© 2018 Kayode Odusanya
“Creativity is a product of the left and right brain hemispheres working together; an alliance that comes more easily to the ambidextrous. People without a strong or consistent hand preference tend to be more creative than those who are strongly right- or left-handed.”
This story is based on true events…all names have been changed, except one.
October 1, 1991
The curtains were drawn, lights were out, and the only form of illumination was from the 21 inch Sharp TV on the shelf. It gave the room a cinematic feel, just the way Kayode liked it. It was a public holiday, and some of his cousins were around. Although he had watched the movie they were seeing a couple of times, he was excited as he watched his cousins react to some of his favorite scenes.
His cousins, Olawale, dokun, and Inyinola were on the long couch facing the TV, while he was perched on the right arm rest of the couch. Olumefun, his younger brother was wearing a white polo top with ‘what else’ written all over, seated on the stool in between the two single seater couches that his female cousins, Titiola, and Lami were seated on. The age range of all the kids in the living room was 6-11; Kayode was 10.
He heard his mom call out his name, but he ignored, because his best part of the movie was coming up; a part in the epic movie where the villain’s hand gets chopped off on a bridge, but a new arm forms, and the arm on the floor magically gets a new body. Anytime the hero cut off any of the villain’s body parts, the villain would multiply himself.
“Kayode!!!” He heard his name again. This time it was Gbemi, his elder brother calling him. He told his guests he would be right back and rushed out of the living room. Once out, he turned to the right, walked a little, and then took another right turn, walking past the big deep thermocool freezer to his left on the way to the kitchen.
In the kitchen, he saw his mom and Gbemi talking about the right way to gut a fish. His mom turned around and asked him to go fetch a bucket of water for the bathroom. He became sad instantly and it showed on his face. But when his mom gave him that mean look that needed no words to interpret, he ran off to get the bucket, and headed out of the house.
By the tap, he prayed for the water to run faster as he could hear the audio from the movie in the living room, and it was almost at his favorite part. He wanted so bad to see the reaction on his cousins faces when they saw how the ‘bad guy’ automatically grew back a severed arm. His house had low fences and as he waited for the bucket to get filled, he saw a black Daewoo Espero drive into his street. On a normal day, he would have been ecstatic as that was his favorite car at the time, but right now, all he cared about was that damn movie.
As he rushed back into the house, he saw Suzy the Alsatian jump around in her cage up ahead, and he looked back for a second to catch another one of his cousins, brother Owolabi walking into the compound. He was an older cousin, and Kayode bowed in greeting before entering the house. He spilled water on the floor as he walked past the corridor with the coca cola crates stacked up to the ceiling on his way to the bathroom. Just as he dropped the bucket in the bath tub, he heard his cousins calling out his name from the living room. He was sure they had gotten to the part where he had patiently waited for all morning. He turned around and started running back to join them. He hadn’t made it far when he slipped, and went up in the air. Coming down from his fall, he tried to use the stacks of coca cola crates for support, but gravity wouldn’t slow down its effects just for him. He landed hard on his right arm.
Kayode let out a cry as he felt a sharp pain in his right forearm. He lay on the floor for a moment, not recognizing his broken and twisted arm anymore. It reminded him of the beggars he usually saw along Ojuelegba road.
Still in his state of shock, he heard footsteps. “You better don’t cry; you fell down by yourself,” his brother, Gbemi said as he approached the corridor. He shouted when he saw Kayode standing with his arm dangling.
Their mom ran out of the kitchen, and when she saw Kayode, she put both her hands on her head in shock for a second. Then she shouted, “Ye!” as she rushed toward him, loosened her head tie, and wrapped it around his broken arm. “Mommy, is my hand going to remain like this forever?” Kayode said with a shaky voice. She ignored him as she rushed to his dad’s room.
His dad had been asleep, but had got out of bed when he heard the commotion in the house. Everyone was running here and there in the house now, with various versions of shocked shouts any time they saw Kayode’s broken arm, making him the more scared. His dad, a slender averagely tall man, examined the arm for a few seconds, wrapped it back, and quickly grabbed his car keys from on top of his TV before heading out with his blue silk shirt unbuttoned.
