Wednesday, 23 October 2013
Tuesday, 8 October 2013
Thelma’s whole head was sick, her whole heart faint. From the sole of the foot to the head, there was no soundness in it. It was full of bruises, sores and bleeding wounds. Most of them unseen. She had been hurt a bit too much for her health. Her emptiness was like that of a desolate land. She sings herself to sleep each night, songs of heart break, the rhythmless song of the names of her lovers. The ones she had given her heart to. The ones that had broken it. She had known strangers, maybe a little too many in the name of looking for love. The strength of the poor is in their hunger. We are known to thirst most for the things that we are deprived of. So she tried to ignore the many strange hands that knew her body. She tried to make these people stay and grow to love her. Maybe her desperation made her ugly, maybe it made them run. But at the end of it she was cold and alone. Soon she stopped believing. It all become dreams and fairy tales till she met Bola. Love is love, I’ve come to believe. Wherever you find it, as long as it is true, hold onto it and never let it go. Bola had been a lesbian since high school. On the other hand, Thelma had known only men. But when friendship blossoms in something we cannot explain, the unexpected happens. From comforting heart-to-hearts to heated make out sessions, Thelma found happiness and knew true companionship. The dark shadows that clouded her countenance have risen and she smiles these days, smiles as bright as the sun.
Ojo had been searching for a job for forever. Maybe a bit longer than that. His face had lines that told stories of his journey of hardship, of poverty, of problems. Mama Ijesha never stopped being one of his prominent problems. His landlady had extreme ways of embarrassing those who couldn’t pay rents before the set deadlines. She had called him all sorts of names, thrown him out, and more. His fellow tenants were cold to him, always looking at him with scorn like he was the cause of their poverty as well. They would murmur behind him, some of the women hissed in contempt and snapped their fingers at his back. His mother was sick in the village, nearing her death more each day as he couldn’t afford to save her. A poor man cannot find sleep in the midst of his many problems. He had gone from church to church looking for prosperity and financial healing. He only came out poorer than before. He couldn’t even afford a wife. Laide, the girl he intended to get married to, could not bear enough to wait for him. She insulted him to his face and became another man’s wife. Poverty ate deep, deep into his small sack of garri, deep into his worn out clothes, deep into the holes in his shoes. He had given up. People had to be poor for others to be called rich. He was beginning to embrace his fate. Till Mrs Anjola got interested in him and what he could offer. She paved a way out of his misery for pleasurable satisfaction. He got a job through keeping her warm on cold nights and working himself so hard inbetween her legs. He got new clothes and shoes, and an apartment spitting on Mama Ijesha in the face. He was able to pay the hospital bills for the treatment of his sick mother and live a comfortable life. Good life is showing on him, you could hardly see those hard lines on his now chubby face.
Thursday, 3 October 2013
I remember the days when Father would come home singing his depression a bit too loudly in his drunk state. He would sing his poverty and bitterness in songs only him and his beer understood. Papa’s problem was refusing to accept the truth of his poverty. His wealthy days as a trader still haunted him. He would throw parties his jobless pockets could not afford. He wore his pride like a knightly armor. An armor that couldn’t protect him from the truth that cut deeper than knives. He was his own downfall. I always pitied Mother on such nights. He made her suffer for his temporal madness. The silence of the night was naked enough for one to hear her hushed pleas to him in their bedroom. She was a strong Nigerian woman, the perfect wife, submissive and never giving her own opinion. We were silent too. We knew better than to advice father against the things he could not afford. I remember the whispers behind our backs when my sister and I went with Mother to the market. Gossips of Father’s not-so-secret lover. The world is open to all, everything has ears, and nothing can be hidden. Mother didn’t even flinch. She was devoted as a saint. I knew she had heard because I heard her prayers that night to the Virgin Mother to have her husband back from the claws of the whores that held him captive.
I remember how I grew to hate men. I bought myself a dildo and never looked back. I got obsessed with being successful and replaced a man’s love with late nights at work. I was an independent woman, strong like a brick. I worked long hours to forget my drunk father. I worked long hours to forget my abused mother. I worked long hours to forget the nights my dad’s brother crept into my room. His sweaty fat body on my fragile one, his breath reeking of kola nut and beer close to my face. I remember how I became a woman way too fast. My innocence and virtue ripped right from my tender hands. I remember crying silent prayers for him to be struck dead by lightening even as he roughly satisfied his dirty lustful desires on me. How I wondered whether his wife slept too deeply to realize her husband had left her bed. How I couldn’t tell anyhow. Fear held my mouth shut. I remembered my silent tears full of hate and spite. Somehow I was afraid of myself and what I had become. I craved to be held in the arms of a man on cold nights. I craved for love and things my heart did not believe existed. Those nights, those dreadful memories would replay and I would again bleed afresh. I knew my burden, I accepted my truth. My scars were not ones that time could heal.