Novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie contributes articles from time to time, to publications An incredibly touching, evocative piece dealing with the dying and the death of a favourite uncle, in the Financial Times.
I last saw Uncle Mai in March. He was on the veranda of his faded house in Abba, which used to be my grandmother’s house, sitting on one of those slant-backed chairs that spoke of lazy afternoons, propped by a shabby cushion. The afternoon blazed with heat. I stood behind him and fanned him with a newspaper, his back covered in a white sheen of talcum powder. He was shrunken and shrivelled by cancer. My father’s only brother. My favourite uncle. A few years before, I was startled to realise that he was almost 70 because his arms, so firmly muscled from years of farming, so robust and able, made him seem much younger. Now his wrists were thin as twigs, his ribs stared through papery skin, his face had lost its flesh. He was a gaunt, grimacing stranger. “Obibia gi julum afo ka nni,” he told me. “Your visit has filled me like food.”
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