A touching episode that got me reeling with emotions: nostalgia, longing, and finally, a sad farewell to grandma Daeng. Take out some tissue papers, friends, you’re going to need them.
The morning following the great storm, Athit furiously plucks the rice stalks that were floating on the paddies. Darunee, grandma and Vilai’s brood looked on with concern. Darunee yelled at Athit to stop, it was useless. But Athit needed to revive them; it was grandma’s dreams to see the rice field, he couldn’t fail. But grandma told him that she has many dreams. Mother Nature needed to remind them of their responsibilities to the land: if they neglect it, this was their punishment. It was not our fault. Furthermore, grandma has shed tears and lost many times, but she has never given up. They cannot lose faith- they must start over.
So they agreed to replant the rice stalks next year.
Vilai noticed that grandma is really fond of Athit so she warned her children to step it up a notch; they needed to do everything to show not only Darunee, but grandma, that they can compete with Athit. Did she not realize that her kids are all bark and no bite?
So the next day, Athit had an idea about building a dam that can help prevent the water from flooding the area for the rice fields, he is just filled with smart ideas, isn’t he? They planted trees in the area and then proceeded to the stream to build the dam. Vey tried to show off that he knew what he was doing but fell into the water instead, causing hilarious uproar among the people.
Finally, it was time for Darunee to return to Bangkok. The sun rise at the cabbage farm and Athit was deep in thought. The workers asked him if he was thinking about sending Nee off? Then grandma called him into the farmhouse. Once there, she wanted to know if he could do her a favor and meet up with one of the new customers in Bangkok. Since Vey was at home in bed (due to this enthusiastic activity yesterday), Darunee needed someone to drive her to the campus. As they both walked out of the farmhouse, Aunt Kaew said that they are so well suited. That, they are..
As they drove through the farm, passing the orange, then the sunflower fields, Darunee fell slowly asleep. Her head began to lull and Athit adjusted her. He muttered that she looked so tired. She has been working so much whenever she comes home for a visit. When he drove a bit further she started murmuring in her sleep. He listened to her scolding the farm workers on how to plant correctly then she uttered Vey’s name. Athit looked uncomfortably away.
When they reached Bangkok, she was still asleep and Athit didn’t want to wake her. So he drove aimlessly around for a bit, when she finally woke and gave him the direction to her condo. The night has fallen by the time he dropped her off but both were reluctant to leave one another. He even got into the passenger seat and Darunee teased him if he wanted her to drive him to the hotel lol. He didn’t want to say goodbye!
The next day, the pretty sun rises in Bangkok. Athit had completed his errands for grandma but as he reached into the passenger seat, he noticed Darunee’s wallet. He decided to return it to her. The only problem is, it was a rather large university, and he didn’t know where she was. It’s what happens when you don’t have a cell phone, Athit, because with one mere phone call or a text message you wouldn’t have to search for her and meanwhile running into Toon!
Toon had been practicing with a baton when she threw it too hard. She nearly fell when an arm caught her and the baton in time. For a moment she stared, breathlessly into a handsome face before he righted her and she was pulled away by one of the students. From then on, she has met her dream man, her knight in shining armor. Who wouldn’t fall head over heels for someone like that?
Athit finally found Darunee at one of the benches; he has been searching for her for nearly an hour. He asked her if she had trouble paying for things but she said that she hides her money in many places. As she walked him back to the car, he couldn’t stop smiling at her student uniform. He is so proud, just looking at her. Darunee said that she feels proud and accomplished wearing it! She promised to study hard so she could finish fast and see him at the end of the term.
After their quick goodbye, Toon came running in to see Darunee. She told her that she just met her dream man. Darunee is excited for her because she has never crushed on anyone before. Then Vey appeared wanting to know if the girls wanted to visit Japan at the end of their term. They both declined: Darunee said she needed to go back to the farm to help Athit.
The feeling of nostalgia overcame me as I watched the time passing by. Life on the farm is a happy one as everyone is dedicated to working hard. The bond and relationship between Athit and grandma strengthened. Grandma is getting older, easily tired. She’s even using a cane now. Athit is constantly educating himself with the ins and outs of agriculture.
Darunee is studying hard in Bangkok and doesn’t have a lot of time to pen a letter, but promised to go back at the end of the term.
A year has gone by and Darunee is visiting the farm for a week before she resumes her summer school. She is taking the accelerated path so she could finish soon. Aunt Kaew took note that Darunee, this time around, has matured even more. She’s more beautiful, well behaved and cuter. Aunt Kaew asked Athit (when he walked in) whether he agreed with her assessment. Athit said that he hasn’t even seen her face yet.
Darunee turned to look at him and he is spellbound. The only word that escaped his lips was “cute.”
