When they look at me and yell that I have no dreams, I look up to the scorching sun, smell the sweat oozing from my back; the pungent odour escaping the hem of my under wears, and I bring from my pockets, my dreams.
I tell them I dream big, real big before I learnt to walk. They say a boy child walks later than a girl child, but how could that not be? We grow up with expectations and promises hinging on our backs, when our weight we could barely carry.
They say a baby girl talks more quickly than a baby boy, but in what tongues could we speak? Of the things we are yet to behold? Of the things we know awaits us?
A boy pretends not to grow but a boy’s voice grows deeper all too soon. A boy grows larger groins and an Adam’s apple. All these fetters a boy to the demands of responsibility. A boy stumbles on stubbles and in an instant, the wood of anticipation is heaped to burn with fervour, tickling a boy’s frail eyes. A boy has grown in a twinkling of an eye; a boy becomes afraid of failing before he begins his lifelong journey of providing.
Sometimes, a boy wants to escape into Mama’s arms and cry in them; tell Mama that a chubby fille beat him to pulp on his way from school, but a boy only enters his home through the back door; tends to his injuries and puts on a smile ready to welcome Mama home in the evenings.
I have kept sentinel on my one-eyed Papa. I have seen him cry silently like I do. He veils it under a raffia of strength. I know if I had sat strongly on it, it would give way to a pit of withheld emotions. But I dare not disgrace my clan; a kinsfolk emblazoned with stripes of duty on their chests and creases of worries on their vernal, hoary faces. So we sit around glowing fires and stare long and hard into its embers and we watch us burn in it, slowly.
You ask me when last I went home, but I tell you if you ask Mama, she may tell you that the house reeks of my sudor. If Mama fails to tell you what is true, ask my younger siblings.
They are clothed and educated with every last bits of my struggle.
With all these, I wish to not go home. Home is not a boy’s place without a car or a certificate of occupancy, all in the name of a boy. Neither is it a place for a boy without wealth to disperse into the air for frivolous needs.
Even when I tell them all this, they will still mock a boy and make him pick broken bottles with his bare hands. But a boy must never cry, not even when he loses the one who gave a boy a part of his manhood. Never even when part of him is being let slowly into the ground. A boy conspiratorially mourns a man he once called Father. A boy never drops a tear for fear that the wineskin of his manhood burst forthwith before ‘weaker vessels’.
A boy must spade sand and quietly spill it into his earthly, libidinous creator. A boy loses a companion. A fellow man that understands his feelings. A man who was once a boy like a boy himself is now.
A boy must never cry. The gods forbid it! A boy must learn to swallow the lump stuck on his throat the way he gulps his mould of eba.
A boy forgets his dreams in the echoes of laughter, toil and unrequital. A boy sits in a rocking chair, now grey with years, tending to the injuries sustained in the great battles of struggle. A boy is weary. A boy only has daily prescriptions, white scrubs and his fellow septuagenarians to count his woes with.
A boy is with no dreams. A boy may have forgotten even how to dream but a boy’s medallion are his offsprings, who now only carry the word ‘Father’ on the slip of their lips.
A boy waits soon to peacefully pass on. A boy is tired of it all.