This is your life
If you could read a book containing all that has happened and will happen in your life, would you? If you choose to read it, you must read it cover to cover.
I sat at the table and watched as he smoked. I never liked him- even before I met him. My sister, Ife, would talk about him like he was a savior. She would say, ‘Oh… my boyfriend does magic. He’s simply magic!’ Then my mother would say, ‘Just come and wash this rice’ or ‘Hope you sha took my cloths to Iya Ijeoma. I need to wear that black skirt to church tomorrow’. My mother is always gentle, too gentle (I daresay). She avoids tough discussions or any kind of discussion at all. My father, on the other hand is the exact opposite, he talks about EVERYTHING… alone. He never cares about anyone’s opinion.
But back to the matter, there I was, sitting in front of this magic of a man. He said, ‘You have to read this book. There’s no way I’m letting you out of here without reading it. You already know too much. Knowing some more wouldn’t hurt. Plus it’s good stuff’. I squinted and said, ‘That makes no sense. If I know too much, you ought to kill me and not force me to know my future and re-know my past. Everything is incredulous actually… unbelievable’. ‘Yeah’, he sighed, ‘Whatever.’ I was thinking – I should never have visited him. Never. But Ife had left the house since morning and I had to go fetch her. I got there and the door was unlocked, so I walked in only to see him standing in the middle of his living room performing some serious black magic. I stood there, listening to the incantations, invocations, spells and so on. He was not alone in the room – although he was the only one visibly present. The whole thing made the hairs at the back of my neck rise, and my legs freeze.
When he finally finished, he turned around and smiled a chilling smile. Then he said, ‘You must have learned a lot Itunu. I see you like to sneak in and intrude. In the spirit of learning, I wish to teach you something I only just learned’
‘No’ I said.
He laughed really loud and said, ‘No? No?’ He laughed some more and said in an exaggerated Shakespearean accent , ‘The voodoo cares not about your wishes. Sit.’
I unfolded my arms, opened the first page and gasped – black, empty, blank. I kept turning each page – black… blank… empty. I was about to slam the book shut when he stopped me and yelled, ‘You can’t do that. If you close the book, you abruptly also end your life. You must keep reading it to the end’. ‘But… it’s blank’ I hissed. ‘I see that’ he murmured. So I kept flipping the pages. Absolutely nothing.
I was about to shut the book when I saw writings and ‘unwritings’ on a page. While some words were being written, prior words were being erased. The erasing words were describing how I had earlier witnessed magic and the words being written were describing the present lesson I was learning. The parts that were being erased turned to black. It was amazing… enchanting. Soon, the words which were being written seconds ago, were being erased and I saw a new sentence being written. It said, ‘She, now, is amazed as she witnesses her present in black and white. She reckons not that she, indeed, is living this present – this present that amazes her.’ I stared at Mr. Magic and he said, ‘Flip to the end and I’ll explain to you.’ As I flipped the page, I caught a glimpse of those words disappear and a new sentence form. It said, ‘She is about to journey into her future. And she is way too excit…’
I flipped through the rest of the pages and they were all blank but white… unsurprisingly. Then I shut the book and looked to Mr. Magic for an explanation. He smiled and took his time, dragging on his smoke and staring at me through half closed eyes. Then he finally said, ‘That’s it. That’s life. Your past? It is gone. It’s as flimsy and as transient as time. Humans try to hold on to their past. And you know, sometimes, one cannot blame them. But your past is gone. It hinges on time and since time is not static, your past goes with time. The pages were black however, because one cannot rewrite his past. It is time borrowed and paid. Chapter closed. Your present, however, has more hope in for you. You have the chance to influence it. But it is also quite flimsy. It goes really fast.’ He paused to cough a little. ‘Your future, however’ he continued, ‘is a white blank sheet. No one, except the One who made you, can tell you what it is. And even He gives you a considerable amount of choice to decide what you want your future to be. That’s it. That’s life.‘