The memory of that numinously dated 12/12/12 can hardly be erased from my consciousness, memory of an aged man, gaunt and wrinkled by the years, hobbling into the cafeteria at Tinubu Square shortly after me who, by a twist of divine circumstance, found no other place to sit, than to share a table with me as I, observing him so intently, wondered about my dad long gone, how wonderful it would have been to share a table with him outside his cozy mansion submerged in chat about the insecurity that has plagued our country, foibles of self-discipline, indecisiveness of national leadership and entrenchment of materialism, listening to him tell of his life journey; but alas, my memory was brought back to the reality of the aged man, struggling shakily to lift a jar of water and pour it into a bowl to wash his hands before settling to enjoy his meal in silence (all before I could reach out to offer a helping hand) while I, wondering what I could do, decided, upon finishing my meal, to call the waitress aside and whisper to her that I wanted to take the man’s bill, only to be told that he had paid his as well as mine shortly after we placed our separate orders and I – with a deep sense of responsibility – turned to him to express my gratitude, but he gazed at me, his eyes strained by painful years, to speak beneath his breath slowly, yet with the gentlest voice I’ve heard in years, “my child, I’m grateful, for it has always been my desire to feed a son.”
Category Archives: One Sentence Story
I’ve always known being a parent isn’t an easy task but it all turned real when I swapped positions by becoming a mother of an adorable two year old whose father had followed the desire of his loins and renounced responsibilities and I, on that fateful afternoon of December Twenty-First (after busying myself with a lot of chores) was so tired that I could only struggle half-asleep to play with my daughter who was so active that I didn’t know when I slept off until I was woken by her repeated coughing only to find out that while I lay napping she had played with my purse that was close by, removed a key to a drawer and swallowed it which resulted in her choking, leaving me with full consciousness that being a parent is a full-time job that one must not shirk off because I almost ran mad in the wake of the moment when I carried her in my arms in deep confusion and walked down the road in search of a means of transportation, finding all the cabs fully occupied, wondering why bikes were banned in the face of poor transportation system which delayed my arrival at the hospital; after finally arriving, found that the doctors were too busy to attend to me as an emergency since there were many of such cases and when one did eventually come through, ended up telling me to wait for another thirty minutes for them to arrange fuel that would power the generator as there was no electricity to conduct the x-ray which later showed that the key had moved down and settled around her abdomen with an assurance that all I needed to do was to take her home and wait and wait and wait while feeding her some medication and specified foods – a waiting that was emotionally draining as I watched her play gleefully without my being able to bring myself to play along until four days later, when she stooled out the key and I, in uncontrollable excitement, almost ran out of the house nude in praise of God’s miraculous hand.
Note: This is another of my one-sentence short story.
It was during the morning of Twenty Six (after Christmas Day) when I drove out to the office to pick up the security token for my laptop since I needed to complete some reports that were to be due the following day, that I grinded to a halt by a traffic light when it turned red and a young man in seemingly healthy physical shape but with wrinkled and hungry looks approached my car and stretched out his hand for anything I could offer, hanging on without leaving for other cars, perhaps confident by my turning to take a full glimpse of him as he poured blessings upon me, while I pondered why he should be begging rather than finding something meaningful to do, half-thinking if I should throw out something to him or not; just when I made up my mind that it was Christmas after all and sharing wouldn’t hurt, and decided to reach out for my wallet tucked in my trousers’ back pocket, the traffic light beamed green and I noticed the young man wave bye-bye to me while hobbling away as the blaring sounds of car horns behind me unconsciously gave breath to my accelerator and I zoomed off, with my mind restlessly rested on thoughts of the young man, his beggarly face gazing sorrowfully – yet beseechingly – into my soul until I, unable to contain the feeling of guilt, drove back in search of him after about an hour and not finding him, could only assuage my half sense of guilt by giving out what I would have given him to another beggar, who was listlessly leaning by a pole, seemingly contented not to bother someone like me, leaving me to wonder about the best moments to do the right thing.
I’ve always known Nigeria to be soaked in the despondent slime of poverty, but the encounter of that Tuesday afternoon was not anticipated, as I walked into a roadside cafeteria in Hawan Hotoro area of Kano and placed an order for wheat and egusi soup which was promptly served before I stood up to a corner to wash my hands, only to return and see that a young man, disheveled and dressed in dirty and tattered clothing, with hair curled by months of combless neglect and dryness, had gone almost half-way in munching the food with such frenzy that my twitching belly and the hunger I felt suddenly settled into subdued calm as I beheld him while letting my eyes soak in the algid normalcy that sat on the faces of others in the cafeteria – including the one seated closest to him – wondering if I was normal myself to be surprised by the sight, waited until he was done with the last ball, stood up with the sachet water which he splashed to wash his soiled hands and then gulped the rest before doing obeisance to me as a show of gratitude, thereafter dashing away, while I followed on his trail, to find out more about this spectacle; and when I caught up with him and asked how he survived each day, he looked me up with a beckoning eye, then held me mildly by the wrist, leading me through footpaths, across feeder roads, saying nothing until we were at an open grassland, with large expanse sparsely dotted by deciduous trees, before turning to me to speak “I’ve no burden, so I live in the open field and survive each day on those like you who can feed themselves, either through the work they’ve for me or through their food,” leaving me to wonder about the various burdens we carry in life such that when I traced my path back to the comfort of my hotel room, all I could feel was emptiness and brooding thoughts about how complicated our lives have become.
Note: I’ve found some fun writing one-sentence stories and I’ll be posting some of these once in a while, hoping that you, my reader, would share in the fun. I’ll be grateful for your feedback. Thank you.