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BN Prose: A Moment by Olumide Owoo



This is a story at a time when everything means nothing and tales are taken for granted by people who should know better. This is a story of things familiar, of events faced, of choices made, by the choosers or by others on their behalf. This is a story like that except most of all that is missing- most of a beginning, large parts of a middle, the bulk of the ending. This is a story about a black hole of missing stories where nothing is left but fragments and moments, moments floating around making clanging noises every time they bump against the tin walls of this life.  

So reach out and hold this moment- a man is in a car and beside him is another man and behind them is yet another man and two of them are old and one is young and they are talking of a long ago time, they are talking of youth and women and what was once theirs. The young man is not talking as much, he is driving and is enthralled by the stories, yet he thinks to himself how he cannot bear to get old. How he is scared of the warping of his mind, the gnarling of his fingers and of his hands and body and most of all the looking to the past, always to the past that comes with the pile-up of the years.

And the moon is pale and wan in a slate grey sky and the young man is driving faster and faster and the old men are talking still and the young man is sleepy and he drives even faster, because he wants to get back in time to rest and sleep and then.

Then imagine, that a deer was born years before the young man and the old men met at the family party earlier that night, the deer was born years before the old men asked the young man to please drive them to a neighboring town, and the deer lived uneventful and roamed uneventful and ran after things it thought beautiful and sparkly. And that on that night it ran into a road after something shiny and that on that same night the sleepy youngman did not see that deer till two seconds before he would have hit it and something in him made him swerve, so as not to hit the deer and the deer ran on and lived all the rest of its life.

But imagine under that pale wan moon that the car has swerved and is overturned and the young man is now dead and one old man is dead and the other old man too is dead.

People will grieve and be shocked and wish it would have been different.  And a friend of the young man, a classmate would say this about him, writing from the comfort of her too warm office on the 26th floor of a skyscraper in a cold city. She will say “I can’t believe you are gone Dade. It is all much too soon”. She will write this on his facebook page, on his wall, and two days before she did this, she took a picture of herself with her blackberry, held the phone in her right palm as far away as she could from her face and pressed the button with her skinny finger and blue laquered nail to take the picture. And right before the flash, she tilted her head up to the left, not on purpose, but an old habit, and took the picture, which she liked so much she used it as her new facebook profile picture.

So that way when she wrote on Dade’s wall, it was the same picture that many saw and one person was so striken by the profile picture of the woman with dark skin and low tightly-curled black hair and sad eyes, head tilted looking far away to the left, that he asked that she be his friend on facebook and she accepted and after weeks of messages he visited her cold city and they went to a restaurant where they both ordered steaks and hers was overdone, and she sent it back, and they talked. And after they both left they called each other every night except when they did not. 

They talked, they loved, they fought, they forgave, they married.  They think not of Dade once.

They grow old, they grow tired, they grow apart and they divorce. They had a child who when she is older is accepted to an expensive private college and she asks that both her parents drive there together with her. And they let the young girl drive, and as she drives they talk of old times, the mother, her tight curls now grey, sits beside their daughter and the father sits behind them both and the old parents talk of how it was when they were sure everything was possible. And they laugh at old stories that have been told too many times before and they are laughing when they pass a certain spot, on a certain road, where a deer once crossed and three men once died. And they know nothing of that spot, so they think nothing of it. And after the daughter gets to school, they drive the car back, and the father drops the mother off at her home, and kisses her chastely on the cheeks and he goes home too, pours himself a brandy, puts no ice in it, sits back, watches the news on the television and everything in life goes on or begins again, whichever way you like it.

Photo Credit: Getty Images


  1. jess

    February 21, 2012 at 10:28 am

    The sequence of life….where other people’s events are just events and no one knows what was before and what is after. I like!!!

  2. NDH

    February 21, 2012 at 10:30 am

    I think captivating will be the apprioprate word for this… very captivating… Thums up to the writer

  3. Dzeani

    February 21, 2012 at 10:30 am

    Wow! Beautiful Prose…..totally enchanting. It speaks of a lesson we all usually fail to comprehend of life; Life iterates….As it was , so it is and shall always be. Thanks Olumide

  4. Silky

    February 21, 2012 at 10:32 am

    I love the write up, it simple and so clean…

  5. feran

    February 21, 2012 at 10:32 am


  6. Aibee

    February 21, 2012 at 10:37 am

    They talked, they loved, they fought, they forgave, they married. They think not of Dade once.

