The Trauma Of Being Dike

The Trauma Of Being Dike

I had a dream this morning.

A very weird dream that woke me up.

I am back in Enugu, at the home of some of my family’s friends — the Onweluzo house in Trans-Ekulu. Only, it doesn’t seem to be in Trans-Ekulu. It seems to be somewhere around Milken Hills, judging by the hilly terrain right outside the windows of the room.

Pa Onweluzo, the 85-year-old patriarch of the family, is my adopted grandpa, and I’ve always had a great relationship with him. This day seems to be no different, as we are lounging on his bed and having a great conversation. What it is about, I do not remember. I only remember the parts from when we begin to talk about one of his sons and how a chance modeling gig for a company at the hills just behind their house had turned into an alternate stream of income for him – and his siblings, as he usually took them along to his shoots – for the last seven years.

I laugh, and say something like “that will only happen in my mother’s house over her dead body.” Immediately I say it, Pa Onweluzo frowns and says he doesn’t want to talk about my mother. I try to say something else, but he shushes me.

Then, in that manner of dreams, I am walking into my house, to meet Mother and my sister in the living room. I greet my sister and ignore Mother. It seems she and I have had a tiff in the recent past, one that is unresolved, hence my silent treatment towards her. As soon as I greet my sister, she immediately starts haranguing me over where I went to and why I said nothing to anyone before going out. Here is where I get a hint as to the cause of my fight with Mother — my sister says we aren’t done dealing with the fallout of my last outing, how I went out without telling anyone, and how I’m so disrespectful as to do it again, despite Mother’s ire over my last offense – and now, I have the audacity to give her the silent treatment.

I am about to respond to her when, again, my dream jumps, and I find myself in church.

Only, it is the church of my teens and early twenties: Winners Chapel State Headquarters, 12 Winners Way, Presidential Road, Enugu. And the pastor at the altar is Pastor Makanjuola — Mackie Jay, as the youth church used to call him back in the day — who came in 2013 and was transferred to a new station in 2017.

I do not remember much about the service, only that I sit through it. It is after the service that the dream gets interesting.

I walk down into the church’s courtyard, looking for my sister. Before long, I meet an old friend of my mother’s. In real life, she and I were in the choir together for years, until she left for the US in 2015 with her daughter. A tall, plump and very light-skinned woman, she has a booming voice that takes up just as much space as her physical presence does.

She calls my name, and after we greet, she asks about Mother. There is a certain strangeness to her question, a certain something in her voice that says she’s fishing for something. I fence the question, telling her that Mother is fine and that I am looking for her.

She is about to say something else, when, again, time jumps.

This time, I am in front of the church’s main entrance doors, and Mother is standing off to one side. My left side, I think. The woman is there with me too. I look around for my sister, but she is nowhere within my line of sight.

The woman starts talking to Mother, but Mother is not paying much attention to her. It seems Mother is upset. I try to interject, to converse with the woman, to make up for Mother’s quiet antagonism.

Then my sister arrives. And, with her, a troop of pastors.

Immediately, Mother starts talking to the pastors, telling them what a bad son I am and how I am making her life hell. I cannot hear everything she is saying, but it seems that other woman can. She is aghast, dividing her stares between Mother and me. At a point, she tries intervening, walking up to Mother to speak to her, to interrupt her, but Mother shrugs her off and goes on laying her complaint to the ministers.

A crowd gathers, and as the stares from them increasingly turn to glowers of hate shooting at me, I feel someone shove me. I stagger backwards, only to get shoved again. And again. And again.

The woman notices and screams at the people to stop, to leave me alone. But no one pays attention to her. She turns to Mother and yells, “He’s your son! Why aren’t you protecting him?”

Mother pointedly ignores her and continues talking.

This is when Mackie Jay arrives with his entourage. He steps out of his car and begins to speak, his voice rising with every word he says. The crowd goes silent, Mother stops speaking, and I can hear him clearly. He says what a terrible son I am, how I am the heartache of my mother and the problem of my family, and he begins to curse me in the name of Jesus. With every curse he pronounces, the crowd says amen. The woman’s voice of protest is drowned out by the droning of the crowd’s amen.

When he is done, he tells Mother and my sister to enter the car. He signals to one of the church security unit members, who goes to the back of the car – a Hilux – fetches an old box, and tosses it at me. That done, Mackie Jay gets into the car and they drive off, while the crowd around me disperses.

I pick the box, step out of the church premises and decide to make a call to someone I can stay with. Somehow, I find that my phone is no longer my Samsung, but a Nokia torchlight phone. (One of those blue and orange ones that were immensely popular between 2012 and 2014.) And it suddenly seems like I know nobody to call in Enugu, like, I have no friends, no one to turn to.

I am standing outside when the thought occurs to me: Call Pinky.

And so, I start to dial his number.

Zero Eight Zero Six Nine Six…

And I open my eyes.

I am awake.

Written by Dike

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  1. Intimate
    February 06, 14:52 Reply

    Wow🥺. First off, that is one dream i do not want to have. It was too vivid for my liking
    Heaven knows if it were me i would first of all bind, cast and nullify all he curses heaped on me cus it sounds like a village people thing.

    But honestly, it speaks too much of unfinished business, don’t know if u get my drift

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