Balloon People, The - Part 3

Date Written: 
02/17/2013

 

The Balloon People – Part 3

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                             IX

 

 

 

      I slept again in the room I had come to occupy in the house of Kubar. Bimma showed me the room at the back of the house with no ceiling and explained that this was where most people slept in their houses. I must have looked confused again as I saw no stairs going up. Bimma laughed again at my confusion, gave me a quick hug and kiss goodnight and suddenly began to inflate. My eyes widened in understanding as she drifted up into the room above to sleep surrounded by air. As I got myself settled into the hammock I actually began to wish that whatever change was coming over me would happen soon, for until it did there was a part of Bimma’s life that I couldn’t share. I fell asleep again thinking of my cousin Loona and Bimma’s assertion that she would like it here.

     I slept late the next morning, and on my wandering into the kitchen Urshi assured me that it was just one night I had slept this time. She told me the change was probably close to complete by then or I would still be sleeping the days away.

      “So when or how does it start that one inflates?” I asked as she poured me tea.

      “It is often different for everyone,” she replied. “Children as they come into their teen years will try to make it happen, but it happens when it does. Often it is a startling event that triggers it.”

      “I see,” I said, “Where is Bimma?”

      “Bimma is still sleeping. She has been awake early most days of late keeping an eye on you.”

      “Urshi, were you eavesdropping on Bimma and I last night?”

      Urshi looked a little embarrassed, and then looked down at her huge boobs. “Well I did look out the door at one point and saw you and Bimma together there,” she replied evasively.

      “I see, and at what point did you happen to look out at us?” I asked then with a smile.

      Now Urshi looked me full in the face and returned my smile. “At a point that convinced me that my daughter indeed cares much about you, and that you care much about her.”

      “So what do you think Kubar will think about that?”

      “I think you will have to speak directly with him about that,” she answered. “But it may help you to know that I don’t think my husband wants to see his last daughter married off to a place where we may not see her often any more than I do.”

      “Bimma told me about her sisters yesterday, and that travel to those places did not happen so often.”

      “You have to understand Steven, the mode of travel we have adapted to is dependent on the weather conditions, more specifically the winds. It is Kubar’s task as the shaman to determine the weather and winds. Fortunately this ability is something that the shamans have learned to do well over time. The winds change with the seasons, and sometimes the seasonal winds don’t always agree with the goods we would transport to specific places. This time of year transport to Lagoon, South, and Sky villages are easier. Sometimes goods have to be sent somewhere by using another village as a middle point because of the winds. We are able to move large amounts of goods at times our way, and trying to move such amounts of goods would be almost impossible by ground because of the very irregular nature of the terrain in between villages. It just so happens that my other daughters are in villages that can only be traveled to directly from here at specific times of the year.”

      I said nothing then, only sat and sipped my tea until Bimma came in rubbing her eyes.

      “Your turn to sleep late,” I said to her with a smile.

      Bimma looked at my half empty cup and looked suspiciously at me and her mother for a moment, and I knew she was wondering what her mother and I had been talking about. Then she poured herself some tea and sat down next to me.

      “The men from Sky village should be coming today,” she said.

      “That may prove to be an interesting meeting,” I responded.

      Urshi provided us with breakfast and I told Bimma that I wanted to look at my portable lab, and maybe get it set up somewhere.

      “The communal building is still keeping your boat and its contents safely, so maybe we can set it up there. What does it involve?” She asked.

      “Not too much, just a place where it can be set up and not disturbed,” I answered.

      “Then let us look into it,” she said after a moment, and got up with our dishes and brought them to the sink area of the kitchen.

      “You and Steven go on now,” said Urshi, “I will take care of this.” And with that, Urshi shooed us out of the house.

      “So what were you and mother talking about while I slept?” Bimma asked as we walked across the village center to the building where my remaining possessions were.

      “She was explaining to me about the way things are done here between villages, the moving of goods, and the communication that happens as a result. She also talked about how it is often difficult to see your sisters at some times of the year because of the weather and where they are now.”

      Bimma nodded, but said nothing as we entered the hut where my boat and other items lay.

      “She also implied to me that I should not be afraid to talk to your father about wanting to marry you.”

      Bimma turned suddenly and exclaimed: “You asked her about that!?”

      “Actually no, but I did see her watching us when we were talking outside last night, so I asked what she thought, and she seemed happy that we care for each other, and told me that I should talk to your father about how much I care about you.”

      She grabbed me then and pulled me into an embrace. “Do you really want me to be your wife Steven? Tell the truth!”

      I returned the embrace and looked her in the eyes. “Yes Bimma, I think I want you to be with me as long as we live. I was not offering empty promises last night.”

     She squeaked her happiness to me as she pulled me into another long passionate kiss.

     I could feel her against me, and I felt her pushing into me. I reached out to wrap my arms around her and suddenly realized that my arms were being spread apart. Her tits were expanding into my chest, and her belly was pushing into me. I couldn’t touch my fingers together as they slid along her back as Bimma inflated. Her arms were still wrapped behind my neck and held me in that position to return the kiss which seemed to go on and on. I felt her ballooning tits spreading around me then, and I stopped trying to hug her and began lightly rubbing her nipples feeling them become hard as I did. My own anatomy was responding down lower as Bimma pulled me closer and rocked backward to pull me on top of her as she fell onto her back. She continued the kiss and made little squeaky noises as my hands continued to rub her still ballooning breasts.

      Finally Bimma ended the kiss and looked up at me with a big smile on her now very round face. “I think you need as much incentive as I can give to be very convincing when you talk to my father about becoming my husband,” she whispered.

      I shifted a bit where I lay on her now even larger belly and partially wedged in her now very deep cleavage, and looked into her eyes and smiled back at her. “I didn’t think I needed any more incentive,” I whispered back, “but it certainly didn’t hurt any.”

      Remembering where we were, and its communal nature, I slid off of her then, and took her arm to help her to her feet. At this moment her legs had absorbed into her body down to her knees, and I regretfully gave a lick and a kiss to the nipple nearest me. Bimma shivered at that, and after a moment began to deflate herself.

      “Why did you inflate just then?” I asked.

      “Well it isn’t always a voluntary thing,” she replied with a giggle. “If something sudden and frightening happens the adrenaline rush can have us airborne in seconds, but other things can trigger it too.”

      “Obviously,” I said.

      I walked over to what remained of my boat and untied the straps that had secured the portable lab unit. Bimma dragged a table over from one side of the room, and went around pulling back all the drapes that covered the windows and doors flooding the large single room with light. I looked around and saw things I had missed previously. There were shelves stocked with many boxes, and bins arranged along the back and side walls, as well as piles of sacks containing who knew what.   

     “What is in all these boxes and sacks?” I asked Bimma.  

     “This is one of the community storage buildings,” she answered, pushing the table over against a wall near a window so light would hit it. “Many things are stored here, some seed stock in the boxes, grain from last harvest, candles, and many other items. There are several buildings like this in the village. Everyone stores goods in them.”

      I heard a rustling noise behind me and turned to see two cats moving around one of the piles of grain sacks. Bimma scooped out a bowl of water from the small barrel by the wall and brought it over to set on the floor by them.

      “The cats live in and around the village. It is everyone’s duty to care for them when we can as they guard many of our stores against pests,” she explained.

      I nodded at this and proceeded to begin moving the large container box to the table. Bimma came over to assist me and we moved it onto the table and opened it. The analysis unit seemed none the worse as I looked it over, but the battery was almost drained, and the computer booted up long enough to tell me it needed a full recharge. I sighed. I should have expected that.

      “Bimma, Jeremy said there are solar panels here. Are there any here in West village?” I asked.

      “I think so, but you should probably talk to Numassa about it, he would be the one that would know where such things are used here.”

      As if on cue Numassa, Kubar, and Jeremy came through the door accompanied by two men I had never seen before.

      “Steven Flinton, I would like to introduce you to James Linton, medical doctor, and Michael Granger, biologist,” said Jeremy.

      I shook hands with the two newcomers, suddenly feeling self-conscious as the only person in the room not three times normal size. James Linton seemed to notice my quick glance around the circle of everyone present and laughed. “I know just how you feel,” he said. “Even though I have been here 15 years now, I still remember being the smallest person in South village until my body adjusted itself to life here.”

      “So you are an American too then?” I asked.

      “I guess that since I never gave up my citizenship that I effectively am still an American,” he answered, “but I doubt I will ever spend much of my life there ever again, if at all. I am quite happy here Mr. Flinton.”

      “Could we dispense with the Mr. Flinton?” I asked. “Steven will do just fine.”

      “Very well,” said Michael Granger then, “then I am Michael, and this is James, and if you are wondering about my accent, I am originally from New Zealand, but like James, am not planning a return to my birth country anytime soon.”

       James eyes fell on my analysis unit then. He looked it over closely and shook his head after a minute. “I must say that the state of the art has improved quite a lot since my time around such equipment. How detailed a blood analysis can it provide?”

      “It can do full spectrum blood analysis, as well as cellular biochemical breakdowns and even DNA analysis,” I replied.

      James and Michael exchanged a long look and seemed to barely contain their excitement.

     “Truly? It can do DNA analysis?” asked Michael.

     “Absolutely it can, except for one minor problem right now in the form of batteries that need a recharge,” I answered.

      “I had just told Steven that you would know if solar panels might be available to make his lab work again,” Bimma told Numassa.

      “I will need to go and speak with Kwon and see if this can be arranged,” said Numassa after a moment. “I shall probably have to promise him some of that strong drink that comes from South village, but it may be worth it.” With that Numassa turned and left the hut.

