‘Tu a ra ya aka…’
My mum’s sonorous voice finds me in the land of dreams. It nudges me to wake. I want to wake. I want to see her face. I want to see her eyes light up. Her furrowed brow when she is serious. Her smooth skin as light bounces off it like a mirror. I want to see her laugh. I want to go home with her and fall asleep on her bosom. I am sick of hearing her only. I want to see my Mama.
‘Onye ne me ma imela, imela…’
I smile in the land of my dreams. My mother can praise God in the worst of times.
I know where I am. I hear strange voices so i know it isn’t home. I can feel. I can hear. I can’t see. I can’t move and i cant speak. I have heard the doctors say that i am in a coma. I also heard them tell my uncles they do not know if i will ever wake up. Mama wasn’t there that time.
‘Kpo ya Chukwu o gaza…’
She is always here. My Mama. I can hear the sadness in her voice. I know the tears won’t be long now. Yet she sings, even with the sadness threatening to drown her. With the bravery of an amazon, my mother sings.
‘Iwo nikan logo ye…’
She makes the switch from Ibo to Yoruba so effortlessly. My mother’s mother was of Itsekiri-Yoruba origin. Her father was Ibo. Mama speaks all three languages. I knew an Itsekiri chorus wasn’t far off.
‘Tosan’, a voice called out to me.
‘Papa!’ I say as I recognize the voice and the man walking towards me. I run towards him. There is no ground in this land but ‘run’ is the only word i can use to describe what I do to bridge the gap between my father and I in the land of our dreams. He opens his arms to hold me. I breathe in the scent of Old Spice that went everywhere with my father when he used to be. We stay that way for a while before he pulls back.
‘You are a big woman now’. My father says, a mischievous glint in his eye.
We laugh as we both remember nights when as a child, I would sit in his lap and describe my forthcoming adventures as a ‘big woman’.
But as swiftly as the laughter arrived, it disappears.
‘Tosan, why are you here?’ My father asks.
I avoid his eyes but he takes my chin in his hand.
‘I don’t know, Papa. I want to wake up and see Mama but I cannot’. I finally say.
‘Are you sure that’s what you want, Tosan?’ He asks, looking into eyes that are exactly like his.
My father has always see through me. The truth was life had dealt me too many bad turns. I couldn’t deal. I didn’t want to deal. The accident became my excuse not to live. To be but not to live. I could stay as I was, alive but not living, and listen to Mama sing all day and night long. It was safe here. Nothing bad could get me here. Mama would get them first.
Outside my mother’s arms, evil and pain lurked everywhere in the world. It had found me in the death of my father. It had found me in the betrayal of men. It had found me even in love. And now I didn’t dare wake up. For I knew that while waking up would mean my mother’s arms, it also meant pain. There was none without the other. It was life.
‘Tosan, you must choose. You can’t sit on the fence for much longer.’ My father says to me before reaching out to envelope me in his arms once more. He lets go suddenly and begins to walk away.
‘Where are you going?’ I call after him.
He turns to look at me sadly.
‘You know the answer to that, Tosan. It is where you will come someday. I fear it might be sooner than you should if you don’t choose.’
‘I am afraid, Papa. Afraid of the end, afraid of what will happen in the between’.
‘Then there will no beginning, my princess. If you need me, I will be in your dreams, in your thoughts…’
I want to run after him but my feet refuse to follow as as he walks into the light that he came from.
‘Tu ara ya ma ma…’
She still sings. From the land of my dreams, I hear her and the sobs begin to rack my body. I cry for my mother. I cry for my father. I cry for myself . I cry hoping that through the tears I might find the strength to face all I have been running away from. From the land of my dreams, I hear my mother cry out for the doctors. I feel hands everywhere, searching for a sign, a promise that this passivity is maybe over. I hear the doctor tell Mama its normal. The tears on my face don’t mean anything. I hear her sigh and continue singing. She kisses my tears and takes my hand in hers and continues her song.
Soon, Mama, soon…
Song of the Day: Green Day- 21 Guns