She was not prepared for this. Not even in her nightmares or in those moments when her mind enjoyed wandering into dark places to pick memories she would rather live without. But here she was, thrown back to her past by a single visit from the one person she least expected to see.
“Amra?” her voice shook like the weak gust of wind that blew over her and the woman standing before her, clutching the hand of a little girl.
The woman smiled at the mention of her name but her smile was met with a frown that lingered over her and lowered to the girl she was holding.
“Zainab, say hi to your aunty, Umi.”
Zainab, fair and beautiful, with thick African locks, braided into one long ponytail, looked up at Umi’s unfriendly glare and glared back in the same manner.
Some attitude! Umi thought. And then it hit her… History was repeating itself. This was the same scene from her past as a little girl when she went to answer the door on one rainy morning and found her mother standing outside, holding the hand of a girl about the same age as Zainab.
“Umi,” her mother had smiled, “meet your sister, Amra.”
That day, Umi spent her entire time wondering why Amra looked so different. Many times she put her hand against hers and marveled at the dissimilarity. She was chocolate; Amra was milk. When she asked their mother about it, the woman had laughed and sang the song about Jesus loving all the little children of the world – red, brown, yellow, black and white.
“Is my daddy her daddy?” Umi asked.
“Yes, my darling. Your daddy is her daddy.”
And because she was just eight years old and wasn’t aware that mothers could sleep with strange men outside and have kids by them, Umi accepted what was told to her. She had only been two years old when her heavily pregnant mother left the house one afternoon, a memory she never recalled. Months later the woman returned alone. No pregnancy, no baby. The child whom she had birthed, Amra, was left in the care of her biological father who later died when she turned five. Their mother was left with the job of taking over her care and thus she brought her into her matrimonial home. Umi understood nothing about the complexities of adult relationships. All she knew was that she had a mommy, a daddy, a new sister and another sibling on the way.
“Won’t you say hi to your aunt, Zainab?”
Amra’s daughter looked up at Umi for the second time and her expression remained as before.
Read the remaining part of TDB episode 3 on Sally’s blog HERE