

[Afternoon of Monday, November 3, 2014]

Genna and her family were helping
Fateena put away the parts of
the impromptu Dhoni Race
when Hafsa returned
with her daughters.

"We figured that you
would forget to eat lunch,
so we stopped to get some
for everyone," Hafsa said
as Amani and Masirah
set down fragrant bags.

Genna looked at the clock, then
clapped a hand over her mouth.

"Oh, I am so sorry!" she exclaimed.
"I completely forgot about the time.
I didn't mean to make you miss lunch."

"Don't worry, he does that all the time,"
Hafsa said. "That is what wives are for,
to remind busy husbands to stop working
long enough to sit down and eat!"

"You are not wrong," Saul said
with a rueful grin. "I can't tell you
how often Genna has had to pull me
and Dominic out of the woodshop."

"We brought masroshi, fish cakes;
bis keemiya, fish rolls; fried yams;
and aluvi boakibaa, coconut cake,"
Hafsa said as she laid out the food.

"There's lime soda too, fresh made,
not from a can," Amani added,
putting a jug onto the table.

The food all came in cartons
of recyclable paper, which
emitted fragrant steam.

Genna gave up the pretense
of formality and dug into lunch.

It was all easy to eat with forks
or fingers, and it was all delicious.

She quite liked the fish things.
The fried yams were sweet-hot
with some unfamiliar spices.
The cake tasted of coconut and
something she couldn't name.

The lime soda was more familiar,
not that different from the Italian soda
served in an ice cream parlor.

"We need to clean the table,"
Shaun declared as soon as
everyone had finished eating.
"Do we have any wet wipes?"

"No, sweetie, wet wipes are
for cleaning hands, not tables,"
Genna said, gently trying
to dissuade Matthew from
licking his cake carton.

The President produced
a box of cleaning supplies
from somewhere in his office.

The children swarmed the table,
spraying and wiping until it squeaked.

"I suppose this is a good time," Hafsa said,
setting a bag on the table. It had a pretty print
in navy, turquoise, and white. "I overheard
some of your challenges, so I wanted to give
you something to make life a little easier."

Genna peeked in the bag and found it
full of fabric. She took out a navy minidress
that fell into top and bottom halves as she lifted it.
Under that lay a white caftan with crochet trim,
then a black skirt with a fun fringe on the hem.

Next came a black-and white romper with
a diamond print, followed by a two-piece dress
that had a blue-and-white tie-dye pattern.

At the very bottom lay a white tank top and
a pair of white jeans, relaxed with tapered legs.

"These are beautiful," Genna said as she
stroked the soft fabric. "Thank you so much!"

"The top ones belong to a capsule wardrobe,"
Hafsa explained. "The bottom two are
additions from a basic wardrobe."

"Oh, these must be so expensive,"
Genna said. "You shouldn't spoil me!"

Hafsa's laughter chimed high and bright.
"Every thrift store in the country is full
of these things," she said. "No rich lady
would wear last year's vacation wardrobe
a second time! So they leave things here,
where they are very cheap to pass around."

"I suppose that makes sense," Genna said,
flipping the garments around to see how they
went together. Actually all of them matched
except for the two sets of different patterns.

"They're meant to do that," Hafsa said.
"You can make about twenty outfits from
just those pieces -- many more, if you add
other basics from your closet. Look up
the company, and they should have
more things to mix and match, too."

"These look very comfortable,"
Genna said. "How did you
know my size, though?"

"You and I are close enough,
and vacation clothes tend
to have very forgiving sizes,"
Hafsa said. "If anything doesn't
fit, just pass it to someone else."

"Thanks, I'll do that," Genna said.

Everything except the caftan would
leave her shoulders bare, which she
preferred to avoid, but the caftan
matched everything else. She
could just cover up with that.

"After whatever hardships
brought you here, I figured that
I better pull something out of the bag,"
Hafsa said. "This way, you can dress
and look nice without having to think
about which pieces go together."

"That's a relief," Genna admitted.
"I wasn't able to bring much, and I
haven't had time or energy to shop.
This will help so much with that."