    Circle of Life. How poignant. Sometimes I often think that there should be more meaning to our existence than just being in the circle.

  7. Pearl

    February 21, 2012 at 10:45 am

    Extremely well written. havent read a style like this in a long time. i love it, very creative, very narrative, very tighly and nicely put together. what other works do you have olumide??? i’ll love to read them all. BEAUTIFUL.

  8. christy

    February 21, 2012 at 11:01 am

    >Aibee,havin desame taught

  9. modupe

    February 21, 2012 at 11:14 am

    hmmmn….dis lyf sha….

  10. Adebisi

    February 21, 2012 at 11:18 am

    Well,smthing to think ’bout.

  11. Arit Okpo

    February 21, 2012 at 11:26 am

    Oh wow!!! Love the style of this….I love how it started in one place and ended in another and yet both places are totally intertwined. Lovely work

  12. Chinazar

    February 21, 2012 at 11:26 am

    Really interesting. iLike.

  13. awe

    February 21, 2012 at 11:32 am

    am in love with this piece…the writer is superb…kudos

  14. deedee

    February 21, 2012 at 11:46 am

    beautifully written!!

  15. moi

    February 21, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    whoa, l need to read it again there is a picture l ned to get, l’ve not gotten. Nice piece

  16. frivolities

    February 21, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    Chills…. I love it.

  17. zeenie

    February 21, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    Cycle of life…

  18. xy

    February 21, 2012 at 12:44 pm


  19. Personal Stuff

    February 21, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    Am def bookmarking this..

  20. Omoyeeeeee

    February 21, 2012 at 12:47 pm

    What people learn from history is that they do not learn from history

  21. sassy diva

    February 21, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    This is such a beautiful piece of work… honestly havent read such tasteful lines in a long time. Beautiful completely beautiful. Please let’s excahnge short stories on [email protected] The complexity and simplicity of life, moments shared, moments spent and moments gone

  22. loma

    February 21, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    Beautiful write up..I too have often wondered about other people whose paths never cross mine..or do they?

  23. I4ma

    February 21, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    Beautiful piece. The tapestry of life.

  24. oluwafumike

    February 21, 2012 at 2:25 pm


  25. Rho

    February 21, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    this is definitely different, unique and beautiful…..

  26. Francesca

    February 21, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    Definitely well written. Great work

  27. Dee Mist

    February 21, 2012 at 3:18 pm


  28. Audrey

    February 21, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    Such Talent! very beautiful write up

  29. Nomy

    February 21, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    A simple cycle. Dade’s death is probably not even the worst thing to happen to them, there are other things they have forgotten too soon or completely neglected. Life or life

  30. CFA

    February 21, 2012 at 6:09 pm

    This is a brilliant piece!!!

  31. Adia

    February 21, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Amazing Olumide!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Amazing!!!!!!!!

  32. Tiki

    February 21, 2012 at 9:31 pm

    This is real prose. Worthy of being studied in schools around the world. I doff my hat to you.

  33. icex

    February 22, 2012 at 9:19 am

    Nyc.plz I want 2 read mre

  34. Lacute

    February 22, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    The circle of life, we walk past history without even remembering that’s where it all started. Nice write!

  35. faith

    February 22, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    loved it….

  36. Lovinit

    February 22, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    Rivetin read n vry thot-provokin. Me likey…BRAVO!

  37. Onyx

    February 24, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    I like this very much. It’s a reflection of my present state of mind.

  38. cathy

    February 24, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    Life at it best, just live the moment and be very grateful.

  39. SMD

    February 28, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    Thought provoking

  40. Tutzie

    March 9, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    WOW!!! Beautiful Piece

  41. Jide Oshea

    June 27, 2012 at 7:30 pm

    I totally lov d writing style.flowin and linking.thumbs up

  42. Otofia Efe

    July 3, 2012 at 2:51 pm


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