That Deadly Diamond Ring

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Like a storm, down he came from Cape Town, as a white member of one of those numerous foreign NGOs,

Brought me to life, I was still wriggling in Ma’s womb, when he left us to starve, forever,

That’s what Ma said, that’s how I remember my fair-skinned Father,

I mention him and his color at the very beginning of my story,

For I feel no matter how careless a dad, he’d been,

He’d lent me his color for a life that I now realize, was an enormous blessing in disguise…

It was the year 1997,

May was here, scorching the Pujehun District of Southern Sierra Leone,

That afternoon was terrible in Futa, my village of a thousand,

Brima Koya, my husband came running towards the house,

Gasping for breath, telling me why,

Charles Taylor’s RUF rebels were taking over our precious diamond mines,

He showed me a cut on his head,

It symbolized his new job,

No longer a toy-trader, now he was a diamond-slave…

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Hell crept into each and every night that folllowed,

His bruised back hurt, he couldn’t sleep on our bed,

No matter how hard I kissed, tried making love,

His fear never died…

As he lay on his chest, he counted aloud, the whips he bore,

He cried for it was paining, his skin almost tore,

Only a suspicious move in those chocolate mud pools,

Was enough to win him wounds, win him cuts, red permanent grooves,

I wouldn’t want to hear the rest,

Would cut him short,

Pouring on him, buckets full of swallow hopes,

The tyranny would end soon,

Killings would end soon, peace would prevail,

Love would flourish,

It’ll be just you and me,

Just you and me, under the West African Moon…

He was snoring, sound asleep,

My attempts were futile as my hopes were, it then seemed…

The other night, I saw him hiding something,

I wanted to enquire, what was it?

Questions were avoided, the topic was changed,

I could see the fear, but couldn’t complain,

For he was happy after long,

For a moment, he drowned me in dreams,

Made love profusely,

He said we could imagine, let’s imagine extremes…

As I closed my eyes on his chest, I stopped trying to visualize possible extremes,

I didn’t realize,

All he meant,

There was only one way out,

We make it big out of here,

Or we perish…

My senses awakened to a thud,

To a monstrous pain in my abdomen,

As unmasked, armed, lean rebels hit me with a rifle-butt,

The bang almost deafened me; Brima’s blood on my face replaced my tears,

I saw my son, made to bite his snapped-off bloody ears,

Before, being shot in his head, right in front of my eyes,

Those, those scenes were worse than my most horrible fears…

My color saved me, for they killed them all,

Slaughtered my sisters, they played ball with their chopped-off breasts,

Those savages rarely came across a woman, so fair,

One after the one, they snatched my honor,

The smell of blood on their faces,

I felt their hatred,

They made me bleed,

I was losing consciousness,

Left yearning for a bullet,

As I lay, murmuring on the floor,

I heard them say, “Suits the man, and his whore,

No matter how small is your catch, this is the price,

Diamond-thieves pay…

My closed, sights of my house being turned upside-down, slowly faded away.

My wounded and shattered spirit sobbed, “This was my hell, my hell indeed…”

As darkness engulfed Futa, I rose from that stench of fresh and blood,

From that graveyard of my loved ones, the only ones I had, the only ones I had ever known.

My legs refused to carry me ahead, my hips pained,

As I tried harder, limping across the darkness,

With those sights straining my soul,

Dried tears and blood on my face,

My spirit hating me, splashing disgrace,

I made it to the 47-year-old Mattru hospital in the neighboring town of Mattru Jong,

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I only knew I made it,

For my eyes opened in the crowded ICU,

‘Wary Musa’, I heard them call my name aloud,

My eyes opened to a smile,

One that I had seen after long,

Unable to confide in the same,

I tried looking by my side…

I was already robbed off my honor,

The very sight of another man,

Made me jeer, made me shiver,

Brought alive my fears.

When he touched me, trying to check my pulse,

I so wanted to die, I missed Brima, I missed his smile,

Wish he took me along,

At least I could have saved my pride,

Saved this doctor’s stare…

It took me a week to hear my own voice,

My wounded noise that my ears just did not want to hear,

Illiterate to the core, today with help from a writer,

I wouldn’t have been diving into this painful retrospect,

Had the doctor not come up with something,

That catapulted me, back into these deadly days,

Got me recollecting my Ghosts from the past…

It was a windy afternoon; I was just done with my meal,

When the doctor entered with a horrific deal,

As he brought out a diamond-ring, proposing me for marriage,

A fit of deadly rage took over me,

My lungs pumped hard and harder,

Snatching the ring from his hand,

I threw it out of the window,

Assuming it to be gone, I shrieked in disgust and fear, “that’s the death-stone’

The next moment, I was locking my lips on to his, tight,

I grabbed his medical coat, and then his shirt collar,

I tried feeling his lips, his tongue,

With all the strength I had, I was pushing my past out of my head,

I was vacuum-cleaning it,

I loved everybody,

But now I was alone,

I was blessed with life,

I had to move on,

Tell you the price I paid for a diamond,

Now, I’d to survive…

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Debaroon’2012

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