Every morning when I have to get out of bed, despite what time it is, I always find myself wondering who on earth came up with the idea of sleeping. In fact, who on earth came up with the principle of starting the day at 7 a.m. It is said that with time, situations get better, but for me the waking situation refuses to get better.
“Mrs N-Co-Zee get up,” articulated Steve – the family robot, who was at the time standing next to my bed. I groaned with anger as I kicked off my blankets.
“Jeez Steve. First the alarm, now you,” I said getting off bed.
“You sound angry Mrs N-Co-Zee,” Steve said with his irritating programmed voice, flashing the red sound weaves on his “chest”.
“Ag, just get out of my room and go wake Annabelle up,” I said out of frustration.
“Yes ma’am,” he said as he accelerated out the door.
“You can’t even say NKOSI yet we paid hundreds and thousands of rands to get you here,” I mumbled as I started making my bed.
This is Steve’s second year with us. I still have no idea why we have him around but then again, “he is the in thing” as my daughter had once said when she was busy convincing us to buy him. “Almost every household in our suburb has The Steven Household Robot 2.1i. Come on mom,” she had continued.
The robot pretty much replaced the maids, gardeners and the operational level workers in manufacturing companies.
“Why employ people who will protest AGAINST you in less than six months when there is a robot that can do their job in HALF the time?” asked a friend of mine five years ago when these electronic beings were introduced in South Africa.
“I guess he does make financial sense after all,” I rhetorically said to myself.
“Who?” asked a voice behind me, jingling with my adrenaline levels.
“Are you trying to give me a heart-attack?” I asked as I turned to look at who it was, only to find Faith, my niece.
“Well no. But then why are you talking to yourself out loud? You do know that’s creepy right?” she said with a very dull face.
“And you think walking in on people is not creepy?” I asked raising my brows.
“Ag come on Aunt Lee, I didn’t walk in on you. Anyways this is for you,” she said so stretching her arms out to give me a tray.
“The beacon smells wonderful,” I said taking one piece from the plate.
“And the rest of it?” she asked.
“Mmm,” I said taking a bite of the beacon. “So what do you want this time?”
“What do I want? Ouch! So I cannot just make my lovely aunt breakfast?” she replied.
“Oh please. The only time I am LOVELY is when you want something from me. So what is it?” I said taking off my pyjamas.
I pulled a towel from the chair near the bathroom door and wrapped it around my body. Taking a couple steps, I stepped into the bathroom. I opened the shower door to let the water run for a few minutes.
“Are you going to say what is it that you want or you are just going to follow me around the whole day?” I asked moving to the basin. I took my toothbrush, put on some toothpaste then started brushing.
“Thing is, I need cash for the Mars Day Celebration happening in two days,” she said biting her lower lip.
“Need or want?” I uttered with foam in my mouth. “In fact, aren’t you supposed to be asking for my permission to go there first?”
“There is freedom of movement in this country my lovely aunty. Didn’t…” she said before being interrupted.
“Mrs N-Co-Zee there is no one in Annabelle’s room,” Steve reported.
“What?” I said in amusement after bowing to spit out the paste in my mouth.
“I said there…” Steve attempted to repeat himself.
“I heard you. Faith where is Annabelle?” I asked turning to face her.
“How am I supposed to know?” she raised her brows.
“Watch your tongue missy. I am still your aunt,” I firmly said.
“Sorry Aunty. But seriously how am I supposed to know?” she replied. “I left her doing her homework last night when I went to bed,” she continued.
“Steve, did you check the bathroom?” I concernedly asked.
“Yes Ma’am,” he replied with a descending tone, only to beep and say, “Battery low. Please charge.”
“The charger is in the bottom drawer in the room divider,” I said to Faith as I walked out of the bathroom.
I went out my bedroom door to Annabelle’s room. To my surprise, her bed was all made up but her uniform was still there. “Annabelle?” I shouted her name as I moved around her room. “You even left your phone,” I said as I picked it up. “Ag damn you finger scan,” I said with frustration as I attempted to unlock it. I threw the phone on her bed then walked out of the room. Walking back to my room, I went to the bathroom and found the shower glass covered by steam. I took off the towel and walked into the shower.
Stretching my hand I grab the shower gel and sponge. The movement of the sponge on my body felt like a masseuse was rubbing off all my problems. Standing up straight, I crossed my hands to hold my shoulders and faced the ceiling, letting the water to run over my skin.
“Wait! The last time she did this we were called by the police,” I said out loud. “What are you up to now Annabelle?” I sighed then closed the shower tab and got out to get dressed.
When I was done I went downstairs and found Faith watching TV. I went to the kitchen to make myself a cup of coffee then walked to the lounge.
“I just hope that she is not crashing any plane this time,” Faith said as I set opposite her.
“It’s at times like this when I just wish her father was around,” I replied.
“Yeah hey. I still cannot believe that he went to Mars. By the way we ran out of bread,” she said.
“Take the R90 on top of the fridge,” I replied.
“Bread is R100 though,” she said.
“Bread was R15 in my times dear,” we both laughed. We heard the door open then tiptoe steps. My mood changed. “Where do you think you are going?” I asked as I stared at Annabelle. She immediately froze with shock.
“Upstairs to prepare for school,” she answered.
“Pardon?” I said as I got up. Faith immediately jumped off her sit and blocked my way.
“Whoa! Calm down. And you fix your attitude,” she said first looking at me then turning to look at Annabelle.
“And you are the one telling me about attitude huh?” Annabelle rolled her eyes.
“And you are telling me to calm down?” I said to Faith then continued, “Annabelle are you testing me?” At that time I was gallivanting behind Faith.
“Not even…” she replied.
“Then for the last time, WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?” I said trying to keep my cool.
“I was at Romeo’s flat OK,” she said as she moved towards the stairs.
“OK?” I asked in disbelief. “Annabelle, are you trying to have another baby?”
“Wow mom. That card again. Really?” she said with a frown.
“Yes really. How else am I supposed to explain your behaviour? What does that boy have on you huh? You act like a headless chicken at the mention of that boy’s name,” I shouted.
“I am sorry mom. But don’t act like you have never been in love. I am trying here. What was I meant to say when he said I should visit?” she said.
“How about you tell him you are a child who is still under her mother’s authority?” I continued. “You know what? I am SICK and TIRED of your nonsense. When you come back from school, we are going to the clinic. It’s about time you got the anti-love injection like you got the prevention implant. I am tired of this love drama of yours. Clearly the pregnancy made things worse.”
“What?” Faith and Annabelle simultaneously said.
“You slow now? I am done with you,” I said snitching my bag from the table. “And you better be here on time.”
“But mom…” she said with teary eyes.
“No buts Annabelle,” I snapped.
“You know what?” she whipped her tear then sniffed. “It’s fine. Have it your way. No wonder dad chose to go to Mars. I should have left with him,” she clicked her tongue and ran up the stairs.
I sat down in disbelief. “Did she really just say that?” I rhetorically asked Faith. She just swallowed the lamp down her throat and I felt tears falling off my eyes.