By Micheal Ace
After my tenth cup of palm-wine under baálè’s shed; the only place where sun won’t shine, I heed mama’s call, pick my cap, fasten my waist-tie and head out.
It was 1pm and all I feel is mama’s breathe back home.
There is something I don’t understand. Maybe the trees and leaves could see beyond today. Maybe they are able to smell the aroma of fried bush meat and rich vegetable soup that will be served as companion for pounded yam tomorrow. Because in less than eight hours, I will be clocking twenty one.
I feel papa’s hug even in his absence. He was trying to say something but who knows why ghosts can’t speak with the livings. Who knows why we can’t see and touch them?
Who knows why papa had to leave so soon? Who knows why he shot mama’s leg with tetanus so she can come home too?
Who knows? Who knows?
But I’m taking a break from tears. Yes, I won’t cry today and I won’t tear tomorrow.
I get back home and the native doctor is around for mama. The only words I hear that keeps my feet glued to the cold floor was:
“Mama, two things will happen tomorrow: Your son will become a year older and then, there will be blackout!!! ”
The echo comes like a thunder striking a cloth of webs; easily pierced and broken.
I have heard the word before. It was thirteen years ago that we had the last lunar eclipse. That year, everyone becomes the elders with loose lips faking stories and tales, spreading fables all around the village that the world is coming to her end.
No man was ready to leave behind their farms, their horny wives at night.
I was not ready to die too, I had dreams I wished to live; like flying my own plane all around the world, changing girls like cloths as I never have the chance to, building papa a house and mama mansion, live like a king in the city and becoming who every dreamer wish to be.
That was the year I read the novel; “the moon that eats the sun”
It gets dark, darker and then darkness.
It is a new day and I’m way out to call my friends for early preparation. I’m muttering while going;
I have become a year older but there is no blackout!
Maybe Baba’s old age came back to play pranks. Maybe he was only trying to scare me out. Maybe!
When we get home, I hurry inside to call on mama but then, there was blackout.
Mama has died.
My melancholy grows a year older