Short Story (Level B1-B2): ‘OUTBOUND’ with Questions and Interrogative Pronouns

Questions and Interrogative Pronouns (1)

English Worksheets-Outbound, Interrogative Pronouns 1, Learn English With Africa, 2017

He left yesterday. There were no goodbyes. What for? Why should you say goodbye to someone who is never coming back? That’s what my mother said. Let him go. Let him fend for himself. Let him go. Let him go. Let him go. Full stop.

My mother did not cry when he left. What for? She said. How can I shed any tears when there are none left? It is anger I feel, she repeated. I have cried enough tears to fill a hundred wells. There is nothing else I can do. My son is gone and I cannot do anything about it. I cannot do anything about it. I cannot do anything about it.

He took a small bag and filled it with what he could salvage from his bedroom: a few clothes, a pair of shoes and some books. Our neighbour gave him roasted maize and groundnuts for the trip. He wasn’t taking much on purpose. There was a lot more waiting for him at his final destination. Why fill his bag with rubbish when there were better things for him abroad?

Where was he going? He didn’t know. What was he going to do there? He didn’t know. Why was he leaving us? He knew. This was the only thing he was sure about. He did not tell us why.

Questions and Interrogative Pronouns (2)

English Worksheets, OUTBOUND, Interrogative Pronouns 2, Learn English With Africa, 2017My father saw him leave. He didn’t talk to him. Why would he? He asked. There was nothing to tell a stubborn will. There is nothing to tell a goat that has decided to rush to its own destruction. There is nothing to tell such a will.

He was smiling when he left-yes, he was. The people who were there told me. He wasn’t afraid, no, he wasn’t. They said his face shone bright as his future. They could already picture him coming back with a Mercedez Benz and 10 smart phones for each of his fingers.

My brother is a dreamer. He likes building mansions in his head.

I didn’t see him leaving. I didn’t want to. Why? What’s the use of holding onto thin air?

Perhaps I didn’t want to see the look of hurt on my father’s face. Perhaps I didn’t want to see my brother’s smug expression as he left for the unknown. Perhaps I didn’t want to envy him. The fact was he was chasing his dreams. Was I courageous as he was? Maybe it wasn’t all about courage? Maybe it was just pure recklessness. How would I ever know?

He swaggered to the bus stop, my brother. He didn’t know where he was going, silly him. He didn’t know what he was leaving behind, what a pity!

My mother spent the whole day between the borehole and our house. We now have plenty of water in the drum. She said she wasn’t going to let her anger consume her. She said she didn’t have time that. He has chosen to go, hasn’t he? Let him go. Let me go. Let him go. My life will continue. Full stop.

My father is at the bottle store since my brother left, yes he is. My mother said let him stay there. Let him drink. Let him drink. Let him drink. He will come back when the bottle has become his enemy. As for now, they can still be friends. As for now.

I slept at my friend’s house, I did. I needed some peace. Who wants to stay in a sinking ship? No one.

The fields are waiting for us. They can wait. They can wait. They can wait. What with one less mouth to feed-it doesn’t matter anymore. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter-matter.

My mother wants to hear none of our nonsense. Our life should never stop. People choose to do what they want to do. Full stop.

She knows whom she can point her finger at. The useless bananas, she calls them. Useless bananas who have stolen hope from her son.

We are going to spend the next years waiting. We will strain our eyes to capture the fleeting image of our brother.  We will open our ears wide to capture any news about the almost forgotten brother, the almost forgotten son. Maybe one day we will stop waiting. Maybe one day he will come back. Maybe one day we will forget that this ever happened. Is this wishful thinking? I hope not. They never come back, do they? They get lost and no one ever hears about them. They are gone, gone forever. Forever, they are gone.

Questions and Interrogative Pronouns (3)

English Worksheets-Outbound, Interrogative Pronouns, Learn English With Africa, October 2017He promised us wealth. He promised us a better life. He said we would no longer suffer. Pain will just be a memory, he said. A distant memory.

He doesn’t know, my mother said. He just doesn’t. How can he know the pain of a mother? He will never know. He will never, ever know. HER son will never know.

Our country is beautiful. Look at our lush vegetation. Look at our fertile lands. Look at our gushing rivers. What a blessing!

My mother sighs.

Look at me. I am still alive. I am a healthy and loving mother.

Look at his father. He is still alive. Has he ever failed to guide our son through life?

Look at you. You are his sister. You are still alive. Will your brother ever attend your wedding? Will he ever, ever see your first born son?

Why would anyone leave a place where he knows everybody to go to a place where he knows nobody? Why would he?

My mother cannot understand.

Neither can I.

But to each his own.

My mother did everything she could to keep him. He shut his ears to my mother’s pleas. He shut his eyes to my mother’s weight loss. He shut his heart to my mother’s distress.

She fasted. She entreated him. She fed him like a king. She threatened him. She said nothing.

Her fasting could not change his mind. Her shaved head could not change his mind. My brother’s mind was made up. He wanted to go. No one or nothing could make him change his mind. HE had decided to go.

Questions and Interrogative Pronouns (4)

English Worksheets-OUTBOUND, Interrogative Pronouns 4, Learn English With Africa, October 2017

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