The Inklings: Chapter 137

To read the story from the start go to:

On Saturday morning Binta woke up at sunrise and as she listened to the birds singing she realised she hadn’t felt as happy in years. She quietly got out of bed and looked out the window. Binta watched the sky slowly brighten as the sun rose and she noticed the patterns that the leaves of the backyard trees made as they moved in the breeze. She wondered why she hadn’t noticed these details before and why everything looked more colourful than it had the day before.

Binta waited until she heard movement in the house before she went downstairs to have breakfast. Mamadou was in the kitchen and seemed surprised to see Binta there so early.

“Are you going to work?” asked Mamadou.

“No, not on Saturday” said Binta.

“Good, because I want to talk to you about something” said Mamadou.

“Ok” said Binta and she made herself a cup of tea then sat down at the kitchen table.

Binta listened carefully as Mamadou told her about the friends he’d left behind and how he wanted to help them. As Binta listened she realised that Mamadou thought she’d been involved in his rescue and when she had to admit that she didn’t know how to organize such a thing because it had all been done by Fanta and her uncle and aunt she felt ashamed.

“I will talk to Fanta and see if she has advice” said Binta.

Mamadou stared at Binta for ten seconds and Binta wished she knew what he was thinking, but his face was expressionless.

“I also need to send them money” said Mamadou. “So I need your help to start my garden business”

Again Binta didn’t know what to do. She told Mamadou about how his visa conditions would prevent him doing that but he didn’t want to listen and became angry.

“I don’t care about why I can’t do it, I’m asking for your help. Will you help?” said Mamadou.

“Ok” said Binta. She knew she should try to say more but she was too scared – she hated it when Mamadou was angry.

Binta took the rest of her cup of tea and went upstairs. Ousman was still asleep so she quietly turned her computer on and checked her new work email account, but there were no new emails. Binta thought back on her first day of work and thought it had gone pretty well. She went to the website where there were pictures of all the staff and tried to memorise everyone’s name. Then she stared at the photo of Bert for a while and smiled.

Later that morning Binta made another cup of tea and sat on the front steps to drink it. She could hear India’s voice in the distance and wondered how Penny and Gina were coping at her place. Binta noticed movement in the corner of her eye and looked down the street to see what it was, but couldn’t see anyone. She’d almost convinced herself it must have been a bird flying past when she noticed a flash of light being reflected off something. Binta squinted at a row of parked cars and noticed a pair of binoculars peeping over the top of a car bonnet. Binta looked over her shoulder to work out what the binoculars were pointing at. They were angled up and seemed to be aimed at the upstairs windows – maybe at Amanda’s bedroom, or Rose and Festus’s bedroom.  When Binta looked back at the binoculars they were gone but she could see a man walking off down the street. He looked athletic, was wearing dark running clothes and had shiny black hair.

Binta stood up and was about to go inside and tell Rose what she’d seen when India came over and asked for her help preparing for the street meeting that evening.

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