I see her every day. Playing at the same spot. Alone.
She intrigues me by her frailty. Her shoulder slopes like she’s been carrying some burden. Maybe she has. She has been writing something on the ground. She always does. My feet begin to move on their own accord, leading me to her.
‘Hello, what are you writing?’ I ask.
‘I’m drawing, not writing’ she blandly replies.
Obviously, I could see she was drawing. She drew skulls. She also drew what looked like disfigured humans with hanging limbs.
What she drew bothered me. How could a child be so disturbed?
‘Mom!’ I could hear the screeching sound of my daughter’s voice from behind me. I immediately retreated to where she was.
‘What were you doing with that weirdo?’ She asked with a grimace.
If my 9 year old child could call her ‘weird’, then there was a problem.
‘Why do you call her weird?’ I couldn’t help but ask.
‘Well, she sits at the back of the class, she doesn’t talk to anyone and when she does, she’s rude. She also talks to herself like a total weirdo.’ My daughter responded.
‘Is that all?’ I asked, obviously disappointed.
‘Mom, nobody talks to her.’
‘Who are her parents?’ I inquired further.
‘She’s only got a mom. My classmates say she’s a bastard’
Instinctively, I corrected my child and told her never to call the girl derogatory names.
‘Mom, why are you getting all worked up about her? She’s no good news.’
I stared at my daughter for a brief moment. A part of me wanted to smack her for the guts she had to keep replying me. At least that’s what my mother would have done to put me back on the right track. Doing that right here would only be my ticket to jail. Thanks to the laws in the States.
I ponder on a lot of things like what would happen to my African culture and traditions. I left home for a little above ten years. I took up an English name, got married to an amazing Nigerian who spent his whole life in the States. My skin is black but my mind is white. Not in the terms of black is for wrong and white for right. More in terms of being westernized while my skin cries for home.
Back to me being stymied from spanking my child. I turned back to look at the object of my thoughts. She had disappeared from the playground.
‘Karen, when we get home, go and search for 20 bible verses on showing kindness to people’ I faced my daughter squarely. ‘Don’t use the internet for this’ I quickly added.
Her face fell as she got into the front seat of the car.
‘I’m sorry mom’. She was smart enough to know when I was upset. At least the thousands of dollars spent on her education paid off.
(Excerpted from a book I’m working on)
Hope you enjoyed reading it! 🙂