Mother will never know

Mother does not know where I am going, and she never will.

All she ever does is make me work. Before sunrise, I mop the house and polish the floor. I dust the seats and sweep the carpet. When the sun rises, I fetch water from the village well and wash clothes. I clean and clean and clean. By the time the sun is overhead, I go with Mother to the market, and then I get dinner ready, as Mother sits on the verandah, waving to the neighbours and beaming with pride when they tell her what a good daughter she has. Let her think I am still her good girl. Continue reading

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.

Vegetarian for a day

A distant vibrating sound rouses me from my deep slumber. For a few seconds, I think I’m dreaming. And then I hear it. The hooves of a herd of cattle, pounding the stony earth road, the whoosh of a whip cutting through the still air, the deep bellow of a full-grown  bull. My sleep disappears with the moon. The herd disappears through the gate to oblivion. Onward to the slaughterhouse that supplies the city with fresh beef every morning.

I drag myself out of bed and through the day in a sleepy daze. On my way home, as I wait to be served at the local butchery, my thoughts are drowned by that staccato sound of hooves, and I walk away in a stupor, to my dinner of salad and fruits.

 

Are you looking at me?

“Are you looking at me”

I start violently. The kettle tips and spills hot tea on my cousin’s foot. She shrieks and glares at me.

Am I the only one hearing grandpa’s booming voice?

We’re in his bedroom, or more accurately,  what used to be his bedroom. You see, we’re at his wake. His corpse lies in the front room, in a home-made wooden coffin, atop three stools placed in a neat row. Continue reading

Otto is dead. Long live Otto!

Otto is dead. I figure he was male because of the way he dominated my space.

I first spotted him a month ago behind the couch by my bedroom window. He was so large I thought he was a rat. I sprinted out of the room in alarm, and didn’t see him again for two days.

I was nervous and jumpy until I saw him peeking out from under the dressing table. A spider, not a rat. Small comfort, but definitely better than a rat.

Otto was sensitive to sudden movements – a trait that helped him escape the projectiles I threw at him. He would always came back. I got used to seeing him hanging out on the wall above the television, under the kitchen sink, on the book shelf…

Today I found four of his hairy legs under the magazine rack. I hadn’t seen him for one week. I think I might have killed him. I swept up the legs and threw them away. I couldn’t find the body.

Later, as I was making myself a sandwich, something crawled out of the fruit basket. A smaller version of Otto.

Otto Junior is now hiding behind my fridge.