“What are you thinking about soldier?”
The lady walked closer to where he stood, she leaned on the Camouflage war tank that has UN written by the side. She had observed him since they arrived, he talked little and wasn’t too eager to associate except with the younger one that was by his side when they arrived.
Ebube sighed, wiped his tired face with his palm and turned to the lady “this is not war” he walked the rocky ground and jumped down from a little height, using the tank as a wedge “this is murder, a massacre” he said with so much pain and walked pass the lady
“How long have you been here?” Ebube asked and walked on
“Long enough to lose count of the many sick and dying women and children that is being brought to us every day and how many of them die out of our helplessness.” Her voice vibrated as he walked the rocky part behind him “I came here last year August”
“And you have remained here since then?” he was shocked “What is a young lady doing in a war zone? There could be a bombardment here, you could lose your life” The white lady smiled sadly. He saw her the second night after the day they came, he had gone to the sick-bay to have a view of what they were to deal with; dying soldiers, helpless Somalians, she was with the children when he saw her, she was as weary as the many children she was attending to “Don’t you have a family?”
“Red Cross is my family and Sister Margarethe is my mother now” he didn’t understand what she meant by that “So…you scared?” she picked a leaf from a little plant, one of the few that still stood in the bareness
“I am a soldier” he kicked a stone
They walked in silence for a while “you have anyone waiting for you back home?” she asked
He didn’t answer immediately, he waved at a couple of black soldiers and gave an acknowledging nod to a white soldier “My mother, a daughter and a…”
“We would have gotten married weeks ago, but” he threw his hands in frustration “Here am I” they stopped walking “I hope she waits”
“I wish I had some one talk about me the way you just spoke about this lady…it’s obvious you miss her”
“Yea…it hurts more when reaching home is so difficult, I can’t even call her nor my family”
“Oh, I understand” she thought for a while “What do you say I arrange for you to use our cellular to call your loved ones, just tomorrow and no one must know about it…it is not allowed” she smiled up at him
He held her shoulder in appreciation “I will be very grateful to you, that would be the best thing for me in this place”
“Okay” she laughed “Tomorrow, after you guys are back from the capital”
“Thank you so much miss ehm…”
“Miss Jacky” she said
“Miss Jacky, I am grateful. Let me retire for the night, we have a long day tomorrow”
“Good night soldier” he nodded and jogged back to the military tent. She stood where he left her, with her hands wrapped round her body, she smiled at nothing, she waved again when he turned towards her, when he disappeared into the Tent, she walked back to the Red cross quarters, buried in her loneliness
“They brought twenty-five more children and three women now, two of the children were already dead before we could give them any medication” Sister Margarethe said, she didn’t look up from what she was writing
“I am so sorry” Jacky knew how it hurt the old Reverend sister when they lost children, she wasn’t there to help.
“It wasn’t your fault Child” Sister Margarethe removed her glasses and rubbed her tired eyes
“Let me go and see how the nurses are holding on”
“Thank you my child, I pray that one day, the lord will give you rest and happiness”
Jacky nodded and walked out.
“Boss you are whistling for the first time since we arrived here”
“Yes Aminu, I will call home tomorrow”
“How? cell phones are useless here”
“someone offered to help, I will speak to my lady tomorrow”
“That is good new boss, I wish I can also get an opportunity to speak to my pregnant wife”
“We have a long day tomorrow, but when we come back from the capital, I will speak to Miss Jacky so you can talk to your wife too”
“I hope we get back from the capital alive”
“We will Aminu, we will”
SAME NIGHT IN NIGERIA
“Who is he” her mother handed her a glass of water
“Who is who?” she wiped her mouth and dropped the cup on the floor beside her. She couldn’t go back to her house neither could she go back to the farm
“I am not a child Eliza” Her mother watched her
“I don’t understand what you are asking me mama, I told you that this man was my ex-boyfriend and he is now married, I don’t know why he is following me around…”
“I am talking about this” her mother pointed at her stomach
Elizabeth followed her mother’s finger with her eyes “What do you mean?” she asked her mother in despair
“how old is it?”
Elizabeth understood immediately, it didn’t occur to her before, she wasn’t feeling anything, her mind was on escaping Chike and his madness, but as her mother pointed it out, she started feeling sick and heavy, her mouth suddenly tasted bitter “I don’t know” she said on a low tone
“You better start talking to me now Eliza” her mother pulled the table closer to her daughter and sat on it
“Mama Eziokwum amarom ihe ina ekwu (Truly I don’t know what you are talking about) how can I be pregnant?”
“I don’t know…you tell me; how can you be pregnant?”
“Ebube” she whispered out in realization “Oh my God!”
“Eh…don’t shout yet, iburo nwata (you are not a child) I don’t need to tell you that you should let the owner of this pregnancy know so he can come and meet the Umunna immediately, God answers in mysterious ways” her mother said with a smile
She swallowed hard; how could she tell her mother that the man responsible for her pregnancy was on a journey to a faraway land and that there was little hope of him returning?
“you didn’t tell me how busy you were” her mother drew the curtains and switched the television off “that’s a good thing, all you have to do is to let the man know so he can come and do the right thing” she turned off the lights “…So you don’t end up like me” she helped her daughter up
“Bia laru ula, Anyi ga ekwuzi ofuma echi (Come and sleep, we will talk well tomorrow)”
Elizabeth didn’t sleep at all, she couldn’t. she was with a child, his child; she didn’t know whether to be happy or sad. tears welled in her eyes and she loosed herself to tears “You shouldn’t have left, Ebube I told you to stay but you left me” she sniffled “What am i supposed to do with this?”
she tried his number again, for the umpteenth time, it was switched off “God help me please!”
When Chike came back home that night, he expected an interrogation, some nagging, a plea with a tearful face; but it didn’t happen. She was at the sitting room watching “King of hearts”
She opened the door for him and walked back to where she was, there was no anger nor tears on her face, she didn’t even give him a second look. He walked straight and stopped by the dinning, there was no food waiting for him and he was not surprised, she has not kept food for him for more than a month.
He turned towards her again but she didn’t turn towards him, he meant nothing to her, he realized that
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