Saturday, February 20, 2010

Goma is:

Morning. Billowy white clouds and a smell of rain. D and C and I fabric-shop in the hectic market. We run our fingers over flows of fabrics feeling the cotton, dazzled by the bright reds yellows greens brilliant blues of hibiscuses, roses, birds.

Afternoon. I teach at the one-roomed school. The children raise their small hands and ask questions in little voices. I teach them the PAST TENSE of IRREGULAR VERBS like drink/drank, eat/ate. I tell them a joke. Why was 6 afraid of 7? Because 7 ate 9. No one understands. And no one understands. And then suddenly there is a gasp and the surprised crystal laugh of a girl in the back and soon everyone understands, and everyone laughs, and I laugh, and we laugh together Ha! Ha! Ha!

Tomorrow. Sunday. To the beach! Sand between my toes. Friends and freshly-squeezed strawberry juice! Sunshine-kissed skin.

And Goma is:

Today, noon. D and I are outside of the grocery store. D is crowded by the street boys who know her by name and who tease her and she teases back. One boy: Last month D saw him get beat by a security guard and she saw his head sliced and his blood flowing but now here he is, grinning at her, and she is so relieved. The scar on his head is rough, but small and healed. She hands him a packet of Hit cookies and directs him to share and he and the other boys run off to a corner of the lot and divvy the cookies up, seriously, fairly. A young woman wrapped in dirty fabric with red-and-blue lillies on it wanders over to them and she holds out her hand, she asks for a piece. And they find one-and-a-half cookies for her, too, these sweet boys. The young woman turns around, cookies in hand. We can see her face. On it is a smile. Big eyes. Thick lashes. But no nose. Instead of a nose there is a gaping hole through which you can see bone and you can see pink.

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