What Does Silence Sound Like?
It is the tum-tum sound made by the zinc on the floor outside my room window, as the last drops of rain hit it lazily.
It is the sound of Lotachi breathing into my face as we huddle close to each other under the bed.
It is the sound from the boots of the two men who walk into my room and looking around for any sign of life.
It is the squeak from the rat that runs across the room, causing one man to break the silence with a curse.
It is the sound from mama’s room; the heavy breathing; the whimpering.
It is the grunts from the men, grunts of satisfaction.
It is the gunshot that follows.
It is their boot sounds again, this time becoming fainter and fainter as they walk out of our building.
It is the gasp from Lotachi as we stare at mama’s gaping head, while her eyes stayed open, staring at us. As if. As if she was still alive.
It is the sound of trees kissing the wind as we lay mama into the ground, right beside where papa was buried.
It is the echo in the big house we return to. The empty house which will soon be collected by papa’s brothers. After they take Lotachi away from me, then marry me off to the first old chief who asked at the burial.
It is the sound of the bikes and the cars on the busy streets of Lagos after Lota and I come down from the Lorry we escaped from Enugu in, holding nothing but our dreams in one hand, and our hearts in the other.