Do not do that which you Contemplate

Do not do that which you Contemplate

“Do not do that which you contemplate” The words of his old butler had resonated in his mind. What did the old man mean? Never mind. He turned his mind resolutely away from all thoughts.
Adi watched the city from the tinted glass of a ford jeep, which was the middle car of an entourage. He was returning home from London to meet his own birthday dinner. Just a dinner it was and not a part, unlike someone of his class. He was a king and his birthday celebrations should have been grand. CEO’s, politicians, kings and blue bloods could easily have graced the occasion, but surprisingly to everyone he skipped the big fiesta for a simple family get together. Over the phone from London he had argued hotly with his mother over the idea, she had wanted it to be a gathering of the crem de la crem, a highlight in their lives. He had told her that he had his reasons and that she would understand one day, besides a lavish ceremony would see them disconnected from the people. It is not a crime you are the king, his mother had insisted. He didn’t succumb and the woman gave in, or so he thought.
He saw the city flipping past him, like distorted memories, memories, but from where? The squalor ghettos came first with planks and zinc houses built upon phlegm swamps. There was no way he could comprehend the amount of mosquitoes that dwelled with them. Mosquitoes, ah, he would love to get bitten by one. He saw bare bodied children with pot bellies playing the gutters with ill looking dogs and goats. Mothers weaving the stubborn, untreated hair of their teenage daughters. Sons and fathers in tattered clothes butchering and digging. They were in a separate galaxy, he knew he would never understand the mysteries of their lives. How had they protected their faiths, family love and realness of their lives from poverty was a puzzle to Adi.
He removed his eyes and tried to think of something else to keep his eyes busy, but the scenes of the city had too much in picture for him
8PM. He arrived at his palace to find dozens of cars docile and rested in the compound. Big cars that costs fortunes.
An agile guard opened his door and prostrated upon seeing him. He came down and all the attendant maids and guards around bowed before him. His attention first went to the music, Rex Jim lawsons classics, well, at least much better than the ill sounding circulars. He ignored every one and began walking towards the mansion, not paying any heed to the lasses pouring pearls and roses at his feet.
Every one stood up and bowed upon his entry, then that was followed by a “happy birthday your majesty” then a thunderous “ hip hip hip hurray!”
Of course the Adi family was large as what one might expect of a royal family, an empire of its own. The dinning was as large as a basketball court, filled to capacity with brothers, sisters, cousins, uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews, grandmothers and very few friends. He saw the smiles warping their many faces, some genuine others not.
“Come join us at the table” His mother said to him.
“No, mummy. I need to at least take a shower” He lied. He needed an excuse to avoid cheering, even partly drunk, draining extroverts. He despised extroverts for what he termed an abysmal capacity to wonder
He joined the dinner and watched his mother take over the helm of affairs. His dish was arranged and the royal taster swallowed some morsels first and waited for 15 minutes before he declared the food safe for Adi. He sighed, and finally devoured the first crab. The evening rode in a pace he could barely comprehend. Men sang praises with his name and he responded with thanks. He smiled when others laughed, and when others smiled he put on mona lisas eternal countenance. He watched as every one ate flesh and drank wine, as everyone tried to please him, as everyone forgot the importance of their selves and made him a god. He left as soon as he was done eating another crab.
He was washed and dressed by royal maids, and almost seemed prepared for a much needed sleep.
A knock
A messenger came in bowing “ my lord the queen wishes an audience”
Let her in
His mother walked in grimly, it had been more than obvious to her that her son wasn’t the happiest man around “ have you seen your fiancé, Ala?” she spoke first
“no” Adi replied
“ why no?” she inquired
“ I will see her in due time, tonight perhaps”
“ Look, my son, you are 27 today, you must begin to trace your fathers prints. Your father was a great man and a good king. Now, have Ala in your bed and produce for us our next king”
“yes mama” he said mechanically like a zombie. He loved that his mother didn’t linger
He was walking to Alas quarters when he found the old butler, a man of about 78. The butler bowed. “An odd time to find his majesty pacing the corridors” the old man drawled.
“ yes indeed sir, a beautiful night it is. The winds are rushing with inspirations.”
A moment of silence sweeps through
“ what is the essence of life, sir?” Adi asked
The old man was taken aback “ oh my sweet Jesus! Life is a beautiful gift from God, God created man so man may rule the earth and worship him” The old man answered
“Is that all?”
“ I am afraid so, your majesty”
“ok” Unsatisfied Adi began walking away
“Do not do that which you contemplate” The old man said to him before leaving sight. Adi smiled a gentle smile of surprise. He was confused at the old mans words. The man had been making such comments for weeks and he was beginning to puzzle. Was his old butler going gaga? He pretended not to know, but deep down the answer gnawed in him.
He reached Adis room and found her sleeping tenderly. He bent down in an effort to kiss her, but he stopped and admired her beauty for a while. With so much beauty around where was love? He pitied Ala, she had been super faithful to him. She had done everything inside and out side her powers to make him happy. Am only torturing this nice girl, he thought. Despite his royalty he knew he didn’t deserve Ala, he still remembered the look of inhuman heartbreak on her face when he announced that he had shifted their wedding date for no apparent reason. No, he didn’t deserve her,
He went to the balcony of the top floor. A crystal moon stood with millions of stars clustered around. The air was cool and soft, easy to breath. Below, he saw the palace guards watching over the sleeping estate. The flowers were calm as always, the waters in the pool docile, the fleet of cars as lifeless as rocks. Beautiful, it was the silence he loved, there couldn’t be a better time to think.
He thought of the universe in its geographical form. Stars, galaxies, planets, stargates and the milky way. There could be millions of civilized worlds elsewhere. Atlantis could be real. The world could actually end in 2012. He regretted the many science texts he had read. Science only thought him to be rebellious against faith, only thought him to be a staunch realist. Science was more logical to believe, say, the bigbang and theory of evolution. But if those were true what would it mean? That the world was actually Godless. That there were millions of civilizations far away and trillions of people, perhaps creatures. What would that make a single life on earth worth? Nothing, at the most, s crystal of sand in the desert.
He sighed, he stared at the moon again. Still there, still silver and feminine, still surrounded by her starry children.He remembered scenes from the ghetto he had seen earliar. The squalor and the hope, the discipline in the participants of open air mosques just beside the market place which was no neater than the gutters. He remembered the joy, the adrenaline of members of those Pentecostal churches poorly erected on swamps. Those people are amazing. They still made music! God! He envied them, he envied their poetry and their courage, and for that it dawned on me that his feelings of lethargy would outlive him, infact undo him. His answers would never come.
He watched the pool, and even from the great heights he could see the dancing reflections of the stars in the water. He took a deep, deliberate breath, exhaled, relieved. The old butlers words echoed in his ears. Don’t do that which you contemplate. He smiled, how had the old man known? How would mama and Ala feel? He turned his eyes to the door leading to Alas room “ am sorry” He said in a sorrowful smile. He dived head-first from the top floor, before the earth devoured his body, he tried to relish the coolness and gentleness of the night which spoke of an unfamiliar peace.

