“Drowning in depression as the tears pour
Asking yourself what am I here for
Questioning the dear Lord
Convinced there’s nothing else to live for.
Molested when you was a child
Pressured you to do some things that’s really foul.
Convinced yourself abuse is love
Which led to your abuse of drugs
I bet every time you’re in the tub
Imagining your body floating in the suds.
Your esteem ain’t where it needs to be
You gotta learn to let this demons free
Let all the sufferings within you cease
And the small love within you be increased”
A deafening round of applause and continuous whistles rented the air as my little girl dropped the mic and descended the podium. It followed her, and didn’t look to stop any soon until the school principal mounted the stage “Komobong Peters” he began “We are so fortunate to be able to call a brilliant student like you, ours. That was a wonderful performance my dear, and I must say that this is just the perfect message all the youths of this country need to hear, to at least curb the ongoing suicide menace in the country. I am truly proud of you my dear, keep this candle lighted always. Happy Holiday to you all” he concluded before making for his office after asking the form teachers to distribute the term’s result to the students.
“Baby girl, words cannot describe just how proud of you I am” I said as my little girl buckled her seatbelt, she was just 16 years old but her level of composure always astounded me “No mum, please don’t say that, besides, those were not my words. They are lyrics to a song by Gemstones, I only wanted to inspire at least somebody and not to be lauded the way I am now as if I was a Nobel Laureate”
“It doesn’t change anything my dear, you may see it as though it were nothing but believe me, you just inspired a whole lot of lives today” I said forcing a blush from her tender cheeks.
“And guess what?” I added “You just inspired me to tell you a story, I mean, my story”
“When I was much younger, two years older than you are now, I never slept a night without being hassled by terrible nightmares, I was also ripe for marriage and very beautiful, at least the number of men coming to ‘chike’ me made me feel that way. I was quite flirty and enjoyed the ‘happening’ places a lot.
I continued with the flirty lifestyle until one night, when me and Jack, your dad, though we were still courting then, met a psychic on our way back from a street night club. He told me about all my nightmares and added that events from my previous lives will repeat themselves and that only myself could fix them.
After so much pestering from Jack, I tearfully revealed to him hat I had a great fear for water because my parents had drown in a car accident when I was two years old. He consoled me and promised he was not going to let anything happen to me.
And then, one day, while he was away on one of his usual business trips, Enoh, his friend who also knew about my nightmares asked me out for dinner. Not wanting to look disrespectful, I accepted and the next thing, I woke up to find myself alone and trapped in his isolated mansion. I pleaded that he should let me go but he refused, saying that he had spent the whole of his life looking for me and that he was not going to let me go.
He went on to explain that he was madly in love with me in a previous life and that his love remained unrequited. I continued to plead for him to let me go and next thing, he brought me a collection of uncannily accurate paintings of myself which he claimed he made at various ages and said with him I would find the explanation of my nightmares.
Thinking he was crazy, I made to escape but he caught me and angrily choked my head in a tub of water and immediately the memories of my past life appeared bare before my eyes.
Three hundred years ago, I was a regular extrovert and owned a very large beautiful garden, I also had a best friend, Umoh, who always helped me tidy up the garden. Unknown to me, he had fallen deeply in love with me. I later got married to Ekemini, a handsome successful businessman and on the night of our marriage, we sat by the sea admiring the stars, and from the thorny bushes around, Umoh appeared and attacked Ekemini with a machete.
He injured him severely and before I could intervene, choked his head in the water and drowned him. I jumped into the sea in a bid to save him but he was dead already. Heartbroken on seeing my Ekemini die, I also drowned myself. Umoh on the other hand, couldn’t bear that I was also dead, slit his own throat in anguish.
However, this time when Jack showed up at the mansion, I decided to fight back against Enoh. And then, our previous life’s event repeated, Enoh throwing Jack into the bathtub and made to drown him, I quickly smashed him on the head with a shillelagh I got from the back of the door and killed him. This time, I was able to save Jack; My Jack”
“So you see, my child, if Umoh had heard this wonderful piece you presented today some three hundred years ago then he clearly would not have slit his own throat all in the name of obsession” I ended.
When we were safely home, I collected her result and before I could open the envelope, Ali the gateman rushed to us “Madam, one oga like this say make I give am for small madam this envelope” he said in his usual humorous Hausa accent.
I collected the big brown envelope from him and tore it open, lo, it was a collection of roughly sketched drawings of Komobong, my daughter, just like the ones Enoh had shown me years ago in his mansion. It showed her acting lovey-dovey with different guys that oddly looked alike in all of the pictures. Still trying to decode what this could mean, i turned over one of the painting and immediately froze “this is not happening” I stammered, as my hands began to shiver like mango leaves that were blown by the harmattan breeze “she cannot also have come from yesterday” I said almost bursting into tears.
By now, fear was written all over my daughter as she moved closer to ask what the problem was. I quietly gave her the painting and before she could read till the last lie, fainted. This was unarguable, the craziest day of my life from having to celebrate my daughter at school and now facing what I can only describe as a nightmare. On the back of the picture painting was a message scribed in blood:
“I have sought you all these days of my life my love,
I am glad I have finally found you again,
I wish us an even greater love affair than we had hundreds of years ago.
These are paintings of us I have been making since ages,
I always knew I will find you no matter how long it took.
Stay strong my dear, I’m coming for you.