And the man cried…


Slowly, as though in a dream, my vision at first blurred, focuses
on the wet red tomatoes across the roadside in front of me. I am fascinated by the
beads of water with tiny bits of sunlight glistening on them.  I stare at the woman screaming at passersby to
buy her tomatoes and ata rodo, she reminds me of a female Buddha, with her
slits for eyes and rotund figure.

I cannot remember how, and when I got here, I do not know
why I am seated here  on the pavement,
next to the gutter. My freshly starched white kaftan is smeared with mud, shit,
and all sorts of rubbish.

“Meeeeeriiiiiilllaaaand! Ojotajotajota”!

“Ojota –ketu-mile12”!

“Ikeja insideeeeee

It is rush hour and everywhere around me I see tired, angry
and anxious faces, impatient to get home.

Motorist blare their horns in competition, commuters stand
in endless queues waiting for buses.

I feel removed from the scene before me, I feel numb, I feel

Nightfall slowly approaches, yet I’m still perched at the
roadside, inhaling the pungent smell emanating from inside the gutter , I
glance in at  the thick paste of
blackened sand and floating pure water wraps, entangled with pieces of broken
glass, sticks,  and all manner of debris and
a blackberry…

As I stare at the blackberry, recollection floods my mind.

I feel  hot and cold
all at once, my pulse begins to race, my heart pounds like a samba drum.

I start to sweat, even though  it’s a chilly evening.

I remember how my morning started, bright and happy, a warm
kiss from Nkem , a hug from Obi and a cup of coffee -black, just the way I
liked it.

We made plans to spend the day playing football at the park.

I remember Nkem’s
tearful phone call.

I listened as her voice trailed off and my mind retreated to
that  place where everything is dark and
warm,  where’s  there is no pain, feelings or thoughts.

We will never play at the park.

I will never see his eyes squinting at me, or hear his
mischievous laughter.

I will never watch Ben 10, Samurai jack or Dexter’s

I will never feel him crawl into our bed at night because he
had a bad dream or was frightened by the storm.

I will never hold the warm body of my obi in an embrace or
feel  his wet sloppy kisses on my cheeks.