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Wednesday, 7 December 2016


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          I have always believed that upon my young shoulders rest the dreamiest of heads.  It overcomes me, even now, in the remembrance of that Wednesday night.  I paid a visit to an uncle of mine whose name I see no need to share, why? Well you wouldn’t know him even if I gave his dossier. Anyways his name was Paul—sorry Uncle Paul, being highly un-African to address an older person just by his name.  He was in his early forties, average height, portly and caramel skinned. He had an oval shaped face, thick eye brows with large brown eyes, a protruding forehead and ridiculously large ears. A glance at my uncle would reveal to the beholder that if ever he, Uncle Paul, had a beginning, it would have been a humble beginning. What he lacked in beauty however, he made up for in character. There could never be a dull moment around him. Always merry and seldom weary is the closest I can come to describing the persona of Uncle Paul.
           My uncle was married to Aunty Bianca and they were blessed with two kids named Tom and Christy. Tom was 12 years old, Christy was 10 years old. I often offer myself as an adversary to the argument that love is blind.  Never in my years of unsolicited advocacy have I seen a more sturdy challenge to my belief of love’s blindness than when I see a picture of my uncle Paul with his wife, the exquisite Aunty Bianca. Aunty Bianca was in her late thirties and average in height. A fair lady with dark hair, a well outlined face and almond shaped hazel coloured eyes. She had a lustre skin devoid of any blemish. Her smile could be likened to a constellation of stars. I must be pardoned with the way I describe my aunt as though she were my lover than my aunt. So beautiful was my aunt that I harboured an untoward sentiment against Uncle Paul that maybe, just maybe, her being in his keep may have been occasioned by the infamous means of abduction. In furtherance of this sentiment I recall sometimes checking, covertly, the missing persons section of the dailies in hope that I may find a photo of her. I never found such advert. In disappointment I abandoned the covert operation, recalled myself from the shadows of espionage and rescinded myself to the position that Cupid must have been drunk or out to get a laugh or maybe like the myth of Psyche and Eros, jealous Aphrodite must have been so challenged by foxy Aunty Bianca that she charged her son Eros to cause my aunt to fall in love with a man so far from good looks like my dear Uncle Paul. Whatever my reservations, she appeared to be happy with Uncle Paul. I retired their love to the belief that beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder; although, I still harbour lingering sentiments that their union was nothing but the macabre doings of the jealous Aphrodite. What a jealous god.

          The Pauls occupied a three room modest apartment which I was always more than happy to visit. It was furnished with the usual articles of furniture. My visits often changed the sleeping arrangements. I occupied Tom’s room while he occupied Christy’s room. Sadly, his unable hands always made sure she never returned to meet it the way she left. Christy on the other hand slept with her parents. I reckon you ponder why I did not just share the room with Tom so his sister may have the comfort of her room. The answer to your pondering is not far-fetched. Unlike his quiet sister, Christy, Tom never sleeps. Even when he does, I believe it was merely to recoup lost energy. With Tom as my roomy, there would be no sleeping for me. In addition to his never tiring self were his never ending questions. “Why can’t I see my eyes Tony?” He would ask me, “do cows drink milk?”, “will I poo a tree if I swallow an orange seed?”, “why did they put Grandma in a wooden box and cover it? Wouldn’t she wake later?”  Such a loquacious fellow was the lad and with him there could be no sleeping. As much as I felt sad for the state in which he left poor Christy’s room, I believed the sanctity of her room must rank second place to my most cherished sleep. This feeling I held with no regret.
 The lawn behind the apartment was second to none. If ever there was a place where the legendary Don Quixote could be encountered in all his adventures, it was upon this lawn. The lawn afforded its visitor some kind of feeling mere words seem unable to explain. There was something solemn, something peaceful, and something graceful about the lawn. It was upon this lawn I encountered the spectre in the moonlight shadow. How did it occur? I shall relay.
          The heat that night was scalding. It was a few minutes past midnight. There was no power supply. As I lay on my bed, a part of me believed that maybe, Hermes may have successfully rescued the abducted Persephone from the confines of Hades and in their flight of escape left open the gates of hell. The heat that night was either a doing of Hermes or maybe there was finally some credence to the theory of global warming.  My escapist self however felt inclined to the former. With the scourging heat, staying indoors became less of an option. The Pauls were surprisingly asleep. Maybe they had gotten acclimated to the hot evenings in their part of the country, I thought. With the Pauls asleep and I believe, the greater members of the society except the robbers, highwaymen, burglars and other villainous members of the underworld in whose absence the criminal justice department would have been a redundant place, I chose to find solace upon the lawn. The mosquitoes who may have rejoiced at my decision to lie in the lawn would only come to be disappointed as I armed myself with some mosquito repellent. Even If I had no repellent, hell would have had to freeze over before I considered lying in my room for another moment.  With the repellent applied to my person, I took for purposes of convenience, a pillow from the bed, a mat from the laundry room and made way for the lawn.
          Now on the lawn, I felt ushered into a better realm. I spread the mat, dropped the pillow and lay down. It was a beautiful night made even more so by the comfort the lawn afforded me. The evening was calm, the air soon became soft.  I was being entertained by an orchestra of crickets chirping at various areas of the lawn. Their rendition for that night, I chose to believe, may have been the jeering of their bloodsucking colleagues who had lost the claim to my person by way of my calling in aid the use of mosquito repellents. As the orchestra played, fireflies added some form of lightening effect to the jeering crickets. I find myself tittering at my silly representation of the chirping crickets, the fireflies and the disappointed mosquitoes. Having had enough of nature, I looked up into the theatre of astronomy. I noticed only the moon gave its light. There seemed to be an occultation of the stars by the clouds. I marvelled at the mutiny of the clouds which however were no match for the sturdy moon who held his place as the light bearer of the night. This however does not last long for soon, the moonlight begins to wane. I presume the waning of the moonlight to be the consequence of it losing ground against the mutinous clouds. I believe the moon had decided not to go down without a fight and a good fight it gave. Sadly, there was only so much the moon could do and eventually it too, became overrun by the clouds. It still shone through the clouds to give a little of its light. A brave old fellow the moon proved itself to be that night and for that single act of bravado, won my respect. I turned away from the theatre of astronomy. I soon became swooned into a reverie. I pictured myself doing something heroic, something thrilling like walking away from a burning vehicle which explodes as I put on my dark shades after having gunned down a nefarious villain in the course of a nail-biting car chase. The explosion and the putting on of the dark shades are to happen simultaneously with some heart pumping music to do justice to my commando-like swagger. I lay in this dreamy state of mine before I became ‘’awakened’’ by a figurine in the moonlight’s shadow at the corner of the lawn close to the fence. The apparition was headless. It had no feet. It just floated there levitating in one spot. It was such a spectre that it slacked the reins on my heart. My heart beat like a galloping stallion, my spirit flew out like a bat out of hell. My goose bumps were so visible they could have been mistaken for a rash. Did Hades felt distraught by my accusation that its open gates were the reason behind the heat? Could this be why it decided to send its headless minion? Although it had no head, I believe it was looking at me. As I relay this event, I share in your marvel why I had not gotten up and shown this apparition a clean pair of heels by darting towards the apartment. Somehow I was fixated in a recumbent state. It felt as though my limbs had long fled the scene of this spectre without carrying my body along. To the religious reading this, he or she may wonder why I had not called upon the name of the lord my God. The sad truth was that I was one step to being a heathen and a thousand steps from being a proper Christian. Even if I called on God, He may have either not recognised my voice or may have been attending to some important affairs.  

