”Hurry up! ” called Abigail as she kept trying to start the pickup truck

”Coming. ” Dian answered descending the wooden stairs with a large took box in her hand.

Dian live with her family in the Northern wild of Nigeria after a devastating war broke out in her fatherland. Then she was too young to make sense out of the violence and the harsh sounds of gunshots. She could remember the ruins and debris littering the streets, the half-burnt buildings and some completely reduced to nothing.

Her father had told her that they were on a long family vacation when she asked once why they kept moving to new places. She had wholeheartedly believed him when he assured her everything was fine when in fact she could see the world totally crumbling. In as much as she tried to ignore the uneasy feeling in the pit of her stomach, she knew the obvious cannot be denied and the quick aging on her parents face did not go unnoticed.

”I will be going to buy some groceries in the market, ” Abigail announced, ”that is whenever I am done with this old junk of a car. ” She sighed.

”This truck is as old as I can remember ” Dian giggled handing over the jack to Abigails already waiting hands.

”Where is Kingsley? ” asked Abigail as she worked on lifting up the truck with the jack.

”In his room. ” She answered simply as she watched Abigail crawl under the rather too old pickup truck with a spanner.

The soft wind blew on her face, playing with the free strands of her hair bringing up an uneasy feeling in her guts, drawing her eyes automatically to the willow tree at the fair end, other side of the small river that made its majestic current east of their isolated abode. She had had that feeling many times before, when the willow seems to sparkle as if it has small electric currents in it, beckoning her to come closer. She had once yelled to it one chill and silent mid-night when it had felt so strong like a bond. She had that still dark night made her way like in a trance out of the house, over the little bridge and a little closer to the willow before she chickened out at the last minute.

”Dian, ” called Abigail more like a question, drawing her attention from her glassy-eyed trance, ”is something wrong? ” Abigail asked analyzing her in concern from under the pickup truck where she lay, ”You seem to be in your own world. You know you can tell me anything darling. ”

”Its nothing, ” she lied, ”Im fine, why? ”

”I have asked for the pliers for the hundredth time ” Abigail exaggerated with a tint of her head and a sarcastic pout, ”do you want to talk about it? ”

”Im fine. ” She repeated handing over the pliers to Abigail.

”Well, I hope you are ready for the special delicacy that I will be cooking tonight with my magic fingers. It sure will be your new favorite. ” Boasted Abigail with a cheeky smile effortlessly changing the subject after a quick questioning raise of her eyebrow.

Poor, poor thing. Dian thought. Abigail seems to smile unnecessarily nowadays trying to mask her pain from the incident after they moved into their new home.

Father had announced that he was going for a short trip, Abigail has strongly opposed but he insisted that it was for a good reason. Young Dian had said nothing but the casual childish comment ”Daddy buy chocolate and a pony for me on your way back. ” And he had left after a quick peck on her head when Abigail was throwing a fit.

He promised to come back soon and life will be better, but he did not. Abigail had cried Dian with her and Kingsley; he was still a toddler and knew next to nothing.

Did father abandon us? Is he dead? Did he run away with another woman? Did he loose his way? And more has been Dians unanswered questions, ones she deeply wish someone could answer.

Even with all the glamorous smiles Abigail uses to assure her children that all will is fine, she should have known better than to try. Dian could see past her glamour deep into the ugly bruises in her heart, most still bleeding profusely.

”Want a break to clear your head? ” Abigail asked, pocking her now greasy face out from under the pickup truck.

Yeah, you are right. Dian thought to herself as she swept her surrounding with her eyes attentively. Though she had lived there all her life, she cannot help but wonder why Abigail had not bothered to fix the rusty zinc on the roof that chatters audibly as the breeze swept through it as if playing melody only the evergreen rows of trees and thick shrubs of weeds close by could dance to. And the willow tree could not be ignored. Though distant into the thick bush, it did nothing but stir her curiosity even more. Something is definitely wrong with that willow tree.

”Sure. ” She replie

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