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Aug 4, 2011, 2:08 PM | Article By: Isatou Dumbuya

It was 3:00 clock in the morning; all was quiet except for the chirping of the insects. In a small room in the heart of town slept a couple with their 3months old baby sleeping undisturbed in her cot.

The couple slept each facing a different direction. The man snored and the lady slept with her mouth slightly opened.

A mosquito landed on her nose and she slapped at it. Missing it, her hand landed on her nose. She squirmed, hissed and covered herself with the blanket. All these she did in her sleep.

Abruptly, the baby let out a piercing cry. The mother opened an eye, making sure it wasn’t her baby. The baby never stopped. The young mother popped open her other eye and got out of bed. She dragged her feet as she went to take her baby. She reached for it in the cot and brought it to her neck. She stroked her back with care and sang it a lullaby. But the baby never stopped crying with all its might. The young mother fed and bathed it, but to no avail. All these while, the father was busy snoring. Confused and angry at how insensitive he was, she woke him up with a violent tap on his arm.

“Haven’t I told you never to wake me up in the middle of the night?!” he retorted vehemently. The veins in his neck threatening to burst open.

“The baby, the baby is crying,” she stuttered.

“For God sakes, she is yours, it is the mother’s duty to take care of her baby.”

“Please help me rock her back to sleep, we can’t sleep like this,” tears started welling up in her eyes.

“I need my sleep,” he finally offered and brought the blanket over his head.

Unable to contain her anger, she yanked the blanket away from him and gave him a stony glare, waiting for his wrath, daring him to do his worse. All those while, the baby never stopped crying. The father seemed to have his cup full as he jumped out of bed and slapped her. She hugged her baby tight as tears streamed down her face.

“I curse the day we met,” she said. It only made him tighten his grip on her delicate neck. He choked her, she couldn’t breathe, her eyes opened trice their size and she weakened. Her arms couldn’t, wouldn’t carry the crying baby anymore as its weight overpowered that of her arms.

The baby fell with a loud thud on the hard floor. It stopped crying. Both parents gazed into each others eyes, scared. The father wouldn’t let go of the mother for fear that his fears would be confirmed if he reached for the baby. Out of fear, he squeezed harder until the life ebbed out of her. He wished that he were sleeping on the tiny bed they shared. He wished that morning wouldn’t come and their neighbors wouldn’t force his hands from the dead mother’s neck. He wished that he hadn’t taken for granted the two people who loved him most. He wished he had turned back the hands of time.