Friday 26 January 2007

I will tell your husband

The grip of memory

As I watch the repeat of a Hardtalk Extra interview with Gene Wilder, he recounts some experiences as caring for a sick mother, compulsive praying and other childhood things that I could identify with, humans live amazing lives even in stranger ways.

Introspectively, I have always been concerned if not fearful of the memories that I could retrieve and recount, one wonders if they should be left in the dust of time lifted out with the wry smile of what once was and where one is.

In some cases, I consider it merciful that I cannot remember the trauma of birth having escaped from the womb in a fit of claustrophobia at just under 27 weeks in a Macbethian wonder of survival.

I was told I fitted into the palm of my father’s hand, the lasting effects of that episode are relayed in the fact that I now use glasses, apparently, a lot of light is shone in the eyes of early babies, some doctors said my eyesight should improve with age but they did not notice the astigmatism that was developing till no one did anything about it.

However, I do have vivid memories from about 4 years old, I can faintly remember some earlier ones but they are not as striking though no less contributory to the framework to the framework that has become me.

Children have more than eyes

What I have found annoying in the culture in which I was brought up is the way our elders always felt we could be shielded from the activities going on around their lives by keeping us out of view.

It is as if they thought we only respond to the world visually and never develop mentally but only as errand kids and probably bookworms and suddenly at 9 or 10 we are supposed to be responsible people with extraordinary initiative, if only they knew what we knew then, arrested development in the midst of the overflow of life.

Was it a vision?

One good evening, I was a bit under the weather, I was just over 8 and my mum was nursing my kid brother in the adjacent room when this lady I knew so well entered my room through another door a and sat on me – the hairs on the back of my neck still stand on end as I remember the event – as I gasped for air, she was heavy, I said, “I will tell your husband”, which my mum heard next door and anxiously enquired what the matter was.

As I tried to tell her, she came into my room as the lady quickly left and my short term memory deserted me as to whom she was. It was probably another 10 years before I could remember that she was the wife of the veterinary doctor who was a family friend, however, that was my experience which some expert might explain away as hallucination, vision or poppycock.

Climb every mountain

That episode launch me into a new world, we climbed every mounted, sailed every sea and forded every river – excerpt from Sound of Music - seeking prayer men and their portals to God none of which prepared me for greater terrors I experienced from the age of 10 through 12. This may be written about in due course.

Parents are a wonder in the way they hold a protective shield over their children, their sacrifices, their prayers, their anxieties and pains just to make sure that our lives do not walk the paths of pain that they might have walked, it does however, bother me though that in some cases, they might also have inadvertently entered into covenants over which they have no control leading to unexpected consequences.

Surely, these things cannot be unique to African societies, and if I do still find the opportunity, I will tell her husband.

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