You little boy whom I don’t know. Your exact age, I don’t know that either but I’m guessing you’d be around 8 years old.
In front of this dingy street, which I don’t know the name, you sit on a pavement aligning the deep convent. You are facing the road, your back to the street and your legs dangling inside the gutter. You look down into the gutter with fascination. My heart skips as I imagine you’d fall inside.
While I passed you, I wondered what could be inside a gutter to be fascinating to a little boy to make him sit somewhere like that.
The tricycle I sat in moved slowly so as I looked at you, your fascination fascinated me too. You are so fair and fine you remind me of my grandson. My daughter left him with me and ran away. She said she was tired of her abusive husband. He beat her up just because she’d let a memory from her university days into their conversation. My baby, how happy and beautiful she looks talking about her university days.
She had a best friend. He wasn’t aware she had a crush on him and my baby wouldn’t tell him because she didn’t want to loose their friendship. According to my baby, they had many things in common: same birthday, same obsession with football and Korean movies, and both loved gushing over celebrities.
Oh that Steve, My baby said he was so cute and made her laugh. God bless his soul for making her university days glorious. He had only to finish playing football one day, drag my baby into him and kiss her hard on the lips, to make my baby happy forever.
Baby said it was in the middle of the field where everybody were praising him for scoring three goals for his team. She said it was so romantic she felt like she was in a Korean drama. Her toes curled and tiny little butterflies flew inside her stomach-especially when he hugged her and declared he’d had a crush on her ever since and if she would accept his heart?
It’s been 15 years. Baby separated from her best friend-turned-boyfriend when they were in third year, after they’d dated for 2 years. It was my fault! Oh, cursed be that day I forced my daughter to marry a monster because of money. That disgusting greed to have a rich man as a son-in-law! Cursed be it!
That beast turned my baby into a punching bag. Son of an honourable minister indeed. God, I don’t even want to remember how cursed I felt the day my daughter came running home. He’d raped her. I couldn’t do anything for my baby and I with my cursed mouth asked my baby to go back and beg him. Tradition said a man is never wrong. A wife is never raped by her husband. Cursed, cursed, cursed be that tradition that made me allow my only daughter to suffer in the house of a beast. I could have let her divorce him since.
Pitiful daughter. She stole her own son and ran away. She now hates that beast so much she even left a fine child with an arthritis-ridden Alzheimer patient.
Oh God wherever Baby is, please let her find peace and forgive my wrongs against her. Albeit my sins just got bigger now that I’ve lost my grandson too.
I’d entered this “keke” to the market and now coming back but I’m still wondering what I’m forgetting. The doc said I’d forget stuffs from time time.
I think my street is the next one after this one you are in front of. There are bungalow houses on my street. The drainage pipes from their bathrooms and kitchen sinks all offload dirty water into the street gutter where their ends protrudes to. It is like this with streets in this area.
As I’m approaching the front of my street now, I realize it’s the flood of dirty water gurgling through the gutter that is fascinating you. My street people are probably already doing after-work bathing competition as usual.
Wait! Little boy, why are you wearing that red trouser and sky blue shirt I wore my grandson this morning? I say as I jump down. I almost fell down but I didn’t care.
© 2015 Nnanna Esther Nneka