Rumors by Esther Naomi

Rumors by Esther Naomi

I watched them in amazement
It must be one of those arranged marriages
Does poverty
Make people fight everyday?
Do empty stomachs
Make people yell so loudly?

I watched her with admiration
Older than all of us
Some stare at her breasts
She seems unbothered
Against all the odds
She devours the books
And like a sponge,
She absorbs knowledge.

I watched him with expectations
So ambitious too
The father’s head is buried in the brew
The mother cannot raise fees for both
His shoulders are now big enough
To carry the family
A job in the city is a huge relief.

I watched her with contempt
Her stomach is pushing out
The rumours got it right
The father will slaughter her
With her good grade,
She settles for the bodaboda guy.

I watched her with sympathy
The other time it was a broken leg
Today it’s a swollen eye
They are back
He lost his job
The rumours have got a lot to say
The mother sent him fare.

I watched them in disbelief
Do people,
Finally get comfortable in their predicaments?
They seem so happy and content
“It’s been 20 years”
“I should be given shares”
They burst into laughter
The mother hums a song
And as the wind blows,
The cotton plantation seems to hum back
We belong to each other.

I watched the offspring with hope
With agility,
Running to school
Like one running away from a death trap
Barefooted, the cold chewing his bare buttocks
He seems unbothered
He is so thirsty for knowledge
It melts my heart
I smile,
I watch again and frown
Is it history repeating itself?

The rumours have got a lot to say
Some say it’s a curse
Some say it’s destiny
Some say it’s the consequences of the choices they made
But oh! Is it you fate?
Can one ever run away from you?
How huge are your arms?
Can one unshackle from your firm grip?

Esther Naomi



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