The wall of our house is broken, it is the big screen, we see things clearly through it.
Mother says our secret is not safe, that the world has an eye for everything we do just like we find it on Snapchat and Instagram today, but father says there is nothing like that, it is all right to have a cracked wall. He says his little girl will grow faster, sitting by and learning that the world is cold as ice yet burns like fire.
Father says no cartoons, no siestas, just me and the wall. He says I have to see things through the eyes of others, he says that's the only way I would learn that the world is cruel yet beautiful.
I see a little boy my age, selling oranges. A tray filled with no breathing space placed on his head. I see other children like me call him dirty.
I see him maneuvering the stones they throw at him, something seems like an old score is to be settled – then out of nowhere I hear a terrible kind of sound and there he is on the road with his oranges scattering towards several poles. I see his chasers escape towards different directions. I see the driver zoom off, I see people go into their lives like it never happened.
She cursed, she fought, but he still tore her dress. Her weave he made into a mass mess of unprocessed wool. I know her, she was my school mother. My heart bleeds for her. She walks into the house screaming for help, the women gather, they call her names. Her head is bowed in shame – she says no word.
Jamal, her elder brother, goes through the backdoor when the noise is still loud under the disguise of the night to the joint at the junction. He says he wants him beaten into a new shape, his mother paid him to teach her extra lessons because teachers were always on strike and her Certificate Examination was by the corner.
One after another they punched him, they kicked him, he was sorry, but he had caused a damage they weren't going to let him go. They served him the main course, his back they burnt with flitters from their leftover joints, a part of me praised their zeal, but a neighbor soon called the police and now Jamal's grievances have been forgotten, they said he took laws into his hands.
Her head he buries inside a bucket of water every time he was angry. She began to do the same to their daughter every time she was angry. Now they all don't smile. Laughter is a stranger that has no place in their space.
She would run to the gutter every time she heard he had fallen into it. Yet he would dip her head into a bucket for coming out to the street to spy on him and his girlfriends, and she would also dip their daughter's head like Agege Bread into the same bucket when she cries for meat or says she is tired of the manioc she eats everyday.
No way was they going to go. They had to settle him that's what he does. No, backdate payments, maybe update payments. Today, Shola makes to leave without paying, he says the mechanic has a buck of his day. It was his first round. But he didn't care, he wanted his pay.
He punches Shola, he makes to pin him down but Shola is the stronger one. He shoves him aside climbs into his Danfo and makes to leave. He is angry but too drunk. He takes his aim, but misses, a cry is heard. It goes straight into a car with a 'Just Married' number plate. Her white turns scarlet. I am tired of this wall, I am done seeing these things that quake my heart while my friends watch cartoons.
Ajiboye Kolawole is a critic and short story writer. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and Literary Studies from the University of Lagos.