Afrosays to me

…random excerpts from my communions with the AfroMuse

Decades – The Seventh Decade (61-70) August 16, 2011

Filed under: Decades,Scenic — afrosays @ 10:33 am

The Decades project I.

Thanks for following! In case you missed the preview, find it here so you know what to expect. Decades is a beautiful project that was worked on by a team of eight talented bloggers, some of which you’re familiar with. (The details are in the preview)

The project attempts to take you on a journey that is planned around how the life of a man is at different stages of his life. We use the lives of different men, some of which are intertwined to paint this picture. The stages are in ten-year intervals, hence the name project name.

We hope that you’d be kind enough to leave a comment. Your feedback is important to us.

The Seventh Decade (61-70) by @JibolaL

This and the following Decade are very dear Decades to me. The rush finally slows… eventually to a still. Read. Reflect.


Pa Segun Jones lay back in his reclined lounger, on the verandah of his bungalow house — a building which cement block upon cement block had been laid with his very sweat and blood. He let the copy of City People he had been reading flutter to the ground at his side. He was not one for gossip at his 70 strong years, but the name Ajifolawe had jumped out to him from the random page that Morenike must have been reading the last time she was around. Ajifolawe had been one of those new entrants that got bullied the most, while Segun had worked briefly as a fresh faced teacher at The King’s College. He found it funny that he could remember young Ruben Ajifolawe after so many years. He had been quiet, unsure but precocious young man. Under different circumstances, he would have been interested in what the years had done with his former pupil.
His attention was drawn to the present as he looked out at the little boy making his way beyond the gates and running toward him with such joy. His heart swelled at the sight. The boy skipped and avoided the puddles with a fervor and energy spurred by his youth. The man looked on and beamed with joy beyond explanation, and as swiftly as the joy filled his heart, his gut was filled with bile of sadness. Pain seared through him, reality had a way of doing that to him. He looked at the little boy again and forced a smile, the little joys of life made it all worth it in the end of the day. And then as quickly as it began, his joy got deflated by the bile of sadness. The pain seared through his chest and he felt it squeeze the air around it.
Oluwasegun the little boy had been named. He named after his granddad, and true to type, he was the spitting image of Oluwasegun Sr. He had the strong nose and thin spindly legs that Yorubas believe are a portend of a tall man. The boy was barely 3 years old and he had already started to manifest the Jones gene – lightheartedness. Oh, if he could bottle some of the boy’s carefree happiness.
“Gwanpa!” he shouted.
Pa Jones only looked on with tear stained eyes. Little Segun jumped in his lap without regard for his creaking bones.
“Segun! What have I told you about jumping in Grandpa’s lap?” His mother shouted from across the big compound, as she herself had only come through the gates.
He and Ashake, his wife had given birth to Morenike in their early forties after living without children for 20 years. One year had turned to two, two to ten, ten to fifteen. On and on, until they had given up all hope of any child to complete their unit. . They made a conscious effort to love each other irrespective of whether they had a child. They were content to take their blooming love as the only offspring they’d have. Then like the heavens chose to smile on them, Ashake conceived, his heart soared every time he looked at her. She was his “Sarah” and he playfully teased her all the time.
He sighed as he had many times before.
Ah Ashake!
The tears flowed freely.
“Papa mi!” Segun groaned as he was awoken by his daughter’s shout of joy as she jumped in between himself and his wife in her usual manner. Being their only child, they didn’t find it odd that she was very playful. She would always be that little girl in their eyes. He woke up with a wide smile on his face. “Morenike….” He tried to make his face up into a mock frown, but it wasn’t working. His two favorite women in the entire world were in the same space and time as he was and he couldn’t have been happier. He rested his weight on his elbows and he smiled at both his women with happiness he could not hide.
“Happy Birthday Daddy” Morenike and Ashake both chorused as if on cue.
