You're a very active child, and curious. Your mother always says that one day, your curiousity is going to get you killed, or at least in some serious trouble. Not that you listen anyway, you're five years old, what five year old wants to sit idly by and watch their family all day? You barely have any toys, your family can't afford any. The only things that you have are a children's book with a collection of stories, and an old worn out stuffed bunny. The children's book has been read over and over, the pages have yellowed and and crumbled, and some are missing. You have a very vivid imagination, and you love hearing stories. Your favorite story is about a bird, who flies all around the world, and he encounters many different characters on his journey. You don't go anywhere without your stuffed bunny, you named him Rudy. Rudy is always in your arms, he's old, almost falling apart, and he smells of dirt and dust. However, for you, this smell is comforting. You remember having nightmares and every time you wake up, he's there and you're hugging him tightly. You whisper all your secrets to Rudy, all your dreams and thoughts. You spend a lot of time playing and talking with your cousin David, your Aunt Susan's youngest son. David is as curious as you are, and he knows how to read. He reads every book he can get his hands on, and he doesn't mind your inquires. David is very bright and kind-hearted, he wants to become a physician, and help people.
You start the day with sunrise, your entire family gets up and start preparing for the days chores. You watch David and the other boys go to school. You go to the well along with one of your sisters to fetch water. When you come back home, your mother has prepared breakfast, it consists of porridge. After that, all 5 of you go out and work in the fields, collecting grains. You work the whole day with your family, and in the evening you go back home and have dinner, which consists of rice, sometimes rice and beans. On Friday mornings, you get to go with your mother to the village market. Here your mother sells the extra grain that you've collected during the week. Lately, there hasn't been much abundance in grains, your mother has been complaining that the dry season doesn't seem to ever end.
In the evenings, when all your chores are done, you sometimes see David. You play together, and you pick his brain about what he has learnt in school that day. David tells you stories that he's heard in school, about other countries and other people. One thing that you find extremely fascinating is that David claims that some people have running water in their homes, and not just cold water, but hot water too! They don't have to boil it or anything, they get it from something called a 'tap'. Your curiousity is generally satisfied by David's stories, at least for now. Your excitment to start school grows, more and more every day.
There's one thing you've been wondering about - who is your father? All the other children that you've met have a father and a mother, you only have a mother. One day, you decide to ask.
"Ma" you call for your mother's attention as she's cleaning some plates.
"Yes, chicken?" she doesn't turn towards you, nor does she stop humming.
"Do I have a father?"
Your mother drops the plate she has in her hands, it falls to the floor and shatters into a thousand pieces. She stops humming and turns toward you. You rush to your feet, to help her with broken plate, but she directs you to sit down on your bed.
Your mother takes a deep breathe and looks into your eyes.
"Why do you ask about your father?"
"Do I have one?"
She nods, slowly.
"Everyone has a father."
"If everyone has one, then where is mine?"
"You think too much for your own good sometimes, do you know that chicken?" your mother sighs deeply.
You don't say anything, you just look at your mother, waiting for her to continue talking.
You look closely at your mother, her eyes in deep thought, far away from you. After what feels like an eternity, she her gaze turns back and focuses on you.
"Your father has several wives, I am his third wife." she pauses and looks into your eyes.
"Do you understand what I am saying, chicken?" you shake your head, your mother takes a deep breathe.
"It means that your father has more children, than you and your sisters." your mouth forms to an o when you realize what your mother is saying.
"I have more siblings?" you say excitedly.
"Yes, chicken, but you're likely never seeing them"
"Why not?" you can't understand why your mother is speaking like this.
"You see chicken, when I was pregnant with you, your father wished to have a son" your mother reaches out and runs her fingers slowly through your hair.
"When you were born, and I didn't give him the son he wanted. Your father abandoned us, he was already living in the city due to his job." she is looking you in your eyes when she's speaking, making sure that you understand what she's saying.
"Your father stopped visiting us, and he stopped sending us money. Not that he sent much anyway." she says bitterly.
"You know I love you, don't you chicken?" your eyes meet and are locked for a moment, before you slowly nod your head.
Your mother reaches out and wipes tears from your cheeks, tears you didn't know was flowing down your cheeks. She pulls you in a tight hug, and her touch makes you feel loved, loved and wanted.