For the thirteenth time, I replay the song, allowing the melody, wash over me like a refreshing shower of rain. With every high note the singer hits, my mind sways. It has to be done. Its my only way forward. My only way to break away.
She’s partly right.
I’m nobody.
I’m not free.

“You’re nobody and you’re not free, to sacrifice yourself to hope, to escape…”

I’ve tried.
My life so far has been nothing but a pawn in a badly played chess game in the incompetent hands of whatever Being bored enough to play with me.
My mother died birthing me.
I had no father; at least that was what my birth certificate said.
I was called Chioma. By whom, I have no idea.
Good God.
Was He? Was He really?
The only family I knew were other children, lost as I was in a world we had no business being in. Victims of circumstances. At least I was not abandoned in a bin. This I told myself, nights after the older children bullied me. I had someone. She only died. Ah. I was young then. I had nothing. She would have thrown me away like other young mothers, given the chance. I didn’t have a father after all. Who wants a child with no father in this society?
I was the quiet one. The weak one. The one that cried at every little thing. The ugly one. The slow one. The dumb one.  Our minders said it was a harsh world out there. It was hard to imagine then, considering the fact that life in the orphanage was terrible.
Harsh world out there. I had been thrown into that harsh world. I turned eighteen and was therefore an adult.
I cannot escape it.
Other younger ones envied me.
You’d be free.
No I wouldn’t.
I’m nobody.
I have no voice.
I’m a stranger in my own land.

“Nobody is your name, in an eternal search of a meaning that would fade soon…”

Have you any ambitions? What do you have in mind?
I stared at the Matron.
Yes, yes I do. I want to be a scholar. I want to get a degree. I want to be a historian. I want to be everything I read in books and see in the occasional movies.
Of course  I did not say it aloud.
I’d have been laughed at.
You barely passed JSCE. You have no WAEC result to speak of. A scholar? Pah! You’re not smart. An apprenticeship is what you should aim for.
I knew I wasn’t smart but she asked what I had in mind didn’t she?

“In a weird slavery, with a book in your hands and a lot of ideas in your head that you can shout in the wind but you’re Nobody and nobody will hear you…”

An apprentice at a hairdressing salon is what I’ve become. You’re lucky to be here. This is just a favour to your Matron. Watch and learn the trade, my Madam told me. I watch people with lives come in. They nag about jobs, school, husbands. I watch in my little corner,  in my old okirika clothes, hanging off my thin frame. No one pays me any attention. I’m not taught anything. The others are. I have no natural abilities like they do. Their hands can move at unnatural speeds while my hand works are sloppy at best. Nobody wants me near them. You smell.  They’d turn their nose up at me. I’m That girl. I have no name. I’m nobody.

“You’re nobody and you’ll be alone till your future won’t be written ’cause you smell of stranger in your own land”

It’s a Sunday and my Madam and her children are gone to church. I stumbled upon her son’s listening device. I press a random button and the song comes on.
I’ve been sitting here for a long while, on the floor of his dirty bedroom, listening to the woman speak to me.
I have done nothing today.
My madam would be vexed.
It wouldn’t matter anyway.
Slowly, I get up, shaking off the cramps in my legs.
She’s partly right.
I’m nobody but I will be free.

————————————————————-

Madam came home to meet their house help, Chioma, hanging from a badly tied noose in the living room. She let out a surprised yelp, quickly shepherding her children out of the house before they saw her. “Call the driver” she instructed her eldest son, going back to the living room.

She looked at the tongue protruding from an ugly face she had always tolerated barely. She sighed in revulsion

“Stupid girl”

End.

——————————————

Phantom: I had not planned on writing anything new for a while but this song (Nobody-Ravenscry) was driving me insane. I feared I’d do something stupid if I didn’t write something down. Pardon me if it is less than satisfactory. Therapeutic writing I’m afraid.

Advertisements