I heard her voice. Tiny and faint at first. Then , gradually, it rose and I could hear her better.
‘Maman’, she called out, ‘can I ask you a few questions?’
I groaned, knowing what to expect, and braced myself for the usual requests for food, followed by questions on how it was made and how I gained access to it. Njillan’s curiosity from her very early days had always baffled me. However I never complained, knowing very well that the apple does not fall far from the tree. I looked down at her and said softly, ‘Go ahead child.’ Little did I know that today’s discourse was different and of a nature I never would have imagined. What followed blew my mind away and I found myself speechless, searching for suitable responses to her questions.
Why do I live here? It feels so tight and I can’t move around as much as I’d love to.
Child, this residence is temporary. It is during your stay here that we’ll be able to build a strong bond together; a bond that’ll be impossible to break. Your closeness and dependence in me increases my love for you each second. Soon, you shall be free to move around as you wish. Soon, my child
You’ve been saying that since I got here. It’s been 6 months now. How much longer do I have to wait?
Be patient, my child. Patience, as you’ll learn when you get out of here, is a virtue. You have less time to wait than you’ve already spent here . Be patient.
Okay Maman. So tell me, what’s it like out there?
Hmmm. This world is vast. Bigger than you can ever imagine. When you look up, there’s a blue expanse called the sky. Sometimes, it’s blue and breathtakingly beautiful. Other times, it is covered in grey clouds moving wildly and threatening to pour their contents on Mother Earth. Down where we are, we’ve got the land and the great seas; each spreading as far and wide as the sky. There are more than 7 billion people out here and the number keeps growing. When you finally come, you shall increase that number by one. All these people live different lives. Some are happy and satisfied with the way they live. Others despair and hope for things to get better. In some parts, there is peace while war ravages other parts of this land. Some kids are happy, well-fed, go to school and have the very basic things in life at their disposal. Some have all these and more, living in luxury. Some have nothing at all. Looking for a means to survive is the order of the day for them. These people; they SURVIVE while others LIVE.
I don’t understand. Why can’t there be an equal distribution of all things so everyone can live well and be happy?
That, my child, is a question billions have been looking for an answer to. Some say it’s how life is supposed to be. Some say it creates a balance in society, with the two extremes that exist. You,like me, may wonder where the middle class fits in. I guess they’re just the fulcrum on which the two extremes lie. Others say there is a need for a hierarchy, you know, to distinguish between the different classes. This distinction eventually determines how one is received, considered and treated by others. The rest just dismiss it with a sigh and say life is unfair.
Exactly what I was going to say Maman. How do you feel living in a world like that?
How I feel? My child, how I wished my feelings really mattered. How I wished my feelings could change the status quo. If only they mattered, there would be equity and equality in all parts of the world. The most remote of villages shall be known and recognized. There would be peace everywhere. The basic necessities in life shall be at everyone’s disposal. Leaders shall guide their people and oppression shall be a thing of the past. Freedom of speech shall finally become reality, and not just an article written in a certain convention. The world would be a proper global village, not a division of lands with restrictions to movement. Each shall practise his religion freely, with no fear. A person shall not be judged by his sexuality but by the substance of his character. The love of God shall reign in all hearts. It shall come as easily and freely as enmity is now sown between people. Children shall be free to play, run, jump and dance with no worries. My child, all these and more are what would exist if my feelings mattered. Unfortunately, I can only wish for them. Only in my imagination do they choose to come alive.
Maman, exactly how much longer do I have to wait to see this world?
Hmm. Three months , my child. Three months and you shall be born. Then you shall see everything I’ve mentioned. You shall understand them, as you grow. Three months, my child.
Don’t worry Ma. They may only be wishes and dreams for you, but for me they shall be reality. Your child shall stand up against the injustice in the world. I shall make sure no-one goes through pain, hunger, oppression, discrimination, hurt and all else you’ve mentioned. Three months Maman, and I shall be born. Then it shall be felt in all corners of the world, that a great one has come. Great I shall be and you, my mother, shall get to see your dreams change to reality. Do not give up hope for I represent the new generation. With me, are many others who, at this moment, are having the same conversation with their mothers. Three months Maman. Three months and the journey to overcome shall begin.
My child, you speak with so much confidence and this renews my hope in the future. However, I’m old enough and have seen enough injustice to know that the road shall not be easy. I shall not dampen your spirits, but I shall prepare you psychologically. You shall face opposition, but I trust you to overcome them. Place your trust in the Almighty and you just might get there. It’s getting late now and my bones are weary. We’ll talk about this another day. Sleep well, my child, for we know not if sleep shall be this comfortable for you again. Sleep, my child.
Good night Maman. Remember. Three months.
I sighed and turned over, my hand flying impulsively to my tummy. I caressed it gently, feeling Njillan’s kick within me. I smiled, knowing that she shall be great. Three months, she had said. Three months it shall be, before the world welcomes a Shero. I close my eyes and fall into a deep reverie, where pictures of all my wishes come to life and my soul hath no worry.