MY PEN SPEAKS

EVERY FRIDAY


Alternate Universes.

It's probably strange how my pen speaks. Sometimes it speaks fantasy, other times reality. Sometimes it spills my secrets, other times the truth we overlook.
My pen speaks and here's what it chooses to say today:
The rain is so heavy I can barely breath. I'm pretty sure every bit of my body is soaked; I hope I don't catch too bad a cold. This is the third time this week. I wish I could say,
              "Thank God it's friday" but even God knows that people will drink water on saturdays and there's no way Maami will let me stay in the house.
              "An idle mind is the devil's workshop and all play and no work makes Jack a mere toy." Her quotes and "wise sayings" on the importance of hard work keep playing over and over in my head.
Hard work pays, I suppose, but why does it hurt so much? I mean, surely there's more profitable hard work. Silly me. I forget my estate, I mean, what profitable hard work might I ever hope to obtain with just my jss3 certificate? Yeah, silly me.
I'm at our house now, after a meandering path through several backyards just to avoid the flooded road. I wish Maami would make me work closer. The market I go to is just too far from the house. I hurriedly drop my bowl and rush in to change into my only other pair of clothes, that's when I see her. I immediately drop to my knees and bow my head to the ground, ensuring that she notices my forehead touching the floor before I greet loudly -
              "Good afternoon Maami!"
She says nothing. I can feel her gaze burning into my back; while it is somewhat comforting to feel a semblance of warmth in my freezing body, I'm not at all pleased by this encounter. I'm in trouble. Her voice comes, calm as always, yet stern and reprimanding. I wonder how she manages to combine these features.
              "What are you doing here? How come there are still so many drinks and pure water in your bowl?"
I go limp. She completely ignored the rain that just hit it's climax, she completely ignored my dripping clothes and my shivering body. I wasn't supposed to be here now.
              "Maami, I.. I... The rain was falling..  So, I..."
I decide not to say anything else. It's no use anyways. In a second, the whole world goes blank, pain shoots through every nerve in my body. The problem with the usual greeting stance, is that you can never see her koboko coming. It takes less than five lashes for me to fully realise I'm not wanted here. I scramble towards my bowl and run into the rain. I'd have to find somewhere else to wait it out. I'm quite sure I have a few new scars, but that's fine. Maami says,
              'Scars are important; they serve to remind you of who you are and all the sacrifices I made for you'.
I love her - Maami - and I know she loves me too. She has taken care of me ever since my parents died. She accepts a few of us - street urchins - and makes us work for our food and shelter. She loves us, and though I really am tired of this lifestyle, she's really all I have.
I'm shivering more intensely now, under the still raining sky, looking for a stall to hide under. It's so heavy I barely see beyond my arms length, I really don't even realise I'm in the middle of a road before I'm swept of my feet. The moments before I hit the ground pass by so slowly I can already feel my soul being tugged out. When I crash back on the ground in front of the car that so rudely ran into me, I feel everything and nothing all at once. All my senses are firing and my mind is racing. I manage to hear them though, rushing out of the car to see what they hit. They're all quite shocked it's a human and from the looks on their faces I can tell that I have just seconds left, they peer into my eyes with a disgusting kind of pity; the same kind I get from my "customers" as they buy my drinks and wonder why my fortunes aren't better; the same kind with which my parent's family throw scanty glances whenever I bump into them; the same kind with which I stare at my reflection in the side mirrors of some cars whenever I get the chance. A look that tells me I'm less, beneath and far below.
I'm used to it so it shouldn't matter much, but it does this time, I recognize the three of them. John, Sade and Abiodun. I can't tell if it's because I'm breathing final breaths, or just because I haven't seen them in a while, but my mind takes a trip to a lifetime ago. When I was a normal teenager, going to school and having a good life. They rush back into the car and drive off. They're definitely in a good University now, moving on towards a good future. It should probably hurt a lot more, but I really feel nothing but numbness. There's levels of pain, I'm at that point where it's so much that you feel nothing. My mind keeps racing as I cough my intestines out. The most peculiar of my thoughts is something I read from one of my comic books as a child, about alternate universes. The theory is that there exists multiple worlds, at the same time, in which different things go on irrespective and without cognizance of the other. Much like I'm here, stuck in my bleak universe, where it only rains pain and I'm drowning in death, slowly slipping from this life, while they're in theirs, where the sun shines more often than not. Funny, these are only the extremes. There are a myriad of grey shades between their white and my black. Many more universes in which many more levels of pain and happiness exist. Some which are entirely deficient of either or both, leaving a stolid state.
I smile a bit when I remember some heroes from these comics, the ones that could actually move between worlds; sometimes, they're not even heroes, just random people who have that ability to access other universes, see into them and possibly even understand what happens in them. Maybe I'd feel better if my story had such a character, maybe that's why I'm still stuck here; because from my point of view, I definitely could never access any other world. I'm stuck in my universe, sunless, dark, full of clouds that never give the sun a peek at my face. Maybe if I was in another universe, maybe our roles would be reversed, maybe my luck would be better, maybe...
Like you, I am wondering if he lives or dies. This is how far my pen takes me... Let's ride again!
Victory Okoyomoh, pen name - Victory Wrights is an Optometry Student at the University of Benin. A writer,  both prose and poetry, his works have been published in some anthologies and other websites.  He also run an instagram poetry account - @victory_wrights
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1 comment:

  1. This alternate university thingy its real... Hmm... poor boy. What a society we truly live in...

    ReplyDelete

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