Sunday, July 2, 2017

Jim in Paradise by Omoruyi Uwuigiaren

Distance can hurt but life remains a choice. A man can win if only he can bend circumstances to his favour. I was on a good run and my happiness was taller than the pair of legs that carried me. With more grounds to cover, and the sun at its peak, I went past a bend down a street where I stumbled on a creature. Coincidence is part of the game of life. We can play to win.
The creature was an old friend whose name was Jim. He was translucent. I could clearly see what life had done to him. He was like a ship given much to bear. After covering a huge distance, began to sink. He was in the lower estate of life where good things are luxury, and securing them is often elusive.
Jim was barely forty but he looked as if he was in the pool of old age. Looking pale and drawn, his pair of legs could barely carry him.  He was a slice of his past.
In the past, Jim carried himself about as if unable to hurt a fly. The world was at his feet. Always well dressed, with bloated ego, he was better than a fine wine.
I wonder why he had deteriorated. Tortured by the scorching sun that revealed his emptiness, easily tossed about by the poor hands of the gentle breeze, Jim was pathetic, awful and lost.
He carried himself on the earth, dominated by blood, sand and the rising sun. His boots were clothed with dust and his suntanned face was a foul weather. One could see the misfortune that hung from his neck like an Olympic Medal. Life can sometimes be cruel. Jim was down. He was a shadow of himself. There were other people around him as he approached me.
As he masked his frustration with an exaggerated smile, more revealing were the wrinkles that paraded his face.  Behind him were six or more kids who were his miniature version.
“Jim,” I flashed a smile as we shook hands and hugged.
“Ruyi,” he managed to croak. “Where have you been?” He raised an eyebrow that gave birth to furrow on his forehead.
“Ah,” I pulled away. “I am in Lagos.” I glanced at the kids around him. “Who are they?” I threw out a question and waved my hands at them. They responded by waving their tiny hands towards me in acknowledgment. Satisfied with the courtesy, I returned my gaze to my friend.
Jim scratched his head and could hardly stomach his guilt. He looked at the children and then he returned his gaze to me. He swallowed hard and answered, “They are all mine!”
“WOW!” I gasped and choked. “They are all your children?”
He nodded like a terrified lizard and shifted his weight to one leg. How could he have denied them for all the kids looked like him.
I felt betrayed for Jim had once said to raise a family is luxury. He would be fair to himself if only he has just two kids. Keep them close to his chest and bend any circumstance to his favour. Talk is cheap but life is no bed of roses.



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