Eleven year old plump, rosy cheeked Ria sat at her desk by the window examining her homework. She checked and re-checked her sums to make sure they were right and hoped deep within that her arch rival and best friend hadn’t gotten his homework right. Or better still, if he had forgotten to do them.
There was a gentle breeze blowing in through the window bringing with it the sweet smell of eucalyptus from the grove beyond. The cool evening breeze ruffled through her hair and whispered into her ear, the sound she had been longing to hear all day. She strained her ears to make sure, yes it was indeed the distinct sound of a bicycle bell in the distance. She looked out of the window and saw a cloud of dust woken up by a lean, thin figure on a bicycle that was still so far that his face was not clear. But she knew instantly who it was and smiled to herself while her little heart raced. She knew it was play time. The cyclist came closer, though she could still not see his face in the fading light, she laughed when he yelled, “Ria, come!”
Ria woke with a start. For a brief moment she was confused. She stared at the ceiling where the fan was trying to decide its speed to suit the fluctuating voltage. She heard a hoarse cough from the next room. She touched her forehead that was embedded with beads of sweat. She turned to her side and saw the figure of a man sleeping beside her. Who was he? She wondered if she ought to wake him up. She moved her face closer to his to see better in the dark. He was snoring softly. She squinted her eyes. Who was this man beside her? There was some sort of a familiarity, yet there was a sort of strangeness about him. She knew him, yet she didn’t. She lay down again on her pillow and closed her eyes. She fell into chaotic sleep with voices in her head and weird dreams.