THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS: An Ode to Kush and Pills and The Lost Ones

“Fall…so shall we fall into the nihil? The nothingness that we feel in the arms of the pale; In the shadow of the grim companion who walks with us” – John Haughm of Agalloch

“Oh farewell you streets of sorrow…Oh farewell you streets of pain; I’ll not return to feel more sorrow, nor to see more young men slain; through the last six years I’ve lived through terror; And in the darkened streets the pain; Oh how I long to find some solace; In my mind I curse the strain” – The Pogues (Streets of Sorrow)

 

I find myself in this familiar territory, staring at the broken twines that once held the yams in the barn together. The insects are silent in their stead, no longer flapping their tiny wings as they soar in the air like angry waves threatening endlessly at the seashore. Days have turned into nights, but my night is still and has refused to crescendo into a beguiling dawn.

They say it is always a struggle before the soul of a good one departs the body. In the final days of anguish, the soul refuses to depart even when the Grim Reaper comes calling. But in your case, you breathed your last too soon.

There was no time for farewells, no opportunities to say our goodbyes. These broken twines I am staring at are the only reminder of how quickly the bond between us shattered. Sing for me, I am definitely dying of thirst; a longing to turn back the hands of time and share one last moment with you. But time is obstinate, so stubborn that it won’t budge and grant me this one last wish. Pigheaded, I call time.

Death is only a chapter in life, craved or not. A horizon, to die is, but it only lasts for so long. I obviously want to let go of the past, but the hardest part of letting go is saying goodbye. I wish I could rip out the pages on which the memories of us are engraved, so there’d be nothing left of us. The lyrics to Oasis’ Wonderwall hit the walls of my mind as I reminisce on the days gone by.

The days trickle so slowly like the sand enclosed in an ancient hourglass, time only prolonging the hurt and betrayal I feel for losing you. With each recall of the glorious time we spent together comes a sharp agonizing pain that pierces through my lonely soul, threatening to choke whatever is left of me.

On your grave, I drop the flowers I am holding. It is a mixture of hibiscus and ixora. I quickly fall on my knees and shed streams of winding tears. Heaven hear me, I wail. And then, I cry some more. My tears slowly upsurge into a riveting climax with a steady beat over the aortic valve, seemingly mimicking the palpitations of a scared and lonely heart. If only my sorrows could build flight of stairs, if only my tears could construct an eternal highway, I will find my way to the divine abode where you are, and bring you back in one piece.

I curse that ignoble folk that caused our separation; the doctor with the grey hair that caused the dearth of our romance. At the laboratory, they claimed they had seen some growths in the middle lobe of my right lung. Cavitations with hilar opacities, he termed it. I sat on the edge of the examination couch as he spoke to me. I guess he lied – that ignoble imp of a doctor. I had to end my romance with you, he proclaimed. It was on a Thursday morning that I received the bad news.

Sorry for being a coward, my dear. But I had to hearken to the words of the doctor with the grey hair, and took what was left of you and buried inside the makeshift grave at the backyard. I knew it was so disrespectful of me not to give you a befitting burial, but the announcement came too soon. Still, I wasn’t, yet I spied a wailing cherub.

There was no time for farewells, no opportunities to say our goodbyes. I pushed you away when you came calling. I let go of your hand when you held mine firmly and I allowed you to fall to your death. You stared death into the eyes and death welcomed you with a sardonic smile. A coward, I was, for believing the doctor with the grey hair. Instead of taking a leap of faith with you and plunging into the unknown future, I got rid of you so quickly. Shame on me!

So as I sit on this lonely veranda where you once kept me company, overlooking the frail shrubs that have become bedraggled, I reminisce on the days gone by. Shriveled and lonely, these shrubs remind me of what I’ve become since you left. There are multiple lesions on the other lobes, the doctor with the grey hair told me last week. The hemoptysis and dyspnea have worsened. I have already become the ghost of me. Soon, I will be gone with the wind.

