In the bank lobby, a little boy of seven walked up to me and slipped his hand into my palm. He was looking up at me and smiling. A woman stepped up, said, “Don’t mind […]

I I looked at the wall gecko hanging on the wall close to my favourite suit. I was hoping for some inspiration. Maybe three nods from the crawling being should do the trick. I started […]

After a week in our house, furious Aunty Coreen left. She’d located a Professor friend who taught at the University to host her. The Professor friend telephoned our house for help finding Uncle, but Daddy spoke to her at length without committing to anything apart from lists of names and places. Even Mama, in the years of being married to Daddy, had never heard these. Finally, speaking in Kiswahili, Daddy told the Professor about Aunty Adelaide, and that he and Mama didn’t want to break his new marriage. He had taken so long to settle, they said

When he took the hand, the three of them began to ascend. Nothing to be done by anyone but to watch as the sun glowed behind her head like an apparition, and the breeze caught and billowed the hem of her loose wrapper.

“With the onrushing green blur that he knew was the garden; the orange blob behind the trees that he thought was the setting sun; the echo of laughter that he recognized as the voice of the girl he would give his life for if she politely asked; the taste of tangerine, his world was suddenly set into motion.”

“In the beginning, the deception was straightforward. Her assignment was to root out any political radicals, and report back. She found spying on the academic set to be easy. These scientists and doctors weren’t as self-involved and closed off as she’d worried, they were too trusting.”

“Where was her badge? That invisible insignia that had inspired a relentless neighbour to creep up on her and later lament to the deemster that it was indeed they who had been stealthily hunted and subjected to terror and obsession.”

“‘We have to ask the ancestors to open the way.’ We knelt on the muddy ground and she sprinkled black snuff, speaking in low tones. When she was done we cupped our hands and clapped. Bongi and Tembi ululated.”

“The specificity of that critique. I looked down, becoming increasingly self conscious of standing up there next to Marinette. I began to imagine how the students in this class would remember this moment.”

“He was like a diseased cow. The water and blood kept flowing and flowing and I begged him to tell me what to do. But you know how your brother is.”