“When brothers agree, no fortress is so strong as their common life.” – Lee King
“What strange creatures brothers are!” Jane Austen
I would have loved to take you to Shaunz Karaoke and perform ‘limitless’ (by Colton Dixon) passionately with the two potential Mrs. Bamigboye cheering me on in the audience. I also love to tell the world how much you mean to me but words will always fail me no matter how much I try. A life without you would have been like a cow without a tail, horn and Shepherd. Childhood without your presence would have been like a dessert void of sand and wind; meaningless and totally out of place.
Ayorinde Bamigboye (Egbon MI of life as I fondly call you). In my life you played (and still play) multiple roles and handle numerous responsibilities. In you, I have a protective father, a great friend, an altruistic brother, a caring lover, a loyal fan, a comic partner and reliable confidant just to mention a few. Over the years, the dynamics of our relationship had changed at different times as we evolve and grow in life. You are mature and sensitive enough to adapt and sync with your little brother’s frequency… That is rare and priceless! Your grace and anointing is always sufficient to handle whatever I become or evolve into. Thanks for the respect and honour egbon! A prophet is not honoured in his own town but you always move out of the town to honour your prophetic baby. Love you plenty egbon.’ E pe fun MI oo! ‘Igba odun odun kan ooo!! “You always try your best to shield me out of trouble and restricting me from stepping on toes and whenever I do you have a way of stepping into the situation to cover my error and make sure you salvage the situation. Thanks for shielding me!
Egbon, if only you can feel a wave of nostalgia right wherever you are after reading this piece then I will be fulfilled; that will be a perfect birthday gift from me to you . I have laundry list of memories I will love to share, permit me to mention a few:
1. How you bashed me when I attacked Idris Suleiman (my class rep) during closing hours for putting my name in the noise maker’s list (as we use to call it). How on earth did you use that belt on me for more than 36 times (my white shirt was blood stained from the baptism) and Esho Segun who was my partner the same mission received just 6 strokes. What a ‘tough’ big brother!
2. How you traveled for hours just to pay me a surprise visit in school less than 30 hours after I told you over the phone about my challenges with Electrolysis (it’s a topic in chemistry); that trip meant a whole lot to me.
3. How you violently fought your friend(Demola) who hit my cute head with a tennis racket in Lennon Great Hall. You can easily switched from a wicked egbon to a loving and protective fatherly brother in seconds. That was epic!
4. How you improvised when I misplaced the cash (naira 615) mum left for us when she traveled to Jos on a business trip; you harvested different grasses and weeds in the garden and made a vegetable soup from it. We ate that mixture for 4 – 5 days yet no one knew about it until now and it was never mentioned even when she arrived(I remember, how you were washing the soup off immediately she arrived) What a creative and innovative brother you are!
5. I would also like to share my experience when I had to represent you in an academic award and dinner organized by Akoko indegenes in the United States of America and Canada. You did excellently well in the essay competition but unavoidably absence(because I chose not to pass the information across to you) I aligned with the school Counselor to represent you instead and he obliged. It was a life-changing event for me and it was awesome to bear ‘Bamigboye Ayorinde’ temporarily and received all the applauds and standing ovations from the roaring crowd. Funny enough I was called to give the vote of thanks.
Who says you can’t reap where you didn’t sow?
All these aforementioned stories would have been easier to write and probably more interesting but I chose this because I was asked by a panel few days ago to talk about the first creative story project I was part of and I started talking about nextscenes.com. After deep meditation, I discovered I was wrong because I was part of this project between ages 6-9. So I love to share my first creative writing project experience with few friends even though you were the director and producer.
Egbon fasten your seat belt… Here we go:
THE BLOODY SATURDAY MORNING.
IT WAS A COLD MORNING (29/08/98).You were on an errand which I had no idea about (I still don’t have a clue). I decided to follow you like Lot followed Abraham to a land he was completely clueless about. As we walked Academy Street we saw some boys stepped out of compound with almond fruits in their hands. The house belongs to Dr Adeyemi’s who was a commissioner at that time (for record purposes). Honestly, we had no business going in but I think our curiosity was suddenly salivated, “curiosity kill the cat,” they say. You actually asked me if we should step in and see what was going on and I bobbed my head in agreement. We pushed the pedestrian gate which went ajar in obedience to the pressure exerted and you walked in as if it was Prince Bamigboye Oladipupo’s house and I followed like a sheep to the slaughter and I foolishly shut the gate behind us; two little children with so much gut on a blind 3 mins adventure.
