Memories, the clay with which we hold our demons.
On cool evenings like this, when my fingers hurt and my palms get really pale, I crawl into my bed, wrap myself away and listen to Don Williams. Then I wonder why death lets us sip from a glass of fine wine, only to tickle our throats till we spill the wine to its very last droplet.
Yes! My case against Death is at least eleven years old. One morning, as I readied for school, my father’s phone rang. He answered and I saw his countenance drop, slowly but steadily like a feather released from a storey building.
He stepped out, then came in and called my mother to their bedroom. She was nursing our last born then. So he made sure to take the baby from her before he broke the news. Her father, my grandpa was dead.
I can’t say I saw him up to ten times before he passed on. But each time we returned to the village, he’d hold all five of us on his wrinkling thighs and tell us how he’d die a happy man, if death came at that moment.
Grandpa was famous for his honesty and fair judgement. His mouth was like our local grinding stone; it would grind locust beans to sweeten your soup today and the day after, it’d grind the pepper in which the canes for your punishment would be dipped in, if you did something bad. Never did he stand side by side with evil.
Today, I was at University College Hospital to see my sweetheart. As I sat by his bed, I heard a cocktail of wails and howls from a couple of women and a child. Then I remembered that morning, how we held to my mother’s nighty and cried with her. I remembered again how my father’s sigh of grief was swallowed by mother’s dirges and I remembered my case against Death!
Now, as darkness creeps into my room, it is taking a form, a shape that looks like my grandpa- tall, clad in his ash colored farm clothes, riding a bicycle with yam tubers, bananas and plantain tied to the back seat. He’s whistling and pedaling home just the way he did, the last time I saw him.
-Memories, the clay with which every man molds his own demons.