      “Even if we do get something set up today, it is likely that we will need at least 24 hours before the lab is ready to use, maybe a bit longer since it will probably want to be calibrated,” I told everyone.

      “Maybe we should go to my house then,” said Kubar. “Perhaps James and Michael will tell you of their theories about our uniqueness.” With that he turned and led the way out of the hut across the village central area to his home. As we walked I noticed that as usual I was being looked at a lot by the other villagers walking about, but now for the first time I noticed  that it was mostly the women that were looking at me. Up till now I was often so focused on Bimma that I had not really paid that much attention, I knew I was the different one here. As this thought went through my mind Bimma firmly took my hand and seemed to take a defiant sort of stare toward anyone looking at us. I suppressed a smile about that.

      We settled around Kubar’s table, and Urshi brought in tea for everyone.

      “So Steven,” began Michael, “how long have you been here now?”

      I looked at Jeremy and Kubar, but it was Bimma who answered: “It has been several days past three weeks since his arrival to the island.”

      “Most of which I have spent sleeping and eating,” I followed up with.

      “Are you now waking after only one night’s sleep?” asked James.

      “Yes, but even so, I am sleeping longer than I usually do, and very deeply too.”

      “That is the way of the change. Probably you will continue this pattern for a few more weeks, and don’t be surprised if you still sleep an extra day or two yet before it is complete,” said James.

      “How will I know when the change is complete?” I asked.

      “When something happens to make you suddenly start looking like the rest of us,” chuckled Jeremy.

      While I was sorting that out in my head Numassa came in with another person I had never seen before. He was older, but how much I couldn’t be sure as I had not yet seen any obviously  elderly people here, and unlike everyone else I had seen here he we not inflated to a size that made him look to be four or five hundred pounds. It was obvious that he had some pressure in him, but he wasn’t much larger than I was.

      “This is Kwon,” said Numassa by way of introduction. “He agrees to help you to recharge your lab unit, but he is curious about its workings and asks that you show him how it works when you are doing your research.”

      “I think we can do that,” I agreed. “Kwon, I am Steven.” I held out my hand to him and he shook it.

      “I am very interested to see this technology,” he said. “Most of those that have the newer technology are in South and Lagoon villages, but I am sure they have nothing like what you brought.”

      “Or anyone that would know how to use it,” put in Kubar proudly.

      “That is certain,” said Michael with a grin.

      That said we returned to the communal hut where Kwon had left a large solar panel and a boxlike device that proved to be an adjustable inverter. Just what the doctor ordered, I thought.

      Kwon positioned the solar panel in an open area to get as much sunlight as possible, and ran a wire into the open window space to the inverter on the table, and I carefully made the connections to the lab unit and adjusted the power correctly.

      “If we get good sunlight for the rest of the day, and tomorrow, it should be recharged by tomorrow afternoon,” I told them.

      “Good, I shall see you tomorrow then,” said Kwon, and turned and left without another word.

      “Unusual fellow there,” remarked Michael.

      “Indeed,” said Kubar, “but he has made such things as this his business to know about, so he is very handy to have around at times.”

      With that we returned to Kubar’s table. This time Kubar poured out cups of the fermented drink that I was now getting used to and toasted our honored guests from Sky village.

      “So,” I said then, “what are your thoughts about the unusual nature of the people here? And how do you think I am going to be able to assist you in your understanding?”

      Michael looked around the table and smiled. “Do you realize Kubar, that right now there are more immigrants than natives at your table?”

      Kubar laughed at that. “I also realize that it is the appreciation the immigrants have for this place that makes the natives stay right here.”

      “Well that is quite true indeed,” said James then. He looked at me and said: “Michael arrived here 17 years ago, I have been here 15, and Jeremy 12. In Sky village are some histories kept, and the history of this place and its uniqueness can actually be tracked back over 1000 years. Only people that find themselves here by accident and are essentially helpless are given the opportunity to become part of the culture. This seems to be a long established tradition, although the nature of things here, and the efforts to maintain traditions do seem to discourage anyone from wanting to come and stay. When ships come to South and Lagoon villages, the crews are treated politely, but staying here is discouraged. Obviously we cannot hide our natures once someone is brought into the culture, and according to the traditions the occasional new blood is regarded favorably. Naturally having some people with specific skills arriving have brought some innovation and improvements to the quality of life here.”

      “So you are saying that even the limited contact has to some extent prevented any stagnation here,” I said.

      “Indeed it has,” said Michael, “and once arrivals come to appreciate things here, they are often the fiercest defenders of maintaining the traditions as they are. But, with new understandings come new questions. In the beginning when James and I first met, we were afraid of discussing our thoughts about this inflation anomaly with anyone but each other. It took a lot of time and careful listening to what others thought before we shared the ideas we had about how things were the way they are here.”

      “So now you feel comfortable with discussing it out loud?” I asked.

      “Well there are certainly some people that are so grounded in the old ways that they would disapprove of even questioning the nature of this ‘gift of the gods’” put in Kubar. “But I can speak for all of the shamans when I say that we are curious about what the nature of this gift really is. No one here would ever want to lose their ability to be as we are, but the knowledge that we are different in this way does pluck at one’s curiosity.”

       “So,” I said, looking at James and Michael, “just what are your thoughts on it, and how can I help?”

       James hesitated a moment, looking me straight in the eye. I got the idea he was afraid I was going to laugh when he proposed his theory, but he spoke steadily as he sketched out his thoughts: “The natives here have described what new arrivals go through as the ‘sleep of change’ long back in the histories,” he began. “It seems to be an appropriate choice of words, wouldn’t you say?”

     “I am really not sure, as other than the vast amount of sleeping I have done, I have not noticed any particular changes,” I answered.

      “According to the histories, no one has ever gone past six weeks here before the obvious nature of the change has manifested,” said Michael, “and often it is a very stimulating event that causes it for the first time. If something happens to produce an adrenaline rush, you might inflate hugely before you even realized what was happening. Since according to the religious dogma this change was brought about by the sea and fire gods to protect their children here from the anger of the earth gods. The histories speak of sudden earthquakes here, and given the volcanic nature of the island that is not hard to believe. What better protection from an earthquake than being able to be airborne almost instantly?”

      “What about children though?” I asked.

      “We believe that is why women can inflate to a very large size much more rapidly than men can. It is not that women can become bigger than men, but they can get there faster. In the interest of saving children that would be the sort of adaptation nature would favor.” Michael went on.

     “Alright,” I said, “your point is well taken. But how did this peculiar variation on the species take place?”

      “When you came here, at what point did you notice that your sleeping patterns had become prolonged?” asked James.

      I thought about it a minute. “Almost immediately. I remember falling asleep that first evening, and sleeping round the clock into the morning of the day after.”

      “What  did you eat when you first got here?” asked Michael.

      “Well, the only things I arrived with were my soaked duffel bag, the portable lab unit, and the damaged boat I washed up tied to, so the only food was fruit trees I found in the jungle.”

      “Just so,” said Michael, “and this was what you continued to eat while you were on the beach.”

      “Well, until Jeremy showed up and we ate dried fish in addition to the fruit and his skin full of alcoholic drink.”

      “Our theory Steven,” said James now, “is that everyone here, either from birth, or from the time they start consuming the local fruits and vegetables, become inoculated with a unique virus that essentially rewrites their DNA and causes a body wide change to result in our becoming what we now are.”

      I sat there and let that sink in. It was well known that viruses effectively co-opt a cells reproductive system to make more copies of itself, and it was also known that by their very nature a virus was capable of modifying the DNA helix. Certain disease processes had been traced to just such viral activity, most of such activities were far from benign.

      “OK,” I said then, “I will admit that what you are suggesting is possible, and as a working hypothesis I am willing to go with it. I can see how my lab and skills could at least prove or disprove your theory, but I need to hear more of your thoughts. How, for example, do people expand to such sizes? They grow taller as they inflate from what I have noticed. And how is it that people can inflate at will with lighter than air gas with no external source? I can accept a deflation at will, but also what is the gas people inflate with?”

      “From what we have been able to study, the gas is largely hydrogen, but there is helium as well,” said James. “We postulate that somehow the body is capable of removing and storing the helium from respirations in some form; from what we have been able to discover, the body releases the hydrogen first when we deflate, which is why when releasing the residual gas by the respiratory system we get the squeaky helium voice. But for the rapid inflation we believe that some organ, possibly the liver, is adapted to somehow break down water in the body for a quick infusion of hydrogen in the tissues. Again, there is much we can’t be sure of. Even if we had the proper equipment to do a post mortem study, we had no way of analyzing the tissue samples. As for the size increase, we do know that all of your connective tissues and skin have been modified to a lighter form  which is extremely flexible, stretchy, and resilient. Even your bones will take on a similar quality, and even though your size may not seem to have changed, I can guarantee you have probably lost as much as 20 percent of your weight.”

      To illustrate his point, James put his forearm against the table edge and bent his arm toward the table with his other hand. His arm bent in the mid area of the bones down to meet the table top. I stared at this, and couldn’t help myself. I put my own arm in a similar position and applied pressure with my other hand. It was a bit uncomfortable, but my arm bent similarly as James’ arm had down to the table top.

      “You will also notice that your skin has become extremely elastic as well,” said Michael pulling on the skin of his arm and stretching it out an impossible distance from the extremity. He released it and it snapped back to become normal arm covering once again. Still in a state of mild shock, I repeated his action on my own arm with a similar result.

      “Any pain?” asked James.

      “A mild discomfort for both of them, but no pain,” I replied.

      “Your change is not yet complete then. But, it hasn’t been a full month for you, and that is our thought of the span of time for completion. You see this seems to be a full structural adjustment of the body. Bone and skin are affected, and we suspect all of your connective tissues as well which accounts for how people become taller as they enlarge. The connective tissues that bind the bones together quite literally stretch with everything else.”

