Golden Boy

Free Golden Boy by Tara Sullivan

Book: Golden Boy by Tara Sullivan Read Free Book Online
Authors: Tara Sullivan
before.
    Would it be worth it to kill
me
if it’s enough money to save the family, Chui?
I turn away, sickened.
    â€œReally, Raziya,” Auntie says, “how could you not have heard of it? More than twenty albinos were attacked just this past year. There are speeches on the radio telling the whole country how it must stop.”
    â€œWe had to sell our radio five years ago,” Asu says, her voice hollow.
    â€œWell,” says Auntie, “now you know.”
    Asu jerks to her feet. “We have to leave! Mama, we have to leave now and go somewhere else. We can’t stay here. We can’t let them kill Habo!”
    â€œNo,” says Mother softly. “No, we can’t.”
    But I don’t know if she is saying no, we cannot let them kill me, or no, we cannot leave. I feel like someone has tied a rope around my chest and is pulling it tighter, tighter. The sweat on my neck and palms feels cold even though I know the room is warm.
    â€œWhere will we go?” asks Chui, the exhaustion plain in his voice. I’m surprised that he’s so sure that we will all move to ensure my safety, and I feel bad for what I thought earlier. He’s trying to protect me even when he’s so tired. We’ve been traveling for days, sleeping on roads and under trees and bushes. I’m tired, too. Tiredness has sifted into all my joints, making them feel like they are filled with hot sand. For those few minutes before Auntie saw me, it felt like we had found a good place to stay. But, as usual, I’ve messed everything up, and now we have to move on again.
    â€œWill we go home?” Chui asks.
    Home,
I think, remembering.
    It’s early evening, the sun just sinking behind the hills, and we are all sitting together outside, waiting to eat dinner. Enzi is leaning against the wall, talking with Mother as she cooks. They’re both smiling. I’m too young yet to think about going to the little village school, and Chui and Asu chat away about their day and what they learned. I sit quietly and let the others’ talk swirl around me like smoke, watching as Mother pounds the
ugali
around and around in the battered pot, spreading it up the sides to cook, and then pushing it into a ball so it doesn’t burn. A last ray of sun slices through the air around us and it looks like all the dust of the world has turned into gold. When this happens, Asu scoops me up into a hug and kisses my head before settling me in her lap and finishing her conversation with Chui. I know then that the long-shadowed light of the setting sun has reminded her of me, her golden brother. I sit there, safe in her lap, and watch the gold dust settle over us all.
    â€œWhat would we go home to?” Mother’s voice snaps me into reality. She’s right, of course. “Home” is our little village outside of Arusha. But we didn’t have enough money to stay there in the first place, and now there’s nothing to go home to. No house, no farm, no father.
    â€œHow much money do you have?” asks Auntie.
    Mother tells her. It’s a pitiful amount. Auntie crunches her forehead into her head scarf again and plants her hand on her hip. Her other hand swishes the tea around and around in her cup.
    â€œYou won’t get two streets over with so little. And with three children? How did you even stay alive on your way here?” It’s not a question that she expects to get an answer for, and none of us gives one. Auntie gets up and begins to pace. “I don’t have any money to give you,” she says, answering a question we haven’t asked. “We saved for two years to pay for Adin to go to university so that he can become a manager at the VicFish factory. If you had arrived a week ago, I could have given you that money. But it’s already paid; he has already started classes. We only have enough for the food we need to eat now.”
    â€œWhat will we do?” Mother asks in

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