AGONY OF THE DEAF
Eniola, a thirteen year old deaf and dumb girl finds a teenage stranger in a farm and emotionally likes him. Her mother discovers the boy as a fugitive and takes him in due to her daughter’s happiness….
Eniola grows fond of the boy and can’t do without him. She miraculously wakes up one morning and notice that she can hear and speak, but unfortunately, the boy is nowhere to be found again…
Eniola goes back to the farm each day, hoping to see the love of her life as she grows into an adult……
Written by Author Nath
In a bogus gown, she wandered into the woods all alone. She weaved her hair locally, though a bit rough with some particles of shrubs on it. She has a black complexion, a pointed nose and a narrow face, so beautiful that one can hardly believe her plight of deaf and dumb syndrome. Before her was a narrow flowing water, enclosed by rocks which they believed was the source of the water. She bent beside it to quench her thirst. Though the current of the river with the other sounds from insects had the woods intensified, but she couldn’t hear it because she was deaf. With her palms, she engulfed some water into her mouth severally then straightened up. Surprisingly, she saw a teenage boy of fifteen year old, at least, struggling behind distant grasses. Her instinct told her he was in trouble. Quickly, she jumped over the water, climbed a few rocks and slid some grasses away from her path until she clearly saw the boy, battling with a local trap on his ankle.
The boy wore a torn dirty shirt and a knicker with bushy afro hair. He was a bit fair with blue eyes. His ankle bled by the trap, yet he neither shouted nor cried but he was in pain, looking for a way to set himself free. Just then, Eniola, the girl, bent down, gently held the leg with a hand and used the other to loosen the trap easily while the boy stared at her strangely. Both hadn’t said anything.
“Éloignez-vous de moi.” The boy spoke in a strange language, french to be precised which means “Get away from me.” he struggled to run but fell down again. That was when he realized that he couldn’t walk with the leg. From the ground, he looked up at Eniola to see her demonstrating some signs with her hands. Smartly, he understood immediately that she was deaf and doom. Also he understood the information she tried to pass to him so he repeated it in French and in form of a question saying, “Vous savez quelque chose qui peut réduire le sang?”
Eniola searched around for an Aspilia leaves to halt the flow of blood on his ankle which was actually what the boy understood and repeated. He watched her come with the leaves, squeezed it in his presence and began to apply it on the wound. Eniola occasionally glanced at him with a smile which ushered out her beauty. The boy couldn’t help it but drawn to her kindness and beauty. She straightened up with that smile, stretched her hand for the boy who hesitantly grabbed it before standing up too. They gazed at each other. Only Eniola kept blushing and smiling.
“Merci.” The boy appreciated her effort.
Eniola got attracted by his blue eyes which she had never seen anyone with such a colourful pupil. She suddenly stopped smiling, raised her hand and began to touch his eyelid wondering the cause of such tremendous feature. The boy also held the hand and placed it on his chest. Eniola could feel his heartbeat which triggered another smile on her face. She placed his own hand on her chest too without minding the contraction of her breast to her thorax where his hand actually landed. Therefore, the boy did not only feel the solf nature of the breast but also her heartbeat. He smiled too. Suddenly, he heard a female voice from afar calling, “Eniola!”. Swiftly, he released his hand and looked at that direction. The poor deaf girl understood that he must had heard something then also followed the direction of his eyes.
“Eniola!” The voice called again. That was Ayomide, the mother of the deaf. “Where is this girl? I don’t even know why I’m shouting her name because she can’t hear me.” The mother murmured. She got to the flowing water where she sighted her daughter, standing bemused all by herself. “Eniola, come here! What are you doing there!” She jumped the water, climbed a few rocks and slid aside some grasses on her path.
Eniola never knew the direction the boy followed when he vanished into the woods. She tried to explain to her mother that she saw someone but the mother disagreed.
