The last child in the playground blues

I wave the last child goodbye. The one with the blue eyes always looks as if she will cry. The fat girl Minna can’t wait to get home. Her mother - with the black hair and slanted eyes, will cook something that sounds exotic tonight. It’s still not dark, but it’s late. I always must be reminded. That in summer here it never really grows dark. I wish I could stay here, with the summer sky light above me. Back home we come in from the garden only when it gets dark.

But anyway my shoulders ache from pushing Minna on the swings so I concede, climbing the stairs to our apartment. Minna told me how in winter we won’t be able to play in the playground, because it will be covered in snow “as high as my father is tall.” I like
her because I understand her, though the mysteries of their tongue are unravelling, and when it’s my turn t be pushed in the swing I too scream “Kovempaa!”

I always stay in the playground a bit longer than the rest. I take my time, because when I go home Mummy will be heating pizza. If we dare grumble she will ask; how is she expected to do the groceries without a car, where will she store them without a decent size freezer and worse still – “who will clean the nshima pot”? She will glare at us with challenge that she knows none of us will take. We will gather in front of the TV and watch what daddy wants because now we only have one television. My sister and brother, who like all teenagers will not be placated, will join my mother in grumbling about something that was so much better back home and complain of their lack of friends and 4x4s.

In the midst of this Daddy and I will escape the apartment into the playground. He’ll push me on the swings and we’ll watch moths gather at the streetlights and practice saying “I would like an ice-cream” (Haluaisin jäätelön) and giggle because I am already better at it than he. 

Photograph; Teppo flickr

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