“There was a time when the sun used to shine,” he said, chin tipped skyward; the struggling straggles of hair that line his chin kiss the missing horizon.

“There was a time when we threw our curtains open and invited her rays to bathe our homes. We were warm, then. Even when it was cold, we still felt warm.” He pulled me from my side of our battered sofa and held my hands in both of his.

“There was a time…” his words caught and skipped, and I could see them struggle to pass his tied tongue. He sniffed and cleared his throat.

“There was a time when we looked forward to dawn. When the sun would gently push darkness aside, and we’d smile.” I looked to the window and tried to see past the coating of black sky along its surface. I saw nothing at all.

“But we can get her back, can’t we, Baba?” I ask. With the sun, his eyes will shimmer; the cold trapped within his bones will evaporate; and his belly-deep chortle will bounce off our walls once again.

“She’ll be back one day, son. The absence of darkness wrecks nightmares,” he says, patting my hands. “That’ll be our dawn.”

© LaYinka Sanni, February 2016.

 

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