My eyes are heavy in the forest of ghosts. The traveller – that’s me, actually – reclines on a soft sheetless bed. The sheets have now just arrived from the washing machine. By this time tomorrow, the bed will be empty. So will the wardrobe, living room and kitchen. This room, this building – a sponge of memories, pregnant with the mischiefs of a 10-month internship – will be empty. If it isn’t, at least I know that I won’t be here to enjoy its comforting embrace.

Funny how time flies. One day I was checking in and marvelling at a house designed just for me, when NEPA (or whatever it’s called) took power. Now I’m pulling out the sheets to leave the wonderful apartment just the way I met it – without the grapes, cookies, chocolate bars and wine, of course.

The Village itself has changed, from the brown red leaves of fall to the white wild winds of winter snow. It has evolved from a place where I almost couldn’t find my way around just after five minutes of stepping out of my apartment back in August. Now, it’s just a sprawl of land that I have learnt to call home. The peace of the lake, the mischief of the geese and the craftiness of the ugly menacing raccoon lurking by the trash can. What will I miss about this “village” the most beside the warm people, the police patrols, the bike trails and the basketball courts? Hmm, maybe the sense of safety and security that I get when I walk or sometimes cycle back home after a long day.

Of course, Cougar Village is not a village, except by the smallness of its population. By many standards, it is a small town with enough social amenities and a working government. For the rest – especially the animal population – let us write it down as an icing on an already pleasant living space cake. I think this could actually be the Eden the old folks talked much about. When I get out of here tomorrow evening. I will hope that right behind me at the gate will not be cherubs holding a flaming sword. It shall be goodbye Cougar Village, and its name will resound with me for more than a few mischievous reasons.

Photos by Ikechukwu Ohu.

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