“Come, let’s go home. Nobody is out here.” Ayomide dragged her by the hand. “I just finished weeding the last portion of the farm.” She added.
Eniola pulled her hand off from her mother’s. She demonstrated bitterly, looking back at the position she found the boy. Patiently, the mother observed her until she ended her domb signs with sadness. Silence kept stretching between both of them as Ayomide looked around the woods and said, “Eni, you’re freaking me out. There’s nobody here. Jẹ ki a lọ si ile .” She concluded in Yoruba language and held her by the hand again, taking her away from the woods. The poor girl sadly kept looking backward on their way home.
It had gone dark in the village, but the moonlight was a possiblity for human visibility. An owl crowed from a distant and the residence of Ayomide subdued the darkness by electrical energy. Eniola had not eaten since she got back from the farm neither had she left the window of her room, hoping to see the boy. What she felt for him was something she couldn’t understand. She was on jean trouser and a t-shirt as she sadly stared through the window. Just then, the mother entered. Eniola turned to her in a way both stared at each other. Surprisingly to the mother, she began to shed tears and demonstrating her pains with her hands too.
“God, how can I explain this?” Ayomide wondered. “Eni, I can’t let you go back to the farm tonight for whatsoever reason. Let me go get your food here. You haven’t eaten anything.” She left. Before she could come back, Eniola had left to the farm through the window by that ungodly hour. “Oh my God! Eniola!!” The plate of rice fell from the mother’s hand.
However, the legs of the deaf soared through the road to the woods. Grasses flung on her legs, her toes kicked on the rocks, yet she persisted.
Strangely, on the other hand, a male feet could also be seen in the woods by the help of the moonlight, pacing with the same velocity Eniola used. The moon seemed to be following both of them as their running feet never stopped. Squirrels chirped in the trees and crickets had the grasses overwhelmed by their sounds.
Eniola arrived at the flowing water, breathing hastily. Astoundingly , she saw the boy at the other side of the water. He was actually the one who paced with the same velocity Eniola used. The same force that brought back the deaf there brought him back too and he couldn’t explain it. Nevertheless, they gazed at each. Eniola jumbed the water and began to touch his eyelids again and suddenly hugged him. She pulled away from him and showed a sign with her hands.
“Je peux te suivre jusqu’à chez toi?” The boy repeated her statement to be sure, which means “I can follow you home?”
Eniola held him by the hand and began to lead him home. A few meters to the house, Ayomide met them with a torchlight. When she shone the torch at the boy, she saw him tattered and seperated her daughter from him.
“Get away from my daughter. Who are you? Are you the one that has been disturbing my her?” She held Eniola by her side.
The boy kept quiet. Ayomide looked at her daughter to see her trying to substantiate something.
“You found him in the woods and wants him to stay with us? But we don’t know who he is!” The mother lamented while the daughter pleaded. Yet, the boy never said anything. He just mope like a castrated goat.
Notwithstanding, Ayomide forcefully dragged Eniola along the way to the house, leaving the boy behind. The poor deaf girl cried and struggled in her mother’s tight hand that seemed like the rough hand of a policeman. She pushed her into the house and locked the door. The moon gradually began to disappear, subdued by cloudy weather that generated a strong wind. Thunder strocked, the heavens opened and a heavy rain had the roof of all the buildings in the village making a noise, yet the electricity was never interrupted.
Meanwhile, Eniola had rushed to the closed aluminum window, placed her two hands on the glass. After some minutes, the mother came to her room for the second time to see her staring through the window. She also looked through the glass to see the boy being masticated by the rain. She looked at her daughter who sadly returned the emotional sight.
“Fine, let me bring him in, but he must go back to wherever he came from as early as six anti-meridian tomorrow.” The mother left while Eniola followed her with a quick smile on her face. The door of the living room was opened like the gate of heaven. Lightening from the rainy atmosphere shone into the house through the door.
