• Toluwani Obayan

Africanah Time

Updated: May 24, 2020

“Will you marry me?” Elikah asked looking into my eyes longingly.

We had just met, but somehow I found myself saying yes and rushing off with him to the nearest Lagos courthouse.

The thing is, something spectacular happened when he took my hand in his. It was as if his touch had transported me to a place where time moved at the speed of light. I knew to marry him was an urgent necessity.

Orphaned as a teenager, I made my way through school by hustling determinedly through the Lagos experience, but not even all those years of hustle and bustle could have prepared me for the rush I was now experiencing with Elikah. I knew nothing about the man I had agreed to marry, but I was not afraid. Weirdly enough, it felt like I knew every single thing I needed to know.

Within an hour, the documents were signed and we were officially Mr. and Mrs. Again Elikah rushed us back into the streets of Lagos. After we had been running for about 10minutes straight, I stopped him.

Panting for breath, I asked “Elikah, don’t you think we’re moving a little too fast?” something I should have considered before marrying a man I just met.

“But we need to get to the border, It’s almost one year already” He replied impatiently.

“Where is this border you keep talking about, and it’s only been a few hours…what do you mean by one year?”

Elikah sighed and quickly kissed my forehead.

“There’s so much I want to tell you, but you won’t understand until you’ve seen it with your own eyes.”

He apologized for being insensitive to my needs and got us something to eat from a Mallam’s shop nearby.

Elikah suggested that while we rested, we should maximize the time by having our very first moments of intimate intercourse.

We did, and It was beautifully intimate even though it somehow happened so quickly. Why was everything with Elikah so hurried?

Energized by our intimate activities, Elikah and I continued on our sprint and did not stop until we got to a sparsely populated part of Lagos that I had never seen before.

“We’re here he said” looking into my eyes and then back into thin air.

Moments later, the thin air parted into a portal of sorts and I saw myself walking into what looked like an alternate Africa. It was as hot as Lagos and looked as chaotic as Lagos, but could not have been more different.

As we sprinted deeper into this alternate Africa, I noticed how precise and superfast things seemed to be. Every 2 seconds, a beam of light hit the floor, and people would appear, while others would enter into the beams and disappear. Elikah said the machines were called “Dim-light Carriers” because they traveled a quarter of the speed of light. We got into one of the Carriers and before I could freak out, we were in front of Elikah’s family house.

Elikah’s sister Mekainah opened the door for us. As she hurriedly welcomed us in, I vomited.

“When did she take in?” asked Mekainah?

Elikah told her that our intimate intercourse had been that afternoon.

Taken in? I looked down and saw that my previously flat tummy now had a very noticeable bulge.

Elikah rushed to greet Baba on his death bed, while Mekainah rushed a very emotional me into the room next to Baba’s so I could have a safe delivery.

What was happening? How was I so heavily pregnant so suddenly? And why was everyone talking so fast? At intervals, they were using letters to replace words. The only letter switch I successfully decoded was the replacement of the word “hungry” with the letter “h”. Probably because of how hungry, exhausted, and bloated I was.

Mekainah gave me something to sip and tried to calm me by telling me that I would understand everything by the end of the year in a few hours. Her words only succeeded in pushing me further into the depths of confusion. It was not the 31st of December, so how was the end of the year meant to be in a few hours?

Before I knew what was happening, my water broke, Elikah rushed into the room and my fully formed baby boy was born in a second. Mekainah picked up the baby as Elikah carefully lifted me and rushed me into Baba's room.

The baby was placed into Baba’s frail arms so Baba could bless him. With each passing second of Baba’s prayers, Baba’s voice became frailer and frailer and his skin even more wrinkled. When Baba was done, he handed the baby back to Mekainah and breathed his last.

After a split second of silence for Baba, Elikah dropped me gently on the reclining chair near Baba’s bed and Mekainah placed my son in my arms. It had been less than 5 minutes, but my baby had grown to be as big as a 3-month old child. Mekainah covered Baba and left the room.

Shivering, I looked from Baba’s covered body to Elikah as I rocked my newborn 3-month-old baby. Elikah came closer and placed an affectionate kiss on my forehead. He looked deeply into my eyes and saw the questions I was too confused to ask. Bringing out a pen-like object with a light bulb tip from his pocket, he gently instructed

“Look straight into the light”

As soon as I did, I knew all I needed to know.

I was no longer on Earth. I was no longer in Africa.

I was in a place called “Africanah” where a day was the equivalent of a year on planet earth.

In Africanah, the ability to master and fully maximize time was the most revered skill of all. Baba had been the Time Chief and spiritual leader of the land, the equivalent to a king on Earth. He came from a long line of chiefs that had passed down the secrets and skills of time mastery.

Before Elikah had been born, Baba had seen that Elikah would find his true bride on Earth in Africa. This had never happened in the history of Africanah.

According to Baba, my years of hustle and hardship as a Lagos orphan had created in me a unique blend of endurance and strength- traits that had to be inherent in my baby who would in some Africanah years be the only one with the unique blend of endurance and speed needed to stand for Africanah in a season of turbulence that was sure to come in the near future.

In less than 24 hours, I met and married Elikah, conceived a child, met my in-laws, became Time Chiefette and mother to a child who would soon determine the eternal future of a place called Africanah.

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