Am I supposed to be happy that it happened? That one barren and cold night threw us apart? Not physical throw. Something like cutting our souls apart. That mystic chord that once fused us, like a covalent bond.
Am I supposed to let my eyes turn to a leaking reservoir? Like how mother will sit out in the cold at night and let her tears turn into a mini swamp the already damp ground.
Or am I supposed to rant like a storm, a tiny little storm? Like how Dad will first turn your head into his old little ozi- the talking drum, with his knuckles, before pouring those border-less words on you, like heaps of charcoal?
Or should I just curse that growing thing and that night that brought it? Would it make any difference? The bond, even if it reconnects, would it locate that exact night, that exact spot, and undo what happened? Taiwo, you can’t step into same water twice! Is it wrong to sound like Aristotle? But he is right you know.
But could you have reckoned me. Or is it that you never cared as much as I did? I know you did. You could have sang my name into the cold night and let the crickets mimic you till I hear. I would have known. I would have showed up like a wind. I would have prevented it. And this thing would still be many years ahead. And the bond would still be here, like an ancient tomb filled with contentment. It would have grown like a desert, till there was no tree left, no shrub left, no oasis; those distractions.
Oh wait! You consented! You liked it! You wanted it! You betrayed me! But how sweet was it? The head of Aba- that fish we called the king of the river? Was it like honey? Whatever! And you forgot our 3km walks from school. Remember when we got home we whispered to each other that the walk was sweet like sugar cane. Because we gossiped. We also taunted and chased each other around. And you forgot how we played in Forcados, that river that passed from the face of our town, so long, until cold penetrated our skins and our lips started wobbling like owigiri dancers, until those snoopy elderly people saw the harm we were doing to ourselves and start chasing us with canes. Remember when we got home you told me the day’s swimming tasted like honey inside your body and I nodded in agreement, even when the colour of our eyes had changed from the usual smoky colour to the colour of Dad’s patchy Blucher- that one that looks like a grape.
There was something I needed to tell you last night. Many things. About my grievance, about my curiosity, about my many whys and about the feeling that made me sing with crickets and frogs at night because I couldn’t sleep. Something was not right. But I couldn’t get the opportunity. Because mother told me you were dead and alive. They heard you scream and you were gone, like a spark of electricity. You had to be kept somewhere safe and smelly until you decides to return, like you had the power to live or die. But mother assured me you will return, like she knows. Like she sent you on an errand, to go and fetch Dad like a bucket of water.
Of the many things I needed to tell you last night, one couldn’t wait. It twitched like one of my lashes; the one I will tell you to pull out and let peace reign. It was my curiosity.
But how do you expect me to remain calm when my curiosity was burgeoning each passing second, like an omelette in mother’s frying pan? I found out what was not right; a damming revelation, like how the sky will be covered in clouds and instead of the rains, the sun will peep, like how the fourth seal will be opened and an angel of death will be unleashed. You sneaked out that night. He made the cuckoo sound and you wagged your round tail like a hungry hen. A selfish and hungry hen. I found out why dad never cared if he turned your head from the ozi into a ceramics with his knuckles, so that when it shatters his words can sink into your grey matter.
What stopped you from telling me that there was a fowl across the fence? Like we always told each other, even the most intimate things? Did we even reckon that some things should be tagged intimate? Where we not even one? Like the albumen and the yolk? I was fair and you were fairer. I was sweet like honey and you were sweeter, so you became something we can only see and eat in heaven. I was your guard and so you stopped calling me Kehinde. You called me Ozone. And you became my joy, because the name made me smile each time you mention it.
Did you forget the day those tangerines bud out from your chest and your eyes formed the shape of almonds because you never listened to mother? Because she told you not to swallow the seed of those sweet and overripe guavas and you never listened. Because she told you the seeds were going to grow out of you and it will turn you into a part of the earth; a little farmland.
I could remember how tiny threads were growing from that hidden place, the place we called ‘that place’ and how after two days you showed me your ‘that place’ too and how we laughed because ‘that place’ was looking like a starved garden.
Well, there is something else I would love you to know. I should have told you two days ago. I had planned to leave Zaria two days back, immediately after my exams. But it was providence I guess.
There was a knock on my door, my door in Zaria, when the colour of the sun was a little mystery because it was intense, too intense. The knock was not from over the fence. It was not the sound of a cuckoo. I think it’s because we were one and still two.
But before I wag my slate-like back and run after him like you did, that tall boy from Funtua, I needed you to tell me few things, whenever you live again. I will wait.
Was he thick, thicker than blood, like the fluid life buried underneath our skins?
Did it open your eyes, so that you see like one of the angels; Gabriel, Uriel and the rest of them?
Why would you allow a rod, one made of meat and and crimsoned waters shove into you, tear you apart and leave you bleeding? This I find genuinely perturbing. More perturbing than the strange Yoruba names Dad decided to give us. More perturbing than the sleepless nights I had when I realized I was to school in the north.
He sang a song for you right? I know he did. Was it better than a nightingale? Was it better than Dad’s parrot mimicking the snoring of the sea at night? Did he sing better than me? Tell me. I know you forget the name Ozone anytime I sing. You would call me Lucifer and say flesh and blood had not put that into your mouth.
And lastly, that boy, what’s his name again? Why did he run away after putting it into you; that thing in your stomach?
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