#FLASHFICTION: My bowlegged Monsieur

I thought to write them down but the words formed a sea, roaring and refusing to make sense. I could hear the deadlines converse and laugh at my wandering mind…I took a breather from the script I’ve been working on all month and thought rather, of a childhood, cities away from here…

In this place,  I didn’t matter. I didn’t get noticed. And I didn’t worry. I’d run around with brother when school was over and pretend-sleep when I spotted my ‘extra class’ teacher from afar. His legs were curved in a way that left a huge ‘O’ where thighs should meet (or easily rub).  Standing on the porch of our one-story home, I’ll squint past  pair of legs that seemed to walk towards my house –  I’d laugh till my stomach starts to hurt, seeing how funny they (pedestrians) looked walking down the slope-  but soon my eyes resumed their primary job of scanning till I spotted the ‘O’ and his heavy grey boots.  I’d walk calmly to my room or find a sofa and lay there till my ears deafen to sound. Sleep came to me easily.

 

Then one day he came earlier than usual. I heard mamaa ask him into the hall. He tried to take off his boots but mama said to come in with them. They spoke in hushed tones and mama “oh’d!” and “oh my God’d” and when she finally said ‘sorry for your loss’, it sounded like a learned greeting. I wondered if she really was sorry. I wondered if Mr. Wiredu wondered too.

I didn’t remember sleeping off.

Mamaa eventually said it – to dad over dinner, serving lumps of plain rice with little stew. “his only son” she stressed. I thought now of Mr Wiredu; first as husband, then as father of a boy. Then of the bus they showed on news that night and how it was mangled and had lost its color and beauty.
Mixed with the metals was his son and wife. And even though Mama said it was okay, he insisted he’d come to teach the next week. I never once pretended to sleep and he never once lost the far-away look in his eyes. But he wore sandals now. I looked at his toes sometimes and wished I could say sorry…

 

brother & I

brother & I

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