It amazes me how one could smile and cry simultaneously. This completely discordant outburst of emotions is happening to me right now; something that happens often enough to pass for norm. Most times, people cry and smile at the same time when they are overwhelmed with joy; walking into a beautiful surprise that had never crossed their mind, or maybe it had couple of times , but they waved it off- nah, just exactly how will I get that? Or maybe it’s not a surprise, they were expecting it and can’t just contain the “oh yes! Finally” that is happening to this person that must be them.Or maybe they are about falling off the brink of sanity. Crying and smiling for me hasn’t been about surprises, not since my twentieth birthday.
Yesterday night, I told my friend that I missed some people who I shouldn’t miss, in ways I shouldn’t miss them. The thought of my half-brothers certainly didn’t cross his mind, so he told me to visit these people I miss.
” I lost all the fight in me ” this is the English interpretation of my status on Whatsapp. Because I had lost all the fight in me, I tucked in my ever-disagreeging, not-giving in, and honest self. I didn’t tell him I couldn’t visit them, that I have no passport not to mention visa, and even if I did, I just couldn’t go visit them. Like what do I say after about ten years of not seeing them? Hey bro, I’m your little sister, remember me right? You used to like me. What exactly do I say?
Today, I was in bed till noon. This seldom happens if you go by my first and last names and stayed up midnight seeing pretty little liars till five am. I woke up to a familiar feminine voice telling my mum she forgot her child’s birthday. My brain was on the move without reaching its pedals, like it had calendar on speed dial: 12/12. It’s Bororo’s birthday. It’s my half-brother’s birthday too.
So I’m crying and smiling. I can’t tell him those two words I would rather say to people on their birthday than write long messages.
I miss people who shouldn’t be missed in ways I shouldn’t miss them and this is how I deal with it.
Certain “professionals” say writing shouldn’t be your escape. If there’s anything I love about rules, it’s the fun that comes with fracturing them.
This is the lengthiest piece I’ve written in a while. So yeah, writing is my escape. It’s my frenemy. Serves as lever for rolling stuff off my brain, and sometimes, acts funny, dares me to severe the umbilical.
“I’ve waited so long for this day. For today when I will listen to you g-rh-h-on…” BOOM!
A bullet plunged into my rib cage. Then I heard the gunshot.
Bullets must travel at the speed of light.
My chest burned. I reached for my pistol from under the pillow, clutching my chest with the other arm.
“…the day I will watch you suffer like I did…”
My right arm. Pain impaled the arm as the bullet tunneled through its bone. The gun fell off my hand.
The shooter walked closer, pistol pointed at me.
“…the day I will look into your eyes and see mise-h-rh-hy…”
Both legs. They were staked to the bed, immovable. I lay still, paralyzed.
The shooter was by my bed now. Sweat trickled down my face.
“…when you will beg for mercy and wish I’m God, because you will find none…”
The bullet stormed into my heart as my shuttering eyes met the shooter’s fiery ones canopied by a black hood. The eyes glowed with such rage that the room seemed to be ablaze.
“…For today when the last you’ll see will be this face.” Hood lifted.
It is her.
I knew it was her from the moment she spoke. How wouldn’t I recognize that voice? Saying “r” with such difficulty that spittle loses say in how much it gets spattered into the air.
I made to clench my chest but my arms felt detached. Pain sprung from my heart and sped through every nerve. Somewhere in the room, a voice screamed. The voice dropped a memory into my mind: I am ten. I am walking by a road. A green car swerves off the road and races towards me before my legs can messiah. I hear a bone break in my side. I scream at the ensuing pang.
The carpet received my weight as I fell off the bed with a resounding thud. Breeze lifted the red curtain of the window at the end. It raised the fabric, ran through and beneath it to tour the room and press my kaftan against my – blood and sweat – sodden body.
A blanket of chill settled over me. I began drifting; my eye lids were too heavy to keep from sliding down.
“Bastard” She stood over me.
You’re a grown woman now.
Her silhouette faded as my vision thinned and the words I wanted to say to her melted on my lips.
