rush hour combi crowd crushing me home. someone closes the blinds so the colors go and I spend the ride staring at the ripped chair back and the flowered print of a woman’s dress. the man collecting our fare shouts out my stop and I make a wobbly exit under a 50 pound backpack.
the walk home is 15 minutes in sneakers but 20 with the pack. I brace myself for the longest stretch of the day and I check my watch. he’s boarding the plane now. I say a little prayer that they’ve given him a window and to see the blaze of one last African sunset.
orange twilight drapes the village as I start my trek.
five minutes into the walk I’m passing the school. the dismissal bell rings as the students pour out from the courtyard to the road. they smile and wave. they tell me they’ve missed me. two teachers come out of their houses to welcome me back. mr. sile waits to walk me halfway home. ms. meki meet us on the way and stops to tell me about her week and ask about my trip.
as I approach my yard I see that the landlady’s groundsman has come back after a 2 month stay at the hospital. he looks thin and sick but smiles in a way that draws light onto his face and makes me happy. we struggle through a botched-Setswana-sign-language dialogue where I tell him I’m happy he’s feeling better and he asks where I’ve been traveling and I tell him about zambia and tells me he’s worried about the wind blowing the roof tiles of my house off and I say I’ll talk to the landlady and he says goodnight and we smile awkwardly and I go inside.
sweatpants. water. sweep out the cockroach carcasses. flush the spider that’s died in the toilet. curse the water for being out again. flop on the couch.
knock knock. Oletum smiling at my door confirming our Sunday study date and where has kris gone to? and whens he coming back? and the landlady’s dog pokes her nose in for a pat and yes, I’ll be at morning assembly tomorrow. and see you tomorrow teacher.
when I close the door deep dusk marks the end of todays social scenes. I stand in my kitchen sipping water and listening to the neighbors prepare dinner over the outdoor fire. the rooster releases its classic erroneous crow and this feels alright.
and this feels right.