Fiction, Musings

And that is when the sadness came

This is the first draft of ‘And that is when the sadness came’. Aside from editing the spellings, I haven’t touched it in any way because I want to give you this gift complete. I did not want to correct the grammatical errors for fear of tuning up the story and leaving it flat, lifeless. Please tell me what you think.

I always think of Chinonso’s death or of the death of many other s who I had known. But none had been as close to me as Ekemini Aviomoh. Not that we had been that close. We were kind of friends and I knew that, I was sure of it that our Lord will ask me for her soul when he calls me. So, when Felix called to ask if I had Ekemini’s mum’s number and then said the story of some men going to her house and shooting her and her papa, I just prayed that she gets well soon. When Elos …

I couldn’t understand why lizzy was fretting and all upset until when Elos confirmed that of a truth, Ekemini was dead. Jesus Christ. Dazed, we said the responsory for her. And I went back to my project work as I had continued living life when Chinonso died. That dasy we had gone to bed without tasting the delicious bitterleaf soup that mum had painstakkiingly prepared some hours before. No one was hungry. I wasn’t. the next day, I can’t remember what we ate as the visitors called, poured in to express their condolences. I remember kingsley telling me and ‘gege’ that we were too playful as if that could explain why Chinonso had died. We were not playing when she died, we were not even with her when she fell into the gulling gushing forth with muddy brown water filled with all the filth of Benin moats. We were not there as she swallowed irrestibly gulp after gulp, aligned to the flow as a dead leaf, of the water. I like to picture that she had died immediately from a head injury when she fell. That is the only way to explain how she was intact and not bloated by the time they found the body beside ogiso river. My dad had to pay 12000 to claim it and Ogidiga had mentioned that that sum was the last respect for the dead 10 year old child. And now I am running out of thoughts …

But wait, I remember thinking that I have to be very good to chibuzo who had fallen in with her. I remember thinking of the bad dreams that he must have had at the time. I remember mum taking him as her child, sending him on errands and giving him gifts. Poor boy. But now he is all grown up and trying to make life on his own. I know also that throughout all that time I did not cry. I forced the thought and the tears from my eyes even as Amen said to me in school ‘ hope this will not affect your school work. I know that I made a personal vow that if life was so short then I would make the best of it the way I could. That term was my best term in ss1. It saw me mature, almost hardened, fighting to do the right thing, knowing that at any moment, I could take chinonso’s place on the mat on the floor of the cemetery where her feet peeped out – all white, lifeless.

As I bring to my memory with full force, the brutality of Ekemini’s death, as I touch some sand, grasping them in my palms and throwing them into the hole where her coffin was already resting ready to be covered by the red earth. As the words get all clogged up in my throat and my minds filled with the images of Chinonso and all that I have ever lost, I can’t help but be overwhelmed by the grief held up from years long gone by.


{Pamela had just finished addressing her classmates and thanking them for their show of solidarity.}


“Thank you” replied Pamela to Scholar, the class captain, smiling.

She was overpowered with a warm hug from Alex, who was beaming with pride.

“I’ve never been more proud to be your friend than on this day. Gosh, there you were, standing straight, making eye contact, articulating every syllable, making sense and this part of it is most important, and receiving their thanks gracefully. Well done!”

“Alex, you’re choking me” Pamela managed to say, gasping for air and feigning a cough.

“Oh dear, oh dear, I didn’t realise”

“Pamela, I’m so proud to be your friend.” The conviction behind those simple words warmed Pamela’s heart as much as Alex’s ‘talkative’ praise. Olivia had come up while Alex was snuffing the life out of Pamela and for the first time since they became friends, Olivia remained standing for a while before sitting.

“This moment is OURS” Alexia thought, dismissing the pang of jealousy she had felt at Olivia’s ‘your friend’ addressed to Pamela. “This moment is ours and she’s Pamela’s friend and she’s my friend and we are friends.”

“I can just picture you addressing the whole school on that day.” She said out loud “You’ll have to practise, you know, with us” and addressing Olivia, she added “mi amiga, what do you propose for strengthening a weak heart for I fear that my heart will burst with pride and joy on that day.”

“Don’t worry your sweet head, dear Alex; if your heart doesn’t burst on account of your best friend’s success” at which Alex smiled “when should it?”


