A Prayer for S by Ségun Ògúntólá

She was vivacious
bright the light in her eyes.
I liked her immediately
warmed up to her
mustered the strength to ignore her
fierce-looking greyhound
glowering at me.
Our mutual friend, her
fellow graduate student
in WashingtonDC,
had taken me to meet her
in Virginia where
she then lived
with her boyfriend,
later husband.

 

The second time I met her
“You smell good,” she said
as we embraced.
Her kind remark warmed my heart
causing a gentle smile to
animate my face.
We were in Portland where
our mutual friend had moved from
New York City
to honor our mutual friend’s husband whose
paintings were being acknowledged with
a solo exhibition.
I had journeyed there from
New York City
she and her husband from nearby
San Francisco
Where they had moved from
Virginia.
As our mutual friend drove us from
the airport to her charming farmhouse,
“The Flying Pig”,
we chatted
discussed ideas.
Later that day we all sat
round the dining table
indulging in our passion for
discussing ideas
the fireplace glowing
the aroma of freshly brewed coffee
and bouquet of wine
scenting the air.
We talked about her course load and students
we talked about the state of the world
we agreed the world needs
Love
Tolerance
Cross-cultural understanding.
Such was how we spent those glorious days.
I have not seen her since.

 

Not long ago
our mutual friend told me this
on the telephone:
“You would not recognize her.
She got quite thin.
The treatment has been hard on her.
Please pray for her.”
I imagined her bald
gone her bountiful hair.

 

I recently spoke with her
on the telephone.
She was in Portland with her husband
visiting our mutual friend
a Thanksgiving Day rendezvous
I was unable to attend.
“I appreciate your courage,
your will to life.
Remain strong,” I said.
“Thank you,” she said.
She was cheerful
I felt her soft smile
her strength
her love of Knowledge
her love of Life
her will to live.
As I hung up the telephone,
“May she live!”
I said out loud,
gazing at the heavens.



©Ségun Ògúntólá 2006