The season is approaching, I see bells jiggling…
Shola ‘Debo. A masters undergraduate, just about done with first degree studies in petroleum engineering, and studying hard to emerge top of his clan, has had a long day studying this particular topic and doesn’t seem to be getting a head way. Shola picks his smart phone, takes a selfie, checks Facebook for news feeds, surfs twitter trends, posts his study selfie on Instagram and tweets; “Though studying gets more boring by the day, soon will be out there competing for my dream job… I will not tire.” He drops the phone thinking about his LinkedIn page and how best to juice it up as an industry ready scholar. He’s excited by his pictures of tomorrow and has his upward plan well outlined. “I must take care of mama”, he often reminds himself when these thoughts appear.
Sluggishly, he lifts himself off his favorite reading spot at a quiet end of the long engineering hallway. Exhausted, he resolves to pick up from the last page at the hostel “tonight… well, that’s after seeing Eky on the way back”, he says to himself.
How different the campus looks during the brief year-end break. Quiet and serene even at bus-stops outside, and less noise from conductors competing for passengers. This tranquil is perfect for what he’s about to do… even I hope this goes very well, ‘cos he’s just the perfect match for Ekaete. Out where the world could see, under the prying eyes of the stars, moonlight blue beams from the spaces between the Moringa braches standing tall between them. Peeping into each other’s eyes from one end, fingers interlocked on the other, Shola’s heart races. Then he parted his lips, and these words escaped… “After my final exams, Ekydarl, I’d love to take you home… to meet my folks.” How he wished he could say so much more than that. How he wished he was ready to actually make her his home. His love for Ekaete is far more than he can fathom, and she loved him in return.
Long day it was indeed, but the excitement this night brings, is more soothing than a Jacuzzi bath and spa. “I’ll get that spa deal for Eky. I must. That will be my New Year gift to her. I’m sure she’ll love it, and it’s worth the savings” he thought to himself as he dragged his tired body to the bedside desk. Just as he takes a seat, the light goes off. Oh! These people! They should develop a system of warning when they’re about to pull the plug. Shola reaches for the rechargeable lamp, but it is dim and soon goes out as he had forgotten earlier to plug it for a recharge. “I have to use a candle”, his generator fuel funds had been diverted into savings for Eky’s gift.
“I must manage this candle and get this chapter finished tonight” he decides as he reaches into the desk drawer for a candle stick. He lights the candle, spills some melted wax on the desk to stand it, and begins reluctantly to turn the pages from his bulky text book, his phone on one hand for google search. “Lord”, his eyes are oh so heavy, but he must “take care of mama”. Eyelids begin to lock, head slowly gravitates towards the thinning text book lines, and his left hand finally drops to the ground as does his handheld. Shola is drowned in his dreams.
“Tick, tock… tick, tock… I hear the clock… from a distance now as it quickly fades. I’m drifting away; the figure below hard to recognize, with fiery gold blaze surrounding it spreading to the roof. What on earth is this? Could I be gone?! Could it be that I’ll no longer see my beautiful Ekydarl, my angel mother, and… what happened to my pictures of forever, the well-articulated steps to wealth and fulfillment?” A whisper echoes in his head… “It’s just one candle in between!”
Credit: Smokey Dream by angbarbe.deviantart.com
Drowsy and clouded by smoke, Shola rises to reality; There’s fire reaching for his ‘fro now! This is not a dream! He jumps off the chair, reaches for his blanket but it’s spreading, no fire extinguisher within reach, so he dashes to the bathroom for a full bucket of water as he struggles to put the flames out, and finally! Ah! “I almost got burnt!” Quickly reaching for his phone he dials two numbers by heart, his mother’s and mine. And shares a testimony of how he escaped death by a flicker.
Fires are one of the year end ‘plagues’ many experience around this part of the world. Dryness gets intense during harmattan, so, in case the weather eventually changes as expected in december, be safety conscious; avoid the fires by taking the necessary precaution, and learn to use your extinguishers.
Keep calm and be safe, people. Have a happy year end.