As we walked closer to the almond tree in the compound which was like 150 metres from the main building, before we could interpret what was going on, four ‘beasts’ lying gently in a coded corner arose and charged towards us like David ran towards goliath; only the passion and the looks in their faces was enough to make a giant swoon. Then a thunderous voice (one of their stewards, I think.) yelled repeatedly on top of her lungs “Kids, Stay still! Do not move! They won’t harm you if you don’t run!” as she called these fierce creatures by their funky names (Bush and Actor still ringing in my head right now).
Egbon, you were standing firmly by my right, holding my right wrist with your left hand (I can’t still understand if I should call that gut or something else) . In splits of seconds, I was out of your grip and took off like Usain Bolt. Sprinting was one of first strength; I was the fastest in my class but compared to these unfriendly animals I was like a snail trying to escape from a dare. These heartless beasts followed my leading until Bush (the rottweiler) ‘ministered’ to my fleshless buttocks. The brunt of the responsibility fell on my tough jeans pinafore, however, that didn’t save my flesh totally (the scars are still there even till eternity). The staff’s efforts to control them finally became productive but no one could palliate the shocked and hurt kid as he screamed “My mother! My mother!!
Terror enveloped every soul on the scene even as these dogs were tamed and caged. Egbon, I will never forget how you took charge of the situation that Saturday morning. One of the staff asked us about our mission in the tranquil compound. Your reply was succinct and spot on “We saw the gate slightly open and we decided to check what was inside.” You advised them to just open the gate and allow us leave as soon as possible before our parents would trace us there, you also promised them that no one would be back to raise alarm, I looked at you in disbelief because I knew the squad we had at home. Even though you were not yet in your teenage you acted with so much maturity; unlike the children of our ages, we were part of the decision making process at home and our mum allowed us to air our opinion of the affair of things at home – from bills to switch in business line and Egbon was already filling Mr Barmz vacuum in the family(raising a son like me is no joke) You will do yourself a disservice if you expected us to act or behave like our age mates. (Research still shows we still act and talks like 10 years above our age). Egbon, you took charge of the environment and fear began to fade away because you manage the situation perfectly and automatically became our leader.
My cordura Jean pinafore with a chest pocket and a pair of hook around my breasts made the injury difficult to access. You couldn’t unhook so we had to take it home like that. I was well-dressed in my white shirt blue pinafore and a pair kito sandals (dressed for a bite). I arrived home with one part of my butts drenched with blood like a chunk of bread buried in tea.
From the scene to our house was about 3-5 minutes walk but it took us more than 20 mins that day as we brainstormed, create a storyline and plotting every structure that could shield us from ‘hurricane Mum’ that would blow anyone violently for such foolish adventure. You kept telling me ‘Taiwo, you will be fine it’s just a scratch’ you also added “dog bite is just like blade-cut.” (what a wonderful way to kick away fears!);You continued by calling your friends like Tunde, Bisoye and other who you claimed had experienced dog bite like countless times yet nothing happened to them even though they didn’t visit the hospital according to you. This endless rants were all fashioned just to calm me down bit because my contribution was needed in crafting something creative and that can save us from the wrath to come. We finally arrived at a laconic but creative story – short enough to be repeated over and over by either of the culprits yet strong enough to yield the emotional result we wanted.
This is it:
“On our way, we saw a man running after a particular dog we can’t explain why and he started yelling ‘children stand still!’ We managed to stay calm but Taiwo (Tunji) took off and the dog followed him and injured him and the dog continued running. The man only told us ‘sorry, take him home now’ and continue chasing the dog. In no time both the man and the dog disappeared.”
Now as a professional creative writer, I am proud to be part of that project. I appreciate it more because the intensity of the pressure and the short time frame made it golden.
