VOICES

Sad voices girl

Do you remember those days when something happened to you?

Something huge? But, strangely, you didn’t feel anything. Of course, you were not exactly happy but it was a weird mixture of sadness, certainty and disappointment and at the same time, it didn’t feel like any of them. Sleep then comes upon you like a stormy rain cloud and just when you’re about to set off for dreamland, you get sucked out of Sleep’s train, your dreamy haze broken and the little source of contentment that you will get, you’re deprived of it.

There are also times when it feels like the world is against you just because of a single mistake and at times, because of a decision, taunting and jeering at you because others did it and it seems like it’s working for them.

You did the right thing!

You know you did the right thing.

Why does it then feel as if you’ve hurt people? Why does it feel like you’re being rebuked by the world? Even your bed is against you, it seems like a stranger, refusing to give you warmth and then it suddenly feels like you’ve laid on a piece of wood.

If just one thing, I realized that a No is not always outright refusal. A no could be a “How long can you keep asking?”. A No could be a “Please keep trying and prove me wrong!” A No could just be a Yes in disguise but how many people know that?” That it’s sometimes a test?

Those days when you feel hopeless, only to get home and there”s nothing to eat. Your bed ignores you. The raw feel of garri is not pleasant but you have to endure it so that they don’t call you a “spoilt ajebo”. It happened to Ifeoma once…when her father died. She didn’t feel anything and it was strange.

Her mother cried.

Her sister cried.

Even those who knew her father from a distance cried. She was the odd one out. As she stood, watching the coffin go down into the grave, her fingers began to itch. She wanted to reach out and pull it back but she couldn’t move.She was frozen.

Days…

Weeks…

Months…

Everybody was worried. Not once did Ifeoma shed a tear. She became a recluse in her own house. There was a silent tension roaming in the air, nobody tried to catch it.

One night, she woke up, gasping in pain and sorrow, the tears pouring down her face like huge raindrops. Her heart kept expanding and contracting like the contractions of a pregnant woman.

It just hit her…hit her bad.

Her mother cried with her, rocking her back and forth. It felt like a fresh wound. Like salt poured on a fresh wound. Waking up in the morning, they went about the daily activities in their usual robotic manner, expressing no emotion. No matter how hard she tried, it just wasn’t the same. It was’nt the same without Daddy.

She kept on seeing blurred lines..and for a long time, the voice of the night was heard.

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