It wasn’t really me. I do not really understand. I see white faces in white garments standing aloft in the air…
I hear voices. Low, one, then high and two. I feel bodies, dead living bodies in me. I feel them wandering all over me and taking over me. I feel them living their lives in me. I have different bodies living in me. I am living different lives of small bodies that left early. I hear voices, oozing, talking in tongues I don’t seem to understand. There are lives living in me. I am living lives of souls before me.
Two black marks stand like crushed legs having no shape that could be described on my cheeks. Those marks shudder when tears streaming down my cheeks touch them. They shudder, hitch and I could feel they sometimes feel the whole thing my body feels. When I am happy, they seem to be happy. Sometimes they feel differently. Sometimes, they feel hitched while I am happy. Sometimes, they feel happy while I am somber. When they make me feel pain, then, I know they are sad. Some lives have lived my life before me. I am also living their lives.
Whenever I hear people call my name, they call it with respect, hope and empathy. They call it as though it has another meaning I don’t seem to decipher. Malomo or don’t leave again. The name makes me wonder if I have lived before now.
It wasn’t really me. I do not really understand. I see white faces in white garments standing aloft in the air, smiling. While I look into their faces, they beckon welcome. They spread widely their arms as though they really want me to enter. That is not the first time I will see them. They have been appearing in my dreams and when I gasp up from the bed, panting, I will see my mother weeping profusely without her scarf on her. I will see the oracle man. I will see my sisters, all weeping. All sympathizing. My mother would jump up when she sees my eyes open and curdle herself around me. “Thank you for coming back. Thank you for pitying me”, my mother would say and her face will be full of total happiness. That day, I would take a series of baths with black soup. I will also be in white garment throughout the day.
“Iya Malomo, what is my real name?” I have asked my mother countless times. She would either bring up another thing or tell me not to disturb her again. Sometimes she would say “they have come again, abi?” They? I would ask myself.
I gasp up as usual from my dream. This oracle man is alone with me. He wears a frowned face and the wetness of his flimsy white cloth shows that he’s been sweating very hard. This time, it isn’t like usual. I feel cold and dryness of blood. My body is already becoming white. This time, it seems I have left for real.
“Alagidi or stubborn boy, see, you’re an abiku. You have left twice. It took your mother years to conceive your first self. You have come and left twice. Now, if you would pity your mother, if you would not want to name your mother Sterile, tell your people you want to stay. Tell them, do you hear?”
It wasn’t really me. I don’t just know. I couldn’t hold on to the tears forming small lakes on my mother’s eyes. But I don’t understand.
“I will stay, Iya Malomo. I will stay.” She looks up anxiously and asks again, “You will stay?” I will but I don’t know how. I will just stay.
Image by janeb13 from Pixabay (modified)
Wow. So touching. So exquisitely delivered. This is superb.