The Sounds of Night

I wish I could always write like this...sigh...Sadly my muse is as strong willed as I am... This one is…


July 27, 2011

I remember the first time I became aware of you.

It was on one of those nights when I was startled from sleep by the realization that the cold seeping into the lower part of my body had nothing to do with the direction of the fan and everything to do with the fact that I was once again laying in a pool of my urine. I had failed the growing up test again.

I started to cry. I wept not because of the recriminations that would follow from our mother in the morning. I was not crying because of the humiliation that awaited me in the morning in the hands of Anwuli as she stripped and left me naked in the bathroom till she was ready to bathe me either. I was used to all that. Looking back now, I think I had even developed a thick skin to most of it. I was an old man in a four year old body. Been there, done that. Anwuli, mom, dad and their reactions to my bed-wetting had become a part of my life…

It is strange how I had memories of all of them before that night. But you, you were just a shadow.

I cried hard that night. Thick skin or not, I still wanted mom to be able to lean in and hug me in the morning without holding her breath for fear that a whiff of my urine might assail her pampered nose. I was tired of Anwuli and the scare her Nixoderm painted face gave me on the nights she remembered to wake me up to pee. I wanted to be free of the mocking songs of ‘Atole’ that she composed to haunt my every waking hour. I wanted to be able to drink as much apple juice or milk anytime of the day I choose.

I remember how cold it got that night as my urine and tears seeped into my bedclothes and reinforced the chill of the night. I was sitting up in bed, sniffing and wondering how to make it right when you walked into my room. I have no previous memory of you before you walked into my room that night but when you did, I knew it was going to be alright.

“Why are you crying?” You asked.

“I peed on the bed again.” I replied in a small voice full of shame.

“Ok.” You answered.

You made me get out of the soiled bed and helped remove my damp clothes. You took me into the bathroom and rinsed my body ever so gently. You found me new bedclothes and help me dress. You then took me by the hand and led me into your room where you tucked me in your bed and gave me your teddy. Mine was soaked in pee.

“What if I pee on your bed?” I asked after you had gotten into bed with me.

“Then Anwuli will have plenty clothes to wash tomorrow and leave us to play our football” you replied. I chuckled at the thought. I didn’t pee again that night. I don’t remember ever peeing on the bed again.

Mom says you cured me but I think it was Anwuli’s threat the next morning to tie a snake round my waist if I continued with my ways that did it.

That was 22 years ago. I flew in yesterday from Dakar to meet your newborn daughter. She is tiny and beautiful and precious in ways I hope to understand someday when I am a father myself.

It is 3am now and I can hear your son, Olumide sniffling. He is 4, the age I was when you made your first appearance in my memories. Everyone talks about how much he looks like me but that is just because I look like you. I wonder if I have started to make an appearance in his memories.

22 years ago rolls away as I lie in bed and listen to your snores, your wife’s tired breathing,  the drone of the air conditioner and Olumide’s sniffling. These are the sounds that accompany the night. I can recognize the sounds your son is making. It is shame mixed with fear, topped with loneliness and wrapped up in the chill of the night. I have been there, done that.

I turn on the lights and make my way quietly to your son’s room to repay the favor of many years ago. He takes my hand gladly and my heart misses a beat as his tiny hand hold onto mine for dear life. When he is cleaned up, I give him my bed and settle into the sofa facing him. I have no soft toy to share so I tell him a bed time story instead as he falls asleep.

Your house-girl’s name is Beatrice. I imagine she is a kinder version of our Anwuli.  I will have a word with her about stories of snakes on little boys’ waists in the morning. It worked for me and Anwuli. Who knows if it will work for Olumide?

For now, I listen to the sounds of a child breathing, his security and dignity restored, and I know what it feels like to be a hero.

You, my brother, were my first hero.


Song of the day: Mariah Carey – Hero

  • Siblings

21 thoughts on "The Sounds of Night"

  • Once again, ‘the little things’…..oh, how powerful and timeless they are.