She hit the right places. She hit all places.
I would die in a few seconds. I wasn’t afraid. A soldier is always ready to die.
I remembered when all that was in her mouth were premolars poised at the center of her jaws. And the first time she fired a gun; how she staggered at the recoil – a blend of shock and fright animated her face. I remembered why she loathed me. It all began seven years ago, here in this facility.
* * *
I slid into her tardily. Each thrust punctured my soul, tore my innards apart. I pretended it wasn’t her, that she was one of those sluts who warmed my bed on Friday nights after I left the joint wasted. But Instead of moans of pleasure, muffled sobs filled the space. And in place of looseness, she was tight. Blood seeped between her thighs onto the bed. She was no slut. She was Rachael.
She wriggled beneath me like an earthworm struggling to escape a perimeter bestrewed with salt. She fought hard to scream through the tape I gagged her mouth with. I thrust into her again and more teardrops fell from her eyes, taking separate routes down her pimpled face. I looked away, my eyes scouring for something- anything- to bestow my focus.
The small window above the bed permitted rays irradiating from the full moon perched on the dark sky outside, illuminating her cell albeit dimly. Her room was messy: brown crumbs of foam, dead insects, footwear and clothes littered the floor; cobwebs hung between ends of the walls. I recoiled in disgust.
“If you mention a word about this to anyone, you’re dead.” I was done. I peeled the tape off her mouth and dropped it on the bed. She nodded, trembling. I didn’t want her talking about this to anyone.
Seeing her fanned the embers of anger in my head. I was unsure who I was mad at: The Boss or myself. You both, a voice whispered in my head. I climbed off her and almost cringed at the sight of the red patch on the bed.
“But why? Why…” She cried when I got to the door.
“It’s part of your training” I didn’t look back, didn’t want her to see the lie in my truth or doubt that sex would make her stronger.
“What about these cords?” She screamed as I made out of her cell. I locked the door and walked away. She had to put what she had learnt to practice and I was unsure she wouldn’t lunge at me if I cut the cords.
Her grunts followed behind me as I strolled past a soldier, alcohol reeked in his breath as he stuttered a greeting and saluted. He was a D2, five ranks below me. I turned to shoot him a jarring look. On other nights, I would have punished him for drinking while on duty, but I was shattered tonight. And I knew The Boss probably stationed him there to give report of my deed, just like he would request for Rachael’s bed sheet tomorrow. I wanted to kill the D2- another eye of The Boss watching me. But it wasn’t his fault, he was chosen. And here, being chosen meant having an apartment in Hades. The one who really deserved a cough of bullet from the pistol at my waist was The Boss himself.
I walked by other cells and heard whispers. They aren’t asleep, bloody goats. I resisted the urge to go into the cells where the whispers breezed from. The lights had been out since an hour ago, before I came to the C3 dorm and went into Rachael’s cell.
Her roommate had been locked in the Dark room for stealing from the kitchen but my instinct said it’s all part of The Boss’ scheme to make sure I defiled Rachael undisturbed, just as he had made me come here without having a drop of liquor. He wanted me to remember every detail.
I was at the stairs now.
In my mind, I saw Rachael sweeping all her energy into her hands, reaching for her ankle knife as she bent her leg towards her head. The fear that she might employ the knife in hurting herself crossed my mind. But she was trained to survive against all odds; she had been put through a lot worse. She was strong, unlike the others whom we kept on close watch because of their previous suicidal attempts.
Rachael was special.
Fifteen years ago, I fell in love with a woman. Her name was Blessing. I was on a mission in Benue, working undercover as a cashier at a popular feed mill at Konshisha owned by Mr Agu.
I had an affair with Blessing even though a client had paid The Boss for the ruination of Mr Agu, Blessing’s father. I didn’t know why the client wanted Blessing’s father destroyed. I didn’t have to. My instructions were to: get close to the family, get enough information on how he ran his business and orchestrate something implicative enough to destroy him.
