Hey guys, ok, I'm on a roll now. Just like me to go on a hiatus and then come back with a bang! This one is something I was working on for the Commonwealth Short Story Competition. I didn't send it in eventually. Grappling with the usual problems of writing flash.(600 words). Does it make sense? I haven't said all I want to? This is absolute trash, Akan! (lol) Tell me what you think, will ya? I love you guys. Bless!
Butterflies in my stomach
Just as I was about to climb aboard my father’s rickety Datsun for a ride to the airport, I looked back and watched my mother and my siblings. Hands akimbo, eyes shiny with tears. Gray haired men and pant wearing toddlers were out on their frontages peering at me, hands folded over breasts; expressions a mix of admiration and envy.
My mother rushed to the car and tucked in my bra strap, picked out something from my thick Afro and fiddled with my buttons. The last time I checked, my bra strap was not sticking out, there was no nothing in my hair and my buttons were just fine. She was just nervous, and maybe needed to remind everyone watching that she was the mother of the scholar who was off to the lands across the seas.
I knew I wouldn’t be seeing any seas though; for the plane flew high up above them. Maybe if I craned my neck far out.
My father pressed his horn again. A sombre looking man, made even more grave looking when he was undertaking an important task as he was now. He had driven his cab everyday for the past twenty years, but this was different. Driving his scholar to the airport for a trip abroad. Abroad! That magical word!
The scholarship came serendipitously. As a brilliant but timid student, I didn’t imagine that I would ever win anything like that. But my teacher, Ms Benson thought otherwise. “Such brains cannot waste”, she often said. She was very unlike my mother. While my mum was soft spoken and unassuming, Ms Benson was feisty. Yes, feisty, but I owed her this privilege. She couldn’t be around to see me off to the airport because she was attending a City Hall meeting to protest the exclusion of girls in a recent scholarship offer. That was my Ms Benson; always fighting for the underdog. Blazing her shiny eyes, her voice modulated three notches higher, talking about things like equality and rights, her favourite red scarf flying in the air.
I climbed into the car, clutching the little red pouch Ms Benson had given me, with the words: IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS, PLEASE DO NOT STEAL. Thieves do not take heed to begging but I guess they would know that it was Mrs Benson that wrote it.
As we eased out of the street, people waved vigorously as if I was going away forever. I waved back; my stomach queasy, I suddenly felt like I needed to visit the bathroom.
My father drove slowly like he was afraid to damage the package he was going to deliver. I looked out the window, thinking of the impending upheaval my life was taking. The anticipation was overwhelming and I couldn’t wait to see London and settle the argument my twin siblings had about whether there was a place where you could queue up to get some money if you ran out of yours.
We arrived at 5.00pm. With my red pouch around my waist, we stared at the crowd that had collected in the hall. There was a constant din; just like it was in Merchant square. Completely bewildered, we joined a line. "Just any line", Father said, clutching my luggage, the serious look never leaving his face.
We soon came up in front of a lady officer. After looking through my shiny passport, the lady officer paused and looked up, pointing at the display board.
“Flight problems, she said, we’re sorry for the inconvenience; it has to be tomorrow".
Father couldn’t have been paler.
“It’s okay, Father, we would come back tomorrow”, I muttered.
Throughout the ride back , I thought of how I’d face all my neighbours and my siblings and... Mother! Would they think I wasn’t deserving of the scholarship and had been turned back? I noticed that Father was taking a different route, and when I coughed, he said, “We would spend the night at your uncle’s and leave from there tomorrow”.