A line of baby chicks cross my path, scurrying behind their mother. The parking lot is littered with cars, parked anywhere a vehicle can park; on the sidewalk, in the grass, half-way up hills. We wind our way between them like a maze, toward the underpass of the building. Every patch of shade is cluttered with people sitting on the muddy, dirty ground. Some people look like they have been here for days, propping themselves up with tired hands, or giving up completely, stretched out on the pavement napping in any hope of shelter from the blaring sun. we enter the first block of the building and the stinging aroma of old urine hits me like a backhand to my senses. The signs are confusing. We turn down one hallway and end up outside, along an open air corridor filled with people sitting along each side. They watch us like walk in our quick-step like entertainment they have waited all afternoon to arrive. Its strangely quiet, and our footsteps echo on the cool, cracked tiles beneath our feet.


We are wandering, and i’m concentrating hard to not touch railings, walls or anything my fingers may unintentionally linger on. George asks someone who may have worked there, where ward 18 was located, and she kindly directs us with little words, just a hand motion that suggests straight until a bend to the left and then possibly in the area directly over our heads. She tries to shake Georges hand, but George politely pulls away and gives her two phantom pats on her back. We speed off in the direction to which she indicated.


Ascending a long steep ramp to the second level. Whats left of the ceiling is stained with brown water marks. The brightly painted walls is peeling to such a degree to looks like the whole wall is covered in a colorful fringe; one gust of wind through this hallway could send the entire wall to dust. Someone has tried to paint a uplifting, childlike mural along the wall, no doubt to indicate the direction of the pediatric ward, but the paint dulls in the dim light, and the state of the rest of the wall, creating the feeling like we are walking down a dark alleyway in a bad part of town. I can’t stop staring at the ceiling as we continuing ascending up this never ending ramp. I wondering how old this hospital is, and can’t help thinking this collapsing ceiling is made completely of abestise, a once common mineral mined in Swaziland; although no longer used for construction, can still often be found in standing buildings throughout the country.


We pass a sign for operating theaters, and I glance down the narrow hallway. The ceiling is hanging low, and covered with the same brown spots. The wing is reeking from the bleach, in a poor attempt to disguise the gaping potholes in the tiles on the floor. We reach another outdoor corridor, connecting two wings of the building, again lined with people camping in the shade with expressionless faces. A sign directly in front of us reads “WARD 18 -WOMANS WARD”. For the first time I realize this is going to be one big room. The thought hits me, and I immediately am bewildered why George’s mother has come here and not to the nice clinic down the road.


Approaching the two parlor doors to the ward, I can see metal bars, and pink sheets hanging around each bed, of which, there are at least two dozen. There is no one at the door, and we linger for a moment before we open, breathing against the tiny glass windows searching for something familiar. I’m half hoping this isn’t the room. It can’t be. We enter and take a few unsure steps, George is scooping the room looking for any sign of someone coming to stop us, as I try not to make direct eye contact with anyone. I feel like I am invading at least 40 people’s privacy, especially the woman in the second bed, closest to the window who is sleeping upright, with not a stitch of clothing on her body, aside from the scarf wrapped loosely around her head.


Luckily Georges mother is in the second row, first bed by the main aisle. I am happy to see her face resting peacefully, and estactic that we do not have to venture further into this sea of strangers, searching their weak and tired faces. George gives her a gentle shake on her shoulder, and stands over her until she opens her eyes. “hi mom.” he says. I want to hug her, and steal her away from this place. He doesn’t seemed phased, and I am traumatized.


We chat for a while, she should be going home tomorrow. Her diabetes has been uneasy as of late, and the weekend festivities of a retaliative Lobola ( the cultural tradition of deciding a new brides price with the grooms family, which is usually proceeded by a party something similar to an engagement party, meets a BBQ), sent her blood sugar sky rocketing. The Taiwanese doctor attending to the female ward, refuses to discharge her until her levels stabilize. Her spirits are high, as they always are, and she begs us to bring her something edible for lunch. Hospital food is a universal desperatity, so we don’t waste time making a plan to smuggle her a nice take-away from our favorite restaurant. We laugh as George coughs and I sneeze, and she asks for a phone number for a casket maker. I’ve never quite understood the dark swazi humor, but looking at the 3 of us in our separate ill states, we could take bets on who would need it first. I have grown very fond of George’s mom; she is strong willed, but kind natured. Evident by the immensity of friends she had made with all the staff and patients in Ward 18. She reminds me daily at the school that she runs, and where I work, of her kindness with her endless involvement in every child’s life and concern for their well being. This is a commonality that both of our mothers share.


