Now the cobwebs have dissipated, and I’m thinking much more clearly, I believe I owe it to all of you to take you back to the very beginning. Yes, where it all started; the chain of events that have led to me having to bounce back.
March 14, 2010.
I jumped out of bed with a start, certain of what I had just witnessed in the dream. It seemed so real. Sweat poured from my forehead, my breathing was labored. I took in quiet deep breaths to calm myself. In my mind’s eye, I could still see the gruesome scenery- bodies strewn all over, a sea of blood, and the car tipped precariously on its side- I shuddered. Silently, so as not to disturb my sleeping housemates, I tip-toed to the bathroom.
After splashing some cold water on my face, I lifted my head to allow the water drain from my chin, and gave a strangled scream. My heartbeat was deafening. I could have sworn the traditional dancers in my village were celebrating some kind of festival in my chest. This entire ruckus was caused simply by my reflection in the mirror above the sink. I looked absolutely ghostly.
The time was 5:35am.
“Dee, what’s going on with you today?” Toju asked, sticking his head in my face. For once, that was a welcomed gesture. I simply shrugged, not really in the mood to say anything lest carry on a conversation. “This is serious o!” He quipped again. I simply rolled my eyes and turned more towards my left so that I was practically resting my forehead on the car window as I watched the scenery whiz past; ignoring the chatter going on around me.
On getting to church, the praise session had just started. I really did not feel like praising so I kept a straight do-not-approach-me face as I hurriedly scanned the auditorium for a seat right in the back where I could observe but not be seen.
As I made my way to the vacant seat with more haste than was necessary, I could hear Toju whisper sharply behind me “not there!” I hunched my shoulders and increased my speed praying that he would decide not to follow. My prayers were not answered.
As if Toju were suffering from caffeine overdose, he kept nudging me excitedly and gesturing with his shoulders, while mouthing ‘dance’. It took all the restraint I had not to punch him on the nose. Why couldn’t he just be like the rest of the house mates and leave me alone?
During a short exhortation by a leader, I heard the subtle vibration of my phone. I had an ear tuned in its direction, I was listening for it. I knew, I just knew… I gave a visible shudder. Toju had an eyebrow up as if to say ‘in church again?’ I silently swore that this time, if he tried anything, I was going to cause bodily harm.
After a quiet “hello?” my elder brother’s voice came through the phone “Deborah”- not Debbie or Debra as he would usually call me. This time I gave a violent shudder. “Yes?” I responded. “Deborah” he said again, a bit more forcefully this time. “What is it?” I said again, this time in a defeated voice. “Deborah!” He said a third time. By now I was visibly shaking. “Dan, I can hear you? What is it? Just talk” my voice was still on the same level as at when I picked up the phone and all this was said in a monotone.
“bjdbi-dkjfdeiuf-cjeuife-!” he blurted out or so it sounded to me, even if I could make out exactly what he said. “Oh God, no!” I whispered heavily and cut the phone. I then broke into inconsolable sobs. So it was real after all, the dream I had was no dream at all. As I began to draw attention with my deep heart-wrenching sobs, Toju drew me up and ushered me just outside the church auditorium.
I was finally awake. Not awake because I had opened my eyes from sleep and was conversing or communicating with those around me. I was awake because everything around me came alive with meaning; and I knew the passing of time had automatically started registering in my subconscious.
“What is it?” Toju asked, concern etched in his voice. And then I burst out laughing. This got him and some other concerned friends of mine looking at themselves in utter confusion. As if that wasn’t enough, I gave a little twirl. When I stopped, I had my palms face up and my hands a bit away from my body and I burst into laughter again. Now I could see they were really troubled and to help them I said “I really did dress for the occasion, didn’t I?”, and gave an incorrigible shrug.
I was dressed smartly. With a black dress that looked like it belonged to a naval officer, a black jacket, black panty-hose, black shoes and black accessories. Everything I had on was black.
Now their faces were twisted in worry. “Dressed for what occasion?” Nonso whispered; as if not to break some sacred rule. I knew they understood what I meant without saying anything more. They just needed to hear me say it. So I did.
(Ah! A huge omission on my path; this is not fiction) 🙂