August 11, 2010

Black Suspenders

It was raining when he was born. It was only fitting it should rain when he went home. No, that can't be right. Home was with her. Not in that lonely cold gaping sore in the earth.

But the priest said he was going home and painted pictures of the wonderful welcome he would receive in heaven. The angels would sing a chorus. Trumpets would herald his homecoming and so on and so forth. What a load of crock. He was hers, by God, and he belonged here with her. She should have been the first to go. Then she could help the angels make his welcome home sweeter. Alas, they knew best or so the priest said over and over again.

It poured harder on the day she decided to give his things away.She kept his black suspenders.She remembered the phase of wearing them every and any where. She smoked secretly.Well, if keeping secrets meant Nana knowing. She couldn't bring herself to drink the wine she had bought to celebrate his homecoming..
She didn't notice anything anymore. Couldn't have, didn't even want to try. Nana handled life. She was content in the grave with her son.

If she noticed anything, it was the silence his departure brought. The emptiness that substituted his presence. Yes, he had lived thousand of miles away these past few years but he was always an email away. Not anymore. The absence was complete now. The silence so thick she could cut through it.

She feared if she began to notice anything else, it would mean the end. She would drown. They had murdered her first born son. The warrior that forced his way into her life after she had resigned herself to barrenness.He opened her womb and left it incapable of birthing another. As if he knew she possessed the ability to love only one. An Abiku they called him. An Angel he was. What did they know? Did they wake up at night to hear him gasping for air, refusing to give up his hold on life? Did they see his eyes brim with tears every time he woke up in  a hospital? His father left for another, for healthy and less demanding children. But even that was OK. They had each other.Against all odds, he blossomed. he fought death and won time and time again. Only to die on the roads his father was supposed to maintain. The irony of it all. The newspapers were in ecstasy . 'The son of the Minister of Works dies from a road accident'!  Headline after headline screamed. Once again, it was all about the father. Nobody mentioned that a light, her light  had left the world.

She buried her heart with him and went back home. She never cried. Day after day...she waited for death. She opened her arms to it, welcomed it. It eluded her. She implored it to take its satisfaction with her. Death ignored her pleas and sought other lucrative ventures.

Its been a year. She still works. Designing houses. Contracts are few and far between. Not many people appreciate the only colors she has to offer- black and gray. Its his anniversary in a few days. She needs pictures for his memorial. Another circus his father has planned. She only hears about it because he has no pictures of his first child. She will not share the ones she has with the world. Maybe she will find some random picture in her mail. In-box is 568. She starts to trash them. She almost deletes it too. Mail from a ghost. She hesitates a moment and opens it.

Nana is by the door in a heartbeat. Nana finds her on the floor. The sobs rack her small frame so hard. Nana does a double-take. It cannot be. This woman who wouldn't cry even during the worst of times. This mountain that stood head up high as she was paraded in the triviality they called a funeral. She who stared in defiance at the cameras and the 'mourners' who had never even met him. 'What is it? What happened eh?' Nana bellows

It takes  a while before she  can speak. They are cuddled up together. Two middle aged women who lost the center of their world. One his mother,the other his nanny. He left her a gift. There are pictures in the email she almost deleted. A little boy. He wears suspenders. His mother says he will wear nothing without suspenders.He is three. He has her smile. He has her name. Bami-dele, come home with me.

There are so many questions in her head. Why he never said anything? Why the woman had waited so long to let his people know she had borne their son? So many questions and yet no doubt.The boy wore suspenders after all.

Her heart is exhumed from the grave.She tells death she is no longer interested.There is something to live for. She goes shopping for new suspenders. 

Song of the Day: Morning After Dark-Timbaland :)

No comments:

Post a Comment