Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Fields page 4


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They got back to the senzala after it was already dark, and then they had to carry out many errands and chores that the masters had accumulated for them during the day, such as mending and washing clothes, cooking and taking care of the horses and the mules. Shebeh went out to grind the corn, and told Konu to stay and help her clean her hand and bandage it with a rag. Kwame went to chop wood to make a fire for cooking. As they ate, nobody talked about the day.

That night, as the previous night in her new world, Kima couldn’t sleep well. There wasn’t enough moonlight, so there was no point in going to the river, and she rested in her corner by the door staring at the ceiling. She didn’t feel like sleeping. She wished she didn’t have to get up the next day, either. Her whole body wanted to seep into the floor, it ached in several places, and she felt a heavy tiredness.

She drifted in and out of sleep. When she was awake, she was aware of something sweet and pungent that lived in her forehead, behind her eyes. A feeling that extended into her arms and legs, a hurt that ran inside her from one end to the other, overwhelming everything else. Making her numb inside. Blind too: she remembered the things that had happened during the day, but the memories only touched her after they went over an internal wall that rendered them grey, lifeless. She was separating things, the outside world and her inside world, obscuring both. She could feel her skin’s heat where the whip had touched her, in her shoulder and her arm, and in her bandaged hand. And her arms felt loose, without strength. But all of this felt far away, as if she couldn’t hear it.

Very few things felt real. ‘Do I need to wake up tomorrow?’, she thought, and then she heard the birds singing as they started to wake up before the day began. The singing was beautiful and painful, like the feeling that had grown inside her. But the bird’s songs were sharp, agile, a little world contained in each melody.

Chapter 6


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