Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Dreams of Home

Come February, I will have been away from home for 7 years. I remember telling my friends before I left, “I will get a job, I will save up and I’ll be back in two years.”

A month and half of living in the States, I got a job and I’ve had a job ever since. Two years passed. No Nigeria. My mother held charge of my bank account at that time and money went out to help my brother and sister to help pay for a car, to help pay for a laptop and other finances. I finally got hold of my bank account as a first year student in college. I had no idea of how much money I had earned in the last two years. It didn’t matter. I had to start from scratch again, but fees came up for school and books. There was always something coming up and money was always going. My young and beautiful cousin passed away, the cats died or ran away, my dog got killed. To me, it seemed as if people I once had a connection to were disappearing along with the pets that had stayed with us for years.

The dreams started about 4 years ago. I would be back in my hometown of Aba, but somewhere far away from my house. Usually, I was on my way back from school. In my dream, my goal was simply to get home. I knew the way, but there was always an obstacle that I couldn’t overcome. There would be a heavy traffic jam, no cars would be moving. So I would decide to walk. I knew the short cuts to take, but somehow the roads would twist and I would end up lost. Or it would get dark and the handcrafted kerosene lamps from people’s market stalls would burn unusually bright and I would be blinded. I would have repetitive dreams like this for months.
Time would pass a year or so. My dream would change slightly.  I would be at the far end of
the street leading to my home. I KNOW THE WAY HOME! It’s easy. Just walk straight. Pass those familiar houses. I had done it countless times as a child in both the daytime and at night. In my dream, I would get so excited, I was almost there! I would begin to run and I wouldn’t get tired. Far, far away, I could see the wall that ended the street and behind that wall would be a school. My excitement would rise. But then . . . always, something would be there to stop me. Once it was a giant canyon, another time it was a few thugs. I would try to take one of my shortcuts, but I would always end up lost. I would wake up every night after such dreams extremely frustrated. I haven’t seen my home for years. It’s not fair that I can’t even see it in my dreams. I remember crying several times in those dreams.

I’ve lost count of the number of times I have had these dreams. It would be impossible to count them.

About a year ago, I made up my mind to find a way home. Then my dreams changed again. I would still be on that street leading to my home, but this time I would be a lot closer. Some nights, I would be able to reach my house, but the gate would be closed. Other nights, I could enter the compound, but never be able to make it into the backyard. When I was little, I could always tell whether my father was home or not. I could hear the whir of the standing fan in his bedroom, or the hum of the television in the parlour. Sometimes, I wouldn’t have to hear anything. I would just know. In these dreams, he was never at home. I hated that feeling of my excitement building and building, only to have my hopes obscenely popped in my face.

Then I bought my ticket home. And after so long, the dreams have finally stopped. Not completely, but when I do dream of home, I am with my father, in my house.


  1. I really loved your story. I felt connected to your story, because for a long time, I dreamed of going home (I'm from St. Lucia) for years only to find the familiar unfamiliar in my dreams. In the opening paragraph you say, "To me, it seemed as if people I once had a connection to were disappearing along with the pets that had stayed with us for years" and I too have felt this way. People who I grew up with as a child were no longer the same people 7 years ago. Its been frustrated and challenging, but I've learned to let it go. People change, things change and I have to move on. I can't dwell in the past. Thanks for sharing Yemezi! :o)

  2. When you get to Aba, send us pictures o! I have never been and I would love to one day. Your dreams are moving, something eerie about them too...you know like all those akuko ifo our grannies told us that didn't quite make you scream but made goosepimples pop all over your skin?
    Good luck to you. You will meet your father in good health.

  3. Yagazie you are a woman of many creative talents, all of which I admire. Your writing is beautifully poignant. Your return to Aba is bound to be fraught with conflicting emotions, and though it's a unique experience that I, as well as those of us who have never been away from home can directly relate to, I thank you for sharing your journey with us, for being so candid and brave.

  4. I loved this. I'm happy for you that you finally have a firm plan on how to get home.
    I hope your return is everything you'd like it to be.

  5. Awww... glad you'll finally be going home. All the best!

  6. Dear God, this gave me goose pimples. I am buying my ticket home the first paycheck i get! :)

    May home be everywhere you are...

  7. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  8. It is amazing that you were raised in Nigeria and could have so many vivid dreams about your country (the good and the bad)!

    i was born in Nigeria (I'm Igbo, Imo State, born in Abuja) but lived there until I was two and then came to America. Havent been back since
    I often wish I could say I cant wait to go home to see 'these people', go to 'these places', to do 'such and such'. But I cant because I dont have much memory of my home. Just a few pictures. When you go have a safe trip! Come back with stories and PICTURES!!!

    Chidere Nicolette Igwe