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Where Is The Flame (Prose) by Femi-Oladeji Makanjuola

On the day when the rain god couldn't hold his tears anymore, you were born. Your bones looked like they'd break, and I observed as the nurse handed you over to some other nurse. You were joy, but this time, you didn't come in the morning. You came in the afternoon. Eyes closed, body folded like you've been in the dark for too long. I watched as you were passed around from a nurse to the other, without passing you to your mother. I was still watching from the entrance of the theatre as the male doctor pulled the hospital cloth above your mother's head. I had seen it before, and dark clouds began to form around my eyes. I was torn between joy and pain. Unto me, a child had been given after 16 marriage years of waiting, and still, unto me, another had been taken. I carefully watched as the doctor came out of the theatre with a forced smile on his face. His mouth curled up to say things to me, but my mind had wandered back to the memories deeply rooted in my head like hard rocks about your mother. His opening words, sent chills through my spine as though I had not witnessed your birth, and I made a wry smile. He made a gesture to me, forcing my body to walk behind him into his office. There he told me about your mother's death and my spirit broke into pieces. I didn't break because your mother had died, I broke because I didn't know how I'd start a new life with you, a new born baby who had nothing in life except a father who would prefer sleeping to talking.

On your christening, the pastor held you up, high. He called you Imole, I named you Cherry. The thing is I don't like cherries, and I've come to realize that in life, one should give insignificant names to things that matter to them so the element named after would be free of external attacks. You grew. Big and beautiful. I couldn't say you were the apple of my eyes because the eye is the most lonely creature in the human body, and it holds nothing. I wanted to keep you so close to me. Somewhere nothing would get to you, and I realized it was my heart. Still, you didn't stay long.

On the day you left me, we sat together watching Television. You saw the war on TV and asked if it wouldn't get to us. I assured you it wouldn't, and you looked up at me, squeezed your body into mine and let out a wry smile. You had lost all of your friends, and I could relate how lonely it was. After our moment of emotional time together, you asked for Ice cream, and I volunteered to get it for you. The fighting was still on, but our home was safe. Our little town was safe. Saying it all happened so fast would mean I am a liar, but I'd say it anyway. It all happened so quickly, and I came home to your body, peacefully lying under a rock, battered. The war got to us, and it hit you first on the head.

About The Author

Femi-oladejiMakanjuola is in his final year of study as an undergraduate at the University of

Ilorin, Ilorin. He considers himself a butterfly and a wallflower. His stories and poems are presently finding a home in journals and magazines. He thinks wine is the greatest gift of nature. When he's not writing on Awolalu and

Dopamu, you can catch him eating shawarma and drinking. He tweets @lostnavyboy.

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