TRAPPED I

sad-black-woman

PROLOGUE

This is a tale about Nigeria, a West African country which is probably the most populous black nation. A third world country with abundant natural and human resources, yet most of her citizen live in abject poverty.
I know what you already envision a sea of black heads under hot scorching sun waiting for manna to fall from heaven, sorry to disappoint you for that is not my Nigeria, what we lack in the physical we gather from the spiritual.
Yes we are very spiritual, a thousand fold more than the white men and black Arabs that introduced us to God, doesn’t add up I know but just a little research says more.
Stay with me I have more secrets to share with you about the human nature of this black nation and their quest to become like those outside the shores of their country.
I will tell you of the major tribes that exist here and why they behave the way they do then I would span you the myth about their collective future. Hard to believe I know but it is clear as the blue sky in the morning after heavy night rain.
This is also about a woman breed in the values of this realm, to love and adore her man. First love is the ultimate for her because there lays a trust that can never be betrayed hence she stays true till she learns the hard way.
A man is a free spirit who wanders with eager curiosity he doesn’t understand values nor hold them dear like the woman. Hence he plans for tomorrow and lives for today unlike the woman who plans for today but lives for tomorrow.
Wait, don’t turn over yet, I have a few more words to whisper so that you won’t be confused by certain characters and question their reasons. My country is a country full of racism; some people call it ethnicity since when you look over its population it is a sea of black men and women going about the business of staying alive.
Racism have a lot of meaning to different people and hence several implication. To me it has one rationale behind my reasoning, if in any occasion another human being is singled out from a group of people because of his; skin color, tribe, town or religion then racism have taken place.
In Nigeria we all walk a thin rope suspended in the air between us kept in balance by our fears of one another and obvious hatred for one another.
Lastly this tale is about the laughter and happiness with which we live our daily lives, the dreams we share and pass on to our children in hope they would one day live in a better country. God bless Nigeria.

I
THE AWAKENING

The sound was loud, louder than she could tell or ever heard. She was now completely awake when the second bomb exploded. It shook the foundation of the house and created an invisible dark ditch in her mind.
Silence immediately took over the earth once more leaving behind questioning minds and inaudible voices behind closed doors. The feeling of fear cracked through the still air for all who heard the sound. They could feel the hot steam coming from their noses to their lips.
Adanne was still caught between the dilemma of dream and reality lying still in her bed. Tiny droplets of sweat were now dripping off her fore head. Soon she heard the squeaks of doors quietly opening. It took her a moment to realize it wasn’t a dream. It was all very real; a bomb had just exploded not too far from her home.
The more she thought about it the more she sensed the danger around her. Getting out of bed with a sense of urgency, she turned to look at the bed side clock, it was a gift she had received last year as the best graduating student of her class.
The time was just 3:45 am the house was not supposed to wake till at about 5:45 am.
At the sitting room everybody wore the same look of restlessness even though nobody spoke a word yet. Adanne did as she always did during times like this even though they had been rare.
She went and sat beside her mother leaning completely from her shoulder upwards on the woman who continual stroke her hair unconsciously.
“It must be one of the two big churches at the junction” her twin brother said finally in a barely audible voice.
He spoke as though they knew beforehand a church was going to be bombed. “Had they not?” With all the rumors circulating, the numerous letters too and finally had they not prayed against it in the church.
Halfhearted though they had believed the fragile harmony of the society would not be shattered anytime soon. Maybe God did answer their prayers today and their beloved St. John catholic church was spared but what of tomorrow.
Had they not watched on news how several societies suffered similar fate to be able to predict the future? Every reasonable person knows that soon, they would part of the whole suffering the violence of terrorists.
Her twin brother had already gotten past the illusion of peace and was fully aware of the unfolding reality.
Clearing his throat father said,
“We are no longer safe in the north. The dark days of yester-years before Biafran war are gradually returning. We must leave the north very soon because once it starts we can never tell how it would end. It is best we start planning right away because we don’t know will happen next.”
“And leave all our assets for who kwanu?” Mother said.
She sat motionless staring into the dimly lighted sitting room.
“Alexander and Adanne would continue their education in the east then once Ugochukwu is done with his primary education he will join them down there. Darling then we will join them in time too.”
“So I would leave my work to go to the village?” Mother asked annoyed at no one in particular but the circumstances.
“Then start working harder on your transfer papers we are not running away dear. In time we will liquidate our assets and go settle in the east or south permanently. I am looking at Port Harcourt.”
“I am not leaving my job because of some senseless rascals”, Mother replied getting really angry now as her voice had pitched already.
“Then take that transfer stuff more seriously”, Father said with a tone of finality not with authority though for it was in his usual low voice that is barely audible.
Father’s face looked tired and not ready for an argument so mother let it pass without saying another word. An hour of silence passed as the family sat listening and waiting for the outside world to come alive.
Ugochukwu was already dozing off at mother’s feet while Alex and father were watching network news on the television. The volume was tuned to the barest audible point, mother was also watching without interest though.
One could see in mother’s steady gaze that her thoughts were so far away, it was one of those looks she carried sometimes in the kitchen when she was waiting for something to heat.
The first ray of the dawn had fallen on the window binders when the sound of sirens was heard. It blasted through the still air disturbing the already fouled early morning peace. The urge to rush out and take peep was great as the twins exchanged knowing gazes.
Their mother won’t hear of it as she shot the boy a warning look the moment he moved towards the door. Moments later the morning activities began as it has always been. They family were already behind schedule, the rosaries rattled as the recitation of prayers endured. When prayers were over the morning bustle began in a rush.
II
As they drove past the street, everything remained calm and perfectly normal just like any other Tuesday in their part of the world. They shops on the street sides were wide open, the wares nicely arranged on display tables and counters.
The local children that played football every morning some yards away from the church were present. They running and shouting as though nothing happened last night that could spoil their fun. While around the church building few trucks of police and soldiers condoned it off. One of the soldiers who sat on the bonnet of a vehicle smoking a cigarette waved the family to go on.
The church building itself looked like a building from a comic book. One side of it was in shambles. Thin dark smoke was still rising up from the dump of concrete and steel to the sky.
At the tip of the other half of the building still standing, the crucifix hung as though it can be blown away by the power of a little wind. It had survived a bomb blast. It kept reflecting the golden color of the early morning sun rising over the city.
Mother dropped the twins at the computer institute where they studied basic computer applications. The youngest Ugochukwu was dropped off at his own school.
There was no quick snack or the occasional chit chat or little cash. It was all done in silence as though mother was contemplating her next move at every turn.
At last she zoomed off to work without the usually warning of how they kids should behave their selves properly.
Alex as Adanne his twin sister was very eager to hear the rumors of what happened last night from their colleagues.
At one corner about four boys were discussing it in low tunes and their topic was obvious. Alex went off to join them. Adanne didn’t join them as her twin brother would tell her everything later.
She just sat at another corner playing monopoly on her laptop. Occasionally she glanced up to watch them when the mumble got a little louder. Soon the teacher arrived and everyone got busy forgetting all about the bombing. They went into the world of computers leaving reality behind even Adanne stopped worrying too.

#Greendiarynotes

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