The Chronicle Gambia

Seeping Souls

From the archives – 21/06/2017


The old furniture that gets shipped in. A pile of them stood by the road side, leather faded, and bug ridden. The man with the hungry look in his eye – he laid the chairs in a row. A blue one with the springs peeping through, the one with the metal parts all rusty and mildew, the chair with the suggestive stain and the stuffing spilling out – gutted by time and relentless butt-rubbing. Each chair has a story. My heart could tell. All the chairs in one long miserable row.  The one which caught my eye was within a sphere of energy, so potent. It was within a dense mass of colors, dancing, twirling in then out of existence — out of history.
 High back, metal frame, a once black fabric covering – you could still tell from beneath time’s renovation. Time had spilled coffee and powdered milk over it, when time was an old World War 2 veteran with his pipe, filling his lungs in the veranda. When time was the voice of a woman humming a tune to her dying baby, holding on when everyone had let go, time had seeped into its sponges. When time was a little girl getting her long, blond hair braided into a single ponytail by a nagging mass of voluminous Afro hair, time had seeped an understanding of social and economic class into it. The chair wasn’t an “it” anymore, the chair had a soul now, the chair could feel now, the chair had absorbed the energy, the chair understood, the chair wondered why. The heart wrenches, the joys, the injustices, the sweat, they wore down her fabric covering, they fed her soul. I looked at the chair from across the road, with her naked, paint-stripped frame, her discolored body with the seat on the verge of giving in, sagging beneath her – I saw a soul with a story to tell. Our hearts met, one heart looking to feed, another to be fed, and she drew me in, her chance to convey the message before letting go.
 I was in a taxi with the windows down, it was stuck in the usual single-road-two-lane traffic jam. The Gambian air, dust filled and omelette making, pressed down on us. The traffic freed and the driver sped off, breaking our 30 second bond. I’ll pass by again in a week.


You can read more of the author’s work on her blog, Of Womanness And Wild Dreams.

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