Note from the author:
This is a true story told by way of fiction in order to mask people’s identity and to cover for forgotten details. The language is also different.
Disclaimer: I know it should have said “burnt” instead of “burned,” just in case you wondered.
“Flap, flap, flap” She walked as fast as she could with slippers on her feet, groceries in a plastic bag in one hand, and an angry face that could probably scare lions away.
The closer she got to her house, the more nervous I got.
“What would she do this time?” I thought. I was raised to mind my business, but there were certain things that just couldn’t be ignored. But what could I do? I was just a kid.
“Djene!” she called! “is Djene not there!?” She dropped the grocery bags on the floor and started looking left and right for Djene.
A few minutes later, Djene showed up with a baby in one hand and a worried face. The baby was Khadia’s child; the lady with the angry face. He was a beautiful boy with big dark eyes. Djene was the nanny who took care of him 24/7 and did all the house chores.
Khadia raised her right hand as high as she could, and without hesitation, she threw it across Djene’s face. “Crack!” I wasn’t sure if it was the extreme sound of the slap or Djene’s head bouncing from one side to another that scared me the most. I was left with feelings of anger, sadness, and pitty. What shocked me the most afterward wasn’t the Khadia’s violence towards Djene, but Djene’s indifference in response to the violence. She neither cried nor moved. I was astonished!
“How could she not cry?” I thought. I knew she must have been young, but it was not easy to guess her age. She was a girl who barely laughed or smiled, and neither did she seem to cry or make angry faces. She sometimes seemed like a stiff stick or a body without a soul.
As the new girl in the city, I had a lot to learn about my new neighborhood. One of my biggest curiosities was to get to know Djene. Who was she? What was she doing with the angry later? And … Why did no one defend her from the cruel treatments of Khadia?
Stay tuned for part 2 in shaa Allah.
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