Okondu, a young man in his early thirties. Young indeed!
– “Age is an issue of the mind”, he has always proclaimed. “As a matter of fact, I feel like a young baby trapped in a 32 year old body”. And indeed, he tells the truth. Unless he told you, there is no way you would know he is that old. Handsome, tall and light in complexion, he cherishes the design, which is his body, that the creator had created.
As a local businessman, selling farm products for the farmers, he is well respected. Humility, honesty, and any other virtue one could think of, he possessed. What’s not to like in him? His diligence had brought him before kings, he had helped the Agriculture committee in devising plans to improve the output of crops, and his fame was even fast spreading to the neighboring towns and villages. And yet, not everyone likes him. Jealousy won’t let them. Their failures won’t let them, there is no way they could be happy for me.
-“He’s kicking all of us out of business, that Okondu”.
-“I wish there is something we could do about him”. How about actually improving the service you render to people, but no, the plot against him thickens.
-“Goodnight, Pa Kasila”
-“Ah, Goodnight my son. Be safe, and may God guard you”, a broad smile on his face. He is clearly proud of him, at least we would assume. Okondu slams the padlocks to his store shut. He turns around to take his journey home. Pa Kasila hisses. Under his breath, “May God punish you”
Okondu’s journey to his house was going to take him along a long, lonely path. He had no reason to be sad, especially this night since he had just bought his lovely wife a present, the best money could buy. But, oh boy was he wrong!
-“Okondu, Okondu…..”, the poor man running after him was panting for breath. The distance he has to run is till long. He stopped for a minute to catch his breath, and again, he started running, still calling his name, shouting on top of his lungs with the little strength he had.
Okondu heard his faint call, at least that’s what it sounded like to him. He stopped. “Who could it be?”, he thought to himself. And lucky enough, he soon caught up with him.
-“Ah, Mustapha. It’s you. Why do you follow me so?”
-“I…..hhhaaave……an ur-gent me………ssage for you”, he replies, amidst heavy breathing.
-“Yes? Is it that urgent?”
He gathers himself together.
-“Yes it is, my friend. It’s a matter of life and death”.
-“So, why don’t you tell it to me?”
-“Okondu, you won’t get home, if the plan works out. You won’t last tomorrow!” He delivers the blow. Okondu chuckles.
-“Mustapha, what plan?”
-“Some of the traders have decided to get rid of you. They lay ambush for you my friend”
-“This is indeed a very urgent news. Thank you Mustapha. I have heard you, you may go your way”
-“Listen to my words Okondu. I know you are a heady man. Remember, it is an issue of life and death.” And so after these words, he went, back the way he had come from.
Okondu sat on the grass. The twigs snapped beneath his buttocks. He knew within himself that Mustapha had not at any point in his life delivered a news that didn’t turn out to be true. In fact, he considered him his advisor. Mustapha had saved his life a lot of times. Should he believe him this time? Why should he not? Does it really matter? If he went back to the town and he called the authority, and they found out where they laid in wait for him, he would be free, and alive. Even if they found out it was a false alarm, he would still be free, and alive.
It sounded like a good plan, and simple too. He got up to turn around, however something deep inside him wanted him to tread that path where death awaits him. It was so strong that it drowned the voice of reason within him. He loved it, it made more sense to him. Not that he did not fear, he feared, and he knew for sure, he was convinced that death was within reach. Was it for the thrill, or was it for something bigger? Whatever it was, he understood it. He knew for what!
And he starts to take his step, one after the other, his right before his left. The left foot forward, and…
-“I’m coming home”, he whispered to himself, and he was dead.Why, oh Why? I wish I knew why! He plunged himself to his own death. He knew, but do we? Why, oh Why!?