Journey to Find Ice

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I wish Monsieur Providence, whoever that is, would rip off my skin and sprinkle my bones with dry ice. Ice, that is all I see. In flaky crystals and amorphous contortions, I could die for ice. Wishful thoughts you might call it, with my bags strapped, face sheathed in hood, soles of feet glazed in baking mud, I still dream of ice.

Where did all the ice go to? It was only yesterday that it heaped on the porch like huge piles of cotton wool. Where does melted snow even go to? At sunrise, it ladened the elm trees, at sunset it whizzed off with no trace behind. The ice does not care about the puny faced toddlers, sans guilt and free minded, that rolled over it on rusty sleighs. Those children and their laughter clouded even the most infinitesimal part of my room. Their innocence, I loathe their innocence.

I still can’t fathom why I love ice. This is Africa, we don’t do ice, we have spangled harmattans. Hmm, I guess I know why I like ice. It is because my heart has become this deep frigid icicle without any possibility of getting warm. It, my heart, used to be packed with mortar or concrete or something between the two. Then all I could see were streaks of blood. Streaks that clamped my dreams like lasers. Lasers that hid the face of Ma in those dreams. Ma had died last Christmas. They said she died of cold, cold caused by the arid harmattan and not ice. Minsiwe, the village healer, called it dry ice.

The drought had set in months ago; the horizon cast a dry purple hue on us. The waterholes dried up, River Bambu smelt of mingled ash and cow dung, Spring Everlasting smelt of burning death. But my heart has not always been icy. Not until Ndali, the last of my siblings, chocked to death last night. I had forced him to swallow his malaria pills without water. I watched him breath his last, his eyes popped in tight red balls. That was when my heart became ice. So I would embark on this journey to find ice. It would sooth my insides.

I would gird my loins, carry Pa’s travel coat, sling a bundle of raffia canes across my shoulder for my food. For your information, I am not going to the North Pole to look for ice and certainly not looking for ice inside exotic cold rooms in Argentina meat houses. I am off to find ice in Sahara!

You think I’m crazy, you silly rat-face. Laugh until your toes are blackened, I don’t care. When I find the iceberg in Sahara, I would set my chariot home. At home, I would cut a piece for each family and hope they melt it into drinking water. I would stuff some under Ndali’s corpse to preserve it. Ma’s grave, I would enclave with ice so that she would not be scorched in death. So, if you see me around, don’t scoff and call me a beggar, don’t jingle your cheap coins because I am on a great journey. A journey to Sahara, to find ice.



[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’][/author_image] [author_info]Innocent Chizaram Ilo is a young Nigerian writer and blogger (owner of where he preaches the gospel of flawlessness. He has been published in Expound magazine and was the second runner up in the YMCA Africa Short Story Competition. Innocent loves reading, writing, watching movies and spending time with family. The most magical thing writing has done for him is to make him exist in many bodies and making those bodies come alive. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is his strongest inspiration.Twitter handle @MaxiFlaws [/author_info] [/author]









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