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Spatako

He was called “Spatako” by everyone and he was a commercial driver plying the Lagos routes  in her village. Quite popular but given to drinking while not on his route. Ife remembered that Mother always hesitated to take his bus because of the drinking too. However he had been on a motorbike returning from the beer parlour he frequented when he drove under an oncoming truck. He died instantly throwing the whole town into shock and grief. The truck driver was not lynched as would have been the case because everybody knew that Spatako was destined for such an end. What was surprising was the way the fellow went round his brothers and sisters that were not in the village and got them to come to the village to learn of his passing. One dramatic case was when he visited his brother in Lagos days after his passing and asked his brother to help him deliver a message to their aged father. Spatako was reported to have told his brother that he was on a trip to the North and might be away for days. He thus asked the brother to help him deliver a letter as it was urgent the father got the message. He told his brother to assure the father that he was fine but needed to go on that trip as it was urgent. He also added one for his wife that she might put to bed before he arrived in a few days time. (The wife was not even pregnant at that time, at least she was not aware of being pregnant then, it was going to be their first child and she had no concept of morning sickness or pregnancy symptoms)

An annoyed older brother had arrived home , and testily gave the message but was consternated when the mother heard the message and promptly fainted. In the ensuing pandemonium, a bewildered brother was shown the grave of his brother and he sat on that grave for hours uncomprehending.

Ife was home then and witnessed all that had happened. Days later she saw Spatako in his misty form wandering round the home of his wife. She had tried to talk to him but he never heard her and would follow his wife around. Ife was too scared of her mother’s reaction to her own strangeness to offer to ask for help. Naturally when the wife put to bed it had been a girl and Ife wondered if it was Spatako that had come back as a girl.

She remembered asking if that had been Spatako from Mae who had laughed that reincarnations followed certain processes and that the girl had reincarnated on a different thread configuration.

She supposed Kunle would not have been her uncle Agbo returning then and shrugged. Sometimes she felt lonely just learning about some of the questions of life and existence ad feeling lost in a world of superstitions, myths and ignorance.

As a medical doctor, some of the myths and conceptions of her people had become clearer and she could even see the rationale in some of them. She could tell where they had mixed the spiritual half knowledge with sheer ignorance. However it had only served to strengthen her love and show her what she needed to do to help enlighten her people.. For a long time she toyed with the idea of starting an NGO to explore the possibilities of educating them but so far she had not come to a concrete decision.

Ife was so lost in thought that it took a while before she noticed the persistent knocking on the door and looked up startled into the puzzled eyes of Yomi, and she blinked.

Why are you knocking on the table, doing some kind of séance?

Yomi stared and laughed, you look like you are in trance. Can you see me now?

Ife smiled,”clever, but why are you staring at me and oh have you been here long?”

“All of ten minutes Lady” Yomi replied “What held your attention so much so that you only nodded whe I came in and stared unseeing?”

“Hmm bad manners I must say and I am sorry, are you over your bad temper now, you stalked off the other day as I recall” Ife said with a smile to take the sting out of her comments.medical, doctor, educating

 

Random Musings

You know, there is always the question of asking yourself if you are ever going to be a best seller in your lifetime. These days, those are the questions that I find myself asking each time I start writing a story. The question started simply enough. A very young child came to my house and we started chatting. He wanted to know why I was hunched over my computer almost all the time he was in the living room. I blinked and tried to focus on the young man. He noted that most times he called to say hello to my  children, he invariably found me typing. I took a deep breath and wondered if I should do one of two things.

You know look down my nose at him and reply in a pitying voice on how he has missed the true calling of the writer and tell him he was not likely to understand what writing meant to me, yeah, I am still broke and I am not sure if I can claim that I have sold my book in thousands never mind millions. What? No, I am not about to discuss my despair either. Hey!, I mean my despair that I am never going to finish writing all I have to write. I never have enough time and the stranger thing is, I have had days that I sit by the computer and the stories just goes on in my head and the computer remains blank. That is really frightening when I wonder if all this is going to be worthwhile. I am not trying to change the world neither am I likely going to change my immediate community, unless I wish to be a liar.

That is another thing, my neice doesn’t think I work anyway. She came over to spend the holidays when I was part of a television series on teenage reproductive issues. She had liked me and was enthusiastic about the series, I NEED TO KNOW. She read the stories every night, staying up all night sometimes. I was preening and waiting for the commendations to flow in. She looked up and I saw real bewilderment on her face.

“seriously auntie, I have never met all these people you talk about in your story, you are just forming them up right?”

“You mean like I am making them up”? I asked her slowly puzzled at what she was implying. Here, let me insert a warning: We are writing Nigerian English and my friends across the pond may have to hold on for a translation later.

My niece nodded and I smiled, “Yes of course , that is what is called fiction, the situations are real though”.

“You mean Ikechukwu is not real?”

“No my dear, the young boy that acts the part is real but that is just his television name”.

“Hmmm, very easy job Auntie, just sit down, dream up stories about people and you get paid for having fun”.

I stared at her, opened my mouth to explain what enter- educate drama is all about and clammed shut as she stared askance at me. She commented that she envied my job and wondered why I had not become a millionaire at the very least. She said she might one day take up my job.

That was years ago, the juice train left and I stared into the hard glare of straining to make two tired ropes stay glued. Digital television, internet radio and programmes took me to hunger street and I needed to look at dim areas of my creative mind to quell the noise of my growling belly.

I have been writing since I can remember the meaning of pain, hunger, dreams and a compulsive need to talk to persons I have never met. My imagination wakes me up every dawn as the sun dips her fingers on my hopes and gives me a taste of its promise. I have like a thousand stories, impatiently jostling for attention. Men I know so well in my head, conversations that seem unending, situations crop up and I ponder on their solutions. An urgent need to tap a shoulder and start a conversation.

I am doing one right now right? Were you interested? Oh well, you got this far. That must count for something. But you see, a new fear is peeping at me. How much time do I have?

Will I ever write a best seller? Sometimes I picture a vast field, the sun is setting, the players are all gone, I am staring at the lonely abandoned ball in the field, the stands are silent and a lone figure walks onto the field, he touches the ball and hears in his soul the roar of his dreams and he makes a lob into the far end of the field. The sun yawns and calls me over.

I will see you soon my friend.

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