As we leave, George says “don’t ever take me here…” I burst out a quick, “ummm… yeah… me either.” I realize at that moment, that George isn’t as comfortable as I thought about his mother being at the government hospital, and i’m relieved, but curious. Before I can ask, he explains, “ at least she is only paying 10 Emalageni a night, the private hospitals charge a couple grand a night.” it suddenly all makes sense, although I would still prefer to go to a private health care clinic , especially in Swaziland, I am reminded of several moments in my own life, living in the USA, where an option of government health care could have saved me thousands of dollars.


The more I thought about it, the more this somewhat traumatizing visit to the government hospital had me concerned, I was actually jealous. I thought about the sea of faces I passed, in the open-air corridor. People that had no doubt traveled great distances to come seek health care. People that probably used their last, worn out bills in their wallets to get to the hospital. Maybe they don’t have running water. Maybe they don’t have electricity. Maybe some of them live in a house built with mud-bricks and sticks. Then my thoughts turn to writing this blog, as I sit here typing now. I think about my friends and family and how they must have been worried by the end of paragraph one, what if something were to happen to me? Where would I go? Its ironic really, that in the states I rarely had health care. I made over $40,000 a year, plus benefits, and I still couldn’t afford a trip to the doctor, let alone the emergency room stateside. Not to get into a political rant about universal healthcare, but after living here, and seeing how a government hospital can help the mass majority, despite insurance benefits or community standing; it amazes me that a 3rd world country, such as Swaziland, can care for its people better, and with more options then a country as rich and powerful as the United States. Something worth pondering don’t you think?


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A week in the life of….


Its hard to wake up, and all I can think is how is it possibly Monday again. There is an empty nest in the bed that George left hours ago. I didn’t even hear him get up, but I can hear the coffee machine making its loud series of noises as it finishes filling the pot. The aroma seeks up the stairs and slowly drags me from my hibernation. I go through the list of things I need to do during the day as I head to the kitchen, the list is too long to think about this early. The sun is shining through the windows, its blindingly bright, and as I look at the time i’m shocked to see it’s only 6am- this has become “sleeping in”. I pour the first two cups of coffee; its our ritual, if George makes the pot, I pour the cups and vice versa.


We sit on the island counter in the kitchen talking and drinking coffee, planning our day. Then we take a stroll around our garden which is currently over flowing with new plants. The rain that comes without fail every sunday has perked up every cluster of leaves and the flower petals gleam happy with drops of water. We waste an hour or so each day with this routine; making plans for the garden, and walking around impressed with our progress.


By 8am we are both running late, and we quickly dress. Monday is suppose to be my day to work at home, but I rarely do. My list is too daunting for a Monday, and i’m not feeling inspired to create much of anything, so I opt to ride with George on his sales calls. I hope secretly he is going somewhere far away, which although i’ve been everywhere before, and nowhere is especially exciting, the long drives are nice and I feel like i’m keeping him company.


We are going to Piggs Peak today, my favorite part of the country. It is beautiful, with rolling mountains in every direction and narrow winding hills that create butterflies in your stomach with each dip. Trips to Piggs Peak always mean a stop by Mrs. Kuma, a family friend who owns a resturant on one of the many scenic overlooks. Mrs. Kuma is like an older version of myself, and believes that everything can be made herself if she can just get a look at how its done- I love this about her, and we spend hours chating about crafting and exchanging ideas over lunch.


The drive takes the whole day, and we only see two hardware stores. While George sells, I sit in the car and grade papers, read a book or more likely… play solitaire on my phone. When George returns to the car, on the good days, he has a list of supplies the shop needs; bolts, construction chemicals, door knobs etc. we sit with his massive catalog of prices and code every item. I know his products inside and out, even if I don’t know what they are used for, I can find them in his book. We sit in his mobile office for hours sometimes, coding and adding; its boring but I enjoy being his assistant.


We drive home over Maguga Dam at sunset. Just in time to see the water sparkle like diamonds, its my favorite part of the day.



