The Monkey House

omenana

By Tade Thompson

The day I decide to return to work the taps are dry. The tank is empty because the landlord hasn’t turned the pump on, and none of us tenants has the key. I should wake him up, but this has led to shouting matches in the past, so I take two plastic buckets and go to the well without telling Shakira. She’ll only protest. She is awake when I return carrying both buckets, trying not to spill water on the lino. I see her micro-frown, and I grin to counter it.

I have been off work for two weeks with the worst bout of malaria of my life.  I force myself to return even though my mouth is bitter and the blood tests still say I have haemolytic anaemia. In the mirror my eyes have that yellow tinge.

Shakira has been unemployed since June. She does not…

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