Category Archives: Bianca Alice Walker

Those SuperDry underpants

by Bianca Alice Walker

Oju scrambled the papers into his hands, creasing them and bending the edges. It didn’t help that he had ketchup on his fingers from the wings he had eaten or that when he bent down his tracksuit bottoms fell below his bum, showcasing his purple SuperDry underpants. It wasn’t reassuring in that moment either that he was ashamed of the very underpants he spent all his birthday money on. It was really, truly a pity that on that day Miss Wilfred was passing him in the corridor, approaching from behind thus not giving him enough time to neaten the kinks in his hair or rub his hands against each other for emergency moisture. It was a real, real shame that at that very instance he was telling his friend about his sister’s friend’s booty. Something had somehow led him to describe it in detail: the way the jeans hugged the circumference of her cheeks, like big Os, more scrumptious than any Cheerios, more sweet than Oreos, fresher than a Polo. His friend Dike had a laugh, while licking his lips. But Miss Wilfred didn’t. She didn’t say a word, only looked at him for a millisecond and then looked down at the floor and continued on. Her unspoken words were, however, more explicit than her spoken ones from only two days before: ‘do you really want to be that kind of person?’ He was answering the question involuntarily, his answer more true than he wanted it to be. The truth came too naturally, the change too unfathomable. He stuffed the pages into his rucksack, all handouts, none in order, hardly any ever read.

Neymar Jr’s Cookies

by Bianca Alice Walker

My knees grated the cracked-up concrete on the football court, before I learnt how to leap over the unwieldy limbs of the older boys, flung at me from all directions. Despite my age I was able to navigate the web of salty, sunburnt flesh and coarse language to get swiftly from one side of the court to the next. The only reason I noticed when girls walked by was because the battle of the badly-timed legs lessened and I found myself running several meters forward with the ball, unhindered. When a real bonita passed, the games would stop for so long I could juggle the ball 200 times before someone beckoned the game to restart.

In those early days of my boyhood no girl ever stole my attention – none except Joao’s mother.

I was doing my signature body fake, two boys falling to the wrong side and another coming at me with his pendulum foot ready to swing hard and fast. Just as he was about to make his tackle, in a moment where I would usually flick the ball over his head and send all the blood of embarrassment shooting up into his face, I smelt something. I smelt the rich, thick scent of sugary dough, freshly baked, weakening my ankles and turning my calves to jelly. For the first time I left the ball and ran to the diamond-shaped wire fence that lined the court, thrusting my arm through it and in front of Joao’s mother’s box of cookies.

‘Why don’t we have cookies more often?’ I asked my mother that night, my stomach still delighted, the grin on my face, from the image of Joao’s mother’s skin-tight, leopard print dress and subtle wink, unmovable. My mother was dragging her feet, exhausted from her various cleaning and cooking jobs. My father was out working either as a postman, a plumber or a security guard – I could never remember which one he did on what day. I thought if I had enough cookies I could lure them away from their work and chores, as I was lured away by Joao’s mother, and show them my impressive football skills, see their wide eyes and flared noses again, their satisfaction.

‘Great footballers don’t eat cookies, meu filho,’ she said, handing me a small plate of brown rice and a fried chicken leg she took from the leftovers at her cooking job at a casona in São Paulo. It was then I realized that if I wanted to bring the joy of cookies to my family, I had to get my own money and make them myself. It was there, with the steaming chicken clutched between my teeth, that I told myself: when I got rich playing football, I would buy a cookie factory and make enough cookies to bring my parents home every night before my bedtime, and occasionally during the day, to see me play, taking breaks, of course, to savour the delicious sweetness of that baked dough and a family united, at rest from the unending demands of life.

She’s Lucky

by Bianca Alice Walker

Lucia rides on her bicycle through an orange sunset, the lush green of the pastures alongside her flirting with the sky’s light, which remains as it is for one thousand turns of her wheels. Her hair-tie is red – not the kind of red young girls wear when they want to grow up too fast, but a faded-curtain kind. The ends of her hair-tie flutter in the winds rushing around her soft cheeks. She, though, is not in a rush. That is just how her life is. She is lucky.

She’s lucky because she walks onto the set of a movie about unconditional love, being filmed on a beach, and directs the cameras and crew to the location of the next scene. The lead actress goes to stand in the middle of the scene, where the rocks meet the gentle waves, and says, ‘Is this where you want me?’ She recites her next line about feeling safer when entering deeper waters with her brave companion always at her side. And then the male actor whispers into Lucia’s ear, before joining his fictional love, and tells her that her directing is as brilliant as the sparkle in her ever-passionate eyes. Lucia allows the compliment to settle on her restful mind. Yes, her mind is restful. That is just how her life is. She is lucky.

She’s lucky because she’s a great discoverer of things, the sorts of things that excite the renowned explorer Christopher Columbus when she interrupts him during his expeditions at sea and, looking upon her with a dazed and tired smile, awake because of the weightiness of his anticipation, she tells him of the very thing she ‘just suddenly realised’. She speaks to him in French, not Spanish, because she likes the sound of rendu compte. Her great discoveries open her eyes and her heart to the untouched treasures of human nature. She looks at them without fear that they might disappear. She is without fear. That is just how her life is. She is lucky.

But some might instead call her lonely, her adventures mere figments of her imagination and her joy desperation craftily repackaged. She, however, has no qualms about sitting for long hours in the corner of her room, alone, working away at her craft, and taking breaks only to go on elaborate, imagined adventures – because she is not lonely, crazy or desperate. That’s just how her life is. She is blessed.