I wake up a little quicker this morning. More time to walk through the garden. I’m feeling a little guilty for playing hookey yesterday and tomorrow I have school, which I have yet to prepare for. Today I MUST work. George leaves a little later today, lingering in the kitchen, asking “have one more cup of coffee before I leave?”. I can’t resist, so I stall a little longer.


He leaves once Lungile and Wiseman come in, our maid and garden boy. He walks Wiseman around the yard, giving him is daily instruction and I take Lungile around the house doing the same. After he leaves I turn on Florence and the Machine, my official work music. Something about this music makes me want to work. As much as I love this band on Tuesdays, the sound is as irritating as an alarm clock beeping, every other day of the week. I turn on my computer, get another cup of coffee, sit down, and make my list in my little book I always carry with me. Today i’m designing a menu for my favorite restaurant, that just happens to be owned by a group of friends. They pay me in food, but i’d more than likely spend my paycheck there throughout the month anyway. The chef studied in the states and often adds American flare to the menu. Number two on the list is a new calendar for my printing partner. Custom calendars are all the rave here and I know I will be overwhelmed with design orders for them by the end of the month. Next is a marketing plan for a new semi-arcade that just opened in the brand new Mbabane mall. They need EVERYTHING and this one will take a while. The rest of the list is scattered with return clients that need updates or a generic advert made for the newspaper.


I get to work, checking off my list one by one with red pen. Each checkmark is rewarded with a fresh cup of coffee and a short walk around the yard to catch the sun. its a simple routine, but effective. I am in a zone, and before I know it’s 3pm and the maid is leaving. I’m jittery from a caffeine overdose, and i’ve just realized I haven’t eaten anything all day. The house is spotless, except for the little nook in the corner where my desk is overflowing with papers. Now that I have been snapped out of my zone, I begin to get bored with work. My brain is tired and i’m starving so I begin dinner for George when he gets home. I feel so domestic these days.



My alarm goes off at 5am… then 5:15am…. then 5:30am…. the snooze only works 3 times and then you have to reset the alarm, which means staring at the blazingly bright screen of my phone. The pain occurred is too great, and its easier to simply wake up. Although its only 30mins before George usually wakes up, any other day, he can’t bare to drag himself out of bed, so I make the coffee while he sleeps a bit longer. There is no time for the garden walk today, we snoozed too long. I’m going to be late for work as usual.


I enter the school parking lot and all of the students are already lined up by grade outside for morning assembly. They are signing church songs as usual, and I wonder which one I will get stuck in my head today- I pray it’s not “father abraham”. They sing for 20 minutes, and close with the Lords prayer. Georges dad, the Headmaster of the school, gives a few remarks, which i’m sure where meant to be short, but he always gets side tracked. I giggle as the children stir and you can see their minds wander off to something else as his speech drags on. Sometimes I look at him and see a carbon copy of my George in 40 years.


Assembly ends with the “Marching song” and all the kids March 3-4 steps towards their classrooms and then run, into a riotous crowd of small bodies. This is my we to unlock my classroom which is also the computer lab. The outside door is gated with a huge, heavy iron gate that locks on each side and the top with 3 padlocks with 3 keys, and then has to be lifted up and out of its frame before I can unlock the wooden door to the classroom. It is my morning exercise. My classroom is always a mess from Monday and Tuesday- i’m sure the other teachers have parties in there the days i’m not at school. I clean up the clutter, and stack it on top of the piles of books in the corner, which still don’t have book cases.


My first class is grade 4. they are excited as they run in and sit at the desks. They love my art class, although my morning always starts with a lecture on responsibility because they never do their homework. Schools in Swaziland believe in Corporal punishment, and idea I just can’t get use to. If students don’t do their homework, they will get hit on the bum with a stick, or made to do “frog jumps”, or stand for 30 mins holding their chair over their head. I don’t do any of these things, so the kids don’t do their homework… i’m working on a solution for this.


Next is grade 3. these kids are tiny, and their questions throughout the day make me laugh. Somedays I draw with them, and even when they see me draw they don’t believe I did it. The students beg me to teach them how to draw like me, and I ask in return, “why do you think I come everyday??” they are a hyper bunch, always out of their desks and Banele, my biggest brown-noser in the whole school, falls out of his chair EVERYDAY.


They are followed by grade 5, my smallest class of 7 students. I know these kids well, and they love my class. I try to make lots of time for them to draw and I bring my computer to listen to music. I love it when they all sign to Adele together, it always makes me smile.


