In our class discussion, we touched a bit a theme about “courage” (306). To that extent, I want to elaborate this focus in terms of the community where Agnes lives and Kai’s courage. There is a difference approach of how the community and Kai as an individual moves forward to overcome their past trauma. The community gains its courage from external factor, while Kai is driven by his internal desire.
Before Kai’s visit to the village, the local people hesitate to dig out the tragedy that hit Agnes’ family. Moreover, the hesitation also relates to the fact that this community has a sense of strong kinship that they prioritize solidarity within its own members. It is clear that every individual in that society has his or her own thoughts on Agnes’ tragedy, as “[…] in telling another’s story, they (the people) told their own (306).” Different story versions show how these people have been longing to tell what’s in their hearts, but to maintain the solidarity and not to intervene with Agnes’ personal matters. The courage to talk about the memory of past itself does not come out as the result of their initiatives, but it is because Kai who asks them to explain.
In contrast, Kai decides to talk and overcome his trauma about the bridge incident and his love life with Mamakay because he has come to realize that moving forward from the hurtful memory is one way to get out of that trauma and not being trapped in the same circumstance that will hinder him to encounter new experiences in life. Kai’s love to Mamakay and his courage to defeat the fear and trauma of his past leads him to acquire the initiative to overcome them. Moreover, Kai does not want to lose the sight and memory of him and Mamakay that he is willing to take care and raise Mamakay’s daughter, regardless the fact the she is Adrian’s child, not Kai’s. As Kai admits, “I loved her (Mamakay). I love her (423),” he clearly expresses a genuine love towards Mamakay that he even sees the girl’s laugh as “whole, pure, and absolute (443),” just like Mamakay. The girl’s reflection of her mother gives peaceful feeling to Kai in order to relieve his trauma (when he found out that the girl is not his daughter) even though he has never been in an official relationship with Mamakay.