Ba Angela

It was an unusually hot day for June even though It was supposed to be the cold season. As the bus pulled into the last station where she had to get off, she could feel sweat running down the small of her back. The bus was crowded as usual with school children and some where standing. She could not wait to get some air and quiet away from the loud chatter. She was sitting at the back row which meant that would have to wait for most of the children to embark before she could. Every afternoon she got off at the water tower in Chelston. It was far from her school and she needed to take two separate buses to get home. She was tired. It had been a long day. She had been on rotate duty at school today to cut the grass. The grass was long and your hands ached from holding the sickle. The blade was usually blunt and you really had to hack away at the grass. She had been happy to get on the bus and go home.

The water tower was so large that it gave much needed shelter from the sun to the vendors who sold their products to people come to and from the buses. Finally when she got out it was slightly cooler outside. She walked to a vendor who was selling iceblocks and got an orange flavoured one. She put it to her forehead and sighed in pleasure. It had been hot and stuffy in that bus.

The walk home would take her twenty minutes. Usually she walked down through the streets and rounded into Acacia Avenue where she lived. She loved that walk. Acacia avenue got its name from all the acacia trees that lined the street on either side. It was wonderful to see when the trees where in bloom. On her walk home, she usually passed Able’s house. She had a serious crush on Abel. He was much older than her and went to university. He was usually seated outside with his brothers most afternoons and they watched people walk past. They usually saw her walk past and would greet her. Her heart skipped every time Abel smiled at her. She wondered if they would be there this afternoon.

Because she was so tired today, so she decided to take the short cut. Most people in the neighbourhood did not know that there was a short cut leading from the main road. It was she thought not particularly safe for a girl to walk on that path alone, and her parents did not really want her to use it. But she sometimes did and she got home quicker. The path had high grass. It passed through many people’s back yards and ended up at Ba Angela’s place. It was not ideal because to get to Acacia Avenue from the path, you had to go through Ba Angela’s place. Ba Angela did not really mind people walking through her yard from the path to get to Acacia Avenue. If you were unlucky though, she would be sitting in her yard and she would want to have a conversation with you.

Everyone knew that Ba Angela was bat shit crazy. She kept chickens, a goat and a dog with one eye. They all stared at you when you went by and sometimes the goat would give a gentle nudge on the backside. Sometimes it was all worth it just to cut ten minutes off the walk.

Ba Angela was a widow and she had children who did not live with her anymore. She was thin, wore worn out kitenge’s and she usually kept to herself. But she was kind and she could make the best tumbuwa’s and buns on the street, which she sold to neighbours.

She walked through the path safely and entered Ba Angela’s yard. She unhooked the scant homemade gate, made from wood and pieces of wire. She supposed it was to keep the animals in.  She looked up and saw that Ba Angela was in the yard today. She was throwing crushed maize at her chickens.

“Hello. How are you Ba Angela?”

“Eh hello my child. I am fine. How was school?”

“It was fine. We had to cut grass today. I am very tired.”

“Sorry to hear that.”

She stopped throwing the maize and turned to her, giving her a warm smile.

“I have caught the best piece of meat you can have. Do you want to try some?”

When Ba Angela said she had meat, it was usually a rodent or some feral animal she had caught. She braced herself. This would not be good. She just wanted to get home and did not feel like being experimental today.

“Yes, Ba Angela, I will try some.”

“Come and see, it is a beauty.”

The beauty turned out to be a bat. The woman had caught a bat. Surely, she would not eat that. It had been chargrilled on the mbaula and it looked very black. Her stomach turned.

“Do you want to try some? I have not had a bat for a very long time. It is like nothing you have eaten before.”

The woman had an abundance of animals she could eat. It just did not make sense that she always chose to eat rodents.

“No, thank you. I had peanuts and an ice block. I am fine”

“Oh, come now child. Look it is still fresh and I will just break off a wing for you.”

If anything, the rudest thing was to turn down food someone has offered you. So, gingerly I took the wing and began to chew. Ba Angela looked at her with animated eyes, smiling broadly revealing her missing teeth.

