8. Picture Perfect

Roses are red
Voilets are blue
Snot is green
and I have the flu

But the roses have wilted
The voilets are dead
My stomach is churning 
And so is my head

Wednesday morning found me tossing and turning trying to find a cool spot in bed. The air-conditioning was blasting but it was just so hot. Papa had left for work already so I was home alone with only the housekeeper for company.

My stomach was killing me and I couldn’t breathe properly because my nose was so stuffy plus my eyes felt like needles were poking me. A coarse groan squeezed past my lips when my stomach twisted and I forced myself to propel my body out of bed and rush to the bathroom. That took all the energy left in me so all I could do after that was sit and struggle to breathe as my stomach emptied itself of my breakfast. And last nights supper. And it didn’t stop there. I vomited non-stop for like twenty minutes before the nausea finally began to subside.

It felt as if there wasn’t an iota of energy left in my body and if it weren’t for the fact that I hadn’t covered my hair before going into the bathroom, I wouldn’t  have moved an inch.

But the innate belief that was drilled into me as a child spurred me into motion and I crawled out of the bathroom and collapsed flat on the floor once I reached the doorway. I mean just the thought on shaytaan making a nest in my hair made shivers run down my spine. I don’t know whether it’s true or not but it’s too scary to risk.

The after effects of my vomiting spout manifested itself, until I felt too miserable to even cry. My throat burned like you can’t believe, my head felt like it’d fall off if I attempted to lift it, my eyes wouldn’t stop watering and my whole body just felt completely drained of every single bit of energy it had once possessed. I didn’t manage to stifle the moan the escaped my lips, “Mama.”

Did I just say mama, no it can’t be. I must be imagining things, I don’t even think about her anymore. ‘Then why are you thinking about thinking about her?’ That annoying little voice in the back of my head taunted me, driving me to the brink of insanity. ‘I’m n..’ Oh god! I must be going mad. My head certainly did feel like it was about to explode into a thousand fragments.

I lay there flat on my back, finally finding some relief from the cool tiles, until Mrs Frere came to clean my room. She helped me back into bed, cleaned up and went away for a little while, returning with a bowl of hot chicken soup.

My stomach grumbled at the scent a of the food but to my dismay, try as I might I just couldn’t get the spoon to my lips. It kept on slipping out of my feeble fingers and clattering to the floor.

Seeing this Mrs Frere brought a straw and adjusted the position of the bowl. I smiled and thanked her but I couldn’t help but yearn for someone to nurse me just a bit. Mrs Frere was very nice but she simply did her duty. She was always professional, never acting in a manner that was personal. I sighed and reprimanded myself, ‘Sure Haalah, it would be great if you had someone to sit here are your bedside and spoon-fed you but you’re way to big for that nonsense.’

The soup lasted exactly 17 minutes in my stomach before it decided to empty its contents and had me back leaning over the toilet bowl.

Once again, I mustered only enough strength to the bathroom entrance, my entire body heaving with exertion. Relief came fast as blissful oblivion overtook me and I was soon passed out right there on the floor once again.

* * * * *

“Mama, I don’t want to go, I’m going to miss you! I want to stay with you at home.”

“I also don’t want you to go doll, but you have to learn. Think about all the lovely friends you’re going to make, and all the interesting things you’re going to do.”

I clung onto her knee as the teacher tried to pry me away. Mama knelt down before me, gently wiping the tears away from my face. She hugged me tightly and kissed my cheek before hurrying away after whispering “Be good.”

As school was let out, I ran towards Mama as fast as my little legs could take me, mama picked me up and spun round. “Hows my Haaloo?” she asked.

“Mama! Look what I made,” I cried holding out my drawing to her. On it I had drawn myself with her and papa holding on to me.

Suddenly my lower lip trembled, “Mama ,will you always love me?” I asked softly.

“Why?” she asked.

“Coz one girl said you don’t like me, that’s why you left me,” I admitted tears filling  my eyes.

Mamma smiled as she scooped me up in her arms. “I’ll always love you my baby, always,” she whispered into my ear.

* * * * *

“You’re so lucky. Your Mama is so nice,” my friend Khaula whispered to me.

