I wake up. Miriam is moaning softly in her crib. It's 3am. I wonder if she's
missing Adam. She probably doesn't even know what she's missing, just that
something is different and she can't figure it out.
In the background, the heavy, rapid beat of tribal drums and chanting provides a
mournful backdrop. It is initiation time when the youth of animistic Chad forge
their alliances with the powers of darkness that reign. The full moon casts an
eery light to the shadows in my bedroom as the mosquito net seems to draw its
tentacles around my exhausted body.
Images burst across my memory of my little boy, I ache deep in my gut, but I
can't feel much. The tears no longer come. Despair grips me and a boiling rage
builds in my soul. My mind battles for reason and hope, but it's a losing
battle. It's become routine: 2 or 3am and I'm not going back except to a
fitful, vivid dream filled tossing and turning with a million "what ifs"
crashing through my head.
But that will drive me insane. I get up and get a drink of water. The drums
have started again. I didn't notice they'd stopped. Dogs howl mournfully in
the background. Night insects and birds fill in the mournful backdrop of this
never-ending night. Maybe I'll wake up tomorrow and have to squeeze out of bed
in between Adam's mosquito net covered crib and my own mattress. Maybe he'll
wake me up early with his cries of hunger or need for companionship. Maybe when
I reach in to pick him up he'll lift his head and gurgle out a sigh of
contentment as he gives me a lopsided grin. Maybe after a snack he'll fall back
asleep for a while only to awaken again flopping and thrashing his legs,
desperate to develop and be on the move.
Or maybe he'll sleep in a dark, cold box under a red flowered tree with his
premature sister a few feet away in a jar not to wake up for days or months or
years or centuries or millennia. Maybe slowly but surely his parents will get
on with their lives, vaguely remembering from time to time as an unexpected ache
creeps into their otherwise busy day. Or maybe they won't recover. Maybe
they'll give up, tuck their tail between their legs and slink on home to live
lives of quiet desperation. Right now all I see is darkness, the dark night of
the soul has begun and God only knows where it will lead.
If only I could cry...