I used to pretend to be a stethoscope when I was a child.
Some nights when I was a little fish in Nigeria and not skipping life away at University, I used to lie in bed and I put my ear to the wall to listen. If my folks talked about things that were right, I stayed there, or I’d turn away blushing. If they talked about time, or passing years, or me, or the town, or just the general, inconclusive way God runs his world, I listened warmly, comfortably, secretly, for it was usually my Dad talking. I couldn’t speak with him about growing up anywhere else in the world, but this was different. There was a thing in his voice, up and over, down and easy as a white bird describing its pretty flight patterns, that made the ear want to follow and made my mind want to see.
The odd thing about his voice was the sound truth makes being said. The sound of truth living in a wild city’s lies will spell any boy unused to truth, and it bound me with my ear to the wall. I drowsed off this way, my senses stilling like the hands of dying clocks long before his half singing baritone was still. Dad’s voice was a midnight school, teaching fathomless lessons deep in the wee hours and the subject was life.
I thirst for these little lessons now, they’re a lot harder to find when there is no voice in the wall.