Dimly lit room
Mother on bed side, son tucked in
They both exchange glances
Then he adorably speaks

You smell really nice
But why bathe in the evening though,
Then leave immediately after dark?
With a purse of clean clothes
Then wash them again tomorrow
Without even wearing them

I hear it’s good to night shift
You get really good money
My friend’s father also does that
But you know you can be here with me
Have I told you?
Of the nightmares I have sometimes
But there’s nobody to hold me
Don’t get me wrong, I understand
You have to work to provide for us

And before you leave
School work is going really well
I drew a picture of you and me
Also, I’ve been meaning to know
Because the teacher asks everyday
But I don’t know what to answer
What is it that my mother does?

This is what she thought
But couldn’t utter out loudly
What she felt in her heart
But kept in her deep mind
The struggle of her inner self
But the shining of her outer face

It isn’t for you to understand
But I’ll try to give you an insight
Into the nature of my work.
You see I put my body on the line
For us to have a livelihood
But if that’s what you want
Then I’ll explain all the challenges

Our work is very risky
Some of us get diseases around
Expensive is risky I guess
But that’s what Tanasha said
She caught HIV last month
I’m extra careful
But I can’t promise I won’t get infected
Without protection our clients pay more

You don’t know
Maybe your client is some psychopath
Who wants to use you and not pay
This may sound ridiculous
I have even been raped
I mean ‘twas against my will
But I can’t report that to the authorities
The profession is illegal anyway
Sorry I kept this from you
But you know my friend Rubie
The one I told you relocated
Truth is she was killed by a client
After a service
In the line of duty, I guess

I don’t have stock in my business
But I still get losses
I have to invest, like in the cologne you smelt
I even work for people on credit
That reminds me your teacher owes me
Some people refuse to pay
And there’s nothing you can do
But right now, business is booming I can’t lie
Politicians have broken families
University students are curious and
Tea farmers just got paid
Those ones are never happy with their wives
Don’t judge me for breaking families
I’m just trying to make mine

It really hurts me though
When you say you need a sister
Because I can’t risk our livelihood like that
9 months without pay
We would be dead before 1 month
I can’t say this but I had you by mistake
You’ve made me emotional today
But I know there’s a day I’ll weep
When you ask me
Who your father is
To be honest I don’t know him

But she rather not say all these
She looks at him with emotion
Then kisses him on the cheek
Walks away to cry in the next room
Then leaves for the Night Shift

By Ansias

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