Nandi’s mother sat up. Nandi clenched her fists, and her whole body stiffened. She held her breath. Her mother was silent. She stood up. Nandi pulled her schoolbag towards herself, and held it in front of her, like a kind of shield. She shut her eyes. She heard her mother take a step towards her.

“I’m sorry Mama,” Nandi heard herself say.

Her mother still said nothing. Nandi opened her eyes. Suddenly, her mother took three steps towards her across the room. Nandi felt the slap across her face before she even realised what was happening. She sprang to her feet.

“Mama! Don’t!” she cried, still clutching her schoolbag in front of her.

“Slut! Whore!” her mother shouted, from where she stood, only a couple of centimetres in front of Nandi. Nandi stood silent. Tears were streaming down her cheeks, and her nose was running.

Nandi’s mother was breathing heavily, clenching and unclenching her hands, which were hanging at her sides. She gave Nandi one last angry look, and then spun on her heels, and walked to the door. She pulled it open and then she was gone. The door stood open behind her, the watery winter sunlight slanting through it.

Nandi moved slowly back to her bed. A cold wind was blowing into the room. She picked up the note and pen still lying on her bed.

She read the note that she had written, and added:

I am so sorry Mama. I know that I have brought more trouble to you. I never wanted this to happen.

Good bye.

Nandi stood up. She straightened her bedspread, and put her school bag neatly on the ground next to it. She moved across the floor, and left the note on her mother’s bed.

Then Nandi walked out of the open door, and pulled it shut behind her. She began to walk away from the house, and she did not look back.


Tell us what you think: What is Nandi going to do now? Did Nandi’s mother behave fairly towards her? Why do you think her mother reacted the way she did?