Monday, November 24, 2008


(This short-piece is dedicated to all literary victims of "One Chance Syndrom")

As it has been established that nothing accepts sacrifices like the mouth, then man must work daily to complete the ritual offered to the mouth. Fortunately I always got all the sustenance I ever wanted in life from my parents, who joyfully backed in my pre and post primary school days, even when toys were my first attraction. What a wonderful blessing to have parents who care, as mine did. They cared not only for my education, which is the best legacy, they believed, but also monitored my health strictly. I can still remember vividly the series of syrups I had to take every morning after my bath and the long minutes spent eating at the dining-table. My sweet and pretty looking mother washed my school uniform every holy evening and ironed it each early morning even before I was awake to assure my neatness for the school day. I was renowned for my chocolate padded portable bag. Creamy, brownie, yellowish of assorted colours and different tastes. And for my high level of chocolate consumption, Mr. Ajose, my dad’s childhood friend, nick-named me: Chocolate-teeth. I danced energetically to his rhythmic and seasoned voice. My parents’ devotion never depreciated at any point, but rather appreciated each time I added a year to my existence. It used to be all fun at my birthday ceremonies. Elaborate cakes with inscriptions of my name and my age…I remember those good days and their memories usually lingered for days in my pierced heart.

Ah, but death also needs to taste. If only he was still alive. For death, you came just before dawn to take my precious away without prior acknowledgement. You ejected sorrow and heartache into the marrow of a happy and joyous family. You couldn’t think of anything more rewarding than to cut short the life of a beautifully looking flower, endearing even at the depth of sunrise. Bowofola Binuyo. Hereafter, wherever you reside now, forget not your pretty precious and devoted wife and you lovely children. We will make sure your name is elevated and vindicated here on earth if you do not desert us. Su n re o.
After my dad’s death, everybody in the family became a tool of industry, a commercial vessel. We worked so as to keep the family going. I was not exempted from the early morning’s rigorous tasks before going to school, despite being the first born, nor any others that promptly awaited me after hectic hours of lecturing in school. Many times, the attendant record would close before I resumed school. At the end of the last term, I was failed because of my late comings, as it was boldly written on my report sheet. But I sang:
“I can’t be loved all the time”
“I can’t be hated all the time”
The great Bob Marley sang.
And re-sang:
“I can’t fail all the time”
“I can’t pass all the time”, rephrasing Bob Marley’s lyric and this ever since has been my golden principal.

As a matter of fact, after my 0’level exams, I undertook a job, office assistant in big Insurance Company, B&B on the Island. And as the assistant and a partial office cleaner, I had to wake up early in the morning, I mean by 5 a.m, jump up on my fragile feet, do what had to be done, before I finally bounced out at quarter to 6 a.m. Then I was off to the bus-stop close to my house and off to my glorified office. But the act that was performed during the road-stage, on the very last day of the very last month before I moved on to taste a new life in education was a sacrifice that my mouth can hardly speak of. At barely 6:15 a.m. on a breezy Thursday morning, I was at the bus-stop waiting. It wasn’t long before a bus arrived with the conductor calling Obalende at the very top of his Indian-hemp shaped voice, even smelling of the stuff, and since this was my destined fate, I boarded the bus with two other ladies and an old man.

The rough haggard looking conductor had collected his fair from virtually everybody with the exception of two cool, well-dressed young men. Just as we were about to climb the third mainland bridge, the young men simultaneously brought out cool-steel pistols and asked every one of us who boarded the bus from Ojuelegba to surrender our valuable possessions. Although, having heard series of cruel stories perpetrated by the so-call “one-chance” I still couldn’t believe my being a victim that morning.

Ayanda Abeke
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