As Death Beckons

“Happy Birthday, Papaaaaa!” The chorus rented the air as I was wheeled into the living room. It’s a small party as I can observe, which is just the way I loved my parties; family and friends strictly. Nothing has changed even if it is a surprise.

I could pick out the voice of Mary screaming with excitement while baby Jay squealed as I entered the room filled up with decorations of all sorts. They were mostly brown, my favourite colour.

Brown seems to appeal to me these days. Probably the sight of the tattered newspapers and books gotten a couple of years ago that had now become my favourite companion had an effect on me. I am wearing a brown agbada if you care to know.

Cakes with candles waiting to be lit and blown were standing up on stage. I am sure Mary, my granddaughter, would not mind helping me out with that. A smile grazed my lips, such a happy child. The cakes seem to be 5 in number, which I guess each child made one. It’s a big celebration anyway, 100 isn’t a small number.

Though, not unaware as the children might have thought; their stealthy movement right from day one of planning had been noticeable. And you definitely don’t have Sade, my last born, involved in any of your party planning, most especially a surprise, and expect a sealed mouth, not even when we live and breathe in the same house. But I have to play along, it is the thought that counts.

10 full decades gone and here I am. A lot had gone by. My feelings are definitely undefined at the moment. I, who loves and cherishes each passing birthday each year, couldn’t even define my feelings. A near-death experience was enough to make me like this.

Femi, the first fruit of mine, is amidst the crowd, the women to be specific. He will be clocking 70 soonest and yet still has his way with the women. His receding gray hair and almost filled-up white moustache doesn’t deter them. He has a lot to counter that though: money, physique and his baritone thick voice. He definitely is enjoying the time of his life just like I did.

Ení bíni lenií jo. I had mine also up to the brim.

But here I am now, not a single person of my age here. They have all left me and gone to the beyond. And not even a woman by my side. Even the bone of my bone left before her bone. One of the struggles that came by this passing decade. You definitely don’t lose a loved one and remain the same. Even though it is my party, I can see more of their friends and Family.

The events that had rolled out in the past months made this birthday called for. It had been one hell of a rollercoaster, one that brought me to this current state of mine of being in a wheelchair. It brought me face to face with death. Death sensing my fear decided to give me a taste of being at the edge. I was here and there; living and dying, battling so much in pain.

As much as I knew my day of departure drew nearer and death beckoned each passing day, I dreaded the day it would finally manifest but each ailment drew me closer to them, I had a taste of a near-death experience. The lonely moments spent in introspection daily in my room after the incident seem to even weaken me more.

No matter the amount of struggle and enjoyment that I had in the past, there remains a part of me that doesn’t still want to leave, and that part seems to overwhelm the thought of going to rest. Or does a time come when no matter the life offered you just want to leave disregarding the case of negative occurrence?

Clocking 100 today reminds me that I have a little time left and that I really do not have control over that. The clock ticking speedily and moments waning away like a flame. I guess nobody really wants to die no matter the age, but do we have a choice?

I can see Sade waving at me.

Oh! It is time to cut the cake and blow out the candles. Mary is right up the stage as expected, while the sight of it scares Baby Jay. There seems to be a thing with him and candles just as there is a thing with me and death.

I have to go now.

I know we all look forward to growing old and not dying young but have you sometimes taken time to think if the older ones want to die? Today, I got into the mind of one of them and wrote out his heart’s content.

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