Before toilet paper

“Check out this hoarder,” Adam leans over to show me his smartphone screen.

It’s a van, packed with rolls of toilet paper. The caption says the driver was fined for overloading.

I am transported back to my childhood, to a pit latrine on top of an anthill in the middle of my grandparent’s compound. The door was partially hidden by the boldo plants that grew around it – our toilet paper.

With the manure in the ground, we never ran out.

I smile.

Those were simple times.

I return to the shopping list in my hands and write ‘toilet paper’.

I wish the neighbours would fight

Last night was peaceful. You’d get my meaning if you knew my neighbours. They fight. They fight often. It’s loud. It’s ugly. It keeps everyone up.

Last night we all took the night off. I was happy to hear my own heartbeat again. I drew the blinds. I dimmed the lights. I got my bowl of popcorn. I burrowed into the couch and started the film.

And then I heard that eerie sound again: the kitchen door opening, distinct footsteps slowly coming my way. I froze. My pounding heart rose to my throat. How I wished the neighbours would fight.