Auntie’s room is the fourth among ten rooms in a compound. The walls of the houses are painted grey, they remind me of my new school, it is also painted grey. Auntie is a professional dancer at the Arts council in Kaduna. Every morning when it is very early-she would wake up to do her exercises, later some of the female neighbours would join her, then she would wake me up and we would jog around, twist our waists and practice some dancing steps.
By 7:30 am I would go to my new school, I do not like the school, but Auntie said I have to be there. There are many children in the school but none of them are my friends. I think none of the children like me and I am too afraid to speak to any of them. My teacher too dislikes me; I think it is because I do not wear a veil on my head like the other girls. One day I joined my mates to play on the swing, they were all happy and were waving to her, she waved back at them. I also wanted her to wave back at me so I waved and called out to her but instead she frowned at me. I will never wave to her again.
I miss my mum and dad, the place we were at before, I was happy, now I am not so happy. I liked the school I attended there, the walls were red and white, the children liked me and talked to me. During break time Dad would specially come for me and buy me sweets and push me on the swing, I would notice all the children looking at us.
When I ask Auntie where Mum and Dad are and whether they would come to carry me back, she doesn’t answer me well, she only says I will see them one day again, but one day when?
I think Auntie may never really tell me what I want to know so I try to figure it out myself. Before I came to stay with Auntie I lived happily with Mum and Dad and my baby sister, but then I don’t know what happened, Mum started being unhappy and Dad started staying away from the house. Sometimes Mum will be crying in the room but I wouldn’t know what was wrong, then Mum packed all our things one day and whisked me and my baby sister away, when I asked she said we were going on holiday to Uncle James house. I knew Dad would be upset but I said nothing.
Some days after that Dad came to Uncle James house, he was very angry; I knew he was because I saw it in his face. Then he and Mum sat in the parlor talking. I don’t understand what they said but they were shouting at .other sometimes and Uncle James will try to intervene. Dad had to go back that day but the next day while I was in school Dad came and picked me from school, he said we were traveling to Auntie’s house in Kaduna and I would stay with Auntie for some time.
I cried when he left me with Auntie, I wanted to follow him back, I wanted things to go back to the way they were, but now I am not sure things can be the way they were. My once perfect world is no more the same; my world is now shattered like the glass cup that fell off my hand one day which made Auntie beat me thoroughly. I know now that because Mum and Dad are angry at each other, I would have to lose them. I will no longer have my family together again. It all feels so bad, but why did they let themselves be angry with each other? Why are they bringing me and my sister all this hurt?
I wipe the tears from my eyes. I am now sitting on our neighbor Mohammed’s verandah; he comes out and meets me. “Come inside” he says.
“My mother said I should not enter a boy’s house alone” I say.
He smiles, “But your mother is not here to see you enter so she won’t know what you did, eh?”
I nod; he takes my hand and leads me to his room. Later I come out and sit down again on the verandah. I look at the sky but it is now colourless, I see no blue or white, only grey, the whole place is grey now. Auntie comes and sees me, she doesn’t say a word, she pulls me up and I go home with her, silently.