IN THE QUIETNESS OF EVENINGS Short Story By Dera Essona
Ose was my boy, my bright little boy with a beautiful smile he didn’t resist flaunting.
After his fall, everything else became blurry and vague, I always blamed Nofe after why he never moved those stones, it’s easy to blame him, to hold somebody accountable for the pain, it made it abstract and living with it easy, the tying Ose's shoelace kind of easy, the tossing Nofe a disc of osadebe kind of easy, the picking the phone and calling mum kind of easy, the routine kind of easy.
Outside, the leaves are rattling and the wind whistling too loud, too familiar, reminding me of June, when the tomato market reopened and the helps took a break, when the Bougainville Dili tended to blossomed and the sun would shine so brightly and the earth seemed happiest, I'd would drive to Joke's place for tea and sometimes other women from the neighbourhood would join in, that Joke's neighbour especially, the one with a crooked leg and always wore a hat- green, blue, grey, in all colours, just name it. We talked about our men, about fashion and the little politics we've heard our husbands talk about; I just say verbatim what Nofe had said to Rike's husband, these things don't interest me anymore. Joke has moved now, so no more afternoons with women tired of staying home, waiting for husbands that wouldn't come until it's too late to stay awake.
Each woman had a story- Rike thinks her husband is cheating, she has doubts, but for five months, Kunle had not touched her, Osi can't even bear a child, the doctors say she's infertile 'but I think Gozie is the one with the problem' she'd ruckle her nose as she always added, like she's trying to convince herself of something.
After that September night, I stopped calling Nofe , Nofe. I started calling him Ose's dad instead, now when strangers hear me say casually Ose's dad, they say “oh you have a child?" I ignore the sarcasm I hear in their voice and say “Oh yes, a son, he’s abroad” I'd say sharply, pondering for the billionth time why people are so insensitive.“Baby you are a little too defiant”, Nofe always noted and I’d respond “what do you mean defiant. Don’t you hear it, don’t You hear the mockery", He would hug me tightly and I'd refuse to let the tears fall. Nofe has stopped trying and I've stopped explaining.
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