Thanks wordpress for this prompt.

Proud 2 b ur friend


Show of solidarity


images        ….   The Further Mathematics teacher had barely left the classroom when Rosaline Ifediba bolted the door before anyone had the chance to go out for break. She had consulted the class captain, Scholar Boyo, and had her express permission. Grabbing a chalk, she wrote out the three chosen names for the contest with Pamela’s at the lead and in block letters.

“I didn’t come with Osi’s phone and you’ve refused to get yourself a better phone” Alex complained to Pamela, as the bell for break rang for the third and last time, oblivious of Rose and the board. Pamela was about to repeat all the reasons why she didn’t need and wouldn’t get a better phone when she was attracted to the fact that shy Rose, was standing in front of the class, and her name was on the board.

“Expand your view and lengthen your gaze, my dear” Pamela advised, her tone rising with excitement. Missing the excitement in her voice, Alexia was beginning to get irritated. They had to log onto the School’s website for more information. With the contest barely a week away, here she was trying to look after her friend’s best interests and all she could say was ‘Expand your view and lengthen your gaze’. The vocabulary was uncalled for; precisely, she was lengthening her gaze by trying to look ahead and plan.

But none of this escaped – her face remained blank.

“Look! Alex.” Pamela repeated, in plain English “My name is on the board. What’s Rose up to this time, I wonder”

“Beg your pardon, honourable classmates,” Rose began to speak: she had all of their attention now and even Elos managed to take her eyes and her mind off her Further Maths textbook and listen “nerds and socialites, hotheads and not-so-hot-heads, for there are no dullards in this great class” at which the not-so-hot-heads laughed and the hotheads smiled knowingly.

“We’re spending five minutes, if you don’t mind, of our break time to acknowledge our own, Pamela Uthman, whom, in a week’s time, we may have to defer to as Head Girl.”

Alexia started clapping, all irritation gone, Olivia and Scholar joined in and the rest of the class, including Pamela, followed their lead.

Rose continued “We see her everyday and we may claim to know her, but do we really know her?” she asked, rhetorically “Well then, it’s not too late to start. If she’s going to be addressing the whole school soon whether as head girl or in the contest” Alexia made a mental note to remind Pamela to prepare for this future address “I suppose she had better start with addressing her class. Pamela, could you come forward?”

“Rose!” Pamela sighed inwardly. She came out and made to stand beside Rosaline but Rose ducked to the side; she was petite enough without emphasizing that fact, and in public for that matter, by standing beside a five feet six.

“I’m very moved by this show of solidarity” she could feel forty-four pairs of eyes on her; some curious, others serious, a few smiling, but all with good feeling towards her “and of affection. Without your knowing it and my knowing you well, some of you are the reasons why I have tried to do certain things, including in the first place, the decision to contest; you were my motivation so to speak. Rose is very correct; we need to get to know ourselves better. The nerd should not just cling to her books and the socialite to her parties and gossips. We may not be best friends with every one but we can be friends with most. Let us be more open, let us want to compare notes, let us organize mock quizzes and simple parties for birthdays, for example. Such occasions are common grounds where no one will feel uncomfortable. Let us do things together, that way the other classes can say, and they would not be wrong, that the girls in our class are happy and intelligent people, and that they love one another.”

“It’s nice to go on especially when one has a listening crowd but our break time is precious. So, I’ll stop here and I thank you.”

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be_careful_by_antontang-d2nq7yy   Maana was quite a careful young lady.

The bus rolled to a stop several yards away from where she stood, responding to her flag down. She hurried towards it, increasing her pace as the driver made as if to drive off. As if tipped before hand, the bus went into motion the moment one foot touched inside and her other foot promptly followed. After landing on the laps of two well-endowed ladies on either side, she finally squeezed into the tiny space which, by moving few inches apart, they had painstakingly created. Then her gaze strayed to the driver’s seat. Her heart beat increased by five in a second as her eyes settled on his face in the rear view mirror for a microsecond.

                ‘All things bright and beautiful; the Lord God made them all’. He made this impossibly handsome driver who was so intent on driving and wouldn’t spare her a look. He also made that strikingly ugly man who had tried to chat her up some days ago. He indeed made them all.

