South Africa

Monkey in a tree

I spent most of my time in Pretoria when I wasn’t at school up a tree with a book.

The tree was above a small round swimming pool at the top of the garden; green and dark.

Sometimes a monkey would keep me company.

She would perch on my shoulder, pulling out the pins that kept my bun in place until my hair fell round my shoulders.

I hope she was looking for salt, not nits.

I remember the quick pat of her small black hands, wrinkled and old; and the stiff feel of her grey fur.

Her expression was cool, analytical; unjudging. She was who she was; I was me.

So there we were; swinging gently together

On the same branch

Of the same tree.