It’s early morning. The rain falls on the lawn, the avocado trees, banana trees, plastic play table. I can’t see any birds but I hear them, singing from under the leaves, reminding each other of their presence. Phil reads King Lear beside me, the French press half full on the carved wooden box by our feet. P comes out to show us her colouring project, to ask the name of the Pope, to give me a butterfly kiss on my arm. An email comes in from the US Embassy, warning us of terror, danger, threats on all sides. I wrap my homemade kanga quilt around my knees, drink lukewarm coffee, listen for birds.
Phil hammers a thick nail into the cement wall outside our kitchen, hangs a heavy second-hand dart board at regulation height. When I bring home shiny gold darts from the store, we all gather in the small courtyard, practice over and over, cheer loudly. The girls hug each other every time one of them hits the board, take turns with their favourite dart colours. Phil invites Godfrey to join, Godfrey who has never held a dart. He is grinning and nervous, embarrassed and proud. The girls clap for him, keep practicing long after the adults have disappeared.
We walk home in the late evening. It is dark and raining and we have no umbrellas. P announces happily that we should have known it might rain, “It is that season”. I watch my family ahead of me on the road, their silhouettes dark against the yellow glow of the streetlight. M is barefoot, dances over the sharp gravel, J holds her head high, her best dress soaked, clinging to her small frame. They pass the street light, disappear into the shadows.