Mum who first folded her arms across her chest didn’t wait to hear the whole gist, tears gathered on her eyes lid and finally meandered down her cheeks as you delivered the stories with high level of professionalism (from childhood till your university days your acting skill is spot on and I still wonder how on earth you dump it for Information Technology)
Mama Ayo lifted and planted me firmly in her back, picked her purse and dashed out for the hospital. I will never never forget the song that tore through her tighten throat (she sang it repeatedly and loudly with her voice strained with emotions) from the depth of her weary and overwhelmed soul. They were about tracing us to where we were sent because we had stayed longer than expected .
I think she was deeply devastated for this few reasons:
1. Dog bite is a serious matter. Rabies isn’t something you joke with. Egbon you are the only one who thinks it’s like blade cut. I have experienced it twice and it can be scary especially when you have negative people around.
2. Our story was terribly terrifying, it’s safe to call it horror. She asked us if we had seen the man or the dog before and we both replied “No”(power of rehearsal) Even if she didn’t utter a word but I am sure some scary thoughts would have crossed her mind like someone targeted his last born from the gate of hell (lol)
3. Lastly, the first thing I told her that morning was about the nightmare I had about being a victim of dog bite. She prayed and spoke words of protection over my fine head then jokingly said “where is the dog going to come from?”Lastly, the first thing I told her that morning was about the nightmare I had about being a victim of dog bite. She prayed and spoke words of protection over my fine head then jokingly said “where is the dog going to come from?”
I think the ‘insanity’ was a merger of tinge of nebulous fear of rabies and the Jolt of regret (if she had known she would have locked me up).
Mum didn’t share the nightmare with anyone during the incidence not even after. What a coded mum we have!
Dr Abubukar was our family doctor and he was the MD of the state general Hospital at that period. After the first set of treatment, he separated me from my mum and took me to a lonely room. Knowing fully well, how much I hated syringe like some Nigerians hate to see Fulani herdsmen around them. Gently squatted, rubbed my fingers and looked into my eye balls (but I kept on gazing on the well-tiled floor). “Taiwo, once we don’t have an idea about the dog or its owner, we can’t tell if it’s treated or not but I think it’s treated though. If you have an idea about the owner or the dog, you will just receive one more injection and you will be fine and go home. If we don’t have any info about it, you are gonna receive 15 injection in 7 days. Help yourself, help your mum and help me too. Your mum shouldn’t be responsible for this bills the owner should.” I felt bad and tempted to let out the truth as I look through the transparent glass and saw my beautiful mum sobbing in the arms of her late stepsister as she consoled her professionally (who was a nurse-midwife). That was a tough decision to make but I chose to stick to our crafted story. I was taken in for another injection but battalion were not needed to clamp me down at that moment for the first time. Few minutes later, I overheard Doctor Abubakar told my mum and her super-cute late sister (brother Rotimi’s mum) “Taiwo knows something we don’t know, after I spoke with him he has been calm and the way he received the last injection says a lot about it. I know he is very stubborn but keep petting him that he might just talk.” People like Dr Abubakar will make you fall in love with the ‘overrated’ profession called medicine and surgery.
I remembered we arrived home and met you repeating our crafted story to ‘the panel of judges ‘ until the story sank into everyone’s skull.
Our crafted story eclipsed the real incident and stood the test of time. In fact, it’s still a secret between the two of us even as I let it out today. I learnt how to talk for hours no stop yet secret remains secret. What a skill! Only God knows how many secret we still have till date buried in the ocean floor of our hearts.
Happy birthday to the man who first believe in my Brand. For the honour, care and respect for this small boy I say thank you sir! Thank you for always being there for me even when I choose to keep you out of it. I still remember the discussion we had the last time I paid you a visit, you brashly said “Tunji, the person that will marry you must be a lady of strength and grit but she must be the luckiest woman on earth. I am not telling you because you are my son or because you are here… That is the truth!” I totally agree with you and I count it a great honour. However these statement didn’t depict me as much as its describes you. Gold is blessed to have you and we are honour to have her too.
MAY THE REST OF YOUR LIFE BE THE BEST OF YOUR LIFE EGBON MI OF LIFE.
Your great Aburo and son,