ENTRY ONE HUNDRED AND TWO:
Here is a transcript of part of the interview with An-Paj, which I recorded for posterity.
JEMMY: So, Master An-Paj. What's it like having six wives all at once?
AN-PAJ: It can get a little complicated from time to time. Usually it works quite well. Once you get into a routine the household runs smoothly and then having six wives is no more different to having just one.
JEMMY: It must be tiring at night.
JEMMY: Having to work nights.
AN-PAJ: What? Oh, yes. Sometimes. It's usually not too bad at nights. Most emergencies tend to happen during the day and the patients are mainly asleep at night.
JEMMY: Don't your wives mind?
JEMMY: That you work nights some times. You know…that you're unavoidably detained from 'household duties'.
AN-PAJ: Like maintenance? Plumbing, those sort of things?
JEMMY: Maintenance, yeah. Responsibilities…
AN-PAJ: I tend to leave that sort of things to my wives.
JEMMY: When you are at the infirmary there's a sort of unofficial pecking order. You at the top and Simeon at the bottom.
AN-PAJ: I've never really thought about it before. I suppose to an extent that's correct. It's probably more to do with seniority and experience than anything else.
JEMMY: You have must have a lot of experience.
JEMMY: With six wives.
JEMMY: I mean, is there a pecking order at home?
AN-PAJ: Oh! Er, maybe there was to start with but not too much these days. Everyone knows their place and where they fit in.
JEMMY: Are you on top or underneath?
AN-PAJ: I…er… (He blushed here! Yay!)
JEMMY: In the pecking order.
AN-PAJ: Well, whilst I am the head of the household I suppose my wives do have the final say on family issues.
JEMMY: I see. There is a worry about how tiredness affects the performance of people that work in a medical capacity. Do you think your performance has been affected?
AN-PAJ: Maybe occasionally (He blushed again!). But in stressful situations I call on the force.
JEMMY: Does that help?
AN-PAJ: Most definitely. It guides me when making important decisions.
JEMMY: Like which of your wives to take out to dinner and…stuff.
AN-PAJ: I'm afraid my family and I don't tend too dine out very much.
AN-PAJ: It's too expensive with all those mouths to feed. Also, there's the 'lack of time' factor.
JEMMY: So being a healer does affect your social 'activities'?
AN-PAJ: I suppose it does. I don't miss socialising too much.
JEMMY: Don't your wives mind the lack of time you take with them?
AN-PAJ: They're used to it, I think.
JEMMY: What do you look for in a padawan healer?
AN-PAJ: That's an interesting question…an inherent ability to communicate at all levels, Natural compassion. Instinct, a love of learning and understanding. And above all patience.
JEMMY: You've not really described Simeon to me there…nevermind. So is all the above what you look for in a wife?
AN-PAJ: All my wives are sisters to each other, They are different personality wise.
JEMMY: So it was like get one, get the others free? Six in a pack?
AN-PAJ: Not exactly…
JEMMY: Why is the infirmary kept so cold? Is it really to kill off the malingerers or is it because the healers are stingy and want to save on heating bills?
AN-PAJ: Neither! (laughs) That is a scandalous tale spread by generations of padawans who fall into our clutches…er, come into our care.
JEMMY: So is cold beneficial?
AN-PAJ: Well, it stops nasty bacteria from spreading and multiplying as much as it would in hotter conditions.
JEMMY: Is it cold in your apartment?
AN-PAJ: Not especially, why?
JEMMY: I wondered if you applied any of the infirmary practises at home.
AN-PAJ: I believe that something useful can be learned from every situation and something beneficial taken from it.
JEMMY: So for example, your wives don't starch the bed sheets or linen like the infirmary does?
AN-PAJ: You seem rather preoccupied with my wives if you don't mind me saying.
JEMMY: I'm interested. I've never known anyone else who is married with six wives all at once. So, what happens if wife No.1 puts starch in the sheets, then No.2 puts starch in the sheets, then wife No.3 puts…
AN-PAJ: I get the picture.
JEMMY: That's a lot of starch.
AN-PAJ: Our laundry goes to the internal temple cleaning service.
JEMMY: That's good. Starch can be very 'restricting'. What about the infirmary food? How do you rate that?
AN-PAJ: It's very nutritious, I'm sure.
JEMMY: But not very nice to eat.
AN-PAJ: It's perhaps not as popular with the patients as we would wish but we are not in the business to be popular.
JEMMY: I think you've succeeded on that one. Do your wives do the cooking at home?
AN-PAJ: They do the cooking. I'm not sure if all of them like it.
JEMMY: So you make your wives do something they don't like?
JEMMY: Don't you think that marriage and slavery are one and the same?
AN-PAJ: Absolutely not! I've never forced my wives to marry me! That's a very cynical view of marriage for such a young lady.
