English Translation: La Fievre
Alphonsine Bobek was leaning against a pole shed, where users expect to shelter from
sun or rain on the bus No. 12, which passes through the streets Mbochi and
stops near his home.
She was tired, drained. She no longer felt his joints and occasionally shut his
eyes, pressing his eyelids, as if to collect herself, supporting her spirits that
she could lose at any moment.
The atmosphere of the after-noon
was heavy and dull. Her pink blouse clung her back. She hoped the rain would
give a bit of freshness to the city. She leaned over to watch the
street sometimes. The bus did not appear. She would take a taxi, only that her purse did
not contain enough money for a race. The month was up and the sky gray.
Alphonsine waited alone and resigned.
Until twenty-seven years, life had brought nothing but pain and hardships. It only
remained for her father, she had lost at the
age of five years, a vague silhouette. Hermother had been driven from the marital
home with her four children, a week after the mourning. Lounongo, her step-brother,
had indicated he would take quick possession of the premises and
property, and she was not entitled to anything if she agreed to be
his third wife. She rejected the offer with a dignity that moved all the friends of her late
husband. I must say that was a bumpkin Lounongo. He had always saliva to
provide without embarrassment in all directions. He cleared
his throat constantly. The gossips say that a human
bone fragments it was put through. His physique was that of a lumberjack,
full of knots on the arms and legs. We wondered where he had found so
many muscles as he waited quietly as people died in family ownership for inheritance.
He hinted that if the widow had the slightest concern for the fate of her children,
she was to communicate the date on which she would receive the death
benefit, she said, and he accompanied her
to Treasury where he stood near her, watching her everymove. She presented papers.
The teller complied. Lounongo seized the bundles andhanded no more than fifty
thousand francs to the widow of one million francs collected."Hey, going to do trade
in to feed the children," said he, at the time of exit.
Alphonsine had heard this story several times and each time her heart was
still tight. The bus never came. The day was beginning to
decline. Alphonsine had ended by sitting on the bench of the Shed, rich in oil
stains. A taxi stopped. She refused of her head.
She thought of her children who she had not seen since the end of the morning. She
had confided to her neighbor to go help Aunt Martine, director of the Center for
Communal polio victims, organize the annual celebration of the establishment. Afterthe
ceremony, she had remained to store tables, dishes and the exhibition of work
produced by small cripples.