Author : Geoffrey Cashmore
The first thing Vinka noticed were the trees, (Bula was lateâ€¦why was she always late?) the ground was dirty too; some places nothing but bare earth or a covering of ragged grass. That couldnâ€™t be healthy, could it? These pathetic people.
Vinka watched Bula arrive and park up, clumsy as usual, but at least she didnâ€™t hit one of the trees. He glanced at his watch. Charl and Birdo would be expecting him back. It wasnâ€™t fair to leave them finish the shift without him, heâ€™d had so much time off lately.
â€œSorry.â€ Bula wore the silver outfit she got last winter. She wore it once to a party and hadnâ€™t touched it again, saying it was too good for normal wear. She was obviously making a special effort today â€“ first impressions and all that.
â€œYouâ€™ve left your lights on.â€ Vinka gestured impatiently, sending his wife back into her car to fluster with the controls. â€œThis is the place, isnâ€™t it?â€ he asked when she finally made it over to stand beside him, smoothing down her jacket and smiling.
â€œI think so.â€ She answered. â€œItâ€™s not very clean. Look at those trees. That canâ€™t be healthy, can it?â€
Vinka was gazing around for signs of activity. â€œNoâ€¦â€ he said absently.
â€œOh Vin, we are doing the right thing, arenâ€™t we?â€ Bula had grown increasingly nervous as this day approached. â€œAdopting one of the under privileged, I mean.â€
â€œBula, I told you, itâ€™ll be fine.â€ Vinka was weary from the reassurances, but Bula could be like this; nervous about something at first then confident and self-assured when it finally happened â€œHow could any right minded person stand by and leave them bring up a child in this squalor? And besides, I showed you all the forms weâ€™d need to fill out if we wanted to adopt back home. Look.â€ He pointed out past the broken down buildings to where something moved at the edge of the trees. â€œSomeoneâ€™s coming.â€
â€œOh yes, there he is!â€ Bula caught sight of the figure. â€œIsnâ€™t he adorable?â€ she said, leaving Vinka to approach the youngster alone for fear of frightening him. He seemed a little nervous, and curled up on the floor as Vinka drew near. â€œHeâ€™s so cute. I hope the other children donâ€™t tease him because of he colour of his skin.â€ Bula stood to one side while Vinka lifted the child and put him into the back seat of Bulaâ€™s car.
â€œNow.â€ He said â€œI’ve really got to get back to work â€“ Birdoâ€™s going to go mad â€“ can you take the kid home and settle him in?â€
Bula was smiling even though there were tears in her eyes as she nodded to her husband. She kissed him on the cheek as he closed the car door. â€œThank you, darling.â€
â€œWhatever makes you happy, honey.â€ He said, pulling car keys from his pocket and preparing to go.
As Bulaâ€™s car broke free of the little blue-green planetâ€™s atmosphere the child on the back seat began to cry.
â€œThere, there.â€ She comforted, â€œYou wonâ€™t have to live in that nasty old place any more.â€