My mother and I stayed in South Africa for six weeks. We visited Kruger Park and a rhinoceros preserve; my mother went to Capetown with my grandmother.
But it could not be vacation all of the time: my cousins had to go to school, and one day, I was sent with my Twin Cousin. She attended a private school, and an extra uniform was found for me to wear. My Twin Cousin wore a lightweight, white sweater with her skirt, as she was supposed to, but she only had one white sweater, so there wasn’t one for me. I only had the sweater I had brought: heavy, electric green, with big buttons up the front.
It’s a sweater, said my mother. It will do.
It was all wrong, and I didn’t want to wear it. I was supposed to wear was something white and soft, like my cousin.
My Aunt agreed: We’ll buy her another sweater.
My mother said, No you won’t, but my Aunt gave me a look that said, tomorrow will be different, just wear the green sweater once. We had to leave for school, so I did as I was told, but was afraid to get out of the car when I got to the school, the only girl in a green sweater. My Aunt and my mother spoke to the teacher, and I heard my mother laughing.
Class started, and I sat next to my cousin, sharing her desk and hoping I would do nothing else wrong. The teacher wrote a word on the blackboard, MOON, and then erased it, and we were supposed to remember the word and write it down on a piece of paper. As soon as she erased it, I couldn’t remember what I was supposed to do anymore and then my cousin was saying, don’t cry, don’t cry, it’s okay.
I spent most of the day coloring, and it was pleasant, but I didn’t go back.