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From the cliff, I stared down at the place of my birth, the place I knew right from childhood and I fought back the tears when I could fully see what was staring back. I felt Amirah’s hand in mine, I felt her tighten her grip as I lost my composure and sobbed while I stood, everything was a memory now, the streets, the shops, the people, the neighbours, the parks and everything that was part of the whole that made up my life…all except little Amirah and every memory she would never be able to make in the one place she should call home…her country.

Baba…she said, will we ever go home? Will I see Abba again? Will I see Maryam and Walid at school again? Will I even go back to school? I knew all the answers but the words would never leave my lips. Baba she said, I felt her tears on my forearm, her grip tightened once again…Will it ever be beautiful again? I looked down at her, her hair in her face and the ends moving with the breeze, I dropped to my knees, brushed her hair to the side and told her yes Amirah, yes it will….one day we’ll come back, one day we’ll come home and one day it will all be beautiful again.

I want to have a little girl, I’ll name her Charlene and I’ll be the only one who gets to call her Charlie. I want to kiss her little head the day she’s born and sing along to “Just the two of us” with teary eyes. I want to hold her fragile little hands in mine, breath into them and whisper into her ear and watch her smile.

I want to run to her room every morning and play with her before I leave for work.

I want to stare at her picture on my desk and remind myself who I’m doing this for, I want to come home to her and hear her voice yell out “Daddy”. I want to read her bedtime stories and watch her cheeks as she yawns and falls asleep.

I want to build sandcastles and walk along the beach with her hand in mine, I want to watch her scamper off to class every morning when I take her to school and watch her run back to the car when it’s time to close. I want to tell her I love her every night and day.

I want to be mad at her, i want to be scared for her, I want to shed tears just thinking about how much of a blessing she is to me. I want to be there for her, I want her to always know Daddy loves her no matter how dark the days get and no matter how mad she thinks I am at any given time.

I want to help her pack when it’s time to move out, I want to miss her when she meets someone and falls in love and calls me on the phone to say she’s still Daddy’s little girl.

I want to walk her down the aisle, I want to give her away and feel my heart break knowing that someone else will try just as hard as me to put a smile on her face everyday. I want her to know that I won’t always be here and let her know that no matter what happens, life goes on. I want her to become the brave, wise and beautiful woman I know she is destined to be.

I want her to fight me and not let me hold her back. She won’t always know which way to go but she will always know that she can come to me. Finally, I want her to always remember where she comes from.

I love you Charlie, even before God sent you to me I already shed tears thinking about you, I love you now and forever. Daddy’s little girl.

We’ve been on the road for a couple of hours now but you’re still all I can think about. I stared out the window as the houses, cars, shops and people whizzed by and all I could see was your face staring back at me like a specter on the foggy bus window.

I spent the last few hours trying to wrap my head around the whole situation, trying to understand why you weren’t making this trip with me…why you weren’t making your weird jokes as I paid for the bus tickets, why my head wasn’t resting on your shoulder at this very moment and why there’s a cell phone where your hand should be.

I hate everything right now, I hate the lady sitting next to me, I hate the orbit lemon chewing gum she offered me earlier, I hate that it’s your favorite, I tried to listen to some music and I hate how every song my phone plays is one you sent to me and I pretty much hate that everything around me reminds me of you.

I hate the last 24 hours and everything that happened. I thought it would be me and you, we’d leave and try this thing out somewhere else, away from everyone who thought we were crazy for simply wanting to be together, away from everyone who believed you and I shouldn’t be together, all those people who cursed us and made it clear that we were not wanted.

I still remember how sweaty your palms were as you told my dad you’d take care of me and do anything to make me happy, the way tears ran down your face when your father said he no longer had a son…I can still feel the warm sweat on your palm when I held your hand in mine, how I squeezed it tight and deep down I knew that somehow, some way we’d be okay…I was certain that one day we’d find happiness.

The only thing that mattered was I had you and everything would be okay. Now 24 hours later and here I am, all alone, taking the last bus to anywhere.

I’m still staring at the last message I sent you, I told you I’d be here…I waited on the bench next to the gate just like you asked me to…I fought back the tears with every passing minute that you weren’t there, suddenly everyone who came through that gate looked like you. It took every last ounce of my being to pick up my bag and jump into the bus and take that last seat on the left and just go.