“I cannot be happier and more grateful for the two of you” The smiles his face seemed unending.
“I know something that can make you happier o, Papa mi” Morenike perked up as if suddenly having an idea.
“That doesn’t sound good” He said as he looked over to Ashake for some kind of hint, but got none. Sometimes he felt like they were sisters rather than his wife and his daughter.
As if to further complicate things, she added:
“I have a boyfriend” Morenike said.
“Ahnahn, Segun”
“But, how old is she now?”
“How old were we, when we married?”
“That was a different time now, Ashake!”
“But, how old is she now?”
“Mama, I told you he wasn’t ready” Morenike chimed in, as both women laughed at his obvious discomfort.
“Morenike, he’ll never be ready. Somewhere in his head you’re still his little girl skipping puddles in the yard when the rain falls.”
“…and the little girl that jumps in my bed to wake me up” Both women laughed again.
“So who is this boy?”
“He’s a man o, Baba Morenike. A fine young man. His name is Bolaji”
“Ah so you even know his name? You these women will not plot the coup of my death o. Se gbo?”
“He’s coming to dinner tonight gan”
“Ok o. Mo ti gbo o” I’ve heard
He had woken up without his wife leaning into his shoulder. He knew because her spot on the bed was cool, the sheets bore the evidence that she had lain right next to him.. Panic washed over him for no reason in particular. Worry quickly niggled at his insides, habit dictated that she’d always be by his side when he woke up in the morning.
“Ashake!” Jumping out of bed with the as much purposefulness as his limbs would permit him he called out to her..
“Daddy, kilode o?”
“Who is your father?” He retorted, only slightly beginning to calm down.
“Well since the day you married me, Baba Morenike, you became my father”
He walked into the bathroom to find her in front of the mirror with her wrapper around her hips. She had left arm raised and right massaging her aged breast in circles.
“Ahnahn, Ashake ko de le to yii o. O ba de ti ji mi. Okunrin meta mi oi tii ku o” Ahnahn, Ashake it’s not this serious. You could have woken me up. My youthful strength is not totally gone, you know?
She cackled in the way he found soothingly familiar.
“It’s not that Oluwasegun mi” She said, as her smile slowly became strained.
“Then, what is wrong?” Concern began to cloud his face.
“You know, since we went for Fadeke’s burial , it has been on my mind ever since…”
“Ah soro, ye ja mi l’aya bayii” Talk and quit scaring me like this
“You know it’s breast cancer that killed Fadeke; apparently the other women check their breasts regularly like this, and I hadn’t the foggiest of ideas.”
“Ka ma ri! God forbid it Breast cancer is not your portion!”
“I know, but one is never too careful”
“Three scores and ten, Fadeke mi… That’s the minimum”
She sighed heavily in response.
He pulled her close to his bare chest in a bid to hide the apparent concern on his face.
“Come, let’s move on to other things. Have you wished your husband a happy birthday today?”
“Ma binu olowo ori mi. Happy Birthday” Don’t be angry, my husband
“Thank you, jare”
“Have Morenike and Bolaji called?”
“Ani, I didn’t even check my phone before I came looking for you”
With his grandson in his lap, his eyes misted with tears. Tears of loss.
“Aaah Papa mi” Morenike cooed as she came within a few feet of him and knelt down in greeting on the cold tiles. Then she rushed over, and she held her dear father close to himself
“Ashake” he continued to chant like it was a mantra that kept him alive.
The little boy was confused but was still content to be in the middle of the group hug between granpa and momma. Soon he began to cry as well, without understanding why.
“But Segun, if you call my name one more time, I will sneeze”
All three of them looked up in surprise, to see Ashake at the door. The combination of the mastectomy and radiation had taken a toll on her already aging body. The mastectomy had left a space where her left breast used to be. And it made her already gaunt frame even worse. Only a few wisps of white hair were on her scalp where she once had a full head of hair. She had not been able to get up from her bed in weeks. The doctor had given her 3 weeks left to live, 3 months before. But as if by some sheer determination, she had stayed alive through the pain every day.
“Happy Birthday Oluwasegun mi” She said as she made an effort to walk from the door. Somehow, as a group they had gotten off the lounger and each held her close. Even the little boy saw some significance and held close to his grandmother’s leg.
With a sigh, she took her last breath.
She loved him. She had waited.


