Wednesday, 21 November 2018

HOME





Home





Beneath the boughs where I rest,



from twilight to wee hours, as my bed can attest.



Searching for sleep, the night sounds a pest,



my legs thrashing around, seeking refuge from mosquitoes with zest

.



Beneath the boughs where I rest,



my co-tenant, the squirrel had in the ceiling made its nest.



Of its gender I was not certain nor did I show interest,



as a low thump told of its arrival with today's heist.





Beneath the boughs where I rest,



with buckets and sundry cans in place, lest;



the leaking boards discharge the rains in their trickle fest,



upon the cracked floor, it's face now a mason's jest.





Beneath the boughs where I rest,



tonight's shadow on the wall seems clad in a vest.



And seemed to have lips, swollen like a nursing breast,



a flash of light later and it's my jumper hanging from the drawer chest.







Nnamdi Wabara.

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

The Sounds of my quiet




The Sounds of my quiet







Whilst I waited, my breath bated,

The Sun outside was shining, the trees caught in the wind, billowing.

A little bird against my window was furiously pecking, at its own figure reflecting.

The clock kept ticking as if in answer to the fly’s constant buzzing.

And I was in my bed lying, waiting yet listening.



Whilst I still waited, my senses jaded,

There was a swish of the Hawk swooping, and a Hen began crying.

The aroma of freshly fried beef was rising, my nostrils moistening.

The vulture soon arriving, onto the roof, its wings flapping.

And I was yet in my night dress, sans worries nor yesterday’s stress.



Whilst I yet waited, my mind feeling eroded,

The thoughts mostly fleeting, as my pulse kept racing.

My fingers began twitching, as the air outside began changing.

The sky quickly greying, as the rain drops began falling.

And there I was in my quiet, tired but thoroughly content.



Nnamdi Wabara, 2016.

Thursday, 1 November 2018

A mid October dream




If i were a body of water,
a lake,sea or a river.
And i could ebb and flow,
that i would join kin tributaries,
or beget many sons or layers to form a delta.
i would run roaring , over stones and small rocks like a brook,
sometimes falling from high with a splash, a waterfall,
I would be fine!

If i were a road that led to somewhere,
not mattering if i was paved,tarred or formed.
And i could branch off to join sibling highways or busy motorways,
that i would sometimes create mirages, aided by a naughty Sun.
I could go through hills,valleys and over mountains.
I would catch my breath and hold still for the trekkers, cyclists and vehicles,
sometimes laden with signs and pointers,others ridden with gullies and potholes,
I would be fine!

If i were the wind , that i were invisible,
yet every man and being felt my fluttery presence.
And i could blow hot, or cold,
that i would create a sandstorm, teaming with the right measure of dust.
Or blow in spirals like a cyclone; or trunk extended like a tornado.
I might just for a laugh, shake the trees ever so slightly,
sometimes sneak in under the curtains to smack the pots and pans with my rattle,
I would be fine!



Nnamdi Wabara


Sunday, 29 April 2018

Another day, another requiem

ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER REQUIEM

I am certain today, there will be many flowery words.
That bouquets of roses and carnations will be plentiful.
The priest to extol, in a lengthy eulogy,a fellow he may never have set eyes on.
The mourners to gaze in pity at the casket, piety starched throughout their dark garments.
Dark mournful garments!

Whilst the welcoming angels and their wings will be in radiant hues;
When the streets of paradise,where they all affirm the one is headed, are covered in brilliant and blinding light!

The old lady checking her wrist clock intermittently, hoping her presence has been registered by the grieving family!
The younger ones typing on phones, their minds long departed here.
The landlord, sat there by default;pondering how long will be polite before writting for his rent.
And am sat at the back, sad at another demise,yet bored of the usual things.


Nnamdi Wabara, 2018.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

PEACE








PEACE



Where the waters flow,

Meandering over stones and rocks,

There you will find me.

Visible in my silence.

Complicit in the serene quiet.

Watching stars fall out the sky, yet remain.

Hearing the owl awaken with the dusk.

The shadow of the moonlight upon the silver stream.

The shuffle of drowsy feet echoing in the darkened hallway.

A chapel on a working day.

A school on a holiday.

