Hazy eyes’ peered through the glass, gazing at acres of palm trees disappear as they sped past. The bleak look in them grew with each mile covered, widening the gap between her and home, between the known and unknown.
They told her that she is heading for better things; for greener pastures. They told her that she’s the only hope for the family, they told her many things…
Yes, Akunnia wanted to help the family. Indeed, she truly wanted to be a saving grace. Yet, she couldn’t stop the incessant trickle of hot tears and the lump in her throat from getting bigger with each speed bump the van took as it gradually wound its way away from the dusty paths of her village to the big city.
How did greener pastures leave her feeling like a chattel used to repay family debts to a grouchy tradesman well-known for his poor treatment of others? The weight of her looming situation sat heavy on her slight sixteen-year shoulders.
The frilly purple underwear fought the peg that held it to the clothesline as if in protest against being held down. Its vigorous flapping attracted the attention of several eyes’ – it was simply the prettiest thing in sight.
Casting second, third and fourth stealthy glances, imaginary thoughts of its softness encasing and caressing the skin was worth taking the risk.
With no one watching, in a quick flash of hands, the clothes pin was removed, but the gust of wind was faster and the flowery slip sailed over the fence and attached itself to the radio antenna of a van zooming past.
In dismay, he watched the van weave its way down the street with a purple slip of silk waving in mockery.
The sparse cupboard with the solitary pack of Batchelor soup and canned beans stared back at him as if in mockery. His posh apartment was a sorry mess. Take out boxes and dirty mugs littered the kitchen and George wondered when his life had become so empty.
He was fatigued from months of insufficient sleep and taking work home; the promotion came with more responsibilities than anticipated. He was tired of eating out of paper boxes, he missed having a decent relationship with anyone and would have given a tooth for some helping of the curry flavourful dish that floated down the corridor from his married neighbours’ apartment; his tummy grumbled at the thought.
The ping of the microwave interrupted his thoughts and the cup of overflowing soup that looked more like lava made him swear. With a sigh of resignation, he picked up the phone to call Chinatown. The hum of voices and laughter from next door sharply reminded him that a robust bank balance did not make up for loneliness.
Tara hated herself for what she was doing, but her clogged mind just couldn’t think of any other way out of her problems.
Her meagre earnings were stretched beyond its capacity that to eat one meal a day was now a hurdle.
Sending money back home to the Philippines to assist her folks with the younger siblings and her dad’s medication took virtually everything.
With a pounding heart, she prayed for forgiveness in the silence of her heart, cast furtive looks around and quickly dipped her hands into the offering bag; the small clutch of cash felt like burning coals in her palm.
John Paul saw her through the CCTV and smiled to himself; what a golden opportunity, he had her where he wanted her.