‘Morning Has Broken’ by Dave Ndyanabo

She looked so peaceful. Nothing looked amiss. She cut the most tranquil picture of sleeping beauty if ever there was one. Except she wasn’t sleeping. She was dead. Interesting that this girl that made my heart beat so hard and made me feel so young was the very one that was causing me to panic. Those eyebrows that I loved were even more beautiful than I remember. Those lips that I sucked like a kid on her mummy’s tit were begging me to take a tag. The single dimple that complimented her smile was still pinched in her cheek. She seemed so fresh, so vibrant, so ready to take the world. How did we get here. That I knew. Our ritual always culminated in us quenching our thirst in this backroom in the old teachers’ quarters.

The first time I saw Mildred was as forgettable as it was memorable. The first day of school was always something to look forward to. High school and all its promise beckoned; then there was the holiday tales-virginities broken, canes suffered, and all in between. That’s what made it memorable. That and the new babes whose bodies had matured during the holidays and called out to our most carnal of desires. Mildred had come from a neighbouring primary school so she was a fresh prospect for all of us to compete for. That first day when I summoned the courage to ask to escort her back home after school, she simply breezed past me without as little as a glance let alone a jeer, leaving a wiff of her coco butter that she smeared so extravagantly over her nimble frame. That’s why it was forgettable. A few pesterings on and I got that privilege of walking her home. She came from a village not far off from mine and our conversations were worth every step of that extra mile. I found myself trying to make her laugh because when she laughed, my heart swelled and I wanted to hold her. She was eager to study hard and her dream was to become a nurse like her mother was. That was the reason she had enrolled in our High school for it performed much better than all the others in the region.

The term seemed to flash past like time seems to do when you are having the time of your life but we managed to squeeze in what we could-from the leisurely long walks by the old saw mill to the delightful dips in the swamp on the other side of the school. Mildred became an obsession I wasn’t willing to let out of my grasp. Like most girls she seemed more mature and even when my blood ran hot and I tried to reach under her skirt, she was always sober enough to brush me off though not as harshly as the first time. This became my major goal. I couldn’t think of anything more pleasurable than reaching under that skirt and fondling those bums that danced as we walked, feeling those hips that brushed my thigh as she laughed and sucking on those young budding breasts whose nipples pressed her shirt. I set about what I believed was a full proof move to succeed at my goal. The mid-term beckoned and as such many festivities were planned like the inter-school music, dance and drama contests and the highly competitive football championship. The latter was what we all looked forward to and these were held in the Mboma City Stadium. .

The four main schools in the area tussled it out and the winner had the bragging and taunting rights through the holidays up until the next championship. On this day the stadium was awash with all kinds of goodies and bites that traders brought from far and wide and this gave the lucky boys who had girlfriends a chance to buy them whatever they wanted while they basked on their arms. The teachers were non the wiser during all this for this too was their time to take a break from the routine of having classes.

This meant they weren’t too keen on who went where after the match or with whom anyway. I had been saving up for this day from my father’s poultry business where I helped sell eggs at the weekends so I could get my Mildred all she desired. I planned to be particularly nice and charming and use the electricity of the football match to help me along the way. Mildred was still cautious but I had seen a fire in her eyes when she had tripped on a stone as we took a walk by the mill. She had seemed to hold on too long-not that I was complaining-and when I steadied her and looked into her eyes there was a fire that seemed to ask me to put out. I planned to do just that after the championship. When the day came, it was all it promised to be. I don’t know if it was my secret anxiety or my suppressed hunger but I seems particularly clumsy that day.

When I met Mildred and we walked hand in hand to the stadium it felt like we were going home. I started to see how her body had matured-her hips seemed fuller and her breasts seemed to bounce as she kicked the dust with her inna-painted toes. There is a way a girl looks like a woman when you intend to be a man with her I guess. I bought her her favorite curry covered fried cassava and could even afford a cold Mirinda from the booth by the stadium gate. She, and I were the envy of all who saw us and I found she was gripping my hand tighter especially when we passed other girls.

As the day wore on and the final beckoned I ventured to ask if we would leave early and go by the staff quarters.Every boy who asked a girl this used it as a code to see if she was interested in sleeping with them. I almost choked when she replied “Thought you would never ask”. We sped out the gate and then shyly resorted to a brisk trot rather than ran to our rendezvous.

The old teachers’ quarters were a set of rooms behind the school canteen that had been abandoned when the school received a grant from the ministry and opted to build better housing for their staff. Some ingenious guys had refurbished some rooms and even thrown a mattress in one of them where they would go snooze while cutting class. It was on this mattress that our hunger brought us and when I reached up her skirt there was nothing to feel but bare skin with a crop of hair covering my gates. From there on it was a scramble out of my pants, a fumble to prod with my stick and an end before it even started. We were left in a heap panting and sweating for work we hadn’t done and only covered with that pointless, almost empty afterglow. I looked into her eyes and she strained to hide something there-couldn’t tell if it was the shame of giving herself to me or the unquenched glow that lingered in her eyes. She later admitted that it was the latter and I took the reminder of the term trying to put out those embers as best I could.

Mildred managed to school me like only a girl could guide and a woman would teach and I found our trysts on that mattress become ever more pleasurable. Those quarters became our secret piece of heaven where nothing would be wrong. Its unfortunate that this paradise is where I got to hear the worst news I could ever hear. Mildred called me to our cove and I could see something was not right. Not only was she fully dressed-we had started a ritual where she met me at the door wearing only her smile-but her eyes were bloodshot from crying. Without as little as a pause she burst out accusingly “I AM PREGNANT”. I felt like someone had punched the air out of me and could only stare at her. Noticing how unproportional her nose was,as it oozed down her huge lips that I had sucked on so tenderly but looked as smug and ugly as the pancakes that were our delight after our energy sapping sessions. She stood up on those knock-kneed spindy limbs and looked down at me like a mother looks at a useless kid and i had never known i would distaste someone as much. I cursed the eyes that had set themselves on this creature, the legs that had chased her and the loins that had burned for her.

What will we do you goat?” was the shout that woke me from my thoughts.

She had moved to the end of the room like she wanted to be as far as she could get from me and I wondered how feelings of longing would become those of dread in an instant. Now sober I approached her and tried to reason with her on what our options were. My nimble goddess in a minute had become a vile spitting curse of a woman. Her response was a barrage of insult, scorn and curses I couldn’t believe she had in her. She came at me, sharp nails and verbal missiles firing and i had to back up to avoid this onslaught. I tripped over the mattress and tried to grab on her for balance but was failed as I tagged on her and fell propelling her over me and hitting her head square on the brick that we used to keep the door shut.

She lay so still and a settling silence prevailed.

I turned her round and could see a trail of blood trailing from her nose and down her shirt. I felt her neck for a pulse and my worst fears were confirmed. How entwined life and death were… I had squirted life and reaped death.

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