Old men sit in the courtyard, moving draughts pieces as local gin burns paths down their throats. The house sits like an old woman in the sun with faded clothing hanging loosely about her, wrinkles on her face telling her years, and her seldom open mouth, a dark, toothless cave. It has roof the color of coffee, the type one only ever sees when driving into Ìbàdàn. Layers of paint hang from the walls – blue from the last painting job 17 years ago, and beneath that, cream peeks.
I walk on inside, willing my eyes away from the white-tiled tomb close to the front door. Grandpa’s wooden reclining chairs are the kind that I had thought existed still, but only in old Polaroid pictures. I drop my bag on the nearest one and I am rewarded with such a loud creak that I snatch it right back, but not quickly enough, the rising film of dust tells me. A video cassette player, the type that went out of fashion about 15 years ago is in front of the room, a pile of video cassettes atop it – browned papers on their sides read titles; Ti Olúwa Nilè, Kiss of Dragon, Going Bananas. A black and white TV – in its own wooden house, complete with shutters you can lock – towers next to the cassette player as if to taunt it about its shabbiness.
I walk the dark, dank passageway, trailing my fingers along dusty cabinets that line the wall. In my head, I watch as a younger me ran along dimly lit corridors, shrieking with joy, heavy footsteps accompanied by the thump of a walking stick behind me; then the sudden halt to my Continue reading