The Man Who Knew Death

Akin watched him sleep. He was shivering, even after wearing two coats and wrapping himself in Akin's wool blanket. Akin wondered how he made it that high up Chappal Waddi, what could have brought him there alone, and what he was searching for. Akin had long given up on the world and everything in it. The allure of mankind had lost its taste, and to a man who had seen it all, everything seemed meaningless. But this man made him remember what it was like living with people and having a family, he looked just like Akins grandson Fadeyi, the one who died fighting for the British.


"Drink" Akin said offering the man a calabash of water as soon as he woke up, "It will help your strength."


The stranger accepted the offering and drank slowly. It felt awkward having another human in his cave, the only other people he had interacted with were mountain climbers living their lives of adventure, and he ignored them mostly, unless a life was in danger.


"Thank you for saving me" came the stranger's weak voice.


He gathered some strength and sat up slowly with his back to the wall of the empty cave.


"Who are you?" Akin asked with his eyes fixated on the man's face, "And why did you come here?"


"My name is Boluwaji Williams, and I came here to find life." The man replied.


"You came to the mountain of death to find life?"


"Ironic I know but every man has his battles and what he must do to conquer them."


Akin did not understand him but didn’t want to pry. Hearing Boluwaji talk further etched the resemblance to his grandson in his mind; maybe discarding reincarnation was too hasty he thought.


“And how about you sir, why do you live on this mountain?” Boluwaji inquired.


Akin took a moment to think, he never expected to be asked any questions so he never thought up any answers.


“I am Akin. I live here because I want to and there is nothing left for me in the world.”


“We must be kindred spirits; I am also here because I lost everything. A priest told me to come here with two coconuts as an offering to the mountain god, it makes no sense to me but what choice do I have.”


Boluwaji took the coconuts out of his bag that lay on the floor beside and showed them to Akin. The first gift Akin gave his first wife was two coconuts. She had joked that his balls were bigger than the coconuts because she was promised to the river goddess Osun, and as such no man was to approach her. He ended up running away with her receiving a curse from the goddess in return.


A loud laugh erupted from Akin’s lungs and filled up the cave. Boluwaji thought he had gone mad, but Akin was laughing because he thought it funny how his wife kept their offspring safe from Osun's wrath and led him all the way up the mountain, yes it could have only been her. And For the first time in 68 years Akin did not feel alone.