What did we name this child?

We were young, and were having children. We had no time to think of names. We had been taken up in the throes of adolescent, rather, pubescent hormones. Our blood was hot. Our insides churned with desire. So we ran into dark corners, hid under dark covers, in dark rooms and sang the songs we heard on the radio.

It was “Love in this club”, “Sex you”, “Red light special”, “Yeah” as we sweated salty drops and released other fluids we had refused to consider when we met. This moment was salvation. The coals in our groins needed to be put out. We only knew one way!

We had no time to think of names.

She felt the twists and turns a bit later. Her blood was cold. Lumps in her throat. Soon enough her tummy curved up. What the hell happened? No one told her the fluid that went in would inflate her belly. And she couldn’t stop the inflation. Soon she walked, back arched, legs apart. She knew something inside was different. She felt it kick and turn. She felt it might tear through her.

She had no time to think of names.

We were young. Changing trains of life every few years. No plans. No dreams. No thoughts. Mastered by the feelings that were in between our legs. Sometimes, we heard how our girls had died. Hiding away in village rooms trying to deflate their tummies. The others, also in the village, had carried their new babies. But they were things we did not understand, how could we give them names?

Our fires never stopped burning, and not all girls had the inflated curves. Our heads were empty. Our bones were strong, our lips were fast. Either we put our fire in them, or the fire drove us mad! We heard there were sons that belonged to us. We were told they needed to be given names.

We had no time to think of names.

Except of course. Romario, Batistuta, Maradona, Madonna, Mariah Carey. Whitney Houston. Eminem. Tupac. Museveni.

Our ears were always tuned in to the radio. Not BBC. Not Radio Uganda. The Sanyu FM, Capital FM where daily we would feed on Busta Rhymes, Master P, P.Diddy and Shaba Ranks. We knew the songs. We knew the curse words better than our own tongues. Eff you was the blessing of the day.

We had no time to think of names because we did not know the meaning of names.

So when they came to us on their long journeys. When they came to us seeking identity for the sons we had planted in their laps. Our tongues said in mindless tone – “You can call that child ‘Nameless'”.


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