PRIVATE MUSINGS

 

Tolerance was like a rubber band, stretched too often in Janine’s life. Every time she watched people use it against her and now her fingers stung of betrayal and abandonment. She had been lying on her back for three days, mostly talking to herself or to God, mostly thinking about him. She was not sure if love was supposed to feel this way, a horrible tightening in her chest followed by futile efforts to keep the dam from collapsing. All her life her mother raised her to believe that men were snatchers and all they did was take things from you, valuable things. But as she grew older, the advice got complicated. Men did not always take, women gave. Women gave with trust and sometimes men squeezed that trust like crumpled paper and threw it in the trash can. The problem, she thought, for women is society’s glaring eyes. Whether she chose to accept it or not, women have to take on the daily blows of religion and culture. It all came down to ‘the thing to do and the thing not to do.’ Don’t be headstrong, don’t emasculate him, don’t show desire, don’t don’t don’t. Continue reading “PRIVATE MUSINGS”

The Lullaby

 

I used to watch him, knees pressed into the red rug, trying to diligently catch the words that fell off his mouth. His face was like that of a cat, fierce and wicked with an underlying innocence. Sometimes he was sane, drawing us fine sketches, buying late night suya, spooking us with village tales and soothing us with folk songs. Other times he was like a poltergeist, swallowing his words leaving a path of vicious destruction. The night he struck, It was raining and we sat in the living room passing our fingers through candle flames breathing in the acrid smell of burnt hair. The windows were rattling, the gate swung open and there were three sharp knocks on the door. My mother adjusted her wrapper, sweat glistening on her chest against the light. She sighed deeply; the man was not dead, thank God? Continue reading “The Lullaby”

That Child

“That child, you know him, back hunched over like burnt bolé. You see him on wet days in crinkled pants, chasing after old relics beneath blades of elephant grass.Rusty hair too often scraped with rustier blades, scalp long coronated by a flaky crown of ‘akpanigogo’.Somehow he laughs, I don’t know why. What joy is found at death’s door?That child, you left him. You winced, you spat and you blinked your eyes.He smiles, gallant child, bones protruding like ridges on a farmland. Continue reading “That Child”

Father Grendel

Father Grendel said he knew, he knew about my mother
The lying whore,
That while I fell asleep on the bare floor,
She strained the springs, she asked for more.
Father Grendel said he’d take me away,
To some place across the sea,
He watched me sleep, he watched me snore,
sneaked his way into my core.
I asked, will you not take me to the place across the sea?
His mirth became a callous thing,
‘Will you be my lying whore?’

Bus Conversations. (#MEAT)

I know it’s long, but try…..

Yesterday was an extremely yellow day. I entered a bus on Ibiwe to Maingate, UNIBEN,  sweaty, tanned and with blisters on my feet from the new shoes my lovely mother bought for me. There were three men in the bus, all sitting on my favourite spots. I had to sit behind in the hopes that my breathing space will not be invaded by a sweaty person. A fair…No, bleached man with large glasses kept staring at me and when it got uncomfortable, I said ‘good afternoon’. He somehow took this as an invitation to start a conversation and before I thought of Jack, he was sitting beside me, telling his dark friend, ‘I need to talk to the pretty Law lady.’ This is where my blood began to simmer. Obviously he had assessed me to find out if I was ‘up to par’ and he figured ‘oh she’s pretty, this will be a walk in the park.’ He shifted inside and asked me to move too. I politely refused and when he dragged my bag, told him he had no right to touch my property. He sat beside me again and when other passengers entered, complained about the inconvenience I had caused by not moving when he asked me to. First question, why? Why? Why? Should my will be trashed simply because you demanded for something? Continue reading “Bus Conversations. (#MEAT)”