Where are you really from; my answer, Nigeria.
His response, “you are better off here”, my retort, nothing.
Nothing because I cannot yell, I cannot scream.
I cannot at the top of my lungs speak about the sickness that ails me and my inability to speak my words.
Better off here? Better off where? Better off anywhere but Borno?
Better off here where my hair is not flat, and my skin is not soft.
Better off where? Here where my soul cannot dance to the rhythm of the rainstorms.
Where are you really from? Oke Ado! A place I have never known, where my blood is from, and my palate was born, yet it is a place I have never seen.
Better off where, here? Where my name is absurd and shortened for fun. Better off where? Here? Where my empty bed is deemed a curse, and my flattened nose is called a snout.
Better off here? Where the impression of lies is better swallowed than the truth, and I cannot behold my love in the eyes.
Here? Where nowhere? You are right. I’m better of here though the stares freeze my bones yet it’s not the harmattan that chaps my lips. Though my love is rejected, I don’t have to claim the one that doesn’t exist.
Though my intelligence is questioned, I don’t have to bend my knees before I speak.
Though my solitude is exaggerated, it is better that the noise that muffles my voice. He asked me where are you from? I said Nigeria. He said to me you’re better off here. I said nothing. He assumed I agreed.