UNCLE Bennett’s Struggles

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It’s was 1987 in a 5Star hotel room. I was visiting a lady friend and Uncle Bennett came visiting too. He was not my uncle but that title stuck with him as he was later to be known by the rest of us.

He was bald, deep chocolate black and had a clean set of white teeth that beamed whenever he smiled. And he smiled and laughed so often.

Everything about him said how rich or comfortable he was. These things were diabolical enough in themselves to persuade any lady to prioritise him in their short list of suitors. I was soon to relinquish my status as visitor as I joined my lady friend to play co-host to Uncle Bennett.

In this old city, the Sahara desert was our closest neighbour. It came with its allies of frightening blares of sun rays and sauna hot heat waves before the hours of the early noon.

Amidst bare running wheels, beautiful cars strode through the streets. Behind their air-conditioned wound up windows, their occupants were always clean, glossy and untouched.

The main street was a colourful crowd scene of flowing gowns and turbans whose sails navigated the hash head winds with deft seamanship. In this steer fry was the few like me, whose western clad exposed their sauna blacked bodies. Their faces were covered in dusts, caked in dripping sweat like a Shakespearian mascara gone terribly wrong. My satchel and bleeding cracked lips said nothing of the thirst I endured.

I met Uncle Bennett again in a much pious place. Our introduction had been done two years earlier, so he needed to talk. I listened.

He was everything we had thought about him but he wasn’t in heaven. He was in a dizzying loop of finding new girlfriends easily, and sadly losing them just as quickly.

“I was once married, but she left with our son. Women had been for me just for the obvious male reasons. I was the man and there was the belief that gifts and roses will always sway them. I was wrong”

“It’s difficult when you have started out for this long and things change on you. Yes, they change for the better, but the new reality is frightening and am confused whether am not working against taking the steps I should take”

“I have anger problems. I am scared to keep my girlfriends long”.

“I have kept my relationships short. They only last between one trigger to another. I can only last seven days, and that was okay for the player. Now I need, but can’t handle a long haul”

“I will be happy if somebody I love can love me… Am not sure anybody will love me after they see me explode”

He talked, I listened. We were seen together more and I heard quite a few complaints and accusations, but time wore on and we kept at it.

Much older now than he was in 1987, his teeth still beamed in sparkles. More to the sparkle on this Facebook photograph, is his wife of these many years and their eighteen year old son, next to him in Old Trafford. Their daughter had also joined them from Cambridge University.

Manchester United went ahead to win that home match, which was no news at the time.

 

Leonard Chintua-Chigbu
Listening and Creative Communication Artist
BA Fine Art (Painting) University of Benin 1986

I need your comments and questions please. Thank you.

 

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