Till I hear the wind, walking amidst the graves;

Shifting the dying flowers ever so slowly, burnt out candles.

I am the sole citrus by the Cemetery gates;

Largely forsaken by man and beast.

I am the shade in the grove of trees.

I am the empty patch in a sea of flowers.

I am the home, where harmony once dwelt.

Friday, 10 November 2017

Wanderlust





WANDERLUST

……my mother now newly single,

thrown out for her lack of fruits.

To wipe her tears, I pledge to stay,

but oh! I already feel the wanderlust.               

-          Ogbanje (Broken echoes…etcetera c.2017)



In the beginning, I was back again; in my favourite shade under the huge, leafy trees. The floor was grassy and made for a lovely plain field for gamboling spirit-children. The trees extended like forever, lines upon lines of giant plants. Massive roots entwined with the earth, branches stretching horizontally like a man with arms outstretched seeking answers from the elements.

The trees were thick above, but below nearer the ground was sparse enough for me and my friends to run around, play hide and seek, and other games as we made merry without a care. The sky above was invisible, blacked out by the treetops. Some of the trees seemed to go into the skies as they stretched like forever to my little spirit eye.

The thing I liked most of this realm, was the lack of time! There was no sense of time, infact there was nothing like time. We could play and run around for what passed for earth years without tiring. Our games only broken up when one of us was called away by a guide, which was often. The guides always appeared from behind one in an instant, their tall cylindrical hats tilting left or right, depending on the nature of message they had for the one.

In this realm too, there was no colour! There was only a permanent dawn, an everlasting twilight. Everything was seen in that dullness. There was no hue, all was grey and slightly blurred.

Who needed colour anyway? In this realm the thoughts were the words that were exchanged. There were no spoken words, but we understood each other just fine as we picked up the other’s thoughts and feelings easily. There was a transparency here than I had witnessed on my sojourns to earth. There was an animal instinctiveness and openness in the grey realm. It was not possible to lie or pretend here, to put it succinctly- we had no need to blush!

I felt a tug on my shoulder. It was my friend, Nedika. He was back. I was yet to see him since his current return. We embraced and soon began drawing trees in the grey sands. Another four spirit-children soon joined us, a male and 3 females.

Geicka, one of the females wasn’t playing with us. She was downcast, devoid of thoughts as well. We soon stopped playing and sat around her. Waiting to pick her thoughts and send ours. She sat with a stiff back and stared deep into the trees, all the while leaving her mind blank.

Then the pain washed over her again, and I picked up her recollection of her session with the guide that had returned her. She had been born to a woman back on earth. The woman named ‘uwaezuoke’, whose name in the earth language of that region meant ‘one could never have it all on earth’, despite her affluence had yet to bear a child. Then she had birthed Geicka, now Geicka was gone.

Uwaezuoke had cried for days on end. Uwaezuoke had committed suicide! Driven by the pain and frustration of her loss, weighed down by the guilt she felt as she had left her on the pram, parked for only a minute, to pick her change from the cashier at the window. Then that ear-piercing scream.

The parked pram had rolled onto the busy motorway. There had been an on-coming truck, the pram stood no chance. Uwaezuoke was inconsolable. She had fainted! She had to be heavily sedated and restrained within the hospital ward. Upon her release months after, she took her life. The sad news made the rounds in most of the local dailies.

The thing poor Uwaezuoke didn’t know was that the baby had been a spirit-child. One of us. Her spirit had long left the body before the truck pulverized the pram. Besides, it wasn’t Uwaezuoke’s fault. We had all been there. All the spirit–children in our group from the grey realm were there at that moment. Infact, it was Nedika who had released the parked pram’s hook, when Geicka hadn’t been watching.

Gecka had been growing fond of Uwaezuoke. She only had good thoughts about her. Geicka had refused to fall ill and die like she was meant to. That was what spirit-children did. She wouldn’t budge. Nedika was our self-appointed leader, so acted before it became late and we lost her forever. Nedika didn’t care for others’ thoughts, his was to ensure our togetherness and quick return to the grey realm.

