For How Long . . . ?

“Haven’t we slaughtered nights in large numbers to invoke the god of dream? For how long are we going to stone the door of heaven with fasts and prayers before fortune will scold failure from double-crossing our path to success? Haven’t we listened to poetry of hope that was penned in the ink of endurance just to woo the smiles of fate? Or, for how long are we to hold onto the sermon of perseverance that assures the arrival of joy on an untold tomorrow. For how long would the assured rest keep playing hide and seek with our future? Haven’t we been patient enough to behold the flickers of light that hide at the end of the tunnel? For how long are we meant to parade this shore of moonless night before morning will deem fit to come with light rays in her hands to melt the wax of fears that coat our heart? Haven’t we been loyal to our hustles enough? Haven’t we been dying to live our dreams; for how long would the smiles on our lips keep masking our pains before they (our pains) are laid to rest in the grave of past?”

Tango sat on the patio and held an AK-47 in his left hand, he stroked it gently with his other hand. His eyes were red and face showed he was unhappy, but he wasn’t sad too. He chuckled a few minutes later when teenagers placed three car tires on the T-junction which was fifty meters away from him. The teens brought out a white bottle and poured out it content on the tires. Smokes move haphazardly in the sky and formed a thick sheath.

When he inhaled the gas, he said, ‘These are people like me.’ He was sitting amidst five other friends who wore black singlets. Sweat rolled down on their skin as the afternoon heat boiled it. Tango cleaned his forehead with the back of his palm and nodded slowly when the teens left.

Tango wasn’t indifferent thirty years ago. Now, it is 2060 when every part of the world experienced chaos daily. Wickedness and gory events never stopped. People care less for others well-being; they only fight for oneself.

Six continents experienced this, it happened simultaneously. It hit the continent of Africa most. Her topography changed–nature disappeared in cities. Green plants and forest trees became brittle and could turn ashes just with a strike of a match on its box. But the villages still have their nature. It was as if God was angry with people living in cities.

Streams move gently and villagers made nurseries beside it. Leaves became greener and their roots deepened more into the soft soil. Rain was often in its season and the influx of people was moderate. Some people believed God is angry but in the aspect of nature disappearing in cities that is man’s fault.

Things were different in cities. No one talked about corruption or bad roads and erratic power supply. Newspapers didn’t have a column where people living below a dollar are being discussed.

Thirty years ago when Tango was just seven he lived in the countryside with his parents. This was what his father wanted, and he wasn’t happy about it. But his father mentality changed after travelling abroad.

He had said, ‘Paid a visit to countryside in America and was astounded. People who lived there looks healthier and peacefully, even happier than those in cities. I think countryside here in Nigeria will be good.’

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