From the eyes of an abused child
I ten wen Unkoo Kayode com stay wit us.
‘He an Pa brothers’ Ma say ‘But he smatter. He doctor.’
Me an Bisi leav our room an Ma buy us mats. Doctors sleep on beds. We not educated, we sleep on mats. When de moskitos sing to us at nite, me an Bisi rap ourselvs up in de blankit Ma gives up.
Unkoo Kayode buys us swit. But he giv me mor dan Bisi. He smiles at me an tuch my hed.
‘Why you do dat?’ Ma ask him. He say
‘Tolu is swit littul thin.’ Ma eye me
‘Tolu not know much’
Bisi say “‘Tolu not know enithin a’all”
Ma laff. Bisi laff but Unkoo Kayode laff mor dan all of dem.
Unkoo Kayode always laff. He laff an buy us swit all de time. He tell storees at nite to all de childs in de compound. Wen dier Mas com to take dem bak home, he puts his bak on de tree an looks up to de moon for a long time. He buy swit for dem too. But he laff all de time. He make evrybodi hapi. He make me hapi.
Everybodi like Unkoo Kayode.
But Unkoo Kayode like me most. He giv me more swit an smile at me all de time. He call me tomato jos. He say I de most byutifu littul thin he eva see. Inside my chest, my hart grow an grow.
Anytime I see him I smile, my hart grow bigga.
I tell him everythin. He listin den he laff an tuch my hed.
Unkoo Kayode is a gud man. Everybodi like him. I like him. He doctor, he smatt, he caring. Unkoo Kayode is my best fren.
‘Moskitos not gud for ha’ he tell Ma wen I get sick.
Ma say ‘Evrybodi get sick. Leav it.’
But he too caring. He not leav it. He doctor anyway. He kno best. He take care of me.
‘Moskito not gud for you’ he tell me one nite ‘Com inside’ so I go becus he is good doctor. He my best fren. But even as I slip on de bed moskito sing to me.
‘How yu feel now?’ he ask me in de mawnin. I smile an nod.
‘You see!’ He tell Ma. ‘She better already.’
But dat nite I still slip on mat. He come out.
‘What you duin?’ he ask me ‘I say moskito not gud for yu’ den he carri me back inside.
He hug me on de bed an his hart beat fast an fast. De hair on his chest tuch my hed. He smel of sweat.
‘I luv yu.’ he say an rub my bak. ‘Do yu luv me?’ I smile but I act like I not hear. My hart want to bust.
He my best fren. Who not luv dier best fren?
I not wait for him to call me. I go to de bed. I not slip on mat enimor. Moskitos not gud for me.
One nite, afta he giv me new medicine, I slip. I fil sombody on my legs but I not wake up.
In de mawnin wen I wake, he not dere. Wen I stand, my thigh hurt. I look on de bed for blood. No blood. Why my thigh hurt?
I go to de back an chek my pant. No blood. No pant. Nobody sleep wit me. But what he do?
Wer my pant? Why my thigh hut?
‘Goo mawnin littul thin’ he grit me an smile. I not grit bak. I confyus. What he do? He giv me swit.
‘littu frog’ Bisi say an laff. Ma laff. Kayode laff an laff an laff.
My hart grow smal an smal.
Evrybodi like Kayode. Kayode is gud doctor.He smat. He my best fren.
But why my thigh hurt? Wer my pant?
Wen I not grit uncoo Ma yell at me. ‘waz rong wit yu?’
‘I not like him.’ i say
‘Wat he do? ‘ but i not ansar. She ast me all de time
‘Waz rong wit yu?’ Ma yell at me. ‘Why yu not eat. Why yu not giv Kayode fud. Why yu stingy. Why yu ful of so much hate.’
But I not stingy. I giv my fud to Ma Ejime becus ha twins hongry. But yes I full of hate. I don’t want Pa an Kayode to fite but if I tel Ma she tell Pa. An evryone like uncoo Kayode anyway. Even Ma. So I not tel Ma. I not tel anybody. An anytime Kayode laf an laf my hart git smula an smula. He laf all de time.
