We didn’t think we needed a war to untie the limitless possibilities surrounding us. We didn’t understand what it meant to keep guard and watch over a neighbor’s house. Everyone was bothered about his own business and safety, not minding whether his neighbour’s grand mother who was rushed to the hospital returned safe and sound.
Ummunkari was that kind of neighborhood where the loudest accident would go unnoticed. If we ever said hello to each other, it was because we needed something. Afterwards, we could walk past as if we never ever met. Tomide’s father would always complain about this. Every time he opened his snuff case he would sigh and repeat the familiar story of how things were different when they were young. They cared more than they warred.
Idagu thought differently so he never complained. He had done so much good he couldn’t remember how being bad looked like. His brother, Mathias would always remind me of how much unlike him i was. He accused us, the young ones of knowing so much evil. He prayed everyday for a change to happen to return things to the days of his brother, Idagu, my father. He didn’t anticipate that it would be today.
It was on our market day, a day when our women and children were out at the square exchanging wares that the strangers came. They arrived like customers ready to patronize our market. They requested for so many things, but when they opened their bags to pay us, they brought out weapons worth more than our goods, and our market was over.
Our sisters died, our mothers too. The men who ran away couldn’t come out to defend our neighborhood because they had no weapons, no love, they never knew each other’s names.
After the cleansing, it rained. The stream was filled with water. The potholes too. The gutters were flooded. We had prayed for rain before now, but when the water came we couldn’t drink it. It wasn’t the usual muddy colour. It was completely red.