Open 2021 Open Stories - Kwaghkule Aondonengen Jacob


Why my joy has journeyed far away from me
By Kwaghkule Aondonengen Jacob


It was on a sunny Sunday morning if really my memory is being fair to me. The year was 2007 in an ember-month, precisely on 1st October when my direction of reasoning changed drastically. Before now, I had never imagined sadness existing on the surface of the earth. I had grown up to be a happy man I had always wanted to be. To me, happiness was an absence of problems in a person's life whereas the reverse was the case. Many people I had seen living a happy life had problems but because they knew how to tackle them, happiness could not erode their tents.


I lived in a happy family of four. My father was a banker and was working with Unity Bank. He was posted at it's branch that was situated in Katsina Ala. He was a handsome, tall, and fair complexioned young man in his middle forties. He loved to see the whole family lived like a wealthy one. Of course, to the 'have not', our family was rich. Whenever he was coming home we would know that our wardrobes would smile of new wears. He never liked to see us appeared in rags.


My mother was a serious business woman who could make profit from whichever small amount Dad gave her for upkeep. She knew when to increase or decrease the price of her commodities. Many people wondered if he had studied Business Management from the University. Of course, she was a Second Class Upper graduate of Economics from the prestigious Benue State, Markurdi.


I have not forgotten to tell you of my twin siblings. Never! How could I forget such? Fanan and Fadedoo were my immediate younger sisters whom I cherished so much being with. They could do everything humanly possible to wear a smile on anyone's face. With them, one didn't notice anything like sadness in our family. They were always seen like 'five and six' wherever they went.


Like it has become a normalcy for every family member to visit his home during or before the end of almost every year. My father though always busied by the nature of his work was granted an avenue to visit his family after a while. My head had busted with flesh particles of smiles sinking deeply down my soul when the news penetrated my eardrums. "Certainly, if Dad comes this time. There will be joy overflow." The voice in me said.


The following day was a day proceeding the workless day. We were to take mummy's sellable to the market square for sales. As usual, Mondays were such busy days for both the sellers and buyers of Amaafu Market. Before the sun could rise above people's head, the market square was with full of trading activities. "Could this be because Christmas was knocking at the corner? Why are these people in such haste to buy or sell?" I murmured within myself.


My heart was filled with joy because of the news I heard the previous day. This bundle of ecstasy is not strange to one who has worn my shoes. I was zealous to see my father not because of any other thing but because he was nice being with and such a loving father anyone would love having as a Dad. While at the market, my heart was talking about of his coming. I prayed fervently for his safety. That may the good Lord bring him home safely like before.

Since I have heard the ugly incidence, my eyes have refused to dry. I have lost my appetite to eat completely. Nothing pleased me again. Not even when a smile forced itself on me. For of what reason had I to smile in my present predicament? When not even a single particle of joy was left in my soul? Was it how situations metamorphosed life? Life and it's happenings are just like barracks and soldiers. Situations do come and go but life remains the same way soldiers do leaving their barracks as they met.


"I never knew that not all prayers are heard. Maybe all are heard but not all are attended to by God. Or something close to my thoughts. But why must some prayers be answered while some be paid deaf ears to? Could it be that the prayers were of a sinner or what?"These and many more rhetorical questions kept ringing into my head like a Sunday morning church bell.


The phone call mummy made that early morning made her mad. Alas! She had allowed her phone to fall on the floor and had started running like a mad-dog to inform our resident pastor of the news she refused to believe. It seemed a tradition to her, whenever something strange or pleasant happened our pastor would be the first person she would inform. At first, we were disturbed of what had come over her. Maybe she was overwhelmed with joy because of what the caller might have delivered or was sadness the content of the message?

Later on, we saw our compound been crowded with all sorts of transportational means. Before one could know what was happening my mother returned with a song that confirmed the ugliness of that piece of news she heard via her phone call "....angyo hira zaan ooo, se kpa se mba van oo." When the content of this song first struck my ears confusion stormed my soul and I began wondering who had died that mum was singing such a dirge this early morning...


Many of our relatives including our neighbors both good and bad ones joined the mourners and began to cry loudly. Some were throwing themselves up and down. It was as if many did like to kill themselves than live to see what the reason of their cries was. Many Christian faithful were singing some songs that they thought could comfort their broken hearts. Indeed, an adage our people say 'or doon ikyom ne ka mimi.'


I could remember how the arrival of the pastor in charge of NKST Amaafu broke almost everybody present into uncontrollable tears. Although with tears in his eyes too, he was trying to plead that none should cry. According to him death was like a debt that all humans owe. And all must payback when our time comes. It is an inevitable phenomenon and no one knows when it comes. It quiets both the strong and the weak, rich and the poor, bad and even the good...


"But who has died? Why is the pastor preaching death here today that my father is supposed to come?" I asked furiously within myself. When my shivers could no longer get me standing still, I became worried and had wanted to know what the bone of contention was.


"But who should I ask to know what is going on?" I asked. After several efforts were proven futile I became more worrier as no one did want to let me know of the truth; that my father had had an accident and had died on the spot while on his way coming home...


Kwaghkule, Aondonengen Jacob from Nigeria is popularly known by his pen name "Mr Kvip". He is a poet and a short story writer. His poems appeared or are forthcoming at, Praxis Magazine, The Best of Africa Magazine, Poemify Magazine, Sub-Saharan Magazine including many local and international anthologies and elsewhere. Currently, Kwaghkule Aondonengen Jacob is a penultimate student of English and Literary Studies at Federal University, Wukari, Taraba State, Nigeria


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