Day 6: Eye Contact

She stood, head reaching forward with her face in the pond as the swallowed water travels down her black and white stripped neck. She is the only one at the pond today, the silence making her suspicious, almost as if she knew what laid ahead.

He prowled slowly through the dead yellow grass, camouflaging his fur mane as best as he could. The secret to a good hunt was to wait until the last minute to reveal yourself. And he knew this, which is why he has never missed a meal. He had been stalking her for 40 minutes, watching her from afar as she ate shrubs, twigs and bark, patiently waiting for her to leave the herd in search of fresh water.

She scanned the field to see if one of her herd was approaching and there he was, crouching low in the grass. She saw him, and he saw her. Their eyes locking as time stood still. Neither wanted to make the first move, afraid of losing the game. The hot African sun was no bother to them, with the heat immensely increasing in the deadlock. She was thinking of her options and a way out, surely the herd was not far off.

He stood there, watching her, anticipating her next move. He knew he couldn’t lose her now, and he had to act fast before her herd approached. He knew he could take one, but a whole herd, that would be suicide. He kept his gaze on her, refusing to go hungry any longer. Now was the time.

She saw it in his eyes, the look of finality. She knew he was ready to make his move. She was trapped and had no choice but to continue to watch him.

He leapt up, and in that moment, a flock of birds flew from a nearby tree. He broke eye contact with her to evaluate the tree.

She knew this was it, now or never. She had to run, he was distracted, and she only had a few seconds.

He turned back to his prey and she was gone. He could see her, running off in the distance. She was too far gone. He must now find something else to eat.

Thank you for reading.

Day 5: Food

So first things first, you have to peel the vegetables. It doesn’t really matter which vegetables you use, as long as you like them. I usually use aubergine, mushrooms, carrot, celery and red peppers. Only red peppers, because I’m convinced red is the best colour and tastes better. I know people hate celery, but I seriously can’t get enough of it.

Next, it’s time to chop. This is usually the most time-consuming part, especially with the mushrooms and aubergine. I use a lot of mushrooms and aubergine, so my arms are sore by the time I’m done. The peppers are the easiest for me to slice. I like to pretend that I’m on MasterChef or some other cooking show.  It’s a wonder I haven’t sliced all my fingers off with my cocky pepper slicing.

Once that’s done, it’s time to cook. I add all my vegetables into a big pot with a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. I don’t know what extra virgin means or how oil can be an extra virgin but nonetheless I use it. As for seasoning, it all depends on my mood. Sometimes when I cook this dish, I add mixed Italian seasoning with black peppers and sea salt. Other times I’m less pretentious and use normal table salt and add some paprika, thyme and fresh basil (oh wait, still pretentious). Which is why every time I cook this dish I’m always pleasantly surprise at the new flavour. As you’ve noticed by now, I don’t measure my ingredients, I just cook. If it’s my first time making a dish I usually measure and stick to the recipe, but for a dish I make all the time, I just follow my instincts and my mood.

I let the vegetables cook for about 20 minutes, and then add the tomato sauce. Once upon a time I use to make my own tomato sauce. This was when I was at university and I would use any excuse to procrastinate. Now that I’m working, I’m tired all the time and too lazy to make my own sauce, so I buy it. After you add the sauce, let it all cook for another 8-10 minutes. Then let it cool, I usually don’t because I don’t have the time. I get my oven dish, pasta sheets, cheese and white sauce (also store bought) and begin my layering. I usually follow the layer technique that is shown on my pasta sheet’s box, which is cooked veg sauce, then pasta sheets, then sauce, then sheets, then sauce, then sheet, then white sauce and then cheese.

And then off it goes, into the oven for 40 minutes. I usually come back to the kitchen every 10 minutes and stare longingly through the glass oven door wishing the 40 minutes were over. Unfortunately, this does not speed up the process and instead makes you even more hungry, so I suggest skipping it.

After a gruesome 40 minutes, it’s time to take your dish out of the oven and enjoy your meal.

Thank you for reading.

Day 4: Dancing

There she was, in the centre of it all, dancing like her life depended on it. I’d be lying if I said all eyes were on her, but sure as hell my eyes were on her. She was stunning, magnificent, like something out of a movie. Her dress was so sexy, I just sat there hypnotised.

When she first walked into the room, with her long train and backless dress, she looked like a bride, like my future bride. I had to go over, just to compliment her, just to tell her how beautiful she was, but she already knew. I mean the way her hips swayed when she walked, the train making her look taller than she was, and she was already very tall. By the time the first song came on, I couldn’t stop talking about her, couldn’t stop looking at her from across the room. She got up and danced with her auntie. She was so full of life.

By the third song, she was dancing with any and every female she could find, cousins, aunties, uncle’s girlfriends, just any female really. She didn’t let a man near her, even as they were creeping closer to her, trying to get her attention on the dance floor. She didn’t pay any attention to them. And all I did was pay attention to her. I just wanted her to dance with me so badly, like the last time I saw her. I mean, I was dying to have her in my arms, but she didn’t even look at me. The whole night, she didn’t even look at me.

I mean, the party was basically over, and there she still was, my dancing queen, still on the dance floor. Hips moving back and forth, her hands following her body’s movement, her head titling backward, just completely in her zone. She still had the same energy as she did at the start of the night, just endless energy. I mean, it’s almost as if she had a point to prove.

For me that’s the thing I remember the most about her. Whenever I close my eyes, I see her on that dance floor, letting the music move her.

Thank you for reading.

Day 3: The Vessel

What defines a vessel better than our hallow flesh, that carries us through time and trials. It has no captain but our minds, that direct its every move.

I’ve read that from the 2nd week of conception, our skins have already been set. Our DNA would have already assigned us skin tones before we even breathe our first breath. Our skin is so gentle during those first days, that doctors advice mothers not to bath their new born. Our skin, so superior, come into this world with abilities to cleanse and moisturise with powers to fight bacteria. It forms, it stretches, breaks and scars, and all through it we play, we smile, laugh and grow.

To joyous youth we ride. Reaching 25 with a gym bag in one hand, and an avocado smoothie in another. We’ve reached our peak, healthier and prettier than we will ever be. Our vessels have never looked better, not a pimple in sight, and firmness all around. Our largest organ knows its job, detecting hot and cold whilst protecting our internal organs are all in a days’ work.

With age, our vessel reaches its final stop. Gone are the days of youth and play, all that is left is sag and excess. Our hands that once stood so elegantly, now transformed by lines and wear. Our faces, we no longer recognise.

No metamorphosis has ever been so complete, to take beauty, youth, grace and wisdom for bones and dirt, and no skin left in sight.

Our vessels are prized possession,

To be cherished and loved.

Thank you for reading.