Mom had not always been a fan of my poems.
Especially the ‘step’ poem. She said it was too dark for a twelve-year-old, that’s what she told dad anyway.
She simply told me in a stern voice, “Tolani, quit reciting that poem, or you’ll not go to the mall with your sister today.”
That was all she had to say, I stopped reciting it.
It did not make Lawal happy, Lawal taught me the poem.
We always recited it together, mom did not scream at Lawal, she screamed it only me.
So I told Lawal to only recite it when we were alone.
Yesterday, Lawal and I were reciting the poem and mom heard us.
She came into my room and beat me, I cried so much, Lawal cried too, even though mummy did not beat him.
Today, mom and dad travelled, and it was just me, Aunty Bola and Lawal at home.
Lawal was pleased, it meant we could recite the poem in peace.
We went to the balcony on the second floor and stayed there alone.
“One step forward, hands in the air!”
We took our hands up in the air and smiled at eachother.
“Two steps forward, bid the world goodbye!”
We waved at imaginary people around us and smiled.
“Take a huge leap downward and leave your pain behind!”
Lawal took my hands and we leaped over the small railing, down down we went.
There were screams around us, I could feel the searing pain at the back of my head.
Aunty Bola came out, my sight was blurry but I could see her.
She was screaming and crying.
Lawal just stood where he was and finished the poem.
“Close your eyes, and welcome the silence!”