A Child of History

     Nosizwe sees the old man from another tribe limp up the dirt road, followed by a laden down ox.  She sees him once a month, he is the postal service in this poverty and AIDS stricken region of Africa.  Paying him no heed, she goes out on her daily journey to the Red Cross station where she is sometimes given medication for this killing disease she carries.  This horrible disease that has killed most of her children, some of her friends, and is quietly killing her.  The nice white people at the cross of Red tell her to not give up hope, and she silently laughs to herself.  Her name itself means “The Mother of A Nation”, and she can’t help but believe that she has failed miserably.  Instead of teaching her children and her people how to become strong and industrious, she has instead taught them death, and she knows her nation will soon be no more.

     Nosizwe returns from the clinic, turned away again today, and finds a mysterious package on her own patch of barren earth infront of her meager hut.  The last of her laying hens is pecking at the package, she has not laid eggs for more than a month, and since all but the last of the grain to feed her is gone, she pecks at the package as if trying to find nourishment.  Nosizwe picks up the light package and puts it on the table in her hut and goes to check on her last surviving daughter.   Enitan, whose name means “child of History” is failing rapidly, and is already the color of lavender, and there is nothing Nosizwe can do but to wait.  She goes to the package and opens it, in it she finds a small box no bigger than an egg, and a strange letter written in her native tongue.  The letter is written by a woman named Quanna, and Nosizwe thinks it is presumptious, for Quanna means “Queen”.  As she reads the letter she can’t help but think it is a horrible joke, until she opens the box and finds a single red pill.

       “Nosizwe, the Mother of Nations, you do not know me but I am your daughter, Quanna, many many years in the future.  I live in a world of peace and harmony where the lands are always fertile, the children are always laughing, and no one ever dies from disease.  In the box you will find a red pill.  It will not save you from this AIDS nor will it save anyone else, but it is necessary that you take it.  You see, the pill will guarantee another girl child who will be born disease free, and her daughters and her daughters will bring forth this new world I live in now.  I know this sounds impossible, but I don’t have much time.  You must take this pill and give birth to a girl who you will name “Ayira”.  As you know this means “the chosen one”, and it is her children’s children that will birth me.  Thankyou for your sacrifices, your daughter, Quanna , Dec 21, 3012.”

    Nosizwe takes the pill, having nothing to lose, and as the last of the life leaves her child of history, she can feel her belly begin to swell, and the first stirrings of  the life within.

 Sept 12, 3013

Quanna looks down at her perfectly formed beautiful new born daughter and says “I shall name you Yejide, it means you are the image of your mother” and the baby burps once, and closes her eyes to dream.

ALTERNATE ENDING:

Nosizwe sees the old man from the neighboring tribe limping up the dirt road, followed by a laden down ox.  She sees him once a month, he is the postal service for this poverty and AIDS stricken region of Africa.  Paying him no heed, she goes out on her daily journey to the Red Cross station where she is sometimes given medication for this killing disease she carries.   This horrible disease that has killed most of her children, some of her friends, and is quietly killing her.  The nice white people at the cross of the Red tell her not to give up hope, and she silently laughs to herself.  Her name itself means “The Mother of a Nation” and she can’t help but believe that she has failed miserably.  Instead of teaching her children and her people how to become industrious and strong, she has instead taught them death, and she knows her nation will soon be no more.

     Nosizwe returns from the clinic, another day she is turned away, and finds a mysterious package on her own patch of barren earth infront of her meager hut.  The last of her laying hens is pecking at the package, she has not layed eggs for over a month, and since all but the last of the grain is gone, she pecks at the package as if to find nourishment.  Nosizwe picks up the light package and puts it on the table and goes to the back room to check on her dying daughter.  Enitan, whose name means “a child of history” is failing fast, and is already the color of lavender, and there is nothing Nosizwe can do but to wait.  She goes to the package and opens it, in it she finds a small box and a strange letter written in her native tongue.  The letter is written by a woman named Quanna, a name that means “Queen”.  As she reads the letter she can’t help but think it is a horrible joke, until she opens the box and finds a single red pill.

     “Nosizwe, The Mother of Nations, you do not know me but I am your daughter, many many years in the future.  I live in a world of peace and harmony where the lands are always fertile, the children are always laughing, and no one ever dies from disease.  In the box you will find a red pill.  It will not save you from this AIDS nor will it save anyone anyone else, but you must take it anyway.  You see, the pill will guarantee that you will give birth to another girl child who will be born disease free , and her daughters and her daughters will bring forth this new world I live in now.  I know this sounds impossible, but I don’t have much time, you must believe me.  You must take the pill and name your new daughter “Ayira” which as you know means “The Chosen One” and it is from her line that I will be born.  Thankyou for your sacrifices, your daughter, Quanna”  Dec 21, 3012 

Nosizwe reaches to take the pill, having nothing to lose, and her trembling hands drop it and the hungry chicken plucks it up off the ground and swallows it whole.  As the last of the life leaves her Child of History, she puts her hand to her diseased womb and cries the tears of lost nations.

Sept 12, 3012

“I’m sorry Quanna” the frail doctor tells her, “this child too is born with AIDS and will not live any longer than the other’s”.  As the doctor leaves Quanna looks down at her dying newborn baby girl and says “then I shall name you Yejide, it means you are the image of your mother.”

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3 Responses to “A Child of History”

  1. very nice! The hopelessness of the present meets hope of the future. When the red pill appeared, I was thinking of The Matrix, wondering why there wasn’t a blue pill as well, to choose from, LoL!

    One small hole in the 2nd ending tho – without having swallowed the red pill, how would Nosizwe have produced the child that would create the line of females that would produce Quanna?

  2. phew.. wow.. I am totally wrung out emotionally. I loved the idea you had two endings.
    Both are powerful messages, beautifully written and conveyed to the reader and ones I will read again to enjoy the richness of your prose. thank you and welcome to Fiction Friday.

    I am a co-writer of an online 16 th century swashbuckling adventure called the Astonishing Adventures of Captain Juan… I kind a cheated this week and wrote a chapter for it for FF. http://annieevett.blogspot.com/2009/10/love-links.html

  3. What a unique direction to take the story — off on another continent, in another culture. So well-written, and any time a story in such a low-tech world takes a futuristic/sci-fi-ish turn, ya got me LOL. Nik B

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