The wing was crunchy and tasted like a piece of burned chicken breast. She swallowed it quickly and smiled, almost convincingly she thought.

“That was great. Very different. I have never had a bat before, thank you.”

“Good. I am glad you like it. We used to eat these as children. We would go out and hunt them at night and there would be thousands flying around where I grew up. delicious” she took a huge chunk from the belly. There was not much meat on it and she just could not understand it. She watched her chew and smile in delight.

“Very good meat. Good for you too.”

“Yes. I must get home now. Thank you.”

“Already? Do you want to feed the chickens with me? I have not had much company today. Not many people buy from me during the week.”

There was no way she was going to eat any more of that bat. She had to get away.

“My mother is waiting I have to help her cook. I am already late.”

“Ok. Say hello to your parents for me. Come and visit me soon.”

She liked the woman, even admired her for making it on her own. But she could not stand to eat anymore of her weird choices of meat.

She hurried to the front of the house and out of the gate. She really needed some water.

No money for a white boy

She reached the playground and looked for a spot to sit in the warm winter sun. Her daughter ran off to play on the jungle gyms. She laid out her blanket and sat down. She had brought with her the new issue of Time magazine. On the cover were some of the main actors from game of thrones, they had made the cover at last. She loved the show and was eager to find out what it said. She sat crossed legged and quickly putting her head up and scanned the playground to see where her daughter was. Everything was well. She had a few minutes to herself to read. As she started to read, she heard a loud hello! Looking up she saw Anele waving wildly at another woman across the park. She sank lower to the ground and hid her face behind the magazine. Too late, Anele had already seen her.

Anele was a rambunctious woman. She was an au pair and they often saw each other at the park or walking in the neighbourhood. She talked so much that you could not get a word in even if you wanted to. Lately her conversations always turned to men. She was looking for a boyfriend and had put herself on Tinder. She said she hated it but she seemed very animated when she talked about the men she met there.

She looked up over the magazine and saw Anele face just inches away from hers. She jumped and moved back.

“Hello you. Did you not see me waving at you? You always have a book in your face” she laughed and slapped her hard on the shoulder.

“Hi Anele. No I did not see you. How are you?”

“Oooh I am fine. Move up l will sit with you and tell you all about it. But I also have a few questions for you.”

“What is going on?” her heart sank. She was going to have to wait until she got home to have a good read. This looked like it might take a while.

“You know I am looking for a man, right? Well I think I have found the right person. Is that not exciting?”

“Yes, it is. Who is he?” she really should not encourage her.

“He is a white man” Anele’s face lit up and she giggled like a little girl. “just like you, I am going to have beautiful babies. Don’t you think?

She braced herself. This is a conversation that they had had before. Anele had asked her once how she had managed to ‘find’ as she put it, a white man to marry. She had wanted all the information about how they had met and what he was like. She never liked talking about it, her marriage. She had learnt to change the subject. Today though she run the risk of being very rude if she did not engage in conversation.

“Have you met this person yet?”

“Well no. not yet anyway. But he is very interested. He has my number and everything. We are going to make a time to meet.” She laughed.

“That’s great Anele.”

“You have to give me some tips on how I can make myself interesting. Should I say I read a lot? Music? Food? I don’t want to be like some ignorant locion girl”

“Just be yourself. I am sure he will appreciate that.”

She scanned the playground to see where her daughter was. She was chatting with another little girl.

“He seems rich too. I mean can you believe it. These white boys know how to keep their money. You will always have what you want.”

“It is not really like that.”

She ignored the comment and continued, “I think he said he would take me out to a fancy restaurant. And do you know I will not feel like I have to sleep with him. With black boys, you must show the goods first. And I hear white boys do not even mind if you make money. Like with a business or something. Is that true?”

“I would not know.”

“Anyway, I am very excited. Oh, look at your daughter she is so beautiful.”

One of Aneles charges started screaming and running towards her.

