Saturday, 26 January 2013

My tale as a country

I'm not likely to explain to you the reason for my hope, but then it's probably enough to tell you I had one day met a middle-aged woman who told me stuffs. Sad and interesting and hopeful stuffs. She had no shoes and it's about impossible to question the reasoning of one without shoes. Such a sad sad little woman, clad in a faded richness and a sleepiness that made me think she's incapable of seeing outside her cosy little world.
It was in the farming years and even though the pleasant palms and nuts and cocoa trees were about all gone from my gardens, I had at that time retained the pleasure of relishing the stretch of my land--the richly dark forest nourished by coast and rains, and the sandy brownness Northward ploughed into richness by Nomads' feet. I must say it wasn't always this way with me that I should relish in the tell-tale marks of my extinct crops like one rejoicing at the vestige of a departed Sunshine. Instead I had lived my days as night and my night to sorrow over a growing apprehension: would I again regain my rich coat of white and green and be able to feed my children with meat unborrowed? But then the Messenger of the Winds visited me on one of my gloomy nights with report of the vast richness by my springs. I despaired to believe, to trust any good should come from turning springwardt rendering my house panting after and tearing apart one another for a bite at the strange nourishment. Also, who shall fight to restore my greens, my crops and my trade? And what shall become of a house raised on hand-downs after the springs do dry?

The Messenger in words was sweet and in motive ruthless. He was also very good at commerce for he sold to me my own possession and in exchange took my pleasant gardens of nourished forest and sandy brownness. And when I thought all I ever had was now lost, he showed me a means of being at peace with my destiny. For, he said, a man must accept his destiny or be crushed by it. With many such words he separated me from my miseries and preserved me comatosed and proper for his use. I contended vigorously, within me, to tell him I was no longer a man but a piece of rag soaked in oil and hanged on termite-infested props. That mine was not a destiny but a woe of my own gullibility, the doing of an indifference to the state of my father's house. That I was already crushed, long crusehd, the very moment I tarried to hear his message of Winds. Yes, I contended vigorously but my contention died within me for my very voice was owned by him.

Was I deceived? I have no means of judging. I am so far removed from my own conditions and from how things should be or should have been. My surviving children were born in the time of oiled rags and are all grateful for the remnant oiliness in our rags, and the older ones dig insatiable wells with million pipes running underground on their deepening bellies to drain out the little breath that in us is left.
Was I deceived?
Perhaps. But then that was the last of the deception that I should suffer,  The Messenger of Winds having these days grown somewhat quiet and distant, or perhaps bored by the vastness of his loots. And gradually I have found some way to grow my own crops from the brilliance of my children-from letters and inks, and make the remnant of my oily inheritance cater to my house. Some disturbing tales from abroad had sometimes ago breezed in that some of the goods stolen from me were found on foreign shores, and then returned to my land. I've asked around but none could tell me where it landed-within my yard or in The Messenger's barn. But when some said it had all invisibily gone into oiling my rags I decided to let the matter rest for I have no way of deciding whether or not I was being deceived. It had seemed enough that a small fraction was recovered from The Messenger. It had also seemed appropriate, that I should be left alone to tend to my fading embers especially now that I have met a shoeless friend.
Sitting there opposite and facing me on my rotten bench, I had never felt a deeper connection to anyone. She's clad in the skin of my own offsprings, and in a shoelessness that echoes my own nakedness. She had stared long at me and suggested she would champion a cause to recover my stolen life. I patted her softly on the back to solidarise in her meaningless ambition, I was very much at home with much meaninglessness. She swayed back and forth and from side to side, lifted up one foot after the other to make sure I had not missed the pitiable sight of her unshod feet. I told her I saw it all and that it's nothing to compare with my broken will. She answered every one of my questions with a blank stare, and had proposed befriending the Messenger as a means of compelling him to return my stolen goods. It was a simple plan, easy to memorise. It had also come with the tenth of a bag of rice and the rat-size of Ankara cutting; my children hailed her so I gave her my vote and companied her with drums and the last of our breath to the Rock. But suddenly I found myself arguing over the ownership of our remaining metre-square land, praying to the Winds to give light, and begging a shoeless friend for a chance to shoe my children's feet. My sandy brownness now enriched in blood to the overflowing, and in my dark forests robbers and kidnappers form an empire.

Did the shoeless woman deceive me? I have no way of telling, for my bent back and feverish gash are to me a much closer reality than those that though shoeless shall deprive me of my last oily rag.

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