Grandma told them that she had something to give to them. They were preparing to attempt the rice plantation again. Grandma hands over rice grains that she acquired from the King and told them the story of what that meant to her. For good blessings, they used it to mix in with the rest of the rice grain for the field.
Athit wanted to show Darunee a new place. They rode their bikes to an area filled with beautiful pink blossoms. Darunee asked him how he found the road, and Athit told her that he actually found the trees first- he noticed that they were beautiful and wanted the rest of the farm workers to enjoy it too, so he built a road through the blossom trees. Darunee was amazed at his endeavor and asked him how he got the workers to cooperate with so many of his projects. He told her that he would always give 100% in everything that he does, when the workers see this, they too are motivated. Darunee complimented him and calls him “professor” because he’s so wise, lol.
They returned to the same place the next day because Darunee wanted to photograph the blossoms and write up a quick report for her professor. As they sit atop a large tree trunk, Darunee asked Athit to take a picture with her. She wanted to frame it in her condo.
“If you don’t have the picture, you wouldn’t remember my face?” Athit asked.
“Sometimes.. pictures help bring back some memories,” she answered.
He turned to her, “if we use this,” he pointed to his head, “to remember, then we may forget. But if you use this,” he pointed to his heart, “to remember, then the image will stay with us forever. We will never forget.”
Darunee smiled at meaning of his words and she turned her head away so he wouldn’t see how much it affected her.
I’m sure she will always remember the moment forever..
The work at the farm is never ending. Athit and Darunee, along with the rest of the farm workers continued with their chores. She sees how much Athit has improved the farm and the relationship he has developed with everyone- including herself.
But Athit has to be reminded about his situation. Vilai and the brood came to interrupt their chore (just when Darunee was wiping the sweat off Athit’s face.) She spoke with Athit alone and warned him that he could not get too close to Darunee. What would people think? She asked him point blank how he felt about Darunee. Athit told her that he thinks of Darunee like a younger sister. Vilai scolded him that if he thought of Darunee like a sister, then he needed to stop acting too familiar with her. Even if he did like her, Vilai continued, he couldn’t because he already has a wife.
Vilai then implied that grandma hoped that Nee and Vey would be together. She didn’t outright tell him that, but she said he will soon see.
That night, grandma gave Athit the profit margins. He declined at first because he felt that he failed in planting the rice last year, but grandma insisted. When grandma heads to bed, Athit and Darunee were alone, drinking the milk. He downs it and tries to leave, but Darunee stops him. She pulls out a handkerchief and tells him that he has milk on the side of his lips. She slowly dabs the handkerchief around his lips as they stare into each other’s eyes. Then he takes the handkerchief from her and proceeds to clean her lips too.
They smiled shyly and he leaves.
Omg how cute!
She even touched her lips when he left!
That following morning, the three stooges were going to bathe at the waterfall when they heard some noises. Afraid that Thongprasri may need help, they immediately went to the cabin. Unbeknownedst to them, she was “doing it” with a man. They rushed to tell Athit immediately.
That was the day Darunee was scheduled to head back to Bangkok. Vey was sitting at the breakfast table waiting for them to finish breakfast.
Back at the cabin, Athit stormed into the room and found Thongprasri naked with a man. They were caught in the act! He asked her why she didn’t do it elsewhere? That was his home, his bed… He told her to get the hell out and that he didn’t want to see her face again. From here on out, they were done! He collected Tawan- who was sleeping on the floor next to them- how could they?! And Athit takes the baby boy away. Thongprasri was heard crying- and another problem for Athit ended itself.
Jingjaew was running back to the farmhouse to report the event. Everyone learned that Thongprasri was caught with another man and how their relationship (it that’s even one..) was over. Darunee was worried about Athit but she needed to go to Bangkok.
Athit wanted to see her off, so he raced with the bike towards the top of the hill where he could see cars come and go. Vey’s car veered around the corner and stopped. Darunee ran out of the car and waved at Athit. He waved back and shouted “good luck” from afar.
A few more months past and Athit penned a letter to Darunee, reporting of the progress and activities at the farm. They wrote back and forth slowly, indicating that even more time has passed by- Darunee reporting that she’s studying hard and that she can’t wait to see him at the end of the term. They tell each other to dress warmer as the weather is getting colder. Their fondness for each other grows even more with time.
A vision of green presented itself, the rice field finally came to fruition. Athit wrote that he wished Darunee could see it; words could not describe it.
Darunee was holding onto the little flower that Athit gave to her on her first year. Toon teased her that he was her “beloved brother” and she should meet him to see what he is all about.