As the times roll by, I gradually struggle to deal with the demons that threaten to overwhelm my soul and ultimately incapacitate me, allowing the silent lambs within me to rear their heads. I add a dark ambience to this sinister message bottled up in my chest, and hope to end this difficult situation on a positive note.

Thank you for the memories. Thank you for the good times we shared together. The first time I kissed you and took a long drag of your lips on mine, and the puffs I let out as you gently caressed my soul. Thank you for the sorrows you made me forget so quickly every time I rolled you in my hands before the long kiss goodnight.

Thank you for giving me all of you during these twelve long years. I called you Onyinye, because you were definitely God’s gift to this forlorn world, bringing me peace whenever I needed you.

I will always love you,

My Good Friend and Lover,

Mary Jane, Nee Miss Blunt!

 

In Memory Of The Lost Ones!

Now Playing: Suicide Season by Bring Me The Horizon

Word to Mutha: This work is STRICTLY the opinion of the writer. No Love Lost; No Love Found…It is what it is!

THE ECHOES OF SILENCE: An Ode to the victims of a lynch mob

It was a cold harmattan morning; on the last day of the year. I stood still in front of the Obi, watching the little kids set the firewood on the ground. In the distance not too far away, the sound of bangers and firecrackers were heard – a worthy salutation to the spirits that owned the ground beneath our feet – signaling the end of an Old Year and the birth of a New One. Beside my right foot, there was a lonely soldier ant running almost aimlessly in meandering pathways and I quickly thought about the Ode to the Bees.

The women and the young maidens were inside the hut cooking meals, the aroma of which smelled like honey mixed with lavender oaks, and once again, I thought about the Ode to the Bees.

I looked at the firewood on the ground, and promptly encouraged the kids to set them beside the dead animal. The goat had a wry smile on its lips; the last smile before Dee Chukwuma slit its throat from one end to the other – an ignoble murder of a harmless animal. Surprisingly, the goat’s tongue wasn’t stuck out of the mouth just like the other goats I’ve witnessed being slaughtered during this ‘ceremonial execution of goats’ that usually took place once in a year. Perhaps, it knew its fate and decided against struggling. Now can we all have a moment of silence and pay our last respects. All Hail The Wise Peaceful Non-Struggling Goat!

In front of the Ama – the entrance to the clan’s Obi, some masquerades stood idly, waiting patiently for the next lady to molest. Inglorious Fools! Lazy spirits, I muttered. It was obvious the masquerades have lost all sense of dignity as spirits; molesting individuals, taking pictures with the undead, and posing for selfies with the uninitiated folks.

In the evening, the traditional Ichu Afo ceremony to usher in a New Year while saying goodbye to the old one would commence. Before then, the adult male members of the clan would gather at the Obi, to settle scores and disputes once and for all. According to legend, it wasn’t right to go into the New Year with bad blood amongst the members of the clan.

A lamb – ebini – had already been tied to a stalk beside the Ngwo tree very close to the place Azunna was buried. Dee Amaduba had brought the lamb to settle the land dispute he had with Dee Oku, Obidiya’s husband. The lamb was silent save for the lips that pressed firmly on the green leaves as it munched on them. This would be its last meal.

All the while, the words on the letter scribbled across the paper I saw in the library raced across my mind like a drove of wasps seeking for the next victim to sting, and once again, I thought about the Ode to the Bees. On the paper, the grotesque detail of how the lynching took place was made known to me. I had requested for a typewritten copy of the details of the events from Adaora. Typewritten letters won’t appease the angry spirit of the innocent young man, she had argued endlessly. She insisted on sending a handwritten copy instead.

Ezike was a young industrious man who hailed from the next village after ours. I met him on the day the earth stood still. On that day, the town crier carried the news that the earth would become still for a few minutes. Darkness will take over the land, he lamented amidst the clanking sounds of his gong as he struck the stick against it. Mother said it was the end of the world. She encouraged us to confess our sins and be ready for the rapture. I confessed mine while sobbing silently. And then afterwards, I waited patiently for any sign of a white horse descending from the heavens with our Lord. We all waited inside the local church situated beside the great Ukpaka tree.

