I sit alone on a plain field in Abuja. I am thirty years old. I am wearing a layer of dust. I have only two small lips painted red in a pout on the yellow lining of my stomach. The upper lip had an indentation on it. A newspaper dated 1988 is left in an open drawer in my head. A gold ear ring is lying under the drawer. I hear laughter and running feet. I miss the feel of footsteps running on my nerves. I hear some footsteps coming closer. The door opens. There are three people standing in my stomach. The woman was wearing a long pink skirt, a long sleeve check pink shirt and a black Pashmina veil.
‘’There is the master bedroom a dining room and kitchen downstairs and the sitting room is quite spacious ’’said the slim dark man. He wore a uniform of blue jeans and a white tee shirt. He has a smooth bald head that looked like a chicken egg. I have seen him thrice.
‘’I like the way the stairs go up from the corridor. It looks quaint.’’ said the second man.
He was also wearing blue jeans and a black tee shirt. He was fair and as tall as an Iroko tree. He had round eyes the shape of a one Naira coin.
They climb upstairs to my head. There are three rooms there. I stare at the woman, she looked familiar. I concentrate more on her husband.
I hear her husband call out to her. ‘’ Layla, do you like the house.’’
‘’It is okay.’’ She said. She was standing close to the lipstick stain on the wall. She reaches her hand and touches the lines. She traced the indentation on the lips. I looked at her.it was the same lips but older, the indentation was still there on her upper lip.
‘’I feel like I know this house. You know that feeling when someone walks over your grave.’’
‘’Déjà vu ‘’ said her husband.
The sound of her voice travelled round the house like a refreshing juice. It soothed the ache and hurt of my joints.
I hear laughter and smell of pumpkin soup and pepper. I see a small girl of five running and kissing the wall with red lips.
I see her walk to the master bedroom twenty five years later. She held her hand to her head.
‘’What is wrong.’’ I don’t know, I feel so heavy’’
‘’You will be okay.it is only stress.’’
I see Layla and the two men walk away. The door closes behind them. I am left with footsteps in the dust.
They have been living here for a month. Every day I watch the woman. I hold her close to my heart. I wait for the laughter. I see no smiles. ‘Sweetheart what is wrong,’’ said her husband ‘’ you don’t even smile anymore.’’
‘’I don’t know, it is like there is something about this house. It has been giving me headaches.’’
‘’Sweet heart it is a beautiful house.’’ he said
‘’I know but I feel that the house doesn’t like me.’’
I feel the sunlight falling on the top of my head.it made the roof shingles shine like bronze. I feel the sunlight entering through the windows. I see it shine on Layla’s precious head.
‘’Sweet heart I keep remembering a date in my head October 5th 1988.’’
‘’That is the day your parents had that fatal accident.’’
‘’I know but I had this dream,’’ she said, ’’it is like me and my parents where in this house and there was this large sound bang.’’
‘’Sweetheart you are imagining things.’’
I don’t want her to remember a little girl wearing her mum’s lipstick.
I see her run to the room and press her lips against the wall.
Layla’s mum came out from the kitchen.
I heard her say,’’ Layla why are you kissing the wall.’’
She enters the dining room and places the casserole dish in her hand on the table.
I see her run upstairs laughing on short spindly legs. I see her stand in front of the dressing mirror picks a perfume and sprays it. The smell of flowers tickles are small nose. I see her watch two shiny gold ear rings. I watch her as she picks one up. I hear a large noise bang.one earring falls in between the two drawers.
I watch her run towards the sound. The door closes but she opens it and run down the stairs. I see her stop. Her parents were lying on the floor side by side.
I hear her say ‘’mum why do you have tomato soup coming out from you.’’
I hear her mum say ‘’hide baby go and hide.’’
She stays there.
I see two men coming out from the master bedroom holding bags. They stop when they see the child.one of them points the gun at the girl.
‘’Don’t shoot she is a child ‘’his partner says.
I see Layla, she stops shaking her mum. She raised her head and asks.
‘’Who are you? Why are you holding toy guns? ‘’
‘’Mum wake up, why are you sleeping she says? She shakes her mum a little.
The two men walk away in black body suits and black mask. The police came later.
She was sent to live with her grandmother.
I looked at Layla, beautiful Layla. She is standing close to her husband.
I see her the day she entered this house in white blanket. She is beautiful in her chocolate skin and slanting eyes. Her small fist clutch together. I lost my heart.
I see her the day she walked for the first time. She walked with unsure footsteps.
She walked in to her mum’s arms.
I see her laughing and playing hide and seek.
I hear her husband cajole her to go out for a movie at silver cinema. I uprooted my feet from the ground and I crumbled like a pack of cards. I see her one last time. She is staring in shock with her husband.