“Hey love love. What’s wrong now?”

“Jeffrey hit me.”

“It ok I will talk to him. Come. Jeffrey!” she turned to face her, “Look, don’t leave I will be right back.”

Anele bounded off to go and have a word with Jeffrey. She scanned the playground again. she sank back into the ground.

“Mam. Hello. Sorry to disturb you”

She sat up shielding her eyes from the sun with her hand. y she had seen this young man walking around in their neighbourhood. He was always begging at people’s houses. Up close, he looked tired, his eyes were sunken and his hair was dirty.

“I need some help. Do you have any change for me. Me and my wife are living off the streets and we do not have any money. I lost my job last month. She is pregnant. We just need some money for bread and milk.”

She had not noticed that Anele was back and she was giving the young man a hard stare.

“Hey look. We have no money for a white boy ok”


“No really I don’t understand how these white boys can come to us and ask us for money.”

She looked back at the young man. He looked like he was about to cry. He started walking away.

“I do not have any money for you. I am sorry.”

She started packing her things. She was not going to sit any longer and listen to this conversation. It was getting too weird for her now.

“Are you leaving already?”

“Uh yes. Sorry I must go now. We have someone coming over to visit.”

“That is fine. We live so close together I can come by with the boys for tea? We can talk some more.”

“I am not sure right now. I have a lot to do. I will let you know.”

She packed quickly. She walked towards the jungle gyms to find her daughter. The further she got away from Anele, the better. Behind her she could hear her had already talking with some other poor person.

Story number six

A friend of mine works with rural children. We talked over a weekend and that conversation inspired this story.

As they left she put up her hand to shake. Linda smiled her best smile, wanting them to see how content and happy she was. They smiled back at her and said that they would see her soon. She sat in the gloomy room. The room was lit by a naked bulb hanging at an angle by the wall. There was a window but it was so small it did not provide enough natural light. It was a relief that the women had left. She did not like having visitors over. Her aunt got very angry when she spoke with people. She lived just a few feet from their one roomed shack and she would be there soon to ask about what the women had wanted. Aunt Ntsepe was nosy and knew everything that happened in their community. She was both afraid and suspicious about strangers visiting their compound. The women had first spoken with her aunt and a few minutes later they had been at her door.

Linda put the radio on, it was lunch time and the news was on. After the news, there was usually a short story reading. She enjoyed the readings. So many stories from books she had never heard of. Linda was too nervous about her aunt coming over that she could not concentrate on the news.

It must have been over half an hour when she heard the heavy footsteps coming towards the shack. A bead of sweat formed on her upper lip. She did not know how this was going to go. Sometimes her aunt became violent.

Aunt Ntsepe opened the heavy iron door. She was a big woman, she stood at the entrance legs apart, hands on hips.

“Linda?” she gave her that dreadful smile.

“What did those women from the government want.”

“Aunty they were not from the government, they were from an NGO.”

“Girl you had better speak up, honestly I can never hear a word you say sometimes. Now what did they want?”

“They wanted to find out if we have any water and how many people lived in the house”

“Did they ask about the grant?”

“Yes” [whisper]


“Yes aunty”

“What did they say exactly?”

Her voice boomed in the small room. She started walking towards her, swatting clothes that were hanging on lines in the small room. She stooped inches from her and bent down. That smile again.

“You did not tell them anything about ‘that’, did you?”

“No aunty, I explained that my disability grant was collected by my aunt who took care of us”

“Ok girl, good. If they come back again tell them to come and speak to me.”

She stood in front of her and poked her big toe towards her.

“When was the last time you bathed girl. I want you to clean up. You stink. How can you have people in the house looking like that.”

She frowned, stood there thinking for a few seconds and without another word she left. Linda was relieved. She had not hit her today. She needed to go to the pit latrine outside. It was not easy getting there. Linda looked down at her lower body. She had not walked since she was two years old. Her legs had gradually weakened. As she grew older, her legs had become twisted and mangled. When her parents were alive she could move around in a wheelchair and she had attended school with her brothers. Her father would put her wheelchair in his old bakkie. Her parents had died six years ago, they had been well off compared to their neighbours. Their house had been made of brick with a toilet inside. She had had her own room.

