Welcome to the third installment of #BOJT. The first two can be found by going to the homepage and scrolling down. For returning devotees, let’s go!
The grieving woman was mute, Atinuke took it as an invitation to make a case.
“Aya Agbaje, you know my pastor, he has given children to childless women, made the blind see, the deaf hear, the lame walk, restored crumbling businesses…You remember how I nearly killed myself years ago when my husband and I, lost millions of naira in our hauling business. A few weeks after attending this church, and I wrote my account number as my prayer intention, I got an alert of one million naira from the blues”
Bodunrin’s mother remained mute, the tears raced down her cheeks. All that was going through her head was the moment Bodunrin was conceived. She remembered it. She remembered his birth, his first day at school, his uncanny wisdom even in childhood, which made her father say that he was a reincarnation.
She had always felt different about him, and in all honesty, each time he had fallen sick, she had been scared that a child that good, wise, virtuous, selfless was not ordinary. If you knew death, you knew it was covetous, it liked the finest things.
“Ore mi, let me call him, he will come here immediately with his team of co-pastors.” Atinuke pushed on.
Bodunrin’s mother refused to respond, they attended the Methodists’ church and she had a personal distrust for the new generation pastors. They were mostly con-men.
Yet, in her grief, she was still a people pleaser, she did not want to offend. So, she did not say no, even though that was what she wanted to say. Also, a little part of her, that missed her baby boy already, wanted to say yes, hoping slightly for a miracle.
She would not be allowed to attend his funeral, and so she was not averse to whatever could keep these precious last minutes, to delay that final moment when he would leave her sight for ever.Atinuke took her friend’s silence for consent and called her pastor.
Bodunrin’s mother remained beleaguered by memories, she remembered his graduation from the University of Lagos, and how he kept running around her, saying to the photographer.
“Hey, take a picture of myself and Maami”
Maami. The way he said it, in a way only him could. It began to echo in her ears Maami..Maami..Maami.
She forgot again who she was, the widow of Kolade Agbaje, former appointee of the Government, classy, the one everyone called Queen. She forgot because that was what grief does to you, and let out another horrendous scream. Since Atinuke was busy with her phone, Bodunrin’s mother was free again to throw herself unto the floor of their living room and she grabbed the opportunity.
Everyone rushed to her, to raise her from the very unroyal sprawl in which she lay on their plush red rugmat.
More people came into the house, just as the ones already in joined her in the solidarity wailing.
Black and white.
Jason’s eyes roved.
He looked around the room, which had as much been his room.
He knew that opposite the walk-in closet, was a King-sized bed about which he often teased Bodunrin about. He had told him countlessly, that owning such a massive bed and not having a steady woman was waste of resources. Bodunrin would laugh.
The caramel in the room became stronger -or Jason just took note of it. He followed the fragrance till his eyes rested on the dressing table.
It was strange, the wax had burned out, yet the flame danced, soft and yellow. Still, it was a weak flicker, the sort that thrived only on the residues. It never stayed longer than a few seconds, yet this one flickered under Jason’s gaze, which had lasted half a minute.
Bodunrin was addicted to the candles, he never ran out of them, and so there were always two new ones, beside the one which burned.
This candle was the last man standing.
“Bodunrin, you ran out of your candles?” He asked, forgetting for a moment the gloom of the reality.
Bodunrin scratched his hairless skull, he had been nearly bald when he was alive, it would have been a surprise to even himself had his ghost possessed any semblance of hair strands.
“I meant to, but I forgot to buy more yesterday” he replied.
Jason’s eyes roved again.
He also knew that opposite the dressing mirror, was the 32’’ inch television, under which they sat and played video games often till late into the night. He had spent countless evenings here, swearing to avenge a lost game or two, while his wife stewed in pity for him, thinking he was truly busy at the office.
He knew where everything was, they had been like Siamese twins, and that was why when Bodunrin did not get out of his room at 7.00am, and they walked in and found him stiff and clutching his chest, Jason was the first person they called -even before they called the doctor.
And when he had got there after the doctor had certified Bodunrin dead, his mother had wrapped her petite sixty-one-year old fingers around the cuff of his shirt and begged him in her polished diction.
“Jason, your brother wants to kill me, your brother wants to kill me. I will not bury any of my children, God who created me and gave me eyes will not allow me to use it and see any unfortunate incident. I don’t believe the Doctor, your brother is sleeping”
It had been difficult to wrestle her off himself, even with the collaborative efforts of Bodunrin’s siblings, relatives, colleagues, some of their close friends and neighbors who had come by.
Jason’s eyes rested on the cadaver on the bed, and then on the form that was still arranging things idly at the dressing table. He tried to recount how he had gotten to this moment.
Jason had come into the room, hoping to find it all a lie, and then it wasn’t. He had decided to stay a few minutes by the body and cherish the last few memories of his friend as he knew him, before the ugliness of death and decay took over, or the faux preservation of embalment.
In the cloudiness of his tear brimmed eyes, he had seen Bodunrin, perched atop the head of the bed, looking at first it seemed, through him, and then, at him.
The apparition had startled him, horrified him, and then strangely gave him a calm, which led to a joyful zest of energy that brought with it, a glimmer of hope that his friend could still be alive.
He was back to the moment, he broke the silence.
“Bodunrin, are you really dead? What killed you?”
To be continued
Ps: As usual, this isn’t a weekly or monthly series. It is a complete book already, which is why I am leaving the next installment in the hands of the readers. You get to read the next one as soon as my metrics show me you have read this. Six comments, next installment follows.