Open Your Eyes

This one is for Abeeb.

This may be similar to a play/story you may have read, written by a famous Nigerian writer. Enjoy regardless.

He leaves the house at a quarter to nine. He’s dressed in blue shorts, blue faded tee, blue Nike slippers with the ticks peeled off. A silver chain around his neck reaches down to his stomach with its pendant – PARIS in ugly cursive – bouncing on top his belly button.

His arms are swinging by his sides. His walk is a dance.

Some people are capable of real magic.

He should watch where he’s going. It’s important that he does. But he does not. He just walks like he has nothing to lose. He walks over a dead bat.

If we look around him, the things we take for granted, the mundane, oft ignored: Green leaves from red clay, life springing forth from delicate shell, water gushing from cracked stone.

His shorts tear a little as he walks. It has begun. He fiddles his keys in his pockets. Brings them out. Tosses from hand to hand, making a wide arch.

He doesn’t know. He’s just like everyone. Sure of themselves. Confident. But they don’t know. Nobody knows.

The walk to the garage is a short one, five minutes for someone that tall. Long strides, long strides, they cover a football field. The big yellow bus awaits his arrival. It is dripping water, the earth around it a darker shade with wet and shadows. Obey is playing in the background: irin ajo la wa yi oo, ko ni gbe wa dele.

Kamoru stands by the open door. Eka’aro sir, he shouts. He prostrates. The buba and sokoto he wears wears the scent of his grandmother. Sweet mother. His sokoto reaches well above his wet ankles. His smile is automatic. The brown leaves on his buba are so big and so are his tribal marks.

They are going on the road. The passengers are inside. Have you ever seen a game of table soccer? Do you know how the players move? Head over head, dancing, controlled by a mightier force. That’s how they sway. Choreographed dancing.

He is going too fast. He knows he shouldn’t, I swear, this time he knows. But he has security: The ring on his index finger. Black. Dipped in the brew of the gods.

Help me laugh.

Baba said if he crosses any dead animal on his way he should go back home, restart his journey. He didn’t see the bat. He doesn’t see the pothole. His eyes are shut as the bus summersaults. Amen.

I should get bored more often.


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