Beside the black iron gate in that beautiful morning, flushed with a pale yellow, I felt different shades of bitterness whirling around my tongue. Abike wept bitterly for the third time inside three years. I knew the tears flowed in an opulence of sheer bitterness. To what extent I do not know. But I knew it had to be severe, like the virgin taste of bitterleaf. My mother had turned similar tears into a bottle and had made me drink it, from her restless tongue, everyday I returned home late.
Later that day, Bidemi walked in through that black gate, apparelled in a glittering dark. Eyes concealed from the spontaneous beauty that larded the open, with round brown shades. She had come to console Abike her friend, like the other times. I tiptoed and burried my right ear at the back of the window. Eavesdropping was the adult’s style of maintaining buoyancy in the ever running stream of civilization. The doctors must have something new to say. I needed to know. I knew an onus was on me.
But this time it was all different. Abike stood at the top of her voice and rolled out strange doses of anger, birthed from grief served in little round plates of over enlightenment. Bidemi had only made matters worse this time around. She had uttered barbarism. She had unearthed an idea kept only in uneducated tongues. Demons, evil spirits, they have nothing to do with this.
I rolled my head in pity and walked back drearily to the gate. Within a year from now Abike will cry again. I was so certain. Each day will surely fade away to bring another. I was that certain.
In exactly twelve months, I dreamnt. The tender heels of a baby were fading away along a bush path. I woke up to the cry of jubilation. The compound was already stuffed with raucous fuji beats. A baby had arrived. There are men that lead ordinary lives with finesse, lives with no shadows and souls. The couple, Solomon and Abike, are one of such. A fool is a man who has a brain but had painted it with the same colour that hangs on his wall. A man should sometimes put on the eyes of another, and the mind of another, and sometimes the tongue of another.
In seven days time, the bitterness larded my face and my colour was as severe as the genuineness of a charcoal. I walked up to Abike. I sized up her beauty and the moon was not perfect enough, angels were not emaculate enough, the grains of sand that spread their backs along the beach were not soft enough, such pain was too enormous for such a beautiful woman.
“Madam look” I raised my shirt to reveal the luxury of scars that emblazoned my body and pointed at the dead child, her dead child.
“Cut him into parts and he will never die when he comes again.” abike scurried to her feet and I saw the shadow of fear hanging over her pain drenched eye balls. For a moment I thought I had killed a man. May be I was responsible for the death of the child. A slap sank through my cheek. It carried no pain. But when she floated her tongue in the warm air, I felt like I was already squeezed under thick layers of clay.
“So you too!”
“Tari, so you are evil!”
But then, I felt my head dancing in the air like a feather, and the bitterness tearing away from my tongue, like a tired piece of fabric, when images of my mother smeared the walls of my head.
I will tell her someday. I will tell her that I had died six times myself. I will tell her that on the seventh time, the scars covered the bush path I walked so I lived. But how can she ever believe a common gate man.
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