Blessing took in few months after we started seeing each other. When she broke the news of the pregnancy, for a short-lived moment I forgot about the mission, we were so happy. But when I remembered what I planned to do to her father, my grin vanished leaving enough surface for gloom to settle on my face. Blessing had thought that I changed my mind about the baby, that I didn’t want it anymore. I quickly lied, she bought it and smiled. We agreed to keep the baby.
With words that felt so alive, we painted our lives together, with the baby: We got a three-bedroom flat in a serene area, painted the house orange, no, Blessing wanted cream, we argued, we argued over fiddling things like that. We concluded on orange and cream for the sitting room, cream for the rooms except the baby’s. Blessing painted baby’s room pink-she was so sure it was a girl- and bought her fancy hair ribbons, dressed her like a princess. The house had a large compound where I parked my Evil spirit, and baby – I wanted a boy- and I played football when he was older.
We kept painting on the canvas of love and hope. We even painted dying together.
We were crazily in love, so crazy that one day I picked the phone and dialed The Boss’number. I wanted to quit the job, quit being his soldier. But his hello had been so frightening that all that I had rehearsed while roving the perimeter of my room disappeared.
The boss inquired about the progress of the mission; he was not happy that I was taking too long to execute the so facile an assignment and moreover the mission had changed – the client wanted the man and his family dead, staged like Mr Agu murdered his family and killed himself. Mr Agu was contesting with our client in the election taking place the following year.
The phone burned in my hand as he spoke. He ended the call that night after he told me he knew about the thing growing inside Blessing; he trusted me enough to remember my allegiance to him and not to risk being disavowed over the stupid mistake.
That night, Baby became stupid mistake. Who had I been fooling? There was no way I could have the kind of life Blessing and I had dreamt. I wasn’t that kind of guy. I sold my freedom long ago. It was this day that those words died, that I burnt the canvas.
I killed Blessing’s parents, Blessing too. It was four months after breaking up with her, the month Baby was born. Baby was bawling in her crib that evening. And when I pointed the gun at her, she stopped crying. I couldn’t kill her. I couldn’t kill Rachael.
Sex was a tool; men’s doom. Rachael was at the stage of mastering how to exploit this, so The Boss enjoined me to deflower her. He could have sent someone else but my punishment for sparing her wasn’t over yet.
It was important that the female soldiers knew how to please men; their body was their most puissant weapon. Male trainees were made to sleep with the females and most times, horny trainers raped the girls. Before Benue happened, I violated the girls too. Most of them were used to it and tried all the moves they had seen in the sex tapes we made them watch in the common room while some would lie still like a fallen tree while I had my way.
Rachael would make a great soldier and a beautiful assassin. The Boss found out I spared her and ordered me to kill her but I couldn’t. I brought her here instead because there was no hiding from him. He was a god with eyes everywhere, on every soldier here and outside. He had connections both in and outside the country; a phone call would be enough to never hear Rachael’s cries again. I begged him to spare her. He agreed and to my dismay, put her among the trainees when she was of age.
I swore to never tell Rachael about her paternity and keep our contact minimal. So I watched her grow from afar. And for years, to her, I was just another cruel teacher they all despised. And I couldn’t stop it –the father-daughter bond that was never there – from severing into ashen pieces as it biked on the scraggy terrain of nights that turned into days, weeks, and months that rolled into years.
* * *
….Hail Mary full of grace
Our Lord is with thee
Blessed art thou among women….
Sometimes words are lazy cyclists, they ride all the way up into your mouth but get stuck to your tongue.
When my body feeds the earth, these words “Rachael, I’m your father” will rot along with their place of birth.
….And blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus
Mother of God….
Voices and footsteps echoed from afar.
“Oga. . .oga. . .” a panicky voice called.
I made to talk but my lips felt glued and when I tried to move, a strange force pinned me down.
“E be like say oga don peme oh” another voice said, sounding more distant.
“Oga. . . og. . . abeg go wake The Boss” the first voice said.
The Boss. His last word resonated in my head as I breathed my last.
The voices stopped and a thick fog of darkness consumed me.
…Pray for us sinners
Now and at the hour of our…death.