"Just as you helped me by
letting Fateena stay here,"
Hafsa said with a smile.

"Oh, we had a great time,"
Genna said, waving it off.
"Fateena, why don't you tell
your mother and sisters
what we did today?"

Fateena bounded into
the conversational space.
"Genna's amazing! She
invented a whole new game
for us to play on the table."

"And we missed it?"
Masirah wailed.

It was hardly
a whole game,
but they had made
a good start on one.

Genna smiled as
her kids piled into
the description of
the Dhoni Race.

Her fingers traced
the soft crochet and
fluffy fringe of the trim as
she packed everything
back into its bag.

With a welcome like this,
maybe the Maldives really
would turn out to be a good fit
for her family after all.

* * *

Notes:

pull (something) out of the bag
To do something that suddenly fixes an issue orensures a favorable outcome. Down by three goals with only 10 minutes to go, the home team somehow managed to pull an amazing come-from-behind victory out of the bag.
Your job is on the line here, so you'll need to pull something out of the bag at this meeting
.

3. Masroshi
Masroshi is a chapati, stuffed with smoked tuna and coconut. The added flavour of curry leaves and spices will make you go 'mmmmmm!'
Enjoy a recipe for masroshi.

4. Bis Keemiya
Bis Keemiya is a must try food of Maldives
Somewhat like a samosa and spring roll, Bis Keemiya is an interesting dish that makes for a good snack. It's a pastry filled with tuna/hardboiled egg, sliced onions and gently sautéed, shredded cabbage. The authenticity of the flavours makes it a must try food of Maldives
.
Here is a recipe for bis keemiya.

6. Fried Yams
Fried Yams are a must try food in Maldives
Yams are one of those few crops that are grown in this astounding island nation. As a result, fried yams are quite a popular food in Maldives! Crunchy on the outside and moist on the inside, the snack is served with sauces that make the experience worth all the pennies you spend
.
I could not find a recipe for this. Try sweet potato fries with Maldivian roasted curry powder.

12. Aluvi Boakibaa
Aluvi Boakibaa - food of Maldives
Aluvi Boakibaa is a sweet cassava and coconut cake that melts in the mouth and transports one to heaven! It is liked by locals and tourists alike making it an integral part of food in the Maldives
.
Enjoy a recipe for aluvi boakibaa.

This is typical of how people drink in local-Maldives. I imagine they faceplant a lot. In Terramagne-Maldives, people are more sensible. They use a lot of fruit juices and coconut water for rehydration, and often add a pinch of sea salt or mineral salt. This lime soda is a good example, although it doesn't need that much salt unless you like salty drinks. Above all, avoid alcohol in hot climates: it dehydrates the body and increases the risk of heatstroke. While alcohol is legal on tourist islands, it's not in the native parts of the nation, and the locals discourage even non-Muslims from using it. They've actually started putting up signs pointing out the natural hazards of alcohol beyond the religious prohibition.



A capsule wardrobe is a small to medium set of clothes designed to mix-and-match easily. Some capsules like Whatever's Clean 13 are made so you can't clash them no matter which garments you combine. Others like the 4x4 give you more options but require a little more attention since not everything may match. If you are giving clothes as a gift to someone who has little or nothing, a capsule wardrobe will maximize what they can do with a small set of garments. This isn't nearly enough for a mother of young children, but it is a huge boost to what she had in her go-bag.

Vacay Style is a company that sells travel capsule wardrobes and individual garments. This is the set that Hafsa gives to Genna:
Navy Keyhole Top and Twist Skirt
Crochet Trim White Caftan
Black Gold Coast Fringe Convertible Dress / Skirt
Seychelles Black-and-White Print 2-piece Romper
Navy-and-white Ikat Tie-Dye 2-piece Maxi Dress
Navy, Turquoise, and White Ikat Print Bag
White Top
White Jeans
Tags: cyberfunded creativity, family skills, fantasy, fishbowl, poem, poetry, reading, weblit, writing
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