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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Short Story: Nigeria and its Shadows by Tundé Oyebode

At night my bedroom light flickered. Its persistence denied me sleep. The shadows created by the light danced, celebrating to the tune of the rain hitting the corrugated roof. As the rain stopped sadness flooded the room ending the festivity. A shadow in a hat seemed to smile amongst the saddened ones. He bellowed something that made the shadows still and forced the light to engulf the shadows like fire in a riot. The shadows were in despair and fear. The scene, so fiendish, weakened me and amongst the shadows were people I cared for and loved. In the shadowy streets was suffering in the eyes of those who lived there, those who where born there and may never leave there. Suffering brought about by the words of the man in the hat. The shadows complained, moaned and whined declaring that his actions were unfair and selfish condemning the day that they put him in charge. As I watched the scene I cried. I couldn’t help, assist, aid or play hero in anyway.

Day and night the shadowy people suffered but laid and basked in their agony, kneeling and praying, telling the Lord things that I couldn't hear but felt like hot iron against an open wound. Here I am in my warm and cosy room, not harmed by the engulfing light but scared of it. I am embarrassed that I lie and do nothing, ignoring the light switch and imagining pushing the switch that ends the scene and puts the room in darkness. Darkness that ends the chaos in the shadowy world and scares aware the corrupt government that feeds on the light of its people and the world they live in. But I glanced at the other side of my room and noticed a deem light that created shadows of people who campaigned against the decisions of the man in the hat and fought for a different light, not the one that engulfed the streets but one that brings hope to the people. That light made me smile and ushered me to sleep. When I wake the turmoil in the shadowy world would end and my loved ones can once again smile. Is it only a dream?


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