A Lesson Grandfather Taught Me ~ Fadlullah Balogun

I’m standing on a Cliffside guarding this border, my diary in hand, looking unto yesterday – a time when I wanted nothing but death. O body! How have you grown! Away from negatives, all strengthened as I am in this momentous adulthood. I owe God today and the father that fostered me.


Yesterday, I was sick, on a bed threatening death. It would be no joke saying that I’d have raffia mats woven about me tomorrow because in my mind I was already dead. But what do you do when death threatens you in your sleep?


“Nightmares have made me a nocturnal bird. In my existence till this moment, I’ve never been troublesome; who would want me dead?” I asked father on one of his visits.

I’d prepared an avalanche of questions, but its languor locked them in my throat. Father’s daily goings were tales of sorrow, his returnings make me sadder. The perturbation he encounters finding means to my end; his face had carried wrinkles. The sweat he brings back floods my face as tears–it drowns me further.


Since then, I struck a deal with my mind to carry me above this urn to my desires–the body and swiftness of a vanguard and wiseness of an owl; I shall gain wisdom of turmoil, of sweetness and of the one in between – pretence, for I would carefully pick them off a Jericho that’s still standing. There occurred days when fleetness betrayed me in cloaked nights as I race into a void.


I was still upon that bed on one of those nights, a paralytic alarm awoke the room; the one that would rectify me. I could only see father; other things were farther. His rosary in his hands, he questioned my face.

“Th-they wanted to kill you”, I stuttered.

Father, undressing this strait with a fake smile shushed me. His prayers, in frenzy, set a new trajectory. Yes! He had to run for his life. I connected dots on the ceiling, so careful not to play the scene I had seen.


I realized my roots on this bed. I am a branch from the tree of a warlord. In a time, the slave trade was legal, grandfather, who articulated war as the wall was a warrior fighting in defence against these attacks.


Father, a general himself had won a plethora of battles but a painful loss. The flower he’d cut from a parent garden withered whilst trying to plant it in his own. Her death shrouded him a wave of sorrow. He vowed never to lose any battle, ever. And here was I. Father did win, his prayer’s reaction would put me on my legs acting. It became my first win too. Suddenly, understanding this wasn’t enough aroused passion in me. I’ve fallen and risen as a warlord, but father says I’m a vanguard. And I am now.


Grandfather was right. A war is a wall deterring imminent damage, for those who have something to guard. Prayer is verisimilitudinous; it’s a shield from danger. Albeit death is inevitable.


Fadlullah Balogun is a Nigerian writer from Ogun State. An alumnus of FUTMinna who writes to touch the roots of physical patterns and how it cures evil. His works are forthcoming in publications. When he’s not writing, he’s reading elites’ works or learning about technology.  He tweets and IGs @dexterity_inme.

Photo Credit: Photo by Muhammadtaha Ibrahim Ma’aji from Pexels

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