  • Dear Kiah,
    If you are female and single, please marry me…

  • Fabulous… Ah the beauty in the quotidian… Sigh

    PS: My inner restless one made some tweaks to the blog so the link you have won’t get updated, can you switch it to so any further tweaks I make will be transparent to your blog roll?

  • @rethots…timeless…yes indeed
    @singlenigerian…awww…i would have said yes but you have insomnia and you would keep me awake all night. I love my beauty sleep 🙂
    @TheRustGeek…Updated…i love your last post

  • Only till 11.30 my dear and we will sleep like babies after. Lexotan will solve the all night problem on nights I truly can’t sleep.. Lol.
    Really loving the posts though.

  • @SingleNigeria, you had your chance…. @Kiah, walk side-by-side with me the rest of the journey.

  • hmmm…i knew this wont work…my bedtime is 9pm!!! anything after that is asking for trouble!!!

  • @rethots…i have never had bloggers fighting over me…this is so much fun! Round one won by rethots…@singlenigerian, get back up!!!

  • Passing by whistling, chewing guguru and drinking kunu…

    It has been a while blogsville got this ‘heated’ up…

  • Dear rethots, I have observed you started proclaiming right after I did. And you have been here much longer than I have. Let the newbie try his luck.
    Dear darling Kiah, which do you prefer, probably sleeping by 9 or surely sleeping by 11.30? Soundly sleeping too..
    Will stroke your hair all night if I have to, whisper sweet words in your ear till you sleep off…
    Oh geez, I can’t believe I am doing this. LOL!!!

  • @Rethots…oh mehn…Singlenigerian won round two for sure…get back up…
    @RustGeek…come on men…don’t be dulling my style…Kunu and guguru indeed!!! At least be the referee..
    @singlenigerian…i knew you had it in you…as for stroking my hair…ha, i pity you oh! enough blisters for your hand…hehehe

  • I will get blisters, you will get love, blisters will go, I will get used to it, you will still get love.. Need I say more? Next?

  • Rethots is falling my hand…where are you now? Don’t let singlenigerian win without a good fight!

    @as for singlenigerian…i am liking this blog wife thingy oh!!! is blog polygamy/polyandry allowed? i need to know the rules oh! 🙂

  • Well, my dear singlenigerian, yes, you noticed the ‘flower’ first and like the rookie @Let the newbie try his luck.@ thou art, you chose to inundate her with sweet (tempting, yet uncertain) words.

    A lady only needs someone to ‘walk’ with her side-by-side. That is all i humbly offer.

    You (singlenigerian) offer words….

  • Dear rethots, feel free to walk hand in hand with her, I want a blog wife… You can be with her physically, I might never even see her physically but I only want to win her blog heart.. I want us to have blog children, beautiful posts that would touch different lives all over the globe..
    Make I talk more?

  • Oya e done do oh…

    @Blog husband…sigh…i wish i had a blog heart , it would have been all yours…sadly i don’t :). But i am very interested in those lovely children ;). they will definitely set the blogworld afire.

    @rethots…walk with her side by side? you sure you can keep up…i have the wind in my sails…for now, lets just stay on one spot and try to dance 🙂

    oya, no victor no vanquished…my heart remains unbowed… 🙂

  • Hehehe… Indeed o, no victor no vanquished.. You dear Kiah should be a diplomat.

  • As the independent electoral commissioner I hereby declare this contest void ab initio ..

    Contestants are advised to organise more guguru and kuknu so that we can re-convene the election..

  • Lol.. We have settled out of court, with your guguru, kunu and several bottles of odeku.

  • Lmaoooo @ the comments. Feels like a time capsule. Looool.
    Lovely post. I stopped. Betwetting too at some point..but I remember not, what prompted the change

  • Ah! Kiahs_ be my sister-in-law now. Looool

    I’m reading this story with a full bladder (I’m on the road) *sigh* why evuls? Lol

    I love how you write about love. In the simplest things.

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