13 years, 9 months, and 12 days was how long it took him to remember I’m still alive. His eyes were red, his nose a bulbous bulge, and his face was streaked with dirt. A corner of his mouth shook into a crooked smiles as he stood in the doorway, swaying slightly.

Was I meant to invite him in; hold out my arms that had grown tired waiting to embrace him again? That would be foolish, but I did it anyway, and he plonked himself onto the sofa that had taken me 2 years to pay off while he played ghost in a land unknown.

I wanted to hate him, but I couldn’t. I wanted to summon the years of neglect and lonlieness to unleash their curses upon him, but they were nowhere to be found.

The bundle of innocence I had once rocked to sleep as his mother napped was making himself comfortable on my sofa after leaving me almost 14 years ago, and while my head spat venom in his direction, my arms and heart only just wanted a hug.

© LaYinka Sanni, September 2016

I wrote this during a timed freewriting session at a London Writers Meet I organised.


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