FIND THE ART OF @JibolaL here
N.B. The project still goes on for one more day. Tomorrow we have The Eight Decade by @tomboxe and a surprise feature by @_thinkthank_ and @awizii.
You can subscribe to the blog (at the right column to follow the project or in the comments section).
The Decades Project II (for women) coming soon…

59 Responses to “Decades – The Seventh Decade (61-70)”

  1. Ayaba Says:

    I had tears in my eyes…brilliantly written.

  2. Ekwe Says:

    I especially love this because it slows down the excitement of the whole series…no juvenile conquests or ambitious adventures…just a man living his twilight years…it creates the perfect entrance for @tomboxe tomorrow. thumbs up. I actually thot the Asake had died o. whew!

  3. lade Says:

    Most touching. Yet ….. A tear dropped…. Even though its fiction…. Brilliant….writing

  4. dipti Says:

    Woow! Love it! *sniff sniff*
    Less twist & turns which was refreshing!

  5. 😥 dis is sooo sweeeet….yet soo sad….. i loved it 4rm the start to the end…. (y)

  6. Kareema Says:

    *sniff* *sniff*.

  7. theGeneralsDaughter Says:

    Oh my God! Oh my God…this is the saddest thing ever! True love is so beautiful, and is one thing I pray to have more and more of with each passing day.

    I love this. 😦

  8. @MrOdada Says:

    I read the piece and 5mins after I decide to comment because am still trying to catch my breath! Reality beckons and yet again am reminded that one day I wud get to that ‘age’…baba 70! @jibolaL I like the way u expanded the story from 6O-70-71 and then merged at the end!! *claps*

  9. isetfiretotherain Says:

    awwww! how beautiful.

  10. Uche Says:

    This is one of my best so far in the Decades series. I think it’s very honest.

    I had actually thought she had died much earlier in the story and was surprised to find her still there at the end. And I loved the last two lines, the thought of her having waited to say happy birthday to him. Really sweet and heartfelt.

  11. jayajade Says:

    Ok so this honestly made me cry!my my….really awesome story my fave so far. 🙂

  12. papyrusczar Says:

    Amazing….. Just amazing

  13. @pritygodez Says:

    Jibs, she had to die didn’t she? Y?? As usual, u brought it home. Kudos senor’.

  14. deji Says:

    Reminds me of my dads aunt(mum) my family lost in 2003. RIP MUM still hear ur voice in my head

  15. 0latoxic Says:

    Wow! Just Wow!! I’ll not put up any form of analysis and just revel in the beauty of this piece…


  16. ibetapassmynebo Says:


  17. intoxyka Says:

    I saw the link on BBm and set a reminder to read it at the office. I finished reading it with tears in my eyes. My colleagues are worried at my tears, i would love to share but i fear they wont understand and would ridicule me…. This is really beautiful….i just bookmarked it.

  18. terdoh Says:

    Ε touch me!! Choi!

  19. @Qurr Says:

    Yes! JibolaL!! I knew he would make it make sense!!! 😀

    This is beautiful, pure, serene. The mind kinda relaxes as one assimilates the story. Good job, man…

  20. FactorVI Says:

    Nice one.

  21. dat ibo gurl Says:

    awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww. I wish to find a lasting love like dis. Nicely written jibola.

  22. It’s just so beautiful.

    Nice one, Jibòla (y)

  23. esquire Says:

    This is extremely nice..had tears in my eyes. Thing is,I can’t find the correlation with the other stories

  24. beforesheimplodes Says:


  25. @shettoo Says:

    This piece brought me back to earth after all the excitement……thought Ashake died earlier too

    *….with a sigh….* I post this comment
    Good one (Y)

  26. awizii Says:

    I could honestly feel the love between Segun and Ashake. It was so deep. Beautifully written.

