Lying on my bed in the dark I relieve painful memories. My family and friends think I’m the toughest and I’m immune to pain but if only they could search my soul deeply they would know how it feels like….
It was another weekend and I usually go home. I love it because I return to campus Sunday evening refreshed for the week work.
Though I had an uneasy queasy feeling as I left school that Saturday morning; I brushed it aside- it could only be nostalgia.
With a song in my heart I whistled as I turned into the street on my left, ‘Kunle Street’. I could see my home from the beginning of the street. It was small yet significant at least to me.
As I got closer to home, I heard a noise coming from our compound. It was not a shout that would have indicated a joyful gathering either.
My backpack juggled as I ran into the compound. On the front porch my mother sat on a stool wailing like a banshee. I never saw such a terrible sight in my entire life, it was scary. Goose bumps grew all over my arms and legs. I dropped my backpack on the floor and knelt before her.
“What happened?” I asked.
Mother grew silent, she looked at me as though I had grown horns then she blurted out “Baba ti ku.”-Father is dead. I was shocked. My mind could form no words, the shock I felt went straight deep into my heart. She kept sobbing, people who had come to comfort her were also crying. I felt my whole world crumbling around me. This is the end of time. I rushed in to check on my younger brothers. They were drenched in their own tears, eyes were red and swollen.
“How did it happen?” I turned to Tayo, my immediate younger brother.
“Sis, he died in his sleep,” Tayo said brokenly with all the strength he could muster.
I sat down carefully on a chair, I was numb and I couldn’t feel the pain, but my heart was torn in pieces. Ever seen a shattered glass?
Mine was more shattered- crushed. No tears came to my eyes and I wish I could die.
Last week, Father patted my back and told me to take care of myself as
I carried my bag to return to school. We understood each other more.
I find it hard to express emotion, the same thing with Baba, so a pat or a smile was enough to let me know how much he loves me. I once asked my mother how she knows Baba loves her. She gave me her trademark smile and said, “He doesn’t need to say it, I know it. He cares for me and all of you, he is there for us.”
“Is that enough for you?”
“Yes Sayo, it is,” she smiled again. “Your heart will know it and you will feel it, sometimes words left unspoken are the loudest.”
When I returned to school, I had lots of sympathisers but none understood me like Amaka. She read the pain etched on my face, for a second I saw a glimpse of myself in her. She held me in her arms rocking me back and forth saying sweet nothings….
I sigh deeply as I turned on my bed. I still go to classes and do my normal day activities, but I’ve become a shadow of myself. I’m shattered. Maybe I will mend someday, I may become whole again.
Maybe, just maybe.
I wrote this story in 2010, sent it out to qualify for a writers conference but it was rejected. I’ve been thinking of this story lately and I thought I should share it with you all. Feel free to point out mistakes that have made this short story a bumpy ride for you.
Until next time,