You mined your dynasty out of a blotched name,
Ignited frozen stones to start a fire that would be a flare.
They exhumed your heart, stripped you of humanity
and you stood numb,
spectating the birth of the beast that is you.
Now you seek wholeness in a land of broken bones.
You troll for peace in the path between burning breasts.
They never told you? Home is the hamlet you gave up
in pursuit of mansions to call yours,
mansions that now have crumbled.
THE WALK THROUGH IWO ROAD
Flexibility, swiftness, stern look, sharp tongue; these are the requisites for making it through Iwo road untouched. And by untouched, I mean uninjured, not robbed. Your legs must move faster than you blink to avoid being pushed, or hit by a crazy driver (note ‘crazy’, not ‘drunk’. These people are crazy liquor or no liquor).
You need to bend, twist; the hawker doesn’t care if the edge of her tray makes straight for your face. If eventually there is a collision – perhaps, your legs moved faster than your optic nerves travelled and you hadn’t mastered flexing your muscles enough to swerve as she hurried towards you; she will call you blind and grab your collar.
Just pay her and leave. Please.
Who is the most uncouth person you have met?
You remember indices, don’t you? Now, uncouthness of the most uncouth person you have met is variable a, a^10 = uncouthness of Iwo road folks, which is to say everyone who is in that sphere because they belong there.
It is easier for you to walk through Iwo road without nail imprints on your wrists; you are a man. But you will be held and pulled. Those boys selling Akube shoes and menswear, conductors shouting one more passenger” when the bus is only half filled will. The stern look and sharp tongue step in here, to ward them off.
Fatima, Bose, Mariam, Sade. I’ve been called these names. I’ve been held against my will till I fought off their grips. The miscreants found me attractive and force is their mother tongue.
Yes, the harassment is utterly infuriating but there’s nothing to do. Recently, I almost slapped a rascal but stopped short because hitting him would depict my level of reasoning parallels with his and his clutching my wrist in the first instance would be submerged by a deluge of rancid mouths justifying the reciprocating beating I got. Because, “why would you hit an area boy!”
You know what I want? A renowned feminist trekking through Iwo road, held, butt-smacked (the scoundrels wouldn’t know her anyway). She might have to figure out how to stop this.
Sensitize Taxi drivers, conductors, and area boys on equal rights and penalty for molestation under law. That would be her solution (or she could surprise me), which is no more useful than threatening to castrate them.
“What do I suggest?”
Leave them be. If there are people you can’t change, it is these rascals. These are men who own their wives, grew up believing that all moving in skirts are for the sole purpose of sex. And you want to wipe that from their brains? Well, good luck with that!
Sometimes it is not people who must be changed, it is one who should understand that life is a crone who won’t grant one all requests. One has to adjust, be more tolerating. As much as this is a guide for you, it is also a self-talk for me. I have wanted a sermonette on this subject since the day I almost slapped that guy.
And oh, add the Niger kids who beg for alms too. You will have to give them money because they seem not to understand that you have a choice in this matter. They will tug at your pant till you give in. The other option is: stern look, sharp tongue. You might need to push them off, but gently. See, just give them Twenty naira and save yourself the drama.
I was at the market today to get a new shirt but bought a pair of shoes after I had entered and exited too many stores to not see my dream shirt. In the bus back home, I sat with three older women; two were obese and refused to stop talking. The third woman couldn’t have been a little older than forty. We made faces with each other, the third woman and I. In that moment, our eyes chatted.
Hers said: Ibadan women sha!
Mine replied: Yeah right.
Then we smiled.
This birthed our short messages: The conductor gave one of the obese women her change, short of ten naira. She complained that he’s so stingy he wouldn’t even buy her a bottle of Pepsi if she asked for one.
Ibadan women sha!
Yesterday, I got the mail that you will be here next week. The IMs still don’t meet your standard of what genuine communication ought to be? It is okay. This forewarn was only necessary.
So dear (youve always wanted me to call you this, I know) master the skills, practice them every morning till you leave Abuja and you’ll be surprised at the good it will do.
