I watched them through the window. They always quarrel loudly. This time Papa Anya slaps her, then he pauses, comes to the window and draws the curtain. I cannot see them but I can hear her cry. Mama Anya is wailing like an Oro masquerade. She needs help but I cannot go to her, not after Sisi Nurse called me an “amebo” for advising her not to perform abortions in our yard.
I pick up my phone to dial Mama Anya‘s number. Maybe the ringing will distract him. It rings. Her call-back tune is a love song. Love indeed. If this is love, then I never want to be loved. The phone rings again. No response. Little Anya must be terrified. The screams are muffled now. I am scared. My baby, Kikun, is crying. I know she is scared. Hassan and his new wife have travelled for “sallah”. Sisi Nurse is at work on night-duty. I have no husband. Who can I call? The other neighbours all seem to be deaf.
The wailing has stopped. Thank God. He must have forgiven her. It usually lasts longer. Kikun is asleep. I am happy for Mama Anya. She does not talk much. Tomorrow I will buy her painkillers from Sisi Nurse, when Papa Anya has gone to his shop. She will be fine. I am sure she will be fine.
A shrill sound awakes me. It is from Mama Anya’s room. The screaming does not sound like hers. It sounds like a man. I go to our window. I see Papa Anya in the yard with a lifeless body in his hands. He is shouting “Wake up, my wife! Wake up”. Kikun is still sleeping. I go out into the yard. Papa Anya says to me “She is dead”. “How?”, I ask. “Malaria”, he responds and looks away.
I feel faint. My Lord, have mercy. I feel like a murderer.
Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Scott Griessel