      I thought this over and realized that their theory fit together pretty well. What else could account for all of it? I asked myself. Still, it seemed that they had given it all quite a lot of thought, and until I got the lab up and running there seemed to be nothing else for it but to consider their ideas and come up with any more questions I was as yet unsatisfied about.

      “Oh yes Steven, one other thing,” said Michael then. “You may have heard that people have left this island and returned to the world outside.”

      “Yes, I was told that, and I was also told that every one of them opted to return here.”

      “That is true,” he went on, “but the interesting part is their reports about their ability once they left here. It seems that within a week of leaving they are no longer able to inflate themselves at will. They are still able to inflate with air by breathing technique, but to float themselves they actually need an external source of lighter than air gas.”

      Now that was interesting! I thought about this for a bit before I ventured a thought on it. “That would seem to validate the idea that the native food here has much to do with it.”

      “We think the same,” said James.

      Before anything more could be said Urshi walked over to the table and announced that dinner was ready.

      Dinner consisted of bowls of another form of fish stew served with the nutty bread that I was growing quite fond of. We exchanged more thoughts over dinner, but the main gist of what they came here to talk to me about had been laid out quite plainly already. I continued to think about it as I ate. After dinner we drank more of the stronger liquor that Kubar poured out for us, and I excused myself to go check on the lab units charging state. Bimma rose and followed me out. She took my hand as we walked across the common area.

      “Are you troubled by what you have learned Steven?” she asked.

      “No, not really troubled,” I answered slowly. “But things here defy what I have spent a good part of my life learning, and such serious alterations in the ways of nature always make one have questions that the answers to often cause one to have to unlearn things, and that is often hard.”

      She squeezed my hand then and said: “I hope you find the answers you are looking for, but I hope much more that you are able to accept what you find, and be happy here.”

      “It doesn’t matter what I find really, I plan on staying and trying to make you happy,” I told her. “After all, a spoiled brat like you needs lots of attention.”

      That got a laugh out of her, and we went in the hut together. The batteries seemed to be partially charged, and would resume charging when the sun came up, so we returned to the house of Kubar. The men were gone then, and I was told they were to be guests of Numassa as honored visitors from Sky village. Kubar then poured more liquor and handed me a cup, he then motioned that I should join him as he walked out the front door, so I followed.

      We sat on the bench in front of Kubar’s house and sipped at our cups. After a moment Kubar spoke: “My daughter seems to care very much for you.”

     “Yes, and I care very much for her,” I responded.

      “My wife tells me that you and she have had several talks,” he went on.

      “Urshi has explained many things to me that are not immediately apparent to a newcomer as myself. In truth I am very grateful for what she has told me as while things are often not as they appear in many situations, if I am to make a life here it is helpful to appreciate things that may affect me.” I answered truthfully.

      “So you think you will be able to be happy here without so many of the things of the world outside that you are used to?” he asked then.

      “I have met three others that came from the outside world and were also used to the technology of it, but they have adjusted to life here quite happily I have noticed. And, I think I know what has played a large part in their happiness here.” I asserted.

      Kubar took a long drink from his cup and turned to look at me. “Really? So please tell me what you think has been so important in their happiness here?”

       “The fact that they met women that made them feel complete in their lives here.” I said simply taking a long drink from my own cup.

      “So do you think maybe you have met such a woman?” he asked looking straight at me.

      “If you are going where I think you are going, then yes Kubar, I want to marry Bimma.” There seemed no better way to this than to state it as flatly as that.

      Kubar stared at me for a long moment before he raised his cup and took another long drink.

      “Bimma is my youngest daughter,” he said after a long moment. “I had to allow the others to marry to places where we do not see them often.”

      “Yes, Urshi and Bimma told me this.”

      “If I allow you to marry Bimma it may cause some problems.”

      “What kind of problems?” I asked, perplexed by this.

      “The chiefs and shamans of the villages often seek to marry their children to each other to improve ties with other villages. When such weddings take place it is a big affair, and people of high station come from the other villages to attend. Often this is when our children meet the children of others that may make for improved ties through marriage. I am at least very happy that my elder daughters did make up their own minds about who they wanted to marry, and I believe that they are as happy as they can be, but the choices of the children of some of us are often limited.”

      “Yes, Bimma told me this very thing,” I responded.

      Kubar grunted at that, and took another drink. “Bimma is a very stubborn and willful young woman.” He told me then. “But she is also very kind and caring, and has no patience for arrogance. For this reason she has refused to marry either of the two young men that have been seeking her attentions. One is the son of the chief of South village, and the other is the son of the shaman of Lagoon village. Each thinks that eventually she will come around to accept their interests.”

      “I would think that there must be other women that they might take an interest in if she is clear that she is not interested,” I replied after some thought.

      “As my wife has told you there is politics involved in this, and these arrogant young men would never consider marrying outside of their perceived station of status.”

      “Are there no other women of status that they might take an interest in?” I asked.

      “Have you noticed other women here since you arrived?”

      “Well no, not really, Bimma has kept my attention since I woke up here.”

      “Exactly,” laughed Kubar. “You are not blind Steven. My youngest daughter is one of the most beautiful women in the West village, and it is not a father’s pride that makes me say that. Her mother is also a great beauty, and Bimma resembles her closely. Had you noticed that?”

      I nodded at this, but said nothing.

      “These young men feel that they need a wife that befits their status, and they both desire Bimma very much for that reason.”

      Kubar lapsed into silence and sipped at his cup. It occurred to me as I looked at my own cup that these were larger containers than they first appeared, and I was feeling a nice buzz in my head by now.

      After a few minutes of silence I couldn’t stand it anymore.

      “Kubar, I very much want to marry Bimma, and I really don’t care about the possessive and self-righteous attitudes of some spoiled brats from far away villages.” I said defiantly.

      Suddenly I heard Kubar start to chuckle. He got himself under control after a minute and took another sip from his cup. “Now that is an attitude I can appreciate,” he said. “I think you and I will get along just fine.” He clapped me hard on the shoulder and we clinked our cups together and finished our liquor.

      We sat there a bit longer, and I waited to see if he had more to say.

      “I have to be truthful with you here,” he said then. “I really don’t want to see my last daughter go to another village where I may not see her often again. Your presence here, and the fact that you and Bimma have gotten on so well together has worked in a way favorable to me and my wife. We would like to be part of the lives of some of our grandchildren. As a new arrival you do have a certain status though you may not realize it. Newcomers bring knowledge that is often of great benefit to us, and listening to the discussion today tells me that this may well be so. If such knowledge were to benefit the entire island then there would not be cause for ill will for allowing Bimma to marry you.”

      “I hope then that I don’t disappoint anybody,” I answered.

      Kubar rose then and looked me straight in the eye as he said to me: “Most of all, don’t disappoint Bimma.” He turned then and went into the house. I sat there and replayed what had just happened in my head, and enjoyed the buzz in there as well.

      I don’t know how long I sat there looking up at the star filled sky, but a large shadow came from the house and sat down next to me as I was picking out constellations in the southern sky.

      “So what did you and father talk about?” Bimma asked anxiously.

      “Some arrogant young men in South and Lagoon village that want to marry you,” I answered still looking up at the sky.

      She looked down at her boobs then. “So he explained about making good ties to other villages then?”

      “Yes he did, and he also explained that he wanted very much for he and Urshi to be part of the lives of at least some of their grandchildren, and that the happiness of his youngest daughter was more important to him than the politics between here and Lagoon or South village.”

      Bimma’s look was incredulous as she stared at me. I gave up looking at the stars and smiled at her. “He said too that he thought he and I would get along well when you and I get married.”

      At this I stood up and took Bimma’s hand and pulled her up to me and we exchanged the best kiss yet.

 

                                                                                                                                     X

 

 

      I slept very well that night, and awoke feeling quite happy with life. On reflection I could not remember feeling so good about my circumstances in a long time, if ever. I grabbed a towel and some soap, and after a brief stop at the privy along the way went to the area which seemed to be a communal area for bathing. At my approach there were a couple there that had obviously just finished as they were re-inflating themselves on the shore. They smiled at me and waved shyly as I approached, but otherwise minded their own business. I threw my towel and native skirt over one of the crudely constructed racks for that purpose and waded in.

      “So you decided to come for a bath without me?” I heard Bimma’s voice behind me.

      “I didn’t know you were awake yet, the house seemed pretty quiet.” I answered, turning to face her.

      Bimma was smiling as she was rapidly losing what I had come to think of her normal size and slipping out of her skirt. I was still surprised at the amazing capacity for these garments to stretch and accommodate anyone, as I was told that one size fit all. As she continued to grow smaller Bimma waded in and splashed up to me to give me a hug. Since we were in over our waists, no one could see my involuntary reaction to her close presence. She giggled and rubbed more up against me, then turned her back to me, so I proceeded to soap up her back and shoulders, slowly moving around to make her slippery with soap all over.

       “Mmmmmmmmmm it has been so long since anyone has washed me,” she said then as she began soaping my back.

      “Really?” I answered. “How long?”

      “Since my sister, Quona, was married off. We came here with Trina and Ayesha to prepare for the wedding.”

      I didn’t know what to say to that, and didn’t really want her to feel sad, so we finished washing up and headed back to the house, Bimma returning to her normal size as we walked.

     We went and checked on the lab, and I was happy to see that it had continued to recharge with the coming of the sun. A few more hours and it would be ready to go I thought. We then walked back to the house and joined Urshi for tea and some breakfast.