It is raining here now. I must go out to read what message the drops have left in the clouds.
THE ATTACHMENT IS AN ILLUSTRATED DESCRIPTION OF MY HOUSE FROM THE CAR PARK IN IBADAN. HASSAN, MY YOUNGER BROTHER MADE THE SKETCHES YESTERDAY EVENING (I GAVE HIM A TIP) AND BECAUSE OF HIM, YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO FIND MY HOUSE WITHOUT SWEATING.
Give my love to your sister, Zahra (oh how I love that name!)
Till we see (which the mere thought of is as exciting as the event itself (should be?).)
The wet scent of greens and cold air fills my nose (my olfactory cells must have undergone some mutation; you know, the type that people who smile at birds would go through ) as the bus recovers from the grip of potholes to run undisturbed on a road fenced by poplars. This bus is heaven! I’ve never traveled to Ogbomoso in a bus with such badass shock absorbers. Two kids are tugging at a goat’s nipples. I remember my mom. Pulling her nerves must be with similar energy. I grin as the bus moves farther from the sight. I feel eyes on my skin. I turn to lock gaze with the bespectacled guy beside me the instant before he looks away. There are tribal marks on his face; you wouldn’t know he is an ‘I fought tiger’ till you were at a handshake from him. He used not to be here. There are three passengers on each seat, he was sitting at the other end, beside a window before the sick dude in the middle puked. On the floor. Sick dude would have puked outside if I had been nice and allowed him to sit beside the other window, where I am.
The regurgitated something-that-looks-like-curdled milk-or-garri-or-tuwo that I’m avoiding to step on like it’s hot coal is proof that the bespectacled guy was not interested in being beside me(as I had presumed ) when he suggested that I switch places with sick dude about an hour ago after sick dude raised an ‘I think I’m gonna vomit’ alarm. When I asked him to trade places with sick dude instead, ” the screen here can’t be moved past where it is and you know he might want to put his head out to vomit.” was his excuse. Sick dude is sitting there now anyway, and oh he just pushed the screen backwards so he could pour water on his head like a passenger advised.
Nausea. That’s all I feel right now. This trip was supposed to be pleasant!
The bespectacled guy is really nice. He is asking sick dude how he feels for the umpeenth time. He made sure to buy balm and a bottle of water for sick dude at the park. He’s what Nigeria needs. A darling bespectacled president.
On his Facebook timeline, Tomiwa sees an ad of a new therapeutic technology that aids glaucoma patients in recuperating. Expectation wells up in his stomach as he clicks on the link to check the price, hoping to find swell figures. Then he sees it.
For a split second, he doesn’t blink. He reads the price again, scrolls down the page to see additional charges (which he must have overlooked, since he had been goaded by the ad thing.)
The phone slips off his hand onto the bed as he is swamped by a feeling he can’t quite put his finger on.
Could fifteen thousand five hundred naira have restored his mother’s vision, kept the trailer from running her over when she crossed the expressway?
If only… If only he had seen this four months ago, maybe she’ll still…
He wishes that he never saw the ad, didn’t open his Facebook page this night, that he had played chicken invaders on his phone instead.
Now he will live wondering if, by using almost all the money in his bank account, he could have been the help that his mother prayed for when her poor eyesight worsened, and just before she took her last breath on a road far from home(he is so sure that she prayed while that trailer broke her bones.)
No, the new technology must be a sham. Has to be.
