JUST BETWEEN US – a family tale

Its black
The lights are gone
Its not sleeping time yet
so we sit in the living room
In the dark
mama calls for a candle
Iget up to fumble
In the drawers they stay in

Nothing
The candles are over
Ma cusses
Brother retaliates
They argue for a while
Each right
Then big sister hushes them
“we are in darkness
for heaven’s sake”

mam gets up
from the long sofa
she has an early day
tomorrow
she always does
she goes to bed

my sister and I tussle
over the long sofa
mam has left
we agree at last
to share the space
we wait
in the dark
the only light
my brother’s punching away
at my sister’s phone
Facebooking

My sister complains
Her battery will die soon
And who knows
When the light will be back
My brother lies
“I’m finishing up”
My sister snorts

Its quiet for a while

Then a ghost of a smell
Floats up my nose
It smells of beans
Stale!
My big sister’s fart!

phoooo!
we hit her with pillows
She’s dying with laughter
And says its healthy

We begin discussing farts
Who has the smelliest
My big sister wins
She cries foul

Then we tell fart tales
The day we had to eat papaya
After two consecutive days
Of eating pilau
The disastrous aftermath

We laugh out loud
My other sister
laughs like a hyena
hihihihii!
She farts loudly

We laugh even harder
My brother tells her
To check her pants

Am falling off the sofa
Curled in mirth
Tears in my eyes
My ribs hurt

Then the whole room goes yellow
When the bulb comes on

We squeal and Ilurch
for the DVD
My brother hides the remote
Under his ass
So he gets to choose
What movie we watch

My sister-the moment am up
Stretches on the long sofa
And fills it up
I return and sit on her
She doesn’t bulge
I settle to lying
uncomfortably
At her feet.
We are both tiny things
Soon we get comfy

The cat passes by
Black tail across my eye-line
I pull the tail
and he shrieks
My big sister scolds me
And i laugh
She talks to the cat softly
My brother scoffs
and says
We spoil the silly cat
He doesn’t even catch mice!

I love him-
My cat
He scratches me
And i pull his tail
But he always knows
Its okay to sleep
At my feet
Or in my bed

We put the lights off
And the movie begins
We’re all quiet
Soon i know
My sister will notice
Some familiar actor
And begin pestering us
With trying to trace
Where else she has seen
That face

We warn her in advance
She dismisses us

Mam walks back
Into the living room
She had not yet slept
She also wanted to watch the movie
Before the blackout happened

Automatically
My sister and i get up
From the sofa
And mam replaces us
She needs it more

My sister finds a seat
She sits and plays with her earlobe
My big sister
Sunk deep in her chair
Hugs a pillow
my brother
Big eyes, hand on the remote
Watches the screen

Mam
Ten minutes in
And she’ll be asleep
Then she’ll wake up
When the movie
Is at its climax
And ask what the hell happened.

I smile
Seated on the floor
A pillow on my back

Movie continues.

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