Tuesday, February 10, 2009
THE REDUNDANT CALL TO EXIT
In the city of Hui, the shrill air moved swiftly around the town; the air spoke to the birds which made them flap their wings with gusto, closed their eyes to savour the airy embrace and made them chirp “gloriously”. The air whispered to the trees, they danced, giggled compulsorily, and bowed to the tremendous odour of the city’s air. The news of the air had nothing new. The air exists, existed, and exists today. It made the rivers hit the shores with unusual energy. It made the rivers flow in a movement so slow; a movement that is so mundane; a movement so sick; a movement cloaked in ugly apparels. The air and the river never co-existed well because the river, as it is, is used to washing away the air’s belongings—poverty and sorrow. The river has washed away the pains, agonies, and tears of the people. It has washed away unwanted memories of the people but it has not succeeded in washing away the expected deficiency of the city’s citizens.
Existence, in Hui, is a game of dice. The probability of living another day in this city is sinewy. There is no news like bad news here even when the worse happens. The absence of daily human needs would not allow you scream when such sad event happens; there is a means of traveling away from such existence—hallucination! Mr. Frigbi, a bricklayer, is a member of this society. He has a wife, Giti, who fries and sells akara (bean cake) down the unattractive road near a repulsive gutter. Her sale of akara is the backbone of the family’s existence because the bricklaying business of the so called bread-winner comes only seasonally. They brought into existence two skeleton carved children named: kig and Soye. These children have never been to the ‘two’ walls of a school. Neither do they know how it feels to be shrouded in beautiful clothings. They have grown to understand that happiness is a far fetched mirage. Indeed, they are very brilliant but the parents cannot afford to boost their brilliance so they are left to probe the dangerous streets with their bare legs. However, they get educated and that is from wandering. When they retreat to their rooflessly-roofed house, to that house with a colour they cannot describe, a house filled with an air so poisonous, they are always pregnant with many questions.
Soye is usually very quiet. She has been overwhelmed by the living conditions she has found herself in. She moves with a noisy silence which makes some people think she was born incomplete. On her head, a little garden of ringworm gained space in the front of her face while a fly managed to perch comfortably on her eyelashes. She asks the most confronting questions which her father always fail to answer. Today, she asks the same questions she normally asks: “daddy, why we live so poor?”, “daddy, why can’t you be rich?”, “daddy, why can’t we live in those beautiful houses you always build?”, “daddy, why can’t you work in those tall buildings you always build?” “Daddy……”, then she burst into her daily routine of tears; the fly on her eyelashes tasted the salty bitter tears then it decided to take a flying leave. She hummed profusely while kig watched on in the corner of the house eating a-four day old eba. Frigbi is a man! He must never be caught weeping. He walks carefully to Soye to console her. He picks her from the ground and says, “I will try my best so that we can escape this ugly environment so that you will not cry again”. He continued, “God will wipe away our tears”, Frigbi said. She cried till she slept off, as he turns to look at kig, he saw that she had slept off. The only solution to pain is sleep and probably a very long sleep. A sleep filled with good dreams. The musical notes of the night insects can never distract them. Why? They are used to the rhythm of life’s painful whip. Frigbi has decided to end his family’s pain with a long sleep! He still wonders how he can end the pain. Giti comes in, looking tired, famished and exhausted. She walks in with a swagger that befits an already dead man.
‘Welcome’, he says.
‘Thank you’, she replied.
‘How market’, he further questioned.
‘I don’t know! I am tired. I can’t say’, with a stammering voice.
She cried and hummed just like Soye. Again, Frigbi goes to console her. He says, “I will try my best so that we can escape this ugly environment so that you will not cry again”. She nodded in acceptance and snored off.
In this environment there is the search for temporary escape from the harsh realities the society has to offer. They have found it in the mist of sleep. He stares at them and watches how the mosquitoes perform their gymnastic abilities on his family. Tears rose to meet his eyes but he must remain a man. He is not allowed to cry. “My family will never cry again”, he says. As he steps outside the house he noticed that the only star that gave light to his compound went very dark. He finally cried. The superfluous solution to his families suffering came to mind.
In the morning, he woke up with a lopsided smile. “My family will cry no more”, he thought. Akara, however is the only breakfast they know, other types of food is an unaffordable luxury. Frigbi warms last night’s akara and adds his problem solver—poison!
“Giti”, he called out, “I have warmed the akara this morning for breakfast, come and eat!”
Giti was surprised at this gesture so she asked: “are you serious?” she asked.
“Of course”, he replied.
He also called the girls and they ran to meet daddy with a hug. He hugged them intensely. He left the kids to hug his wife too.
“This is unusual”, Giti retorted.
“Cant a man show love to his family in the morning?”, Frigbi asked.
“Yes of course. Ok. Children lets eat”.
As mother and children sat to eat, father watches with eyes pregnant with tears. The solution he found is a coward’s way out, he thought.
“Come join us daddy”, Kig invited.
“Enjoy”, he said. He knew they would enjoy with this exit. He also knew that they would be transported to a land where hunger and pain never exists. They will enjoy this exist, he thought again. After eating the bean cake they died instantly without saying a word but Giti would not go with out leaving a word, she asks, “Frigbi, do you murder someone you love?”, and she died.
“We must answer this call”, he replied.
He looks at his dead family and smiles with tears. He gets his Dane gun, moves slowly to his compound, places it on his head and blows his brain out. His thought was spluttered all around the compound. The brain matter scattered in disorderly arrangement into the air. The air consumed the story and continued its journey.