On A Sad Weather-Beaten Couch
238 Pages
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On A Sad Weather-Beaten Couch


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Learn more
238 Pages


The most appealing quality of the novel is its haunting and unusual prose that really ought to be termed poetry. But this is poetry with an added touch as it is also a narrative that weaves together many lives engrossed in the daily struggle for survival. There are no heroes or villains, just ordinary folk trying to make the most of extraordinary circumstances.



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Published 23 September 2015
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EAN13 9789956762910
Language English
Document size 2 MB

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On A Sad Weather-Beaten Couch On A Sad Weather-Beaten Couch Sanya Osha
Sanya Osha
On A Sad Weather-Beaten Couch
Sanya Osha
L a ng a a R esea rch & P u blishing CIG Mankon, Bamenda
Publisher: LangaaRPCIG Langaa Research & Publishing Common Initiative Group P.O. Box 902 Mankon Bamenda North West Region Cameroon Langaagrp@gmail.comwww.langaa-rpcig.net Distributed in and outside N. America by African Books Collective orders@africanbookscollective.com www.africanbookscollective.com
ISBN: 9956-762-42-3 ©Sanya Osha 2015All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, mechinal or electronic, including photocopying and recording, or be stored in any information storage or retrieval system, without written permission from the publisher
DISCLAIMER All views expressed in this publication are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Langaa RPCIG.
de Bantan lay on the sofa in his girlfriend’s living nothAing to do. He just had to remain on the couch until room fanning himself and trying to seize upon a measure of coolness. He had nowhere to go. He had Enitan, his girlfriend returned from work. Day in and day out, that was what his routine had become. He would lie on the couch or on the floor without a shirt, fervently hoping that a baleful cloud did not descend upon him and that the feeling of not wanting to endure yet another day did not incapacitate him. When such a cloud did descend, Ade Bantan had had not even the will to weep. If he were to hold up his arm, it would drop limply, as if it were not part of his body at all. When that happened, he knew that he was in trouble. Real trouble. He had no money to waste on shrinks. Even if he had, what good would that do? Most shrinks had no time to spend nursing a patient back to health. They were too busy trying to sustain their careers, too engrossed with the challenge of keeping the funds rolling in. They were too busy to listen in order to find out what was really happening. Too busy to think. Too busy for everything. And so, Ade Bantan could not afford to go through the ordeal of passing through the hands of a bunch of lousy shrinks. If word got around that he had problems with mind or in his head, he would have a lot of explaining to do. He just couldn’t be bothered with the rigmarole. He couldn’t be bothered with all that crap. So he would lie on the couch in semi-darkness as the slow poisonous tide of woe welled up within him. So no one could see the extent of his pain. So no one could sense that he was gradually poisoning himself. No one knew he was having daily conversations with his departed relatives and with his own death.
No one knew the devastating power of his unseen guests. No one knew a damn thing about him. And so, he had become his own shrink, holding internal monologues about missed opportunities, paths not taken, friendships broken, thresholds not crossed, crack-ups of the heart and balls, and a whole litany of other failures. How many doors had closed before him that he did bother to shove for fear of yet another failure? How many opportunities had he merely walked away from? It was impossible to tell. Too many in fact. But in the arrogance of youth, you believe that there will be more opportunities, more doors beckoning. You could always say fuck that route and take the next one. It was as simple as that. So you fetch you next mug of coffee and life continues as it always does if you have the patience to look around the corner of thorns and darkness. At thirty-seven, Ade Bantan no longer saw doors beckoning to him. He could only see corners of darkness and thorns and dead elongated, rotting bodies that had crashed in motor car accidents along the way. It tore at his entrails for such images to drift through his mind with such mind-searing vividness. Awful. Really bad. These are the sorts of images that made him appear to be lost when Enitan entertained guests, sitting with his arm propping his chin up like a dispirited philosopher relieving himself on heap of rubbish in a slum. No one could understand him once he got into that sort of mood. He did not fully understand such baleful moods himself. They had been visiting him for months on end. He began to think that he would have to endure them for the rest of his wretched existence. An existence marked with ominous silences, gaps, and deceptions. It wasn’t a good idea to attempt to connect some of those troublesome dots in his
small journey of life. If he did, Enitan would reject him, her sisters would jeer, her brother would scoff at him, and her numerous relatives might threaten to beat him up. Everyone believed Ade Bantan was a great painter destined for impressive things. He had met Enitan, barely out of her teens, fifteen years before, when she came to an art exhibition in which some of his work was displayed. Then, he had managed to impress a posse of art patrons who jostled for his attention. He would never forget the red plaid micro miniskirt she wore, her fashionable white shirt, and black flat shoes. She wore a few colorful bangles she’d bought from some Fulani traders. Nothing expensive, but she was cool. She had a terrific figure then, which she managed to maintain all these years later. For some reason, on that first day, she kept hovering around him trying to catch his attention. By then, Ade Bantan had had several glasses of fine red wine. His head was buzzing with the goodness of life. Yes, life was wonderful. Let’s eat, drink, and fuck until the end of time. Such was his mood that night. Eventually, toward the end of the evening’s proceedings, Ade Bantan and Enitan got to talking. She asked him questions. What does it take to become an artist? Do you make a lot of money selling art? How does one go about being an artist? Did you think I had it in me to become an artist? Several times, Ade Bantan had no clue how to reply. Ade Bantan looked artsy then; dreadlocks, florid shirts made in Banjul and Dakar, Italian sandals, French cologne, earrings, and metrosexual make-up. It was his time to act, to be cool. Enitan was probably more interested in his get-up than his art. She liked the way he looked and thought he would be an interesting fuck. By the time they left the art gallery, she was already deep kissing him. Raymond Ragshad, a friend and fellow artist, whispered in Ade Bantan’s ear:
This girl would fight to marry you and then get a baby with another man and present it to you as yours. Mark my words. Raymond Ragshad’s foresight and clairvoyance were simply remarkable. At that age, Enitan had more stuff in her panties than ants. It didn’t matter to Ade Bantan then. Why should it? He was out to have fun and good fun had nothing to do with morals. He made a date to see Enitan the next day before they boarded separate public buses to go home. They met at lunchtime at a cramped eatery a few blocks from the art gallery. There were only a couple of people around, so much the better to concentrate on each other. She asked him the same questions she had asked the previous night. What does it take to be an artist? Do you make a lot of money selling art? How does one go about being an artist? Did he think she had it in her to become one? Only this time, she could focus on his eyes, arrest them from drifting. Not that there was much to distract his attention. It appeared the eatery was having its last gasps before dying an unmourned death. The tables were unbalanced, the garish red paint on the walls advertised the Coca Cola trademark over and over again. Only one waitress catered to everybody, and the meals were lousy. The specialty was cold rice served with bits and ends of beef dipped in stew. The stew was invariably cold. There were many high-rises under construction nearby, making the din quite loud. The traffic too was heavy with bus conductors yelling their lungs out and drivers hooting for no reason at all. Haywire capitalism at its worst. Kill and eat your brethren or be killed and eaten by them. What kept the eatery alive for so long was that it was dead cheap. Also, it was a convenient spot for married people to have assignations with their lovers away
from prying eyes. That was the lousy eatery’s biggest selling point. On that day, Ade Bantan did not know that it was already that bad. He didn’t realize that the cars that hooted incessantly were grinding the bones and clotted blood of dead souls underneath. He wasn’t yet aware that the high-rises that scrambled to drag down the skies were fed with the bodies of half-dead men by the hundreds everyday. He didn’t know that each and every building along the streets was a funeral house, that the funeral houses emitted mutilated souls at dawn and ate raw human flesh for dinner. He was blind to the fact that no one was exempt from the plunder, murder, and hypocritical complicity; no one was free from the cycle of eating shit for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and then sitting on the throne of shit at night. Everyone was running on the treadmill of shit production either as a consumer or as a producer. If Ade Bantan had aready learned this vital lesson by the time when he first met Enitan, then perhaps his spirit would not not be so heavy now; perhaps he would not always appear to be a defeated thinker on a pile of shit in a slum while others laughed and made jokes; perhaps he would be able to bear the seemingly interminable journey of a smile from the depths of his belly to the glassy façade of his teeth. But at that moment in their lives, Ade Bantan still had the dubious privilege of dining with the bloated shit producers who were his patrons and Enitan ate shit for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. She just wanted to get out of that blind cycle of abuse so that she could see clearly for once. She had a great hunger for sight and she was ready to cling to anyone who could guide her to the precipice of sight. Her spirit sensed that it was trapped in the gorge of blindness. Deep in the gorge of wailing, flailing spirits, souls groaned and moaned,
slithered in mud and sludge, expired in tunnels without ends, fought for gasps of air that burned like fire, and became extinct like heavy tadpoles on the slimy muck of night. We drown in our own tears. Consolation abandons us, leaving us alone to console other souls plagued with the misfortunes of life. This was the condition Enitan was struggling to escape. This was the condition that fed her hunger for sight as she groped about blindly for a foothold, an anchor to secure her from the unfathomable expanse of sludge in airless space. Who could blame her? It was hot, dark, and destructive in that space where one could expire in the nameless distance between life and death on a waiting list where the damned invariably went missing in transit. On that day, Ade Bantan had not yet known the devastation caused by muck and airless spaces. After all, those who produced shit invited him to their tables and drawing rooms. He played with their children and joked with their wives. He was fine—for now. He didn’t quite understand the ravages of desperation—yet. Desperation was something he came across in books, newspapers, and casual conversations that he would soon forget. Desperation was for those who groveled in slums and became deaf with grime in their ears. No it was not for him and needn’t be. He was okay and cool for now. As Ade Bantan and Enitan slowly sipped their soft drinks amid the noise of construction workers and traffic, a bond started to form between them. Her sultry looks had finally caught his eye. She hoped he would be more than the boy he resembled; she hoped he would be a real man who could take care of her; lead her to that precipice of sight and light that
she sought; remove the thick grime from her ears; give her the family she had never really had; build something with her from the air of life; grow old with her amid the laughter and activities of their children and grandchildren; and finally, she would bow before the airplane of life in a time of dusk and kiss the tired soil beneath. Then she could claim the ultimate victory over the adversities that had dogged her throughout her life and robbed her of innocence from her cradle. If only her life could turn out as she had envisioned. If only she could experience the grace and pleasures of a smile at dusk. Something within her worried her that those dreams were too far-fetched, that the damage had already been done, that the pathways that led to her grave were littered with frank, businesslike smirks, bitten lips, ambushed bodies and plans, innumerable betrayals, backs bearing plunged knives, hypocrites, day-old flesh, layers of deception over deception, masquerades that traumatize children, and death that demands endless repetitions. But Enitan was a determined personality; she would fight because she had no choice, because there was nothing else she could do. She had to fight because she had seen hope flash a set of gleaming white teeth. As she sat on the edge of the wobbly bench, Enitan continued to look into Ade Bantan’s eyes for vestiges of hope, for something to cling to. Ade Bantan was talking casually, trying to make her laugh. He hoped she was besotted with him. Finally, he said to her, You know what you need? A good fuck. That would solve all your problems. You think so? Yeah. I’m sure. I’m never wrong on such matters.