Somaga sat on the bed blank faced, unresponsive to her daughter’s tears. It was difficult to guess what was on her mind. The bed was rickety and the spring under the mattress made a shrill sound whenever she moved her body. She had not uttered a word since Kelechi began talking; not even when she admitted that the scars were from him or that he shoved himself into her frequently.
“Are you hungry?” She finally asked like all Kelechi had come out with was irrelevant.
“NO!” Kelechi replied with scruffy currents flowing down her cheeks onto the rumpled collar of her shirt.
“Mama he rapes me! I tell you he rapes me repeatedly and you ask me about food?” her voice breaking off slowly.
“You must eat this yam.” she answered almost in a whisper as she slid the plate of yam across to her daughter. “Take it with that palm oil.” she pointed.
She stared as Kelechi protested and sternly told her that she must eat the yam, down to the last slice. She watched expressionlessly as the light of her life struggled to finish her meal in between heavy sobs.
“Now go and get some water.”
“Mama, why won’t y-”
“Go and get some water.” She repeated.
Shhhhhhkk Shhhhhhkk Shhhkkkk
The ear splitting foot drags grazed her eardrums just as she was about hauling Kelechi to the kitchen for a cup of water.
“Mama, I think Papa is back.” Kelechi remarked.
“Yes, I think so too. Wipe your tears and stay here. We don’t want him to know that you have just told me this.”
“Mama, why?” she asked, her eyes about welling up again.
“I said wipe your tears. Let me go and get his food ready, I am sure he is hungry.”
Somaga walked into the kitchen calmly; the knife was still in the sink alongside the pot, unwashed. She did not need to feel for its sharpness; the way it eased through the yam earlier was confirmation enough.
As he stepped into the kitchen where he would usually have received a smiling wife and a “welcome home my husband”, he met the blade of a 6-inch chef knife in the hands of his wife who was not smiling. Her blank eyes staring at his jolt filled eyes were the last things he saw.
Image: Anton Kudris via Flickr (modified)