Grandpa’s First Christmas
He’d just spoken to Ifa like he does every morning, with a bottle of alcohol splashed over white sack clothes, he listened as the gods spoke to him. It wasn’t clear this time, both in words and in understanding, had the gods gone dumb? They mentioned a journey for children. Aworele had never been more perplexed by the gods of his fathers, the more he sought clarification the more the gods gave him suspense.
Aworele’s children left him for the city years ago after the death of their mother, they blamed him for her death as he refused her adequate medical care because of his beliefs, they had accepted the white man’s religion and outcasted their father. Aworele’s time on earth was coming to an end, his bones told him so. Wrinkles layered his face. He needed a family to love as time flew by and time wasn’t his friend. His confused thoughts were interrupted by a knock on the door, it was the postman. He had never had a postman deliver a letter to him. “Who knows me to send a letter?” He thought. He became furious at the sight of the letter. “Help me translate this letter,” he asked the postman. It read.
How are you and how is Ifa? I have searched the world for you but mommy refused to tell me where you are, I decided to check her dairies and found this address. I used my savings from the press club in my school to send you this letter. I’ll tell you what press club is when we meet. I’ve been in the hospital for two months now, I have leukaemia but mommy says it’s not serious and it’s going to be fine, I’m sure I look like you with my shaved head, I hear only villagers like you shave your heads.
Grandpa, Uncle Funsho says Ifa is like a god in the North Pole and that’s why he always wears white, I don’t know if he’s lying because Uncle Funsho lies a lot. But the North Pole is where Santa stays and I want him to bring me gifts this year in the hospital as I’m not at home and will spend Christmas here, it’s the central hospital in the city. Maybe you can tell Ifa for me so he can tell Santa my needs. Here are my needs;
- 25 balloons for my hospital room
- A diary just like the one mommy has
- A pin to hold my hair once it starts growing back.
Please don’t forget to tell Ifa grandpa.
The letter had Aworele’s eyes bubble up with tears, with the explanation of the postman he knew his granddaughter was really sick and needed love. He decided that if Ifa wouldn’t bring the joy of Jesus’ famous birthday to her then he would, he claimed the status of both Ifa and Santa-Claus and in the early hours of the 25th he set out for the city, he purchased the balloons on his way, inflated them and tied them together. He also bought other gifts in the bus park. He sat at the back of the bus and put his hand outside as he held the balloons high. Aworele was ready to enjoy this moment and make a memory for his granddaughter.
He strolled into the hospital with his gifts and balloons raised high attracting a gaze from every angle in the hospital. He was here for Mide, hoping he made it in time for delivery. He took the direction the nurse’s finger showed him and walked into the room where he was met by the surprise stares of his children Bimbo and Funsho. “What are you doing here?” Bimbo rose from where she sat to question her father. Aworele was tongue tied, it wasn’t pleasant for him as she asked again, this time raising her voice and waking the sleeping child on the bed. Mide smiled at him, “grandpa is that you,” she asked in a low tone. His face melted and he made his way to her bedside whispering Yoruba to her and kissing her forehead, he then presented her with the balloons and gifts. “Santa and Ifa really came through for me,” she said excitedly. It was the first time she had smiled all day. Bimbo and Funsho stared, riled up with emotions as their father had given Mide her first smile on Jesus’ birthday. They forgot their resentment and focused on the value which is family.
By Oyeniyi George,