The rains are here again, and I shudder against the water tank as the water drips into the Jerry cans I’m duty-bound to fill.
I wish it would take forever, I wish the water will trickle and the people behind me in the queue will curse and curse the government for not providing water.
Anything but to go home.
He will come tonight. I know, because the rains have started. The rivers have overflown its banks and the gutters have spilled its contents, gooey in all its glory.
The children are naked and dancing in glee as the pellets hit their body, some pretend they are gunshots and lay prostrate, flaying delicate arms here and there in the murky waters around them.
It is in all this hullabaloo that he will mask his sharp raps on my door. A formality, because he always gets in, anyway. At first, I will scream, but that’s another formality; for he gets what he wants.
Oh, aunty Ene would be conveniently oblivious, of course. It is in these moments she forgets to scream Ekaette from the kitchen, till the ends of the streets can hear her, and mama Titi pops her head out of her kitchen window to yell towards ours, upstairs,
“The child is not deaf! Ene, the child is not deaf!”
This of course, is a warning.
Everyone is afraid of mama Titi, given the work she does – being the only female panel beater in the district, nobody wants to cross her path, and in the nights ‘uncle‘ pounds away on top of me, I zone out and imagine instead, mama Titi landing sharp raps on Aunt Ene’s head, flexing broad shoulders and rippling muscles as she pants,
“The – Child – Is – Not -Deaf !”
Mama Titi should have been a man. That is what the yard people say when she towers over Brother Titus on their way to church on Sundays. She, herding the children in brisk steps, and his lagging behind, struggling with his worn-out belt which is apparently tired of its day job, holding his three-sizes-too-big trousers up.
It is these memories that make me guffaw, and ‘Uncle‘ mistakes it for pleasure. I hear his excited grunt as he increases his tempo in shifting my womb. He grunts till he is spent, and rolls over to the side of the bed, an excited grin on his face as he asks if I enjoyed myself.
He really is stupid, but of course, I can’t say that. I mutter something incoherent instead and wobble my way out of the house with my metal bucket. Wobble, because that’s the state I am in when he’s done.
I imagine aunt Ene’s eyes on me, boring holes into my back from upstairs, as I wait at the tap, to catch the drips that would wash my sins away, till she can take me to the priest herself, and then to the nurse whom she would tell of how bad I’ve been and how it was best, to make ‘IT‘ go away.