On the Sunday of this week, at night, I dreamt that Mama was drowning in a river while I sat, watching her with fear in my eyes.
On the night of yesterday, I dreamt of Mama again, this time she was crying, loudly, while someone continued to hit her. When I woke up, I saw that her face was swollen and the skin under her eye was the colour of black currant. I wanted to ask her what had happened but I didn’t.
It was only when Papa dropped me off at school, forced a few words out of his mouth and didn’t kiss my hand that I began to think that maybe the second dream was not even a dream. Does Mama’s swollen face have to do with this? Did he beat up Mama again?
Papa didn’t come to pick me up from school that day, he was sitting in his garage talking to himself when I came home. I greeted. He didn’t respond. I walked fast into our room my heart beating. I stood before the mirror; I loved to pull my uniform before the mirror, to look at my chest, to see whether the oranges Mama said would grow had started growing. It hadn’t started growing yet.
When I opened the wardrobe I saw that Mama’s clothes were not there; I knew the whole story now. Why was Papa different? Amara, my classmate, had no brother but her parents were happy. I started to cry, partly because I would miss Mama and partly because I couldn’t help her. I had failed her again like in the dream. I felt like going outside, reaching out and slapping Papa but I knew I couldn’t; maybe when I grew up I would.