Amina gazed emptily into space as her crippled mind tried to make sense out of the events of the previous day. Her senses had deserted her and her face had become a waterfall. She had lost control over herself, her body and her mind. Nothing, no one, made sense to her again. Her pain was unspeakable. Her unkempt, matted hair fell over her face like a madwoman's. Flies swarmed around her as the tears running down her cheeks, mixed with mucous, splashed on her child.

She was oblivious to the existence of her tender child that suckled on her breasts. Not even the women clad in black could bring her out of the recluse she had become. She was a shell, trapped within her own self. She was no longer alive to the world. She had not left that one spot since the previous day. She had cried out her soul. But you could hardly blame her.

We were there a month ago, remember? We stood afar and watched her cling to Ahmed, her soldier husband. The sun's orange glow bathed the lovers with heavenly warmth. We saw the twinkle in her eyes when she rested her head on his shoulder and rubbed his chin. Tears flowed as she kissed him tenderly. Her husband, her rainbow and her soul mate was going off to fight terrorists.

The little baby she carried on her back slept peacefully. He was oblivious to his father's departure but the moment was not lost on her. And as Ahmed turned and walked off into the sunset, she rested against the door and with her hand raised in a never ending goodbye, we heard her say, “I'll be waiting”.

And she did wait.

But Ahmed never came back home. Only the news came back.

That's why she now sat at the exact same spot she had bid him farewell, waiting and thinking that her Ahmed would soon return. Her jewel would come back to her. She knew it so she was still waiting.

Then she heard a familiar voice whisper, “Temi."

Only one person called her by that name. Amina lit up instantly. She knew it! The news was false! Her jewel had returned. He finally came! She felt Ahmed carry the baby from her hands, she felt him bend and kiss her lightly on the head; just like he always did. She inhaled the familiar scent of her husband and warmth began to seep into her. She felt the strength return and she made to stand up. She heard and saw the other women jump for joy as they tore their black clothes at the sight of her husband. It was all changing. Ahmed must have tickled their child because the baby suddenly began to giggle. A smile began to creep up her lips.

But the child never really giggled. Ahmed never returned. The suckling babe had only begun to cry but his mother could not, did not, hear. She was dead to the world, lost in her own cruelly optimistic world where she mistook his cries for laughter. And as she remained beside the door, the words danced in her face as if to taunt her.

“I'll be waiting.”


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