Her aunt Ntsepe lived in their house now. Being the only living relative in the area to help take care of them no one had objected to her taking everything they owned except their clothes and the radio. She had sold the wheelchair.

Her story reading would be starting soon. She needed to get a move on. She reached for her gloves in the cardboard box where she kept her belongings. The floor was concrete and smoothed over with red polish, so she could make it easily to the door. Dragging her feet behind her she reached for the iron hook and started prying the door open. It had been slammed shut by her aunt. It opened and she blinked adjusting her eyes to the light. Crawling to the pit latrine was an issue. She would get dirty and her hands often hurt afterwards. Her brothers, when they were home, usually carried her there. But she could not wait. Who knew when they would be home. They stayed out for long periods of time after school.

When she got back, the announcer on the radio was introducing the new short story. She had to change first. Her hands were bleeding.

She took off all her clothes and placed them in a pile that was growing in the corner. Aunt Ntsepe had not bought the sunlight for a while. She put on her nightgown from the box and placed herself on the mattress. She closed her eyes and listened to the story.

Sarah Pennington

I was on my way to fetch my children from school. As I came to traffic stop, I turned the corner and caught sight of a woman with short blonde hair. Her eyes just seemed to stare into the distance, a million miles away. So, I decided to write a story about her.

Sarah Pennington stopped at the traffic lights. Her mind had wandered to how she had spent the last two hours. A blasting horn interrupted her thoughts. Oh god, she thought, I had drifted off there for a while. She speedily put her foot on the gas. She heard more horns blaring as she crossed.

She slowly turned to her left. Nothing. Then she turned to her right. Yes, she thought, she had made a grave mistake. It had not been her turn to cross the street and the horn that had just sounded was in fact an ambulance siren. She had failed to hear the first few decibels of the sirens. The ambulance seemed to come at her at such a slow speed. She thought, I am going to miss it, or it is going to miss me. Again, she was wrong. It was just slow because she was dangerously close to the end of her life. This was it. The ambulance hit her directly on the driver’s side, she bounced around like a rag doll.

Sarah Pennington, stood over her coffin. It was a closed casket. There had been too much damage done to her body to repair. She looked around her in the funeral house, everyone was very upset and a lot of people had showed up.

“The impact was made worse by the fact that she had no seatbelt.”

“It was a fast and dangerous accident. She had died instantly. There was no saving her really.”

“Look at those poor kids. They are so devastated about this. I do not know how they will cope without her. She was their whole life”

It was strange to be at one’s funeral, hearing all the comments people were making. As soon as she had died she had appeared here. Although a few days must have passed since she died. Sarah could not see her children or her husband anywhere. She seemed to be glued to the spot where she sttod by the coffin. Lamenting on her broken body.

Sarah thought back to the morning of the accident. She had been with her lover that morning and on her way to pick up the kids. She had been so distracted. A sadness came over her, dead was dead but her mind was still functioning. She could still remember her last few hours before the accident.

She had woken up early that morning. Just as she woke up she had heard the phone vibrate.

Come after dropping the children off. You know what I want you to wear.

Sarah had looked over to where her husband was sleeping. She had been a bit late waking up that morning and had to rush the kids through breakfast. She had rushed dressing them. When she got back from dropping the kids off she had to rush her husband out of the house. She had to shower and change. He hated it when she was late.

As she got out of the bath her phone rang. Shit, she had thought as she ran to answer. Nothing can spoil this.


“Hi I need you” [a whimper].

“What now? What’s happened?”

“He left me Sarah. He got up this morning and packed up his shit and left me”

“Well look, can this wait a few hours. I have somewhere important I have to be”

“Are you going to the kids’ school? I can come with you. That might cheer me up”

“No. Look you cannot come to this.”

