‘Alright?’ Keisha called out.
The sound of the shout made Gheeta jump. The XBF was coming nearer, was she talking to her? There was no-one else around and she was looking right at her.
Gheeta’s heart bounced. Would she start up the argument again? She thought about Keisha rubbing at her eye, where the chilli had got in, and about how red and sore it looked. She remembered the hateful things Keisha had said, the way she had shouted at her and called her a baby, and ripped up the pepper plants. Gheeta had said nasty things back. It had been horrible, the worst argument ever. They hadn’t spoken since and then Keisha had started at the scary Secondary School and made a new BF, Courtney.
Unsure, Gheeta opened her mouth to reply, but there weren’t any words so she shut it again. Astonished, she watched Keisha sit down next to her on the bench, as if it were a thing she did every day after school.
Gheeta was wary. What was Keisha doing here, just sitting next to her? Why wasn’t she with Courtney?
She watched Keisha’s hand as it stretched down and onto the pages of the notebook. Gheeta cursed her stupidity, she should’ve got her phone out, but here she was doing homework. She looked like a primary school nerd. On second thoughts, maybe the phone was better staying hidden. Keisha had been seriously jealous of the birthday present, not at first, but she’d shouted about how unfair it was when they’d argued.
Keisha wore necklaces, earrings and rings now, just like Courtney. Gold looked more impressive on Keisha’s dark skin than either Courtney’s white neck, or on the fingers of Gheeta’s aunties.
The XBF leaned over to read the words in the notebook. Her head was low enough for Gheeta to count her tiny, perfectly braided, corn rows. Her old friend smelt the same way too, like baby talc.
The question made Gheeta jump again. What was wrong with her?
‘Homework,’ she said and shrugged in what she hoped was a casual way.
‘Why don’t you do it at home?’
Gheeta thought of her mum using every ring of the hob, but never the oven and her four brothers charging around, the noise of shouted Punjabi and the smell of cooking pakoras.
‘Noisy,’ she explained.
Keisha nodded and Gheeta knew she understood. They’d lived next door to each other all their lives and been in each other’s flats a thousand times. Gheeta could probably find her way round Keisha’s home with her eyes shut, sniffing her way between rooms.
‘Whattya got to do?’
Gheeta sighed, but it was only for theatrics. Thinking about the homework was good. It took the edge off the fact that Keisha was finally talking to her again and that the argument had not been mentioned. ‘Put the fairy tale of The Snow Queen into my own words.’
Welcome to my blog, a place where you can keep up to date with what I am up to.