Snoopy writing on typewriter e1396399166920

Poppy.M

Australia

I really love books, music, writing and the ocean. I love writing because of the beautiful things you can create with words.
I am always trying to improve so I am open to any criticism you have :)

Message from Writer

'Words were dangerous when loosed. They were more powerful than cannon and more unpredictable than storms. They could turn men’s heads inside out and warp their destinies. They could pick up kingdoms and shake them until they rattled.'
- Frances Hardinge (Fly by Night)

The Mango

September 8, 2018

PROMPT: Open Prompt

3
Chuki woke up to the screeching of crows. Deafening caws that pierced the stillness of dawn. She sat up, shivering under the thin sheet she called a blanket. As she undressed, Chuki glanced out the window at the dusty street. In the slums of Nairobi, the days were hot and humid, and the nights damp and cold. Mould crept up the walls of the shack she lived in.

Once Chuki was dressed, she began her morning chores. Mama was already up, scrubbing dirty cloths with hard soap, and dumping them into a large metal bucket.

Chuki stood quietly at the door, until her mother had finished. Mama emptied the contents of the bucket into a woven basket, and turned to Chuki.

“Chuki, come,” she said. “Take this bucket to the creek for me.”

“Yes, Mama.” Chuki trotted obediently over, took the bucket, and began to make her way to the creek.

The creek was the only clean water available to her village. Well, the cleanest. It was still quite dirty, filled with the used washing water dumped in there by the townspeople. Chuki approached the creek, and flung the contents of the bucket out into the water. She was just about to turn back, when she saw something from the corner of her eye.
 
Orange. With smudges of yellow and green. Smooth and curved. A mango sprouted from a nearby tree. Chuki placed the basket down carefully, and walked over to it. The last time she had eaten a mango had been years ago, with her papa. When he was still alive. She remembered his rough brown hands, as he held the fruit out to her. Chuki shuddered. She didn’t want to think about Papa. He was gone. The fever had taken him and he wasn’t coming back. She pushed the memory away, and stepped closer to the tree. She plucked the mango from it tentatively, and then slowly bit into it.

Normally at home, Chuki and her Mama ate rice. Lots and lots and lots of rice. With spices or fish if they were lucky. Fruit and sweets were a very rare privilege. So Chuki was alive with happiness as she ate the sweet flesh of the fruit, and felt the juice dribble down her fingers. The bucket lay next to her on the ground, forgotten. Chuki saw nothing but the fruit in that moment. She ate and ate, until just over half the mango was eaten. She realized with a jolt that she was supposed to be back at home by now. She carefully wrapped the remaining mango in a large leaf, took up the bucket, and hurried back home.
  •  

“Chuki!” Mama scolded. “What have you done to your dress?!”

Chuki looked down at her dress, which was loose around her thin body. It was also filthy with mango juice.

“Umm…” Chuki’s voice trailed away as she saw Mama’s stern face. Material was expensive, and Mama had to sew all of Chuki’s clothes, stitch by stitch.

“I - I’m sorry mama,” she said, “I found a Mango at the creek, and I just had to eat it. The juice must have dripped onto my dress.”

Mama’s eyes shone with curiosity. “A mango? At this time of year?”

Chuki nodded, and withdrew the remaining bit mango from the bucket. She held it out to Mama. Mama, to her surprise, took the fruit eagerly.

“May I have some?” she asked Chuki.

Chuki nodded.
As Mama bit into the mango, her eyes shone like Chuki’s had done, and Chuki saw some of Mama’s inner child emerge cautiously from within her. She finished the mango, and smiled at Chuki. Chuki smiled back, and knew that Mama forgave her. Chuki followed her back inside, to continue with what needed to be done that day.
  •  

That night, Chuki lay in bed and thought. She had always felt so lonely without her papa. She loved her Mama, but there was still a huge gap in her heart where papa had been. The mango, though it had reminded her of him, and her grief, had also reminded her of something else.
There was hope in the world.
Yes, there was sadness and despair, but there was also joy and sweetness. There needed to be both in this world. She needed both, to shape who she was as a person.
As she fell asleep that night, a mango tree grew within her. And there was a mango, a small piece of joy and sweetness, amongst her grief.

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2 Comments
  • Made4Love

    This was delightful to read! I love the analogy of Hope as a mango!


    11 months ago
  • AbigailSauble

    Aw...this is such a sweet, touching piece. :) Great work!


    12 months ago