Fiction: One Winter in Georgia

December 24, 2015 Fiction , POETRY / FICTION

By

Chukwu John David

 

 

“I want to feel snow, to experience its coldness and then mat myself on its bed and make fun,” Jude always said. He was a very young boy of nineteen; he was very fair in complexion, and his oval head looked fathomable.

“Do you think that snow is a Hausa mat that you can just slouch on and it warms your body? Listen, let me tell you; do not even temper or ever think to slouch on snow someday, else it will freeze your body and leave your mouth open, ushering tsetse flies for feast in your esophagus,” Ebuka said and laughed. He was Jude’s favorite friend, and he was a contrast to Jude.

Jude beamed; they were walking down a narrow and bushy path, defending their faces with their machetes as spear grasses which had not been cut for so many moons it attempted to friend their eyes.

“Ebuka, do you think that snow is harmful? I do not think so,” Jude said rhetorically.

“And who told you that snow is not harmful?” Ebuka said, “Have you asked yourself why oyibo people cover their bodies with heavy clothes against snow during winter? Snow can freeze your body like an ice water,” Ebuka laughed. He brought out his mobile phone from his pocket and began searching for network.

“What are you doing, Ebuka?” Jude asked; looking Ebuka as he went all corners of the bushy path searching for network.

“I want to show you something from Facebook,” Ebuka replied.

“Show me something from Facebook?” Jude frowned in puzzle. “We are in our village, Ebuka. We are not in Abakaliki town, and you cannot find network here. MTN has not remembered that network should arrive here in a poor village like ours,” he complained.

Ebuka remained silent. His phone was in the busy air, rummaging in anticipation. Jude stood aside, watching him as if he was a network. Ebuka was serious.

“What do you want to show me, Ebuka? Remember we are late to farm, and your grandmother will be waiting for us at home,” Jude bothered.

“Yes I found one, network is here. Come over here Jude,” Ebuka waved at Jude, inviting him to the huge mound where he stood, trying to connect his android data to the network.

Ebuka connected and quickly logged in to Facebook. Jude was standing beside him, looking into the phone. The harmattan was cunning, and it made Ebuka’s skin look rough as though he bathed with powdered local chalk. Ebuka was touching the screen of his phone gently and quickly, Jude was watching him calmly as Ebuka swiftly allowed an image to appear on his screen and he showed Jude.

“Here, this is Onyeka, Simon’s elder brother,” Ebuka handled the phone to Jude.

“Which Onyeka…?” Jude asked, reaching out to collect the phone.

“The Onyeka who travelled to Georgia in September,” Ebuka replied, smiling. “He is a big boy now. His skin has become fresh and the pimples which decorated his face are no more there,” he added, smiling and wondering why Jude watched the picture like an albino.

“Did you say Onyeka is in Georgia now?” Jude asked as if he did not hear it when Ebuka told him that Onyeka was in Georgia.

“Are your ears dirty? I said Onyeka is enjoying himself in Georgia now. You will soon go to Georgia, and I dare you to find him and see.”

Jude handed the phone back to Ebuka and they left. They worked all day long in Ebuka’s family farm, harvesting cassavas and water yams. They shared the work. Jude harvested the water yams while Ebuka was busy uprooting the cassavas from their mounds. He loved calling them ‘akpu’ in his native Ibo language so that the tone would sound local.

Jude had ever wished and wanted to travel to Europe to see snow and witness how it fell. He was a Painter and he had akways wished to paint the president of the Republic of Georgia and show the world how good he was at painting. This was one of his motives apart from studying in Georgia and seeing around the city to paint it to its awesome sharpness. Now and again Jude as a very young boy did not give up on his dreams. He had never for once thought of allowing his family’s average background to turn his back to the ground. Jude realized that hard work was one of the tools to finding success.

His wishes never died young and unaccomplished. A day came when Jude succeeded in convincing his parents with every possible and available reason to send him to study in Europe.

“Papa, I want to paint Europe to another world. I want my history to be told from every nook and cranny of Europe. Papa this is my conviction, to paint the president of Georgia and pray to get access to present the portrait to him. Papa I know that I can succeed in Europe.” Jude sang this as a song to his father anytime they sat together.

That year’s Christmas harmattan was wicked. It made people’s bodies look rough in Jude’s village. Ebuka’s grandmother loved him so much and she fried the local udeaki cream for him, and always told Ebuka to moisture his skin to avoid cracks.

“Ebuka, do you think that if you moisturise your body with ude-aki as your grandmother recommends, harmattan will never crack your skin?” Jude asked him one day. They were sat under a big cashew tree as they were returning from the stream. They did almost everything together.