“Come! Wa!” Ayomide yelled at the boy to supercede the sound of the rain. Eniola also waved at him to come in. The boy gradually entered into the house all wet and the door closed. It’s sound frightened him so he quickly glanced behind him.
“Let me show you the bathroom. And get you a cloth to change on.” The mother of the house led the way.
Meanwhile, the boy had been looking around the living room as if it was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen. As he fed his eyes so as Eniola gazed at him. She never hesitated to smile.
“Here is the bathroom.” Ayomide pointed at a mini room. When she left to her room, her daughter led the boy to the bathroom then locked it. She returned to the living room.
A few minutes later, Ayomide who was with two plates of rice in her hands from the kitchen stopped at the door of the dining when she saw her daughter and boy in the living room communicating happily as if they had known each other for a long time. The woman wondered how fast the boy was understanding the dumb signs. In her very sight, she saw her daughter laughing aloud. She had never seen her in such a happy mood ever since her husband kicked the bucket to the land of the dead. Nevertheless, she swallowed hard, carried the food to them and placed them on the centre table.
“Eniola, can both of you eat now?” She dragged the table closer to both of them. Her daughter carried a plate and hadded it to the boy and took the last one. The mother folded her arms.
“So what’s your name, little boy?” she asked him.
The boy looked at her, yet said nothing, likewise the girl as both of them stopped eating.
“What is your name? I asked.” The mother repeated. Yet no response. “Ki ‘ni oruko re?” She diviated to Yoruba language, yet the two kept looking at her. “Ke-du a-h-a gị?” she stressed the Igbo language to the best of her knowledge. The boy still didn’t say anything, rather began to eat again.
Meanwhile, Eniola had read the mother’s lips, she ran to the tv-stand, took a paper and a pen. She wrote down the boy’s name quickly on it and handed it to the mother. She happily retuned to her seat.
“Oh, he has already told you his name? Is he also deaf and dumb?” Ayomide quried harshly. She looked at the name critically.. “Claude.” She pronounced it. “That’s a French name, right?” She looked at the kids, yet none said anything to her.
Briskly, she walked on the tiled street of the village, tied only a wrapper over a trouser. Her steps were like a woman going for a fight at the market square. She turned left, jumped a gutter and knocked hardly on the next door of the next house. The door opened instantly.
“Ayomide, this visit this early morning, is everything alright?” A male voice came behind the door.
“No oh! Rara, rara!” She entered without being told. “My eyes have seen what my mouth cannot explain.” She added as the man closed the door behind them.
“If you pick up one end of a stick, you also pick up the other; speak what your eyes have seen, woman!” Gbenga, the old man said. Both were standing for the unspoken news had set a pin on their buttocks.
“My daughter found a young boy of.. of… Fifteen or sixteen last night, and she had been so fond of him. In fact, I observed both of them last night, she can’t do without him oh.” Ayomide narrated all that happened the previous day.
The man sat down with a heavy exhalation. “In the woods.” he said thoughtfully with hands going through his jaw. “You said your daughter likes him so much within a short period of time?”
“like’ is understatement. They interact as if they’ve known each other for years.” Ayomide had refused to sit.
“Uhmmm.” Gbenga exhaled again critically. “Try to find the origin of that boy, but never you chase him away. An intelligent enemy is better than a stupid friend. There is always a reverse reaction for every action. And there is a reason for all actions and reactions. The young bird does not crow until it hears the old ones. So do as I’ve said.” Gbenga spoke like an elder he was.
“You mean I have to keep a whole stranger in my house as my son because of my daughter’s mental and physical health.”
“Exactly, but take causion. Don’t leave both of them in a private place to avoid sexual assault.” the man concluded.
Eniola was placed in a special school. She dressed up that morning in her red uniform. She had amended her rough hair thereby adding another atom to her beauty. She came out to the living room where Claude was already waiting for her. She exchanged greeting with a smile. Ayomide also came out the same time.
“Bonjour, maman. je veux la suivre à l’école.” The boy said looking at the woman.
