Fiction, Musings

And that is when the sadness came

This is the first draft of ‘And that is when the sadness came’. Aside from editing the spellings, I haven’t touched it in any way because I want to give you this gift complete. I did not want to correct the grammatical errors for fear of tuning up the story and leaving it flat, lifeless. Please tell me what you think.

I always think of Chinonso’s death or of the death of many other s who I had known. But none had been as close to me as Ekemini Aviomoh. Not that we had been that close. We were kind of friends and I knew that, I was sure of it that our Lord will ask me for her soul when he calls me. So, when Felix called to ask if I had Ekemini’s mum’s number and then said the story of some men going to her house and shooting her and her papa, I just prayed that she gets well soon. When Elos …

I couldn’t understand why lizzy was fretting and all upset until when Elos confirmed that of a truth, Ekemini was dead. Jesus Christ. Dazed, we said the responsory for her. And I went back to my project work as I had continued living life when Chinonso died. That dasy we had gone to bed without tasting the delicious bitterleaf soup that mum had painstakkiingly prepared some hours before. No one was hungry. I wasn’t. the next day, I can’t remember what we ate as the visitors called, poured in to express their condolences. I remember kingsley telling me and ‘gege’ that we were too playful as if that could explain why Chinonso had died. We were not playing when she died, we were not even with her when she fell into the gulling gushing forth with muddy brown water filled with all the filth of Benin moats. We were not there as she swallowed irrestibly gulp after gulp, aligned to the flow as a dead leaf, of the water. I like to picture that she had died immediately from a head injury when she fell. That is the only way to explain how she was intact and not bloated by the time they found the body beside ogiso river. My dad had to pay 12000 to claim it and Ogidiga had mentioned that that sum was the last respect for the dead 10 year old child. And now I am running out of thoughts …

But wait, I remember thinking that I have to be very good to chibuzo who had fallen in with her. I remember thinking of the bad dreams that he must have had at the time. I remember mum taking him as her child, sending him on errands and giving him gifts. Poor boy. But now he is all grown up and trying to make life on his own. I know also that throughout all that time I did not cry. I forced the thought and the tears from my eyes even as Amen said to me in school ‘ hope this will not affect your school work. I know that I made a personal vow that if life was so short then I would make the best of it the way I could. That term was my best term in ss1. It saw me mature, almost hardened, fighting to do the right thing, knowing that at any moment, I could take chinonso’s place on the mat on the floor of the cemetery where her feet peeped out – all white, lifeless.

As I bring to my memory with full force, the brutality of Ekemini’s death, as I touch some sand, grasping them in my palms and throwing them into the hole where her coffin was already resting ready to be covered by the red earth. As the words get all clogged up in my throat and my minds filled with the images of Chinonso and all that I have ever lost, I can’t help but be overwhelmed by the grief held up from years long gone by.

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4 thoughts on “And that is when the sadness came

  1. This is so touching. There are a few errors, but ones easily corrected by an editor. The writing itself is heartfelt, expressive and very very readable. Judy

    • This piece is my first ever published draft. Sometimes, I edit so much before publishing that I lose the core of the story. I am glad it ‘spoke’to you and thanks for stopping by, Judy. Do have a lovely day.

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