Umakoti and the suitcase 2/4

By Drum Digital
22 November 2013

Cock-a-doodle-doo! Anita woke, startled.

What was that? She had one of those delayed reactions where for a minute she didn’t quite know where she was. She wondered why she had a floral duvet cover over her –her linen was made from pure cotton in plain, solid colours. And why was her bed was facing the wrong way? Why there was a mirror on the wall? Where was Lwando? Then she awoke fully and remembered where she was. The cock crowed again.

Now I can forget about sleep, thought Anita. She looked at her watch on the bed- side table. It was just after two in the morning. Two in the morning! Was this crazy chicken on steroids or what? She drifted in and out of sleep and finally fell into a sound sleep just after 5am. She got up to find her room bathed in morning light and it put her in a panic. She’d over- slept and now she felt embarrassed. This wouldn’t impress anybody around these parts.

She put on her silk gown and slippers and went through to find her in-laws sitting at their kitchen table almost as if they were waiting for something. “Oh good morning, Mama and Tata. Sorry I overslept ...but that chicken! It kept me awake,” Anita said, rubbing the sleep from her eyes. “What’s happened? Why are you sitting at the table? Could you not sleep either? “Good morning, Anita. It’s called a cock and it crows.” Was that a hint of disapproval Anita heard in MaGasela’s tone? “We slept all right but we woke up to find there was no warm water for us to wash our faces, to get the sleep off, you know. Our new daughter-in-law was still asleep.” Anita felt mortified but slightly insulted too. She hadn’t been here 24 hours and al- ready they had menial duties for her to do.

“Oh...uhm ...I’m sorry about that. I’ll get it right away.” Anita moved quickly in one direction and then turned, conscious of how her negligee floated this way and that. She suddenly realised she didn’t know what she was trying to do. She had no idea what she needed to do to get the hot water go- ing. “Eh, Mama, which side is the bathroom so I can run your bath ...wait ...you don’t have a geyser here. Otherwise you’d run your own baths,” Anita sighed. “What do Idotoget hot water going?” MaGasela didn’t say a word. Instead she just glanced at the coal stove in the corner of the kitchen. It stood there menacingly, cold and dead as a doornail. Anita’s heart sank. How am I supposed to get that working, she thought. Shucks! This is not going well ...not well at all. Lwando would be so embarrassed if he knew what a hash she was making of things.

To be continued...

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