#Article (Archive)

The rebirth of love

Feb 9, 2012, 1:15 PM | Article By: Isatou Dumbuya

The baby screams, something cold and metal slams into the back of your legs. An inhuman voice, like chalk on a board, screeches over the ceiling. Hours have passed, the hot dinner is now a frozen soup, the milk sour, the lettuce limp, the tomatoes perished, and the bread has gone stale. The room was dimly lit. The baby screams again, and you are forced to open your eyes from your disturbed sleep. You realize that you were dreaming about your cousin again- this time you gave her wild flowers. When your eyes finally fly open, you check the time and know that your husband hasn’t come yet, and it is already midnight. This is something he always does.

You yawn, stretch your arms and notice that you are dressed in a black negligee – torn at its seams, but it is your favorite. It was given to you by your favorite cousin before she died at sea. You can still remember her sweet laughter. It was translucent and mystifying. She had the whitest teeth ever with a sexy gap in between her big front teeth. You envied her for this but you never told her. You only hungered for more so that you could drink in the sight of her beautiful teeth. You thought that she was the most beautiful girl you have ever seen but she thought the same thing about you too.

You laid on the grass to gaze at the stars and dreamt dreams together. You laughed together and fought over trivial matters just like friends did. When news of her death reached you, you wouldn’t, couldn’t, didn’t accept it. You thought she was too fine to die. When memories of her come to mind, you see her larger-than-life eyes, deep chocolate eyes, straight nose, full lips and long slender neck, and you keep wondering – did she think that everything was a joke when their boat capsized, because she wasn’t the pessimistic type? Did her eyes open thrice their size when she knew that they were drowning? Did her eyes become bloodshot with salt water, and did she choke to death? And every time you wonder did she keep smiling at the angel of death – was the angel a little bit kind and soft when he was drowning her life and dreams into the sea? You always console yourself with “Thank God my last words to her were ‘I love you’.”

Your baby keeps screaming but you keep wondering because your cousin had a lot of big dreams – having a degree in interior designing, opening an orphanage, get married and have lots of kids.

She never achieved her dreams, and she never fell in love. On the contrary, you had a degree in Computer Information Systems, got married to a mean man after the year she died and gave birth to a baby girl who never stops wailing and waking the neighbors up.

You rise from the couch, rub your eyes and walk towards the nursery.

You knock a table with a femme Africaine - you got from your last visit to Africa - on it. “Holy shit!” you swear between muttered teeth, although you promised yourself not to swear anymore.

You switch on the lights in the nursery, and you see her arms and legs kicking in the air from where she lay on her baby cot. You walk towards the cot and ruffle the hair on her head. You pick her up and plant a sloppy kiss on her forehead, and she starts laughing that baby-laugh she so knows how to do well. You feel her laughter swelling your heart, and you keep cooing and laughing at the same time. She tugs at your breast, and you free one of them to feed her. You feel your love from your heart going into her mouth. You keep stroking its head and staring at its chocolate brown eyes, and the birth mark on its forehead, and it dawns on you that she looks exactly like your cousin. The baby stops suckling and for some fleet seconds, your gaze become locked, you forget to breathe as you feel the rebirth of your cousin. She gives you another baby-laugh as if to say, “I am here cousin, I am not really gone.”

This is something you always looked at but never really saw till today. You close your eyes and allow the pent-up tears you couldn’t shed after your cousin’s death to stream down your face.