      Urshi seemed unusually happy that morning, and was very solicitous of both myself and Bimma, and the breakfast she served us had a great many options I had not seen before including some sort of eggs, and a type of fish I had not had before, and a variety of other items. I didn’t question, I just enjoyed it.

      “So, you and Kubar had a talk last night, did you?” said Urshi then. It was not really a question I realized.

      “Yes, we did,” I responded simply. “And, I guess I should thank you Urshi, since what I had to say was made easier for me by some of the things you have told me in our conversations.”

      Urshi responded with just a smile at that, and left the room to talk to a neighbor that had knocked on the front door frame.

      “She seems happy,” I remarked. “I wonder if Kubar told her all the details of our talk.”

      “You can be sure of that,” answered Bimma. “There are no secrets between my Mother and Father. She is also very good at divining what is not said. Mother is very shrewd, and we learned as children that it was very hard to have secrets from her. Of course she is happy since after your talk with Father, others were made happy as well.”

       “Are you happy Bimma?” I asked with smile.

       The smile she returned was radiant. “Of course I am happy Steven, and I think you are equally as happy. So that is two of us made happy by your talk with my father, and of course mother is happy since she likes you, and now she can be sure that at least one of her daughters will not leave West village, and she will be able to be a part of some of her grandchildren’s lives, and though he will not admit it plainly, my Father is happy about the same thing.”

       “So how do we proceed on this from here? What are the customs involved?” I asked then.

      “That is up to my Father,” she said. “When a father agrees that one of his daughters is to be married, then it is up to him to make an announcement. This matters not who it is in the village, this is custom. Usually a formal dinner party of sorts is given, and the father of the daughter makes the formal announcement of  the upcoming wedding, and toasts the bride and groom, and the families involved. In our case it will be a little less complicated since you have no family to get involved in it all.”

      I thought of Loona then, and thought again of Bimma’s assertion that she would fit in here. It might have been nice if it could be arranged for her to come here, but that process would surely delay things far too long.

      Bimma seemed to read my thoughts. “Perhaps one day we can arrange for your cousin to come here,” she said.

     “Nice thought,” I answered. “So your father must make the decision about when he will make the announcement? He does this without consulting us or anyone else?”

      “Make no mistake about it Steven, Mother will offer some strong opinions to my Father about it, but ultimately yes, the decision will be his as to when to go forward. Knowing how things have been with my sisters, he may wait until he has thought about it, but I don’t think it will be too long. In the meantime, we must not discuss it outside the house, that is also custom.”

      “What does he need to think about to affect his decision?” I asked curiously.

      “Did he not talk about the aspects that Mother and I warned you about?”

      “You mean the politics?” I responded.

      “Yes, the politics,” she answered, “I am not concerned as once Father has made up his mind, I know that I shall be your wife, but it may cause some hard feelings with the men that have been seeking my attentions now for two years. For a time I hoped that one of them might grow up and show more maturity, but that has not been the case, and I have truly not wanted to leave West village either; neither South nor Lagoon village would suit me, having to deflate and stay that way for days at a time even for the rare occasions of ship visits would not be at all pleasant, I prefer myself round and fat, and so I have continually declined interest in them. Father may feel the need to find a way to carefully explain that I am to be married to someone else, and he may want to sort that out in his mind before he makes the formal declaration.”

      That said, Bimma refocused on her breakfast which she seemed to be enjoying immensely.

      Shortly thereafter Urshi showed in Jeremy, James, and Michael, who sat down to have tea with us.

      “So where do we begin?” asked Michael.

      “First we go and see if the lab is going to insist I do a full calibration, or if it will let us get by with the fast one. After that, we each swab the insides of our cheeks for a tissue sample, and I start looking for commonalities and anomalies between us. Fortunately for us, I had done a full spectrum DNA profile on myself before I ever left, and it is stored in the computer. So we can see if there are changes in my profile.”

      The men nodded their understanding of this, and we went over to the building to find the lab almost fully recharged. Fortunately the computer only required a fast calibration, and after 10 minutes I scraped the inside of my cheek with a wooden swab, and placed it on an analysis slide and into the machine. While it began gathering the data, I prepared slides from the men and Bimma. “This full spectrum breakdown is going to take a while I am afraid. This is a great little machine, but it does need time to do what it does, so this may take a few hours apiece for the full analysis. We are looking at a few days at least I think.”

      The men nodded at this. “We have waited a long time for an opportunity like this,” said James. “In truth, neither Michael or I ever would have believed that something like your arrival would ever happen, so I think we can be patient.”

      From there the men began to question me closely on my training and the changes in the world of medicine and biology since they had come here. The conversation went far afield and sometimes grew very technical. Bimma and Jeremy sat quietly during this listening, but seldom interrupting. By the mid-afternoon, the lab had gathered all the data from the slides and now faced the daunting task of doing the analysis on all five of us. I let it continue to run, and knew I would have to shut it down and restart it in the morning. We talked a bit longer before the men returned to the house of Numassa, and Jeremy home to Shara. Bimma and I went home then too.

      By now we held hands whenever we were together, it just seemed natural, but I was noticing that we were often taken notice of by other villagers passing by, particularly the women.

      “Am I really such a novelty because of the way I came here?” I asked Bimma.

      “Women like the unusual and the exotic just like men do,” answered Bimma with a smile, “and too, every woman wants to have healthy children, and the introduction of new blood is seen as a good thing. This is actually another reason why marriages to other villages are often encouraged. It is known that marriages too closely in families for long can cause sickly children, and having a healthy family is seen as a good thing here.”

      “So are you looking forward to being a mother?” I asked her then.

      “Of course I want to be a mother! I want nothing more than to present you with children, and my parents with grandchildren. I have been told that being pregnant is such a wonderful state of being that I want very much to experience it.”

      “Well that attitude is pretty universal anywhere it the world it seems,” I responded.

      “For us it means barely touching the ground for the time of the pregnancy,” she said then.

      “What do you mean by that?”

      “When my sister Quona was pregnant the first time I went to stay with her until the baby was born. It was she who told me of the wonderful feelings. During her time she could not help but be inflated more than is usual. In fact it becomes very difficult to lose all the gas for bathing, her body just kept trying to re-inflate as soon as she would get to where she could wade into the water. It made for very short bathing times,” she laughed. “And, it is the only time when we do not lose our gas when we sleep.”

      “You lose the gas when you sleep?” I asked curiously.

      “Oh yes,” she answered. “When you inflate yourself to drift up near the ceiling of the sleeping room it is the most wonderful feeling, you will see. But while we sleep the gas seeps out of us and we slowly come down. You have not seen it yet, but the floor of the sleeping room is covered with soft mats for us to settle on when we come down while sleeping. But a pregnant woman does not descend while asleep, she stays in the air until she awakens. I remember sharing the room with Quona, and I would always awaken looking up at her in the morning. I remember thinking that is wasn’t fair. It is a sign of good fortune when you awaken and have not descended to the floor.”

      By now we were again sitting on the bench in front of her house and I reached over to rub her back. Urshi came out of the house then to regard us for a moment with her shrewd look and then sat next to me. I had a brief visual of someone taking a picture of me sitting between these two very beautiful, but enormously fat women, and the kind of jerks that would think it funny to spread a picture like it all over the internet. But after a moment, I realized I wouldn’t have cared, I was the one that was really in the best spot in life. On impulse I reached around and gave Urshi a hug. She reacted with some surprise, but smiled shyly.

      “Thought it seemed like a good idea to let my future mother in law know I cared about her too,” I said with a smile.

      Urshi actually blushed and looked down at her huge breasts as Bimma giggled.

      At dinner that evening, which was just the four of us, the atmosphere was quite happy. Urshi and Kubar were both more talkative than usual, and shared the telling of some funny stories that could have happened nowhere else but this island. I had to admit to myself then that I had never felt so good about life, nor in better company since I had left the house I shared with my cousin. As Kubar was pouring out the cups of after dinner drink that seemed to be the norm here, there was a knock on the door frame. Bincy stood there for a moment, and Urshi motioned her to come in. As usual Bincy was much larger than anyone typically was. She looked like she was ready to float off at any minute as she waddled in, I noticed that her partially inflated legs vanished at the knee level and she came close to filling the wide doorway as she entered.

      “Good evening everybody,” Bincy chirped happily. “I just got back from East village.”

      Bimma looked surprised at that. “East village? At this time of year?”

      Kubar nodded. “Today was a day of unusual winds,” he said. “How long was the flight?”

      “Much longer than usual,” Bincy replied happily. “Because the winds were fickle for a time, we passed right over Deep Valley village, and that one is almost impossible this time of year. I thought we were going to be aloft until tomorrow, but the winds picked up and changed direction in time to get us home just a short while ago. I have mail for you Kubar.”

      Urshi poured out a cup of liquor for Bincy as she handed Kubar a leather pouch. She sat on an empty bench and sipped her cup as Kubar opened the pouch. Several packets of paper where there, all sealed with wax. Kubar handed one to Bimma, and one to Urshi. “From Trina,” he said by way of explanation. Bimma squealed happily as she broke her letter open and began to read.

      “Trina said to tell you how much she loves and misses you all,” said Bincy then. “I miss her a lot too, so I was really happy when we got to take the transport from Lagoon to East village. Trina and I were best friends.”

      “Bincy when are you going to settle down and have a baby?” Urshi asked her.

      “I can’t help it Urshi, I just love flying so much,” came back Bincy. “Yuri does too, but maybe not as much as me.”

      “Bincy, no one I know loves being a balloon more than you,” said Bimma absently still reading her letter from her sister.

      “Thank you Bimma, that is the nicest thing I have heard all day!” With that Bincy finished her drink and wished them all a good evening as she left.

