This is my little bit of pure flash fiction for a Short Story Day Africa prompt of a Mask.
My dear, I’ll weep when I hear of your demise. I’ll throw myself onto the floor and tear off my clothes. People will think grief has driven me insane.
They will shake their heads in pity and say “Sorry oh, my sister”.
They’ll turn their noses up as soon as my back is turned and think about what you may or may not owe them. Your people will come and demand that I remain in the house for 7 days. They will ask me to shave my head, to wear black and starve myself.
What nonsense I’ll think, I don’t have to wear that face anymore. I can choose my own pretty face, I can wear flowers in my hair. I can put pictures on the wall. I can dance to Fela or whatever the kids dance to these days. I am looking forward to that.
Husband, your journey has been long, but your farewell is nigh.
Your people are here, they look around the rooms and ask if you left money for the funeral rites, I shrug my shoulders and cry. I have other masks– the helpless widow, the dutiful wife or the faceless fool who fetched and carried and cooked and cleaned but was never heard.
I put one on and compose myself.
They pretend to feed my children while siphoning grain from the stores. I notice previously empty bags are now full. My mask slips, I go wild and send your people packing. They snigger and stare.
The imam counts his rosary beads, whispering fake prayers under his breath. I ask him to leave. It IS my house now.
I hear the sounds of Samba in the distance, it is Mardi Gras tomorrow. I will dance to my heart’s content, the shackles have been shed.
RIP jailer. It’s my time to shine.