Hungry & tired, Lucky Ndlovu thanked his employer & headed home.
I must hurry to make the last payment on mother’s stone. Then I can save for a mattress. He ran, eager to complete his chores & collect the headstone. On the way, he thought of his father.
I wonder why he left & never returned? The mines killed grandfather? Maybe it’s me, or the sickness? He blinked away tears blaming the wood smoke as he picked a path through the warren of shanties.
They hugged, drawing strength. “Now fetch water before it’s dark”
Lucky loaded the gallon jugs onto the wheelbarrow that doubled as their table. Barefoot, he wobbled toward the communal outside tap. He skipped the frothy streams of sewage thankful the detergent masked the stench.
In the queue, he turned to the girl behind.
“Will you look after my stuff while I pick something up?” He pointed to the squatter camp’s only double-storey shack. With the misspelt words Funeral Dictator whitewashed across them.
The boy found a secluded corner before he unwrapped the tissue paper. On a small slab of black marble were the letters.
R.I.P Mamma Ndlovu
He caressed the chiselled inscription and whispered. “We are the elephant, Ndlovu. The noble giants who never forget.”
He clasped the stone to his chest.