      I sat there then sipping my drink while everyone read their mail. Then on an impulse I got up and went over to check on the lab, as I wanted to shut it down before sundown. I was happy that with the solar panels help it still had more than half a charge in the batteries. Kwon was there then looking at the computer display. I explained to him what the machine was doing, and showed him the display where we could look at the DNA profiles, and explained that this could give clues to what made people and the plants here so much different than the rest of the world. He listened with interest and nodded when I started explaining about chemical structures and the properties that could be very different from very similar compounds. He let me lecture him for a time, then excused himself and strolled off. By now the light was growing dim, so I shut the lab down and went back to the house. It was dark by now and the stars were out. The view of the sky was so much better here with the clear air and the lack of so much lighting that I was used to from city life.

      Bimma was still at the table happily re-reading the letter from her sister, and had a pad next to her where she had started to draft a reply. I came up behind her and started to rub her back. She was soft, yet very firm, like you would expect a partially inflated balloon to feel, and she made noises of contentment as I massaged her. “That feels so nice,” she said finally. “No one has rubbed my back since I was a child.”

      “Perhaps you should get used to it,” I suggested. “But I should probably be careful, I don’t want your parents to walk in and offend their sensibilities.”

      Bimma laughed at that. “Steven, I am a grown woman, and while my Father may pretend that isn’t so, my Mother certainly is aware of it! She made sure we all knew the facts of life long before we needed to do first hand research as it were.”

      “So where are your parents now?” I asked.

      “They need to have a talk with Numassa about the local politics,” she answered.

      “The local politics? Could that possibly have anything to do with you and me?”

      “Some if it probably will. Since my father has made the decision that we can marry, Numassa needs to be informed. Again because of the connections between villages, it is important that the chief be aware of what is going on with those that often serve as liaisons to the other villages. Also, one of the letters Father got had to do with a wedding that will be happening soon, and he and Mother, along with Numassa and Lisha must attend”

      “So where is the wedding, and do you have to go also?” I asked.

      “The wedding is at Sky village,” she answered, “and I have told Father that I really don’t want to go. Father will make some excuse for me, but he knows that I don’t want to see either of my two former suitors, and that I would rather stay with you. As yet, it wouldn’t be appropriate for you to attend, and you are not ready to fly yet anyway. I know at least two of my sisters will be there with their husbands, so our family will be well represented. Really there is no one special at Sky village that I want to see, although I would like to see my sisters again, but they will be here for our wedding.” She finished with a smile.

      “So are you telling Trina of our impending marriage?” I asked.

      “Of course, she is my sister. She will know not to share the information before Father makes it public, but I have not heard from Ayesha or Quona in a while, so I am always happy to write back when I get a letter from them. This is news that sisters would always share, we all were the first to know when Ayesha agreed to marry. We talked so late in the night that Mother had to keep yelling up into the sleeping room for us to be quiet. Try telling that to four excited girls!”

       I laughed at that and rubbed Bimma’s back some more as she wrote to her sister. After a moment I remembered something. “Your Mother said that news of my arrival was known all over the island within a week.”

      Bimma nodded as she wrote. “Probably less than that. There were two transport crews here on the day the word came to us that you were there on that beach. Even though they left here before we had made arrangements to bring you in, they surely carried word of a new arrival away with them. Since then news of your progress since coming here has also surely been talked about by other transport crews coming and going. Gossip is a major part of the communications here, as I have been told is quite common among cultures like ours. Secrets are only kept within families. Depending on how your research goes, and once James and Michael return to Sky village with news of what has been learned, you may well receive invitations to visit other villages and talk of your findings. This would not be uncommon, although I have no memory of it happening here, I have heard stories.”

      I thought about this as I continued to rub Bimma’s wide fat back.

      Kubar and Urshi returned shortly after that. “We shall be leaving in four days,” Kubar told us. “How far will your work have progressed by then?”

      “I think I will have some significant findings by then,” I replied, still rubbing Bimma’s back. “When is the wedding?”

      “The wedding is not for over a week, but the winds won’t be favorable until then, and are likely not to be favorable for travel to Sky village for days after, so we must travel when the gods favor us,” Kubar finished with a smile, showing no disapproval at my attention to Bimma.

      “How long does it take to get to Sky village?” I asked then.

      “With favorable winds and flying freely, as opposed to being part of a transport, the trip can be as little as one hour, but that is with strong winds. Such flights are not always pleasant. If I am right, we will have gentle winds in four days and the trip should take a few hours.”

      “What is the farthest distance between villages?” I asked curiously.

      “From here it is probably to East village. That becomes reasonable only during late in the low rainy season and high summer season when more winds blow out of the west. You were lucky the night we brought you here in that the storm came in from the west and thus made your transport easy, but most often the winds blow west to east at the seasons I told you. Even with favorable winds, it can take most of a day to get to East village, since as you may have heard Bincy say, the winds can be fickle in some places over this island. For this reason Deep Valley village can be a difficult trip because near there is where the winds are most fickle. You will learn much about it all when you have fully become a native I expect.” Kubar finished with a chuckle.

      Bimma walked me to the room that had become mine and gave me a kiss goodnight, and went off to float into the sleeping room. I was obviously still being affected by the change as the last thing I remembered was pulling the blanket over me, and  the sound of distant thunder. I awoke much later in the night to the sound of a powerful storm going on outside. The low eaves of the awning like projections over my window opening kept the rain out, but the wind blew chill into my room. I got up and took another blanket off the shelf and turned to go back to my hammock when Bimma came in the room, wrapped in a blanket just as a flash of lightning lit up the room and a rolling peal of thunder seemed to make the house shake.

      “Are you alright Steven?” she asked.

      “I’m fine, the storm woke me up and it is chilly in here, so I was getting another blanket,” I replied.

      “Can I stay here with you?” she asked. “This wind in the sleeping room is making it cold and uncomfortable.”

      I took her hand and led her over to the hammock and we snuggled under the blankets. Another flash of lightning and peal of thunder and she shivered. “Not a good night for balloons to be out,” I whispered to her and wrapped my arms around her.

      “I hate storms like this,” she said, and shivered again.

      With that she snuggled in closer to me and fell asleep, and I dozed off thinking how comfortable it was to have her so close. When I awoke again the rain was still pouring down, and the wind still bent the trees outside. It was early morning and Bimma was still lying comfortably with me under the blankets, and as she had told me happened, she felt smaller than the night before. I lay there and thought about all that had happened in the last almost a month. It would make a great fantasy tale I thought, except it was real. It was real. Add the fact that I was to be married to Bimma, and it made it even harder to believe. I felt like I had hit the lifetime lottery, and with that thought I dozed off yet again with Bimma in my arms.

      When we both finally woke up again it was still raining, but the wind had calmed and there was no further thunder and lightning. Bimma shifted in my arms under the blanket.

      “So this is what it is like to wake up with my husband,” she said sleepily. “I think I could get to like this.”

      “Hope no one walks in on us,” I remarked.

      “They won’t,” she assured me. “Since there is so little privacy here in so many ways, some courtesies are observed within a house. And so what if they did? We have done nothing for them to be concerned about.”

      “That is true, isn’t it?” I said then. “Guess we missed our opportunity.”

      She giggled at that. “We will have all the time in the world, soon enough.”

      With that she swung out of the hammock to stand and look down at herself. “This will not do at all,” she said then, and proceeded to inflate back to what I thought of as her normal size.

      “How do you know how big to get?” I asked, genuinely curious.

      “You just get a feel for where you are comfortable,” she answered. “I’m not sure when that happens, but I have known what feels right for me now for years. Of course it is different for everyone. You have noticed I am sure how much larger Bincy likes to be than most people.”

      I nodded and smiled at this. Bincy was obviously one of those people that liked being different I told Bimma.

      She laughed at this. “Yes, Bincy and my sister Trina were best friends, and Bincy has always been the way she is now. The building where your lab is was reconstructed years ago because of a boy that said he could get bigger faster than Bincy, which was foolish because women can always get big faster than men, but Bincy took him seriously and they both inflated themselves to where they knocked the walls out of the building and it collapsed.”

      “They were inside the building?” I asked incredulously.

      “Oh yes, but you must remember how young adults  can be, and that was the kind of challenge Bincy could not back down from. She was inflating almost before the last word of the challenge came out. The idea that they might get big enough to knock down the building never entered either of their minds. Bincy and the boy were disciplined seriously of course.”

      “What happened to the boy, and what sort of discipline was it?” I asked curiously.

      “His name is Yuri, and he is now her husband,” Bimma answered with a laugh.

      At that I had to laugh. “Love is a very strange thing sometimes,” I said, and gave Bimma a long kiss.

     “As for the discipline, they were made to drink a special herbal tea that makes you return to normal size and keeps you from inflating. It can take months to wear off. Bincy was absolutely miserable,” finished Bimma.

      For the first time since I had been staying in the house Kubar was actually at the table when Bimma and I came out to the kitchen area. He looked up briefly and nodded to us and went back to writing something on a pad in front of him. Urshi brought tea to us as we sat down and joined us.

      “Bimma has told me that you wish to write a letter to a relative to tell them you are alive and safe,” Kubar said then.

      “Yes, that is so,” I answered. “My cousin, who is my closest relative would surely be worried if she learned that I may have been lost at sea.”

      “If you write a letter, and can address it properly, it may be that I can see to it that it finds its way to the next visiting ship, and from there to the mail of the outside world,” he responded.

      “I don’t think I will get much done with the lab today, but I may see if there is enough power to continue the analysis we started, but that does not need any supervision. So I can take the time to write the letter,” I replied.

      Urshi brought us food then and we had a quiet breakfast.

