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“What are they saying?” I whispered into Anna’s ears

“Ssshhhh…be quiet”. As the official ‘tatafo’, she was closer to our parents’ bedroom door, her huge twelve year old ears pressed against the keyhole.

A few minutes later her eyes widened and she scuttled away from the door dragging me with her. If our army dad caught us, we would have matching blue-black backsides.

In the safety of our bedroom, she spilled the gist. Uncle Timmy had lost his leg.

We promised not to tell anyone but trust Anna; the entire quarters knew what had happened before dusk.

A few days later my uncle caused a stir when he walked, yes, walked into our compound. No crutches. But he looked devastated.

His only child had died. A truck hit him on his way back from school.

It was months later that Anna confessed the exact words she had heard. “Timmy no longer has a leg to stand on,” was what my father said.

When I think about it now, I know that Uncle Timmy wouldn’t have minded losing a leg; he would have given both to have his son alive.