“Is it him? No come on. I really need you. I never ask you for much. He cannot be more important than this. Why do you see him anyway? You are happily married and I would kill to have your life.”

“Look I can’t. I must go. I will call you later I promise”

Sarah had sighed and dropped her phone in her bag. No more distractions. She had not seen him in over a month. This was their thing, and she just could not miss it. She put on her dress that he had bought her. She remembered feeling so happy. He made her feel like no one else mattered in the world. With him she could be herself and fulfil every fantasy, in ways that no one had done before.

All that was gone now. She stood by her coffin and watched on. All she could think about now, was if she could have done things differently that morning.



The sisters from number four

This story came about while I was having a conversation with Stuart about a group of women in Malawi, who are believed to be possessed by evil spirits. They are taken to a camp where they are ‘cured’ and prayed for.

We lived at number eight President Road in a block of flats; there were eight apartments. All the kids in our block would play together. We did not stray too much from our block and play with other kids in our neighbourhood. We had everything we wanted in our compound. We would climb trees and play rounder’s after school in the red dusty earth.

Our flat was on the ground floor. Above us on the second floor, at number four, lived two old twin sisters. They had come to live in the flat about six years ago. They came from Malawi and only spoke Nyanja, which is very similar to Chichewa. They had greying hair which they kept in a short afro. They had no children or seemed to be married. But they lived well, it was believed. Although they were not identical twins, they usually wore matching chitenges. That was what we saw, on the rare occasion when they left their flat. They often kept to themselves. We were all scared of them and named them ‘ifiwa’, meaning ghosts. The grownups often talked about them as they fetched water from the communal tap, shaded by a big mango tree.

“They come from a healing camp in Malawi you know. I heard that they moved here after that. They used to have children and husbands but they all passed away. And no one knows where they get their money from.”

“Imwe hmm. Did you know, these Malawian women get possessed. I heard that they killed their children and husbands. They were sent to the camp because they were possessed and would carry their children upside down. I do not want my children to associate with people like that. They should just keep to themselves”

“Yes, and I have seen them come out at night to fetch water. Which is better. I do not want to speak to them or touch them. Who knows what kind of muti they have. How can they just live up there all day and not have jobs?”

“The stories must be true, they are witches. Bana Dala that is why they only come out at night”

Although the grownups did not want us to go up to their flat, we did. Dala, my best friend had been in their flat a few times. He always came out of their flat with treats. Once he even shared a donought with me that they had given him. If his mother knew she would really ‘give it to him’. Not only was he going up there and talking with them, he was eating their food as well. He said their house was filled with all sorts of plants and that they had a big television, and even a VCR.They asked him to do strange things when he went up there, but he never said what.

One Sunday afternoon, I was sitting in the yard watching a procession of ants carrying sugar. It was after church and everyone was inside watching the football. I hated football. I felt a shadow blocking the sun behind me and I looked up. One of the twins was standing behind me.



“Can you come up to my flat and help me with something?”

I was one of the few kids who had not been up to their flat. Even though I was scared by her request, I was curious to find out what their flat really looked like.


I followed her up. When we got there, I paused at the open door. Inside their corridor, that lead to rooms in the flat, was lined with large leafy plants.

“Come in”

I followed her in. She was a big woman so she had to squeeze through the narrow passageway. The flat was cooler inside. She led me to the living area. Here there were more plants. It looked like a green house. Some plants were hanging from the ceiling. Every available space in the room was littered with pot plants. The smell of geraniums was over powering.

Her sister was lying on a mat in the middle of the room on her back.

“Please can you walk on my sisters back.”

Her sisters looked up at me and smiled. I stared at her. She turned on to her stomach. I just stood there.

“You see she has a bad back. I cannot do it because I am too heavy and I could hurt her. You are small enough to do it. Please.”

“Ok sure. But what do I get for doing this?”

I found it strange that no one had mentioned that they simply had to help the sisters with their backs..

“A cold Fanta?” she smiled and pushed me forward.


I walked out of the flat a few moments later with an ice-cold Fanta.


