This Morning

She smiled at me last night; chubby cheeks, toothless mouth, and bright eyes. She gurgled too; that nice-to-meet-you-whoever-you-are thing that babies have about them. For that minute I forgot the ache on my shoulders; consequent of bearing my backpack through one hundred and fifty metres of barely tarred road. I also forgot the headache that had started burning up my forehead: traffic had been bad, and the driver had stuck to loud, unpleasant noise -music, he’d called it- all through the 4 hour drive. She was the baby whose naming ceremony I’d missed 4 months ago.

I was awakened by sobs this morning. Torn from the heart, piercing my restless dreams, forcing me to wakefulness before it was dawn.

I was told that some minutes before then, while the crowds of Lagos woke in lazy stretches, the Baby had made her way back to heaven. All of us sleeping sentries, she had slipped past us; little spirit slithering through the silent house.

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