“Finally you’ve said something. Okay, that was French, I guess. I heard ‘bonjour’ but the rest are story for the gods.” Ayomide brought out her phone while Eniola read their lips. “Okay, you gonna say what you said again. I have Google voice translator.. It will help understand what your saying.” She walked closer to the boy.
“I-want-to-follow-her-to-school.” Claude stressed the English.
“Whoa!” Ayomide gazed at him. “Your English is bad but manageable. Sure, I’ll take you both there. But…” She bent down. “Where are you from? Who are your parents?” she asked.
Claude kept mute.
“Alright, I guess I shouldn’t have asked.” She retraced her steps instantly. “By the way, you’re not deaf and dumb. How can you..”
“A l’école, je ferai le sourd tandis qu’à la maison, je parlerai.” He interrupted her and translated it the way he could, “In school, I play deaf. When I come, i talk. I want her to be happy.” he concluded.
“Hmm.. all that for her? Well, going to school, you need a last name and a Yoruba name. So I’ll call you ‘Lolade Olubukola’. My daughter bears the same surname.”
At school, Claude could be seen laughing with Eniola at a place, seated on a log of wood. Obviously, they were getting more than alone and growing some feelings between them, a feeling that can’t imaginably fade. One could see Claude, running out of the wood which vibrated and had Eniola buttocks hit on the grown.
“Sorry.” He ran back and pulled her up as both kept smiled. Finally, he ran out to the nearest vegetations and came back with a hand behind him. He signed for her to close her eyes. She did with a smile. When she opened them, she saw a flower in Claude’s hand. She suddenly became emotional as she took it from him. She wished she could kiss him but she respected both herself and the environment, even her age.
Hours grew to days, days to weeks and weeks to months. Ayomide totally took Claude as her relative in public, but took him as his son at home. They had been having fun especially Eniola who wished thing remain the way they were, but she never knew that as things happen for a reason, things also fall apart. Evan Ayomide herself wished Claude never leaves eventhough, he has refused to tell her where he was from and who his parents were.
At the end of the term, Eniola took her first position in her class. That caused for a celebration in the house. Three of them could be seen dancing to the music blasting from a television. In their hands were also bottles of cocacola. At night everybody became tired. Eniola slept off in the living room, so Claude carried her to her bed, covered her halfway with a blanket. He stared at her for a while then smiled. He located a razor on a table inside the room, cut himself open, brought out a small bottle from his pocket where he poured his blood. He missed it and gently rubbed it on Eniola’s lips. He placed another flower beside her and kissed her forehead with tears running from his eyes.
The next morning, Eniola woke up, feeling dizzy. When she saw the flower, she smiled broadly. She walked out to the living room and finally to the kitchen where sound of plates vibrated her eardrums to her amazement. The mother was preparing a breakfast as she sang a victorious song to the Lord, while Eniola stood at the door of the kitchen.
“Mama?” She called from the door. She couldn’t believe the movement of her lips and rotation of her tongue.
Hearing her voice, the mother stopped singing and turned.
“Mama?” she repeated.
“Eniola?” The mother dropped her kitchen knife, slowly walking to her. “You can talk?” she asked promptly.
“And you can hear!”
Eniola nodded her head. The mother shouted with a loud voice as she hugged her daughter joyfully. Both rushed into Claude’s room but couldn’t find him anymore. They looked at each other.
“Aah, where is he now?” The mother asked with a deep Yoruba accent.
Eniola quietly recalled the flower on her bed and with the absence of the boy, she didn’t need somebody to tell her that it was a good bye flower. She looked at her mother and started shedding tears. “Mama? Mama?” She couldn’t say anything than to keep repeatingo her mother’s name. She totally broke down in a serious cry and ran out of the house. She was on her way to the woods while the mother ran after her, forgetting that her food was on fire. That began the agony of Eniola….
TO BE CONTINUED.