The phone calls are still coming in, people want to find out if this is true. I do not want to speak to more people. It is not in my place. My phone agrees with me and crashes. I lose all contacts worth over 4 years. Apparently there is a way to retrieve it, but what do I care? What do I care? Why should I care? When my phone rang pre-crashing, I saw her name flash across my screen, and I hesitated, panicking as I had done for a week now every time I spoke to her. Or visited the hospital. It was something that the doctors expected; like the Ukwa fruit that inevitably fell at its time, an open secret. How can you say that? One never mentions the journey of no return. You keep it in your heart. Till you burst. Her name flashes through my screen again, and I answer, clearing my throat.
“He’s gone,” She wailed, ululating over and over.
The goose pimples settled on my skin and refused to leave.
Phone calls, words, a blur, a flash, messages, phone crashes. I thought about M lying on that hospital bed for months, eyes closed, or open, depending on when you saw him, struggling with his kidneys. I thought about his poor wife, sitting by him, waiting, praying, hoping. I felt like a fraud, not knowing what to tell her as she wept. Who am I to speak words to the grieving? What do I know about how she feels? She’s stunned, the children are devastated. She shared his life, they shared his life, we came and went; friends, colleagues, at our convenience.
I have known M for about 3 years now. I worked with him. He was gentle and kind, we disagreed, but always with respect. Not only was he a man, he was at least a dozen years older, yet he did not conform to the common ageist and sexist ways of our society; he knew this was work, nothing personal so he got on with it. He put his family and charities first, he cared deeply. He was a good man.
Death is the Tortoise
“All of you”
But wailing birds sometimes sound the unheard warning
Who knew Opi could be so loud
Rest for the wounded must be easy ba?
The tugging from both ends
Now we try corn and pear
Let’s beat the drums for you
One more time
I hope you sit sprawled
Yogurt na Akunechenyi
Red sand and moonlight
The smell of earth and water
Raindrops on dusty ground
Be happy M