SHE CLASPED her hands together as she stood at the entrance of the room admiring its new clean look. The shelf caught her eyes.
How had she missed it? she wondered. It was dusty and the books in it scattered. She took out each of the books, flapping through the pages of the ones that seemed interesting to her. She was soon looking at the poetry collections. Each held her disgust. She hissed. After a while, she voiced out:

‘I hate POETRY! Sammie keeps buying more of them each time, he doesn’t have work abeg!’

She found something tucked beneath the shelf so she stretched forth. Hands kneeling, with her big buttocks facing the door way, she pulled it out and stared at it like she was investigating it.

‘A hat?’ she asked as though waiting for an answer. ‘Woow! Beautiful! Sammie has this and doesn’t even use it! Owkay oo, its now mine jare.’

* * *
‘The only thing that made me not try the hat on is because it was dusty. And ever since I have been dreaming of how I would start cruising it to school now you’re bringing poetry inside. Abeg if you cannot give it out just say it and stop beating about the bush!’
‘It is not like that. You see, Onome, there’s a proverb in Tiv that whoever wears the hat of a dead man is calling for death—of the person’s self. Anyone that wears such a hat should be ready to die him—or her—as self…’
‘Traditions! Traditions!’ Onome said and sank into the bed with a sigh. Sammie strolled across the short distance of the room to the window. He folded the curtains up and opened the windows. Onome opened her mouth in protest:
It rang in his ears. After a while, she went closer to him and shouted in his ears:
When she saw he wasn’t going to shut the window, she pouted her mouth and said something under her breath. He seemed to be in a different world as he looked through the windows out to the skies:
Twinkle twinkle wrinkled star
Now I wonder where you are
Up above the world so high
Would those glasses still be on your eye?

‘Sammie don’t tell me you opened the windows just to recite those weird lines again?’

‘There are plenty of stars today and if my eyes were not beginning to blur, I’m sure would’ve seen daddy with his glasses on among them…’

‘Among what?’ Onome asked, as she passed a tissue‎

‘The stars,’ he replied.‎

‘Sorry… I did not mean to bring back black memories.’

‘No… No, you did nothing wrong I’ve been so into my job lately that I seem to have forgotten so thanks for reminding me and there are white memories too!’ Sammie said as he laughed heartily and moved towards the bed and began tickling her. She laughed and begged him to stop till she finally had to scream:‎
Sammie, please na…. Sammie! Stop! Stop!’

* * *
Onome was gone after they had a long talk that night. He looked at his transformed one room apartment again; she did a great job in the cleaning. Onome is a great lady, he thought as he closed back his windows. He proceeded to pick up the hat from the center table where she had left it and hung it on a nail on the wall just above his bed he pulled his shoes and fell on his bed. 
The room was dark but he yearned for a collection that now stood neatly on his shelf, Su’eddie Vershima Agema’s Bring our casket home; the collection where he saw the man with the glasses among the stars, the piece he recited to Onome…..

The room became still and so its host. The clock tocked; the fan creaked, spinning slowly. The crickets chirped and sang so the frog. An owl stood by the window wondering why a being would pose while asleep. Somehow, it had fallen off from the stand and now, the hat sat on the head of the still man who dreamt of another among the stars. He was there.

***************************************************************************************************Ene Odaba is a spoken word artist, singer and poet. She won the 2015 Benue ANA WriTALENT competition and was the first runner up of the Purple Silver Slam Spoken Word Contest in 2014. She is also currently an intern at SEVHAGE Publishers in Makurdi.

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