I know your not suppose to have favorites, but grade 6 takes the cake. Not only are they ALL amazing artists, but they do their homework, and I can tell they take the most time. They are of a curious age and we are always talking as they draw. By the end of class I always have a map drawn on the chalkboard, or i’m showing them pictures on my computer of life in the USA. After almost a year teaching at the school they are the only class of which I know, and can pronounce every name. One of my students has found a special place in my heart. He comes to school in an old raggedy shirt, i’m sure passed down through numerous brothers and sisters- its so old its nearly transparent. His pants are too short, and the seems are split in the back. His shoes are 4 sizes too big, and look like they belong to an older relative. I’ve inquired about him, and discovered he is living with a step-mother who could careless about his existence. His father owns several businesses and does well, but has lost interest in this child now that he has another family to care for. Despite all of this, he is the happiest, handsomest little boy. He always does 3x the homework I request, and has an irresistible shy smile as he shows me his work at the end of class. If I could, I would take him home with me in a second. He is still so full of hope and life, no complaints and never asks for anything. He has the personality that, which a little positive encouragement could do great things one day. I plan on keeping him close and giving him that little extra attention he is missing at home, and also slowly buying him a new school uniform, so he can feel proud while he is learning.


My last class after lunch is grade 7. every 7th grader in the country takes a national exam at the end of the year, and the results are published in the newspaper. It is a stressful year of endless studying and review. The class curriculum is based solely on revising past years lessons and retaking tests in preparation of the big exam. The students come early to school, stay late, study through lunch and come for extra lessons over the weekend. If I had schooled here growing up, I never would’ve handled the pressure of grade 7. the class is small, only 6 students, all transfers from another school, since our school is brand new. But transferring in grade 7 is hard, and I know these kids all have a story of woe. Accounting for all of this, this is my most difficult class. Art is not on the final exam, so they don’t care so much for my lessons, however they do enjoy a break from the dull, dark walls of their classroom which they see so often. I try to support them and help them with their other lessons, that they are so far behind with. Art class this term has turned into creative writing and english, even if its just talking so they can practice speaking proper english.


By 1pm, school is over. I’m covered in the red dust of Matsapha and sweating from the heat outside my concrete classroom. My black pants are covered in chalk, and I have an unquenchable thirst. George picks me up, and we drive away slowly as the children follow the car waving, as if i’m a celebrity. “bye teacher!” they all shout. I admit, it makes me smile a little.



If I have any left over work from tuesday I do it today, but more then likely I ride with George. This time we head south toward Matata. This is one of my favorite trips because of the perks. There is a great butchery along the way, with the best biltong (jerky) in the country, we always stop and get a bag for the journey, and it is always worth the 2 hour drive. Matata is a funny little town in the middle of sugar cane country. It has everything you could need, including a welder who makes my custom designed patio chairs and a little nursery that specializes in indigenous plants. On the way home we go through a dry, dessert like region which is lush with aloe and acacia plants. Last month several hundred aloe plants were cut down by the side of the road, which is starling because the are supposedly a protected species, indeginous to only swaziland. We decided to give as many of these plants a good home as possible, and every week we fill the back of Georges truck with the huge aloe trees. We can only lift the smaller plants, which are still sometimes as big as toddler. The larger plants can grow to a full tree and are too heavy to load. We have collected at least 7 different types of aloe trees so far, and have a collection of over 50 plants to date. They are the easiest plants to grow, even without roots- you just stick them in a hole and water everyday for the first week, and then they grow. It amazes me.



school again today. Assembly on fridays highlights each grades singing, and even offers a few solo performances. Its entertaining, especially watching the grade 7 boys try to act too cool while singing gospel songs. I unlock my giant heavy gate on the door and turn on all the computers, praying that the electricity works today. I’m dreading my first class of 1st graders and then second graders- although the second graders are growing on me. Grade 1, will be the death of me. Many of the kids don’t speak english well, and with my accent, it doesn’t help. It also doesn’t help that grade 1 and 2 have the most students in the school; I take half the class each week and half is still 2x the size of my other older grades i’m use to. The grade 1′s think all my computers are touch screen and don’t understand the concept of the mouse. They bang my keyboards, and are always touch the wires they aren’t suppose to. Computers break daily with them, and I spend most of the class screaming, “QUIET!”. Grade 6 comes after them, and they stand outside my door waiting for me to dismiss the small ones, laughing at my tantrums.