There is no such thing as ghosts

This story is for a girl I knew in fifth grade. She was apparently murdered. We never found out why.

We usually walked home from school to get to the bus station. Every day we passed by a very old cemetery. You could not see the markings on the grave because they had all faded not that we got very close to the tombstones. We would laugh nervously as we walked through the graveyard. Telling ghost stories. Charity usually came up with the best stories. She swore that they were real but we all knew she had just heard them from her mother. There was no such thing as snakes that you could grow large, feed on tiny babies and had human faces, just like the owner.

Today we were quiet as we walked towards the station. A girl in our class had been murdered and they were saying it was a muti murder. Her body had been found lying in a ditch and her organs were missing. Other stories had surfaced throughout the day as our classmates each had a theory. Some of them said they had heard from their parents that she had been murdered by her own mother who was believed to be a witch.

Her name had been Easter. I had sat next to her in class. She had been very quiet and shy. I had to take care of her and show her around because she was new. She had only been with us for a week, so we did not get to know her for long. At break, she would sit quietly with me and some of my other friends, as I said she did not talk much. She was thin but had the most beautiful hair I had seen. It was jet black and very long. She always had it tied in a simple elastic band.

The stories about her mother and how she was murdered messed me up that day. It was just before midterm exams and all we had to do was revise our work. That meant we had a lot of time to chat. everyone in school kept asking me if I knew what had happened to her and whether her mother was really a witch. I could not reply because I never got to know her at all. I did not even know where she lived.

As we walked on charity asked me if I really knew what had happened. Again, I said I did not and they knew it because I had been with them for most of that weekend.

“come on” charity said, “you sat next to her, didn’t you?”

I got angry and shouted “just because I sat next to her in class, it doesn’t mean I knew everything about her”.

“ok sure, we just wanted to know.  I thought maybe you were waiting to tell us instead. I heard that her mother actually sold her and then they used her body parts for muti”

I was tired of hearing the same story all day. No one had the facts and all we knew was from someone who lived in her neighbourhood.

“charity please just shut up. I don’t think we want to hear any more of your stories today”

“ok, what is wrong with you anyway? We are just talking”

“talk to chewe then I am taking a new route today”

I walked off and fought back tears. I do not know why but suddenly I felt a deep sense of loss. I took a different road. I looked back and charity and chewe went towards our usually route.

I was not familiar with this route and wished I had not been so touchy and had gone with the others. As I walked I realised that the road was leading towards the cemetery. There was no other way I had to go through the cemetery if I wanted to catch the bus on time. It wasent a big cemetery but it was creepy anyway. I hated the idea of dead people, so still and well just dead. As I walked through it trying not to look at the graves I heard someone crying softly. The crying was coming from behind a headstone a few meters ahead. I walked slowly towards it. I poked my head around slowly to see who was there. I gave a startled cry and backed away, I tripped and fell backwards. It was Easter, I could not believe it. She was supposed to be dead. I got up and stared at her. She was sitting on the grave knees up and had her head resting in her arms. I knew it was her because of her hair and the familiar elastic band.

“Easter is that you?”

She did not reply. I walked closer to her and tried to put my hand on her shoulder. Before I could she wailed and lifted her head to face me. I gasped, her eyes were blood shot and there seemed to be blood coming out of them.

“look what they have done to me…look” she shouted.

She up her hands for me to see. They looked like she had been crucified and had huge holes in them.

“look what they have done”

I backed away. This could not be real; she could not be real. Why would they do that to her. Her hands were bleeding a lot and so was her face. Huge tears of blood started flowing. It was a scary sight.

I started to run, and as I was running away I could still hear her shouting “look what they have done” she was shrieking now. I just kept running.

I finally made it to the bus station. I could see charity and chewe sitting down on the benches. They looked up and stared at me. I stood there shaking. I could still hear her shrieks, but they sounded further away now.

“hey what happened to you, look at you your uniform is sweaty. You went the wrong way you know. That road leads through to the graveyard. What did you see a ghost or something?” charity laughed and so did a few of the other kids.

