Friday, 25 January 2013

Rolling Dreams (2)

Three days later, I woke up only to realize that it was the day my uncle was leaving for Jaji. I took a deep breath, darting my eyes around my room, wondering my uncle's departure. That was the moment I knew I will be missing my uncle and closest companion. Just then, a cascade of images cleared my eyes like bright camera flashes and I began to write:

                                                  A Note to my Uncle

                                                  As you go to the field
                                                  Forget not your shield
                                                  Forget not your mind
                                                  And to evil be unkind

                                                  Give your all to the state
                                                  And break terror's plate
                                                  It's me, your son
                                                  wishing you victory's sun

I put the note on the pocket of his shirt as I shed tears of joyful pain. We embraced each other profusely and he whispered to my ears:

"Enenche, you are not yet what you shall be. Take your studies seriously, behave well and do whatever you like. I love you!"

"I love you too uncle." I responded cheerfully.

I went back into the house as they drove out. I prepared for school, had my breakfast and was about to leave for school when I overheard a conversation. It was between Udokamma and Mr. Bako.

"Don't belch so loud." Udokamma said.

"Na weitin you dey talk?" Mr. Bako asked.

"Mallam, you know what oga said?"

"Sey wetin?"

"He said we should do whatever small oga says."

"That one no be wahala now."

"But he said that we should watch small oga's movements."

The house-maid and the gateman went on talking. I was ready to leave for school and didn't want to be late. But their words told me to be careful in my daily affairs. Yes, my uncle trusted me but I needed to conduct myself in order to continue to enjoy his strengthening confidence in me.

The driver drove my uncle to the airport and may not be back so soon. So I entered a bus just in front of my uncle's house. In the bus were other school children with three women, supposedly their parents. While the children were holding tightly their flasks, their mothers were bewailing the state of the nation. Every night, the sounds of bombs, machine guns and cannons leave the people sleepless, with eyes wide open, waiting for the cock to crow. They spoke of the destruction they had witnessed; how they became widows with families to take care of. No one would have imagined that such tragedy could occur in a time so brief.

Before we reached the next turn-up, the driver inserted a CD of Asa. He raises the volume of the Disc Player and sang to our hearing:

                                                  There never used to be
                                                  This much attention to security
                                                  Until the terror and catastrophe
                                                  And now there's guns and war machines

                                                  Maybe, maybe the sun will rise
                                                  Maybe, maybe (ouh)
                                                  Maybe, maybe the stars will shine, maybe, maybe

                                                  No one is listening
                                                  To the truth or is it just me
                                                  I guess I must begin from now
                                                  To make that change I always speak about

Though the women did not appear to be fascinated by the music, I felt enchanted by the lyrics. Music seemed to possess a mystical power, capable of calming our troubled and broken lives. Asa evoked in me a sense of freedom with her dulcet voice. No doubt, the music shortened the journey and made me less worried about the tendency to be late because of the traffic. The bus halted right in front of our school building where I alighted and ran to join the assembly.


After recess, we had History. Entering the classroom, the teacher dropped Irele's The Negritude Moment on his table. While he was teaching, Abimbola caught his attention and that of all of us. Donning an earpiece, she is carried away by Mariah Carey's Hero:

                                                   There's a hero
                                                   If you look inside your heart
                                                   You don't have to be afraid
                                                   Of what you are
                                                   There's an answer
                                                   If you reach into your soul
                                                   And the sorrow that you know
                                                   Will melt away

                                                   And then a hero comes along
                                                   With the strength to carry on
                                                   And you cast your fears aside
                                                   And you know you can survive
                                                   So when you feel like hope is gone
                                                   Look inside you and be strong
                                                   And you'll finally see the truth
                                                   That a hero lies in you

                                                    It's a long road
                                                    When you face the world alone
                                                    No one reaches out a hand
                                                    For you to hold
                                                    You can find love
                                                    If you search within yourself
                                                    And the emptiness you felt
                                                    Will disappear

                                                    Lord knows
                                                    Dreams are hard to follow
                                                    But don't let anyone
                                                    Tear them away
                                                    Hold on
                                                    There will be tomorrow
                                                    In time
                                                    You'll find the way

 Abimbola was miming the lyrics when the class was going on. All eyes were on her but she seemed not to have noticed. She went on to the utter surprise of everybody in the class.

"Abimbola," the teacher called.

She continued. Her ears were blocked by the rhythm of the soothing song.

"Abimbola," the teacher called again.

This time around, she heard and quickly answered with a sudden sense of fear.

"Yes sir." She stood up, removing the  headphones that were stuck to her ears. The whole class laughed. It was then that it dawned on her that she had long been sighted by everyone.

"I'm sorry." She apologised immediately but the teacher was already inflamed.

"To redeem yourself, you have to render a poem, share a quotation with us or you leave my class and never return." Looking at the teacher, she was dumbfounded before she opted for the first option. The whole class was as silent as silent as the sheeted dead.

"The title of my poem," she began, "is I'm Sorry." She flashed us with a smile as she started:

                                                   Though like no fanatical preacher
                                                   Listen to my plea dear great teacher
                                                   For my mind is drawn by a mighty muse
                                                   I’m ceaselessly seeking to amuse

                                                   I’m sorry with my little story
                                                   Beautified with a musical history
                                                   Making me burst forth without my knowing
                                                   With lovely tunes expressed by singing

                                                   I promise to do my utmost
                                                   To calm my spontaneous outbursts
                                                   Especially when listening to a lesson
                                                   That we all may learn like humble masons

Indeed, her poem left me mesmerised. It seemed an immortal spirit dwelt in her frail looking body. I sensed from our teacher's countenance that he was impressed. He pardoned her and the class continued. But the passion which the marriage of poetry and music had indelibly brought into her life was undeniable. Her performance in class had been consistently exceptional and her behaviour is characterised by honesty almost to a fault. As soon as school ended for the day, she walked out of the gate as fast as a dislocated joint slipping back into shape. I wanted to see her. I rushed to catch up with her but she had entered a bus. I couldn't call her name for she had gone.

To be continued...


  1. A lovely blend of poetry and prose. I am enjoying reading your work Innocent. Do you have an overall vision or plan for this, or is just flowing like a river at this stage ...?

    1. At this level, it's kind of flowing like a river. I hope to develop it simply as the ideas keep coming until the point when I can let them out for all to appreciate.

      Thanks for being there! I solicit your continuous reading. Cheers!!!

  2. You should continue writing ! I love it

    1. I really appreciate your stopping by. I would devote more time to my writing...