Good bye I said to my daughter as she walked out the door, she has always gone and returned safely, the atmosphere was the same, There was a smile on her face, I remembered when she was just a child, when she held my hand for support, when she took her first steps, the first tooth she grew, her first laugh, her cries.
Layla that’s what I call her, my pride, my queen, my honour ,my joy, words cant be enough to describe what I feel inside.
My anger, my punishment, the things I could not give, the words I never said, they cloud my mind.
Just as the sun rises everyday so it did that day, we have heard rumours, we say thank God we were’nt affected, we did nothing, we just shielded our selves from the reality, we try not think about it, we sympathized with them but never could have felt what they did, just as no one can feel ours now.
She grew in front of my eyes, every step, every stage I replay it everyday, I search for hope, I search for consolation, I search for tranquility in what they say, in the promises they make, the hopes they give to bring our girls, but can’t get any.
That day the sun did not set as it should, my Layla was in captivity of the most dangerous insurgents in our country.
How should I live with that.
When I lie down I can’t sleep and when I do I just dream of Layla in the forest, struggling to come back to me.
The pain I feel is neither in my muscle nor my bone, it is in tightness in my chest, the rumbling in my abdomen, and the gaping hole in my heart, my tears fall freely and silently making a slow descent like the silent waters of yelagiri hills, would it have made a difference if it fell violently and made noise like the smoke that thunders, no I think not.
How is she doing, how is my Layla feeling, what does she see.
My Layla, young but must have grown old in thoughts, those twinkling brown eyes must have dampened like lipton teabags in hot tea with tears by the terror they must have seen.
That gaiety spirit like a restless fairy might have been subdued to the stillness of a precious stone sitting at the bottom of the ocean.
Her gently heart must be broken now by pain and anguish, she wonders will I see Baba and Mama again, will I go back home, are they missing me, what will become of me.
She must have cried and cried, her tears might have been like farin ruwa falls, falling rapidly and noisily, but that wouldn’t have melted their hearts.
Our dreams that we shared in our respective thoughts, I wanted her to have a little more of childhood, a little more innocent days. She wanted to grow up, fly freely like the birds.
I dream of the dream I had to send her her to her Majnun, will her Majnun come? will he say that my Layla was in captivity? If he comes, will he have inhibitions.
Hope, we had hope, but hours turned to days, days turned to weeks, almost a month, hope is withering away like leaves in harmattan.
Bring back our girls they chant, all across the world, did that lessen our pain? knowing that we have support, knowing the world fights with us, I don’t know, but my pain has not lessened.
She must be in a state of despair, her tears might have turned to drizzling rain falling lazily on plastered marks made ealier on her cheeks, her speech might have stopped flowing, coming to a halt like a seasonal river in harmattan, oh God.
If she comes back, will she be the same Layla?
Will the sound of her laughter be the same, Like wind rustling through the pines?
Will her speech flow effortlessly like the nile as it used to?
She may return, yes she will return, but will it be the Layla that was taken that will return?
I dont know, but I do know that the sun set will never be the same again, The Layla that was taken will not be the one to return.
#this work is fiction, bears no resemblance to any of the missing girls. This is just an attempt to reflect the feelings of the parents of the missing girls.
#the smoke that thunders refers to Victoria falls in Zambia.
#farin ruwa falls refers to farin ruwa water falls in Wamba local govt Nassaraw state.
#Majnun is an Arabian fairytale character that died for his beloved, his lover’s name was Layla, in this text, it refers to a suitor.
#Silentwaters is a retreat in Yelagiri.