Short Stories

A Day To Mourn And Pick Cherries

Last week a cousin and I visited the home of a cousin who had recently passed.

He lived in a remote area on the out sketch of Ibadan somewhere between Ibadan and Oyo. Some ten minutes drive from Ibadan.

The cousin I went with was a brother to the deceased cousin. We had gone to the deceased house to pick up a few of his belongs (a few clothes) mostly to fulfill certain unspoken traditional requirements as he had been away from home for quite some time.

We arrived in the village and I was feeling extremely tired. I had missed sleep for a few nights because of a project I needed to complete and those sleepless nights were taking a toll on me. My eyes were heavy and my deadline on the website design project was only a few hours away.

I even went with my laptop and my Smile internet modem hoping that by some stroke of luck I would be able to connect to the internet from that remote settlement.

At the village, we found that the young man who had the keys to the house had gone to the farm and we were going to wait for him. Instead of just sitting and waiting, I decided to sit in the car and try to work on the project if I could connect to the internet.

I stood up from the relaxing comfort of the shade the Cherry trees had provided and the cool breeze that made it the perfect environment to catch some sleep if I could just put my back on the wooden bench the villagers had provided for us but no I couldn’t so I went to back to the car.

I reached for my laptop, pulled it out from its back in the trunk. I took out the modem also.  I wasn’t too surprised to find that Smile wasn’t available there.

For a second I thought I found a reason to catch a nap while we waited for the young man.

I took a position in the driver’s seat, fell the backrest, and wind down all the windows. About fifteen minutes later, a phone call woke me up. It appears that fifteen munites nap was enough to fuel and refreshen my body and soul for another nine hours.

While I napped in the car, my cousin reappeared with some fresh cherries, pure brown no rots. The looked so inviting and I had a tough time deciding whether to get up and eat or try to get more sleep after I dropped the call.

I got up when the young man we had been waiting for came.

Once we were done, I started the engine and we were on our way back to town.

About three minutes into the journey we remembered that we had planned to visit the farm where the deceased did his business so we phoned the young man at the village and did a U-turn.

The farm was on the other side of the village just across the road. When we got to the meeting point, we parked and waited for him under a shade built with tree logs covered on top with palm fronds.

While we waited for him, we picked a cherry, washed it, and started eating.
As that white sap touched my tongue, my taste buds screamed in harmony, and my lips synced in admiration of the goddess of cherries. I felt like I had the first daughter of the goddess of Egbalumo in my hand.

I barely finished the one in my hand when he arrived so we joined his bike, he insisted we didn’t have to drive to the farm.

Interestingly, my cousin was heralding in symphonic response, the sweetness of the Egbalumo.
It was the sweetest cherry (Udala, Egbalumo) I had ever tasted.

After a minute ride, we came to a point where only legs could carry us so we got off the bike and walk another two minutes through a tiny footpath, into the farm to a place where he was said to burn wood to make charcoal and sell them off.

I have always been a farm boy so I am ever glad when I hear them say, let us go to the farm. I just love the serenity of the quiet farm, where you sit under the shade, singing along with the birds and listening for the hiss of snakes and this farm wasn’t any different. Plenty of shade from trees.

As we walked through the bush part, we started picking cherries. We didn’t even care to know whether they be sweet of soar. For all we cared, we had tasted some very sweet ones that motivated us to pick more even though it wasn’t from the same tree as the ones we had tasted.

When we returned to the place where we parked, we came into a supply of fresh bread. The delivery man rides a motorcycle with a big wooden box tired to the back of the seat.

The bread looked attractive and burnt too. I love burnt bread a lot. I bought some and in minutes, we were on our back to town.


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Sam Onaivi
Sam Onaivi is a writer and editor. Lock me up in a room with assorted biscuits, coffee, and a laptop and I will write my heart out.

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