All spirit-children are able to converge with any other on earth through a totem stick. We all had totem sticks buried in the grey grounds of our realm. Each stick had an individual spirit-child’s name written on it. All twenty sticks had been in a calabash buried at the four points junction, where East, West, North and South met, there our sticks were buried. The sticks had been bound with a piece of string and inserted deep into the ground.

Geicka was hurting. The guide had been hard on her in the aftermath of Uwaezuoke’s suicide. She had never seen the guide so upset, or any guide for that matter. The guide’s hat had been so tilted to the left that Geicka feared it might fall off to the ground. So began an angry dispute between Geicka and Nedika. Angry thoughts flew fast and furious between the two. “You should never have done that”, Geicka thought. ‘It was all your fault’, Nedika thought back in response. “I would never forgive you for this”. She stormed off deep into the trees.

The mood was soured. Every spirit-child present, now wandered off, all seeming to avoid Nedika. I chose a spot much farther from Nedika. This was clearly not his finest hour. I sat down against a tree. Thoughts were flying within me like a whirlwind.

I had just returned myself, from Earth. I had already lost count of how many times I had been born, and how many times I had returned to my friends, always before the 7th month was up. I have been born in virtually all the countries of the earth. I have been born in all the different continents of the world at different times. It had been the same for me. I have been born to all manner of women, the very tall and the not so tall. I had once had a mother that was very rotund, I had once had a mother with a very prominent moustache that got painted from drinking milk or a bowl of soup, I had once had a mother with the saddest eyes ever, big round tear-filled eyes that begged me to live, to stay. I didn’t.

I have been a son to a Pakistani family, an African chief, an American slave merchant, an English royal’s love child. There were some countries I had incarnated in over and over again. I still had scarifications from my last earth trip. I had been born into West Africa, my twentieth time in Africa. My parents had firstly taken me to a witchdoctor when I began falling ill regularly at 5 months of age. Our home had been in a remote small seaside town. The witchdoctor had told my parents that I was a spirit-child and that my playmates had begun calling for my return. He had actually said this with a sweeping arm gesture towards the corner of the room where Nedika and the others awaiting my death were, as if he could see them. ‘Ogbanje’, he called me. Then proceeded to make tiny incisions on the sides of my face and small of my back. He said the scarifications would make my friends desert me and make it easy for my parents to recognize me if I dared return as a new child in their household.

Father’s friend had recommended the witchdoctor. He had come visiting with his family. They had stood and stared at me lying in my parent’s bed, covered in my mother’s best wrapper, the red one with the boxed design. I hated them for not refusing Father’s offer of hospitality. We weren’t well off and I felt bad seeing my parents spend most of their little savings on me. Yet here were these people, clad in their ‘Sunday dress’, eating the last of the ‘chicken-soup’ because they were visitors!

Over the next month, I became worse. I began to regularly throw up the infant formula, which cost my low earning parents a fortune, to ensure I starved the little body. The long journeys to the witchdoctor’s hut and my deteriorating state combined to twist my father’s hand. He overruled my mother and promptly wheeled me to the new town office of a fast-talking new preacher making the rounds then.

He regularly appeared on the television and his voice could be heard bellowing sermons on the radio. “My God answers by fire”! “Thus says the lord……..”. I had been urgently wrapped warm and driven to the preacher’s by my parents. The preacher asked that I be placed on a special cot beside the altar. My mother stayed behind, sat on the front pew, her eyes never leaving the cot. My father had to get to the bank.

The preacher knelt farther to my left on the altar, and began speedily praying and quoting passages interjectionally from the holy book. One of his followers, a fair complexioned female, clad in a white gown and a yellow sash with the inscription ‘Zion’, held a little drum in her left hand which she beat to match the tempo of the preacher’s loud prayers. As she swayed, she mouthed ‘yes lord’, ‘hosanna’, ‘el shaddai’, severally in no particular order.

I couldn’t see the preacher’s eyes as he had hidden them behind a pair of sunglasses. He was of a strong build and if I had been introduced to him at a sports centre as a wrestler, I would have believed him to be a very accomplished one indeed. His rippling muscles made his suit tight and stretched. Or even as a boxer, as he had huge calloused hands. He would have fitted right in, at a gym house. His chest was the size of a mini wardrobe with room to spare.