You were all that ever made sense to me and all that probably ever will.

I love you but I hate you right now for running away. I hate you for not being the strong one you always were. I hate you for backing out when all the chips were down. I hate you for leaving me, for leaving us.

I can still hear my mother crying, calling out to her only son, begging me to stay, telling me that everything would be okay; she cried out and said she’d love me either way. “Your father would come around eventually” she said.

I couldn’t stay, It had to be done, I’d have to let go and I’d have to find a new place to call home.

I’ll stay strong and believe in what we could have been, I’ll find peace elsewhere.

You said you’d never let me go.

I’ll be strong for the both of us, maybe one day you’d realize that you let go of true happiness. Maybe one day, you’ll be right next to me.

Maybe, just maybe.

Lost in my thoughts, the ones i can’t share which is pretty much most of em…i must confess i hate it, i hate how there are things you know deep down you can never share, thoughts that will stay in your head forever because you can’t risk it and tell anyone…we all have them, we all shove them deep in there and bury them with more and more of the same.

Why do I do this?…well for the simple fact that i know that no one will understand, i’d rather have them in the recessess of my mind than out in the open. The trouble with these little bits and pieces is they usually dig their way deeper and root themselves inside and they just sit there, they sit there and rankle, fester. I’m just trying to get the thought out of my head without having to talk about what is actually seething down there. I’m done.

I’d been driving around for a while, trying to clear my head and it was getting dark out…i had been fighting it off for what felt like forever but the hunger was welling up and it had to be quelled, soon…it had been a while since the last time and I was feeling really proud of myself…I had to step back and errrmm reward myself, there was a bar nearby, I could have a few drinks alone and make it up from there…

I got up, eyes slightly heavy, made my way to the door and I stomped my feet as I walked out of the bar…it gave me my balance back..so, there I was…and well there they all were, like a fucking buffet…but no, not here…I had to be patient and let the buzz wear off…I drove for a few minutes and saw more of them…parked on the shoulder and a bird came up to my window…I really wanted to sweat out the stress…”Good evening” she said…I had no time for pleasantries, “ehhn, how much?”…”overnight or short time oga?”…there wasn’t a lot of back and forth and she agreed on a brief rendezvous for N3000 and we were off…she knew a place not too far that we could go.

A few minutes later and we pulled up to the gate, I must confess…it was not too shabby for the N500 she said the room would cost…I waited in the car, she came back with the room keys and we went in, we were at it when she asked “Oga you never finish?”…it was probably the alcohol that kept me going, well that was my problem because obviously this wasn’t her idea of “short time”…she’d had enough and she tried to push me off, seeing as I had already paid…I wasn’t gonna have any of it…I’d ask her to lie still but I guess I’d simply have to show her, I held her hands down, she struggled as I forced myself violently into her, understandably she tried to scream, but i think she shouldn’t have…I punched her across the face, flipped her over and rammed into her, I could feel her teeth against the palm of my hand as I stifled her screams, i pushed her face into the mattress, I felt her struggle under me, it wasn’t over…I ripped out her weave, I kept hitting the back of her head…the pain in my knuckles, good lord that feeling as my ring ripped her scalp open, it reminded me of all the other times when the hunger got the best of me, when all i could think of was how to quench this thirst…arrrrrgggghhhh, i haven’t felt this good in ages…it all came back to me as I grabbed her throat…snuffed the life out of her…she didn’t have a lot of fight in her, that was really disappointing, it took something away from the whole experience, it still felt good all things considered but I wanted the scratch marks, the bruises that I got whenever they made the ever so futile attempt to fight me off…I tightened my hold, I watched as her eyes glazed over…a sight I knew all too well, i lived for it, that moment…blink and you miss it…right when you can see them lose all hope just before death…something spread right through me, exhilarating to say the least, the rush, the feeling of domination…nothing quite like it.

It was over, i took the money out of her purse, there was a little wallet in there too, i found some ID…her name was Rachael, *sigh* poor Rachael…I locked the room behind me, drove out and tipped the guy at the gate…I still remember the sheepish smile he had plastered on his face as he said “madam dey inside abi”…I’d give anything to see what other look he would have after they’d discovered the body.

Alas, it was well worth it…i would have to savor this experience for long, I wouldn’t let myself be reckless, the high would have to last a while…however, how long would be anyone’s guess…

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