This night, as I subject my body to the roughness of my bed, I remember Rada. My sister, who died with my soul and left hers with me. My sister who was lowered into the rectangular hole in the ground last year. I remember how I stood before her grave, sobbing. I can feel her beside me now with her soul breathing happily in me. How I wish she had never left me.
This night, I remember Dooe, my brother that never died but was covered with earth. “Do-Do” was the new pet name my mother gave him when he returned from law school. He never died. He was only munched by the wheels of Dangote’s truck after winning his first case as a certified lawyer.
This night, I remember my father. The man that walked on earth with thousands and left the earth with millions. Tell my father to sleep well, I, his son, am the only child he has left on earth. Tell him I will be strong. Tell him to take care of my mother.
This night, I remember my mother. The woman that died yet walks on earth. If death had forgotten that night, it would have been good. Death should have forgotten that night and let my mother brood deeply over her losses. She was alone. I was young. Four years old. She died on her bed with the words, ” Be strong,” on her lips. Tell mama I have been strong so far, save for the night that carried my uncle away. Tell her I won’t fade into darkness as my uncle did.
My uncle, too, didn’t die. He’s actually on a sojourn. He travelled with a night. Very soon, he will come back. He will come back because he promised my mother he would take good care of me. He promised. He fulfills. He will surely fulfill.
This night, my mind doesn’t want to sleep. My body itches as I lay it on the bed. My head throbs as though it is tormented by fixed matches. This night, it seems I will also die. But I won’t die. I will try. I will try to be strong. I must. I will.
This is not my story. The memories are just so hard to let go. They can either make me stronger or slam me down; depending on how I handle them. But the memories are just being my catalyst.
While my sister was alive, I remember how we stayed behind the closed doors of our room, telling each other different stories of how we spent our day. I remember the day she told me Tolu said he was done with her. Tolu was a nice guy. He bought me things at school because he was in an affair with my sister. My mother did not know about this. There would have been trouble if she knew.
One day, while I was expecting her to join me in my room so that we could share how our days went, she came in sobbing. She was so sad that she fell ill for days. My mother thought it was just a mild bout of malaria that would soon pass. Little did she know that the sickness was one that affected her heart and not just her body. This night, I don’t want to think about her again because she has the best part of my memory.
My brother’s memory too is very fresh in my head, so much so that every day I wake, the days we spent together drive themselves freshly into my mind. But I don’t want to think about him. The last time we saw was when we went for his call to bar ceremony at Abuja where his name was signed as an officially qualified lawyer. That was the last time we smiled. The last time we had happiness together.
This night, I don’t want to think about them. I just want to sleep, if I can find sleep.