      I went over to the building where the lab was, and was happy to discover that even though it was cloudy and raining, some power was being made by the solar panel, so I restarted the lab unit and it went back to work on the different tissue studies. It gave me an estimated time of completion for that afternoon, so I went back to the house and sat by Bimma at the table and began a letter to my cousin.

     While I wrote I thought about what Bimma had said about her thought that my cousin would be happy here. I realized as I thought about it that I had told Bimma everything about Laura, or Loona, and she was probably right. Loona had had a fetish for balloons and an inflation fantasy since we were kids. It was actually funny I thought, that her cousin was about to become a real human balloon while she was pretending it. But as I wrote, I decided not to go into that part of my new life. Some things need to be eased into I thought, and some things just have to be experienced. So I told Loona the truth about getting caught in the storm, and getting blown off course to an island that was not part of the program. I told her that I had found that this place was more interesting for me, and that the native people were wonderful, and I had decided to stay here. I hesitated then for a time, but decided that I needed to be honest with my only family member I was close to. So I told her about meeting Bimma, and told her she was the most beautiful woman I had ever known, and that I was going to marry her. I said she shouldn’t worry about me, but it was important that she know what had happened, and that meeting and marrying Bimma was why I really wanted to stay where I was.

      I re-read what I had written carefully. It seemed to say everything I needed it to.

      “Very nice letter Steven,” said Bimma from over my shoulder. “From Jeremy you can get an envelope, which you will need to send it to the mail outside.”

      “I was told that there was some sort of trading involved to compensate for the sending of the letters,” I said.

      “That is true,” said Urshi, “but Jeremy and Shara will also be going to the wedding as it involves one of her sisters that is getting married. The villagers of South and Lagoon villages have certain agreements with the captains of the rare ships that come which enable trading with them. Since the father of Shara is the shaman of South village, he will be able to see that your letter is sent properly. Though it seems a small thing, it is such connections that enable this thing that is very important to you.”

      I nodded at this and asked Bimma if she would take me to where Jeremy and Shara lived.

      Bimma led me out into the rain which had slowed to a drizzle by then, but the trees we walked under kept most of the rain off. It had warmed since last night’s chilly winds, and so was not unpleasant. It was not a long walk, and as usual, Bimma took my hand as we walked to the tidy structure where Jeremy and Shara lived. Bimma knocked on the door frame, and a young boy pulled back the drape and looked up at us.

      “Bimma!” he exclaimed happily. He turned into the house then, “Mom, Bimma is here with someone!”

      A moment later Shara was there, pulling back the drape and ushering us inside. Their home was smaller than Kubar’s, but very neat. Jeremy and a small girl sat at the table near the cozy warmth of the kitchen stove. Jeremy looked up as we came in.

      “Steven, Bimma, welcome! Please sit down,” he invited.

      So we sat, and I explained why we were there.

      Jeremy went to an area further back in the house and returned with two envelopes, one normal looking, and the other larger and of heavier material. He explained that such mails were better sent within heavier envelopes. He then instructed me to write to Loona with instructions on how to send mail back via the captain of whatever ship the mail might find its way back on.

      “It is a tedious way to communicate I will admit,” said Jeremy, “but as I have told you, very few ships stop here, and then only when they are in the right lanes. But over time the chiefs and others of South and Lagoon villages have formed some working relationships with the few ships that do come.”

      “What about compensation for the service?” I asked.

      “I shall take care of that,” put in Shara then. “I shall see my father at the wedding of my sister Neery, and he will take care of it.”

      “So you need nothing more from me?” I asked.

      “Let us just say Steven, that your credit is good with us,” said Jeremy with a smile.

      The boy and the girl sat at the table looking at us quietly when suddenly the girl piped up: “Are you the new person that got here like my Dad?”

     “Yes, that would be me.” I answered, “and what is your name?”

      “I’m Sheila, and this is my brother Thomas,” she replied.

      “I see,” I answered, “I am Steven, and you know Bimma.”

      “Is Bimma your girlfriend?” she asked then.

      Bimma blushed at that, but I told her: “Yes Sheila, Bimma is my girlfriend.”

      “You are so lucky,” said Thomas then.

      “Yes, I think you are right about that Thomas.” I said with a smile.

      “Enough children, you have chores to do, and then there is school,” said Shara to them then.

      “How does education work here?” I asked curiously.

      “At younger ages like for Sheila and Thomas there is a communal hut where they are taught the basics of reading and writing and basic math skills,” said Shara. “And as they progress they are encouraged to think about what interests them. We try to get an idea of inherent skills as they grow, and often we encourage them to pursue the things they find they are good at. At that point we have members of the community that provide more specialized education for them.”

     By now I had finished the instructions Jeremy told me to provide and placed the letter in the envelope  and addressed it. At his direction, I placed this in the larger envelope and wrote the same address on it.

      “The captain of the ship it goes out on will write the details of the ship on the back so it can be addressed for a return letter,” Jeremy explained. “But I am going to tell you once again that responses can take months.”

      “I can appreciate that, but if it gets through at all in a reasonable time, I will be happy,” I answered.

      “How are things progressing in the analysis?” asked Jeremy, changing the subject.

      “When last I checked the machine is still doing the DNA spectrum profiles, fortunately it seems that even on a cloudy day the solar panel makes some juice, so I restarted it this morning. It may be done by this afternoon sometime.” I answered.

      “That would be good,” replied Jeremy. “That way James and Michael can have some solid information to take back to Sky with them when we leave to go to the wedding.”

      “Are you going Bimma?”  Shara asked then.

      Bimma shook her head. “Between my parents and two of my sisters I think my family will be well represented,” she answered.

      “Bentar will be very disappointed you know,” Shara said.

      “Shara, you know quite well that I really do not care for Bentar. He is arrogant and very full of himself. The only thing that he is impressed with is himself, and the fact that he is the heir apparent to become the next chief of South village. The last time we met at a celebration he was like an octopus, only more slimy.” Bimma replied with some disgust.

      Shara laughed at that. “Yes, I can see that. My sister tells me that he has gotten no better, and she is happy to be marrying to Sky village.”

      “I think Neery will be happy to be away from South village,” said Bimma then, “and please do tell her that I wish her all the best and that I am sorry to not attend.”

      “I will do so Bimma,” Shara promised.

      We left then, and returned to the house of Kubar. James, Michael and Numassa sat at the table with Kubar with mugs of tea in front of them. Bimma and I sat down as Urshi joined us with more tea.

      “So, anything to report yet?” asked James.

      “It appears that the final analysis’ will be completed this afternoon,” I replied. “Then we will have some comparison work to do, but I think many questions will get answered today.”

      “Excellent, you have no idea how much this means to us,” said Michael excitedly. “Unanswered questions can be maddening.”

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                               XI

 

      That afternoon, as the rain continued to fall, we gathered around my lab unit and watched as the analysis patterns for everyone appeared on the screen. I carefully applied filters to remove non-relevant data, and the patterns became more simplified. Differences also became more obvious. The most obviously different pattern belonged to my profile that had been done before I had ever left America. Further inspection allowed us to identify the specific area of the DNA chain that was modified as again, my original pattern compared with my recent one showed the differences, most of which were the same in everyone else’s profile.

      “It appears you are right about one thing gentlemen,” I said then. “The DNA of everyone here has been altered quite dramatically in a few areas. Since the genome is still far from being accurately sequenced, it is anyone’s guess about how many areas of our anatomy and physiology have been affected. My guess would be that in addition to the obvious changes that you have pointed out, there are probably some much more subtle effects besides, like the shift in some organs functions to allow gas to absorb and be released through the respiratory system, and the function of being able to liberate hydrogen and helium from water and whatever other means in the body it is stored.”

      James and Michael were both smiling broadly. “We knew it was a plausible theory, but to have it confirmed like this is like winning a Nobel prize,” said James. “What are you doing now?” he asked, seeing me making adjustments to the display.

      I didn’t answer right away, only stared at the screen for a long moment.

      “Once again you seem to have been correct,” I told them. “I also added a couple of tissue samples from a few local fruits, such as those I ate when I first got here, and there is a specific RNA chain that is quite consistent with a virus. It is present in all of the samples.”

      “So then,” said James slowly, “once the virus is in your system, it appears that it moves very rapidly. It certainly doesn’t hurt that every time you eat, you ingest more of it, and since it promotes the change it does, naturally your body calls for more and more food. Once it gets started it appears that it is a one way trip. Once changed, you are changed forever, just like we thought.”

      “Are you saying you would actually want to change back?” asked Bimma incredulously.

      “I? No!” answered James, “but you have to understand Bimma, that when such ideas as this are examined, all questions you can think of to do with it must be asked, even if you may not like the answers.”

      “Such as,” put in Michael, “can a person be given a vaccine against the virus?”

      “Possibly,” I answered, “but I really don’t have any interest in investigating that; and besides, what purpose would that serve? Only to allow someone coming here to eat native food without the virus affecting them? I suspect that people from the ships have eaten the fruit from here on occasions, but never got the full effect because they did not have the reinforcement of eating it steadily for a period of days. It might be interesting to see if I can calculate just how much you have to ingest to ensure the change. I suspect that if you got enough in you, the change could be propagated if enough normal food was about to eat.”

      “So gentlemen,” I said then, “are you satisfied for the moment?”

      “Absolutely,” they responded together. “But,” went on Michael, “you do know we will probably come up with more questions that will require your help in answering?”

      At this I smiled. “I certainly hope so Michael, as I would hate for my skills, or even my desire to learn start to atrophy. But I have a few questions for you.”

      “Please, ask away,” said Michael.

      “In my time here, I have seen some people enlarge to some hugely impressive size, has anyone ever popped?” I asked.

