Did great thinkers of this world not say that one cannot eat his cake and have it? In my case, I have eaten and digested my cake, and there is no way I can have it back. The enormity of my problem unfolded before me when my eldest sister visited me the other day to tackle me on my marital status. She was on leave in Rivers State and decided to take out time to see me in Lagos.
After dinner, she thanked me half-heartedly and told me how badly she had always wanted to talk to me about my bachelorhood.
“I am listening, Sister,” I told her. She is one of the persons I hold in high esteem, perhaps after our late mother.
“In the past, we just brush past it but I think the time has come for us to call a spade a spade. Mike, I do not believe that this is ordinary. I have personally brought you three well-groomed girls to pick from, yet you could not find them attractive. Mama tried her best to carry your child but you personally refused to marry. At your age, it is unheard of, that you could still be single;’ she said.
“Sister, honestly, I am being careful. Most of these girls are just not good for marriage. It’s not my fault that Mama did not live to see my own kids but I was being careful. I hate divorces.
“I told her but that only got her worked up.
“What nonsense are you talking about Mike? Who likes divorces? Have you been to the village lately? Your age mates have kids in the university. And here you are?’
She ran her hand around to indict my sparsely furnished mini-flat at the Agege area of Lagos.
“What will you tell people is taking your money? You are afraid of divorces, so how has it rubbed off well on you?”
“Sister, I will tell you the gospel truth. I have not found someone I could commit to. Most of the women I encounter are just not dependable,” I told her frankly.
“Mike in a few weeks from now you will be 50 years old. You know what that means? Have you not heard of a fool at 40? We are talking about 50 years here,” she said.
“I am on this trip and it is very important because the spirit of Mama has been worrying me. Each time I lie down to sleep, she would appear to me in the dream. The only thing she would be saying is Mike. She thinks something is wrong with you. And I believe the same thing too:’
“Sister, why do you people like to make issues out of nothing? Mama died seven years ago. Now her spirit, according to you is worried that I am not yet married. Why hasn’t her spirit appeared to me? Why is it appearing only to you, sister? Think about it. It could be a false spirit,” I replied.
That night we spoke at length. And it really brought back memories of the olden days, when we would all sit close as to deliberate on issues. The pressure of work and of course marriage had driven all of us apart. In fact, the last time, we all had converged was seen years earlier when we went to bury Mama in the village.
Before morning my elder sister had succeeded in convincing that what was going on in my life was not ordinary. She had also convinced me that there was need to go and find out what was wrong, so that a solution could be arrived at.
But I told her that I was not into fetish activities and had never indulged in it all my life.
“There is nothing fetish about making inquiries. All of them operate based on natural laws. But if you understand how bad the situation is for you, you would not mind where the solution is coming from. Mike, just take a good look at yourself. You have no family. You have no fat account. You are just existing. That is no life, if you want me to stress it again. Something is definitely wrong. I know a place where we can go to find out, my brother,” she insisted.
That was how we arrived at the decision to go to one diviner in Opobo Town in Rivers State. My sister had lived all her adult life in Port Harcourt and this may have influenced her choice of the man of Opobo. It was not an easy transit. Having no ability to swim, I found it nauseating being on a boat for almost two hours. When we finally arrived, the whole place looked strange and the sounds around were enough to highlight the fact that it was a diviner’s paradise.
After series of questions, we finally arrived at the place. It was a hut with only one entrance. Nothing fascinating was there to prove that I had met the solution to my so-called’ problem. We removed our shoes at the entrance and walked inside to see one aged man, perhaps in his 70s, sitting on a mat with one big earthen pot, positioned right before him.
My sister greeted him. He simply nodded, without saying a word. “We have come with a problem, hoping to find a solution”, my sister told him.
“Whatever you want, just speak to your coin. After, you clean your faces with the red towel hanging there”, he pointed to it at the far left side of the room, “then you return to coin to the earthen pot. Drop it into the water in the pot.”
We followed all the steps in quietness and concert. When we dropped the coin in the earthen pot, I noticed the water inside effervescing but soon it calmed to form a dark transport film right on the top layer of the water.
“Just look at the pictures, you will see them very well. That is the source of your problem. You should be able to recognize the people there,” he said.
Curiously, my sister and I bent over the pot and started looking into it. A familiar face popped up and the next 10 minutes or so brought me sketches of what gave rise to my situation. The face was Omolara’s, a girlfriend of mine many years ago.
“Do you recognize any person there?” the old diviner asked me when we were done with the session.
“Yes, I do”, I said as my sister looked on in awe.
“Did that happen?” he asked again.
“I did not believe her until now. That was many years ago. I just started work then”, I explained. “But what is the solution?”
“Speak to a coin again and follow the same process. Clean your faces and drop the coin into the water. Then look at the pictures and tell me what you saw,” he directed us.
By this time anxiety had got a better part of me. And it was evident in the way I was behaving. The coin almost dropped out of my hand as a result of my shaky hands.
But when we bent over the pot, I saw a more violent picture. Omolara was hiding behind one beautiful woman who wore a crown with the number seven visibly enshrined on it. The beautiful woman was ranting and barking and quarreling with someone. At the end, she took out one big key, put it into her mouth and swallowed it.
…To Be continued