By Adebayo Mayowa
Dear diary, nothing keeps getting better. I thought the tragedy would stop at the death of my father and uncle. It was devastating enough to loose my dad but what about my big bro? Now am beginning to loose touch with the world. I have no real friends, all I had was my family and death is reducing the number quickly. I can’t stop hallucinating, can’t stop my tears from flowing. I have been betrayed by those I love the most. Why didn’t they deem it fit to take me along? Truly, there’s nothing to live for.
I thought the cyclical bad turn of events would end at Okey’s death but little did I know that it was just getting started. Maybe my family was shortlisted for evil? … If my thoughts aren’t coherent it’s because I have no fighting spirit left. I’ve given up all my will power.
While we stayed awake to see if the hammering on the door would stop, it didn’t and as I was about to get up to see who had come calling with my bare feet touching the cold tiles on the floor, I winced and got back in bed, remembering how cold Okey must have been by now. Dika stared hard at me, his eyes which were red and swollen just like my mom’s and mine would be dared me to stay back in bed.
I ignored him, slumped back in bed with a feigned long yawn and turned to face the wall. I guess Dika didn’t want to go too because he only stood when my mom decided to see who had come calling that early. I did a mental calculation of when they would be in the sitting room before I followed suit else I would have received a knock on the head.
They had already opened the door when I got there and I wasn’t surprised to see Diokpa and his two urchins, wearing same clothes. I felt like throwing up as soon as I perceived the acrid smell I thought was coming from the parasites because it was obvious they hadn’t bathed and were wearing clothes from yesterday but I saw them covering their noses. Only then did we realise that the smell was from Okey.
His hands were by his sides now and his eyes were closed. He had always looked handsome in his sleep and my mind went back to those days when I would wake up early and sneak into his room just to watch him. He would feel the breath on his neck and double me over. His legs encircled me and his arms around my shoulders protectively as we both would settle back to sleep.
I went closer, squatted above his head, and breathed on him not minding the offensive odour. That’s a small price to pay for his coming back to life. I felt all eyes on me as I waited for the strong arms to double me over. I shouted but it was too low for him to hear. Distraught, Dika pulled me up and into his arms while the elders and my mom talked about how and where to bury him.
We called a mortuary and within an hour, his body had been moved. We went to the cemetery where I saw him for the last time looking dashing in his Sunday suit. It was a short ceremony with few crowds.
We got home including the three urchins with a heavy heart but they never asked what happened to Okey. All they said was that they weren’t giving us the BQ to live in. Diokpa told us that he’d be generous enough to give us some money to rent a self contained apartment.
Dika was enraged and slapped Diokpa squarely in the face. One of the urchins got up and held him by the neck. As they were wrestling, Diokpa and the other one got up to separate. They obstructed my vision and I wanted to help Dika or separate. No sooner had I stood up, I heard a deathly cry.
To be continued…