The Procession

They stood there staring at her lifeless body; they were short of words – even actions. Their struggle seemed to be over but they didn’t look relieved, at last it has happened, their worst nightmare of not being able to talk to her, care for her, love her, feed her has become a reality, Iyeye as they call her has finally lost the battle with series of illness over the past three years.
Shina checked the time, it was exactly 8:00pm in the night, and then he asked the rhetorical question, what do I do? Esther broke down in tears which she couldn’t hold back any longer. “Take Iseoluwa and go to ojo’s place, as for me I must go and inform her kinsmen at once”, said Shina as he tucked her body in as if she only fell asleep. He was shivering and when he pulled the cover cloth over her face, tears rolled down his checks, he wiped it immediately as he didn’t want Esther to see him cry. He was unaware the she had left the room until he finally turned around and couldn’t find her; he then slowly sat down on the floor and sobbed. He took out his phone to call his senior brother – Ademola, he had difficulty dialing the number with his hand that was shaking, after multiple trials he succeeded. “Hello”, the response hit him like a bullet and for the first time ever he didn’t greet but only said, “Iyeye ti ku Sir”. This increased his sob that he couldn’t say anything further. “Hmm—- Shina! Shina its okay, go to Ioso and inform her kinsmen”, replied Ademola. He hung up abruptly for he needed to sob too.
Ten minutes on, he was at Chief Onibalusi’s house (head of his mother’s family and also the Ioso kingdom) His knock was very gentle, the door slowly moved away from him revealing the Chief who putting on a confused look, “Shina what are you doing outside by this time?” “Baba Iyeye ti ku” was his reply. The chief remained motionless and speechless for roughly ten minutes before he breathed out heavily, “now go and inform Ojo, Ibukun, Asede and Dada while I head to oke ibukun” he said. He retired back to his room to pick his agbada, while Shina started east in compliance to his instruction.
They all arrived beside her corpse one after the other and by ten thirty pm they were all there.
Onibalusi began, “as you all know, she is a high Chief and must be buried at once; this means we must carry her corpse to Iwara where Koso will cleanse her soul so that she can start her journey to the world beyond. Remember; while we do this nobody must see us”
“Shina there is no time to find your brothers you have to carry her alone, we have no choice” Ojo informed. Shina bore her lifeless body on his shoulder as if she were alive. Then they began the 3 kilometers journey to the shrine. They moved at a fast pace without saying anything to each other or even themselves, they had torch with them but mustn’t put it on so as not to attract people. They had to find their way through the darkness engulfed the earth.
They journey had lasted two hours, Shina was already panting and even his pace got slow and he lagged behind. Onibalusi who led them noticed this, and that was the only time any of them spoke, “we are almost there” was the vote of confidence to Shina and that actually worked the magic of boosting his strength and perhaps, courage which began to show in the increase his pace gained. While crossing Tainjo stream Shina almost felled but was saved by Ojo.
“Welcome” Koso greeted in a low tone as he motioned to Shina to drop the corpse on a piece of whole cloth he had spread on the ground. They all sat down wearily to watch the priest carryout the atonement. He squeezed a leave until it produced water which he rubbed on her face, then killed cockerel and let the blood drop on her fore-head. He chanted incantations, sang a song which he also danced to. Finally he said, “O di abo mama” He then wrapped her with another white cloth, turning to them he said, “You are lucky, she conquered all her enemies before she died” this meant they won’t be attacked on their way to odi. “Now, who is to help her carry the sacrifice? The priest asked, silence dominated the shrine for some time until Ojo said, “O ya” “Eshe Oga Ojo” Shina thanked him immediately as they all rose, the big calabash filled out and red oil sprinkled all over bean-cakes was place on Ojo’s head. “Remember never to look back, no stopping and once you get to any crossroad drop the calabash there”
Chief Onibalusi took a digger lying on the floor and also a shovel but Asede took it from him. This time Ojo led them, followed by Chief Asede, Ibukun, Dada and lastly Shina.
The second phase of their journey then began. While crossing the Tainjo River again Shina did not fall this time for he has became more careful, his thoughts became fixed on his brother-Ademola, he imagined how bad he would be felling; his love for Iyeye knows no bounds. Shina remembered how Ademola has suffered for the past there years in the bid to save her life, he even sold his car to afford the surgical operation she had last year. He gave all he had and was ready to give more; he knew her death wouldn’t mean relief to Ademola. He couldn’t also help wondering about the other ones who neglected Iyeye during the illness, the two senior sisters who accused her of witchcraft, the first son who resides at Akure said that he as an evangelist cannot associate with his evil mother. Dare his immediate senior brother is a drunkard, he remembered he never came home that night; perhaps he has fallen asleep by the roadside as usual. He thought of all that have happened over the past three years, the quarrels, the blasphemy and even fights. Love flew out of their home. But would love be back now that she is dead? He wondered and wished; because he really wanted it back. He has missed the care he used to enjoy from his elder brothers and sisters as the baby of the house; but Iyeye’s illness had divided them.
Now they stopped at the crossroad, Ojo dropped the sacrifice and the journey continued, he started feeling pains in his legs and right shoulder, his pace got slow and this slowed down the journey. He noticed the pity his colleagues had for him but they cannot help him. After an hour more they got to the graveyard at odi, Shina looked up and marveled at the numerous heaps of sand.
They found a spot and commenced digging; they took turns with the handling of digger and shovel. The exercise lasted for almost two hours. It was a six feet deep, three feet wide and three feet long grave, also; in the process of digging they carved a chair in the grave as she would be buried sitting down. “Okay, that’s enough” Said Onibalusi. At that point Shina was asked to only stand and watch them when they gently put her down, chief Onibalusi sang a melancholy song at that moment, he continued singing as the grave was being covered up; and then, he finally broke down in tears. This gave Shina goose pimples, and then tears began to roll down his checks. He remembered the love she had for her children-including those that turned their backs on her at the face of death. She sacrificed all for their sake, like she has just done.
Asede shouted in their native tongue, “The sun has in risen in the absence of Iyeye Kuku!”
Onibalusi was still sobbing, none of them tried to console him for perhaps they knew the importance of sobbing in unburdening the heart of grieve.

3 thoughts on “The Procession” by Aderichardss (@poet)

  1. screamingviola (@screamingviola)

    Nice piece

  2. thanks y’all. thanks editot

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