September 12, 2011


I got a teddy bear today. He may or he may not be my new muse. Bear with him...he just got into this writing business... :)

They warned you but you would not listen. 

The newspapers screamed the words in apostrophes. And yes, you could read. You dropped out of school in class 5 because the creeks and oil bunkering was a better use of your time anyway! But you knew your ABCs and the three letter words that the papers spat at you were easy. Not that you ever bought any papers from Soibi, the vendor! Who had money to waste on such frivolities when there were better things like beer and palm wine to buy?

The radio blared silly tunes over the airwaves. In English, in your native language... Could you claim not to have understood the urgency in those songs?
Night after night, they interrupted your beloved football games with TV commercials that seemed to last forever. Even when Arsenal, your team was playing Barcelona(those bullies), they still would not ease up. 

And the whispering? Ah, those ones were even worse. The way the market women whispered to themselves about Iroro who died after a long illness. They sighed and looked towards her mother's stall and spat on the floor before raising their eyes to the heavens to plead with the ancestors to take evil far from them and theirs. Or the way your beer parlor buddies avoided each others eyes whenever someone whispered the dreaded word. The whispers were what drove shivers down your spine even though the shivers never survived the next round of drinks.

They warned you. They screamed themselves hoarse but their message was not for you. You were invincible, immortal. Money was pouring in from the creeks. Your one bedroom apartment's days were numbered. Death did not take people like you. Death was for other people.

So you ignored the charts in the doctor's office that preached abstinence or single partners. You left your girlfriend when she gave you a choice between condoms and commitment. You ignored the jobless social workers that would not mind their business but kept organizing road shows and events to create awareness.

Tonight, the words in apostrophe have come back to haunt you. Your ears echo with the tunes of the commercials you sniggered at . You have a collection of pamphlets and charts you snitched at the hospital when the nurse was not looking. You kept your eyes out for the social workers on your way back home. You wanted to hear them say again how it was possible to have a normal life with this disease that might have taken up residence in you body.

It was the  whispers that did it. The beer parlor was closed when you visited it yesterday. Rumor has it that Amaechi, the beer parlor owner has HIV. Your closest beer parlor buddy, Umukoro, called it "HIP". You are not sure whether he has suddenly developed a lisp or he just doesn't know any better.The whispers were even quieter as you stood in front of the beer parlor last night but everyone is listening now. The whispers led you to the hospital first thing this morning.

So you got tested today.

Tomorrow you will know your fate.
Tomorrow the whispers will either be drowned out by relief or enhanced to full volume by your conscience.
But for now consolation lies in the woman beneath you and the pack of condoms you filched from the pharmacy.

Song of the day: Jill Scott- Golden


  1. Hmm.. reminds me of the first time I went to get tested...... Nicely done...

  2. i want to delete this post...i cannot recognise it... thanks guys...