Ku dum Ku dum Ku dum.
I stood frozen to the spot right across the street from where his small body lay. For a second I wondered about the split second stress response mechanism the body supposedly had. And it was then that I found myself kneeling beside his bloody body, picking it up and getting ready to run towards help. Then the voices began to register and it dawned on me that onlookers were trying to get me to pause and realize that he was already gone.
Elias Matthews was only four and a half-years-old when he had the promise of a bright future snuffed out way too soon and brutally too. So I knelt over his still warm body looking into his disturbed deep blue eyes trying to imagine the life he would have lived.
An artist. Little Matthews had held an affinity for coloring books and colored pencils. He would rush out the door without breakfast as long as he made it to Mrs. Hallows art class first.
But then again my little boy even at the tender age of four had possessed a way with words. Onlookers must have thought me stricken with madness as a smile struck across my face as I called into memory the one time he talked his way out of a time out after a shouting match with me and persuaded me to grant him an extra slice of dessert for him that very night.
My sweet little Matthews was the very breath I depended on to live. I know it sounds like another cliche declaration of love. However, I need you to understand that from the moment I felt his father’s seed find its way into my womb I knew he had been conceived and I loved him from that very moment.
I wish that I had been more watchful. I knew Matthews was inquisitive and loved to run ahead of me slipping his little pale hands out of mine. But I just had to be distracted by the day’s paper. And now after it was all done, I could not recall what had caught my attention in the first place.
Chuckling to myself I said, “Oh how he loves the color yellow.”
“Loved.” I’m not sure who said it but it broke me. It can’t be that I now have to use past tense to refer to my baby.
“Loves,” I screamed looking behind me.
“Loves!” Repeatedly and angered. Rocking back and forth, a river flowing my blood stained cheeks and now in a red-drenched sundress.
“He loves the color yellow.” I rocked my baby to sleep. Everything would be O.K just as long as he loves the color yellow.
I felt an arm on my shoulder and opened my eyes and looked up. “It’s time for your pills Mrs. Matthews,” says a sweet voice. “She’s in pretty good shape for a 97-year-old but sometimes she never really sleeps and appears to have nightmares.” I hear her whisper.
She must think I can’t hear her. But as long as he loves the color yellow, everything is O.K.
This short story is part of my writing prompts series.
Prompt: Finish a story with the line, “And we never spoke again.”
Turning the knob of the door that led to our bedroom, I slapped on a huge smile as I readied myself to see my husband for the first time in a year. However, the wide smile quickly fell from my face and in its place came a mouth agape in disbelief.
On the bed, was my husband with his legs shamelessly between the thick brown thighs of another woman. I never knew tears could sting with such intensity. Confrontation had never been my forte, so I simply pulled the door closed behind me, ever so slightly careful not to interrupt their lovemaking.
As the moans got louder in the background I fervently searched for a piece of paper and pen to say goodbye. Trying to calm my shaking hands and struggling to string together a few words, I jotted down a couple of words to end the ten-year relationship that had been anything but a few words. So with the words “I understand that I could never be enough for you and wish you the best.” I closed the door to our marriage.”
And we never spoke again.
The Sound of Silence
I just want the voices to. . . stop. It’s easy to believe that any state other the one I’m in would be better.
Two days later—I want the voices back, the silence is unsettling. It doesn’t sit right in my stomach. There is only room for one kind of empty in there. It has been three days since the white man had his way with me. I was on my way to River Ewaso Ng’iro when it happened.
The unforgiving sun was raging and the minute pieces of sand etched into my skin only contributed to the pain. Maybe if I could lay as still as possible the grains of sand wouldn’t move and lodge themselves into new patches of flesh. But every shove and heave created new scars. As if in rebellion, the tears that had welled up refused to flow down my cheeks and stayed in my eyes creating a stinging sensation.
I focused on trying to control what I couldn’t. But, I couldn’t drown out the sound of his moans and groans with my racing thoughts. So I tried to look out into the horizon and as if to mock me all I could see was the sleeve of his camouflage jacket in the corner of my eye. The thick trunk of the baobab tree was nothing but a blur. Eventually, I found that if I just lay there, made no effort to move it would be significantly yet slightly less painful.
Then it all stopped and I had the slightest glimmer of hope that maybe it had all been a terrible dream and I was just about to wake up.
R-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r. He pulled his zipper closed. Clink. Clink. Clink. A few coins fell to the ground. I must have lain there for hours because my older sister found me on the ground thighs still spread apart and pulled me up to my feet.
“Mama will be furious. Let’s go home. She’s been waiting for that water for hours. Make sure you clean up before she sees you. We don’t need another disgrace in this family.”
But I can’t bear to deal with deciphering the meaning behind the words. Everyone says them: to me, at me and behind my back. So I’ll get comfortable in the silence, hope it will be better—it has to be.
Maybe I’ll find that silence isn’t empty but full of answers.