While I love, absolutely adore reading fiction, the books that mean the most to me are nonfiction or at least semi-autobiographical- like the beautiful “So long a letter” which reduced me to tears in the library of FGGC Bida just after my eleventh birthday and last month, when I “found” the pdf after years of searching for it in print.
Creating stories is one of the joys of my life, but scribbling the stories my eyes and ears tell me, is the reason I was put here and still stalk the earth. I love to write long rambling pieces about the fascinating and mundane without care for form and bounds.
Not music or fashion or sex or food or health (unless I’m stirred by something I’d seen) or politics- I actually love writing about politics though, but I have parents who grew up under military rule and stupid decrees for jailing journalists and bombs and bullets for the cream of the crop. I will give them a measure of peace until I turn 35 or leave Nigeria- whichever comes first.
I love to travel, watching green morph from tiny grass blades to glistening leaves atop trees taller than storey buildings and the flowers that peek shy through the green veil and the anthills and the smell of burning grass- beautiful scent, amazing book, and if I’m lucky, sidesplitting laughter from the bus conversations. Did I mention how looking at the road never bores me? I began typing this post at Owerri, now the 5 storey buildings that dot the landscape announce Onitsha, my right thumb flying across my phone screen nonstop.
Last week I met a man and I had the honour of working beside and deputising for him, for the last seven days. He booked a flight without being paid a penny for himself and daughter to come and help provide medical services for his people, my people, our people of Alaeze Mbaise.
This morning he passed on, yesterday he gave me advice on certain areas of pharmacy practice, reminiscing on his decision to stick to pharmacy even though he had also attended medical school and come out with an MD. He’d given his team his US number and asked us to see him this morning before dispersing. This morning, we hear his body lies in a mortuary. He died doing two things he loved- pharmacy and helping people. Everyone who knew him is blessed for knowing him, he brought light wherever he went and his was a life of service and love.
And I think of myself- obviously, and what the grand passion of this fairly used life is. Curving words, chiseling and whittling them into the shapes and angles I want is the thing that will light my bones even when all the black on my head is replaced with sparkling gray and grandchildren demand for stories (speaking of grandchildren, I have to give my parents a few ASAP, seeing how my grandma sparkled on seeing me this week reminded me of the only reason to have children- a chance at immortality). Putting a bag in a bus, riding with it is something even my ashes will continue to do, travelling does something to me that I can bet cocaine cannot match, I am not going to compare the two highs though, I cannot afford the white stuff.
The words I brought to this world, the ones I’ve let the “hustle” take from me for nearly seventeen years have refused to continue being sidechicks, they want a ring and a grand reception, I can no longer continue to say no. I will not face God and tell him I only lived half a life. Chukwu ajuu.
Consider this advance warning, a book is coming with Adaeze on its spine, her sisters are doing their practice laps. You suppose don know already.