It was mother that noticed the goings-on in the cot and screamed at the preacher, “my son is foaming at the lips”. The preacher quickly felt my forehead and frowned at the high temperature. I had begun having severe chills at that point. The preacher dialed a number on his mobile phone, “Hello Sir”, he began. “Please come at once to pick up your child”. “The Holy spirit says we have done our part, the rest is for the doctor. Come take him to the hospital at once”, he concluded.

I had been on the altar all through with the preacher and hadn’t heard the phone ring, I had missed the Holy Spirit’s call. Mother was already beside herself in lamentations and grief. She grabbed me and held my fever ravaged little body to her bossom. I felt loved and wanted, but the call of my playmates was stronger. The grey realm awaited with the lush grasses and lack of time.

I never made it to the hospital. I had left the little body just before the hospital workers came running out with their stretcher and life support items. I hurriedly said goodbye to the other spirit-children who had come to escort me over the threshold of yet another death. I had long stopped counting. I went behind the nearest tree to await my guide. The guide was prompt as always but disappointed that I had contrived to return to the grey realm yet again.

I have spent centuries now coming and going. Sometimes I wondered how come there were no other children in the grey realm, except other groups of spirit-children. Could this realm be one for abnormal spirits who had refused to grow up? Was this some kind of purgatory? These thoughts deeply troubled me as I had never seen my existence in that light before. Was it my last view of Mother as I left with the guide? She had sat on the ground tearing out her hair! I feared for her health but couldn’t inquire from the guide if she’ll be alright, as the guide was clearly in no mood to respond.

‘Maxila, maxila’. I knew that thought density. It was Geicka! Her thoughts were happy and loud. They were of euphoria and elation. I had never seen her this excited over anything before. “I have been given another chance “, she thought towards me. Yes, right behind her was the guide, her guide. The guide’s face was bland as all guides tend to be, devoid of thoughts and feelings until they have a message to be delivered.

“But Geicka, you just came back”, I thought towards her. “Yes Maxila, but my guide told me it’s already 5 earth years”, she thought. “I am just excited to get this opportunity, my friend”. “I have not been able to get my last earth trip out of my mind, especially the suicide”. ”One last thing Maxila, I would not be coming back”! “I am going to try and make good this opportunity”, she concluded the series of quick thoughts. Then she grabbed me in an urgent bear hug. I just knew that I would never see her again in the grey realm. Her guide now took her hand and they melted into the trees.

Nedika and some of the other spirit-children then appeared. His thoughts were those of bedlam and disorientation. I quickly learnt that Geicka had dug up the calabash of totems and gone off with her’s. Nedika was going to make a dash along with the other spirit-children currently in the grey realm to the ‘departure bridge’, the point of departure for all spirit-children. He would appeal to Geicka before her totem was lost. Nedika feared losing Geicka would diminish his authority amongst the other spirit-children, and with it his exalted status.

The departure bridge is the busiest transit point in creation. There were always thousands moving across it to be born while thousands were returning from time expired on earth, at the same time. It teemed with all manner of spirits at all times.

“Maxila”, he thought towards me. “Please hold onto this calabash until my return”. It was Nedika. “You know you are the only one I trust in this realm”. His thoughts towards me now ceased as they quickened their paces in hot pursuit, soon swallowed up by the trees.

I quickly thought of Geicka. I understood her pain. My earth life before last, I had been born to an American soldier stationed in Kabul. He was on his way back, halfway around the world on a week’s pass, to see his new son. I had pleaded with Nedika to allow me stay till the soldier, father, arrived and his week was done. Nedika wouldn’t budge. I was gone before they returned from the airport. I sometimes wonder if they carried out their threat to prosecute the poor Filipino nanny.  I had heard most of the angry exchange, as I sat behind the oak tree in the front lawn awaiting the guide.

My guide now appeared again, startling me from my reverie. There was an opening for a child. Since I was the only one left behind in the group, would I take it? Even as I had been back a mere 2 earth years. Yes, I thought. I wanted to go.

