The world moves too fast
Not a moment to spare the sluggish,
The haggard or the weary
If you dillydally a while
She tramples you
And trots along
Without a glance
Like an undecided ghost
I lingered on the threshold of two worlds
Lost in the silence of their million miles
I waddled through thick fog and fiery furnace
They passed through me a zillion times
They left no traces of their passage
Save their tales on my lips
To touch a million and more lives
What if I didn’t go out that day?
What if I had missed that day’s lectures?
What if I had ran faster?
What if I didn’t lose my leg?
I have never been able to construct any acceptable scenarios for my what ifs.
Today, I couldn’t stop myself from wandering through their endless maze.
Where would I be if that day never was?
Who would I be?
I can’t say precisely, but one thing is clear; my scars made me who I am today.
If I hadn’t them, I would be ordinary; just plain old me.
I think of all the lies that felt real
All the truths that turned out to be lies
And those truths that drowned in the ocean of doubt and fear,
And realised how true untruths can be.
“I’m not going to die here,” I said to myself, “not yet, not on the street like a dog. I’ll see my family and say goodbye to them. I’ll find out what happened to me.” I said to the bright sun and the looming night. I have no idea why I had the thought that I was not yet dead, but it gave me hope, enough to have a little strength. A dark shape appeared above and blocked what little light I had left to see, and then it spoke.
“Pele Aunty, sorry, what is your name?”
“Funke” please, help me. I raised my right hand and he touched it.
“Calm down, I’ll help you. Your phone is dead. This is it” I couldn’t see anything. Do you know any number I can contact? I nodded.
“Okay”. I gave him my brother’s number. My dad was my first thought, but I could picture him falling apart. He would first rush to the toilet and back. Then he would go again, maybe three times before making up his mind on what to do.
“The number is not available. I tried it twice. Do you know another one?”
My tongue was getting heavier and getting hard to swallow. My throat was shutting down the passage to my voice box. I recited my dad’s number. “Couldn’t he just get me out of here first before calling a family meeting? His voice broke into my thought. “Hello, omo yin Funke, your daughter had been hit by a vehicle at Ojoo. Can you hear me? Hello, he cut the line. I can’t reconnect with him.”
“I’ll give you another one, my mother’s.” And I did.
“Hello, your daughter has been hit by a vehicle. Yes, she was in an accident. We are taking her to UCH now, join us there. Hello, hello, she is not responding. The line is on but she is not talking.”
“My sisters, I know my sisters’ lines too.” He called them both but they all disconnected at the mention of UCH.
“Do you know another one? Funke, answer!
“Yes, yes— 0805—5—” it was becoming awfully difficult to speak, to think. I couldn’t remember. The number was in there somewhere, my brother-in-law’s but I couldn’t remember. Everything was dark and hot like my head. It was too dark to see anything. I couldn’t see the rest of the number. My mind was being wrapped in a thick blanket.
“Hello”, his voice hauled me back again, from the deep dark hole. “Somebody has called back, I think it’s your father. “—ehn, meet us at UCH, your daughter had been hit by a vehicle. Yes, we are going there now.”
“I told you to calm down, I have contacted your father, he would join us at the hospital. I’m going to get a taxi now. My own broke down, but my friend is near. I’ll just call him. I’ll be back.”
I wanted to tell him not to leave me but I couldn’t see anything. So, I closed my eyes maybe the dream would fade and when I opened them I’ll be home in my bed. My waist kept burning, and the warm thing kept trickling.
I remember the man’s voice. Was I hit? But how? Where was I coming from? And where am I? Why can’t I remember? Did he say Ojoo? Okay I was going to school, to UI for a lecture walking with my friends? My friends, where are they? Were they hit too? I have to ask him.
When did I leave home? Home, my head was too cloudy. No feedback was coming from the main database. The warm fluid wouldn’t stop trickling between my legs. My legs! Why can’t I move or feel my left leg? Then another realisation set in, the heat was coming from my leg. It was in my left leg. Now, I wanted the dream to stop. The chill was overpowering me. I was becoming the chill. But I have to be strong, I just knew it. It was all I had to do, all I could do even as the bright light was being swallowed by darkness just like I’m being swallowed by the chill.
I am cursed. I am not sure of much for now but of this one fact; I am cursed. And by the time you finished reading my story, you would believe me.
This was my first thought when I came to, I was not sure of that too. All I knew at first was the sun was bright, and fierce, intending to scorch. It was searing, everything was hot my body was ready to combust. However, I was cold too, somewhere within I could feel a weird chill clutching my heart.
The noise was too much, too loud; so many people speaking, screaming in one voice but different tongues. I couldn’t get up, couldn’t move anything, save my right hand. Some parts of me were missing, numb or malfunctioned. The first on my list was my waist downward. I couldn’t feel it.
Later, I was with my sisters; we were sitting outside, chatting and laughing. I do not understand what we were laughing about. Then I was in our backyard arguing with my brother. He became upset walked in and banged the door after him. I hissed and stormed into the kitchen.
The kitchen transported me back to the street, I looked up and saw Taiwo. He was my childhood friend, I hadn’t seen him in six years. The last time I saw him I hadn’t seen him in ten years. The Six years ago was in Ife at Adventist School of Nursing. I was standing at the gate and then I saw him, but I only waved at him because I couldn’t stop to talk to him.
I was heartbroken. I felt dumped all over again by the guy who disappeared with my heart three years before. He called me that day to tell me why he broke up with me. I had spent those years thinking it was all my fault. I should be relieved that it was not my fault after all but I wasn’t. My heart was being smashed all over again.
That was the last time I saw Taiwo until that day on the street where I wanted to buy Daniel Defoe “Robinson Crusoe”. We hugged and exchanged pleasantries. Then I was back home with my younger sister. She wanted to come with me to the campus to print her project work. It would be cheaper there. And then everything was bright again, and hot.
Then I had a bizarre thought; something had sliced me into two. Everything froze at that moment. I felt something warm trickling out of somewhere between my thighs; it was oozing in a strange beat, the same with my heart as if it was being pumped by my heart beat. A nightmare was my next thought, I needed to wake up, but I couldn’t move, every breath was like the last. Something terrible is wrong with me; I had no idea what. I wanted to cry but I had no tears, I was as dry as clay soil in the harmattan.
Maybe I died and landed in hell that would explain the noise and the absence of anybody to help or tell me where I was. Nobody came, there were so many people, voices everywhere but no one to help. I felt so tired, thirsty and feeble.
“I’m going to die or I’m dead already, and in hell. But why is my mouth filled with sand and stones?” I felt like I was hit or pinned by something. A strong cold hand gripped my throat and clutched my heart; it was fear. The night was beckoning fast though the sun was still shining so bright and fiercely hot; I was not ready for its embrace.
The Scream is an excerpt from “South West 1 – A True Tale of Loss, Family, Fate, and Faith. “I would appreciate your honest comment. Thank you.
Will love still be love
When all deem it wrong
When the people in love
Are not supposed to be?
Will love still be love
When no one thinks it’s decent
Safe the people in love
And all they have to prove is their love?
Is love still love
When the head says to the heart
“This feeling is so wrong ”
And the heart whispered back,
“But it feels so right”?
I am the bough
I am the tree
creaking in the wind
outside at night
I am the root
beneath the earth
I am the fly
entangled in a wild dance
of fate and faith
No one gets out of life alive;
Enjoy it while you still have it
I should have known
We do not share love
We share something deeper
Deeper than love, passion
We share a bond not of everyday
A bond that will outlive us
A bond beyond time and age
It’s always there between us
Drawing us closer
We share it
We never can have it
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