The International Writers Magazine:An African Goddess
The goddess in his dream
Jonah Ayodele Obajeun
Fagged and hungry, I returned from a lecture on ‘Industrial Safety’ to my room, which was next to the world head quarters of Kegites Club. History had it that the club started in the university before its tentacles grew across borders.
Every year, members of this club would gather in Obafemi Awolowo University from different parts of the world. Delegates would come with variegated attires showcasing their heritage in terms of culture and traditional beliefs. Chiefo, the world chief of the club would use a crown-like head cap, his wrists and neck adorned with beads, with a traditional green wear emblazoned with a map of Africa growing out of a gourd, depicting their notion that the soul of Africa is in the gourd, the warehouse of palmwine. During their annual rituals, they would pop palmwine, drink palmwine to stupor, bath with palmwine, exchange banters about palmwine, urinate palmwine. The general belief among the members was that bathing with palmwine would help secure good grades in academics. This myth was once argued heavily among the students of the university. Some students believed that the claim was a ruse. Another group of students opined that such myth was typical of African tradition and as such the club should not be weathered by tongues, while others, the religious ones, were hell-bent that the claim was a strategy to win more souls into the earthy club.
While about fifty gourds would go down the drain in a day, only few drops of palmwine would be sacrificed to the gods of the tree, the source of the holy water. In a particular year, palm trees did not produce much volume as expected. To support that year’s festival, delegates from other countries had to order that hundreds of kegs full of palmwine be shipped into Nigeria. The failure of the trees was famously attributed to the fact that gods of the tree were angry as drinkers only diminished the gods by atoning them with just few drops.
I collapsed ambivalently into my bed on the creaking bunk. My eyelids were heavy with sleep. The music emanating from the gyration of the members of Kegites Club was soothing with poetry lines noticeable from the lyrics. The pitch was moderate, my eardrum interpreted the music keys, synchronized them into my sensory system as my brain received the sensory link to shake my head. I started nodding my afro-patched head back and forth to the rhythm of the gyration. As I gradually graduated into the sleeping mode, my hallucinatory senses suddenly became active, fantasizing about Helena.
The first time I saw Helena was in a dream I had two weeks earlier where she was at a show in the Amphi Theatre of the university. I have since been longing for her. She dazzled everybody with her plaintif voice, miming Celine Dion’s 'I Love You' to the delight of the audience. While off stage, she became the central focus of the audience. I could not take my eyes off her for a long time. While people were howling to other performers on stage, I stood still with my attention glued to Helena where she was sitting. I collated data about her, rammed the data into my head and embarked on an unsure journey into Helena’s heart.
As I continued nodding my head to the rhythm of the gyration, with my eyes nudging to sleep, Helena appeared in my fantasy with her beaded waist wrapped with a piece of sash, bringing out the protrusion of her enchanting buttocks.
“Frankie.” She expectantly called my name as she rushed to embrace me. I was lost in the lavish hug. Just as I was enjoying it, Chiefo and his friends staggered in.
“Frankie, we want to break the calabash, won’t you join us?” Chiefo’s enquiry jerked me off my romance trance. In a bid to hide my disappointment, I swiftly joined in breaking the calabash. We were exchanging banters as we drank the palmwine. Chiefo and his friends soon gave away to a heated discussion. They started talking about some of the fascinating things that transpired in their various classes. Quite intriguing, I decided to participate in the discussion by talking about a fight that I had witnessed an hour earlier during the lecture on ‘Industrial Safety’, between one of my classmates dubbed Jay-Jay and a random guy who had claimed to have a lecture immediately after mine at the same venue.
“The random guy was at fault,” I angrily said.
“He boldly walked into a classroom where a lecture was going on and disrupted its serene atmosphere by dragging a seat with the short-sighted Jay-Jay, who had just scurried to the front of the class to copy what was written on the chalkboard as the new users of the classroom were settling. The brawl continued for some minutes and suddenly, Jay-Jay heated up the face of the guy with a slap which eventually culminated in the fight.” I added.
Lousy Andrew sauntered in and disrupted the conversation with his silly dance moves and croaky voice singing Justin Bieber’s ‘baby’ song. He was obviously drunk.
“Holy water has mixed with your blood Andrew.” Chiefo teased.
Watching Andrew’s display of silliness, I unconsciously and rather quickly collapsed into my bunked bed. Then suddenly, I saw myself at a bus stop gazing expectantly at a particular direction for no plausible reason. A lady then arrived, from God knows, in the direction I was gazing at and cat-walked towards me in her tight pink shirt and pencil-shaped black skirt. Her sights were wonders to behold. Her shining round black eyes, full sultry lips, alluring and blistering smile, and tumbling colourful hair cascade immediately caused me to muse over God’s creativity. Now in cloud nine and completely hypnotized by this breathtaking sight, I couldn’t help but gape. Her eyes were as brilliant as a million stars; her body sculptured like that of a goddess, her gait simply the envy of trees, and her shape so figured eight. Oh, it was Helena again. This time, I was resolute. I would not let her go. She deliberately dropped her key; she bent to pick it up, exposing a string of beads that she used to adorn her waist. As if I just escaped from the trap of a bathtub, sweat reigned supreme over me. I was seeing another Helena; I never knew she was this beautiful. Her outfit was a threat to me. I was clad in a simple blue Reebok polo shirt. I felt out of place. I had two options, either I played along with the risk of being diminished because of my outfit, or I disappeared into my room, swap my wear with that of Andrew and lose her in sight. At that instance, the second option was out. I decided to play with the risk with the mindset that the consequence of any accident would be determined by luck. However, my fear at that point was that as far as luck was concerned, I have never been a partaker. I put all these thoughts out of my mind and surrendered to my destiny. Adjusting my shirt and cleaning the perspiration on my face in preparation to meet the pretty angel, I felt a tap on my feet. I looked down to check what it was, only to be rather amazed at the sight of the unsightly Andrew who had woken me to tell me that I was smiling whilst asleep.
“Why the smile Frankie? I was scared, so I decided to wake you up.” Andrew barked as he positioned himself on the chair opposite my bed to listen to me.
“I wish I could sleep till Methuselah.” I sobbed while still glued to my bed. But Andrew wanted to know more.
“He…le…na...” I stuttered.
© Jonah Ayodele Obajeun October 2011
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