                She yanked her attention off him effortfully as she retrieved the ‘Return of the kings’ from her bag. Aragon and Gandalf and co. were about to fight the Orcs to distract Sauron from Frodo and the ring. The bus ate the miles as she read on. Bus-stops after bus- stops were called. Stops after stops were made.

                ‘Come down madam-read-book’ shouted the driver’s mate, impatient as can be. Only then did she realise that the bus had stopped. Frodo and Gollum were struggling for the possession of the ring at the very mouth of the fire of Mount doom. Book in hand, she jumped down just in time as the bus reversed and sped past. Only after returning the ‘return of the king’ into her bag, did she notice that her other hand was empty.

                My box’ she wailed, helplessly, her bag still waiting ‘for another king’ to pass through. Attracted by her cries, one of the sellers moved to console her

                ‘Don’t worry. If you are patient and wait, the bus will come back’ the elderly lady consoled with a flawless diction. Wait, she must, her eyes fixed this time on the road as buses passed, some on full speed, and others just getting along. Her heart did another dance again, this time just two beats in a second. One for the joy of getting her box back; the other for the sight of the divinely made beauty at the wheels. Of course, she recognised him. Thanks to low traffic, her bus was crawling past in search of passengers. She rushed in like the others did and after some heaving and sighing, and a few curses here and there, she retrieved her treasure from the vehicle. The bus, full this time, sped past again.

                ‘Watch your bag’, the elderly lady warned, as pedestrians walked in both directions in front and behind her. One hand firmly placed on the box’s handle, she rummaged through the bag with the other. She felt the lipstick, the powder case, ‘the return of the king’, her wallet and oh…

                ‘My phone’ she whimpered ‘my lovely phone’

                ‘I saw him keeping close to you’ the elderly lady said, now that the pick-pocket had gone ‘but my advice was too late. So sorry’

                This time, there was no need to wait. The king having marched through, she zipped her bag close. ‘My phone’ she moaned again; it was only her fourth phone in six months…

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Chaotically ordered

‘One one fifty! One one fifty!” hit us as we alighted from the car. Beside the car was the ninja looking young man who had helped us to park. He was chewing gum ferociously as though the layers of his teeth were engaged in fierce mortal combat. There were wares displayed all around and in front of us and I stepped for a moment wondering how to meander my way through this beauty. In my artist’s eye, I saw the fragments come together and I perceived the coarse beauty formed by the shoes, bags, skirts, scarves and what not in their different corners on the ground.

‘Hundred! Hundred!’ came another vociferous cry, chased by ‘pencil skirts, buy your own!’. It was a chaotic order and I was in the midst of it and loving it. A welcome change from the neat and straight rows and rows of goods displayed in the shops. A different world with its various elements merging into one another. A sharp contrast from the separated inner world of each customer visiting the supermarket. There she is, most probably lost in her own thoughts or giggling at the quiet comment made by her friend if she is lucky. She moves to the row of her choice, picks what she wants, pays and leaves. Efficient but boring! Sometimes bad for your health.

‘what shall I do to make girls happy?
Tell me wetin I go do to make them smile?’

I turned in quest of the singer. He was there, standing over his wares of rumpled clothing of all sorts in one heap. He was clapping as if to fight off an imaginary cold and singing at the risk of screaming out his lungs.

‘I give them fine fine clothes
At small small price
What else I fit do to make girls happy?’

Give him a little more time and this young man will be waxing records, hopefully selling plenty and living large.

‘Twai!’ a slap mildly delivered on a trader’s hand as Ella tried to free herself from his grip. ‘Fine sister, no be like that o. Come follow me buy now’ he coaxed without letting go. I stored the images, as they unfolded, in my biological hard disk for use later.

‘The firm grip on Ella’s wrist. Ella employing words to free herself. Calm Ella getting worked up. Ella finally agreeing to inspect. Ella standing soldier straight asking to see this or that item of clothing. Ella turning to tell me that she will get it for Sisi the maid. Even Ella bending down to pick something that caught her eye. A blouse as creased as the smile of a 110 year old lady, with a matching scarf, being extracted from the heap. The possessive half smile on Ella’s face as she paid for it.’

I am in the midst of this disorder, I thought again to myself. And I am definitely loving it.