Posted: March 19, 2014 in Articles, Common Ground
Tags: ,

by Fiona Lovatt

We are given pause for thought.
In the spaces and times when the missing are missing; we are given pause for thought.
Like that bit in the day when a mother has the meal ready and she counts her children at the door: this one back from selling apples, polished, stacked and arranged in pretty pyramids of green and red at the junction; this one from secondary school with books under the arm; another home now, bringing water from the bore to pour into the clay pots; this one bringing a greeting from the tailor’s shop and the empty midday bowl, ready for a new serving; this one from the court with the fine leather satchel for the case notes and yellow pads; this one on the small board, wheeled by hands wearing slippers for those polio legs are knotted up.
The mother is counting her brood. She counts six. Six are home.
She hears them move into the rhythm of meal time preparations but her ear is on the footfall on the threshhold.
The two small ones come from the street, one skipping and clapping still with a song, the other with the kite now modified for the tenth time – the pride and joy of the child.
Eight now, eight are home. One more waits for his dinner as he turns yards into garments, treadling his way in the mosquito hours.
This day there is excitement. Not every mother has a child who can write in clear block letters, the English words to fill the forms out. Not every mother has two university graduates from her back, her arms, her breasts, her womb. Not every household can spare those years of study. She has her trader and the tailor too and all the rest in school. In the absence of their daddy now, her house has kept the count each day. Eight are home. One is sewing still.
What of the last?
Gone to the stadium this morning. Gone to the muster of applicants. Gone with the prayers and hopes of the family. Gone as the food begins to stick in the pot. Gone as the little ones look up, showing their open clean palms ready for dinner.
And the news floods down the street, like a trickle reaching up and over the step and down through all the rooms. The thousands who went with their papers this morning, sixty thousand households wait for sons and daughters. Missing sons and daughters. The news washes around this house. Nine counted.
Planes can disappear off the face of the earth. Seventy two planes in 68 years if she believes that map on her eldest’s phone. O she has felt for those mothers too. All week she has prayed for their hearts to find ease. A plane is a big thing to lose. Almost as big as a husband. Almost as big as a child.
She slumps into the news, gulping what air she can find on the cool floor. Her child is missing. Some dreams went out the door this morning and now, as the pot comes off the fire, she knows again that she must pay in flesh and blood. She pays with her child for the bureaucratic fumbling, greed and incompetence that sucked her child into the crush of that stadium.

Lyriversity — Liberty of Creativity

  1. Ezeamalukwuo says:

    Great writeup as usual. Lady Fiona has once more painted a very beautiful picture of the sad events of last week…the stampede of last saturday mixed with the missing malaysian airplane…this is superb…and the emotions interbedded in this article can bring harden hearts to words and tears. Thanks for writing this, thanks for given a voice to the voiceless…so far 19 unnamed and unknown people died on saturday’s stampede…we don’t know them, the media haven’t given us their names because they never mattered, and life goes on..Sad.
    Thanks Fiona for an insight into what the friends and families of those folks must be feeling by now.

  2. Chimezie says:

    Such a great essay as I have never read this year. Fine-tuned and -toned. Very emotional. Well done.

  3. LegendaryCJN says:

    I really do not wish to say a word, but I can’t help it.
    This is about the best I’ve read this year.
    You know, when scholars said that art should encompass three M’s: Moment, Milieu and Message, this is exactly what they meant. The stampede at Abuja Stadium and the missing Malaysian plane…and by extension the NNPC missing N20billion…which mother would feel at home when all her children are not back home?
    But our Government, turned deaf ears. They should read this piece and not just reading it, they should do something to alleviate the suffering of the hoi polloi.
    Thanks Fiona and Lyriversity for posting this.

  4. Anene Francis says:

    If words were food, for lady Fiona I would gladly be a glutton. The style of writing is as though the words, with gentle grip, leads one by the hand to the message’s climax. Captivating!
    The anguish the 15th March tragedy caused to many families is brought to our doorsteps. Directly or indirectly, we are all affected. This write up stirs up pity, sadness, anger, any emotion that would move one to act in ensuring that such disaster never reoccurs… Well done.

    (Hm, mr CJN so you have been around all this while. Why the muteness na? lol. Wish to hear from you more often o if you don’t mind. A humble request, thanks)

  5. Fiona says:

    Once again, dear readers, you gift to me the courage to continue with the writing.
    Allow our sentiments to make us act against tide of sorrows.

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