Chelsi inspected the finish on her table. She reached underneath and pushed up on the particle board surface. It dried a little warped after the flooding, but it could have been a lot worse, Chelsi thought to herself. Not that it matters now. It was her last day calling it her table, her chair her house. She looked up and out the door from her seat at the table.
It was the same scene she had looked up to see a thousand times before. A few goats were scattered on the porch, the leaves on trees growing up the ant hill were beginning to yellow with the changing season. The path out to the road had been cleared and widened, the chinzanza to the left had totally collapsed. She stood up and padded outside, ducking deep to avoid the roofing beam. I certainly won’t miss whacking my head on that. The goats caught notice of her presence but didn’t move, they chewed their cud, watching. Chelsi held her head down until she cleared the roof of the porch.
The sun was starting to set. Three of the doves swooped in overhead, touching down gracefully on porches of the bird house. Mary Lou cooed from here perch in the pophole. It was quiet Chelsi noticed. It was rarely quiet. Usually babies cried, goats bleated, sound systems blared, roosters crowed, but not this evening. She turned around to the back of the house. Daringly she shook one of the poles propping up the rear roofing beam. What if? She thought, what if on this one last night? The pole reverberated when she let it go, but it held strong.
She walked past the lemon tree, and the cement pad that had once been a batha; once upon a time. She looked admiringly at the flowering purple tree she had planted last more than a year and a half ago now. It was taller than her now, having grown more than a foot a month throughout rainy season. Watching it grow had been satisfying, everyday a little taller, a little stronger. She had hoped to see it flower, but next time. Maybe next time I’ll get to see it flowering.
The goats were watching her again. Chelsi could hear the nearest one smacking its lips. The chewing paused and the nanny called to her baby. Chelsi went to sit on the porch bench. The lip smacking nanny stood to move out of the way, and moved on to find her baby. The cement was cool on her legs, and a light dusting of lime fell to her shoulders as she leaned up against the house. Across the compound she saw a little white face poking out from the bushes. The face closer and a little black body was revealed.
Tulip trotted toward her. He paused to sniff the porch roofing poles before coming to rub up against her legs. Chelsi scratched to the top of his head and lifted him on to her lap. She stroked his fur and he purred, happy and content; the two of them, enjoying the evening air.