African StoriesMystery and Thriller StoriesNaija Stories

Looking for Myself

A friend of mine on his sick bed told me one time that the world would become a hoax when you stop feeling your presence in it and it moves without you understanding the tilt, the cries and merry; when you, though in the world, you are reproduced from a new birth trying to understand the complexity of the earth. This I found shady and ambiguous to comprehend, till I found my world taking a new shape.

It was a journey from Umuahia to Owerri, my home town, I had just finished my diploma program at ABSU and was heading home to at least spend time with my parents and loved ones before returning to Umuahia.

The journey was all rossy, the euphoria of a journey back home filled the passengers, in the spirit of Yuletide. Beside me sat Mama Adaeze. We started talking, the woman had a gentle voice and was soft spoken. I admired how she carried her daughter in her arms. I was intrigued and I asked her what she wanted to do at Owerri.

“I am going home to reconcile with my husband I have forgiven him totally. Actually I love him so much and would want us to get back together and love each other, especially for the sake of Adaeze.”

I felt goosebumps, I could feel the joy in her heart. She handed me a note her husband wrote to her, she said, “Read it, I feel he is really sorry. What do you think?” I started reading the note, and observing how the rickety bus was moving. All eyes and heads were all looking forward, as we passed kilometers, as home was near to us.

Suddenly, I heard gbam! gbom! gbam! like the sound of ogbunigwe; the bus, began to somersault. Amidst the sounds of shattering glasses, screams and groaning I heard, with red pigments gushing out from the skulls of my fellow journey makers. My vision was dim and I gradually blacked out. That was all I could remember.

Next I found myself, not in motion anymore; the tall trees and shrubs the highway was known for weren’t there. I saw myself tied to a stick that produced some kind of liquid connected to my wrist. My head was banging as if my head substituted the place of the ịgba and ogene. I lost my speech so I lay down, speaking with my eyes. I was overwhelmed and fell into a trance.

I opened my eyes, I saw man clothed in white apparel. Oh I never introduced him to you, he is the man that always comes to check if the rope I was tied with was okay and dress some wounds on my head. Well I never knew who he was or what his aim of doing what he did was, but he came in the morning, to do his normal work. This time around I protested, shaking. I tried to say something, but my speech betrayed me again. So he won again.

A woman entered into the place I was, she saw me and began to cry, she called a name, and I thought she expected an answer. But I was indifferent to her because I didn’t know her from Adam. Everything looked like a scripted play to me.

The man began to console her saying, “She is fine, she is going to be alright. Calm down.”

But who is not all right, me or her? I wondered how someone would begin to cry at the sight of another; and I never felt that I was sick. So why would the man say I will be all right? She dropped some containers in front of my bed and in tears left the room. Nawa oo, wetin dey happen? I asked myself.

The next day, a lady with the man entered and removed the ropes and let me free. They dressed me up and made me sit down. Then the crying woman entered. At least when she saw me this time she was smiling.

She called, “Uju!”

Who is Uju? or what is Uju? I did not understand what that meant. Or did Uju mean that I was sitting down because she said that immediately she saw me sitting down?

I was brought a chair that had wheels to move. I was helped to sit down on it and the crying woman pushed the chair and it set in motion.

As we were moving we came to a hallway where a lot of people were, and I heard people clapping, and I heard someone say: “She was the only survivor.” I kept a straight face because I never understood anything.

We approached where an object was parked a man rushed and opened the door, and the crying woman and the man took me inside. They took my chair folded it and placed inside the back of the object . When the crying woman got inside and sat beside me, the bigger object set in motion.

Hey, where I am going to? I thought. Who are these people? I pondered, so I began to protest, but what I got in response were tears. The crying woman plays her role so well, I thought. So I stayed quiet, staring at her as we moved. I felt that I had been in motion, in such manner, as I saw tall trees and shrubs as we moved on, but I couldn’t pinpoint anything I had to let my introspection ease.

The object then stopped close to a tall building. I was brought down by the strange man and the crying woman. “Mustapha bring the wheelchair,” the woman said. The man came back with the chair, but I refused to sit down on the chair. I saw myself trying to stand but my feet were feeble. I wanted to feel the soil to understand where I was. I think I was making progress, holding the crying woman for support.

Then I saw a note in my breast pocket, and with my other hand I opened it and wondered how I had the note. I opened it in a haste. The note read, “TO MY DEAREST EMILIA, MAMA ADAEZE.”

Immediately I felt my head banging, some thoughts began to come to my head. I felt I had lived in the world before. But who am I? I began to scream because I couldn’t bear the weight. How did I have a note and why I was about to enter a building I have never seen or known? Where was I?

Suddenly my mouth began to shake, my tongue felt the need to let my speech come alive, as I heard myself call the crying woman: “Mother!”

Shocked, she immediately embraced me with joy, but I didn’t know how and why I said it. That was only I what could say at that time. I decided to face my world and I left the rest to fate. I have just been ushered to a new world.

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