I smiled shyly as I nodded.

Reaching into my bag, I pulled out a slab of chocolate and offered it around. Of course no body could resist and we were all soon gobbling chocolate, not that I minded. Mama would always give me some more and she’d be happy that I’d shared.

Grinning excitedly, I pointed towards the  empty swing as we raced each other to see who could get it first.

Reaching it I spun around and plonked myself on it before any one else could.

“I win,” I laughed at the others disappointed faces.

“Girls! Inside now, your break is over.”

We all turned to Apa Aaisha as she said it, groaning at the thought of lessons after so much of fun.

Apa Aaisha laughed.

“Why the long faces girls? Come on, it’s story time.”

We all cheered as we headed towards our class.

I found myself next to Apa Aaisha,  I looked up at her and smiled, I was filled with awe and respect for her and placing her hand onto my head she smiled back at me.

It was enough to take me into the 7nth heaven of delight.

 “The way you share your stuff and always smile and help the others is a very good quality,” she said to me. “I’m proud of you.”

“Jazakallah Apa Aaisha, ” I looked earnestly at her, “Mama always encourages me to do that.”

“You have very good parents Haalah,  not all children have such good parents, ” she paused and swallowed before continuing, “Not all children have them.  You should be grateful for having such wonderful parents.”

I smiled and nodded, “Also it’s good that you listen and follow your parents instructions even though they’re aren’t there to see it,  your parents should be proud of you.”

* * * * *

I got out of bed, shivering due to my fever as I rushed towards the bathroom. I held on tightly to the basin as a wave of dizziness swept over me. Hearing a sound behind me I turned to see Papa at the door with a concerned look on his face.

“Haalah are you okay?” he asked. I turned unable to answer him as I threw up.
Seconds later Mama was rubbing my back soothingly,  her touch was soft as she rubbed my back with her fingers,  as she gently pushed my hair out of my face. She helped me to wash my mouth before Papa picked me up,  carrying me back to my bed.
I unwillingly swallowed the medicine which Mama gave me as I rested my head on her chest. She rested her arms around me after putting a wet towel over my forehead. I looked into her worried  eyes, managing a small, weak smile as I drifted into a feverish sleep.

* * * * *

I stifled a sob when I tried to move and everything hurt. Memories of going to the toilet and feeling too weak to get back to bed came to mind. It was no wonder that everywhere hurt, a sad consequence of passing out on the wooden flooring. Where was Mama and Papa? Why had they left me alone?


I shifted uncomfortably and tried to sit up but the task prove impossible for my weak body. I fell back down, not too concerned. I’ll just call for Mama and she’d sort me out.


I called out a few times her and just when I began getting worried, I heard footsteps. Relieved, I allowed my eyes to shut once again because keeping them open was taking too much energy.


Not bothering to open my eyes, I calmly complied as Mama helped me into bed and tucked me in.

“Mama, don’t go,” I whimpered, “Please stay with me.”

I didn’t receive a verbal response but the sinking of the bed besides and the cool hand smoothing my hair away from my face, lulled me off into a deep sleep with a contented smile on my face.


A tired woman blinked tears away as she rose from the bed and made her way out of room to finish the housework. “Employer and employee, don’t spoil that relationship. You can’t get too close no matter how much the child is begging for attention,” she muttered to herself as she made her way out of the room. It was clear that the child was still hurting and even though it had been years, it still broke her heart to see the child cry out for her ‘Mama’ everytime she got sick. ‘She’s not a child anymore and it’s not your place to get involved Doris,’ Mrs Frere reminded herself as she let herself out of the big gloomy house.


That night she made sure to appreciate her husband and children, doting on them more than usual and even said a prayer of gratitude. She may not live in a big house but she’d choose this small cozy house over that big cold mansion any day. Her heart still went out to that poor girl spending most of her time alone there. ‘Don’t get too close,’ she reminded herself as she kissed her daughter goodnight.

Okay, I know. I’m sorry but I did warn you guys. I’m terrible at keeping to schedule. But I tried honestly, however it just didn’t work *hide*. So now to make up for it,you get an extra long post that’s close to 2000 words. Does that redeem me?



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