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“The Life and Times of a Wanderer” by Mary Temiloluwa Ajayi

“The Life and Times of a Wanderer” by Mary Temiloluwa Ajayi


“What is the world not doing?”

Her whisper rode on the wings of the cold night air. They looked at her and slowly came to the conclusion that she was beyond redemption. Father shook his head and went into the house. Mother said a prayer and looked to her grandfather who simply smiled, ready to explain again.

There is nothing new under the sun; the world keeps doing what it has done already.

“Yes, nothing new,” Mother said.

She first heard the words, “nothing is new under the sun” in history class and something in her had disagreed; there had to be something new. Her grandfather talked about the places he had been and said nothing was new anymore: in fashion, religion, social practices, even the law; and that the world kept going in a circle.

She disagreed. There must be something the world has never done.

She looked at her family and knew she would not be staying much longer. She would not be having a life of her own either. It was upon her to set the world on a new course. She would give her life to it.

Under the shade of a large tree in a corner of the crowded park, she slowly let history come to a halt and listened to the birds’ twitter mingle with the scattered voices around her; perhaps they held answers. Reaching for the big brown bag, she removed her journal. On the cover were the words she had scribbled three years before: The Life and Times of a Wanderer.

She heard a child wail and saw a woman reach for her. She looked at the different faces in the park wondering what their stories were as she opened her journal and began to document what she saw. The ice cream seller, the woman with the crying baby, the boy with his eyes in a book, the couple kissing and posing for the camera… were they searching like her? Do they hunger to know what the world is not doing? What would those lips locked in sweet embrace say? What tale would that crying baby tell? What stories would the eyes belonging to the elderly woman buying ice cream speak?

“Hello ma, please can you buy me a meal?”

She looked up from her writing to find a boy of about ten standing before her. She smiled, closed her journal, and picked up her bag.

“Come with me.”

The boy followed. This is one of the things the world is doing, procreation without preservation. The world knows how to create things, especially people, just not how to sustain them.

They came to a secluded part of the park where there was a path. She took it and encouraged the boy to follow, convincing him of a food stall ahead. After walking a while, she stopped and began to fish in her bag for something.

“Where are your parents?”

“They’re dead.”

“Have you no relative?”

“I ran away. They’re mean.”

“Meeeaan” She stretched out the word as she dropped her bag and reached for the boy, holding his face to her bosom.

He began to shake and she soothed him. “It will be okay. You are safe now.”

She released him and he fell to the earth, a knife jutting out of his back, blood pooling around him.

She picked up her bag and walked back to the middle of the park.

That’s one thing the world is not doing, she thought- cleaning up its own mess.

It was time to move again.

Mary Temiloluwa Ajayi is the co-founder and editor of Write Paragraphs, an online platform that doubles up as a volunteer United Nations Observance community promoting the messages of the UN International Days, and a digital copywriting agency which provides ghost writing, editing, copywriting, content strategy, and social media consultancy services. Mary writes for Images and Voices of Hope and works as a profiler for Center for African Cultural Excellence. She attended the 2014 Writivism workshop in Abuja facilitated by Ukamaka Olisakwe and Abubakar Adam Ibrahim and was mentored by Lauri Kubuitsile.

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