PROJECT L.E.L., -Year 20

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Murray Kibblewhite

Copyright 2013 by Murray Kibblewhite

“So you are in your own home and you’re expecting?” Belinda asked, smiling as she watched her friend ease herself carefully into her chair.

Jenny grinned, patting her extended stomach and replied, “Yes, he’s coming along well!”

“So you have chosen to know the gender and not wait until birth?” Michael asked as the three of them settled down for lunch at the Happy Café, a Chinese restaurant.

“I had to know so we could buy the right clothes and things.” Jenny explained.

As the two women conversed in Mandarin, Michael reflected on the past that had led to the catch-up meeting. Two years before he had employed both of them in anticipation of increased export business with China. However, there was insufficient work to keep them both busy. Jenny had been completing her Masters and was looking forward to getting married.

But Belinda had quite a different past! Both girls had approached life differently for their learning’s.

“That’s not the worst thing!”  Belinda grinned at Michael, raising her voice over the noise of the squealing wheels of the train.

“You have some strange stories.” Michael replied looking at her animated face. She was enjoying reminiscing about her early life in Chengdu. They both had attended a conference in Manukau City, stayed on for an early meal and now were riding back to Auckland Central.

“Then my sister and I used to dare each other.” Belinda continued reveling in the ridiculous antics they had got up to. “Like what?” Michael could not help but ask.

“Well. Once she said I couldn’t climb a tree and put my hat on the top branch!” She grinned again at the memory. “And she dared me to get it down again!”

“So what happened?” Michael probed.

“The branch broke – and I fell.” Belinda’s face twitched recalling the shock and pain of the incident.

“Good Lord. What stupid girls you were!” Michael interjected. “And what sort of sister would you have to do such silly things?”

“She’s my twin!”

All the dishes had arrived and as Jenny was serving out portions to Belinda and Michael she observed, “Yes Ben had PR so I got it automatically when we got married.”

Michael rubbed the chopsticks together to clear off any loose splinters before taking his first mouthful. As a vegan he was careful in selecting only vegetables, leaving the meat for the girls.

“I have to wait another two years until I am eligible to apply for Permanent Residency living   with Tom.” Belinda responded in a matter of fact way.

“Two years/” Jenny stared at her friend in semi disbelief.  “Why two years?”

“Yeah, why two years? “ Michael repeated.

“I have to wait because Tom’s last girl friend got PR by being sponsored by him three years ago.” Belinda replied and then continued, “And there has to be a five year break before he can sponsor me!”

“So when does your present visa expire?” Michael asked.

“In fifteen months, so I am nine months short!” Belinda replied soulfully.

‘So what are you going to do to stay in New Zealand?” Jenny inquired, her face expressing concern.

“I’ll have to go back to Uni.” Belinda replied.

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