7 Aug 2013

#MWBB - Lost Youth

This is the song to inspire some writing in this weeks Mid-week Blues Buster! Last week I wrote a piece to go with the Amy Winehouse song 'You Know Im No Good', it didnt earn a spot in the final three as the other entries were so good, but lets see what I can come up with from this somg.

I have never heard it before and am going to press play....NOW!

This actually has me wondering if I can take a real life experience and adapt it by changing some of it for fiction.... I have never done this before but...hmmmm....here it is! Feedback welcomed.

Lost Youth

The heat and tears of the morning had left me standing by the window, staring out towards the school, like a sculpted pumice stone. I had been told that morning of the funeral and told only as an off-hand remark, ‘your classes this afternoon have been cancelled, everyone will be at the funeral’ stated the Headmaster. I had no response, I could only stand there open mouthed my eyes searching his for any glimmer of compassion or information, but there was none. Hours of training at home and in country hadn’t prepared me for the callousness of those with any power. I had at first thought it was a protective wall, put up to help cope with the regularity of death, but after a year living here I knew better of this man. 

The words were never spoken but it had been implied that my presence would not be required. I knew that if I was there, the only white woman, then it would be a distraction and the attention needed to be on those who had died. It didn’t matter that I wanted to show my condolences, that I wanted to be there to say goodbye, that the horror of their deaths would haunt me that summer. It only mattered that I wasn’t there. 

I watched as the procession left the school grounds, the headmaster and other teachers leading the students, they walked in pairs holding hands and I was reminded of nursery children, but my students’ ages ranged from 14 years to 24 years and I watched them as they disappeared along the road blurred by the suns haze. 

I returned to my bungalow that perched on the edge of the campus and slept fretfully, waking only to consume water and mop my own brow, as I tried to block out the images that rattled in my mind. 

A student who worked for me had arrived shortly after the headmaster had left and I regretted asking him who and how had the person died. 

‘You don’t know madam?’

‘No, the headmaster didn’t say who or how, can you tell me?’

‘It is Abena Ayamga madam, she was killed.’

At the mention of her name and that she had been killed, the hair stood up on the back of my neck, I had to open my mouth slightly in order to breathe. I knew this student; she was in Year 1, young and bright, very polite and helpful and always smiling. I had so many questions that I wanted to ask but they soon evaporated when he relayed the story to me…

‘Abena had been at home before choir practice and her mother and brother were arguing. Abena hadn’t eaten all day and was feeling hungry and so half way through practice she went home to get some food. As she approached the house she could hear her brother arguing again with their mother, then she heard her mother scream and ran into the house, she screamed and never came out. A few moments later her brother was seen running out of the house. A neighbour alerted the police and they went after him, they shot him in the legs so he could not run away and then they took him to the hospital and left him outside.’

I wasn’t entirely sure I wanted to know what had happened but I couldn’t help myself.

‘So…how…I mean…why?’

‘Apparently Abena had interrupted her brother,  after he had attacked their mother with a machete that they use for farming, when he saw her he attacked her the same way too.’

I felt my stomach lurch and held tightly to the edges of the chair that I had been sitting on, it was worse than I could have imagined and I didn’t want to know more.

‘Thank you for telling me Pious, you can go and I’ll see you tomorrow’

‘Yes Madam’

I leaned back into the chair, the wooden slats pressing into my back through the flimsy cushion, I closed my eyes as the tears fell and when I felt that there weren’t any tears left I had waited by the window.


  1. such a sad and horrendous true story well written. Very emotional.

    1. Thanks, I remember some of the students came to my house when school resumed the following Monday and it was hard to see them so at ease with a classmate dying, I should imagine so as not to be consumed with grief all the time.

  2. Sad, sad story. I often think the best stories are fictionalised versions of the truth.

    1. The story of what happened is true and she was one of my students and the headmaster wasn't a nice man and the MWBB has a 700 word limit so I had to keep it short.
      I did think of Bill when I wrote this and a previous conversation we had on the TEHI site about everyone having been to Africa! lol

    2. ...and should add that some of it isn't so nice although plenty is!


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