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When Tomorrow Calls

Words swirl around my head, like a twitter of birds I can’t control. It is morning but I remain prone, on my bed. I sink deeper into the sheets and pluck a phrase here and another there from free singing birds outside my window. It is not good. I search and pluck despair from the twits that won’t stop. They sound chirpy enough but I refuse their reign, I fold myself. Away from any happiness. I do not deserve it.


Yesterday it rained. Hard pelting rocks that resembled white walls crumbling down like the foam surfers leave in their wake. I could not see through the slush that ran down my face, my cheeks. I stood in the rain.


My penance fizzled. In an instant, bright sunshine ruled. I craved the wet. A shower from a passing car slicing through the flooded street washed over me. I stood waiting.


‘Lord wash me, cleanse me.’


A resolute silence clung to me like my wet clothes draped around me like a morbid shroud.

A honking car slowed to a near stop waiting for me to move to safety, the driver nodding politely, I pitied him. I trudged away from his path.


My wet feet left soggy prints on the thin carpeting, I peeled of my clothes as I walked to my bedroom, the warmth indoors cloying, draining.


Sleep eluded me. Dark thoughts consumed me. In a basin along with others, my baby lay. Given up before their time. I had thought long and hard and reached the same conclusion every time. For me there was no choice. As had the others. But mine was worse. I had gone of my own volition. I, Laraba Nelson.


It began many months ago. A day like any other in the dry season. Lectures had ended and I had gone to the lady down the road just at the road that forked left to the grounds of the Theatre Arts Department to buy recharge cards.


As usual, I pretended that was all I was out to do but after I loaded the digits on to my phone, I stared long and hard to make sure I wasn’t cheated. Then I asked for another card all the while looking through a veil of my braids to see if he would come.


The birds continue their dance of whatever it was that had them singing this un-merry morning. I get up to shush them. I grab a broom and fling it against the netting on my window. A cloud of dust and the thudding sound send them flying. The momentary silence has me floundering. I sink into the sheets and they resume their chirping.


They make sweet music. Like we made sweet love. Their notes hold a tenderness and a gentleness. Like Ahmed. They call and another answers, rolling the sounds, floating, merry, crisp. Ahmed. Ah, Ahmed...


Shared with permission. Creds to the uber talented Veronica Nkwocha - www.veronicankwocha.com

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