"Dahlia!,wake up!",a subdued urgent whisper broke into my dream,mumbling,I turned and secured the duvet more tightly around me."Oni!!" Came the voice more sharply,I jolted upright,my mom uses that name when she's feeling tender emotions,it means "stone",she says I gave her strength to stand, when she had me,because she failed to get pregnant after marrying my Dad for four years and was labeled a witch by Dad's mother.
"Mami,what is it?",I asked with concern and fear,twisting my gut, "Dahlia!,you have to pack and go now!",she answered,her eyes growing larger,she looked positively wild,go where,I wondered,it's just 1am in the morning,I looked at her with growing panic, I'd never seen her like that before,she yanked the sheets,duvet off me and pulled me to my feet,"you have to go,before they find you!", they?,who was they?, " Dahlia! Please,it's really important,here! Wear this very fast and come with me!",she said handing me my faded blue jeans,black tee shirt and brown leather jacket,she then went on to explain in a rush of how Daddy was out on the motorcycle waiting to take me to the airport where I will board with Aunt Bibbiana, wait,Aunt Bibby,mom's younger sister,who lives abroad. Now she really had me,"Mami! What is going on?!,why am I leaving in the middle of the night?!","Oni,it's for your own good, remember I love you,we all do",she said gesturing to the two other beds with my twin sisters sleeping,"but why?!",I gulped down a sob and grabbed her night gown in fright,"your a big girl now my Oni,be strong okay,I'll tell you everything when I come for you,now! Let's go!",she grabbed my hand and yanked me out to the waiting motorcycle,the crisp November dry season air cut through my lungs,she planted me behind my Dad,who immediately started the engine,and passed me the second helmet. Then they locked eyes over my head for split second,a brief understanding passing between them. She hugged me crushing me to her torso," you must believe it to see it..",she whispered, "nature is your friend",as if on cue,the trees on the right hand side of the road began swaying gently. "Go now",she said. A sense of loss clutched me,as my mom turned back to go to the house, thinking about my school,i wondered what Nyaka,my best friend would be thinking about my going,I mean nobody i knew and loved knew where I was going, myself included,faster we flew along the eerie road to God knows where.
"Come here Dahlia",motioned my aunt gently,we had arrived at the airport in thirty minutes,she stood at the waiting lounge with her husband,uncle Royle,gingerly I walked to them,millions of questions running in my mind,she gave me a hug," I know that you don't understand what is going on right now,by tomorrow morning,you will know it all,I promise",she said looking straight into my eyes,willing me to understand, uncle Royle patted me on the back,"come on,our flight is boarding now".My Dad held me at an arms length at first,he is not used to hugs,looking far ahead towards the checking point,"dad..",I said glancing up at him,he tightened the hug frenziedly,"my Oni,all is going to be well,take care,God bless you",with that,He gently plucked himself from my linked arms at his waist and nudged me towards my aunt. Since i had no luggage,I didn't take much time at the check point,I practically breezed through.
A beautiful woman welcomed us on the plane,funny enough,it looked like a sitting room and it had six chairs,well I'd never been on a plane. I sat by the window and promptly pulled a soft white woolen blanket to my chin because i didnt want them to see the fat tears slowing making rivulets down my cheeks,years of taking everything the adult people said calmly had been ingrained in me from birth,its wrong for a kid to question the big people.So i sobbed quietly as the homesickness seeped into me while my aunt and uncle settled in their seats and took juices from the cart the beautiful woman rolled to us. I politely declined as my stomach couldn't contain anything, turning to the window,I closed my eyes and tried to will sleep to come.