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The Widow’s Brew

Drenched in last night’s beer-induced sweat, Robinah finally makes it up the hill and stumbles into a quiet corner in the church's compound. Nearly collapsing under the cool shade of a mango tree, she slowly fans her face with her hands.

“I just have to make it through through today... maybe they'll see me and remember to help with next term's school fees." She thinks to herself.

Robinah's well-worn black 'church' dress now had a deeper hue from her sweat, her perm is a soggy mess, and the second-hand shoes she made her son polish to a brilliant shine, now resemble brown suede rather than their original black patent leather. The shoes had taken on a new shape as well, accentuating her ginger root-like toes. Her heavily swollen feet had morphed -like over-risen loaves of bread spilling over their baking tins.

Robinah reaches into her bag (borrowed from her sister Judith) – there is no handkerchief only a balled up, tattered piece of cheap tissue paper. She catches herself just before reaching down to clean the shoes and instead opts to wipe the sweat off her face. This is a mistake, the tissue dusts her face with blue-colored fluff in some places, and bonds with the beer sweat, hair oil, and baby powder in others(she didn't have any makeup powder).

Someone calls out to her from the church verandah. She quickly tosses what is left of the damp tissue into a nearby bush, runs her fingers over her soggy perm, and pastes what she hopes is a friendly smile on her face.

She looks in the direction the call came from and sees her brother in law - Phillip. A short fat man with his large belly barely restrained by the buttons of his white dress shirt. She slowly makes her way towards him, his forced sunny demeanor and insincere smile assaulting her retinas in the same way as the harsh glint of the sun on his new gold watch.

"Is that a new watch? His brother's children are starving and he buys himself a gold watch!?" She stews inwardly.

At the very least, his presence ensures that she will get a free ride to the wedding reception and if she plays her cards right - a nagging lift home. The dusty thudding in her head was worsened by his loud cheery voice. Still, she smiled.

For Auntie Kibatenga, who survived everything, even death.



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