Fringes.

Victor Daniel
3 min readNov 21, 2020

Mum:

She’s sitting at the edge of your bed, waiting on you to start the usual ceremonies she’s so used to seeing you perform whenever you have to take drugs. You’re coming down with one of those fevers that one cannot hide from the supervisory glare of your household. There are 5 pills on your palm. Red, white, white, green and yellow. You can take them one after the other, she says. But you don’t. You just hold some water in your mouth and in one swoop, all the pills are going down your throat. You see the shock crawling into your mother’s face, and that’s when you understand how long ago she’d stopped knowing you.

Kelani:

The first time you saw him, you swore he was the most beautiful thing your eyes had ever seen. Four years later, he still is, even though his growth is being retarded by circumstances with funny medical names. Didn’t walk till he was 3. He’s gone past 4 and still doesn’t talk. He loves the rain, and stands by the slides watching the long strings of water glide against the glass, quietly, his eyes a reflection of the stars and the moon. All those planets in his eyes and he still wouldn’t say a word. He’s the only family who ever saw you pop a molly in the kitchen, and he never said a word.

Keke:

She wears your old shirts and writes weird stuff on Facebook. You’re the only family she let on her friends list, so you have to go through the trauma of seeing through the mien of her depression. She’s benign, always in her room, stomach pressed against the bed like she’s trying to melt into it. Doesn’t say much unless she’s prodded and doesn’t enjoy family time. She’s the one you spend the least time with, yet she’s the one you feel the most connection with. Most times you cannot make sense of what she’s talking about on her posts but somehow you can feel the crying infuriation nesting at the base of her heart.

One day, she posts about being sexually abused by a visiting uncle when she was 13. That was 6 years ago. You know she never told anyone in the house. You know if she told you back then you would have been too scared to do shit about it. You’re sitting under a tree behind your dormitory block in law school, reading the post with a cig stuck between your lips, every line of her writing pulverizing your heart into fine ashes.

You can tell that she’s currently set on the highway you’re thrumming your engine upon, and you can no longer stop her self-destruction. You know this because you’re right on the fringe of that toxic fate yourself, your spirit and soul having gone ahead of you to prepare a room for you in the eternal flames of your impending tragedy.

You never talk to her about her abuse, or about the post, even though you now know the purpose for which she lets you see her vulnerability on Facebook; even though you now realise that she made that post knowing that you would see it, hoping that you would catch the pieces of her brokenness and help her fix it like a big brother should. You don’t.

Instead, on the night you joined the boys in your hostel to fill your lungs with Methamphetamine, you texted her this: “I see all you’re going through. I feel it too. I love you.”

She says, thank you, and that’s that.

Dad:

Your first ever memory of him was of him driving you to the hospital for your chickenpox vaccination. He prides about how much control he has over his home, even though your flesh was a penance paid to the slashing edges of his leather belts in the quest to raise you and Keke according to the moral blueprint he created for your upbringing. He thinks he did a great job.

Your last memory of him will be of seeing him drive you to the hospital, shortly after you will OD on 1000 milligrams of tramadol, just before the world will go white on you.

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Victor Daniel

Humour, social criticism, fiction, and reflection. Stories in Zikoko, Brittle Paper, Lolwe, Afrocritiks, & more. Newsletter: https://whichwayshome.substack.com/