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Aisha

She was hiding.

She needed to get away from the people. From the faces… Especially the faces.

The faces of  the people in the living room. People she knew, people she didn’t know, some people she thought she might have met before.

Looking at them was giving her a headache because she thought they all had the same weird expression. All the lips on the faces were calling her name and telling her the same thing, “Sorry for your loss my dear.” “It is well my dear.” “You have to be a strong girl and a brave girl and take care of your daddy now.” “You are now the woman of the house so take care of your daddy.”

They sounded like a broken record, all saying or implying the same thing.

She needed a place to run to and had found escape in her parent’s room. She always loved it there.

It was the brightest room in the house. At high noon, when the curtains were drawn open, sunlight streamed in and bounced off the colourful memorabilia on the opposite wall. Stuff that her mother had collected over the years. It made a beautiful light show on the ceilings and walls of the room.

Her mother had always told her how she has loved to stay in that room as a child and just stare at the lights until she fell asleep.

Her mother…

At the thought of her mother, the tears came down before she even realised she was crying them. Aisha had thought, no, she had hoped that she had cried all the tears she had.

All the tears that she had shed in the night curled up on her bed, all the tears she had shed in the toilet of the school she attended, that she shed silently in her heart every time she passed something that reminded her of her mother.

How could she not cry, when her mother was gone and it was, she thought, her own fault.

She kept thinking to herself, if only she hadn’t told her mom to come home early, if only she hadn’t said she was lonely and wanted company, if only she had been a big girl or behaved like a grown woman and waited quietly for her parents to get home.

Now she had no mother and her father was lost to her lost in a world of his own. It was all her fault.

If only…

Those were her thoughts as her emotions overcame her and she shook with her tears and let out heart wrenching sobs that would break the heart of one so unfortunate as to witness or hear them.

She just wanted her dad to hold her and tell her everything would be ok, but she knew that would not happen. Aisha knew or rather felt, in that way that teenagers think all the problem of the world is their fault, that her mother was dead because of her and her father was never going to get over it, or even if he did he was never going to forgive her.

She cried for herself, her father and the woman they had both loved and lost, wishing that her mother would come and hold her and tell her that everything would be ok.

Aniefon

The fighting had become more intense over the course of the year.

Aniefon sat in her room and listened to her mother and father yell and scream hurtful things at each other . They knew she could hear them, but both were past the point of caring. Such was their hatred and anger towards each other.

She sighed heavily, turned on her radio and turned up the volume. As she lay down on her bed and stared at the ceiling, she wondered when it would all end. She knew it was only a matter of time before she would have to choose who she wanted to be with. She had heard them talking about it and if anyone had asked her, she would have told them she would rather live in an orphanage than have to pick between her two parents. The sad thing was, nobody asked her, nobody even noticed her. No one saw her hurt or her fears. No one saw her.

When she could still hear their arguing through the haze of her troubled thoughts, she got up from her bed and opened her room door, slamming it loudly enough that they heard and knew she was coming. She rounded the corner and walked to the parlour where they stood backing each other on opposite sides of the room. She looked from one parent to the other, and simply walked past them to turn on the wireless, internet modem on the wall beside the tv.

As she walked past them, she thought how nice it would be to make them hurt just like they were hurting her and “I can hear you both you know, you might wanna keep it down cos I have to study for a test tomorrow”.

Annie, as she was fondly called, knew she was just adding fuel to fire, but she was past caring. She wanted to hurt as much as she was hurting and who better to hurt than very people who were hurting her.

She walked slowly to her room, knowing they were staring at her. Hoping that they would stop her and tell her off for talking like that to them, but also knowing that they wouldn’t for they were too busy waiting for her to leave so they could go back to attacking each other.

As she passed them she looked up at her father, hoping he would see. He saw, but he turned away from her eyes and looked at a spot over where her mother stood.

Annie walked slowly into her room and before she could slam the door heard her mother say, “I am tired of arguing with you. Do whatever you want. Just remember that it was you who wanted this not me or Annie.”

After that she heard her father walking towards the rooms and quickly slammed the door and locked it so her dad couldn’t get in even if he tried.

That night all the members of that household cried. Each for their losses and some for their gains.

In the morning when they woke up, Mr Paul Abasiafon was gone from their home and from their lives.

Eka

Eka was scared. For the first time in a long time she was truly scared.

The roads she was on, the car, the unfamiliar people her mother had sent her to be with, everything seem unwelcoming and unfamiliar. She was leaving home. Going to a new place. She remembered the day they had come to see her. The man driving the car and is wife.

“Eka! Di mi!” Her mother had called to her as she was playing with her siblings and the neighboring children. As the oldest girl, she was responsible for a lot of things and knowing fully well that she did not have anything to do until it was time for dinner, she wondered why her mother was looking for her now.

As she saw the nice ca parked outside her house, a sense of dread came over her. Eka had seen cars like this come and go, taking her friends and never bringing them back. She hoped that the car was just parked there for some other reason than that the owners where in her house.

When she stepped in and saw them, the nice looking couple seated on her father’s threadbare couch, she knew without a doubt that she was the next to leave the village.

Her mother beckoned her closer and the woman, turned to smile at her. Eka managed a small smile, but only because the woman’s smile was so warm she couldn’t help but smile back, even through her distress. “How are you?”, the woman was the one who asked. “I am fine ma.”

The woman then turned to smile at Eka’s mother, and in the local dialect asked how come Eka spoke so well. Her mother quickly answered that one of the family’s distant cousins had taken it upon himself to make sure the children all got through their secondary school education in the neighbouring town. It had been hard while she was in school but that she had somehow managed to come out from school with flying colours. She had finished secondary school and was just home finally.

Eka smiled at the woman with a tint of pride when the nice lady turned to look back at her. The lady smiled back and told her she could go back out to play with her friends.

As she left, she heard the woman say again in the local dialect, that it was ok and that they would come back on Saturday. Two days from that day.

The tears rolled down her eyes as Eka thought about her mother trying to convince her that it would be alright as she cried uncontrollably begging that she should be allowed to stay. In the end, knowing the futility of their actions and the situation as a whole, they had both broken down and sobbed well into the night.

Eka wiped her tears and with a determined look thought to herself that her family depended on her and she would do whatever she could to bring hem out of the state that they were currently in. This was what she thought to herself and though she held this thought with much conviction and determination, she couldn’t stop her hands from shaking as she what lay ahead in her future.

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