“yes I think so charity, it’s not funny. It was Easter. She was crying. Can’t you hear her?”

“sure, we believe you. Dead Easter appeared to you, her best friend”

It was no use they would never believe me. I sat down next to chewe. She looked concerned.

“are you ok?”

“I don’t know”

I could not sleep for a week.

Father’s Day

This is a story I thought about a few days before Father’s Day.

 Mathew was the sort of man who was happy to admit that he had a quiet sort of temperament. He prided himself on the fact that he was very good under pressure and never lost his temper. His friends came to him for help when they had big problems. Especially the ones involving the ‘wife’.

He looked at himself in the mirror and smiled. He opened his mouth to see if he had created a stain on his tongue from the shiraz. He never drank beer, but preferred to sit and talk with people and it all seemed much better if one was drinking wine. His tongue was a slight purple, not too bad considering how many glasses he had had. He smiled at himself again and made his way back to the garden for the braai.

every Father’s Day, he invited a few of his friends over and their families to have braai. Too bad it was on a Sunday he thought, you could have a good party on a Saturday and not feel bad about it. His children had given him cards and the usual coffee cup, but he did not mind. Today was his day to enjoy and not have to do any house work or errands. His wife had made a cake and organised all the food and what the children should do, so that they could enjoy their company.

He was about to walk down the stoep when he heard the all too familiar laugh. It was Evie his wife, he knew that laugh. She must have had some wine. She hardly ever drunk but he had a mind to tell her one day that she was a bit too much when she did. His feet landed on the grass and he turned to the left. And there she was doing some kind of jiggle dance with the children. He stared at her and it appeared as if she was about to drop the wine glass. Of course, she caught it in time. Evie stopped dancing and walked to him. A big grin on her face. She was not walking very straight.


“you’ve been drinking Evie, oh come on you promised me you were not going to drink today”

“I just had one glass Mathew”

“one too many don’t you think. Look just don’t drink anymore and let us enjoy this day”, he hissed

“I am going to talk to Sipo over there. Go inside and have some water.

She looked at him and felt a sense of defiance. One glass too many, the nerve of him. She walked into the house and went straight to the wine. She poured herself a glass. She drunk it all at once and poured herself another. Just because it was Father’s Day she had to behave and be all proper. Well she was going to have a party too whether he liked it or not. Everything was ready and set, they just had to eat and feed the children. She took her wine out to the garden. She felt invincible. She walked towards the group standing by the fire pit. Mathew looked at her wine glass and gave her a look. Evie smiled at him.

There was a woman there she had never met before, Nancy Sipos new girlfriend. Nancy was talking about her job and how much she travelled. She swayed a bit as she listened to her. The wine had gone to her head now. She laughed at something Nancy said except it came out as a snort. More glares from Mathew.

Nancy turned around towards her and asked her what she did, Mathew turned around so fast when he heard the question, and braced himself for what Evie was going to say. He knew she hated that question.

“well” Evie said “I run a restaurant, a causality ward, a school, I am a musicologist, a sports coach, a swimming teacher, oh and a part time life saver. And that Nancy is on a good day” she laughed again but again it came out as a snort, “who needs Father’s Day anyway.”

Mathew stared at her in absolute disbelief.

Nancy looked around and tried not to stare at Evie. The woman was a nut or just a little drunk either way what a comment. She looked at Mathew and she felt sorry for him.

“ok food is almost ready guys, we can move to the table,” Mathew said as he quickly composed himself and smiled at everyone. People started moving towards the table. He was just going to get on with it. When Evie was like this he could not do much about it but keep his composure.

Evie looked at Mathew and gave him a little salute. Mathew groaned inside.

“I’m going to get some water” she said.

She went up to the house again and into the kitchen, she stood by the sink and had some water. What a great comment she had made, that would show that Nancy she thought, her and her perfect weave. She turned to go back outside but through the corner of her eye she saw the wine. Hmm she thought one more glass would not hurt would it.


