I watched him as he allowed the half a litre can to slip from within a loosened grip, to clatter along the rubber-matted floor. He was slouching slightly as he sat  at an angle opposite me on the rocking train, eyes focused on a unfocused image. He pulled out another can of his bittersweet beverage that would be forcefully knocked to the back of his throat as he willed his thoughts away.

His face was blank – an expressionless canvas that I would have loved to paint with a smile of words. Maybe Uncle Johnny wasn’t getting any better in the hospital – doctors still gave him only a few more weeks to live, and he couldn’t find the way to tell his mother’s brother he means the world to him. Or maybe Sheila said they’d grown apart – she wanted to explore herself while she explored a world of foreign lands that make up the earth. Or maybe Jasper got run over – he’d planned to take him for his injections but always hated the thought of a needle being thrust into the flesh of his canine friend. Or maybe he didn’t know what to do with the pile of “We regret to inform you that…” letters that were shoved through his letterbox after yet another painstakingly nerving interview.

The young man’s glassy eyes said nothing of hope or happiness as they stared ahead, unblinking, a blurred gateway to a land of his clouded thoughts.

© LaYinka Sanni, April 2012

 

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