Red Man with African Dog
“Julie, stop torturing the child.”
Julie was questioning her 3 years old daughter demanding full description of the person who robbed her.
‘Was it a man or woman?”
“A man. I saw him running. He was wearing a long trouser.”
“Was he , was he an African or Asian or…Who was he?”
“The dog was African.”
“How do you know that?”
“Because it was a big dog, black dog. They were running together.”
Julie was frustrated, was becoming hysteric. Christ was smiling with disgust.
“Leave the child alone. You won’t get any far. You are lucky that she is safe.”
“Cathy darling, please try to remember what was the colour of the man who took your chains.”
“Red. Very red like this” and she pointed to her mother’s blue blouse.
“How did he talk, I mean ….what did he say?”
“We never talked.”
Julie was agitated. She still wanted to know more about the red man with African dog.
Christ had tolerated enough. He carried the child and walked out.
Christ and Julie got their baby after 8 years of marriage. They had undergone stressful moments while looking for a child. They had visited almost all the hospitals looking for popular doctors. They had attended the local traditional healers. They had listened to all the suggestions from their friends.
Finally they had opted for IVF at a high cost with tremendous risk.
Finally, when the child arrived, grudges and disagreements between husband and wife grew. Julie was extra possessive and protective of the daughter.
Since birth, the child was overdressed. Heat rashes were a permanent companion. When Cathy was 5 days old, her ear was pierced and gold earrings were inserted. The infection from the ear piercing left the child with big scars in the small ears. The child never crawled in her life. She was always carried. Was late to start walking. When all neighbours’ children of nearly the same age started running around, Cathy took her first steps. It was celebrated grandiosely.
On her second birthday, she was taken to a hair dressing salon and had the hair done- “Braids” decorated with bright, multicolor beads dangling on the braided hair.
On their way back home from the salon, they had to pass through a hospital to remove one of the beads from Cathy’s right nostril, which she accidentally pushed in the nose while playing with her long braided hair. She cut her birthday cake with the blood stained cotton plug sticking out from her nose. Photography was forbidden on that day.
Christ silently walked out through the backdoor to escape the mockery.
On her third birthday, Cathy was chained: - she had a golden, 24 carat chain on her neck, two golden bracelets on each wrist, and a golden anklet on the right ankle.
During the birthday party, Cathy’s chains were shining. All the ladies present-admired it; all the young girls present –envied it; all the boys present-pulled at it; all the men present-ignored it.
The next day of the birthday, Julie wanted to continue the celebration. After all, it was a holiday. She invited her friends and went to the beach.
Before they left for the beach, Christ hinted to Julie to remove the golden chains from Cathy. “The party is still continuing. It is her birthday. Let her shine above her friends” was the reply he got.
Christ kept quite. At that point, an argument in front of the friends was not called for.
In the beach, all Cathy’s friends were enjoying building sand castles, jumping into the sea water. Cathy was not permitted to touch the sand- there may be worms. The servant built the sand castles on behalf of Cathy. She was not allowed to enter the sea- water was not clean. She was not allowed to eat the hotel food- it was not hygienic.
But everybody else who was invited enjoyed the beach party.
In the evening, after the day’s enjoyment, while every body was collecting their belongings to comeback home, Julie left Cathy unattended for few seconds. When Cathy approached her mother, Julie found her daughter unchained.
She was telling her husband to come with her to the police station to report about the theft.
“Fantastic. We will go and report the theft of the 4 gold chains from a 3 year’s old child by a Red Man wearing long trousers, running with an African dog.”
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