Dear Mother (1)



Wednesday, the 12th.

It is barely 7pm but the evening sun is long gone, now replaced by a mass of black cloud. It looks like rain. I sit in my room before this flickering candlelight, because it is a reflection of my own life. A small torch of light that illuminates the world but is so frail it may go off anytime.

A lot of thoughts are rummaging through my mind but the most distinct one appears to be of my mother. I miss Mama. I miss how she would spank me when I tease about the wrinkles round her eyes or when I fail to do the chores before going for soccer practice. I miss her Special delicacy- tuwo shinkafa and miyan kuka, my favourite memory of her. I miss her sad eyes, and forlorn smile. I wonder what she will be doing now. I am sure she will be missing me.

I am wishing she didn’t insist I go to the new government school in the distant city of Jos. Left to me, the lessons of the Langtang community are just enough to last me a lifetime. Events of yesterday morning now rush to my head. Mrs Maryam, the English teacher at my new school, had been teaching us letter writing for about a week, and decided to give us a small classwork on it. She had asked us to write a letter to our father, telling him about our new school.

There was so much to tell about school but the idea of writing to a father whose existence or non-existence I knew nothing about belaboured my heart. You see, I tried writing something down but the firmer my grip on the pen in my hand, the more insistent my heart became on telling of its sorrow through the tears in my eyes.

And I began to cry.

For a 15 year old, I am not ashamed to cry. It is my therapy; my only hope to sanity. Mrs Maryam had approached my table and read through the drops on my class note and she had been very much understanding as she awarded me an undeserving smile. Then, she moved to the front of the class, commended everyone’s efforts and made us take it home as mid term assignment so we could do even better and get more marks. There and then, our eyes locked and I knew she had done that because of me… I was flattered.

I wipe off a lone tear from my eye now. And pick up my pen to write a letter to mother. I want to ask how she is faring. I want to know if the vicious herdsmen have not been to destroy her farmlands or cause trouble for her. I want to know if she is missing me. I want her to know I miss her. But more importantly, I want her to tell me about father- What is his name? Where is he? What does he look like? Has he never asked of me?


© The Short Black Girl, 2015.


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