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The Dark Gathering

I walked into the sitting room and stumbled on several swollen faces who suddenly had their gaze on me. Transfixed, I couldn’t fathom the reason for the despair, anger and sorrow they expressed. Was it me? I couldn’t help but wonder if I’d done something wrong. I sought out familiar faces, but even theirs were expressionless. Fear gripped my heart, my legs froze, and emotions rumbled. I became miserable but the reason for that was yet shrouded in mystery.

What’s the purpose of the dark gathering? I couldn’t figure it out, I had never experienced such a gathering of people in spiritless mood. The closest I experienced was after the Super Eagle’s defeat to Denmark during the France 98 World Cup, the post match reactions.

By now my siblings had cling to me, they were scared too. My younger brother asked me,

“Brother Femi, what’s going on?”

I definitely didn’t reply, I didn’t know. We had been at our grandmother’s house all week. At the echo of his voice, the silence escaped. The tears rushed, from all their eyes. Then the wailings followed, with heavy sighs, random sorrowful claps, and sad choruses.

“God oooooo.”

“Why Lord.”

“The Lord will take care of you and your siblings.”

I was clueless as to why they muttered such words. Suddenly I heard a slam, it was my aunt, the one who had brought us home. She slammed herself on the floor so hard she collapsed, everyone rushed towards her. The crying went on without harmony. The entire house was in commotion, of emotion that is. My siblings gripped me in fear, it was like a horror movie. I thought for a moment, I’d like to wake up from this dream now. In that moment her weary voice found me,

“Olufemi, won ti pa baba yin. Sugbon maa toju yin – your father has been killed, but I’ll take care of you.”

It was my mother. She lurked in a corner seated on a mat. I rushed into her embrace with my siblings. She was looking so pale, exhausted and frail. It was the first we had seen her in months. Father had been sick all the while and she had been his wife; through sickness and health, till death tore them apart.

Father had died. I didn’t say a word to anyone for 11 days. That was the beginning of my Journey to the Future. I didn’t arrive here by chance, I was forged through pain.

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