To most parts of the country, even the world, different types of transportation are just that – transportation, nothing more, nothing less. But in the streets of my neighbourhood the cars, trains and planes serve a completely different purpose and that is them being alarm clocks that one can never ignore or snooze. To us, the annoying sound of the goods delivery train means that it is 5am on the dot – talk about punctuality. And the irritating hooter of my neighbour’s son’s school bus means that it is a couple of minutes before 6am, and I need to prepare to get up. Sigh.

After the long struggle of breaking the bond between my bed and I, plus making it, all roads lead to the bathroom for a quick bath. Which brings me to my next point about my hood. Lord! Don’t we get taxed for water and sanitation services around here. One can’t help, but to think that those municipality folks just print random numbers on our bills.

“Morning!” I greeted my mother one morning.

“Someone is up early this morning.” she said in astonishment.

“Unfortunately, I have an assignment to submit when classes commerce.” I frowned.

“The life you chose my child.” she replied.

“Tell me about it!” I the continued, “Did you hear that Jennifer was murdered yesterday?”

“Jennifer… Jennifer Doors? Cookie’s mother?” my mother enquired as she packed her lunchbox.

“Mhm… The one and only.”

“Wait, how do you know this when you only arrived here last night?” she asked.

“This is not Vegas, mother. Walls do have ears, thus news travel faster than the Gautrain. You should know that by now.”

“Ok! Point taken. So what happened this time?”

“It is said that the spark of their argument was a tree.”

“Huh? A tree? What kind of fruits does that tree have for people to kill each other over it?”

“Oh mother,” I laughed. “Apparently, Miss Door asked the guy next door to cut down the tree between their houses as its leavess dirtied her yard. The guy didn’t receive the plea well, so he stabbed, burnt and dumped her body in the field.”

“That field is turning into a mortuary hey.”

“You can say that again. And rumour has it that the guy was high on drugs, plus he is a dealer.”

“Gosh! Look at the time. I will hear the rest of this story in the taxi. Let me get going before I get myself fired.” My mother said taking her bag and I walked her to the gate.

“Nomsa!” someone called out my name. I turned only to find Jimmy, a guy from down my street.

“How are you doing my beautiful cheesy future wife? It’s been a while.”

“Cheesy? Really Jimmy?” I raised my one brow and folded my arms.

“You know! So are you going to buy me some cigarette as a small welcome back home gift?”

“Isn’t it supposed to be the other way around?”

“ Says who? Come on cheese girl! You travel in aeroplanes plus you are smart. I am sure you can afford it.”

“Wow Jimmy.” I rolled my eyes.

Peep! Peep! Some truck hooted at the corner store.

“Jeez. It’s already 7am. Madam, we will talk when I knockoff at 12pm, and don’t forget that R2 of mine.”

“I don’t owe you a R2 Jimmy.”

“We shall see.” he screamed as he ran down the road.

Even after months of not being there, some things just never change. My hood, my home. This is definitely where I belong.