          The wind began to sigh. As it blew, I noticed this apparition pointing at me. Was it confirming from another discarnate being whether I was its target?  But why in the first place was it here? Could it be a relative returning from beyond to communicate with me? Could it be Aunt Betty? It couldn’t be. She was on the plump side while she was alive. How did she lose all the weight? Could it be that when a person dies, they take their spirit form and not the shape of their body at the time of death? Could it be Mrs Paschal my English teacher who died 5years ago? I often remember being told that my English teacher would turn in the grave each time I made a grammatical blunder back in junior secondary school days. Is it remotely possible that on bieng tired of turning in the grave, she escaped its confines and has caused an appearance on the lawn to give me her customary knock on the head?  How could she give me a knock on the head? This apparition had no hands or at least from the distance I see it from, I could sight no hand, just two arms ending at the wrist. Could it be my grand ma? I remember seeing the inscription ‘’Rest in Peace’’ on her tombstone. Was it feasible that she had not rested in peace? I chose to doubt. Even while she was alive I do remember her longing to be in Abraham’s bosom. She was so confident that upon her death Saint Peter’s gate would be her port of call. She foresaw herself being ushered in with great fanfare, having been a most devout soldier in the lord’s army while on earth. I recall her intimating me that when I pass on and appear before heaven’s gate, I should only but introduce myself as her grandson and on the account of this introduction alone, I would be ushered into the pearly gates of heaven. I reckon this to be as a result of her premier standing with the lord.  There was no way this macabre headless figurine in the moon light shadow could be my dear grandma. Unable to ascertain who I thought the apparition in the shadows could be, I resolved myself to figure out what it was that lurked in the shadows. I rose from the mat, fixed my eyes on this spectre, took the leap of faith and hoped fate be kind to me.  If what stood in the shadows were a ghost, I skulked towards that area of the lawn in hope that it be a friendly ghost. I was now a few yards from the spectre yet it seemed unperturbed by my approach. All of a sudden the security lamp began to flicker.  I dove to the ground. My heart skipped a beat. What devilry is this? I wondered. I looked towards the apparition. It was still there. 
          The security lamp flickered three more times and gave its light. It brightened the lawn. Power supply was restored. True to my sight the figurine was headless, had no hands and no feet. How could it? It had been Aunty Bianca’s gown all along! How could I have been so spooked by a mere gown!! How did it “levitate”? Well, as I noticed, it was held up by a hanger! She had worn the gown earlier that day and probably aired it outside upon her return. It must have been that she forgot to bring it in. I heaved a sigh of relief upon realizing the supposed ghost on the lawn was a gown. I laughed at myself. I unhanged the gown and walked back to the mat. I picked it up with the pillow and began to walk back to the apartment. I have always believed that upon my young shoulders lie the dreamiest of heads but never have I thought that my escapist nature would have gotten the better of me as it did that night.