The three women in the kitchen of the large Phakalane home did not look much alike, but they were sisters. Their unlikeness extended to their demeanors—the bearing in their shoulders, the timbre of their laughter, how they looked at one another. They had gathered on a Sunday, a day replete with sun and the bright heat of a Gaborone summer.
One day, I drove the hundred miles east to visit T at Ironwood and was denied visitation. The clerk told me there was no record of my request. Never mind that I had been visiting my son there every Saturday for five years.
Nadia knows, when the mother leaves them, that they will die. They lurch from side to side, low on the ground, ears folded over into crinkled triangles. Claws soft, mouths brown with dirt, meowing in the damp soil of the flower bed.
You schedule the U-Haul for a weekend when your husband plans to be in the woods. You do not repeat your argument that camping isn’t medication or therapy. That it cannot, in other words, fix him. You make him a sandwich for the drive to Mendocino. As his car pulls away, you know it’s the last time you’ll see him.