Teh-Mah
By: Gabriella Balcom

Tall, red-headed Thelma,
---------pilot for Our Flights Are A Delight, Inc.,

caught her boyfriend cheating
---------and confronted him. "You horrid rat-fink,

you swore true love to me,
---------but it was a lie and you're a snake!

I trusted you for nothing
---------and it's brought me only heartache."

Ignoring all of his excuses
---------and pleas, she ran into a bathroom.

She wanted—needed—space
---------to breathe and deal with her gloom.

Wondering if she'd ever
---------find timeless love and someone true,

Thelma fought back tears
---------and wished she could start life anew.

Eventually, she wiped her eyes and
---------squared her shoulders. In the light rain

outside, she looked at her ultralight,
---------one-of-a-kind, single-prop airplane.

Longing to hear it purr,
---------she also yearned for happiness and love.

What always soothed her
---------was soaring high in the blue sky above.

So, after climbing into her plane,
---------Thelma fired it up and off she flew.

She planned to refuel as the need arose,
---------and continue day and night through.

While flying, she thought back
---------over her life, but all she recognized

were dullness and monotony.
---------She'd followed routines she'd despised.

Hours passed but she kept going.
---------Her destination didn't really matter.

What she wanted was peace of mind,
---------but she felt herself getting even sadder.

To Thelma's surprise and chagrin,
---------a warning light on the dash flashed, then lit up,

and the plane began to lose power.
---------Could she land? Or would she crash and blow up?

In one direction she saw
---------tropical rain forests down below—

in the other, a wide river
---------moved with a volatile, churning flow.

Then she noticed a clearing,
---------and somehow managed to safely land.

Disembarking from her plane,
---------she got on her knees, and kissed the sand.

Tired, hungry, and uncertain,
---------Thelma pulled out her emergency pack.

Rummaging around inside, she found
---------gum, granola bars, and jerky in the back.

But an unexpected rustling sound
---------caught her attention and she stiffened.

Spear-carrying aborigines appeared
---------and she worried her life might still end.

Thank God she had a gun with her,
---------and from her pack she grabbed the Glock.

Aiming the weapon with alacrity,
---------she tried a different weapon first: talk.

"I mean you no harm at all,"
---------Thelma said, keeping her finger on the trigger.

Then a huge, dark-haired man
---------stepped forward. She'd never seen one bigger.

Speaking in another language,
---------he gestured at the aircraft there behind her.

"Yes, it's mine," she told him,
---------started it, and the propellors became a blur.

He and his people looked stunned,
---------and went from their feet to their knees.

Bowing, they chanted loudly.
---------They thought Thelma was a goddess, it seemed.

"No, no," she told them.
---------"I'm just a person. Plain, old Thelma."

"Teh-Mah, Teh-Mah, Teh-Mah,"
---------the leader repeated, then said, "Durda,"

and pointed to his massive chest.
---------She realized that must be his name,

replied, "Pleased to meet you,"
---------and extended her hand as he came

walking straight over to her.
---------On her palm he planted a warm kiss,

and Thelma gasped and blushed.
---------"How romantic," thought the Miss.

Alhough her heart had been broken,
---------she felt dizzy and strangely flattered.

Durda proceeded to gently bathe her feet,
---------and her feelings—bruised and tattered—

were salved by the feast he threw.
---------He also gave her a type of chocolate,

her most enjoyed, preferred treat,
---------and in soothing her the very ultimate.

As weeks and months passed,
---------Thelma learned a new language.

She befriended and came to adore
---------the kind natives with every vestige

of her heart, and a certain redhead
---------decided never more to roam.

In time, she became Queen Teh-Mah,
---------and loved her brand new home.

Wife to the sweet, devoted King Durda,
---------who cherished, admired and got her,

she had dark- and red-headed babies,
---------and knew life could not be better.

Electricity and running water
---------were put in, to everyone's delight.

And, the aborigines had a choice—
---------to stay hidden or live in plain sight.

Later visitors marveled to see
---------little natives with freckles and red hair,

something unheard-of in the past.
---------But all Durda and Teh-Mah cared

about was their utter happiness
---------and that of their beloved people.

And, their hearts sang to see their
---------children healthy, happy, and able.

Many natives emulated their queen,
---------whose skills and talents were ample.

Some even learned how to fly planes,
---------and they also found the sky magical.

The end.

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