The Girl Under the Street Lamp
An island of light in a sea of black.
Little Khadija steps under the amber glow of the street lamp and settles on the curb of the street. Her knees tucked close to her chest. Her chin resting in between her kneecaps. Her fingers wrapped around her shins. Her heart in her chest and mind in the clouds. She closes her eyes.
She hears the low hum of the light above her. Flickering around the light are moths. Their bodies click against the light’s shade. These are no regular moths. Their pincers are like a crab’s chelae. Their bodies glow a radiated green. The hairs on their limbs, long and rugged. Despite their appearance, they are friendly with Khadija. She feels a few of them whiz by her. Flapping their wings so close to her ears it makes her tickle with delight. They are her friends and would do anything for her.
Khadija holds tighter to her shins. Eyelids fiercely shut. She hears the intermittent squawks of birds in trees far above her. In the wake of their squawks are words.
Squawk! “…last time I heard, Dr. Hayford had got a bad flu and Aunt Naana went over to tend to him…”, squawk, “that was nice of her… you think she is doing it because she feels guilty… who knows?” Squawk!
Then a deeper squawk cuts through the black. “Where has the little girl gone to now?! She is probably wandering the estate,” squawk! “…in this darkness?…I need to send her to the Goil to buy diesel for the generator….”
Khadija shuts it out. She doesn’t want to hear the conversation of birds anymore.
Her eyes still tightly shut, she feels something furry rub against her twinkling toes. She reaches for it and pets it. It is soft and vibrating as she strokes it. Khadija imagines it to be the black cat with lemon eyes. It moves along her and she strokes it some more. Its body is long. It seems to continue walking and its body keeps going. No sign of its end in touch. Khadija pets it along its long body. It's purring grounding her in the island of light.
Eventually, the cat ends and Khadija opens her eyes. She sees the tail of the elongated cut submerge into the black. She sighs, gets up, brushes her skirt and follows the cat into the sea.