JEMMY: I'm for the abolition of marriage, I've just decided. It's an out-moded concept and not relevant in today's society. People should just bunk in together and do what they want.
AN-PAJ: How old are you??? Don't let Qui-Gon hear you say that! Any other questions?
JEMMY: What's been your most embarrassing moment?
AN-PAJ: In the infirmary or with my wives? (I detect sarcasm here)
AN-PAJ: Not answering.
AN-PAJ: Because I know you! Anything I say will be taken down and used in evidence against me!
JEMMY: Rats! It must be nice to see the people you treat getting better again.
AN-PAJ: Depending on the person…some people are no sooner out the door and then they are back in again! (I wonder who he could mean, huh Ben?) It's very satisfying and moving on a personal level.
JEMMY: So which is more satisfying? Working in the infirmary with Ferdi or being at home with your wives? Are they satisfied?
Well, the rest of the conversation sorta went the same way. By my reckoning I got An-Paj to blush a total of fourteen times!
ENTRY ONE HUNDRED AND THREE:
I wrote a flimsy 'wish' letter to Ben and Quiggy today. They're not supposed to read it though. It was just to bring them some luck.
Nadine always says that if you wanted something to go well or happen for you, the best way was to write it down on a scrap of flimsy and put it under your pillow at night. I don't know how this is supposed to work. The fact that Nadine ended up on Nargotria in the first place leaves me thinking it doesn't work too well…anyhow. This was how the letter went.
Dear Ben and Quiggy (I suppose I ought to call you Master Jinn incase it doesn't work),
I hope you are both well and aren't hurt at all. I know that going on past experience (and from speaking to Masters Windu and Berlingside) that this is unlikely. Even An-Paj says he's reserved two beds for you in the infirmary! I just don't want to see you in any discomfort, so I hope that you are safe and not missing any vital bits. I also hope that you haven't been too scared or upset by anything that might have happened to you. I get scared a lot when I wake up from nightmares or when I remember something not very nice that's happened to me and especially when I get worried you might not ever come back. I'm scared right now, actually. So I hope you are okay.
You'd better be getting lots of food, wherever you are because Ben's always hungry and he won't like it if he can't eat all the time! So I hope you've got lots of food and drink and that you find the mission interesting. I don't want you dying of boredom. Above all I hope you're not too sad at being away from the temple for so long and that you aren't missing me like I miss you. So much has happened since you both went. Not all of it was good, but I've met Evla and she's looking after me right now. We've become really good friends and I'm happy with her so please don't worry about me.
* I put this under my pillow like Nadine suggested. I hope it works out and they come back home soon.
ENTRY ONE HUNDRED AND FOUR:
I had another dream last night. I wouldn't say it was a nightmare like the kind I normally have, although it was spooky. Having said that I did wake up all shaky and confused.
In it I saw my mother. This is strange because I don't think I've ever dreamt of her since she died. She was searching for something…I don't know what it was. We walked everywhere looking for whatever it was, in the kitchens, the bedrooms and even the cellar. My usual dreams about the cellar aren't very nice but I knew I was safe because mama was with me. All the time she kept dragging me by the hand, urging me to help her. I kept asking her just what was so important, yet not really wanting to know because I was so pleased to have her back with me. Then somehow we ended up on Kilmartra's cliffs - and I had to pull back. I didn't want to go there again. That's when I woke up.
I knew it was all a dream but I was still upset that I had to leave my mother behind. I wasn't crying out or screaming like I sometimes do but Evla still knew I was distraught and came into my room to give me a hug. I closed my eyes and pretended it was mama. I still miss her.
She had lovely hair and a pretty smile. I'll always remember her red lips. When I'm older I'm going to wear lip-gloss too. I know she loved Todd more than me but that didn't mean I didn't love her.
Even though it was sad to wake up and find she wasn't there I was so pleased that it wasn't the usual dreams with Levinstowe in them.
I don't usually like a lot of fuss made of me after I have a nightmare but I couldn't begin to tell Evla how much that hug meant to me. I guess I've become very fond of her.
ENTRY ONE HUNDRED AND FIVE:
I thought I'd try to explain to Evla about what happened in my dream (I didn't want to seem ungrateful or anything) but the words got stuck in my throat like they usually do. I only got as far as explaining that I was searching with my mother when I just suddenly threw my arms round Evla and blurted out "I love you" at the top of my voice. I was embarrassed but Evla just hugged me right back and told me that was just as well, seeing as she loved me too.
See, I know what my mother was trying to get me to find now. She was trying to bring Evla and me together. I still want Master Jinn and Ben home safe as soon as possible but now I know that whilst they are away I've got a place with someone who cares for me as much as I care for them.