When Jennie comes over to where I’m learning to sit from a lying position, I cease the chance to talk to her.
“Hi, Jennie?” I whisper and she presses her purple teddy tightly to her chest, immensely blown away. I place my pointer over my lips.
She shouldn’t let the cat out of the bag yet with her eccentric, hysteric, mannerism. She gets it and calms down a bit but still looks apprehensive. She sure knows babies my age only gurgle and coo. They don’t converse meaningfully.
“How are you?” I whisper again to get her flap her tongue, but her main focus is my mouth, with an intermittent glance over her shoulder at my mom and hers, probably wishing they could wiretap my eloquence.
“How could you do that? You’re just a baby” She asks, her voice shaky. I feel happy that she responds.
“This is okay Jennie. Some babies talk early and some earlier than others. I know I’m freaking you out but, understand that this is how I am.” I say in a whisper.
She keeps mute, looks at me as if I’m one unearthly being, and back at them, then makes to skedaddle.
“Don’t go away, Jennie.” she turns back to look at me with scary eyes. “You can talk to people, right?” I asked. “Like, say your mind, ask questions, contribute to discussions, right?”
She stands as if paused, with eyes as wide as poles asunder.
“Talk to me. I’ve been longing since I turned two months to express my opinions just like that, but, I don’t want to scare them.” I say pointing at mum, Elina and my dad in my thought.
“It’s not everyone that can stand the fate of an eloquent infant. That’s why I chose to talk to you, Jennie.” I pause and she narrows her eyes.
“Sorry for using big words with you. I tend to forget you’re a kid.” I apologise and she embraces her teddy tighter. I see her eyes moisten, and her the space between her brows burrow.
“Oh, no! Jennie, don’t cry. I’m sorry. I felt you’re strong at heart.” I stop when I notice her eyes bulge and her face become disorganised by the horror movie going on before her in such a way that amuses me, but when she gives out a freaking cry, I become genuinely touched and curl my lips for a baby cry. My mum and Elina arise.
© Florence Ezekafor