“Aiyeeeeeeeee!” If I live to be a hundred years, I will never forget that scream …the one that marked the beginning of my life’s torture.
I was fourteen and I dreamed of Wale Taylor both night and day. In my night dreams, he was asking me to marry him and I was saying “Yes, Yes, Yes.” Then, we lived in a perfect world that consisted of a big Castle, filled with servants that said “My Lord” and “My Lady”…a castle where lack of electricity and armed robbers did not exist. A world where Whitney Houston’s “And I will always love you” played 24/7. In my Daydreams, he was kissing me again and just for special effects, I would hold up my stuffed pillow and pretend I was kissing him, tongue to tongue, mouth to mouth – as they do in the movies.
I kissed the poor pillow so much that it finally lost all its puffiness. I was having that daydream again when my mother’s harrowing scream reached me in my room, yanking me out of my romance-trance to the world of reality. “Aiyeeeeee” I ran and what I found in the living room left me too stunned to scream.
Sprawled on the floor was my larger-than-life Dad, saliva foaming from his mouth, his limbs contracted. My mom and my brothers were kneeling beside him, tears of panic running down their face as my mom screamed some more. Someone was banging furiously at the door trying to come into the house. Dazed and confused, I ran to the door to open it. Wale’s parents were at the door. Behind them was my crush – Wale Taylor himself.
They were all in their nightclothes. “Mama Yemi, mama Yemi….what is going on?” Wale’s parents cried. They didn’t have to repeat their question before they saw my Dad on the floor. “We need to get to him to the hospital now,” Wale’s father was saying. He lifted my Dad’s limp arm and pretty much knew it was too late. “My life is over. My life is finished,” My mom cried in Yoruba. Wale’s mother ran to my mother’s side and just then, someone rapped on our front door again. In a matter of minutes, there was a large crowd in our spacious living room as the commotion increased with every passing second. I remember someone attempting to wipe the foam off my father’s face.
A group of women was trying to hold my mother still. Others were trying to cover my Dad’s lifeless body from my brothers who were yowling and screaming, terrified at the sight before them. But no one seemed to remember that I was there, crouched by the door entrance, immobilized with shock. No one remembered to hide me from the ugliness in the living room …except Wale.
Except my one and only Wale Taylor, who held my hands as tears lacking any comprehensive emotion coursed down my face, while adults scurried to reduce the upheaval in our spacious living room.
(To be continued)