Sunday mornings

This story came about when I was looking back at our Sunday morning services at the cathedral in Grahamstown. There was one priest there who was such a character and he made services very interesting. To my siblings Maia, Penny and Shadreck, I think this will tickle you.

It was Sunday morning again. It was the middle of winter and there was sure to be frost on the grass outside. Our father insisted that we attend the morning prayers every Sunday at the cathedral of the holy cross. I did not mind attending the services so much, there was a certain calmness and predictability with the services. You always knew what to expect.

This has been the standard of course but recently we have had a new priest, Father Rob. He started holding the services about a few months back. He had started making the services something to look forward to. Not because he was a particularly good priest but rather because of his strange behaviour. Most times he seemed to be drunk or in some sort of trance. Only last Sunday he had nodded off during the Eucharist. He sometimes mumbled his way through scripture readings and did not seem to know when it was his turn to speak. It was very funny to watch him throughout these service. He could however sing very well and his voice boomed through the church as he enthusiastically sung his heart out.

We got ready and started walking towards the church, we always walked in silence and we tried to fight sleep and the cold. It was a good ten-minute walk and as I thought there was frost on the grass and our breathes looked like someone smoking a vapour. We rounded the corner towards the main road in the town. We could see the church right at the end of the high street, the street was empty and only a few people could be seen walking towards the church. The cathedral was large and its spire was tall and you could see the large bells hanging at the centre. You could hear those bells from anywhere in the town. In its glory days, the church must have housed large congregations. Now only a few people attended morning services and we scarcely filled the pews.

As we approached the entrance, old Mr Nettleton the head usher shook our hands as we entered the church and gave us a smile. I lead the way into the church bowed at the alter and moved into the third pew. We sat for a while in silence and waited for the service to begin.

Father Rob entered the church and we stood for the blessing. He seemed to be in high spirits and he walked to the benches at the back of the church behind the lectern-pulpit. He waved at the congregation and stumbled over a step and sat down. He was wearing his black and white cassock and his greying hair seemed to have a mind of its own and stood up in places. we stood waiting for him to offer the blessing but he remained sitting. Someone coughed loudly.

“Oh yes, right “he said and stood up.

“Well in the name of the father, the son and the holy spirit. Be blessed and let us start the service. You may be seated” he called loudly and sat down.

The services went without a hitch as deacons approached the pulpit and read scripture and prayers from the prayer book. I watched father Rob every now and then and he did doze off a few times but when we sung hymns he seemed to bolt upright and stand up far too quickly.

It came time for him to offer his sermon. He seemed to have forgotten his cue again and remained standing after the hymn. I looked over to where the deacons were sitting and someone seemed to be waving at father Rob from the opposite side of where he sat. he waved back. We stifled giggles. A few minutes passed and the deacon was now red in the face and gesturing openly for him to stand up and go to the pulpit. This was getting too much. He finally seemed to get the point and he walked joyfully towards the pulpit. I think I heard a sigh of relief from someone.

“Good morning church. Today’s service is about com com.. comfort, yes. The lord comforts us all in many ways” he began.

He looked down at the notes he was holding and cleared his throat.

“C-o-m-fort. We are all Gods lovely loving children and without his comfort we cannot begin to start our day. Is it not so ladies and gentlemen? What we need today is a big hug from the lord and a breath of his most comforting spirit and we can strive” he chuckled at this.

“Well yes that is why we come here isn’t it, to feel that comfort and to hold it dear to our hearts and be blessed by it. In the name of the father, and of the son and the holy spirit. Go now and feel the lords comfort today,” he smiled eagerly at us gave a bow and closed his eye clutching his chest.

He stood there for a minute. There was utter silence. One thing I liked about the morning service was that the sermons were long. But this was the shortest sermon I had ever heard. Everyone was staring at him. I looked around and some of the congregation was frowning. He opened his eyes and started making his way down from the pulpit. He came to the front of the church and gave the benediction. We were free to go.