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I still luv the smell of London

I still luv the smell of London

Friday, 10 October 2008

Ade's Heart!


As I approached the highly intimidating white gates, a weird kind of fear crept towards the very depths of my being. It bore an uncanny semblance to an apprehension I could not place. It was fear but not fear ... It was however, definitely a ‘fear’ or ‘a type of’, that was for certain.

The man on the other side of that gate was a man I had gotten to know too well, for he had been an integral part of my existence, perhaps even the most important man that I would ever have the honour of meeting. He had single-handedly shaped the path my relationships with men would take, he had sown ‘mind seeds’ of how I would allow the men that would eventually come into my life to treat me and he had groomed me to be an ‘almost arrogant, somewhat cocky woman with a heart of gold’ and a warrior’s sprit. Yes, he was an Enigma...
I walked up to the ‘gatekeepers’, two old men sat in the evening sun, deep in conversation. cavernous wrinkles and tribal marks clamoured for space on faces with skin as thick as hide, very shakily, in my native ‘Yoruba’,
‘Ejo Sir, Se Oga wa n le?’(*1), I asked

It had been five years since I had touched these gates, five years since I had walked these grounds and five years since I had seen 'the man'.

His problems began five years ago, prior to that he had lived an amazing life. He had lived a life most men only dreamed of; fast cars, faster women, houses in every prominent city on the globe, excesses I’m too afraid to mention and an insatiable appetite for spontaneity. The floodgates of my mind were open as the memories poured in. It had been exciting times and he had lived like the rich had the inability to ever cry; Five chefs , Six chauffeurs, Two Swimming Pools, A house he had meticulously designed and built, five fish ponds, A Tennis Court, Squash court and the games room... how could I forget that; I had learnt to play Billiards there.
Some say his reckless life style had eventually caught up with him, others say the ‘ones’ he lived amongst had set the wrath of the gods upon him mentioning his name in the shoddy homes of herbalists and voodoo priests, others said the Nigerian government had changed the economic rules at the wrong time and ‘entrepreneurs’ had taken the hit, He said everyone around him was a ‘witch’. For when a man that wealthy takes a fall so hard he can barely stand, it is absolutely normal that he would seek to blame his misfortune on something, someone , anything. I shrugged... a cold fever coursed through my veins...
This one was definitely a man of excesses. Memory after memory, my mind drifted. The smile formed ever so gently. It was a smile of painful sorrow, one that uttered its own silent cry, a paradox that’s what it was. But that was what he was. ‘The man’ right? He was definitely a paradox. For the way I remembered him was very different from what most people said at the funeral....
I had no idea how long the elderly man had been talking to me, he tapped me ever so gently waking me from my reverie and said; ‘Tele mi’ (*2) . He motioned, I followed.

The walk from the gate to the main building took approximately ‘8 minutes’. I took the surroundings in casually. It had all changed; the unmistakable stench of defeat infiltrated the place. Things were definitely worse than I had anticipated. My heart bled as the gatekeeper briskly led me through the tarred road towards where the man sat. I cowered behind his feeble frame not knowing what to expect, for one of the things I remembered the man for was his temper.
The gatekeeper stood straight, addressed the man, by his first name, ‘Tunde... Kehinde fe ri e?’ (*3)
The man looked up ‘Kehinde wo?’ (*4) he asked in a near whisper

‘Kehinde (*6) Ti Wa’,(*5)

The gatekeeper’s word were like salve to blind eyes, it suddenly dawned, I was home, I belonged here. I held on to his words and walked into ‘the man’s’ presence.
One look at me and the tears rolled down his face. He looked so much older and had lost so much weight. I wasn’t sure how, but my well groomed, incredibly handsome, strong and powerful father had aged overnight. I knelt before him, hugged him and cried for what seemed like forever, I looked up and wiped his tears...
It didn’t matter what the last 20 years had held, it didn’t matter what mistakes he’d made. All I saw were my father’s tears, I saw a full grown man, a man aged above his years, a man that wore a garment of pride humbled by the site of ‘his daughter’, ‘his seed’ and his child!
It didn’t matter what the world said... with that singular act. He convinced me that ‘He Loved Me!’

Shortly after, I moved to the UK. I must have seen him about 3 times after that memorable day and spoken to him once, maybe twice. Four years later he died... February 25th 2003,Abayomi ,My youngest brother’s birthday. Trust him to pick a date we’d never forget.
I had bought my ticket to come home in March. What was the rush why couldn’t he wait?
Its five years and the pain’s still raw. The past few weeks have been tough, tedious and emotionally draining. I moved out of London to take on a contract with IBM in the Nederlands and I really miss everyone.

The others I’ll see in a few weeks but him, it will be a lifetime. My Daddy, he was definitely something else... What happened to the age of Innocence? He’s gone now, but he gave me some of my best memories and that’s what I have today ... Precious memories


Babatunde Michael Adeyemi; (1945 – 2003)
Omo Amofeso, Omo Oba Dansa aki... Sun re o!

*1. Excuse me Sirs, Is the man of the house home?
*2.follow me
*3. Tunde, Kehinde is here to see you
*4. Which Kehinde are you referring to?
*5. Our Daughter, Our Own ,Kehinde,
*6. Rest in Peace
*7. Yoruba name given to twins.


*** Guys I completely aplogise for not doing the blog rounds, as explained ... I have been dead busy, thanks for the comments so far, Thought I'd give editorial a break and please let me know if you want to write for the magazine!***
Prettig Weekand... Have a good weekend.

12 comments:

seye said...

I went to do a few things at my office today, saw your mail, then decided to check my blogroll, saw that you had posted something. I opened your page, without reading it, left to attend to other things. I later decided to hibernate, go home, read it later when I got home. Okay, I decided to read it before leaving. I read it! And it's been two hours from the time i left the office to the time i am commenting and I haven't still forgotten the imagery! I can relate to what you are saying. In fact, this is going to inspire my next blog post about my late father.

No matter how well they lived, they dropped a seed in us...a seed that would never die.

rayo said...

this was so touching, he sounds lyk he was rili sumtn nd dying on ur bro's birthday! well written

DiAmOnD hawk said...

wow... vividly written... a nice post for ur late father...

Ade Adeyemi said...

@SK - Glad u liked , can't wait to read your rendition on ur dad!
Rayo - Thanks hun!
@DH - wow listening to the messages on ur blog while I'm doing my blog roll - amazing! Thank u for coming thru hun!

aloted said...

wow..this was so heart touching...and i could picture everything in my head...

wow

thanks for stopping by mine and have a blessed week!

The Invisible Man said...

Love ur stuff, First time here. Holla

FineBoy Agbero said...

Movin story. VEry vivid! Like i was there with u!!!

It diminishes us to have someone close to us die. But in d end, it's all part of our learnin process...

Take heart, ehn?

Smaragd said...

RIP Daddy Ade!

very well written and really touching.

i wont even demean this by saying i understand what u must have gone through.

Buttercup said...

awwwwww...

im so sorry...

u wrote this so beautifully...

ShonaVixen said...

hey hon,so sorry...hugs and kisses! they say time heals the wounds but sometimes it just doesnt do it!! hugs and kisses

sleek n' catty said...

Is it too late to post on this??? This was awesome, hit close to my heart.
I have plenty qstns that are none of my biz, so I'll just hold my tongue.

rethots said...

Eventually, we realise that of 'it' all, nothing matters more than "... ... Precious memories"

8years 7months 16days, yet still, the precious memories will always be ever green.