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Fiction Friday: Read Lauri Kubuitsile’s “Missing Bits”, from The Short Story is Dead, Long Live the Short Story!

In the Spirit of McPhineas Lata and other storiesLove in the ShadowsSigned, Hopelessly in LoveCan He Be the One?Kwaito LoveThe Short Story is Dead, Long Live the Short Story!

 
Five hours, 32 minutes. That’s how long Rena has been divorced when she cuts off her long black hair, pulls on a red shirt and meets Claude in a coffee shop. His ad in the classifieds grabbed her: “I like swimming, orange cats, hot days and brown toast with butter. I don’t like never or always. I prefer grey areas where interesting things tend to happen. I like honesty. Do you think this sounds like a person you might be interested in?”

The Kalahari Review shared a short story by author Lauri Kubuitsile entitled “Missing Bits” from The Short Story is Dead, Long Live the Short Story!: Volume 1, edited by Duduzile Zamantungwa Mabaso.

“Missing Bits” tells the story of a recently divorced woman in Gaborone who leaps into a relationship with a new man who makes her feel things she’s never felt before.

Kubuitsile hails from Botswana and was one of the facilitators of the Writivism workshop in Gaborone this year. She will also participate in the exciting Long Story Short literacy initiative which has been taking place throughout the year.

For this week’s Fiction Friday, here is an excerpt from “Missing Bits”:

She waited at the coffee place, watching the mid-week Gaborone crowd. Busy. Busy. They wore ties and high heels. She smelt of roasted coffee. She lifted her shirt to her nose and sniffed and smiled.

He sat down at her table. “Are you Rena?”

“Yes.”

She looked him over. He was brown like her which made her happy. It would allow them to jump over a lot of tired talk. Explanations about how she got to her colour were always required by non-brown people. White or black didn’t seem to require explanations like brown did. Reasons for being wrong were needed.

He was brown but his brown seemed more complex than hers. She suspected Arab mixed with Herero, he said he was from Namibia. Or maybe Chinese traders or Portuguese sailing folk. Colours with adventure built in. But then she sensed something deeper, something historical. Maybe Baster or Griqua. Proud, brown people with long twisting and turning paths leading to the present. She wasn’t sure, but she suspected there was permanence about his brownness unlike hers made casually on a whim with only one generation of staying-ness, when her white British mother met her black Kalanga father. A stiff breeze and she’d lose it, back to white or black, no longer golden. But his would stand up to most natural or man-made disasters she suspected, it had permanence. She already felt safer with him.

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