“I think so. Udeaki is the cream for everybody here in the village, no one knows any other creams. Udeaki is good for the skin anyway; but I hate it because it darkens the body like charcoal,” Ebuka grinned.

That was it. The dialogue exercised a year ago, everything happened in a jiffy. Jude was now in Georgia. He left the shores of Nigeria to pursue his dreams in a foreign land – that happened a few moons late. He was determined.

A day came in Jude’s university, The University of Georgia, when his mission was to make friends alone, although he was still meek and down to humility learning the strange language of the Georgian land. He bounced across Saif Shaban.

Saif Shaban was a young man from Iraq whom his educational pursuits brought to Georgia. He was full in stature, and his color was bright and illuminating. Saif loved Africans, he dreamed of visiting Africa someday. He met Jude and felt glad.

That day was very snowy, too snowy to think about warmness. The sunlight was ostracized to, perhaps the Land of Oz which was believed to be nowhere on earth. The sun refused to shine and the canopy of cold covered the earth and dominated Georgia. Everybody was covered in a winter coat. Jude wrapped himself in a jean blue trouser, clothed in black winter cardigan, a head warmer resting patiently on his oval head.

“Hey man, how are you today?” Jude asked Saif, walking towards him. They were in the library room. His hand was in his pocket.

“Yeah, I am fine. What about you?” Saif said.

That was it. They discussed at length and became good friends. Saif loved Jude so much and so did Jude. They now did things together in common and so it was. Some weeks after Jude met Onyeka, Simon’s elder brother, he started an emissary.

Then he was walking to a café with Saif when Onyeka walked pass them. Silent snow was everywhere along the streets of Georgia. Yesterday, Jude had not forgotten so soon the memory he made with snow while walking to school. He felt accomplished when foams of snow rested on him and soon melted to cool liquid.

Jude and Onyeka quickly exchanged greetings in their native Ibo language and Saif stood smiling and confused. There was no way on earth he could understand the native Ibo language while Jude talked it in excitement with Onyeka. Saif wished he was an Ibo as they entered a café to sip hot coffee. He beamed and told Jude that he loved the Ibos.

A year and few moons had passed and Jude kept looking for an opportunity to get to the Georgian Government House to present a portrait of the president of The Republic of Georgia that he painted. He had received positive recommendations regarding the portrait and his zeal of meeting the President never died until one day when the snow fell mightily and caused an incredible miracle to happen.

Many times Jude had failed in meeting the President. He had being discouraged, insulted and forbidden. But that Monday afternoon was favorable and quite memorable as Saif Shaban; being the international students’ president at The University of Georgia, hosted an event at the university, which however attracted the President of The Republic of Georgia through the school staff board.

Jude had the platform of presenting the portrait to the crowd. The President and his crew beheld the portrait and felt joyous. He could not believe that a timid young boy like Jude could do such a thrilling work and having every hope and courage to present the work to him someday. It was incredible. Many thoughts covered the sky and a deep murmur rested on the crowd when the President awarded Jude.

“Yes, I have decided to award this young man here,” the President said. “He surprised me and I must surprise him too. Honestly, I have been looking for something like this to drop in a corner of my office and today; I am so surprised that it is coming from a very young boy in such a local town like Abakaliki in Nigeria. The boy will dine with me and my officials today and from there, I will pour on him baskets of rewards,” the President said and the huge crowd sounded with heavy handclaps.

Just then, Jude realized that when preparation got married to opportunity they gave birth to success. He felt happy and expressed mounds of happiness to Saif Shaban, for every support he gave him. In a few minutes Jude was invited to the podium to address the crowd and he went ahead to give them every vital word he had to say. He concluded by telling them that a dream can only die in relentlessness, and one who had a very clear picture of the future can only obtain the mantle of success. That was it, just that!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chukwu John David

Chukwu John David is a young creative writer with an outstanding and understandable diction. He started writing and weaving stories at the young age of nine and has written many stories for Literary Temple Magazine, Gnosis Magazine, etc. He first historical novel, ‘AFRICAN DARK LIGHT’, will be published in 2016 from a reputable publisher in the USA. Currently, David is busy weaving short movie scripts for Torch Entertainment and is also writing for the Oz anthology, USA. He has also written for many international journals and blogs. David is from Abakaliki in Ebonyi State of Nigeria – West Africa, and is the founder of Greedy Readers Forum, and the global Gnosis Magazine.

2 Comments

  1. Simon Kondowe January 06, at 09:16

    This is Wow!! Short, simple, full of content, super sweet. I'm jealousy man. because this is not a forest of words but a desert of ideas. just that, yes just that.

    Reply

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