Apollo: A short story by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Twice a month, like a dutiful son, I visited my parents in Enugu, in their small overfurnished flat that grew dark in the afternoon. Retirement had changed them, shrunk them.

They were in their late eighties, both small and mahogany-skinned, with a tendency to stoop.

They seemed to look more and more alike, as though all the years together had made their features blend and bleed into one another.

They even smelled alike—a menthol scent, from the green vial of Vicks VapoRub they passed to each other, carefully rubbing a little in their nostrils and on aching joints.

When I arrived, I would find them either sitting out on the veranda overlooking the road or sunk into the living-room sofa, watching Animal Planet.

They had a new, simple sense of wonder. They marvelled at the wiliness of wolves, laughed at the cleverness of apes, and asked each other, “Ifukwa? Did you see that?”

Read more: “Apollo” – The New Yorker.

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