It is night. But it is darkest where I am. My thought was cloudy, the world stood still before me. The cameras stood in front of me with their lenses staring blankly at my pitiful appearances. Flashes of light flicked across my face as I fixed my gaze on the seeming still river before me. Voices seem near but sounded incoherent, the world was fading as the moonlight sailed across the dark water – today was the darkest day of my life.
The cool breeze seeming hot reminded me of the blissful memories I shared with him before his untimely demise, tears helplessly streamed down my cheeks soaking my beard. No one around me seems to understand my emotion, they only lust after a word from me to butter their daily bread. And no one will ever understand the pains of losing someone they loved – the pain of losing a brother.
“Can you please tell us what your brother was like when he was alive?” a female voice cut through the air. I bit my lips to hold back the tears hanging like a loosed thread as the reality dawn on me, he was gone – the man I spoke with some hours ago.
Remembering the moments we shared together, his wise words and legacies kept on ringing bells deep inside my heart. He was such a great man of simplicity, with a heart so soft like wool – you can call him a hero, but to me, he was a god.
“Can you please tell us something about his legacy?” a voice beat the drums in my ears. I tried to speak but lost my voice as I remembered the hardship he went through. We lost our father on the sea at a very tender age. His demise caused us a great grief and our mother couldn’t withhold the trauma before she died some months after her husband’s demise. He was strong, he took the responsibility of catering for my every day needs seeing to it that I never lacked anything – he was incapable of getting me what I desired but he does see to my needs even at the detriment of his own wants.
“Can you please tell us if his body has been recovered as claimed?” a man spoke. His death was a shock to me; I never expected it to come this way. He told me he was right at the river when I spoke with him on phone. We talked about his plans which he was yet to execute. I had weird feelings when his voice broke; I only thought it was network issue until his voice got back at me, promising me he would call. I expected his calls and tried every means available to reach him which proved abortive. I received a strange call later in the evening only to be told my brother had drowned in the river while trying to rescue the victim of a boat mishap at the river and his body was not yet recovered – my brother died for what he believed in, he died for the love of humanity.
“Can you please say a word to us at least?” another reporter said. I wished they could gather their loaves of bread through the pains in my tears, I wished I could make them realize how painful it was to lose a brother, but what would I say to those who only need my words to butter their daily bread?
The darkest night is a story written in honor of the noble Nigerian man; Joe Blankson who died in Rivers community while rescuing victims of boat mishap on the 4th of August, 2018. The hero was said to have rescued 13 people before he drowned and died in the river. – Read the real-life story here
Agele Ayo is a Nigerian poet and novelist. Several of his literary work; prose, poetry, and articles have been featured on both print and online magazines. He is a graduate from the Department of Sociology at Adekunle Ajasin University Akungba Akoko, Ondo State and a serving corps member in Oyo State, Nigeria.