The tall, old man shuffled past me into the makeshift cubicle at the end of the long corridor, I was partly glad I wasn’t going to be the first person whose blood would be drawn and a little worried about wasting time. My friend had come with me for the procedure, taking time off work to ensure I followed through. I felt guilty about delaying him further but a free HIV test at a government facility was still a free thing.
My neighbour’s girlfriend is pounding yam again, the echo of the thud of the pestle on the yam slices against the mortar seeps through the concrete decking into my room, the vibrations make my windows rattle. She pounds every day, rattling my window in the mid-morning when I try to catch the second wave of sleep after losing the first round in the hours after I return from my night shift at the factory. Her pounding always delays that second round of sleep but I smile when it starts, it means I would eat baby-face smooth pounded yam in a few hours.