You hear a knock on your door and ignore it. A rhythm of knocks follow. You make no attempt to answer the door but mouth a prayer instead- that whoever it is leaves; Your hands are caught up in the cleansing of your dirty tunic and you are in no mood for a chatter right now. The angel in charge of placing your request before God seems to have left his duty post as your ears are now being battered by the succeeding reverberations diffusing through the house as the sound of the knocks reach a crescendo; the person seems to have lost their cool and makes your wooden door pay for your refusal to unlatch it. So you take your hands off the cloth you are washing and rinse them with clean water whilst fuming. Your hands greet the smooth texture of your garment as you dry them while walking towards the door. Who could want to see you so bad that they have refused to let your door rest for the past few minutes? You wonder if it’s the landlord again and his face pops up on the template of your mind. A chill runs through your spine; you are engulfed by shame as you remember how you lured him to bed the last time he came threatening to throw you out of his house. You had to, there was no way you could have gotten enough coins to pay your rent and you had no where to go. You are broke. You have nothing left; You have spent all your savings trying to get yourself fixed. You sold the land your mother left when she died, You even sold your late husband’s farmland and gave the money to the priest who assured you that his would be the last place you’d come for help; that once you make the sacrifice to Aphrodite- the goddess of love- the flow will cease. You wanted to believe him, you didn’t but you paid for the sacrifice anyway. That was five years ago and you haven’t for one second ceased being a fountain of blood.
If only God would take your life already, you can’t go on like this. A sigh finds it’s way out from somewhere near your rib cage.
“who is it? ” you howl as you approach the door- you are mad at whoever it is.
“Berenice ” a voice answers. You frown. So she’s the one hitting your door like her knuckles were crafted out of bronze. You are not surprised; she has the build of a man.
Berenice is an old friend who’s been with you through thick and thin, she was the one you had walked into the day you had finally decided to breathe life into your suicidal thoughts by hanging yourself on the tree downstream. Berenice had noticed your swollen eyes and pressed on till you gave in and told her about your death wish. She had walked you home that hot afternoon and had given you no chance to breathe the air free of her assuring words; she had told you everything will be alright, that very soon you’ll be healed. You hadn’t believe her but you had given her no reason to believe you hadn’t. That was two years ago and your affliction still has you in it’s grasp.
“Dear, I wasn’t expecting you ” you hug her and close the door as she enters.
“Is that why you want the skin of my hand peeled off upon knocking before you open the door? ” she shoots with annoyance, anger burning in her eyes.
“I’m really sorry, I thought it was my landlord ” You plead, hoping that would be enough to douse the blazing fire in her eyes.
“It’s okay. But I thought you settled things with him already ?” her eyes seem to seek the answer from your face – the anger in her eyes slough slowly- she gives you no chance to reply and continues ” Do you remember I promised to let you know when Yeshua visits our province? ”
“Yay, I do” you nod
“well he is now” she smiles
Your heart does three somersaults and a mix of conflicting emotions rush through your body: happiness; fear; excitement and shame.
” he’s in Gerasenes right now? ” You want to be sure you heard her right; You can’t believe your silent prayers have finally been considered by God.
You’ve heard a lot about this messenger of God, You’ve heard people talk about how he turned water to wine at Cana, the blind men he healed and how he raised Lazarus who had been dead for complete four days. You believe in him and you have anticipated this moment for a long time.
“Yes my friend, he is here. Do you remember that mad man down the lake?” she asks as though unsure about your ability to notice what’s going on around.
“Alpheus the craze ?” you offer
“yes him. Yeshua healed him yesterday, in fact if you see him now, you won’t even recognize him again ” she says, matter-of-factly
You give thanks to God in your heart and start thinking of how to get to see Yeshua. All you need to do is touch his robe; you believe strongly that that would do.
“where exactly is Yeshua now?” you ask Berenice
“He’s at the shore, I really don’t know how you’ll get him to notice you because the crowds there are much. Do you have a plan or something? ” she inquires, concern emanating from her face.
“I’ll think something up, let’s get going ” you reply as you start closing the windows.
“You won’t even change this garment ? ” she scowls at your raiment.
“Berenice, I’ve waited for this moment for more than ten years now, I really don’t care about what I’m putting on” You reply rigidly while wearing your sandals.
“Okay, If you say so” she gives up.
- * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
You see him from a distance, you can’t really see his face but you can hear his voice clearly. You see a man kneel before him, you see the man’s face- it’s Jarius, the man who leads the synagogue- you cannot hear what he’s saying but you know he needs something important from Yeshua. He holds onto Yeshua’s feet and you wonder if this is about his twelve years old daughter who took ill two weeks ago. Yeshua pats his back and holds him up, he says something to Jarius and they start moving away from the crowd, Yeshua’s disciples following closely behind like chickens strolling behind a mother on the quest for grains.
