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Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Amity In An Emerald City (2)

Her head bobbed up and down like a basketball.
I favoured her with another wry smile and then something struck me.

“Why are you here?” I asked her instead.
A dark cloud fell over her face, swallowing the glint in her eyes. I watched as tears pooled just below her eyeballs, shimmering in the dimness like a lonely stream. She looked away. 

“You see, not even you can tell me why you are here.” I said.
She shook her head vehemently from side to side and stared me straight in the eye. That was when it dawned on me. This beautiful girl was dumb. In her eyes, I could see tales and tales of pains past and pains, present; pain she could never express with words, pain that ate her up hourly and daily.

With frail hands, she wiped her tears and locked her gaze with mine. This time, I understood what she wanted. She wound her arm around my neck and pulled me to her bosom.

The dam broke and the tears I had denied light for the past weeks broke to the fore. Mati cradled me, rocking me to and fro in her arms like I was her child.
“She died!” I cried like a baby. “She left me all alone . . .”

Mati kissed my hair and I pressed my face against her scented skin. I told her all about Kelechi, my childhood sweetheart with whom I had only recently exchanged marital vows. That had been six months ago, just before I got admission into the University of Amsterdam to do a Masters programme in Engineering.

 Two months ago she had called and told me she was heavy with child. I had begun necessary preparations for her to join me immediately. I could not stand her being all alone while expecting our first issue. Six months without her was already taking its toll. The time came for her to come, just two weeks ago.

“And . . . and her plane had crashed over the Atlantic.” I roared with tears. In my eyes, I felt my whole life slowly grinding to a halt.

Mati cuddled me, running her slim fingers over my face and bearded chin. She raised my face and sought my lips. Once again I surprised myself at the urgency with which I responded to her kisses. Within minutes, our naked bodies lay entwined, moaning and writhing on the creaking bed like a pair of snakes.
I woke at dawn, a new man. The figure on the bed slept soundly, snoring like she had no cares. Quickly, I threw on my clothes, kissed Mati’s brow and headed out. I had no regrets. In Mati’s arms I had found a reason to look beyond my pain. 

I didn’t kid myself that it was going to be easy, but somehow I knew that with this emerald queen in cheap clothing and bedding, by my side, I could find my way back to sanity.

The hall downstairs was deserted. I pushed up the flap of my jacket to cover my neck from the early morning cold. Out on the sidewalk, I took one last look at the giant front doors of Anne Frank and I knew with a flutter in my heart, that I hadn’t seen the last of her walls.

From the window, Mati beckoned, waving frantically at the stranger. Desperate, she flung the first thing that reached her hand, at me, narrowly missing a commuter.
I could recognise the red slipper anywhere.

I looked up and saw her, framed against the sky in her golden wrap.
She smiled.
There and then, I knew I had to protect her....


By Omhston Weth

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