The Beautiful thing about Life is that Secrets have no hiding place. What we do in the dark, is soon revealed by light and the bullets of Karma always catch up with those who embezzle bad thoughts and intentions into the empty arms of a false dream.
A Secret is put to shame when its presence is revealed by light and then there becomes no hiding place. A Secret has no home, it is always running, moving and hiding. – nothing is hidden under the sun.
Over thirty years ago, I became friends with a boy called Solomon in a faraway village in Northern Nigeria. Each day we would take long walks together through paths of hot sands for miles. There was nothing that my ears did not hear, the stories were endless. I heard of men in rich clothing who had brought nations to a standstill and stolen the secrets of other nations. I heard the stories of politician, pastors, masquerades and married women and all the time, I did not have to be told that these secrets were for my ears only. I promised him that I would not reveal “The Great Secrets”
I felt the pain, the grief, the fear and the guilt, but each time, I kept on saying “You better come out and reveal yourself, Life is short”, But he never listened,
We bathed together, we ate together, we laughed together and we fought together and there were times I even had to defend Solomon in public.
I knew that Solomon was living on borrowed time and so one day, I decided to tell him a story.
On this day we did not walk through the paths of hot sand but we went in the opposite direction and ended up in the outskirts of the buzzing town of Azare in a little kiosk that sold the best fried yam, plantain and fresh fish. It was towards the end of the school term and I had saved up money for this treat. I was worried for Solomon, he was a boy with potential.
As we sat by the table, I pulled my stool towards him and waited for Mama Benji to finish serving us. She stared at us repeatedly. The food smelt nice and fresh. I was Solomon’s only friend.
I leaned forward preparing to tell my friend what he needed to hear, but before I could open my mouth, the unexpected happened. It happened so quickly and felt like a dream. A Big Black Jeep pulled outside Mama Benjis Kiosk. The tyres screeched on the concrete and I nearly fell of my chair and landed on the ground. Two armed men with white masks came out of the car and dashed towards Solomon. Mama Benji began to scream. They grabbed both of his arms and smashed his head against the wall. They threw him into the boot of the Jeep and drove off. . I never saw Solomon again. That day when I got back to my room, I cried for hours beneath the loneliness of my warm blanket, I felt as if a part of me had been taken away and I dreaded the feeling of facing the music each day would bring. The mood of the evening was strange, it suddenly felt like a new season overwhelmed with a dry spell of sadness.. Each day I prayed that I would meet Solomon again. That night when I slept, I dreamt of him chasing me round the dormitory. It was pitch dark and all the Seniors were fast asleep. I screamed and screamed but no one woke up. His eyes were filled with fury. I will never forget that day
I never saw Solomon again, but I still think about those secrets because these are Secrets that help to govern nations.
BY TONY TOKUNBO FERNANDEZ