I sixtin now.
Yestiday dey burn drunkard Ali.
‘Wat he do?’ I ask Bisi
‘He mowlest Patrisha’
‘Wat dat, rape?’
‘Naw’ she luk down at me ‘mowlest is smulla rape.’
My chest git hot an my hart fil my chest
‘Mowlest is mowlest’ I tel her becus she not know anythin.
Den I go to pluk mangos wit Tayo.
I not talk to boys but I talk to Tayo. He good. He not giv me swit but he hold my hand an he tich me to spell wen he coms from scul. I like Tayo but I still not tel him.
Wen we finish, he giv me his mango an he hug me. No one ever hug me ‘part from uncoo. My hart grow big an smal an I stat to shake.
‘He not uncoo’ I say in my head ‘He not evil’. But my body shake an shake it not listin to me. I stat to cry so I run away.
‘No’ Tayo shout ‘waz rong. Wat did I do? I sorry. Tolu!’ but I already run fast.
His frends already stat to laf
‘Vibrator. Vibrator’ I run an cry.
I pass Ma as I run inside. She follow me.
‘Waz rong?’ she say an clin my face but tears stil come. ‘Tel me.’ she say. So I tel ha.
‘Naw baby. Why you not tel me? Did he slip wit yu?’ she wisper
‘Naw.’ I say.
‘Goud’ ‘He wil leav dis house!’ she wisper
An she hug me. For de first time, my hart fil normal again. I fil lite. I fil happi.
But won week pass an Ma not tel Pa becus Pa an uncoo not fite. Dey not burn him. He not leav de house. He eat an he laff an he laff again.
I see Ma sit on de stool wit him. Dey talk an laff.
‘Sunflawa’ he calls ha
‘Naw stop’ ma lafs an den he lafs an laffs an dat is all I hear.
I go to Ma’s room an sit down but I stil hear his laf. ‘Littul thin. She not know ‘nothin at all’
I not feel lite at all. My head fill hevy. My chest boil. De room quiet but I hear him. I dunno how.
‘Littu thin. Littu thin’ ‘She not know nothin at all’
An my my hart bust.
But I not cry. I go to de tree an I wait for storytime to finish. I wait an wait until all de Mas hav take dier childs den I use de nife to cot my shet. I rub de sand on my brests an wen i is sure dat he has slip, I use de rope to tie him quietly to de tree.
I tie it titely den he wakes up.
‘What dis?’ he ask but I put my shet in his mouth.
I rub mor sand on my bodi. Den I luk at de mun. De moon smiles down at me, fils me wit power. I laff.
I cut his fingers fest. Den his hand. He groans an pushes bet nobody can hear him. I start on his neck til he covard wit cuts. Til he covard wit blood. He cry an cry. I cry too den I laf.
Becus i haff cry enof.
‘I luv yu’ I tell him ‘Do yu luv me?’ an he cry an cry an blid an blid
For long time I hav hate him but tuday, I luv him. Becus de blood dat flows from him clins my hart. Becus today, his cry make me hapi.
Wit blood on my hand and sand on my brest, I dance under de moon.
‘Moskitos not gud for yu. Moskitos not gud for yu.’
I cut his nek again. Deeper.
De ground round de tree is wet wit blood.
I laff becus I know dat later the childs wee ask deir Mas.
‘Why dat tree not giv us fruut?’ and dier Mas wee say.
‘Bad blood. Leav it.’
I laff as I cry.
Dey not know of de tears dat bled me dry before today. Dey not call my name.
Before I put de nife in my hart, I not tink of Ma or Bisi. I not tink of Pa or Tayo.
I pray. I pray dat If I meet unkoo in hell, i kill him again.
‘Swit Littul thin. She not know nothin at all.’
But I know. I know to do gud. I know to kill.