I am a sojourner in someone else’s home, my innocence departed with age and I have been forced into the jail of adulthood, living each day of my life desiring a place I can call home.
In this strange land, my pen and pad has become my best friend. I live each day remembering the early days of my life that was filled with laughter, love and hope. I sit and wonder at my innocence and naivety, my thought that life was man’s best friend. I hear my mum’s voice as if from a distance calling out for me to come home for dinner.
Times when nature loved me with her rain and it was alright to play and lie in the sand. I remember the times when words did not have to be said for me to know I was loved, times when everything seemed to revolve around me. I miss the times I did not have to be worried about the ka-boom sound because it only meant banger sounds during Christmas. I miss the times when my greatest fear was “Odudukalaba” , times I could swear I truly lived.
Life was lots easier when the reward for errands was biscuits. When everywhere was my bed and I didn’t have to worry about who said what. I miss the times when touches don’t send shockwaves. Times when happiness was measured by how many sweets I licked.
I remember how sweet the journey to my hometown used to be, how it was easy for me to play around in my undies and not have to worry about who was around me. Times when being male or female never mattered, when my parents’ achievements was all I needed to be popular.
(Sniffs) I bet my grandma is around, I can perceive her special Egusi soup. Oh! She is not? Even my nose has joined in the conspiracy to take me back in time. I swear I can see myself under the mango tree, seated with other kids as we listen with awe to Uncle Reuben’s Biafra stories.
I remember Sunday afternoons, our family lunch time together, the eldest got the biggest chunk of meat, I wish age is as relevant now and things took on the cloak of simplicity again. It is all coming back to me; all those beautiful times are all coming back to me this lonely afternoon.
Like the occurrence of an earthquake, my happiness seems to have sunk, buried under the earth and dead for want of air. I am thrown here and never ever returning home, I am a sojourner in someone else’s home, my innocence departed with age and I have been forced into the jail of adulthood, living each day of my life desiring a place I can call home. My innocence has been soiled with the knowledge of sin and life. My dad, I have come to realise, is not the strongest man in the world. Everybody cannot love me the way my family does. A good result out of school doesn’t guarantee a great job.
I have journeyed very far away from home, can I get home again? My body feels strange, temptations stares me in the face, brutality is the order of the day.
My vocabulary has changed; my language is mine no more. Even, my parents see my thin bones and say to me it’s part of growing up. ‘Struggle’ is the new name for playing house, sleep has become my worst enemy, I wake up every day to my need, and survival is the rule on this field.
What if I die, I asked? Life goes on, they replied.
I seriously need to get home, I miss my innocence, when will I return home? I want to be young again.
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