A Fragile Gift

Your eyelids were laden with surprises as you stepped on his fluffy carpet. Various spectacular objects poised gracefully at edifying positions within his room. Your eyes wandered from one to another, until it fell on the spectacles. There it was: couching like a lovely cat at the edge of his table. That was the reason why you came. You giggled.

That was how you giggled when he first appeared in your village. He was heavily dressed in a khaki uniform that had the color of water-melon. Everything about him was big: big stature, big belt, big boots, and a big traveling bag. Except for a small transparent object, that leaned beautifully on his nose.

Mothers and children gazed at him with excitement. They called him a soldier. You also wanted to, but the crystal-clear lens that floated above his eyes made you doubt. Moreover, his look was harmless and friendly.

Your guess became true when the village scribe introduced him as a National Youth Corps member. People said he was full of wisdom, because he had come from the city, and had spent many years in the citadel of knowledge; acquiring the white-man’s knowledge. ‘He is a civilized man,’ your heart gave a leap that afternoon when the scribe made that remark.

He made your heart leap every time you met him by the village river. He had become your dear friend. He told you about big people, big places, and big events. He even spoke big vocabularies; enough to confound your thirteen-year-old primitive mind. Remember when he bantered with you, and you both laughed noisily, he sometimes nudged you below your armpit, or caressed your thighs. Your peers were jealous. They wondered what could have ignited friendship between a civilized adult and a village teenager. They did not know you were enthralled by the precious lens with a sparkling silver frame.

And when you asked him what it was, on another usual evening by the river, he removed it and said, ‘you mean my spectacles?’ The name made you chuckle. And you almost twisted your tongue while trying to pronounce it. You were extremely delighted when he placed it on your face tenderly. You shuddered with excitement, as the dusty village was molded inside a spherical glass.

But you were unaware of his queer look, when he inquired if you wanted the spectacles. You had affirmed, thoughtlessly. It was all you had ever wanted. Your mind wandered through a vista of unimaginable experiences that awaited you, when he told you to collect the rare spectacles at his home, the following evening. That night, you hardly slept.

You were still giggling when his door clank shut. He stood sentinel against the door, grinning mischievously. Confused: A sordid miasma enveloped your thoughts. You were still staring at him blankly, when he pulled you into a rough embrace. You wriggled free, but he gave you a shove and you staggered backwards, falling on his mattress. Swiftly, he came over you and gagged your mouth. You could remember he lost a little control when you wrestled and kicked him back. His arm had flailed backwards, and hit your precious spectacles. Your eyes widened as your gem toppled over his table, and broke!

You never knew the precious spectacles could be so fragile.

It was the same with you.