My guide held me fast, and we were soon at the ‘departure bridge’. It still retained the bustling activity all around. Now he gave me a pat and a slight shove on the back. I felt the familiar rush of air vapour again. That falling feeling. That zapping of thoughts from roaming lost spirits and the hushed tunes of malevolent spirits singing. The wild thoughts of newly expired spirits as they pondered the futures of their funds, children, parents, spouses were all around us.



I awoke. I had an earth body again. A tiny one once more.  All was quiet save a booming sound up above. I was back again in a woman’s womb. The woman that would be my new mother. I could hear sounds again. In my excitement at having made it to earth again, I tested my new right leg. It connected with some tissues, then again, then again. It felt good.

“Honey”, it was my new mother to be. She was on the telephone. “Honey, it happened, he just kicked”! She continued, “Just like the Gynecologist had said he would in this fifth month”. ”At first it had felt like fluttering butterflies, then I felt it hard”, she said. “It’s going to be a strong boy”!

The husband at the other end began sobbing. The deep sobs of a man who had lived through 7 years of endless IVF treatments and hospital visits, without the bundle of joy they craved. He began pledging to her, that he would always be there, that he would be a great father, and their child would never lack for affection.

I felt really welcome. I will finally get to go to school. Ride a bike. Grow to an adult age to vote, and be able to buy a drink. I will get to know the joys of earth life this time, and really savour them. Watch the sun rise, the sunset. Hear the birds sing, dogs bark.

I was certain of this for I had tossed the calabash of totems into the air vapours as I left the departure bridge. Yes no spirit-child could ever find me again. I had said my goodbyes to the grey realm.

It is finished!






















































Saturday, 26 November 2016

A TURBULENT TIME





A   TURBULENT TIME


It must have been the loud noise that woke me from my nap barely thirty minutes after take-off. I struggled to stand to my feet, but somehow couldn’t. I was weighed down, held in place, kept in check by something I couldn’t fathom as of yet. Then I heard it again! It was the same sound. A scream by a woman. Very loud and shrill. It echoed several times inside my head as if trapped in a void, the scream rebounding from one brain cell to the next. It was painful and jarring. I opened my eyes again. There was a glint. Something shiny. It was a seat belt knuckle! That was my jailer all this while, keeping me locked down in my seat.

I remembered I was on an Air flight. Sat on the aisle, seat 7D to be exact. I had been sleeping, the sleep of a traveler, tired yet light on the feet. Prone to sudden jerks of awakening, drowsy eyes adorning an alert mind. It must have been the scream. It had crashed into my dream. My unremarkable dream, like that of any wayfarer. A dream of fits and starts, having neither depth nor colour, neither length nor significance.

My senses gradually returned, as my eyes began to focus once more. The last I remembered was the Pilot announcing that we were 35,000 feet above land, before my eyes closed in sleep. The lady had stopped screaming but was now praying loudly. Sweating profusely inside the air-conditioned cabin. She kept making references to the ‘God of Elisha’, the ‘God of miracles’, the stopper of ‘untimely death’ as she prayed in that shrill voice.

The Aircraft made a big sudden swerve. Shouts of ‘My God’, ‘Jesus’, ‘Allah’, rent the air. There were many voices praying at the same time. Prayers were being uttered in different voices and tongues, in diverse supplicating postures. A nun in seat 7F was going haywire. She held her rosary tightly and kept chanting. The volume of her chanting strangely was proportional to the balance of the Airplane. Going up with every slight tilt of the Aircraft’s wings, and going down with any brief stabilization experienced.

The upheaval had wrought havoc inside the Aircraft. There were dozens of small suitcases freed from the luggage-hold above. One had fallen quite next to me on the aisle. The Air-hostesses were doing their best to calm the passengers and clear the aisle of the fallen suitcases. As one came to pick a suitcase close to me on the aisle, the Airplane shook and tilted steeply to the right. The sharp movement threw the long stockinged hostess across me into the empty seat 7E, hitching her skirt up in the process.

The hostess became quite animated, rushing to seat herself up and pulling down her garments that had ridden upwards. Her eyes glared wildly at me, questioning, seeking answers on what I had seen, if I had seen. I returned her stare with a disinterested parsing of the lips. I was not a voyeur by any means nor did I salivate at such exposures, but it was hard to miss the big tear at the upper limit of the right stocking, hitherto hidden away beneath the upper reaches of her garments.

