The world’s greatest terrorist attacks did not start from the tiny corner of a mosque, or some church on Jump Street, or in a roundtable conference of the world’s deadliest terrorists. They started in homes – homes of people like Sanu, where living is the simplest euphemism for violence and terrror and slow death. But because terror too is not an overly anxious school boy; it patiently feeds off the human mind like dementors, and then blows up the whole world. Like Holocaust, like 9/11, like Buni Yadi.
Sanu did not see his mother peel an onion that afternoon, but when she explained away onion juice getting into her eyes as the reason behind the tears cascading down from her eyebags, Sani knew at once that his father had done it again.
Down the streets in Ajegunle Ilo, Malik’s parents were love birds, and their lives were all shades of beautiful, at least as far as he could see. On one occasion, Uncle Taye, Malik’s father had gone down on his knees to appeal to Malik’s mother to exculpate him from punishment once when they stalled at school to play football after extra lessons.
To Sanu, his best friend Malik was lucky. Maybe not that lucky because Malik sucked at school work. Yet, on those occasion when Sanu topped the class, there was no father to throw him into sky and kiss him well done. At best, he had a father who cared so much as to not beat his mother on such nights. He would fumble with the belt, crouch silently, look into his mother’s eyes and say, “Shalewa, you know I do all these because I love you. You have taught Sani well. He’s just as smart as I am.” Next, his silhoutte would be visible down the stairs, hugging his bottle of Whiskey. Smoking, eye red, he’d look intensely into the grey distance outside. On such nights, Sanu’s mother would manage a smile, and coo weakly, “You are my saviour, Sanu”.
But, Sanu’s mother never complained to him. Of course, what does a ten year old boy know? Perhaps, a ten year old knows at least that a woman does not just bleed from under while her husband stands over her, poising a belt stained too with blood and grime and tears.
So, later, when Sanu lay in the pool of blood, his father’s though, with six dagger stabs dealt to his gut, Sanu felt fulfilled. Although his mother sat sprawled at a distance, screaming his name very loudly, all Sanu could hear was ” You’re my savior, Sanu.”