By Najib Khalif Abdi
Before he was deported back to this dust filled and filthy neighbourhood corner of the town, the boy had been able to complete one trip of perilous tahriib (migration journey) successfully to Europe via Libya and all the way to the English Channel.
His parents are blissfully happy. They can only be grateful to the Almighty God that has returned their son in one piece. Many adolescents like him were neither lucky to have been successfully smuggled into Europe nor to have been deported back into their villages. They perished in the seas.
His mom and dad are also grateful for the country that has deported their son back. Now, the parents feel blessed. Depressed, however, is the boy who when he is asleep murmurs some strange names of European villages and towns along the routes where migrants are known to pass through when making the journey. He must be thinking to try again.
Before that tahriib trip to France, King Zubeer, aka Xiddigga Xaafadda (star of the neighbourhood), had been the hotshot and most stylish boy in a corner of this town.
He had all the cool stuff that filled his upbeat style: a mullet haircut, a big watch, a blue pair of jeans, and a T-shirt with five big letters that read “STYLE” – fixed wide at his chest. And most importantly, the right pocket of his fading trousers would bulge with one of the best, but bulky, smartphone commonly used by his age group.
He would be called Dhanxiir (hipster) by a certain xerow who, few times when on the way to the mosque, saw him leaning against a wall, earphones stuck in his ears.
Girls in the neighbourhood (ama Xaliimoyinka xaafadda, as he better calls them), used to follow him online through all his social media accounts. He sometimes used to extend a brief but casual caweys (meetups) – only to a lucky few ones, one at a time.
But as you can see now his suffering deepened after several boys in the neighbourhood again made a Tahriib trip to Europe. This time via Turkey. Many of those embarked the journey arrested, kidnapped or died. Just a few made it safely to Austria, Belgium up to Sweden and Germany. It is those who made it successfully that drive him to attempt in a second chance. Every few hours, their silly photo posts and status updates fill his entire Facebook newsfeed.
The other day he had returned to his favourite hangout corner on the street. But this time he was alone. The only memory survived after his friends had all gone, was the graffiti that still stains the outer side of the walled buildings in the neighbourhood. Each of the bizarre looking, complicated combinations of letters and symbols distinctly identify one of his friends.
From the corner of a particular wall he started to utter names: Ajay, Qaadiro, Wiz, Caydo, Ziyo, Messy, … and before he had finished walking across the wall he saw KZ-XX. He paused. Then he picked up a piece of a broken bottle with sharp edges and he rubbed off until his ID was not identifiable anymore.
The girl next door, who had a crush on him once in the past, walked there when she was going to Abdi Kuluc shop to buy milix (salt) for the evening dish. She didn’t even bother glancing at him when he said hi
In the evening King Zubeer posted a selfie of his latest stylish haircut. Forget about thinking somebody to react with “love”, no one had bothered to give a simple ‘like’. Nobody had bothered to leave lettered comments such as ‘gd…” even though they don’t make any sense.
Yet, that evening when Qaadiro, who is now in Germany, after half an hour posted a crooked picture of him on the Facebook, all the girls he knew instantly reacted with “LIKE” or “HAHA”. But that particular girl, who goes by the name of “Qalanjada Sannadka” on Facebook, reacted with the big red “LOVE” on that picture and continued commenting, ‘Wow… awesome looking’.
King Zubeer cannot take on this. He cannot live in such condition. He should find a way to convince his mom pays the visa and buys the ticket that should take him to Turkey. ‘I know the only person that can convince mom,’ he thought. That’s his maternal uncle, Faarax.
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