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All your sorrow flies away

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She lowered her knees towards the ground slowly and pressed the flower stalk upon the soil. Her plain dress fluttered in the wind and hugged part of the grave. The tears in her eyes blurred the letters painted on the small wooden cross- the letters that spelled the name of the person she loved the most: her mother. The sobs that escaped her lips were soft, but loaded with anguish.

When she felt her father’s hand on her shoulder, she rose unwillingly. There seemed to be no joule of energy left in her muscles. She dragged through the church gates to her father’s car. Inside, the car smelled of smoke and beer, just like the smell that lingered in the local pubs. Her father was quick to start the car and drive off, as if longing to return to civilization as soon as possible.

As they left the village, she stared out the window where familiar huts, fields and grazing livestock rushed by. As each piece of familiarity dissolved behind them, she felt a part of her being plucked away, increasing the wound in her heart. A couple of times, a known face waved goodbye. When she could no longer bear the pain, she shut her eyes and welcomed a little sleep.

It was dusk when she opened her eyes again. Immediately, her heart began to palpitate. She saw herself plunged into a labyrinth of skyscrapers looming towards the darkening sky and a multitude of traffic on winding roads. The sound of speeding vehicles, sirens and hoots pounded upon her ears. Alien faces on the side walk cast queer looks at her frightened face. She clutched tightly at the seatbelt and shifted towards the center.

“It’s about time you woke up. I thought my ears would shutter with your snoring!” Her father spoke in a bored voice. She only smiled shyly at the rear-view mirror.

The car came to a halt in front of a high walled house at the top of a winding street. A huge black gate slid open before her father drove the car up a short driveway into a single garage. She opened the door carefully and stepped out into a cold breeze. Her father had removed her tattered bag from the trunk and leaned it against one of the wheels. He was already striding towards two enormous doors. She lifted her bag and quickly followed him.

It was not warmer inside. The ceiling seemed to be extraordinarily high. There were four large leather sofas in the lounge, the type she had only seen on newspaper ads before. Opposite the sofas, she saw what she believed was a television but only an inch thick. They walked past four high doors in a narrow corridor before her father gestured towards her room. Unlike the mattresses she was used to, this one had a real be which stood profoundly against the wall. A couple of folded sheets, a blanket and a pillow were strewn upon it. The rest of the furniture composed of a small bedside table and a built in cupboard.

She dreamt of her village that night. When she woke up in a start during the night, there was no cousin beside her to hear her dreams.

It was three weeks after her arrival in the city. She had finally finished her struggle with the cleaning equipment, ridding the large house of any spots. As she sat upon the floor, staring at a blank television screen (which she was forbidden to touch), she felt a slight ache in her hands and back. The silence in the house was nearly tangible. As the extremity of the silence grew, so did the wound inside her heart. The pain there was raw and deep and the tears that flew silently over her cheeks could not wash it away. She longed for a shoulder to cry on, but knew she would get none. Her friends and cousins were miles away, her animals too. And her father would not be back before darkness enveloped the city.

In her sorrow, she strolled around the house. At last she came upon the case that kept their food cold. When she opened it, she saw a bottlelabeledd ‘Amarula’. She remembered what a man in a pub had shouted while holding such a bottle. “This is magic. Drink it and all your sorrow flies away!” She took a glass and poured some of the cream colored liquid into it. In a few moments after she had let the liquid flow down her throat, it began taking effect in her body. A slight dizziness came over her eyes and yes, her pain did begin to disappear. As long as it was available, she would never endure pain again.




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