“Are you just going to stand there like a figurine ? can’t you see he’s leaving? come on make your move now” Berenice pushes you forward. What would you do without her?
You tell yourself that you can do it, that all you need do is touch his robe. You start to walk towards him, increasing your pace as you see him move farther. You elbow your way through the crowd, you are pushed but you keep moving. You are pressed by people both behind and beside but you do not give up; You keep going till you get closer to him. You see his long dark hair now, his green robe is in view too- he’s before you now.
“Just touch his robe and be made whole ” a solemn voice whispers in your head.
“You fool yourself a lot, what makes you think touching his robe will heal you?” another voice says. You recognize that voice; it’s the same voice you listened to when you slapped that old woman who angered you. You are in this crowd today because of the curse she placed on you twelve years ago.
You will not repeat the same mistake, so you listen to the first voice. You reach for and touch Yeshua’s robe. It stopped; You can’t feel the flow anymore and you feel like a faulty tap that was fixed just few seconds ago.
You know you have been healed, he knows too because suddenly he turns around and his fixes his brown eyes on one person in the crowd; You.
- * * * * * * * * * *
Hey guys… yeah the story is an adaptation of the story of the woman with the issue of blood in Mark 5.
I hope you like it, drop your comments, okay? Can’t wait to hear from you!
The hallway fills up with students as they march in singing ‘the day is bright’ though it looks like the sun is still splayed across her bed and isn’t going to wake up from her sleep any time soon.
How do you feel when you enter into your Aunty’s room and meet her entangled with your dad, doing that which most girls your age speak of quite a number of times during their sleep over while their faces shone with pride and the eyes of the ones who haven’t yet done ‘it’ preached hope and their hearts crowded with expectations?
Well that was exactly how I felt and a little more the week before Christmas when I left mom’s restaurant few blocks from home to convey her message to aunty Titi, her younger sister who had refused to pick her calls and guess what I discovered had kept her fingers numb from picking the damn phone?
Her fingers were all over my dad and their bodies were glued like an algae stuck onto fungi! I ransaged my brain for the exact word that describes what was going on, my biology teacher had used it quite a number of times during our classes on reproduction, I tried so hard to remember the word but my brain would not just do me the honor. Whatever it is they were doing, I know it’s definitely something bad, really bad, something that would make mom cry more than she did when she lost my granny, something that might make me be the next kid with divorced parents in school if she ever got to know.
Stifling a cry with almost all the strength I’ve got, I closed my eyes, opened it, closed, opened it again till I was assured I wasn’t having another one of those so a real nightmares that have made my bed my greatest fear. I pinched my self and felt the pain transmitted by my nerves. Oh no, I’m actually alive and this is happening right before my eyes! I deliberated on stepping backwards quietly till I could close the door behind me without them noticing but my feet felt chained to the floor; I couldn’t even move.
Aunty Titi and my dad were so devoted that neither of them noticed when I opened the door and that I was still in the doorway till I gave out a loud cry, surprised at how intense it was and mad at my self at the same time for doing a stupid thing as such. But I couldn’t just hold in anymore, I screamed and screamed again till I lost my voice; my head felt like it was spinning and would fall off very soon. When I finally got their attention, with shock and shame written all over their faces, my dad gropped for his clothes, wearing them wrong all the way when he finally got hold of them and my can’t-keep-her-legs-closed aunty was shaking uncontrollably and chanting
“Omolayo jo pamisile ma pami sita, please it’s the devil , it’s the devil , esu ma ni …”
she didn’t stop until my dad shot her an angry ‘shut up’ look, he then shifted his gaze downwards at his cupped hands like they suddenly became leprous. For few seconds, his mouth refused to produce any sound and the expression on his face looked like he was contemplating speaking or not. All of a sudden, like a man possessed by the spirit of tyranny he stood up and whatever shame I saw in his eyes seconds ago had vanished completely, rage took it’s place now and like I was the one caught in the verboten act , he started shouting at me, calling me names he’d never called me before, he even called me a bastard though I know we don’t need a DNA test to prove who my real father is, he made for me with full rage and hit me so hard, I heard a loud thump which I later realized was the sound of my body kissing the ground, he didn’t stop right there, he sent a slap across my face and it was so hot and blinding that I could have sworn I saw two golden stars winking at me.
