MayDay is good. 24 hours to live my life my way. Holiday. And I did. My two daughters learned to ride bicycles, my son drove his scooters, screaming like an excited overfed puppy behind their back. I love him like kilode! And he knows too. He is my Number One Fan. For real. I busied me with my new hobby, photography. I will photogist you of my new-found love very soon.
See the joys of fatherhood as I see them make those bold moves, pressing hard to pedal to emancipation. If I had them where girls who ride bicycles at their age must have mothers, who tell them to close their legs because they are girls, I would never be happy with myself. This is my message to my girls as they daily live their lives: See, hapiness is doing what makes you happy. So be happy!
The last time I took them to Mass, I needed to ask the priest to forgive my foolishness. Ibukun was more than loud. She ran everywhere, the Mass held amidst the chaos and the priest mumbled words I can never remember. I don’t even know why I took them there. She had protested she never wanted to be part of my old life that has refused to let me be. It was like she threw back my own injunction at me: Pa, if Mass makes you happy, go there, I have every right to shout in Mass because I had never wanted to be part of it anyway.
This girl will not kill me! Hehn! New discovery: She is not a vegetarian. I would bet she’ll never be. Each time I munch my leaves, she reminds me emphatically how strongly she detests salad like leprosy. ‘Child, I never wanted you to be anyway. Thanks for being what I wanted in a girlchild: BEING YOU!’
Twenty years ago. Nawarudeen Primary School. Ijoko-Ota. On an open field, I rode a bicycle for the first time. I had thought Bro Tope still got my back. Long before I realized he left me alone, I was pedaling as fast as I never could imagine. Yay! My joy knew no bound. I have never stopped riding since. Rest in peace, Bro Tope.
For years, I and two best friends stole water money to rent BMX bicycles. Five naira for a thirty munute bike-rental ride would become two hours of riding around because we were scared like shit to return for fear of loosing shoes as fine for our foolishness.
‘But why do they make shit here?’ That was my son asking to know what rights have the bird to dirty our street. ‘Look, this tree houses the birds. You know they live up there. They do nothing wrong to empty their bowels under this tree. Only dogs are not allowed to do that. We once talked about naughty dog owners who would not clean-up their friends’ shit, you remember?’
I am a happy man. Finally, I can live forever in peace! My children care about animals, their environment and all that etc. The other time I heard Ibukun warned my other daughter never to scare rabbits again. I was all smile. I love those beautiful creatures gaan gidi.
If I see paradise, I know. Here in Dortmund, birds don’t run too far away from you because they know you wont stone them to death. Few days ago, two rabbits hopped few centimeters from me to allow me pass, then they returned back to continue their play. One jumped forward, the other jumped after him, and on and on they jumped till I lost sight of them. I suppose they know about sugarcandy mountain.
I have told few people of sugarcandy mountain. Now I will tell you all so you know what and where that place is: This is where animals go when they die, an afterlife paradise for these helpless creatures and friends. How do I know? Yeah, it was a day like that when I saw too animals, a dog and a tortoise, they talked and I overheard their sadness.
They were in doubt as to where their end shall be. I did not know how to comfort them, but a squirrel came to the rescue. She had just returned from a journey where the air tells you of things to come, so she knew what she was talking about. The wind had told her about the no-more sorrow palace where the souls of dead kins(wo)men go when they leave us. For real, words could not express the joy like a river I glimpsed on the faces of both animals.
Like now, I take my time to tell anyone who cares why I love flowers so much. I do because I do! Like cooking, they literarily saved my life two years ago.
Imagine this: You have prepared that same Eba the wrong way all your life! One day you cooked her right, then Eba, knowing what you have done, sprang to her feet, looked you in the eyes, kissed you real hard, and tell you to your face: Thank you Dear for doing me right! For once! I hope we do this again.
Meanwhile you did not know you have been in the wrong all your life. It wasn’t your fault, but neither was it Eba’s fault either. She never could talk until that moment. Would you have forgotten that?! I bet you never will!
The same way I was forgiven by a flower who opened my window one morning like that, she never minded I lived on the tenth floor of a skyscaper, walked right into my life and declared: I forgive you for ignoring me this long! I love you. Henceforth, live this life as if I only mattered to you. I fell in love with this new kind of kindness on the spot!
If you know a man who threatened to eat raw potatoe because a woman did not return his love, don’t ignore him. Help him pill the thing, cook it, add salt, if you have oil, add it too. If there is time, watch him eat your love or feed him while you wipe his tears. Your warmth will do him good. Good men deserve good love.