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”

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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”