      “Interesting that every new arrival asks this question,” said James then. “But I can tell you that no one here has ever heard of such a thing happening, nor did we ever find anything even remotely alluding to it in the histories. We can tell you that in our own investigations of ourselves that our skin doesn’t exactly take on the qualities of a balloon in a way in which you are familiar. What seems to be the case is that while your skin does become rubbery and resilient, the multi-cellular nature of your skin seems to become more homogenous, and when you are inflated, each cell becomes a tiny balloon in itself. This forms the outer layer of your skin which when inflated becomes quite thick with gas, then the inflation effect seems to become more internal.  Which is why, even if you should somehow become cut or wounded while inflated, only tiny amounts of gas escape from the localized area along with blood of course.”

       “Very interesting,” I said, “as the getting wounded question was what I was going to ask next. I also have heard that there are a number of things that can affect the ability both internal and external.”

      James laughed out loud at that. “Oh yes,” he said after a moment. “The most obvious being an adrenaline rush; can have you in the air very quickly. Pregnant women have all sorts of things affected by the condition, and go about in a state of imminent floating for the duration, like any normal person, hormones and the things that stimulate them can affect us. There are even certain local herbs that can affect it, in either a positive or negative way.”

      “I think when we have time again I would like to possibly start to do some cataloging of such things, as well as the different effects under certain circumstances,” I said then.

      “Actually,” put in Michael, “there already are some such catalogs, at least as far as local herbs and the like. The shamans have made quite a study of such things since the founding of this place.”

      I looked at Bimma, and she nodded at this. “My Father would be able to tell you much,” she said.

      “A project for later, doing an analysis of the different herbal properties of plants unique to this island could prove very useful,” I said very thoughtfully.

      “Indeed it would, and we offer our collaborative assistance,” said James. “But for now we are very happy that you have verified our theory of modified DNA as the cause of the unusual adaptation of the people here. We must be leaving for Sky village as soon as the winds are right for travel, but please accept our deepest appreciations for your work.”

     “Very happy to help,” I said as we shook hands all around. I then printed copies of all the profile analysis’ for them to take with them.

      We returned then to Kubar’s house, and he insisted we all have a drink and tell him all the details of our findings. When we were finishing with my mentioning the possibility of doing an analysis of the local plants and herbs, he looked surprised. “Now that is something that I had not thought of, and it may well be much more important than your explanation for why we are different. After we return from the wedding we shall discuss this at length.”

      James, Michael, and Jeremy excused themselves then, as Urshi began to prepare for the evening meal. Bimma appeared to be very happy as she bounced up to help her Mother with dinner. By then the skies had cleared, and a warm breeze was blowing through the house.

      “It seems that the winds are shifting sooner than I expected,” Kubar said then to Bimma and me. “We are likely going to leave tomorrow afternoon if conditions appear right. Bimma will keep an eye on you,” he said with a smile.

      Bimma giggled at that as she put dinner on the table and sat down next to me.

      Not long after dinner I was tired, so I excused myself and went to the room that had become mine. I was asleep quickly, but awoke later to find Bimma climbing into the hammock beside me.

“I was trying not to wake you,” she whispered.

      “Kind of hard with a hammock,” I laughed as I slid over to make more room for my fat girlfriend.

      She pulled a blanket over us and snuggled in, and I gave a lick and a kiss to the nipple of the enormous breast I found in my face. Bimma giggled at that. “There will be plenty of time for getting to know each other much better after tomorrow,” she whispered, and kissed me.

     The morning came with clear skies and warm breezes coming from the west. As we came into the kitchen/dining area Urshi greeted us happily and even gave me a kiss on the cheek. She poured tea for us and fussed about the kitchen making breakfast.

     “Your Mother seems awfully happy this morning,” I whispered to Bimma.

      “Mother loves weddings, and she has not traveled in a while so she is probably looking forward to just getting away for a bit,” Bimma told me.

      Urshi was putting another breakfast with many choices on the table when Kubar came in rubbing his eyes. “We shall leave early this afternoon,” he told us as he sat down and helped himself to some breakfast.

      “I will be ready,” Urshi told him.

      After breakfast I went over to the lab and saw to it that it was still recharging. I rechecked some of the things I had gone through quickly the day before, and once satisfied I went for a walk around a bit. By now being the only normal sized person in a community of human balloons didn’t really seem to bother me much. Of course at some point I was going to become like them I reminded myself. I wondered what it would feel like when it happened. By now I had wandered into the clearing where Bimma had demonstrated her ability to me. I was looking up at the netting above when I saw a large shadow rising up from the area where we had seen the transport land before. It was another transport, and as I watched the round shadows above grew larger and larger, and it gained altitude. At a point where I suspected it cleared the tree line the wind began to move it in an eastward direction, and it was out of sight from where I stood in minutes. Even though I knew this was common here, it still had a surreal quality to it.

      As I turned to head back down the path three young girls were coming up toward the clearing. They appeared to be teenagers and were laughing and giggling as they approached. They smiled and greeted me. I smiled back and introduced myself as Steven and told them I was the new arrival.

      “We know who you are,” said one. “We see you with Bimma all the time.” She then introduced herself as Lissy, and her friends were Lora, and Zena.

      “Pleased to meet you,” I said then, noticing that as young girls they were not nearly so large as I was used to seeing people be here. “So what are you girls up to?” I asked then.

      “This place is for fun and practice,” said Zena, “so once school was done we decided to come up here.”

      “Practice?” I asked, confused.

      “We have to work at getting big,” said Lora then by way of explanation.

      As she said this Lissy closed her eyes and appeared to concentrate, and slowly started to expand. In a minute she had boobs that any exotic dancer would envy, and after a minute more she was the size of a sumo wrestler, and still she inflated. Lora and Zena had stepped away and began concentrating themselves, and in a space of two minutes all of them were drifting lazily away from the ground laughing and giggling. Even as they rose up to be stopped by the net above they continued to inflate themselves. I smiled up at them and waved as I turned and went down the path back to the village. So now I understood what this area was made for I thought as I walked.

      Bimma met me partway down the path with a disapproving look on her face. “So where have you been?” she scolded me. “I have been looking for you!”

      “Just went for a walk,” I told her, “and I don’t think you have to worry about me getting too much unwanted attention, unless you are concerned about teenage girls. In fact, they just gave me a learning experience.”

      “What do you mean?” she asked suspiciously.

      “I just watched as they explained about this area up there being for fun and practice. I had wondered just what it was for, and they explained to me about having to learn how to put the ability into practice and use it.”

      “I would have explained all of that to you,” she answered back.

      “Yes, but sometimes it is better to find out on your own,” I returned. “Please don’t worry so much Bimma, there is no one I am going to find more interesting here than you.”

      That seemed to mollify her, and she took my hand and led me back to the village telling me: “Mother and Father are getting ready to leave, so we must walk with them to see them off.”

     On our arrival back at the house we found Kubar and Urshi placing things in what appeared to be knapsack like affairs, but with some elaborate straps made of the same material that the native skirt like garments were made of. I presumed these were to allow for carrying things while flying. On the heels of this thought, another occurred to me that I had been meaning to ask.

      “Kubar,” I said then, “do you have some sort of razor I can use? I am tired of this scruffy beard I have been growing.”

      Kubar regarded me for a moment and then smiled. “You won’t need a razor soon enough,” he told me.

      “What do you mean?” I asked.

      “Steven,” he said then, “since your arrival here, have you seen anyone with a beard, or any facial hair at all?”

      I shook my head mutely.

      “Another aspect of our uniqueness is that we have no body hair except on our heads and our eyebrows,” he explained to me. “By the time the change has fully manifested in you, all your body hair will have fallen out too.”

      I stared at him a moment, and unconsciously my hand reached down the front of my skirt to feel around  down there. What I felt told me that I was as clean down there as if I had been waxed. I looked down and my legs, while tan, were equally devoid of any hair, an inspection of my armpits proved the same to be true.

      The look on my face must again have been priceless as Bimma and Urshi erupted in gales of laughter at my self-inspection. An instant later Kubar joined them, and after a bit I had to laugh as well. I briefly wondered how many other oddities would show themselves to do with this.

      Kubar and Urshi finished with what items they were putting in what I was thinking of as their travel bags and Bimma again took my hand as we walked across the village to the path leading to the clearing and then on up to where flights seemed to begin and end. As we cut across the clearing I looked up to see Lissy, Lora, and Zena still up there, larger now than before. They waved to us as we walked through and I heard one yelling to the others: “My boobs are bigger than yours!...............” Urshi shook her head and looked down at her own massive boobs, “children,” she said, and I had to laugh.

      We arrived at the open area with its view of the village from one side and the vast open expanse of the island looking east to find Numassa with Lisha, and James and Michael already there. Like Kubar and Urshi, they also had travel bags with them.

      “Good to see you one last time,” said James, coming up and shaking my hand. “We are just waiting on Jeremy and Shara.”

      Within minutes Jeremy and Shara waddled up. They all then pulled the straps of their baggage over and around them in a way I could see wouldn’t allow them to come off once they had inflated. Then as pairs, they attached tether lines to each other, Kubar and Urshi, James and Michael, Numassa and Lisha, and Jeremy and Shara. This I watched with interest, and it made some sense to me, but I was curious about one thing, so I asked Bimma: “Why do they attach in pairs? Wouldn’t it make more sense to bind everyone together?”

      “If the winds become fickle, it would be easier to entangle everyone if they were all tied together,” she explained. “As pairs it is much easier to avoid this problem.”

