Healing (part one)


Adebayo was terrified of thunderstorms because of the trial they caused his nerves. It was too loud and scary, especially at night, he complained.

When the wind moaned it sounded like a lost child and lashed at their squat house like a jilted lover. The doors trembled in their frames, the windows rattled as bones and lightning flashed through every crack. When it rained, it beat down on the corrugated roof full of ill intentions, a chaotic rhythm that left Ade shivering all over. Somehow it always reminded him of masquerades at the annual festivals in Shagamu, his home town.

The electricity would go out. It always did. Maami turned on old, rusty lanterns that bled little light, and caused shadows to stretch tall and ominous. Accompanied by nature’s orchestra as their soundtrack, his siblings found it the perfect time for stories.

Ade’s big brother, Tobiloba, told the best horror tales with a healthy dose of blood, evil spirits, werewolves, vampires, alien zombies, or Esu (The Devil). Family members, friends, foes, teachers, and neighbors were featured as heroes or villains. If anyone wronged Tobi in any way, their brains would be zombie fodder in his stories. It was a little bit worrisome considering his age at that time.

Tobi did voices and gestured wildly to the delight of their twin sisters, Seun and Kemi. But Ade was not interested. Storytime made everything more sinister. When the thunder clapped loudly, Ade screamed in fright and latched onto the nearest person, shaking like the leaves outside. He earned his ‘chicken’ badge fair and square. As the lastborn, he was ridiculed for it. Always his maami pulled him close and held him tight until his shaking stopped, “Adebayo, omi mi, don’t be frightened. Shebi I am here with you, don’t mind your brother and sisters. The storm will pass.”

The receptionist typed furiously. Ade pitied the keyboard. He wondered if she was forming busy like Kemi did whenever there were chores to do and she wanted no part of it. He could see that the other applicants were engrossed in minding their own business; rifling through papers, pressing their phones, or gazing into the void.

Looking away, he went over his lines, “I am grateful for the opportunity to be part of this amazing group. I believe in the holistic approach to Agro-production from the planning to the execution stage. I pledge to do my best and put all of my resources…” Ade stopped.

This is stupid! Why don’t I offer them a pound of flesh or my first-born child too?

Ade’s palms were sweaty again and he dried them with the handkerchief maami had laid out with his clothes. He looked good. His tie was the one his late father bought for him when he got into the University of Ibadan to study Sociology.

Maami. Now is not the time to think about her.

Ade lifted his eyes to admire the clock on the wall above the busy receptionist’s head. It was an antique piece that gave the room character. The hands of the clock showed twenty minutes past nine, which made its face look as if it had a mustache. Ade thought it a grave old soul that should be considered not only as an object that marked the passage of time. Oh, great Time Weaver! I am but a supplicant seeking counsel on the mysteries of time.

He remembered an anonymous poem that he found in an article that broached the subject of time as an illusion “… we are all slaves to an overlord, subjects bound tightly in its domain; time our taskmaster, our warden, subject only to the divine…” His contemplation oddly helped to soothe his frayed nerves. Ade had forgotten about his interview for a little while.

He had studied a few common interview questions and prepared his answers as soon as he got the mail confirming that he passed the entry-level exams. He was determined to dazzle them and get the job. Tobi had asked Ade the last time they went out for drinks what he planned to do if he didn’t get the job. Ade warned him not to jinx it because that was the only question he wasn’t prepared to answer.

“Tell us about yourself, Mr. Usman?”

It was on the tip of Ade’s tongue to voice out how uninteresting the life of a twenty-eight years old man living in his parents’ house was, with nigh a source of income and no love interest on the horizon. Instead, his interests gravitated towards all the things that churned in his mind, reading, music, food, and rarely to do with relating with his fellow humans most days. This morning he had forced himself to get out of bed by pulling the sensitive skin on the inside of his thighs until the pain chased away sleep and left tears in his eyes. He could tell them how much he adored his dog, Shadow, and all the shenanigans they got into when they had the house all to themselves.

It doesn’t count.

“Well, I am skilled in research and development having spent over four years in the field. I find the prospects of introducing timely market strategies when developing new products or refining pre-existing products, both challenging and fulfilling. I’ve observed that anything can be sold with the guarantee of making profits if proper research is conducted. With a primary focus on getting necessary knowledge, prioritizing materials, methods, and systems, there’s a high chance of phenomenal results. It worked and is still working in various business sectors….”

They were three on the panel. All females. Miss Dinma, Miss Felicia, and Miss Oche. They had a superior air to them. When they introduced themselves seated opposite him, he had dubbed them wordlessly ‘the Fates’ with all due respect. He was reading The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher, and like every amazing book out there, he could apply it in real-life situations.

There was a sort of judgment in the eyes of these women that he had just met moments ago. His fiancée had the same look when she called off their engagement.

“Why do you want this job? Your resume is impressive. We see that you have a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Obafemi Awolowo University, and your experience in marketing gives you an edge. You’ve also acquired several other certificates and notable awards. Your achievements are astounding so far. Do you perhaps consider this job less of a challenge?” One of the Fates looked earnestly at him.

Ade was trying not to fidget. He couldn’t seem to relax, aware of the tension in the. While he spoke, he met their eyes to show that he was confident and truthful, all the while hoping they wouldn’t see the desperation filming his own eyes.

Do you see how much I want this? I can do your job and do it well. Is that not enough?

Ade put on a thoughtful expression. He had anticipated this line of questioning. “This organization although relatively small, has over the past few years built a reputation that hasn’t wavered irrespective of the changes in the economy and seasons. It is one of the fast-growing brands in all of Africa, with the potentials of breaching the international market in the coming years. Success has been achieved through forward-thinking and the latest technological development in Agro-production and you have no doubt set a trend that so many organizations out there are trying to imitate. Poorly done of them if I may add” Ade chuckled.

The crones laughed too and it was the icebreaker he sorely needed to show that things were going well.

The storm will pass.

“I believe in the fusion of the old and new” Ade continued. “Knowledge adds to knowledge, and it can also obliterate the outdated ways of doing things. Your organization has however kept the old methods of production that are tried and trusted alongside the innovations in distribution, sales representation, customer services, and many more. As I understand it, your success rate is off the charts for the most part because of this. I must congratulate every member of the organization for reaching the federal government’s national contribution quota for the first quarter of the year. It was on the news. This is the primary reason why I find the job exciting. There’s room for growth and I get to be a part of it. Of course, there are other reasons…”

Their faces blended into one as they continued to question him. Ade could see that he had gained their full attention. He relaxed and go with the flow.

“It shows here in your cv that you there was a two years gap between the last job you held and now. What happened? Why didn’t you get another job?”

I died.

For seven minutes my heart stopped beating, or so the doctors said. It was a miracle that they were able to revive him. Ade couldn’t remember where he went to for those few minutes his body laid lifeless. He was told that he regained consciousness calling for his maami.

Photo credits: Pexel

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