  27. mabijo Says:

    Beautiful piece!

  28. @bule_jr Says:

    This was just a pleasure to read. Brought characters to life.

  29. Nyx Says:

    So beautifully written, it tugged at my heartstrings. I love it. To watch a loved one slip away…

    Waiting with bated breath for d last decade.

  30. Laurenta Says:

    as usual Jibz
    as usual
    knew ud make me proud

  31. slimsiren Says:

    My heart….
    This was such a beautiful piece…
    I feel like joining in the group hug.. *wiping tears off my eye*

  32. kitkat Says:

    Awww so she waits to see her grandson.. cute

  33. THINKTANK Says:

    The story with the weakest connection to the others has made the biggest impact on me so far. Got a brother feeling all emotional and things…

    Without a doubt, Jibola wove the story intricately. Salute.

    One wonders at these things though. Love and loss and death. Life is indeed a mystery.

  34. sebelle Says:

    Life, love and death. A man’s journey through life. Well written.

  35. vixenpixie Says:

    *sigh* I have a certain attachment to tragic stories. This piece is so beautiful…

  36. Chukyjunior Says:

    I just don’t get it tho… If such simple writing can b so powerfully packed with emotion-stirring moments, then why is our movie industry dis lousy??
    Beautiful write-up!! I had such a vivid pictur of Ashake in my head & luvd her lyk a great aunt I neva met.
    I also luv d part where Gramps woke up & was almost ‘panicked’ not 2 find Ashake in bed beside him! D level of dependency & comeradery d couple enjoyed ws just beautiful!!
    Jibola, I owe u one anyday we meet! Officially!!

  37. Daisy Says:

    Oh my, this was a beautiful piece. Beautiful from start to finish. Bravo Jibola (y)

  38. i_Isi Says:

    *sigh* Sweet, emotional story! Great work Jibola and the rest of the decades team-great idea!

  39. gregg Says:

    Very thought provoking. Love the way you used the ages to set the stage.

  40. @ebutecastle Says:

    A fascinating read, Segun jr makes wonder into my 70s if Allah spares my life…

  41. Miss Em Says:

    NOoooooooooo…..she dies, Nooooooo noooo nooooo, ever sooo ( -̩̩̩͡˛ -̩̩̩͡ ) y???? *sniff* …d romantic in me is touched, she did love him *sigh* does dis kind of love still exist? I wonder, again it is a wake up call 2 hold on 2 what matters and fight evryday 2 hang on to it…thank u 4 dis…

  42. Laji D'wayem Says:

    Clearly another Lawalian masterpiece! I have chosen the right person to manage. Nice one bro!

  43. Kemmiiii Says:

    *sigh* E touch me I cannot lie..nice one.

  44. Simply breathtaking…..she loved him and waited till he was exactly threescore and ten as he requested. Imagine her leaving thru the days and pains for this day. If he knew he cud have asked for me….Even though this is ficton, it re-affirms the existence of true love…
    Great job Jibolal….there is hope for the industry after all!

  45. lasbrey Says:

    you should write a movie script or something..this awesome.

  46. Yes Jibola, u should definitely write a movie script.

  47. thatifygirl Says:

    Very beautiful… and I love the fact that it doesn’t have much to do with the entire Decades story in general. VERY beautiful..

  48. yetee Says:

    Wow! Hope am not too late to comment.. I actually waited for this decade.. Standing ovation.

  49. Tope Says:

    one word..awesome,it brought tears to my eyes..very emotional

  50. Skipper Says:

    This is just…er,epic.
    I’d been sneaking through the decades. Didn’t wanna post any comments. Just been soaking in all the beauty,the art,the sense… Until now.
    Epic(yeah,i kinda suck at adjectives;and being done in by this story isn’t helping that right now *sighs*) piece.
    Bless you,JibolaL… Afro and crew. Boom!

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