       I was thinking about this as all the travelers began to enlarge and become rounder. I noticed that even the men became massively busty as they grew larger and larger. As I was told would happen, the women all became well inflated faster, and all had left the ground before the men. But after a moment more, all of them were airborne. They inflated themselves yet more, and rose higher into the sky. As they approached the level of the trees canopy, they began to move eastward. Higher still they rose and the winds effect became more pronounced as they moved away from the village faster now. They seemed to reach both a cruising altitude and speed and we watched as they grew smaller in the distance. Bimma took my hand then and we turned and went back down the path.

      “Did you want to go to the wedding?” I asked as we walked, “tell the truth.”

      “I would have liked to see my sisters,” she answered, “but no, the wedding held not a lot of appeal for me. I would have seen a lot of people I knew, yes, but really I want much more to be here with you. Now it is just us here. What do you think of that?”

      I answered without any hesitation: “I think that is what I have wanted since I knew I wanted you to be my wife.”

      So we walked slowly back to the village still holding hands. I kept looking up at the sky as we walked, although I knew those just departed were long out of view. I began to wonder about some things then.

      “What are you thinking about Steven?” Bimma asked.

      “I was trying to imagine what it is like to just be able to rise up in the air and go where the winds take you.” I answered slowly. “The view from up there looking down as the land passes beneath you must be an incredible thing. I am also trying to imagine what it is like to just be floating like you do when you get inflated to where you leave the ground. In a way it is scary to me, the idea of just drifting upward like that with nothing supporting you.”

      “Yes, it is a bit scary when you do leave the ground for the first time,” she told me, “but that is why we created those places with the high nets so you can get over your early shock and fear. Even though we know it will happen to us from seeing it happen as children, and of course we look forward to that time when we inflate the first time, the thrill of your first drifting in the air is still unnerving to say the least.”

      “Tell me about your first time,” I asked.

      “I was 15, almost 16 when I inflated the first time,” she said. “For girls it usually happens at a slightly younger age. The first time you inflate it is a very strange feeling through your whole body, even though you know it is going to happen, and of course friends that it happened to first tell you what it felt like, but still that doesn’t prepare you adequately. The first time you inflate is like your body adjusting to it, and I have never heard of anyone leaving the ground in their early inflations, almost like your body has to get stretched out a bit. Quona and I were up in the sleeping room, and she was playing by working at inflating different parts of herself, which takes a lot of practice by the way, and I was looking on all envious as it hadn’t happened to me yet. So she was blowing up her belly and boobs in front of the mirror to see what she might look like when she got pregnant someday. So I was sulking on the other side of the sleeping room, which I had to climb up to by the way, and because my back was turned, I didn’t see Trina come floating up into the sleeping room. Just so you know, Trina was always the one among us that would play practical jokes and pranks. She apparently sized up the situation and decided that I needed a good scare, so she shrieked as loud as she could, which actually brought neighbors over to see what happened. For me it was a sudden chill down my back and suddenly I was laying on my back with my legs blowing up under me and my boobs and belly thrusting out in front of me, my ass pushed me up from the floor, and I just lay there not realizing for a moment what had really happened. My sisters where laughing so hard at me as I was trying to make sense of what was going on. When I got to my senses and after some effort actually righted myself I was very angry at first, but then they came over and hugged me, and told me how happy they were that it had finally happened for me, so I was able to forgive them quickly. I was actually happy now that I finally had inflated, and they encouraged me to get bigger. I didn’t actually float that day, but I did, with their encouragement, work at inflating different parts of myself, and enjoying the feeling. They were very happy for me, and after I got over the initial shock, I was quite happy myself.”

     “That night Mother made a little celebration for me, like she had done for my sisters when it had happened to them. It is like your passage into adulthood here. That is when Father took down the ladder to the sleeping room as an incentive to get me to learn to float of course. Since he told us he was doing that the next day Trina and Quona took me to that practice area to work at it. As I worked at getting bigger and bigger they would shout down to me from the net how lovely the view was from up there, but I was still a little scared by the idea. So Quona came down and kept encouraging me to get a little bigger each time, but it seemed like I couldn’t quite get there until she started boasting that her boobs and ass were so much bigger than mine, and I was always going to be the littlest balloon in the family because I was the youngest. That set me off enough that I must have concentrated really hard at that moment and I suddenly felt myself stretch what felt like an impossible amount, but suddenly I was rising very quickly, not the slow drift upwards that you have seen, I really ballooned in a big way and rose straight up with Trina cheering me on from above me. I hit the net hard enough to stretch it upward, and then Quona came up and joined us. They both told me how proud they were of me then, and we just drifted around up there the rest of the day while I practiced getting smaller, and then bigger again.”

      As she was telling me this I was trying to imagine it as it happened. The story had an amusing quality to it, and the only thing missing for my imagination was not being able to put faces on either of Bimma’s sisters. I told her this, and that I would like very much to meet her sisters.

      “Actually it is interesting,” she said then, “both Ayesha and myself more closely resemble Mother, while Trina and Quona seem to favor my Father. Of course when we are inflated we all resemble Mother,” she finished with a laugh.

      “How does your Father know about the weather and the winds?” I asked then.

      “It is part of the art of the shaman to know such things,” she answered. “I know that till now you have mostly seen the side of my Father that has to deal with relations between people, and of course he has told you of some of the politics he must deal with, but his knowledge of the herbs and plants native to here is quite vast, as with any of the village shamans. They do share such knowledge you know. The predicting of weather and winds is an art as well, he must spend time each day aloft to feel the patterns of the winds and weather. It is an ability that you are born with somewhat, but it also has to be practiced to master it.”

      “So from what I have been able to gather so far, the position of village chief is passed by heredity,” I said then.

      Bimma nodded at this as we walked. “If the chief has no sons, then the shaman and elder members of the village convene and select the best possible available men of the village as potential husbands for the oldest unmarried daughter of the chief in the event of his death. If he is old but still healthy, he himself may select a husband for his daughter, with the approval of the shaman and the elders, and he will become the next chief if the man and the daughter agree to marry. The shaman of the village however, is not a hereditary role. The shaman must identify those that have the gift of being able to read the winds and weather, and must be bright enough to appreciate the knowledge of the nature of this island and its plants and herbs as well. To that end he must select some apprentices and train them. This is something he does not speak about to anyone but them, so I have no knowledge of how this works, but I know that my Father has several apprentices. At a time when he becomes either too old, or desiring to pass along his position, Father will name his successor. Of course he and Mother, as well as his daughters will still be accorded the status of the position that he performed for his life.”

      “Can you read the winds Bimma?” I asked then.

      “Yes, I have inherited the gift,” she answered slowly, “and at least one of my sisters as well, but the office of shaman is held by a man in our culture. Many women here have knowledge and gifts, but we share them in a more humble fashion. While my Father has great knowledge of the herbs and plants, most healing is administered by women at his direction. Women here exert their influence quietly, but we do have some profound effects, and we are not a culture where a woman’s life is dictated by the men. We do have choices about many things. Such as: I made clear that I did not wish to be married to either of the two men that were quite insistent with both me and my Father.”

      “Your Father loves you very much,” I said then.

      Bimma laughed. “Yes he does, and I am very lucky to have such wonderful parents as I do. He could have pressured me and my sisters to marry the men he felt were the best choices, but Father has never let politics stand in the way of our happiness, and if he did I think Mother would not be so interested in being such a good wife to him.”

      “Urshi is a very good woman I think,” I said.

      “Yes, Mother is a very good woman, and a very good wife, just like I will be,” she replied with a smile.

      “I am absolutely certain of that,” I said with a smile, and then I put my arms around her and gave her a long kiss.

      She returned the kiss even though by now we were in the central area of the village. I really didn’t care though, I wanted my fat fiancé to know that I was not concerned about any secrecy about how I felt. When we ended the kiss she looked around to see who might have been about before looking back up at me. “So, not concerned about proprieties now?” she asked with an impish smile.

      “Not really, I wanted you to know that I am happy and don’t care who knows that it is you I am happy to be with, and I don’t care who can see it,” I answered.

      “Well then, we should go home. It will be dinner time soon, and I can make us an early dinner.”

      We stopped on the way to check on my lab unit, which I had running a second analysis to double check on what I had already learned. It seemed that the results were consistent with what we had thought, and I was well on my way to being a human balloon. I still wasn’t sure how I felt about that, but I was feeling better than I had in years. Of course, I thought, Bimma probably has a lot to do with that. With that we walked back to her parent’s home.

      I restarted the fire in the small stove in the kitchen area while Bimma went out to the family garden and brought in vegetables for dinner. I came over to help her, and told her that in my world men would often help out with the cooking, but she would have none of it.

      “Leave me to this Steven,” she told me. “I want to do this and know what it feels like to be a good wife. Go pour yourself a drink and relax. You have made a lot of people happy lately, so you should just let me take care of this.”

      So I went over to the large dining table, sat down, and did what I was told while Bimma busied herself in the kitchen. The dinner Bimma prepared was as good as I had had so far in the house of Kubar, so I naturally remarked on how much I was enjoying it, and that her cooking was as good as her Mothers.

      “Of course Steven,” she replied. “From whom do you think I learned to cook?”

      Following our dinner we sat at the table and talked more. I told her more about my life and my growing up, and she told me about growing up here with her sisters. Sharing ourselves this way just seemed to be an easy thing just then, and I suddenly found myself nodding into my cup.

      “I think that it is time for you to sleep again Steven,” I heard Bimma telling me. “Very soon this feeling of being so tired will pass, but it must run its course.”

      Thinking at that moment that I had anticipated a more enjoyable evening than just passing out I raised my head to argue, but my vision at that moment would not focus, and I realized that she was right. I let her lead me to my room and had a final memory of a long kiss goodnight before I was asleep again.

 

 

© Copyright  2013   BTBLL

0
Average: 3.3 (4 votes)
Login or register to tag items