LiterarySaturday (LS): The Seizures
I saw things, many things. Only me saw them. When I was a child. I thought they would go away all by themselves. With time. I was wrong. They kept coming back. Let me start with a magic. I will then tell you of my seizures. Only about my seizures. There was a game we played on any flat surface, with four stones or any other objects so small. So, it happened one stone fell and rolled under the bed. What I did surprised me: I wished the stone back to the flat surface, and it happened! I was still unsure if I performed a magic when mother’s money dropped on the floor. “Oh! My money just fell”, she said. Confident I could get back her money, I applied my magic formular, and it worked! “How did you do it?”, she wanted to know.”I only wished the money back into your palms, and it worked!”, I told her. Later I could understand my magic power. I could see things people around me did not see, there were times I visualised within me a particular moment, and just like that I saw it before me in the fullness of time.
I used to have seizures; my breathing has been bad since I was a child. Before every terrible moment when I got thrown here and there as is wont for a fistful rage, I saw it coming, only that I could not help myself. I saw animals and insects. There was a time I saw a pig; that was the last time I saw one before a seizure. Almost all the times I used to see a cricket, then one cricket became two, two three, and four, and five, then a crowd. Before I could say jack, I was foaming from the mouth. It was that bad. The crickets terrified me with their noise.
There were times I passed out, only to be revived when I heard mother’s cry; those were times when the agony of a mother brought me back. I am not sure I knew what agony was then, only that I did see mother dressed in rags, ashes on head, crying out her eyes to have me come back to her. On one side were beautiful children, smiling, almost jubilant, that they saw me, on the other side was mother in her condition. It often happened that the jubilant children became angry whenever I was not allowed to join them. “See, your mother is crying. Go back to her, you are not a wicked child. Or are you?“. Then against my will, and against the wishes of the spirit children, a force much powerful than my body brought me back to life.
One time like that, it was Yeye who brought me back. I had by then mastered the pattern. I was bent on joining the children no matter what. I saw mother crying. I cared less. I had seen before this seizure this would happen, so that I fortified myself against being impressed. Another plus for my decision, the force which always begged me to return was not present. While mother sorrowed to convince me on her own to come back, I was far gone into the world of the spirit children; our joy was beyond jubilant, I could not describe it. We went past gates. More gates opened to us. We strode on in pride; my own pride knew no bound because I was carried in a chair. Our path was lined with beautiful trees, some gave us shades and others fruits, there were flowers and butterflies of varying colours; their fragile wings were a wonder to behold. I bet no one would have wished not to carry on. I did not care anymore. It was not until I woke in mother’s arm I realised I did not make it this time around too. Of course I did not tell mother what happened. I was still in shock that I did not wake up where I had visualized before the seizure.
It was when she told me of Yeye’s exploit on reviving me it became clear who hindered my success. Mother’s eyes were pale and red from crying, she looked tired and worn out. I hate to see her this miserable. “I will leave you to rest a little now that you are out of danger, let me go prepare what Yeye instructed so you can eat. Close your eyes, no fears, ok? I will not be gone for long”. I wondered what she wanted to cook, I did not ask. I smiled at her love. It was a faint smile. She smiled back, and I saw love.
That was in the village. That night when I slept, I saw what shall happen when we return to Lagos, I saw mother was going to take me somewhere. For deliverance, I concluded. And she did. What I did not see was the detail of what shall happen on our way to the Celestial Church of Christ. Allow me tell in brief what happened on the way. I am sure that is why I could not see it while I slept that night. Everything worked together for good, at least for mother; reason being that if I had seen this I would have wished away this Celestial Church visit. And I am sure mother would have been disuaded if I wished it!
Well, to cut it short, the journey was beyond rough, the molue that took us was overfilled, the passengers were most unfriendly, the conductor was a horrible being, he seized the slippers of a passenger who paid him half the fare and cursed him as he pushed him off the bus. He then threw the slippers out the window down the bridge, when the passenger was well out of sight. Almost immediately he picked a fight with another passenger. “You better pay in your own interest.” “And what will you do if I don’t?” The passenger was about to call the conductor bastard in another sentence when his own word stuck in his mouth. The conductor had responded to the first question; the response was short and weighty. “Kill you, of course”.
The whole exchange had been in Yoruba. The countenance of the conductor betrayed no joke. There was a brief silence in the bus, then like one fighting to stay alive, the passenger was unstoppable, he shouted at the top of his voice, he bragged and bragged that the conductor could do him nothing! “Thirteen of you are not enough to do me anything. Who are you, bastard!?” He finally used the b-word. His rage was unendable, but looking beyond his wild outburst, I saw a shigidi who insisted on being thrown into his own death; I knew he feared for his life. All through, the conductor answered nothing and he did not threaten to throw him out. It was at the last busstop we realised the conductor indeed meant to kill him. I only saw the cutlass the driver removed from underneath his seat, he charged at the man, the conductor held him because he struggled to escape. Mother walked faster while she dragged me along with instruction not to look back. We only heard shout of oroooo! and yeeeee! and many indistinct voices shouting haaaaa! o ma fe pa looto ni ke! Mother took a bend and the Celestial Church of Christ was in sight. It was just like I had seen it on that night.
“Madam, don’t worry. The word of the lord will safe your child. I have been assured he shall see them no more! For behold, these Egyptians you shall see no more!”. I was wondering what he meant, mother kept saying amen, the prophet’s voice grew louder and bolder, as if encouraged by mother’s amen. He looked me in the eyes and repeated what he had said. Right there I concluded he was a charlatan. I almost wished mother and me out of his presence. “I have prepared water. Here is sponge. This soap is special. Bathe him with it there”. He pointed to a bathroom. “Come back for more prayers. It is well with you both.” His voice was louder than I could bear. I began to cry. I was almost wishing for another seizure. Mother did as instructed. Thereafter we set out for home. It was a long day.
I was sure I will be seeing crickets again. I told mother what came to my mind, “I will be seeing crickets again, very soon.” “What?” “Wait and see. That prophet. Throw away the soap. I don’t like it.” I hoped she made no sense of what I said. Before long I was asleep on her laps.