The older grades are doing very well with computers. They are learning how to type with 10 fingers, which is entertaining to watch. They are also writing creative stories as they type. The things these kids think of…. is beyond me. I spend the majority of the day fixing things they accidentally clicked on and spelling words for them on the board.


I’m done with school by 11am on fridays. George comes to get me, and we run errands for an hour or two. By friday we are exhausted, and unmotivated to do more work. We always finish by 3pm and head to the Albert Millin to cash in on some of my credit of food for design work.



if the sun decides to shine we end up with an impromptu braai. Friends appear from everywhere, and gather in our backyard around the small grill. We are drinking cider by 11am, and i’m in the kitchen preparing salads and sides for a dozen people. People love our new house and any excuse to come admire our extraordinary view.


One of our good friends recently discovered bee keeping as a hobby and has brought us our own bee-box so we can collect honey. This is pretty exciting and will also help our garden flourish.



my favorite day of the week, reserved solely for “plant jacking”. We start early in the morning, despite the rain that never fails to miss a sunday opportunity. Pack 2 shovels in the back of the truck and start driving. No place in-particular in mind, just driving. My eyes are watching the passing landscape like a hawk. Any sign of color or plant life we don’t yet own we pull over and start digging. We drive for hours searching and filling the back of the buckey. Sometimes we come home with one or two plants and sometimes we have plants sticking out the windows, and overflowing over the tailgate. Aloe, african violets, morning glory, elephant ears, monster plants, lilly’s, oak trees, jacaranda trees, coral trees, lemon trees, guava, avocado, mango, umbrella trees and species of plants i’ve never seen or heard of before.

When we get home, we start placing them all over the yard, where we want to plant them. We may plant some, and then leave the rest for the garden boy when he comes again on tuesday.


We spend the rest of the evening making our traditional sunday feast. George cooks the best feasts, or grilled chicken or fish in the oven, with potato wedges and veggies. I make the salads, because as skilled as I have become with stove top cooking, my patience for the oven is not up to par, and my only accomplishment is making everything I bake extra crispy.


While we cook, we step over the ever growing pile of dogs sleeping on the kitchen rug. When it rains, we let the dogs inside to stay warm. They are a spoiled group of dogs I admit, George calls them “lani” which means “posh”, and expression usually reserved for white people here. Our dogs are part of the family, like children, with different personalities and we love spending time with them. Frank is becoming my favorite. A HUGE Boerbull breed, with sad eyes. He is as dumb as a bag of bricks, but so cuddly. We call him statue for his knack of falling asleep sitting up, or sitting directly in front of the TV- watching or barking at the dogs he hears in the movies. We go to bead exhausted with red, mud stained hands. Not ready for monday again.




It was the perfect night to sit on our porch and enjoy the first evening with hints of summer in the air. The weather has been perfect the last week, and we are finally able to enjoy all of the perks to our new house. As the sun set, the bats started to emerge, invading on our nice perch on the veranda. They flew so close to the lights that suddenly we were ducking and we reluctantly decided to retreat, leaving the doors open so the warm air could still seep its way inside. I resumed my seat on the couch, sending a few late night emails for work, when I heard George’s quick steps running back outside.


The light over my head was flashing, and I assumed it was just the shadow of one of the giant moths that usually sneak in at night, but then I saw it. A big black bat was circling the low ceiling of our lounge– but wait… not just one, but two! I grabbed the blanket from the back of the couch, and quickly covered myself, yelling to George, “ get it out!”. His reply was a simple, “i’m not going in there!” followed by the chancing remark, “come out here.” As I sat on the couch, under a blanket, I wondered, if he isn’t brave enough to come in, how am I going to get out?


The bats continued circling, like vultures around their pray, clunking wildly against the ceiling, and bouncing off the lights. Eventually, they found their way upstairs and I could uncover to investigate. Now i’m not scared of bats per-say, I realize that they too were just looking for a way out of our house. BUT as you know, I do not have the greatest track record with birds of any kind, so before I could make a plan, I grabbed a jacket with a hood, tied it tightly in a bow under my chin and armed myself with the broom. George grabbed the mop, and as I took two deep breaths on the bottom step, George said, “ you know those things will suck your blood…” I looked back at him, trying to figure out if this was paranoia or if he knew of some vampire species of bat belonging to southern africa. Before I could find my answer, he handed me a dustpan, “ here is a shield.”.


