The Houseboy and his Broom

Before dawn, he is up. Sweeping the cold dew-laden concrete with his broomstick. Scratching at the pavement, sweeping the dead leaves of the fruiting lemon, avocado, and soursop trees. Sweeping the shit of the foreign dogs. Sweeping his dreams of another life away into the dust bin. Then dumping the waste into the bola to be rolled out to the front of the house for the garbage collectors to pick. This is Kwabe’s morning.

And he would be like every other houseboy if not for his voice.

“One love…” he sings as he sweeps and sweeps. “Let’s get together and be alright…” he sweeps and sings, he bends and swoons. All in that morning chill. The sun barely announcing itself to the day.

Kwabe is the brunt of the jokes of the household. No one knows of his mystical voice. Not the househelp, the chef, not even the gardener, nor the masters in their AC tombs. Not even Kwabe himself. His headphones clamped onto both ears, shutting off the world outside his head. Fixing his mind on the sweeping motion of his broom.

Only the birds know of his voice. They flock from all over the walled estate. From branches up high to down low. Small and big birds. Prey and predator. They come and listen and practice their harmony with Kwabe’s voice, building up such a cacophony of melody. Squeks, quacks, chirps. All matter of sounds imaginable from a throat of a bird. So much so that it wakes the masters, who only hear Kwabe’s chortling. The masters slide their window open then shout at Kwabe to ‘STOP THAT NOISE AT ONCE!”

Kwabe lifts his headphones off his ear eventually and says his customary sorry. The masters go off to their tombs. And Kwabe continues to sweep. Over and over again…



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Ekow Manuar

The stories we tell have a life of their own and they work between the realm of what is real and how we conceive that reality.