Hospital hill

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Poppy stood in a narrow strip of shade, but it was no cooler under the spindly tree with the heat rising from the hard sandy shoulder of the road. Her father was bent over the engine of the car, with the bonnet up. He stepped back, wiped his glasses with a handkerchief that he then shoved back in his pocket, before he lent forward again to inspect the engine. Her mother paced up and down smoking. Bella lay on the back seat of the car with both doors open, fanning herself. Harold closed the bonnet. “Let’s get going.” There were words between her parents before they got into the car, but Poppy couldn’t catch them, just the edge in Felicity’s voice and the sigh in Harold’s response. They had already been on the road for a few hours, the car was filled with the remains of the rooms that had not been packed in the van. Poppy’s knees had turned red from the sun, and there were fine scratches on the side of her thigh from the wicker basket on the seat between her and Bella that her sister, trying to gain more space for herself, kept pushing closer to her. It was packed with the photo album, their mother’s jewellery box and four small framed paintings carefully wrapped in fabric.
A research report submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirement for the degree of Master of Arts in Creative Writing to the Faculty of Humanities, University of the Witwatersrand, 2020
Domestic woker, Post-apartheid South Africa, Creative writing