I wondered if it was her modesty or ego that was wounded and how such should matter when there was chaos on board. Why she would stress over an unsolicited peek when there was no guarantee that we would make it out alive. She began saying ‘Excuse me Sir……’, it was never finished. A sudden downward plunge of a few feet by the Airplane had her grabbing on to the seat in front. There were shrieks all around. In the melee, her perfect hair got stuck on some protruding button on the seat in the 6th row. She was left devoid of her ‘hair’, the ugly patchy scalp revealed. She was now beyond caring over such trivialities like looks, when there were no certainties over surviving the current situation.

A child began crying. Her mother tried ceaselessly to placate her. She wouldn’t be soothed and began wailing loudly. She couldn’t have been more than 7years old and I remembered meeting her earlier looking lovely and resplendent in a yellow satin dress, her hair tied in 2 corresponding yellow ribbons. She had lost one of the ribbons and her dress was stained with vomit. I felt children would have been more comfortable in the crisis, as the yo-yo movement of the plane resembled many a roller-coaster ride popular at resorts and parks. Must be the wild screams and loud prayers, I thought to myself.

Then I wondered what would happen to us, to me. Would I survive if the plane failed to hold it together? Or would I be condemned to an unmarked watery grave? Would I make it to the ocean underneath or would I give up midair? I wasn’t the best of swimmers either and records show the earth being covered by more water bodies than land. Did I have a chance if I fell into some ocean along with my co-travellers or if our troubled plane plunged into the depths of some foreign sea, pulled in by unforgiving gravitational forces?

If I lost the battle, would I be sent to rest in ‘the bossom of the lord’, like advertised in the obituary announcement for my Uncle Damian. Uncle Damian, impulsive liar and land grabber who had reduced many a widow in the village to penury. Same one. I had told Mama, that it was unlikely for Uncle Damian to end up anywhere close to the Lord’s bossom when he had been so mean in his lifetime, besides having died from a stroke suffered while clasped to the ‘bossom’ of his married lover. His long suffering wife was still in shock and try as the family did to hush it up, the story was now common knowledge even in the local parish where Uncle Damian had been a Deacon. I told Mama, Uncle Damian was more likely in Hades suffering, but she had scolded me, saying ‘we are not allowed to speak ill of the dead’.

I wished I had listened during the demonstration by the hostesses prior to the flight, on the procedure for emergency landing. They had demonstrated how to strap on the life jacket in accordance with some aviation rule. They had even shown how to blow some whistle but I had been having trouble remembering much these days when I even bothered to listen attentively. There had been some talk too of a mask to be worn in event of sudden loss in air pressure. I knew it was meant to drop down from somewhere, but where?

A man who had been trapped in the loo all this while just maneuvered his way back to his seat. He had returned clad only in a singlet and a pair of shorts. He must have been caught up during the worst period of the flight, poor man! Whatever he was running from, taking off his other clothes, still accompanied him as he returned. Striding a-pace with him were smells of ammonia and fecal matter. The air in the cabin became charged and the little girl started crying again.

There were quite a few murmurs over the returning man and the accompanying odours. The nun by the window was highly upset at the man and the subsequent change he had brought. She began muttering many an unprintable swear word at the man. She suddenly realised I was watching and resumed praying once more, rosary in hand. I was shocked at her conduct as she was a nun. Also her blouse had a badge that read ‘I am Jesus’s bride’. I felt it strange that any bride, especially that of the Lord Jesus would speak thus. It also seemed out of place for all her chanting and incessant prayers if she was the “Lord’s bride”. One would have thought she would be keen to return to the groom. Tut, tut, tut.

The thing is as a child, I did have a vivid imagination. Sometimes I imagined things further along than where they were at present. ‘A turbulent mind’, Mama had called it when I asked her not to leave Sister Lisa alone with the Landlord, as his wife wasn’t home. The Landlord had assured Mama that the wife had only gone on a swift errand, with her return imminent. ‘Go away with your turbulent mind’, she screamed at me when I, worrying over Sis. Lisa, pointed out the funny way the landlord had been staring at Lisa when Mama wasn’t looking. Then as we walked to the bus stop, she remembered she had forgotten to leave Lisa the house keys. I was to wait for her swift return. Her return had been anything but swift and she had returned with Lisa in tow! Lisa’s top was newly torn at the collar and her wrists had marks like they had been forcefully held together. I never got to know what happened to this day, but I remember Lisa crying all the way home and mama continually thanking all our village gods that she had returned just in time. A week after, we changed residence.