6 thoughts on “Do not do that which you Contemplate” by Julius Bokoru (@africanromantic)

  1. I don’t get the story,.Why would he kill himself?..let him rest in pieces..

    Seriously this seems like a scene from a nollywood movie, except the suicide by jumping off d balcony…and I am usually indifferent to such movies..

  2. Julius, I think this was a good story of how one can be so alone, even in the company of others. It reminds me of a story I wrote many years ago. You provided an insight as to how he came to feel this way towards the end, but I would have liked to see you explore this more.

    I liked some of the expressions you use, like “…dozens of cars docile and rested in the compound” and “… smiles warping their many faces”. But there are many places where the word usage could be improved, like “The squalor squalid or squalor of the ghettos came first …” and “…The evening rode in sailed by at or passed at a pace he could barely comprehend…”

    Also, it looks like you hurried to write this; there were quite a few punctuation errors.

    Well done.

  3. Great piece. @Tola, I could not have said it better.
    You guys’ contributions are great too.

  4. erm….. bad things first, typo errors, some statements that did not quite fit in, and a story that sounds as if u ended it in a hurry to go and do something else.
    now the good things. u explored a theme that is dear to my heart, and for that alone, you have my vote. then,ur use of contrast was sweet, keep it up bros. we (nigerian writers) will get there. amen.

  5. something about the ending didn`t work for me.
    The sudden life less,,, why would he give up just like that?
    maybe its just the way i felt.
    i guess the the error i saw might be typo mistake, you wrote,,,,

    He reached Adis room—- it should have been He reached Alas room

    Keep writing you can only get better.

Leave a Reply