What would I tell Bayo? Where would I go?
The path was empty, as if everyone knew my joy had been taken from me.
Pastor had said Nkechi had 2 weeks to live. This was only the first week after the prophecy. I am not ready. I would never be ready. I should have listened to Mama and gIven Nkechi up for adoption. According to mama, my child was ‘weird’. Bayo, however, would not have that; “she is a gift from God,” he had said – our gift from God. God gave her to us; He would show us how to take care of her.
Nkechi was different. She never cried. She always smiled.
One would think her smiles would make people comfortable around her, but they only frowned at her. They were frightened by her. The other children said she would beat, bite and kick them while they played. They did not understand her, no one did. Nkechi loved them; why else would she smile at them?
Sometimes she would lie lifeless in bed. I was not bothered, I knew she was only asleep and would wake eventually. She always did wake; she would wake up with a smile; and when she does, would turn the well-arranged hut upside down. I did not mind, she smiled all through the chaos. It meant she was happy – What else mattered?
Mama said we had no friends because we were poor and that it was Bayo’s lack of ambition that brought us here. She also said Nkechi was the catalyst to our problems.
I never took her seriously.
I loved Bayo; he loved our child. Nothing else mattered.
I looked up from my child’s lifeless face. It was the church gate.
Nkechi opened her eyes, she was smiling.