It is time to leave. The moment is here. I can feel tears welling up in my eyes. I turn to where the little child is lying fast asleep. Her lips have formed a smile, such a wonderful smile that makes me imagine she must be dreaming right now. She must be dreaming the sweet dream – one of a thousand suns, butterflies dancing as she sits for breakfast, or…
I shake my head. It’s all worthless.
I walk over to her mother’s side, bend low to kiss her forehead, but pause midway. I have failed her. I have failed the little girl. I have failed my family. I failed my very good, old friend. It is about time I put an end to all of this…hopefully for good.
As I sit to lace my shoes, I hear a soft moan, then some senseless grumble as the spring of the bed creaks under human weight. Even in her sleep, she is finding it hard to cope with this unfolding reality. This I know for sure. I take out my handkerchief and dab my eyes dry.
I shake my head again. Life is worthless – it is a story told by a fool on the fireside.
I pull out the letter I had secretly began to compose a day before. Hopefully I can find the right ending, one to give her hope when I am gone. It’s all my fault, but I must take the truth to the grave. And save her this embarrassment and shame.
So I start the last paragraph:
Tell Sha’afatu her Papa has gone to the mountains. Tell her not to find me now. She must first go to school and learn the white man’s language. She must achieve her dream of becoming the first African astronaut to land on the moon. If Mother nature has no need for me by then, I should be with her…This I promise. I’ll be looking after her along with the stars.
As for you, Halima, I will always love you. You are my all, my life.
I think it is my best way of saying goodbye. The hangman’s rope will be waiting now.