A not-so-Lucky day

A not-so-Lucky day

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Extra lessons extended till 4:30 pm that unlucky day and Layla couldn’t wait to get into the air conditioned car of her mother after school. The sun was a hot 42 degrees and Layla had been in school since 7 am. She was beginning to think middle school was not fun at all. The two pieces of sandwich she had packed for lunch was already soggy and sweating by the time it was lunch break. A sip of the water in her water bottle and she decided it was time to get a proper water flask.

“Clink” clink” “clink” the school bell ringer signaled school was over, and without realizing the English tutor standing beside her seat partner, Layla gave an excited scream with her hands outstretched above her head, “Yes!!”.

The teacher whose eyes were now staring deep into Layla’s soul said briefly- “excuse me?”
It wasn’t a question. The rest of the classmates stifled their laughter as Layla mumbled an apology- “I’m sorry Ma”. It seemed even the teacher had a long day because Layla was left with a mere warning.

School bag on her back and lunch pack in hand, Layla ran along the filled hallway, her ponytail swaying behind her. She was never happier to be a few feet tall than at that very moment. Like a mouse scurrying about in a kitchen store, she made her way to the main school gate, unhindered by the 300 and something large sized humans that had filled up the hall.

A bit of color drained from her face after she realized that her mother’s car was absent from the dozens packed in the school driveway. “Oh well, maybe mum’s just running a little late” thought Layla as she sat down on the pavement, not Intending to take her eyes off the cars coming into the drive way.

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From the eyes of a child

From the eyes of a child

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When he was nearly thirteen and some armpit hair had begun to sprout from my brother Ahmed’s underarm, tragedy struck. We lived in the remote village of Baga which is located at the Eastern border of Nigeria; Life wasn’t easy I heard my mother complain to fellow female gossipers but as kids, to us, life was perfect. Well, that was until the rebels came.

We had been hearing of terror attacks in smaller villages (yeah, hard to believe, there were actually villages smaller than ours), but as Baga was known for our fiery hunters and fighters, we felt safe- our mistake.

One windy morning as I and Ahmed were trotting down the sandy narrow pathways back from school, talking heartily about how much we loved the harmattan weather, we heard it. At first it sounded far off amidst our chatter, but as we got closer to the main village, we could hear it loud and clear. First there was screaming, and then crying and in-between, some loud male voices speaking in our local dialect but clearly their accent was poor.

I clutched Ahmed’s arm, and for reasons unbeknownst to me, tears started streaming down my cheeks. We just stood there, at the same spot, hearing the cries mainly comprised of women and children’s. I was shivering, my knees were clicking together like dancing plates. Ahmed who was way taller than me, over four feet, held me close to him and kissed my ruffled head. I remember him whispering to me, “maybe it’s just a drama”, something we both knew was absurd. But I guess we both needed the re-assurances, because I replied amidst the tears, ‘maybe’.

We dragged on a few more feet, and this time, we could make out what was being said. Immediately, Ahmed grabbed me by the arm and we ran into a nearby high bush, it was more like he pulled me. I was never more glad to be short, the high bushes shielded us perfectly.

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Her Sanctuary

Her Sanctuary

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For a longtime she was scared of being alone. There was something about the silence that was paralyzing. The voices got stronger and the words, louder with the silence around. She fit herself into any group of people she could find just to avoid the silence or lack thereof that came with being alone. And that was one side of the coin.

On the other hand, a part of her was yearning to be secluded. It felt encroached in public despite the empty spaces between her and most people. It didn’t matter, even 10 feet away was too close. That part of her needed to be alone, away from multi-cellular organisms, and it did always win.

And there she would be, in a semi-sitting position, knees shaking, head throbbing; the voices gaining force. Having a meaningless conversation in her head of which all she could make out were mumbles. She was crazy, had to be. On the edge of her single bunker bed, hands in her hair trying to shut the voices, she claws deeper into her skull. It didn’t help, because just as the the whirlwind of emotion began, the waterworks began as well.

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Dream of a Dreamer

Dream of a Dreamer

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Blur out the grey lines,
Take down the veil;
I stand with the hopeless,
Till they regain faith;
Till the grey lines are blurred out,
And stigma erased;
Till depression and bi-polar,
Slowly fade away;
Some may call me a dreamer,
For demanding such change.

So I write and I bleed out words,
To help ease the pain;
That our insides are suffering but-
We can’t dare explain;
I am but one hopeless with an-
urge to make a change;
That a smile may form somewhere
As my words are read away;
That a rose may find reason,
To bloom once again;
And a wrist may get kisses
From now, everyday.

I choose to be Me

I choose to be Me

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I’d choose to be me once again-
Not one shade fairer like most suggest;
Not one pound lesser than most these days;
Not one inch taller than the average.

I’d choose to be me once again-
Not one year older or younger- just same;
Not one sibling less, a family of eight;
Not one scar less from childhood charade.

I’d choose to be me once again-
Happy and bubbly, naive as they say;
Loving and living and making mistakes;
Praying and dreaming and writing away.


In response to the daily prompt: New Skin

 

When I was sixteen…

When I was sixteen…

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When I was sixteen, I wrote this poem 😀

How did I get here?
To the point of no return;
Where everything’s so gloomy and doomed,
With paths yet to be formed.

Without even a ray of light,
I feel so forlorn;
My hearts become as cold as Ice-
My soul, withering inside.

Glaring up at the sky at night,
Expecting to see stars;
But things are as dark as can be,
Silence being the ultimate sound.

No really, how did I get here?
I ask myself again;
Recalling all those times I spent,
In warmth and happiness.

I’ve got to let go of these ropes,
That keep holding me back;
Then run as fast as my legs can-
Far away, from this damn.

Then maybe if I get lucky,
I’ll find that beam of light;
My heart would melt but be intact-
My soul would come alive.