Admist my soft moans, I kept wondering why he turned on me out of the blue, when it seemed the blows were not going to stop anytime soon, I started pleading because the way he was kicking and hitting me, I might end up spending the Christmas in ICU if he doesn’t come back to his senses in time.
Aunty Titi too joined in the plea ”Kunle please, don’t do this to her, you’re hurting her, please it’s enough ” she tried to take his hands off me and in the process a good blow greeted her face as a response from my turned-psycho father, a part of me definitely was glad she got what she deserved but I was too hurt and weak to stick out my tongue at her, she gave out a cry that spoke of pain and like her voice was the cure for my dad’s mental ailment, he let go of me and left to tend to her, without even deliberating, I gathered the remaining strength left in me, staggered almost losing composure at first and I ran like a mad man who finally broke out of mental institution.
When I was sure of being more than a stone throw from home, I reduced my pace, ignoring the concerned look on people’s faces because of my ruined clothes and probably face too, I sat under a mango tree that had no evidence of being a parent. I rested my head on its trunk, conserving my strength and ignoring the yearnings of my throat and tongue for water.
I have no idea where to go but I’m definately not going to my mom’s, I’m not going to be the sort of child who ruins her parent’s marriage. I know my dad beat me to scare me from mouthing a word about what I saw to my mom, well he succeeded and there’s no way I’m going let myself go through that again, there’s no way I’m going back to that house before Christmas, I’m sure he would have come back to his senses after I’ve gone missing for a more than a week. I can imagine the pain and guilt he would go through when he realizes his infidelity has cost him his second child, he’ll probably be the one to break the news of his forbidden act to her but I doubt it, my father would do anything to save face which is why I’m confused and surprised and I keep asking myself why? why was he sleeping with her? if anyone told me my aunty was caught sleeping with someone else’s husband I wouldn’t even consider starting a fight to prove it’s a lie because she has a reputation of having a difficulty with staying faithful to a man, out of my grandmother’s daughters, she’s the only who’s had more than two failed marriages which is why she ended up living at her parents’ when her last husband kicked her out for sleeping with his friend, she got to our place three days ago for the Christmas holiday and I know for sure now that Christmas isn’t all that’s brought her to our home, she’d probably ran out of men she hadn’t yet done the dirty with.
I swear, all my life I’ve never met anyone whose life is as wrecked as my mom’s sister, which is why I try as much as possible to avoid her whenever she comes visiting, I never really liked her and with what I’ve seen today, not even a miracle can change that.
I feel sorry for my mom, she doesn’t deserve this, their marriage seemed so perfect, in fact it is one of the best in town, people respect my family so much for the peace and love and for the fact there’s been no reason for a visit in order to settle any form of dispute, unlike most families in the vicinity.
I thought about where to lay low for a while, I considered my options and decided it’s time to honor an invitation for I’ve put on hold for a while, an invitation from the girl who lives down the street, no one would even consider asking her about my whereabouts because to everyone, she’s a psycho and an outcast .
Just the perfect place to hibernate for few weeks. Maybe it’s time my siblings learnt how to finalize Christmas plans without me, oh I forgot, there’ll be no need for that, they’ll all be on the hunt for a lost child. There won’t be a Christmas like last year or the year before that.
I pray the girl isn’t really a psycho, because most times when I see her she is always shouting at someone she said lives in the wall and is owing her a substantial amount of money. Maybe she’s mad after all, though she doesn’t wear tattered clothes or eat dust, I just really hope I don’t end up looking like a chicken to her on Christmas day.
Do you like the story? What do you think? Kindly drop your comments, I’m dying to read them.
Merry Christmas beautiful readers!!!