STORY BY: KENNETH AJAKU COLLINS
To read and understand my story is to subject oneself to the hard but rewarding task of understanding the intricacies of the mind and I hope you would eventually understand me. That being said I must proceed with this tale of mine for if I don’t no one will.
I am a young man with a clear and transparent story with an amazing climax. I had doting parents who provided all for me and even added some “jara”, with the holiday trips and vacations to Europe and America, ‘shrugs’ you could say I did have it all and more.
My most memorable vacation however came while I was in my 5th year in secondary school, at this time I was at the peak of the teenagers struggle for self-acceptance, a lot of emotions kept welling up in my tiny mind with no means of outlet. I was constantly restless, what with constant mood swings and unexplainable outbursts, mum felt a change of environment to the states would help the situation. That trip marked the entrance of Mark into my life…he lived just a fence away from my house, I had caught Mark with a little rabbit that he had dissected and was in the process of digging the soil to bury it in a make shift grave he had created in his yard, it all looked absolutely new and strangely gratifying and calming. I jumped the little fence demarcating both houses, startled Mark, I gave him a wide smile and knelt down as we both started digging the wet soil, I looked round for a flat surfaced object and I found a slab of tile, I stuck it into the head of the sand to serve as a tombstone, Mark giggled excitedly and exclaimed ‘that’s genius’ and in that seemingly little moment a strong bond was formed. Over the next few weeks of the remainder of my vacation, Mark and I did a lot of mischief and somehow we managed to never get caught.
Mark awakened me, brought me to the world of sensations, showed me that it was truly okay to feel, that there’s truly no limit to the amount of sensation one can reach out for. Meeting Mark was my rebirth, I basked in it and it was truly glorious, no other feeling could compare.
I longed for an opportunity to feel such sensations when I returned Home….but family was always close by. I remained as quiet as an impending volcanic eruption until an opportunity showed itself one hot afternoon in April. My aunt had just visited with my 2 year old cousin Tobi, he no sooner got into the house than he started bawling his head off uncontrollably. Mum ordered me take him upstairs and keep him busy. I went upstairs with Tobi and he still wouldn’t stop screaming. I sat him on the bed and stared at him hoping to calm him down with a quiet stare down as I had seen in some baby commercials. It suddenly dawned on me the two legged opportunity that had just cried its way into my hands. I brought him closer to me, and wrapped my hands around his throat gently first, just the way I had seen Mark strangle his pet cat, then I squeezed harder and he stopped crying. His little eyes stared at me with uncertainty, I tightened my grip, his face began turning darker as he kicked and struggled to cry, I let go and he screamed his loudest yet. I snatched back my grip and this time I didn’t let go, his arms flailed and he became visibly weaker, I wasn’t sure if he was gone yet and my pulses were going crazy with such excitement. He wasn’t moving…
’Kelvin!’ my aunts voice rang out, ‘bring Tobi, it’s time to head home’….I shook him he still lay motion less, my impulses were responding too slowly. I couldn’t decide whether to answer her or ignore.
I turned on my music set, rushed into my bathroom and picked out my recently discarded polythene bag for the new shoes Mum had gotten for me, I rolled him from the bed onto the floor, sat him up and positioned him such that it looked like he was sitting and playing with the music set, but he wouldn’t sit put, he would fall flat on his back.
‘Cluck! Cluck!’ I turned sharply, I could hear some footsteps, and I quickly put the disposable bag over his head and drew the strings a little tight, picked his little hands and put both strings in both palms. I looked at him briefly and the sight warmed me up and strangely I felt this whole new sensation Mark never told me about. It felt like the blood in my system circulated a whole lot better, the room suddenly smelt fresher as the smell of fresh laundry, my senses were heightened. I heard clearer footsteps coming up the stairs. I climbed unto my bed and lay as if in deep sleep.
The scream was so loud my mother rushed up the stairs yelling ‘Sister! What’s wrong? I turned casually and stifled a smile that was pushing the corners of my mouth to burst forth and feigned alarm.
‘Tobi! Tobi!’ I joined in chorus with my aunt and my mum….that smile born from a deep sense of satisfaction kept trying to burst forth… I held it in for later when I could truly pat my own back for a first Job well done….I knew it would……
“Churgh!” Tobi suddenly coughed violently and was visibly struggling to open his eyes.
‘No!’ I screamed inwardly ….this wasn’t supposed to happen. Mum was muttering incoherent prayers, my aunt joined in with a much louder pitch almost as if in supplication to the hands of death to let her Tobi be. I kept my eyes on Tobi, ‘He mustn’t wake!’