Outside, a few concerned neighbors had gathered. His Dad rushed to the drivers’ side of the car, ignoring everyone as he buttoned his shirt. His Mom got into the backseat with him, and his cousin, brother Owolabi got into the front passengers seat. The blue Toyota Cressida backed out of the driveway at top speed.
Two Hours Later
They were at the orthopedic section of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi-Araba, Lagos, waiting for Kayode’s turn to get a cast on his broken arm. He had been reassured that his bone would heal and his hand wasn’t going to remain that way forever, which made him relax. His dad was talking to the man supposed to put the cast on his arm, and his mom had gone to look for his cousin, Aunty Sope, who was also a doctor at LUTH. Aunty Sope’s younger brother, brother Owolabi was by his side, checking out his arm when his Mom walked back with her. Kayode smiled at her even though his arm hurt like crazy. She was a tall and beautiful young doctor in her mid twenties. She looked odd to him because she had on a white lab coat, and he had never seen her like that before. He didn’t even know she was a doctor.
She greeted her brother briefly and sat on the bench, by Kayode’s right side. “Kayode, you are too playful” she joked as she removed the Ankara clothing that was wrapped around his arm. He was surprised when she didn’t freak out like everyone else who had seen his limp arm that day. After a few seconds, she smiled at him and said everything would be okay before walking over to talk to his mom and dad who were standing outside the room where the Plaster of Paris was going to be fixed on Kayode’s arm. After about five minutes, she let them know she would be around if they needed her, and waved at Kayode before walking off.
He was lost in thought, thinking of what everyone back home would be doing right now when he heard his name being called. His parents had walked his cousin off, so brother Owolabi took him in. The place was clean, well arranged with shelves on four sides of the wall. A short man dressed in white long sleeve shirt tucked into black slacks waved them over. There were stainless steel machines everywhere, and it reminded Kayode of a scene from the movie, Terminator 2 when Arnold Schwarzenegger had gone to visit a black doctor in his home lab. His cousin handed the man a big brown envelope which contained the X Ray of Kayode’s broken arm. The man pulled it out swiftly, lifted it up at the light and examined it for a few seconds before putting it back into the envelope. Then he started talking about how strong Kayode was for not crying like some other boys would still be doing right now. He removed the clothing from the arm, still talking, and smiling. He examined the arm, turned it here and there slowly, and in one swift move, shifted the bone back in place. Kayode’s scream reverberated through the room.
Later that day, in his room at Number 7, Bishop Crowther Street, Surulere, Lagos, Kayode rolled over in bed and the cast in his arm obstructed him from completing his movement. For a second, he had thought it was all a bad dream, but when he opened his eyes, he saw the white plaster of paris on his arm, with a thin white cloth over his neck, holding the cast in place. He got out of bed, rubbed his eyes, and walked out of the room.
There on the long couch as he walked into the living room were his cousins, Lami and Titiola; the boys had obviously gone out to play, but the girls waited for him to wake up as he had gone straight to bed when he got back earlier, sleepy from the drugs he was given at the hospital.
He smiled at them, and took a seat with them on the long couch, on Titiola’s side. They repeated ‘sorry’ a couple of times before asking to see his arm, and examining the cast. The three of them were born in the same year, but Kayode was the youngest.
Later on, his mom brought him a plate of rice and chicken. Instinctively, he reached for the spoon with his right hand and shrieked from pain. Titiola volunteered to feed him, but he said he was okay. He took a deep breath, closed his eyes for a few seconds, and then made the unfamiliar move of grabbing the spoon with his left hand. It felt weird, but he managed to get a spoonful of rice and stew in his mouth. As he chewed the food, he held up the spoon and his mind raced through all he would have to start doing with his left hand, and in his mind, he questioned why God had to make a ten year old go through such pain.
Little did he know…Really, little did he know…