Chris Bamidele: Places in my dream- Episode 1 (Y! Fiction)

by Chris Adeyanju

golden-slumber-fills-my-dreams-david-lane

I didn’t get it, my mind started processing what I just heard…..“My Daddy cannot die, not today, not ever; he is stronger and bigger than those people dying in the movies…. Maybe he went somewhere and will be coming back soon”….. My mind wandered….!

 

PROLOGUE
JANUARY 16th 1989 — CALABAR
My blue shorts were slightly dirty, same as my inner shirt; nevertheless, I looked okay and neat enough to withstand his after-school scrutiny. On that day, I had the unusual boldness to play football with some primary 6 pupils, most of whom were bigger and taller than I was, but I had been wise enough to remove my shirt, shoes and socks, folded them neatly in my bag’s different compartments before stepping into the field. I didn’t want to take chances; I knew better than incurring my Dad’s wrath whenever he picked me up after school hours and did the routine ‘cleanliness inspection’. Dad would not spare the rod if I closed from school looking like a ‘pig’; [twice before then, I looked like a ‘pig’ after school hours, twice I remembered the sting of ‘koboko’ (Horsewhip) on the back of my legs] he was very strict but a loving father and even as young as I was, I understood how much he loved me and wanted me to always do the right thing.

Except for those two ‘pig-looking’ occasions, Dad never had to beat me before I would understand him; all I needed to do was look in his eyes and I would instantly know if I was on track or not – we always had a connection. Our daily activities were routinely structured at least for the past 3months. On weekdays except during the holidays, I get picked up from school at 2:10pm (an hour earlier on Fridays) on his always-shining Yamaha Xj 650 motorcycle, dropped off in Mum’s shop to do my homework and later would go home in the evening to spend some time with Dad who would sit by my bed and tell me different stories about his life, friends, only sister and parents back in ‘Agbede’ town in the South Western part of Nigeria. He rarely talked about his work.

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Dad did not live in the barracks and I had never seen him fully dressed in his uniform except inside the large framed picture hanging in our living room, but many times I had seen his well – ironed, crisply-starched uniform in his wardrobe. Some of his friends/colleagues also had worn similar uniform whenever they visited – they always looked neat. “Dad, are you a soldier man?” I remembered asking him a week earlier as he was dropping me off in school – Dad would park his motorcycle and hug me before telling me to run along and join other pupils as they gathered on the assembly ground; he would watch me till I joined the line for Primary 4 pupils. Squatting and touching my shoulder; he answered me calmly, “I’m in the Nigerian Mobile Police Force, and it is a paramilitary arm of the Nigeria Police Force. So young man, I am not a soldier, just a policeman” I didn’t quite understand everything but I asked the next question anyway, “do you have a gun?” looking a bit puzzled he replied “yes, I do and why do you ask?” looking down, I blurted, “I want to shoot Aniekan, let him just die like those people in the telly” Aniekan was a bully who always made sure I didn’t play football anytime he was in school because he would ensure he played for the opposing team and intentionally kicked me off the ball anytime I got it. One day when I couldn’t take it anymore I asked him why he liked hurting me; he stared menacingly into my face “Hey! Football is not for lazy Yoruba boys like you, Ndiseme Mkpo………..” I was brought back to reality as my Dad gathered me lovingly to his broad chest and rubbed my head, I was still angry. I hated Aniekan so much that each time I saw somebody being killed in any movie; I wished it was him getting killed again and again. At least, I would be able to play school football in peace.

“So, tell me has Aniekan been bullying you or what?” I nodded in affirmative. “Well, have you tried reporting him to your teachers?” I shook my head from left to right…. Lifting me up and placing me on the bike, his two hands went straight thereafter inside his well – ironed trousers’ pocket; he said to me calmly “next time he bullies you, report him to your teachers. If he doesn’t stop, stand up to him. Now, I’m not asking you to fight with him but let him know you are not afraid of him, let him know your name is Akinlabi. Do you want me to tell you the meaning of your name?” I moved my head up and down rapidly. “Your name in full is ‘AKIKANJU L’A BI’, literally translates to ‘We gave birth to a WARRIOR’” my face innocently lit up in excitement and I was curious as to why I was named so, I remembered a wrestler named the Ultimate Warrior and I quickly checked my biceps to see if there were similarities to his’ —- there was none. So I asked Dad, “am I a warrior?” letting me down gently from the motorcycle, he replied calmly “When you grow older, I will tell you why you were named so, now run along to the assembly ground and be a good boy. Remember, stand up to your fears and let the bully know you are not afraid of him”. Dad has to be the calmest and the most assertive man on earth, I thought to myself as I walked towards other pupils already gathering on the assembly ground, I didn’t know how he behaved at work, but he never shouted unnecessarily at home, not on me and never on Mum.

Mum hailed from Uga, Dad told me it is one of the oldest towns in Anambra State in the South Eastern part of Nigeria. I remember her as a very beautiful woman and a loving mother. I didn’t know any of her family members and I never asked her then, I was contented with being the only child of the most wonderful young couple there was; we were simply a happy family. Mum rarely spoke Igbo to me neither did Dad communicate with me in his language – Yoruba except for the day he told me the literal meaning of my name , I could understand some Efik words though but English was the only language spoken in my house as far as I could remember.

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I waited for my Dad, looking as neat as possible, expecting to hear the unmistakable sound of his Yamaha motorcycle, looking forward to telling him how much I learnt from our headmaster on the assembly ground about the Armed Forces Remembrance day that was marked a day earlier; I pictured the broad, proud smile that would play on his lips while telling him how I successfully dealt with Aniekan, how unbelievable I would sound telling him how the Almighty Aniekan cowered when I told him I would pluck out his eyes with my bare hands if he dared kick me while playing football or if he ever raised his voice on me again…….. A police car pulled up, my Dad’s two friends and colleagues who had been at the house on several occasions stepped out of the vehicle in their uniform, they told me dad was held up at work and he asked them to convey me home.

The journey home was smooth, quiet, I was at the back seat, and nothing else was on my mind but the gist I was going to have with my Dad later that day. On getting home, I met people in our house, strange faces I had not seen before, two women calming my Mum down because she was crying…… I ran to her, she hugged me tightly and wailed, I cried without knowing what was wrong with her or everybody else. “Mummy, what is it, why are you crying?” I asked wiping her tears, “It’s your dad” “what happened to him?” I asked amidst sobs…. “HE IS DEAD”!!!
I didn’t get it, my mind started processing what I just heard…..“My Daddy cannot die, not today, not ever; he is stronger and bigger than those people dying in the movies…. Maybe he went somewhere and will be coming back soon”….. My mind wandered….!

Episode 2 comes up next Wednesday.

P.S: I hope all your dreams come true,

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Chris Bamidele blogs at www. dgreatest2.wordpress.com

Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

 

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cool good eh love2 cute confused notgood numb disgusting fail