May God help me! (Photo credit: radiant guy)
These days I exist in realms apart from the present. For instance, I am here now, but I am absorbed with thoughts of yesterday and pre-occupied with my analysis of it. I try to understand what I thought I had lost and what I feel I should have or could have done, what I shouldn’t have done and somehow I also wonder if I have missed the point of today.. But how does one get to ‘today’ without “yesterday”? So many thoughts swim inside my head, I feel like I can literally see them. I try to catch some of the thoughts as they roam, try to still them but they escape my grip…i chase them for a while then I realize what a futile effort it is.
My Sun has set at dawn.
I am sorry Temi. I should have been your covering like I promised. How could I drive you to your death? I miss you. I miss you both. I wonder who I should grieve for first. I miss laughing with you. I miss writing with you. I should have read you those poems I wrote to you while I watched you sleep. Every single day I should have told you how wonderful you were, how blessed I was to have you both. How much I love you, how much I adored you both.
Until now, I didn’t understand how heartfelt but pointless some of the things we say to grieving people are. No one has asked me to write yet. Only the pen understands that I need to write. What does “tradition says no one who was burnt to death deserves a proper burial” mean? Why do my civilized family members keep telling me about our barbaric tradition? This time, tradition will have to wait. It is not like burying a wife and child is something any sane person looks forward to.
“May God save our land” I hear uncle Bidemi saying and Mama Ifeanyi answers “Amen!”
Bad news has a way of traveling fast to unite us. I listen to their conversation from the kitchen and conclude that In Nigeria, we have a penchant for linking everything to corruption. Not like everything here and corruption are totally unrelated but I wonder what would become of us when we cannot afford to blame the government we feed fat for all our woes; when we become the government the struggling people blame, when we see ourselves through our own eyes. Sometimes, blindness gives you a new sense of sight.
I want to tell Yewande, my sister-in-law, to stop cooking, it is all she has done since our demise,I want to ask her to help me tell all the visitors that I cannot consume all the food that they keep bringing. But I watch her instead. People react to pain in different ways. On a slightly different level, I can relate to the pain she feels. This pain; we all share. Does she think we’re celebrating Morenike’s marriage? This is the seventh Nigerian dish she has prepared today. Maybe I should remind her that we are mourning and my appetite has traveled to a very far place.
She was only nine Lord…Morenike was just nine years old.
My heart feels like it is going to burst from the realization. Not just because she was my first and only seed but because I loved her, because I love her still, because I miss her. I smile. It is the best I can do to stop the tears from streaming down my cheeks because the time to cry is not now. I watch as family and well -wishers watch me closely in between sobs. I know I have to be strong for all of us, for me.
I feel like hot oil is being poured on my bare back. My heart is breaking into tiny pieces and all I can do is watch them scatter before me. If only I can find the right words to express the pain I feel, I will scribble and scribble until warmth slowly envelopes me. Until I see my healing reach out and touch me from far away. Until I know the universe is not in one accord with some other dark force to punish me, until, until…Come .Back .Home. Please.
Sleep well my queen, sleep well my princess. If eternity is anything like we hoped for, like we prayed for, like I still pray for, I will see you soon.
Tomorrow, while I write, I will think about today and lingering moments like this when words won’t do. I may even be grateful for “tomorrow” and her father, “time” Maybe then I will find strength to be thankful for their gross inability to erase the scars that the wounds they heal leave behind.