The silver suit covers my mommy’s body from neck to toe. It’s metallic and reflective with Tapas’s name written on the chest and back. She stands at my room door doing squats. “My word, I can’t remember the last time I had so much energy!”
I put my water bag on.
“Where are you going?”
“To the river, Mommy.”
“Ooh lekke, I’m going with.” She stops to think for a second. “Wait, ha-ah, I can’t. Tapas says I mustn’t go near water with this suit on, it can’t get wet.”
Tapas’s hospital doesn’t do surgery on pensioners: they get his patented silver Tapa-Suit. The suit is skintight because it has sensors in the material that read your insides. It picks up any weakness in the body and sends electric energy to that place. My mom loves her suit, her hip pain disappears when she wears it. She’s fully mobile with the suit on. She’s only supposed to wear it for a couple of hours per day but she literally never takes it off. She’s has to take it off when she charges the suit at night, but she keeps it on, holding the charger to her navel and waiting for four hours until the suit is fully charged up with Tapa-Tricity.
“OK, I’ll walk you halfway to Sparza River and then I’ll go for my own walkie,” she says.
I’m struggling to lock our gate. My mommy’s doing jumping jacks behind me.
“It’s been a while since I was at the river, I miss it.”
I smile. I’m glad she’s out of the house.
“Your daddy and I met each other at Sparza River, you know that?”
I’ve already heard this story but I don’t want to burst my mommy’s bubble. “Is it?” I ask, and we start walking down the road.
She takes a deep breath through her nose, smiling as she thinks back. “Yes, a group of us bunked school that day to have a braai by the river. Your daddy isn’t mos from here, so when I saw him, with his afro, I thought. ‘Hallooo, who is this sexy stranger?!’ But he just ignored me, he didn’t even greet me, but I would catch him looking at me through his dark Ray-Bans. I had to do all the work. I was tired of waiting all day for him to make a move, so I went to go stand in front of him, lekke with an attitude, and I said to him just so, ‘Do you like my tight bather, see how it fits my body?’ You know we made you in that river.”
I stop walking, “Uggh, I forgot my sunscreen on the stoep.”
I still turn around to go back to get it but here I just see my mommy is already sprinting to the house. She’s running so fast her gray ponytail sticks out at a 90-degree angle behind her head.
I lift my eyebrows. I’ve never ever seen anyone move that fast in real life. Her feet are a blur, just like that Road Runner bird in the cartoons. One, two, three, and she’s at our gate.
I cup my hands to the side of my mouth and shout up the road, “Wait, Mommy, I have the gate keys here by…”
My mommy steps back, bends her knees, and jumps. She jumps so high it looks like she’s flying. The sun is shining brightly, I can’t see anything.
Something shoots down from the sky so fast it’s a blur. It lands inside of our yard. A cloud of dust spits out through the gate.
“MOMMY?!” I run, much slower than my mommy did, to our house. I see her on the other side of the gate, bent down on one knee, a hand resting on the floor in front of her, staring at the hole in the cement her body made when she landed.
My hands are shaking so much the keys clink against each other as I unlock the gate.
“Mommy? Is Mommy alright?” She looks up at me.
OMG why are her eyes shining silver?! She blinks and her eye colour goes back to black. Did I just imagine that? What is going on?
“My word!” my mommy says, as she stands up, wiping the concrete pieces from her knees. “This suit is amazing, hey!”
Tell us: What do you think is going to happen next?