The rice field is truly a treat for the eyes, it is so green, stretching widely. Grandma and Athit stood in the midst of it, beaming. Grandma thanked him for making her dreams come true. Not only is the rice field beautiful, it is also beneficial, providing food for the country. Grandma was in awe at Athit, now a days, the newer generation wants to work in the city, they forget the root of Thailand’s abundance: agriculture. Grandma looked so happy and pleased with Athit and she told him she doesn’t have anything to worry about anymore.
The next morning the birds chirped, the day arrives as normal. But grandma is immobile, lying on the bed, her body still. Aunt Kaew came into her room and noticed that grandma did not wake. Realizing this, her heart beats rapidly in her chest and she touched her finger to grandma’s nose.
Darunee’s golden Buddha pendant fell from her neck. Athit tripped and fell. All indication that something bad has happened.
Aunt Kaew came rushing to see Athit, shouting that something had happened to grandma. Athit, so afraid of what he might find, ran as fast as he could to the farmhouse, where he noticed grandma’s body on the bed. She was so still.
Falling to his knees, he inched forward and touched her toes. The truth of her death overcame him as he hugged her feet. Crying he asked her why she didn’t wait for him? He wanted to tell her that he loved her very much. He didn’t get a chance to repay her for her generosity. In between tears, he said he didn’t get to thank her.
Aunt Kaew is crying in the background and Athit told her to try contacting Darunee. He told her not to tell Darunee about grandma yet, just that grandma had an emergency and needed to see her.
Aunt Kaew tried her condo phone, her cell phone, however unable to reach her. She did leave a message that Darunee needed to come home asap and she will have someone pick her up at the airport. Athit proceeded with the funeral preparations.
When Darunee got back to her condo, she noticed a missed call. Worried that something happened at the farm, she booked the first flight back, thankfully she had just finished her last exams.
A dark cloud came over the farm as funeral preparations were underway. A large white casket sits in the middle of the farm, with mountains of flowers surrounding it. Grandma’s portrait sits to the right. The farm workers, one by one, cry their condolences.
Athit’s uncle thanked him for seeing to the preparations. He asked Aunt Kaew if grandma was sick, why was it so sudden? Aunt Kaew said that she was normal as can be, she didn’t get sick, she just was very tired and has worked so hard all her lfe. She died peacefully.
Vilai thought that they should have the funeral elsewhere, in the city so everyone can give grandma the respect she deserves. But her husband said that the farm was the best place, it was grandma’s beloved farm.
Vilai followed Athit as he walked way. She asked him if grandma had talked to him about the will. He said that it wasn’t his business. Vilai threw in her final jab, she said that grandma has left the most for the 3 grandkids, Nee, Vey and Vi, and asked him that he wasn’t hurt right? After all, grandma wanted Vey to marry Nee. Athit looked on with hurt- not from what she’s telling him- but from the loss of grandma and the incredulity that Vilai would bring this up. Athit told her that if grandma wants Nee to marry Vey, then he should be happy about it.
That evening Darunee finally arrived at the airport, Uncle Kreang picked her up. She asked him what was going on, but he told her that she will soon learn..
The scene was pitch black, only the light of the lantern showed its way for her. She walked slowly down the path and it gets brighter as she gets closer. The atmosphere was thick, the mood dark. Darunee saw faces, the farm workers, they were crying. Flowers are strewn everywhere. She noticed Vilai and family dressed in black, sitting on wooden chairs. She saw Athit standing, his face grim. She looked around and saw a large white casket, with flowers around it. And it hits her when she sees a portrait of grandma’s by the casket.
“Grandma!” she cried as she ran to the picture. Kneeling, wretched cries escaped her mouth as she shouted over and over, “my grandma.. my grandma” looking from the picture to the casket, and back to the picture. Overwhelmed with the loss, Darunee passed out. That has got to be the toughest way to find out that your beloved grandmother is dead.
Everyone shouted her name and Athit ran to her. He lifted her into his arms and about to walk when Vey swooped in immediately and took her off of his hands.
Athit watched Vey take Darunee away…
It was a very touching and tear-jerking episode. Both Athit and Darunee, expressing their loss, was emotional. This episode also served many purposes, one, closing out Thongprasri as Athit’s “wife” which will free up his ability to think about “love” again. Secondly, grandma’s death. This will serve to bring two people who were very close to her, together. Grandma was their rock, now that she is gone, how will the dynamic of their relationship change?
All I can say for now is that I’ve truly “felt” this episode. Whether that is nostalgia with the way that time has passed, revelations with the way that Athit is officially done with Thongprasri, or sadness with the mourning of grandma’s death. Everything was done so tastefully. I think I’m going to let this episode sink in before I watch the next one, as we will be unveiling the contents of the will and I need a clear head for that. In the meantime, let’s talk about this episode. Kleenex anyone?
*Pics credit to BarryYa FB