Do Not Deceive Me

Matanmi look into his mother’s eyes but she could not look into his. This wasn’t the first time that Matanmi had been here in her hands, it wouldn’t be the last. She could feed him, she could hold him, Alaba just wouldn’t look at him. This time she wouldn’t cry, he wouldn’t get that satisfaction.

Three times had the abiku come and in three different bodies and Alaba buried and grieved for each one, none living more than six months. Abiku were clever little demons that would hide themselves in the flesh of babes. They would curl into their mother’s laps, they would cry, they would coo, then they would die. It was all for the taste of dear mother’s tears and this dear mother was so very tired. Alaba wanted no part in this deception anymore.

No doctor, no shaman, could ward this abiku away. It was her demon and she wore it like a an overburden yoke that dragged her shoulders down miserably. Alaba’s coworkers in the drugstore spoke of miracles but these were things bought and not for the $47.15 she could afford. America had great wealth but like at home it was held at the top by miserly old men. Alaba felt stupid for ever thinking such things would change.

Even through the disillusionment and cold winter, she had to admit her new home was good for the thing. As it turned nine months old, the thought became somehow possible that it might just stay. She wanted desperately for the it to live. She didn’t care if it was a demon, it was alive. Something that was living that came from her had to survive. Her mother couldn’t end here, nor could she and so she pleaded yet again, holding Matanmi up to her eye level.

“Please stay, demon of mine. I can’t promise you I’ll love you, not yet. You have to stay, then I can love you.”

The demon actually smiled and proceeded to giggle. Her ultimatum was no good, she would love him regardless.