The sky is going to fall again. It does this all the time, according to Mrs Haffajee, my physics teacher. I once told her Mama’s story, but she shook her head. “Lots of reported incidents are proven to be mistakes or hoaxes.”
“Mama isn’t making it up.”
She said that didn’t necessarily mean Mama was lying. That there are people who genuinely get hit by a falling rock, but the rock isn’t a meteorite.
“Then how did the rock fall?” I asked.
“Dropped by a bird, fell off a plane …”
I narrowed my eyes.
She shrugged. “If you brought it in, I could take a look.”
I asked Mama, but she said, “This rock was a gift from God and I have not let it go since the day it was given to me.”
Mrs Haffajee didn’t seem satisfied with this explanation when I came back to school empty handed. Even so, she is always telling me about space-facts, all the time. “You going to get up and watch the Eta Aquarid Meteor Shower?” she asked me the other day.
“I don’t know anything about it, Mam.”
“It’s an annual meteor shower that can generally be seen between the 19th of April and the 28th of May every year. All you have to do is go outside when the night is clear and look up, between 3am and dawn.”
I thought about this while I scratched the biting-fly bite on my elbow. “I don’t have a telescope.”
Mam shook her head. “You don’t need one for this. I’d argue it is better that you don’t. There can be over 40 streaks in a single hour, crossing the night sky. Telescopes only focus on one small piece, which means you’d miss most of the show.”
“Okay,” I said. “I will do this.”
“Tell me when you have,” she said.
What I didn’t tell Mrs Haffajee was that I am already up before dawn, like everyone else who lives at the stables. But not the big house, of course, up on the hill. The owners live there, so they dream those hours away, heads resting on fat pillows, as their bodies stay warm under heavy duvets that they don’t even need, because they have underfloor heating.
By four-thirty every morning, the grooms and their families are out of their beds. There’s a lot to do: we need to feed ourselves, the children must get ready for school, the babies get ready for creche, the mothers get ready for work, and the grooms must ensure the horses are fed, brushed, and ready for their day. The earliest riders show up at 7:30am, and they don’t want to wait.
Of course, many of us ‘children of the grooms’ also ride. But we have to make way for the paying clients, and thus we tack up our borrowed horses in the early hours, often starting at 4am, or we must stay up late, late, late. Thankfully we are allowed to make use of the main arena’s flood lights.
Yet, in those dark hours, I can’t remember ever looking up.
Tell us: What do you think of where Khanyisa lives? Would it be nice? Or would you hate living amongst horses and having clients walking past your door?