Passing of a memory

Passing of a memory

The sound of a cannon going off echoed in the hills, seeming to roll endlessly then faded off to be replaced by another, and yet another. It continued, twenty one times, I counted; paying heed to the initial ones for the echo has a way of multiplying as the sound dissipated among the many valleys in this range of hills that holds my bloodline.
It was not yet fully dawn, but I could make out hints of redness in the clear harmattan sky, atop a distant hill where the sun would surely begin this day’s climb. The sounds of the cannons going off had rubbed me of blissful sleep, which is not necessary a bad thing for its message, though grave, told of something big. Yes, those booms told the demise of a great one, but the question I asked myself was “who?”
Of all the people who would have merited a twenty-one cannon salute in Greater Anike, only two resided in the Hills. Of the two, one, Uwakwe my father, was sleeping soundly in his room three doors from mine, as the steady drone of his habitual snores informed me. It must be Johnbull Nwaobodo, a grizzled old timer who still recalled the days when the flag was green and white and the coat of arms was a proud eagle perched upon a crest, franked by two great stallions braced against a large shield.
Yes, it must be Johnbull. The old man had been sick for a while now and had consistently refused the allwell boost that the labs in Lagos recently developed to replace that painful rejuvenation therapy that kept people alive long after they should have returned to their ancestors. I recall overhearing father calling the old man a fool for insisting he has lived more than his allotted time and therefore doesn’t desire to live longer, when, as father said it, 190 years was the new forties, just take a monthly slug of allwell and you would live to be 300.
I felt wetness on my check, and the tears that dropped on my arms surprised me. I had not cried in a long time, not even when mother burnt up with her crew when her ship crashed in the wastelands of Mars or when my favourite sister Wumi – mother to me after mother’s death – volunteered for that one-way trip to a newly discovered earth-like planet in the Nime quadrant.
I know why I cried, I think, two weeks from then, Johnbull would have marked his yearly observance of Nigeria’s independence from Britain. He would have again told those fun stories of parades and speeches, of fly passes and laughing children. Yes, he would have topped it off with his favourite tale, that of him leading the independence day parade at Eagle Square. I cry because, with the passing of Johnbull Uwakwe went the last of the old-timers, those who knew when there wasn’t a united African republic. Back then the flag was green and white.



10 thoughts on “Passing of a memory” by Mazi Nwonwu (@Fredrick-chiagozie-Nwonwu)

  1. 2cute4u (@2cute4u)

    Nice.. Always on point.. Except for people like me who have bad sight, you should have given gaps..

  2. Fred .C. Nwonwu (@Fredrick-chiagozie-Nwonwu)

    Thanks 2cute4u, About the gaps…well it a long story. Should have anyway, just hope this did not take away the sting from the telling. Have a great day.

    1. Fred .C. Nwonwu (@Fredrick-chiagozie-Nwonwu)

      Thanks for reading Seun. Hope it gets a vote.

  3. Fred! Great! I really like. Ditto 2cute4u’s observation tho.
    Well done

    1. Fred .C. Nwonwu (@Fredrick-chiagozie-Nwonwu)

      Thanks Remiroy, but I know you are too young to have bad eyesight. Loved your stuff too. More grease.

  4. This is lovely, Fred. A united Africa, huh?

  5. Fred .C. Nwonwu (@Fredrick-chiagozie-Nwonwu)

    Yeah Lade. It’s kind of Qaddafi’s style. Thanks for reading.

  6. This one’s way into the future, isn’t it now?
    Reads almost alien-like.
    Well done!

    True, the lack of gaps did not take away from it!

    1. Fred .C. Nwonwu (@Fredrick-chiagozie-Nwonwu)

      It waaaaayyyyy into the future abby. thanks for reading.

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