by D.M Aderibigbe
ERE AAYO (BOARD GAME)
The graveyard beside Tunde’s house along Mabadeje street was a terror to my mother, even though she didn’t know either the colour of the gate or the type of fence molded around it. Mum’s fear was because of me, owing to how frequently, I visited Tunde’s house. Most times, I stayed back at Tunde’s, until the stars started shooting out of the sky, before I headed home. Mum’s heart was usually an admixture of paranoia and irascibility; paranoid, soon, I would get possessed by a ghost spirit, irascible, I hadn’t heeded to her warnings of holding the sand of Tunde’s street in my palms.
There was nothing so special that tethered me to Tunde’s house, except Ere Aayo (Board Game). I was not a good player of the Board Game, but a spectacular spectator, and the guys at Tunde’s house were far the best I had seen. They were so good that their excellence drew people to Tunde’s house, like the corn draws the hen. Tunde’s house soon
became a mini-stadium.
One night, after vicariously watching exciting bouts between the two best players of the game for hours, nature crept into my body, and I lost the hold of myself to a slab at the front of Tunde’s house. The loud cry of my phone woke me up. Mum swore at me on the phone. I should be home before the next turn of the hour hand.
I headed for home, accompanied by Tunde, we singly walked across the dark solitary street. Tunde was the first to mention the sound of legs, trailing us, we turned back, saw darkness and nothing more. He sought for my permission to go back home, while I went ahead alone.
I started to run through the darkness in fear, legs ran after me. “Stop there else you’ll die,” a voice threatened. I stopped, like a
bus that reaches a bus-stop. I saw a human, but with a purely white skin, spangling, like a mirror placed in the sun. His two eyeballs had
no irises. He came closer to me; I closed my eyes in terror. My mouth couldn’t scream, but my heart did, my eyes couldn’t cry, my penis did. A force, more like a violent breeze, bent my knees until my knee-cap kissed the ground. “Spare me please!” I managed to sputter. The ghost heard my pleas and left.
I got home expecting to see vitriolic words jump out of mum’s mouth, like they usually did. Mum surprisingly told me to come and have a chat with her. She told me a story of a girl who lost her dad and because of that, never left the grave-yard for 3 days. By the time she finally left, her irises had cleaned off from her eyeballs. She cried of ghost every night. She was taken to an African Church where she was bathed with a bucket full of Omi mimo( Holy Water) . She fared better but a thorough departure from her previous self.
As mum stood up, the revolting encounter with the ghost stirred in my stomach, like a gastric problem, but I didn’t let it out, I went to
bed, to sleep with it. The next day, mum was chuffed to see me watching movies in the living room, when she returned from her shop.
“You know what son, I’m so glad you picked up lessons from the story I told you last night, that’s so wonderful of you, oko mi.” Mum said exultantly.
I squat, like a frog that wants to take a leap, at the front of a bowl of water. You stand beside me, directing your gaze downward to me.
“Would you stay with me forever?” You ask, using your hand to press down the latter part of my head, and push up my face, so you could see my naked emotion.
“Yes, I would be most grateful, if that happened.” I reply with so much catharsis.
Dimples dig holes on your cheeks, as you smile. Then you say – “I’ll be honoured to be your Mrs.”
I rise up from my previous low position, grab your waist, like a baby, holds a bottle. ” Ololufe mi, I feel like staying this way forever.” I
Your talented brother comes with an itty-bitty ship he makes with papers, and puts it on top of the water in the bowl. We both watch
with respect, as the boy’s comely creation drifts on the water.
“I wish this ship was humongous enough to size the both of us, we would have made love in it.” I say.
Your countenance change when I finish saying that. I try to stroke your hair and cosset you to know what’s wrong.
“Don’t you dare touch me anymore! That was exactly what the last 2 guys that have broken my heart said – I want to make love to you in a ship.” You thunderously say, and walk out on me,
I turn back to the bowl, only to find the paper ship drowning in the water.
D.M Aderibigbe was born in 1989 in Lagos. He is an undergraduate of History and Strategic Studies. His poetry and short fiction have appeared in journals across 10 countries of the world including; Cannon’s Mouth, WordRiot, The Delinquent, Ditch, Red River Review, Thickjam among many others.