I don’t like this story…i find it tedious, boring even but I am discovering the boring side of me. This is a good thing…think of it like a denouement. If you know me well, you know I will be right back around on that mountain top. Bear with me. Kisses…
She sees his snout first. It lands in her lap, startling her from the reverie the book she was reading had led her. She yelps, surprised, which in turn causes him to bark but not in a scary way; in a ‘Hello, I am just trying to be friendly!” way. She starts to laugh when she gathers herself. Again he barks, this time with a wagging tail.
There is a shout from her left hand side and a man comes into view, running. There is no panic on his face, it is the look of a man that trusts his dog.
“Harry! How could you run off like that? So naughty today aren’t you?” the man says but only Olamide is paying him any attention. Harry only has eyes for her.
She starts to get up so she can assure the man Harry was causing no harm and then she remembers that she is all of 5ft and the man coming towards her seems only a little shy of 6ft. If anyone should be doing any reassuring, it should be him.
He gets to Harry and pats the dog’s head and finally the latter notices his master.
“Such a silly boy,” The man says, but with a smile. He looks like summer; like a man that wilts in winter air. His skin is sun-kissed; he is one of those rare beings that the sun seems to love and follow everywhere.
“Hi” He says to her, his hand still on the dog’s head. “I am so sorry. He rarely ever runs off like that except he senses someone in trouble and wants to help.
There is a dog in front of her, along with a man that might be the most beautiful human she has ever seen; that is all, yet it seems like some unseen cat has her tongue.
“Harry is really very friendly and probably just wanted to play. Anyway I apologize if we disturbed your rest. We will leave now.” The man continues, his hand on the dog’s leash.
All she can do is nod and watch as man and dog walk away from her. The dog keeps turning around to look at her and when he does it for the second time, she waves at him. He takes that as an invitation and runs back. She starts to laugh as he flops his head on her lap for the second time that day. One of his large floppy ears is black while the other is gold. He is too beautiful for words, for this world. Just like Otunba.
Her laughter gives way to tears and she is suddenly aware of strong arms around her that remind her of the father she just lost. Harry stands watch as she weeps in a stranger’s arms, a silent witness to the pain she has tried to mask these past few weeks.
She starts to tell her story to the man and his dog. They are good listeners, each barely moving until she is through. Otunba, her father, had died four weeks ago. A month now and yet it felt like only yesterday. She had returned from the funeral only three days ago and come to the beach to make sense of what was left of her world. Otunba was her world. He was the only parent she had ever known since he adopted her after her own parents died in a motor crash that had involved one of Otunba’s many trucks. She had been only 4 then and he, a 67 year old grandfather of 15 grandchildren. He could have easily passed her off to one of his children to take care of. He could have sent her away to boarding school after boarding school until she was old enough to take care of herself. He could have done his duty, assuaged his guilt without loving her but he hadn’t. He had chosen to love instead.
The last time she saw him had been three months before his passing.
“Olaoluwamide, Abike, Aderopo, Oluwaremilekun, omo mi…you have been away from home too long,” He had told her, with a smile as she knelt by his sick bed in Ibadan.
“Ah! I knew it! This your so called sickness is nothing but a ploy to get me running to your side,” She teased, even as her heart raced with fear to see him so frail.
Otunba laughed, the first time in weeks, they would tell her later, and before the day was over, he was out of bed and eating solids.
“You really are his medicine!” Aunty Koku, Otunba’s first daughter said as Olamide helped the old man down the stairs the next day.
A week later, he insisted on following her to the airport.
“Don’t wait too long to come home again, sho ti gbo?” He whispered in her ears as she held his frail body to her youthful one.
“If I had known it was the last time, I would have held on forever…” She tells the man and his dog now.
Now here she is, listless and all alone in the world. She had no true bonds with Otunba’s family who saw her as an impostor. How was it possible to be so young and to have already lost it all?
When she is done telling her story, Harry licks her salty hands and she laughs, not only because it tickles but because laughter is the only thing left when your soul is all cried out.
They sit quietly, watching the waves until finally, the man signals to his dog and they take their leave, their work here done. She starts to wave them goodbye and then remembers she never asked the man’s name.
“What is your name?” She calls out to the man’s back. He turns around and smiles, shakes his head and waves at her before returning to his path. Harry does not look back; he seems to be all out of goodbyes.
She is disappointed not to have his name but the lightness in her heart dislodges that feeling before it can root itself. She picks up the book to continue reading and it opens to a page further along than she was when Harry interrupted her.
“Things we lose have a way of coming back to us in the end, if not always in the way we expect.”
She raises her head up immediately to look for the man and the dog but they are gone. She starts to run in the direction they went but even as she does, she knows it is of no use.
Two weeks later, she finds the right one. He is only a puppy, one golden floppy ear and one pure black one. He is too beautiful for words, for the world, but Olamide figures love will make him stay a while. She names him Harry. For Otunba Harold Oladipupo Adewamiri, her father, her hero.
The quote is from Harry Potter by the way. Thank you JK Rowling. I don’t watch or read these books for personal reasons but yeah, amaze balls writer!
Song of the day: Dido – See You When You’re 40