It took about 15 minutes for us to climb two stairs. The bats were circling the second story, sparactcally, each time coming a little closer to the bottom of the staircase. When they established a ryhthem, I decided I would run half way up and open the windows and then run back down, hoping they would find their way out. I ran, praying that these things wouldn’t clock me in the back of the head, opened the window, and then ran back down again. We waited…. but nothing came. We waited still… but nothing could be seen from the bottom. We would have to move our stakeout further up the stairs, past the bend in the middle, so we could see what was happening on the second floor. We crept slow and low, up the stairs. Me armed with my broom and “shield”, and George with his mop, two steps behind me. We made it to the top of the stairs, and I could see one of the bats struggling behind the curtain in the guest room. I quickly slammed the door, trapping it inside. We stood straight for a moment, laughing at our fast beating hearts, and how ridiculous we must have looked creeping up the staircase. We were so lost in the relief of trapping one bat, we completely forgot about the second bat! We were reminded suddenly when it shot out of our room, across the small passage we were standing on. I took a swing, so did George, coiling our weapons together and breaking the mop in two. We fell to our knees as this flying beast knocked against the ceiling with little place to go. It happened in a second… the swing, the breaking of the mop, the split second on the floor, but I remember clearly thinking of my two choices. 1. I could baseball slide on my stomach down the stairs to get to lower ground, or 2. I could craw quickly into the bedroom before the bat finished his circle. I took option 2 for fear of broken ribs, and hesitated as slammed the door, thinking George would follow my lead- but he never came. Behind the closed door I screamed, “ YOU LEFT ME?!” . From the bottom of the stairs came a meek, “sorry….”


we stood at our separate posts, panting, and trying to calm our thumping hearts for about 5 minutes. I shouted through the door, “ see anything?” trying my best to get a handle on the situation on the battle field past my bunker. “no…” comes the quiet reply. I picture George in the kitchen, making a sandwich, while i’m stranded in the upstairs bedroom. I decide to open the balcony door and somehow lour the bat into our bedroom, hoping it would eventually fly out. But then I hear Georges foot steps running up the stairs, and suddenly he is in the room with me. The bat had stopped to catch his own breath on an open windowsill above the stairs. I peaked my head out, to gage it’s location. Watching the bat struggle for breath, his little fury chest heaving up and down, mouth open, wings spread. It almost made me feel bad as I took my broom and with one tiny shove, he went plummeting to the tin roof with a heavy thud.


We stood for a moment, bumped fists to celebrate our amazing teamwork, and George started to head back down stairs. “Wait…” I say, “ what about the other one?”. He sighed, unready for another battle. We had been going at this for an hour at this point, and I too was tired, but our job was not yet finished. “ Just leave it, and the maid will take care of it on Friday.” he says. I can just imagine Lungilie coming in for work in two days, and opening the door to a bat flying over her head at 8 o’clock in the morning. She would not be happy, and feisty as she is, she would probably kick George’s butt. This problem had to be dealt with tonight.


We huddled in the passage outside the guest bedroom, still armed, and planned to open the door, and flail our weapons vicariously, directing it into our bedroom, where it would be trapped and eventually find its way out through the balcony door. I counted… 1….2….3 and George flung the door open. I was waving my broom on the count of 2, and carried on until 15 before I noticed the bat was still struggling behind the curtain. George turned on the light, and within a second the bat was back at the ceiling, and then made a dash for the door. There was no time to wave our weapons, we both hit the floor screaming. But it found its way to our bedroom on it’s own. We shut the door, and then opened it a crack to see. It was still circling the light. Stupid bat, the door is wide open!


We watched for a few minutes,and then bored, and convinced it would find it’s way out eventually we went back down stairs. When we were back on safe ground, we realize what dorks we were. I laughed until I had tears running down my cheeks, unable to catch my breath. If only someone, somehow could have been here to witness this epic reclaiming of our house. It would’ve been a sight worth paying for.


PS. a few hours later, we went back upstairs to make sure the bat had gone, and found no traces of the thing, under the bed, in the closet or in any of the drawers. Although even now, a few days later, I still expect it to reappear.



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