This extremely harrowing story describes child abuse, rape and murder.
Something to Write Home About
It is three years now and you haven’t heard from me. I do not apologize. I have finally decided to write because hearing your voice, or worse, looking you in the eyes will be too dangerous and I cannot risk going mad again.
Last month, I saw a lady at my painting class. She wore an orange blouse and her hair was cropped and curly. The tendrils at the back of her head reminded me of Kosi’s curly hair and how we both loved running our hands through it while she slept. That image came to my mind and suddenly, the air was not enough for me. I wanted to be anywhere but in that class. A slideshow started in my mind’s eye and I saw Kosi laughing, Kosi playing hide and seek, Kosi standing on the kitchen stool with the garri turner in her tiny hands while you cooked dinner, Kosi in her blue school dress, Kosi in her torn school dress, bloodied and bruised, Kosi dead. All it took was the back of that lady’s curly hair.
I want no reply. I want no answers from you but it won’t stop me from asking you why. Because asking my beige walls while throwing punches at them is more futile than asking you. So, why? Why did you do it? Why did you ask him to pick our baby girl from school even after what he tried to do to you all those years ago? Why did you blow out our light forever?
Three days after our Kosi’s funeral, you suggested that we move on. So I did. I moved on to a new city, taking nothing from the baggage that was my life with you. I also do not apologize for leaving without a word. You seem to carry pain with you and because you were home, I carried that pain with you. Never again.
Here is hoping that the screams of our baby girl as your brother tore her hymen continue to haunt you. I hope you imagine it to be as horrific as I do. He had tried it with you on your 13th birthday. The one your parents could not be around for but you sent him to pick my little girl from school because you had an appointment? He did what you asked and collected payment for it. He took a life that your guilt can never return.
So, I am writing to you today because I can no longer go to that painting class. It used to be home the way you used to be home to Kosi and me. That is until home became an unending torture of a dream too realistic to be a dream. Now, you are home the way anguish is home and I believe that this is something to write home about. So I write to you.
Bring our baby back if you can,
Ifeoma Nnewuihe is a Nigerian writer and visual artist living and working in Lagos, Nigeria. She has a Bachelor Of Arts Degree in English and Literature from the University of Lagos. A collection of her poems and self portraits have been published on The Kalahari Review and she is the 2018 winner of the Mrs. Paula Chinwe Okafor Prize for Creative Non-Fiction. In her spare time, Ifeoma makes mixed media art. She will eat 200 mangoes if you let her.
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