Before you were born.

Previously published,

before you were born

Before you were born something happened. Something evil. It clawed the air around you and tugged at your umbilical cord. It seeped into your spine and found its way to your brain. I don’t know how accurate I am but I believe the occurrence is the reason you remain an adult child, a caged bird, illogical, confused. The doctors have a big name for it, they say it is a psychological disorder, I don’t know about that, what I do know is this…

The car zoomed past her home and stayed in the middle of the road for seconds. Around the same moment, a thoroughly light skinned woman you would come to call Nne in her mid-twenties clad in a black leather mini skirt and a long sleeve button detail maternity sweater that rested on her hips, trotted away. As she ran past her home a sad smile plastered to her face, eyes stared. She pretended not to care. Quietly, she eased into the car. The driver of the small car (a blue 1992 Volkswagen GTI survivor) drove back into the estate without a word.
Music played. You would come to understand that the music was ‘olden days.’ Nne would always describe Onyeka Onwenwu’s “Iyogogo” as olden days, pronouncing the “olden,” “olding.” She would sing it aloud as she cooked, or cleaned and you would remember the first day you heard it, in the silence of the car, where tension filled the air and the heat sliced through the piercing awkwardness. The music played three times before the car came to a stop and died with the engine. It was a bushy secluded area of the estate, surrounded by tall trees that hid them from the world.

Drumming Fingers resounded. Nne stroked her hair down. She was waiting for his first move. She didn’t wait long.
His hands came to the side of her face and his lips moved close to her lips. Slight moans from the car, whistling Cockatiels and an occasional barking dog, but these aside, it was a quiet sunny afternoon.
‘Stop!’ Nne said. Her voice was raspy. She seemed to search for air, in the way she mouthed that first word and in the way she paused before she continued ‘we can’t do this. We shouldn’t anymore’

He nodded.

You wanted to hear his deep baritone voice. You longed to hear its rhythm even though you didn’t know it would be the last time you would hear it. He cupped her cheeks and approached her once again.

‘No, Teddy. No’ she called him Teddy Bear. She still refers to him as Teddy Bear. So on some nights she mumbles Teddy Bear in her sleep. Alhaji doesn’t suspect a thing.

‘I would miss you’

She touched his cheeks. She was sobbing now ‘as would I’ her voice was choked with tears.

‘He is not right for you’ he said tracing his hands over her earlobe. ‘He never has been. Damn.’ He hit the starring Wheel, pressing the Horn mistakenly but it was only for a split second. He traced his hands through his thick hair, he breathed aloud, letting out exasperation and frustration at once.
He cursed some more and swore under his breath.
But she ignored it.

‘I know’ she said ‘but it’s too late now’
‘You can leave with me. We’ll go far away. I know this guy, does great fake identity cards; we’ll disappear into thin air, without a trace…’ His words were sweet as honey that she longed to taste. But she refused to be convinced.

So she quickly placed her lips over his and they were both outside and far from the world for moments.
She smiled raising her head and ran her hands over his dark cheeks. She took a moment to study his features which she would immensely miss; His full afro hair, his dimple, his neat eye brows, his chiseled jaw. You knew and you know now, that she truly loved him. He had to leave, Abacha was after his head.

Her mind wandered to the day she met him in the bar. She was looking for fun she told him and he had told her with a grin
“You just met him”

She had laughed and in that moment was hooked. She knew he was wanted by the Abacha Government for sedition, and she cared and didn’t care. He was fun and she loved him.
Ada was born long before and you hate her for this, for having not to doubt her paternity. You also hate her and Alhaji because, like most of the world, they treat you funny, with sad stares and extra care. Whether Alhaji is your father, is what plagues you and you cannot ask Nne. If Nne suspects your doubt, she doesn’t show it, doesn’t care.

Some People say you have Alhaji’s chin. Some say his eyes. You don’t see it.
Nne feels her love is enough for you. You long for Teddy.
Teddy placed his hands over you, over the skin that shielded you and in those moments you feel a bond you will never feel again.

‘I will miss you’ he said. You can feel his eyes on you.

‘She’ll be out soon’ Nne said. She paused ‘people suspect’

‘Has anyone asked you anything?’
She laughed ‘No, I see it when they look at me’ her voice was finally devoid of any trace of laughter ‘I see it in Alhaji’s eyes, he suspects’

He picked her hands up and kissed it.
‘Promise you’ll keep me in your heart?’ he asked

‘Forever.’ she promised. They hugged. They stared for long and it ended there.

Nne opened her door and walked a few feet away from the car. Looking back, she blew him a kiss which he gladly returned.

There were tears in his eyes later when he started his car, and reversed so he could turn into his own street. A rollover dump truck from his street but more likely from nowhere with the speed of a mad driver ran into his side of the car. He saw the truck for only a split second before the worst happened. It hit the car, destroyed the car, and killed him.

Nne somehow didn’t die when she heard the crash and turned back.
Her water broke almost immediately and the baby struggled to get out…
Though it would be a few hours before you became an official earth citizen, you lost your mind there in Nne’s womb.

6 thoughts on “Before you were born.

  1. Dear Ope( İ hope İ’m correct),
    İt is with sincerity that İ wish to blame you for my lack of Oxygen! İ write to inform you that, from the first word of this piece to the car crash, İ seemed like the one in the womb( Only İ’m quite well!), and İ had held my breath till the end( i’m joking!). My deepest appologies to the almost normal brain of that child and sympathy to the mother. On the bright side, İ give an ovation to the brilliant mind behind this thought cycle!
    Many thanks, and keep up the work!

    An Avid Reader,
    Pulcher Legend

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