A HOME ALONE
He liked the idea of a house as an organism, one that collected water, produced energy, grew food. To go off grid had become the pursuit of his life. He took care of the house, and it took care of him. The only problem arose when he had to go to the city. After long journeys things would always go wrong with the system; water leaked, solar panels depleted, doors slammed, sounds began. It got to such a state he rarely went anywhere, and secretly, he began to fear that if the house could prevent him leaving again, it wouldn’t hesitate.
In the decade Gladys spent as our cleaning lady I only ever knew her to be late once. Ever since I turned freelance, her finger on the bell at 8am had been my alarm.
That day, a business call woke me at 8:30 and I opened the door for Gladys at nine.
I stayed in bed/the office the rest of the day listening to her comforting domestic sounds downstairs.
At five pm she let herself out with the usual ‘Goodbye Daniel’ called up.
“The sky is falling!” I told my wife when she got home. “Gladys was late.”
She tells me about the collision that morning and that Gladys was among the fatalities.
The next day I set an alarm.
Jane B. Parker is a writer and photographer from South Africa. Her creative work has appeared in Badilisha Poetry X-change, the Silver Birch Press blog, The Poetry Pea Journal, and is forthcoming in Crow & Cross Keys. She can usually be found tweeting haiku and micro-poetry @nowiammyself