The Longest 31 days
I stood up and stretched my arms, holding my fingers and pressed them together. They made a cracking sound to allowing the circulation of blood. I looked around the room; a small 12’ by 12’square. It is my study.
There is a large C-shaped table littered with books and files with a straight-backed upholstery chair I was sitting on, directly opposite the door. On the right-hand side of the table is a long wall book -shelf, filled with books of various types.
There is a medium sized refrigerator standing against the wall by the left-hand side of the door, a round glassed table with a bunch of flower in a vase in the center of the room. At the right-hand side of the room is a long couch. There are two windows in the room; one of them behind the chair, and the other, behind the couch.
The air in the room was cold, courtesy a split unit air-conditioner above the window by the couch.
I have been indoor working on a writing project and lost all count of time of the day. I came out of the room and looked at the sky. It was covered with a white sheet, the sun was not visible and there were no clouds in the sky.
The sun was hiding behind the white sheet, but I can feel the hotness permeating through. The white sheet covering the sky was the harmattan haze; that dry North-East wind blowing in from the North over the Sahara desert, across the savannah of northern Nigeria to the South-South states of the country.
I checked the time on my wristwatch; 4 pm. The weather was very hot and dry and the temperature high. The wind blowing in was also very dry, and does not give any comfort to the thousands of people milling about on the street. I looked at their faces and could see the strain of the weather on them.
These are the people that are moving this great nation forward. Though they do not even realize the part they are playing in pushing the country forward. What does anybody care; just working nine to five, 24/7, and coming home to prepare for the next day’s work: a vicious circle? Oh, what drudgery in this art called labor?
But, that was what everybody is doing to put food on their table; it is not just putting food on the table, but also to taking care of their immediate societal needs. But, they are also moving the economy of the country forward.
Wao! That stuck on my thought. If we all are moving the economy forward, and without realizing what effort we are putting into achieving that purpose, and also not realizing the slow motion of the economic movement, then the motion would be very slow.
Well, how slow or fast could one determine the movement of a huge Economy? I paused in my reverie to look up at the sky once again. The clouds were still not visible from that enveloping whiteness of the sky. But, I could feel that the heat of the sun has shifted farther to the western horizon.
That set me on another chain of thoughts. How fast is the earth moving? In the last ten minutes, I have noticed the heat of the sun moved further. That could explain how fast the earth is spinning around – rotating around the sun. Yet, I could not feel if we are moving at all.
I could sometimes guess the movement of the earth from the clouds sailing across the sky, though, that will be a feeble assumption to determine the earth’s movement; as the clouds only move within the closest space to the ground, and are tossed about by wind speed.
But, somehow, it gives me the impression that the earth is in motion. But this stale, dry, windless hazy condition of the harmattan was what was really getting on one’s nerve. I adjusted myself, and drew up a plastic chair by the door and set it down against the wall on the porch to ponder.
Today is the 31st of January. The month has stealthily - like the movement of the earth around the sun, and like everything in the cosmos plane - and slowly ground to its last day. I cannot imagine that, just a short while ago, we were all wishing ourselves Happy New Year, backslapping each other, and being in a festive mood.
When we embarked on this 31 days longest month of the year – for that is the general perception about the first month of the year – January. But yet, it is in its last hour. Motionlessly, we have come to the end of the month.
We could feel it as very fast or very slow as anyone would want to classify the month, but I am surely looking forward to the next month. And so, slowly, without motion, another year is moving along.
If I want to consider the speed of the month, I will just have to look at the high points of events that shaped the month, and I would say, that it has been very fast and slow, where so much has happened in Nigeria within a very short time.
As I looked at the people and noticed their unsmiling faces and stiff countenance, I guessed so many people have had so much expectations and activities done within the month of January, with so much uncertainty in their economic wellbeing; and they are sure, wanting the month to pass over to the freshness of the next month.
Probably, I was just overexpressing my thoughts; probably, that was not what the people that were hurrying along the street were thinking. I smiled at the thought and looked back at the door to my room. My 7 years old son was standing at the door regarding me with rapt interest.
“Daddy, what’s amusing you?” he asked coming forward to hold my right shoulder.
I looked up at him with a smile. The innocence of a child was disarming.
“Hi, Briggs, I didn’t see you coming up here,” I held him to myself. “It’s a wonderful day today, don’t you think so?”
“Well daddy, you missed to tell me a story this month,” he accused me.
“I knew, I will tell you an interesting story next month.”
“You will?” His eyes lit up at me”
“I promised,” I stood up, and led him into the room.