What treasures are you bringing to me? I asked of them.
For that is the meaning of children in a dream.
They are never still, busy, running, climbing,
jumping, skipping, pushing, touching, breathing,
hugging, crying, laughing, and through it all,
wide-eyed with expectations.
Expectations and Anticipations.
For they believe,
that I have it in me.
They want me to bring them to life.
Bring them to life?
What a huge responsibility!
“But you can do it.” their anticipating gaze pulled at me.
“But you are so many.” I cringed away from my destiny.
“Yes, we are.” They chorused in giggles.
“And there are many more of us. There are zillions of us where we came from, and if you bring us to life, many more will come, and they will keep coming and coming and coming and coming . . .”
I am the wide-eyed one now,
not in expectation but in terror.
I had wondered before in my waking mind
‘what would it be like to have 365 children,
One for each day of the year?’
But they could read my thoughts.
“No silly,” they giggled again, as they jumped, skipped, hugged and kissed,
And yet some were in the tree that I didn’t see before.
“You will stay and embrace us, and we, we will take care of you.
All you have to do is hug us and listen to us.”
“That is all?” Skepticism!
“Yes, silly,” they chorused again, and they were touching me, breathing on me, shoving me, pulling me, jumping on my knees….
“Don’t you remember me, I was there with you when you were one year old, and we were going to love the world with all of our hearts, we were going to eat it up, that was how much we loved the world,” she kissed me on my lips,
“But then, you stopped really tasting things and kissing me, and I missed you dreadfully.”
And my middle aged heart felt an ‘ouch.’
“And me, silly, we stared at everything, the world was so glorious and we put pictures of the world in our heart, our eyes were the cameras then, look inside you, the pictures are still there, in their infinite beauty, I look at them everyday.” She tapped on my eyes.
“But then you stopped taking pictures, and you really stopped seeing, and I missed you dreadfully.” And my middle aged heart felt a second ouch.
“And me silly, we used to hug the world, we were all hands and arms, we touched everything and hugged everything. I can still feel everything in my hands and arms; have you forgotten?” She pulled violently at my hands. A third ouch in my middle aged heart.
“And, oh how we cried!! It was the best music in the world, we cried and cried and beckoned to the world to come to us, that was our language then, and what a beautiful language. And sometimes the world came and sometimes the world ignored us, but that wasn’t the point. Do you remember how we felt after a good cry? Yes you do. We felt like the morning after a heavy rainfall, and everything is calm, cool and gentle. How we loved a good cry. We still cry, you didn’t desert me girl,” she draped her adorable arms around my shoulders.
“That is our one talent, and you hung on to it.” And on and on . . .
“When we were five, we were going to make a big loving family." And the ‘nth’ ouch to my poor heart.
“When we were six, we said we would love our husbands to pieces." Another ouch to my heart.
“When we were nine, we promised not to be mean back when people were mean to us." Another ouch to my heart.
“And we still loved to cry and we still felt like the morning after a heavy rain fall, and we love the feeling. . ."
“Yes, we do.” I smiled and she smiled back as she tugged on my cheeks.
“It is our one true talent.” We said in unison and giggled and said “Jinx,” and giggled again.
“When we were twelve, we promised to be beautiful, inside and outside."
“When we were fifteen, we used to cry a lot, we got our heart broken every day, every goddamn day and we wept, and we felt like the morning after a heavy rain fall.” And we both smiled at one another.
And the children from the tree came down and pulling and shoving started in zillions of voices, and we were going to work very hard, we were going to keep hope alive, we were going to thank all that came our way, we were going to smile all the time, we were going to be . . .
Finally, I asked, “have we done any of that?”
“We did some of them,” they chorused.
“But you grew up and forgot about us and that hurt us a lot and we cried.”
“I am so sorry.”
“Its okay, we never go away, we hang around, trying to catch your attention, and to remind you of your promises to us. It’s great that you are talking to us now. And see, it doesn’t take much, just embrace us, that is all there is to it.”
And the ouches to my middle age heart started to slowly ease off.
Happy New Year! Every day is a new beginning for us not to forget the promises we once made to ourselves.
Feasts of Phantoms a novel by Kehinde Adeola Ayeni-- ISBN 978-0981393926Available your local bookstore, a host of online booksellers and directly from Genoa House.