Your friendly neighbourhood occupants 1

She slammed the empty glass down on the kitchen counter and wiped the cordial from her mouth.


He places his empty glass besides hers.

“Heck, yeah.”

They ran through the kitchen doorway, down the narrow hall and out through the front door. Their bicycles were baking out on the dry lawn. They straightened up their bikes, mounted them and rode down the street. She burned the inside of her thighs on the bike seat, swore, and stood up to ride.

The street was old; cracks grew to pot holes, strewn with crumbled bitumen and gravel. They deftly navigated their bike wheels between the pot holes to avoid grazing legs with flying gravel. Riding past the line of suburban houses and the vandalised playground, they made a left turn, skidded and swerved on to somebody’s lawn as they fell off their bikes.


A black sedan halted and honked at the children with their bikes. Adam gripped the steering wheel, his knuckles turned white. He had almost hit those damned kids with his car.

He turned the engine off and tried to steady his breathing. Through the windscreen he saw them stand up and glare at him. The girl raised her right arm and flipped him her middle finger. Adam rolled his eyes. “Fucking kids,” he whispered under his breath.

Adam released his grip on the steering wheel and looked down at his trembling hands. He tried to steady his nerves like Amata had taught him.

Close your eyes. Now, slow breath in with clenched fists. Hold. Slowly now, release your breath along with your grip and open your hands in time with the exhalation. Good. Again. Breathe in through the palms of your hands. Hold your breath in with fists, release your breath, your fingers the flue.

His right hand clutched his left, and he ran his right thumb over the grooves of the knuckles of his left. The deliberate force of pressure exerted by and upon his hands helped return to him a small sense of awareness and control. Wringing his hands, like the ringing in his ears, were frequent reminders of how dissociated he felt within his body.

He looked at the spidery white webs that marked his hands, remnants of scars that had faded over time. It was never quite clear to him how he got them, the scars that lined his body. Skin grafts, he had been told. A car accident, or so they said. He couldn’t remember if he had been a passenger or a pedestrian.


To be continued.

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