by Tosin Fatoyinbo
In the midst of the whistling trees, the sound of which would scare even the boldest lion and the howling winds which would silence the forest’s biggest Elephant, I saw a figure or perhaps an apparition walking towards me. I wasn’t sure of my emotions; whether I ought to be scared or joyful at the sight of something in a human shape approaching me after hours of walking alone in the thick forest with the songs and dance of the mightily tall trees as my only companion. How I got to be here remains an illusion, the last thing I remember was the tempting invitation of my soft bed and sinking into it with the little strength that I had left within me.
Now, I find myself in this darkness, in the midst of trees and green herbs that are at peace and happily evoking it with their whistling while my peace is stolen and replaced with an eerie fear. I once heard that trees do actually sing and how I would have loved to know the songs the trees were singing. Are they singing a song of sorrow, gladness, joy or despair? I wonder if the trees are making a solo rendition or having a musical concert, or perhaps the trees are in distress, thus rendering their own version of Kofi Awooner’s Songs of Sorrow. Do the trees have emotions, are they in pain when the winds blow strongly against them. Do they cry when their branches are pruned off?
I was lost in thought thinking about the trees when the shadow of the apparition suddenly loomed over me. With the moon shining so bright, the shadow stood like a Knight protecting me against the ‘attack’ of the moon. I looked at the apparition with fear and trepidation yet was calm: that unexplainable, pain-pleasure, joy-sorrow, contradictory that we sometimes feel at the same moment. What I saw in the apparition was soothing. Though I couldn’t pick out his face, yes I think it is a ‘he’ but I could see how beautiful he was from head to toe. I have never set my face on something so mysterious yet lovely. He looked at me with deep eyes, the colour of which I couldn’t determine. And I read from it that he was there to help me out of the forest of despair.
“But this is not a Forest of despair” I protested in my mind.
“What do you know? He replied.
I felt insulted by such a question; my life has been one of constant enquiries. Where I come from, people often became irritated with my incessantly unending queries. In my quest for knowledge, I have amassed enough to fill Libraries though I discovered as well that much knowledge opens the floodgate of further questions which eventually result in sorrow; even King Solomon would agree with me. They say it is unhealthy for a woman to ask many questions, I say it is unhealthy for a woman to ask no questions and query what needs be.
“I know you, I have carried out much enquiry and I know all that there’s to know about you, so yes, I know you are well versed in knowledge” He said to my wondering thoughts.
“How are you able to read my thoughts” I asked.
“Because I know you” was the quick fire answer I got.
I was still wondering what that meant when he offered me his hand, I looked at it and it was beautiful. I didn’t find it difficult giving him my hands. He took me by the hands and together we took a walk into the Forest; I could not tell whether we were moving in or out of the Forest, every tree and every herb looked the same. After what seemed like an eternity of a never ending walk, He knew I was tired and promptly carried me upon his shoulders; he placed me on his broad shoulders as one carrying a tender baby. Shortly afterwards, a peaceful darkness enveloped and overwhelmed me and I remembered no more.
The next thing I felt was the loud banging in my head as my eyes opened, I looked and discovered that I had only been dreaming; I woke up with a terrible headache. I stretched and wondered the meaning of the weird dream from which I woke. It has been ages since I last dreamt. And to imagine that I remember every tiny details of the dream makes it even weirder.
I gathered my lazy self up telling my frame that there was more than enough work for the day; enough for me not to remain like a sluggard on my soft bed. However, as I stood, I noticed there was something very strange about me. I felt like I was on a stage and was being watched by millions of eyes only that it seemed like just one powerful eye at the same time.
“What is this nonsense early in the morning? I mumbled aloud. It didn’t help though as the eye seem to follow me into the bathroom, watched me as I brushed, undressed, took my bath and dressed. Before then, I had taken enough time to search my apartment for any strange item. Maybe there’s a hidden camera somewhere in this house. I thought with paranoia. Perhaps, I was the target of a hired gun but why will anybody want to kill me, after all I am not a Politician’s daughter nor am I the daughter of any of country’s ‘big’ men. I am just a middle income single young woman. There was nothing ominous in my apartment.
As I stepped out of my apartment, the eye followed me. At first I felt strange and vulnerable but as the day wore on, it seemed the bulging eye was watching over me. I had felt it all day and now stepping back into my apartment, there was the feeling of the eye being all over the place.
Though I had no appetite as usual, I made myself dinner and as I sat alone at dinner, the eye sat in front watching me eat. For the first time in a long while, I didn’t feel alone. I felt wanted, loved and protected.
“How weird” I laughed out loud at the thought of the eye being my lover. Since Thomas left six years ago, loneliness has been my only comfort. I thought about our times together and there was indecision as to whether it was a time worth it. We fought most times, he often abused me and openly cheated on me yet I couldn’t bring myself to leave him. Thomas was all I had or so I believed until the day he finally packed not only his bags but practically my entire luggage and walked out of my life never to return. From that day, I took solace in loneliness, at least loneliness cannot cheat me, I thought.
I was moaning and wallowing in this thought when a peaceful darkness overpowered me.
And I was back.
I was back in the Forest, save this time; the Forest was well lit with the powerful rays of the sun. As I looked around, I was dazed by the beauty of the Forest, not once have I set my eyes on a scene so beautiful and peaceful. I do not know for sure how the Garden of Eden looked like but this could definitely pass for it. The lushness of the herbs and the calmness of the trees were simply soothing to the soul.
Then I felt HIM. There was no need turning back to confirm because I felt him,; I knew him!
This article was first published on Paarapo.com