The flight had been difficult, but her mother had said that this was to be the case. Men and women are not meant to be in the sky, she said, and I pray to God that you do not die. Her mother had never and would never fly, and had only recently stepped inside of a bus. Never a car. Never a train. But now her mother was in the past, and that was where she needed to stay.
When she arrived in Belgium she was disappointed, and her new friends were disappointed, that her name was Belinda, and nothing more exotic than that. Belinda learned very quickly that one needed some kind of defining feature in order to stand out in such as a place as she had found herself – put herself – and she didn’t know how she could explain to everyone who met her that her father had chosen the name of Belinda because when he was a little boy attending Catholic primary school his teacher, who he had for a long time believed was the Virgin Mary come to help his poor country, was in fact a cheerful twenty-year old Australian woman who was visiting Kenya for two months as part of her attempt to find herself. At home, as she grew up and attended first primary and then high school – not the first, second or third in her family to do so, but still sufficiently rare that her last day of high school which saw her complete at the top of her class and, the headmaster had intimated, the top of the State, too, elicited from the village a great celebration of dancing and feasting – Belinda was admired for her strange name, which was easy enough for the increasing majority who could speak English to pronounce, but for the indigenous speakers (she learned about such matters in Belgium – before they had just been her people) her name was difficult to pronounce and, she was told, made her a desirable match.
Of an evening Belinda liked to sit beside the window of her student accommodation apartment and watch the planes as they ascended gracefully into the sky or, as she liked to think, shyly came down to touch the ground, she was so close to the airport that on clear days she could see the extended wheels of the landing planes, and not without sadness she was forced each time to recall the story of a young Kenyan boy who had hidden himself in the wheel compartment of a plane and froze to death crossing the ocean. The story comforted her.
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The above piece of writing comprises part of my fragments project, some of which are available on this website. I intend to add new fragments piecemeal, not in any particular order, and as the occasion take me.