My thoughts returned to my immediate family, the missus and the kids. There were two kids, the girl who was older and the boy. The girl seemed to have been hewn out of my own ribs while the boy was a photo match of the mother. The girl had all my good qualities and also inherited my turbulent mind. She cared not for money and the rest fripperies that often got her mother unduly excited. She was the one that bonded best with the dog and nursed a little rose garden. She had asked me last night, in that thoughtful way of her’s as the heavy wind blew the curtains about, if the flight wouldn’t be affected. I shouldn’t have merely dismissed her worries with a wave of the hand! I should have listened.

Now here I was, condemned to die ‘intestate’; having penned neither will nor last testament. The missus was my registered next of kin and would get the little that was due me as terminal benefits. Would she be glad? Yes, I thought. The marriage had been convenient for her in the beginning but one could sense things were so adrift, she could barely stand the last throes. I could see her in my turbulent mind’s eye as the casualty list is read out on the radio, caught between acting the pained wife for the girl and her brother, and locking herself behind the bedroom door, laughing in that hysterical way she does, reveling in her new found freedom.

Act 1 Scene 2, enter the grieving wife being severally consoled as she entertained guests on the “untimely” exeunt of the husband. Clad in dull attires, sparse with words, hands in laps, eyes intermittently shut in adhoc prayers. And then the interment. I wondered if she would wear black. If she would shave her hair as custom demanded of widows. She would tell all those who asked of course, that I was always against such hideous customs, which was true; yet there she was, all shaven to please the land and the gods, so they allow me continued rest in the bossom of……..

There was a sudden cackle on the announcer. It was the Pilot! “Good day once more, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, we are happy to announce that we are now past the extreme turbulence and should be landing within the next 20 minutes at our destination. The weather there is currently 28 degrees and windy with chance of light rain much later in the evening. Once again, accept our wholesome apologies on the extreme turbulence”.

The Fasten Seat belt sign that had been on for what seemed forever, quickly went off, and as if plucked from the air, hostesses once more appeared and began picking up fallen luggage and other debris cluttering the aisle. The hostess beside me stood awkwardly, her hair and ego in tatters. She stopped briefly beside me, and I nodded reassuringly to her. Her secret was safe with me.

The passengers as if on cue began applauding the pilot as the plane taxied to a simple touch down devoid of the drama experienced in the air. There were people simply shedding tears at getting another chance to see family members again or in the case of the nun on seat 7F, not getting to see her groom as of yet.

I made a mental note to myself to see my lawyer upon my return from this trip. Maybe to draft a will, maybe to discuss separation. For I had been embarrassed, when the rest passengers were scrambling to place urgent calls to loved ones upon the successful landing after a near mishap, that I also followed suit and tried calling the missus. Her response had been harsh as per course, ‘what is it again’? ‘Please I am watching my favorite soap’. It wasn’t so much the harshness, but the way the receiver went cold upon my dialing once she spoke. Felt like watching a window frost over as it snowed outside. It was in turns painful for i had still held that impossible hope. i had been a man reborn, saved from the ire of the air elements by the kind gods, given another shot at life that i had reached out again.
The newsmagazine I glimpsed in the arrival lounge, had the screaming headline, ‘A Turbulent Time’! There was no method to the current madness in the land, it claimed. A little known team had recently won the English Football Premiership on incredible odds. Against all the polls and knowledgeable predictions, the British had voted to leave Europe and the Prime Minister had resigned! Also in the USA, after a mud-ridden campaign, a startling result had emerged. Pollsters over there too were running around confused, analysts bewildered. These are no ordinary times, the magazine warned. I hailed a cab as I stepped outside the lounge. Reclining in the back seat, I thought to myself, ‘Turbulence on land just as it is in the air’. Indeed, a turbulent time.




Nnamdi Wabara, 2016.

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