And then it happened. Just like the echoes of silence gradually trickle inside a haunted abode, darkness took over our land. The children wailed. Mothers held their offsprings tightly, taking care to carry them along as our Saviour and his angels descended. Fathers held tightly to their snuff boxes, worthy keepsake to show the angels when they reach heaven.

And after a few minutes, the darkness gave way to light. And as I turned piercingly seeking for my loved ones that were left behind with me, I saw this calm young boy seated on the floor, scribbling words on an imaginary piece of paper, his mien that of one that had not a single worry in the whole world. I thought he was a cherub that had forgotten his way back to heaven and was left behind. And then I approached him. And I spoke softly to him, carefully picking my words. I asked him why he was so calm in the midst of the whole ruckus. And he told me he didn’t have to be worried. The white man that worked at the clinic had already informed them of the darkness that would plague the village. Eclipse of the sun, he called it. And that was the day I met Ezike. The day the earth stood still.

Over the years, I realized he came from a poor background and his parents couldn’t send him to the University to seek further education after leaving secondary school. Eventually, he left village for the township to start apprenticeship at a Barber’s. And it was about the same time I went to the University to study Medicine in a bid to become Dibia Oyibo.

Fast forward to a few years after I graduated, at Nnenna’s Iku Aka ceremony, I met Ezike once again. On this day, the earth didn’t stand still. He was the same calm young man I knew, a few wrinkles on his face betraying his real age. Those wrinkles were the vestige of how the difficult township life had dealt decisively with him. I told him life was tough for everyone and it was only the tough that had the last laugh in any situation. He thanked me for the kind words. And at the end of the ceremony, we said our goodbyes and went our separate ways.

Then two weeks ago, I got word that Ezike had been murdered; dying slowly in the pool of his own blood, the crimson liquid wrapping its arms over his shoulders as he lay silently on the ground. He was unlucky; being caught up in the wrong place at the wrong time. He had gone to collect some clippers he took for repairs. Some say it was a case of mistaken identity. Others swore by their mothers’ souls that he was the one that raped the little girl. Shouts and accusations rent the air. Screams of blood tore into the atmosphere. The blood thirsty monsters in human flesh were swift to provide tires and petrol. They were quick to lynch him after the young girl screamed and shouted that he was the one that raped her. I pictured him smiling calmly, as the tires were put over his neck, his mien not betraying the fears that lurked underneath.

After the incident, five people were arrested and are due for prosecution in four days. The lawyers were preparing their cases. I requested for the letter from Adaora to enable me keep up with the events.

They say there are three sides to every story; the account of one person, the account of the other person and then ultimately, the truth. But in Ezike’s case, he is no longer alive to complete the trinity of accounts. We cannot stress enough the importance of not jumping into conclusions without overtly being sure of the details of events. Folks should be presumed innocent until proven guilty (no matter how hard it is to do so). On October 4th, it would be four years since the four young men were lynched at Aluu – victims of a hasty conclusion and quick judgment. It could have been you. It could have been me. It could have been any of us.

Eventually, we finished the deliberations and conflict resolution in the Obi. It was already dark when we finished and I smelled of stench. The women brought in food and wine for us to feast on. Monica was the one that served me. She bent over to pick up the bottle of small stout I requested from the crate. And then I saw it; the edge of her panty. In my mind’s eye, I pictured Tekno singing ‘Monica labalaba, my sweety baby your love dey kill me’ as I made love to her.

I hope I won’t get lynched in my dreams before I wake up.

 

Now Playing: Try A Little Tenderness by Otis Redding

Word to Mutha: This work is STRICTLY the opinion of the writer. No Love Lost; No Love Found…It is what it is!