The other day I came across a mad man speaking in tongues. Yes, I’m sure of it! He was “in the spirit” on that day.
It was just like other Wednesday. I was just coming back from church in my usual happy self, with my Beats by Dre earphones right across my head and listening to Ready to Praise by Mike Abdul. I got to the junction leading to my house, taking care not to be splashed with muddy water by reckless motorcyclists because it had rained earlier in the day and everywhere was muddy. Trust my neighborhood. Not much to say about it. It just seems like it was abandoned by successive governments. They only remember us during election campaigns. There’s when we can’t even sleep at night. Noise everywhere.
Well, on this day, because I work in the church studio, I was late in coming home. I had to take this route, which I don’t usually take because of the reckless abandon of dirt everywhere turning the untarred road into a mud pit.
As I made to cross to the other side, I got sight of a man. He looks like he was in his early twenties but he was dressed in a tore and dirty white shirt and a pair of equally dirty blue jeans. He was shaking like a Nokia Touch phone on vibrations and uttering gibberish. Everyone kept away from him. I tried to recognize his face but it couldn’t register.
I removed the headphones and switched off my phone, drawing closer to him to get a better picture. Nobody even noticed me on my red Alobam polo with a pair of black jeans to match. Everyone was just watching the free movie, with some ladies giggling to themselves like it was funny.
I was so engrossed in the show that I didn’t notice when a friend pulled up to me and touched me. I was startled. I nearly jumped out of my skin.
“Guy, wazzup you nah? You be winch? Stop this joke nah”, I shouted. I saw the terror on my friend’s childish face.
“Oga, calm down nah. I never met to startle you. I just notice say nah you. I come make I hail you small’, he replied innocently. I apologized and turned back to the mad man. By this time, he was on the ground, unconscious. No one seems to care.
“Oh, nah that one carry your attention?”, my friend, his name been Uche, asked after he noticed how I turned my attention back to the man. Hearing that, and sensing he knew the man and his story, I turned and faced him.
“You know am?”
“Yes nah. Nah Kingsley be that nah,” he replied to my query. Kingsley? I have heard that name somewhere, I pondered in my mind.
At this moment, the man has risen to his feet and was cleaning his body. He was just pitiful to behold. His handsome face hide by dirt.
“Madness no good ooo,” I said and shook my head, turning to continue on my way home.
“Which madness? Taaarrr! Em no dey mad anything. Nah mechanic for the other street.”
I froze in my footsteps. It then dawn on me. I remember my dad speaking about a “young man”, as he called me, who had epilepsy. So, this was the Kingsley he was talking about? I turned again to look at the man again. Then I noticed the difference.
I left my friend without saying goodbye and I walked the few metres to my house. I kept thinking about what I just saw. Nobody wanted to help him, I kept saying to myself all the way home.
When I got home, my mum, seeing my face asked, “Chi, what is wrong?”
I heaved a sigh and replied, “I saw a mad man speaking in tongues.”