At just seventeen Paballo’s cooking skills are way beyond her years. Take a bite of her food you’ll nod your agreement while swallowing. 

My father tapped my knee and spoke at once. “Son, that ol’ broad across the street says she needs a garden boy. I don’t know, maybe you’d like to make a couple of bucks for yourself.” His plate looked empty and clean it was like he had licked it, not that I would blame him for doing that. 

“Across the street?” I asked. “Mrs. Monroe?” 

“Yeah,” he nodded and licked his lips for the last trace of taste. Then he looked down at his plate. The food was really finished. He then stared at my own plate which still had some food, I saw his tongue slide across his upper lip. I would have given him my food back when he was angry to calm him down; he was like a lion then. Now he’s just a cat. 

I cleared my throat he awoke to reality and quickly shifted his eyes away from my plate. 

“Yeah, pops, I’d like that job very much,” was what I said to him. There was no lie there. I could’ve given him my food to thank him fie suggesting this garden boy job to him, but no I didn’t. 

After attending my last college classes for the day I headed over to Mrs. Monroe’s double storey house across from where our sad four room house was positioned. Here I was, facing a gate which had me thinking that its makers wanted to replicate Heaven’s Gate (if it exists) 

I didn’t know whether to push the gate open and get in, whether the gate was locked or not. I noticed a black rectangular device stamped on the wall. When I took a closer look at it I noticed it was a buzzer. A lady voice from it told me to get in, then I heard the sound of Heaven Gate slid open on its silver railings. I got in, like a boy getting in a dark cave where the unseen awaits in the murk. 

Once I was in, I realised that Heaven Gate opened itself, as it closer itself behind me, obscuring the dusty, hot vacant street from my sight, slowly and slowly, finally masking it. 

I’ve known about this place since I was a small boy, and then at eighteen, that was my first time setting my feet on that place’s yard. 

The house stood like a giant before me, a warm and pretty female giant that was; willing to scoop me on it’s soft palm and kiss my entire face with its bubblegum scented lips. Not only was this house known for its beauty, it was also known for its cleanliness. In fact, the interior yard looked better than outside. It was like the people living there were threatened with death if ever they were to litter the place with anything even as small as a sweet’s wrapper. 

The only people who were known to live here (as far as I can remember because you’d hardly witness anyone hurrying in and out of here) were Mr. Monroe and his wife, Mrs. Monroe. I still didn’t know know their names, almost everyone in the hood didn’t. Only Mr. Monroe is no more because he died five years ago in a car crash, I remember Paballo and I musing over the picture of his busted Mercedes Benz in the local newspaper the week he died; they had printed his death drunk driving.