Have you told the people around you how much they mean to you? Don’t let another second go by. I keep thinking of the soldier murdered in Woolwich. I keep imagining that he was thinking of his little boy on that last walk home. This world is filled with all kinds of uncertainty. You never know if you might not get another chance to tell the people you love how much they mean to you. Tell them NOW. God bless.
There were days when he thought it was impossible to feel any more pain and then his body showed him new meanings for the word ‘possible’.
He had stopped fighting a long time ago. Of what use was all the drugs in the world, all the prayers, all of the weapons in his armory…when the enemy was unseen. He also knew better than to hope. He chose to live each day as it came instead. The good days, he embraced and used to strengthen himself against the bad. The bad days, he succumbed knowing that to fight meant to lose.
He had not had a good day in months and he knew the end was near.
Today though, today was going to be different. He could feel it in his weary bones that it was going to be a good day. He woke up to birds singing and the pain in his body was no longer a living angry being. It was present but still, like the dying embers of a fire. Or maybe it was his body that had embraced the pain and was dying. He didn’t know and he didn’t care. All that mattered was the pain was not as bad as yesterday.
He left his bed unmade and got into one of the many cars that dotted his compound without waking anyone. He knew better than to wake anyone. They would worry and fawn over him. They would fall over themselves to drive him to wherever he wanted.
Today, he was having none of it. Today was a good day.
The automatic gates opened and he let himself out. The drive was shorter than he remembered and he wondered if his mind was playing him tricks. The last time he had driven here, it had taken him at least 30 minutes. Today, 10 minutes was all it took to get to paradise. Today was a good day.
The hawkers already had their goods on display. The fishermen too, with their early morning catch. No one stared at him. No one watched his every move. No one rushed to help him, not even when he tripped over a little child that was playing in the sand.
The worst part of his bad days was the people; his family, his friends, his pastors, his doctors and nurses. The people who loved him and whom he loved. The people who refused to let him breathe. The people who suffocated him with all their help. The people who were afraid to let him out of their sight for fear that death might snatch him away when they were not looking. The people who were always there to catch him so that he had forgotten what it meant to fall and pick himself back up.
Today though, no one gave him a second look, so he fell and found treasure on the ground. She was smiling and her milk teeth were perfect. He picked himself and the child up and let her smile wash over him. She giggled and put her sandy hands on his face and he laughed before releasing her to her mother who scolded her for playing in the sand and thanked him for picking her up. He was always the one thanking others for picking him up. Today was a good day.
The stretch of sand that bordered the water was empty except for horses and their minders hoping to snag an early customer. He waved them off and sat down to watch the waves. They reminded him of the pain; how it washed away a little part of him every day, how it sometimes left him gasping for breath, how it sometimes drowned him. Today, all he had was the memory of the pain. Today was a good day.
He dug his feet in the sand and waited. The water was cold and tickled him. He could barely recognize his own chuckle. It sounded like the grunt of a dying man. He picked some sea shells for his daughter. Together they could work on making her a shell necklace. Just like they used to when she was a little girl and he was a much younger man. That would make her smile, he thought. It had been a while since he saw her smile. She was so good to him but sometimes he wished she would just go away and find someone else to mother. Like her teenage sons who were running untamed around Lagos. She was his first child, his introduction to fatherhood and his heart swelled with love for the amazing woman she had become. Today was a day to be a father to his daughter and help her be the mother he knew she could be. Today was a good day.
He thought about his sons and the fear in their eyes every time they looked at him. He knew that when they looked at him, instead of seeing their hero, they saw death. He wanted to hold them and tell them it was going to be okay. Just like he used to when they were children and came running to his room because the thunder had scared them. He wanted to hold them and tell them that death, just like thunder was nothing to be scared of. Maybe today was the day he would. Today was a good day.
His wife would be very worried if she knew he was out here alone. He hoped she was still asleep. The sand felt so good on his feet and he remembered their honeymoon in Barbados when they had laid on the sand and counted the stars. It had been a while since he told her she was beautiful. He was always too tired and too drugged to tell her the things he really wanted to say. He would stop by the flower shop on the way home and get her some roses. Today was a good day.
The sun was warming up and he could tell it was going to be one of those kinds of days that only Lagos could get away with. The pain was his friend now and like a good friend, it nudged him, giving him fair warning. It was time to find shade. Today was a good day but even good days could be made better by being with the people one loved. He would put the roses by his wife’s bedside so she could wake up to them. He would call his sons and ask them to come over for breakfast. He would make pancakes for his children and grandchildren. They would laugh and eat and maybe for a little while, they would forget about dying.Today he would be a hero, a father and a husband. Life would be perfect again. Today was a good day.
He sighed and said goodbye to the ocean for the last time. He wondered if there was an ocean in heaven. He looked for the little girl he had tripped over on his way back but she was nowhere to be found. Maybe she was an angel, he thought to himself.
It didn’t take him too long to find out. His wife found him the next morning. The roses were still as fresh as when he brought them home.
Photo credits: Simi Afun-Ogidan Photography- Y’all contact him for your weddings and etc….
Song of the day: Tamela Mann- Take me to the King