To read the story from the start go to: https://the-inkling.com/catch-up-with-the-inklings/
Mamadou was using a toothpick to remove some meat that was stuck between his teeth. As he did this he watched Binta, Festus, India, Rose and Gina enjoying eating dinner in the backyard. The sun was getting low in the sky and Ousman and Aminata were sitting in a tree.
They’d installed the wheelchair ramps but still had to finish organizing the street meeting. Because Penny would be coming home tomorrow India wanted the meeting to feel festive – there was going to be lots of food and drink.
“Look at the marvelous clouds tonight” said India.
Mamadou looked up and saw that the clouds really were worth noticing. There was a lot happening in the sky that night. Big fluffy clouds, narrow streaky clouds, even zig zag clouds. The light from the sunset was pretty amazing too. Mamadou felt the urge to get out his paints and then he remembered all the cloud paintings he’d done last year. Thoughts of cloud paintings led to him remembering what had happened back at home in the village and a wave of anxiety hit Mamadou. He started to sweat and his breaths became short and fast. The contrast between the peaceful scene he was currently part of and his terrifying memories just made Mamadou feel worse. He felt like he couldn’t see the world how it really was anymore, and that anything that appeared nice was just a mirage.
Mamadou watched India, Rose and Binta making jokes but when he saw them laughing all he felt was dread. Mamadou imagined he could feel the future and the future wasn’t good. To see people having fun now just made him feel sadder about what he thought was going to happen.
When Mamadou looked up at Ousman in the tree he couldn’t keep tears from running down his face. Mamadou desperately wanted Ousman to have a good life but felt powerless to do anything to make sure it was. Mamadou quickly wiped the tears from his face and wondered whether it would be acceptable for him to go home
“I have a bad headache” said Mamadou.
“I’ll get you some tablets” said India.
“I think I just need to rest my eyes. Do you mind if I go home to bed?” said Mamadou.
As Mamadou walked home he realised that he wouldn’t necessarily feel better on his own. He tried to relax but couldn’t help thinking about Howa and Saidou. Mamadou wondered whether Howa’s baby getting enough nourishment and wished he could help. Then it struck him that he should be helping – that they might be hoping and expecting that he would send some kind of help. At the very least he should send some money, but really he should be using his safe and well-fed position to try to get them to a good place. By the time Mamadou got to his shed he’d come up with a plan. He knew it wouldn’t solve everything but it would make him feel less helpless for a while.