Wailing Smiles By Damilola Hassan (@popsispice)

 blackwoman

I feel miserable! What would I do? What can I do? I have only been away for three months or less and everything has gone upside down.

My brother is unusually quiet, mom is dying silently and Dad is now somebody else.

It used to be a happy family. My parents were the very best you could ask for, their love towards each other was amazing, although we thought dad loved her more. He would buy her gifts on anniversaries, birthdays and even on no celebration days, he still showered her with beautiful and lovable gifts. We would be envious, I particularly. So he made sure everyone got something every time, no matter how little it might be. I remember one time he got her a gold bracelet; it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. Mom liked it; her smile was blazing and could erase a sorrowful death. She thanked him and that was all. Dad was glad she liked it and particularly grateful for that smile. He had said at a family gathering one time that her smile ‘turned him on’. I was not satisfied with that smile so I queried her, “is that all? Thank you is all he would get? Mommy,  for a gold bracelet? Haba!”.

 “Don’t mind her”, dad replied.

 She apparently felt guilty and gave him a French kiss. Dad was surprised, so was I. He was amazed, “in your daughter’s presence?” which was more of a statement than a question. We all laughed, I prayed for their love at that moment and asked God for this kind of man; albeit, at this moment, I think God should disregard that prayer.   

At first, it was just a mild argument, I thought, until I heard the noise from the kitchen. Arguments at first then the wrath of ceramics, I sprang to the kitchen and there they were. The belt determined to decorate my mom’s beautiful skin, wanting so desperately to be remembered. I stood still, waited till I was able to understand the situation before I screamed “it’s enough!”, He stopped almost immediately, then left the kitchen. Mom was in a pool of her tears and some bruises here and there. I moved closer to her, our eyes locked and she forced a smile, I helped her up. She grabbed her phone which had witnessed the beating, I was staring helplessly.

“Don’t worry”, she said, “its ok, just help me check what I’m cooking, let me change”, she continued and smiled. Except for the bruises, I swear you would have no idea what had transpired moments ago.

My brother stormed in, “what ha…..”, he looked at mom and his gaze was filled with sorrow. Mom left the room.

I witnessed some more battles. My mom’s smile became infuriating and confusing. I spoke with her.

“Mummy, a lot of things are wrong in here”, I began.

“How do you mean?” was her reply, and as usual, it came with a smile.

With a stern look and raised voice I continued, “He beats you up every now and then like like… Like He’s beating up a goat, and you ask me what do I mean? Is it until He kills you?”

 I managed to finish my tears gushing freely.

Silence!

She dropped the half grated okra, carefully placing the bowl on the Formica. She grabbed my shoulders and penetrated my eyes, forcing a weak smile this time, “it’s going to be alright” she assured …and I am not a goat”.

I wanted so much to believe it. She hugged me tightly, I held her tighter, crying.

“Even that boy has changed”, I continued, “He hardly talks anymore mum, and that is scary”. I lamented. “Your brother is just experiencing puberty, that’s all”.

“Mommy that’s not true”.

“It’s a phase in our lives, we will scale through”, she assured.

 “There’s what we call patience and faith”, she continued, “They are not just people’s names but very strong virtues”. She loosened her grip and walked to her room.

I wanted to hold her more, wanted more of her bossom, I followed her. I stopped at her door, she was sobbing silently in the room. I grabbed the knob and froze; in her sobs she was also praying, I fell to the ground. “Dear God”, I began, silently, “please….” then I lost strength to continue so, I cried silently.

To every woman ‘putting it together’… 

 

 

Damilola Hassan

On twitter as, @popsispice

 

 

photo credit: google images

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Bida: An Ode

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My bags are packed
My heart is safe
Thank you Bida
I’d be back someday
Not in this state
Nor in this your state
For you ignored development
You have ignored good faith

Wake up, Bida
Thou hath been raped
Deprived of your stars
And of thy chance
I’d be great
And so should ye too
I’d surely be back
Someday so soon
For one of yours
That shines so bright
You never know
Might end conjugal

‘Lanre Bucknor
Scratch, I am @lordrooz

Boarding Tales (Episode IX)

 bosola

“Bosola Adesegun, Yewande Olutola, come out here now.”

My heart skipped a beat and I glanced furtively towards Yewande’s bunk. She was brushing her hair seemingly oblivious of the problem at hand. I swallowed hard still contemplating whether to go outside to meet Mr Adisa or simply hide under the bed.

“If I have to call you girls the third time, I would come inside to drag both of you out .” I glanced around taking in the several pairs of eyes that were alternating between Yewande and I and decided to leave the room.

I walked out of the dormitory listening to the platter of several feet following me.

“Kneel down there,” he said as soon as I stepped outside

Yewande Olu……..

Yewande walked out before he could finish calling her name and without a word leaned on a pole in front of the hostel, I looked at Mr Adisa expecting him to ask her to kneel down too but he acted as if he didn’t see the defiant stance of Yewande and just asked us both to follow him.

I knew without doubt that our offence would have something to do with our disappearance the previous evening.

“Who could have reported us?” My mind went to Slappy, “it would be a good way to revenge, wouldn’t it?” I mused. I also thought of Toluse and wondered if someone had told him I didn’t spend the night in the school. “Can Toluse be vindictive enough to report me?”

My fear increased when I realized we were heading for the principal’s office. We entered the office and I saw the principal. He was dressed in a white Jalabia, he was unshaven and his pupils were red. “Okay, this is really serious.” I thought. The principal visited the school once in three months and he had been around the previous day so I knew whatever it was that brought him must be very grievous.

He ignored our chorused “good morning sir” and pointed directly at us;

“So where did you young ladies sleep last night?”

“In our dormitory sir,” Yewande replied

You, you ehn,” the principal said pointing a finger menacingly at Yewande, “you just resumed from suspension and you have started again. I will teach you a great lesson this time around, I promise you.”

“Now what is your name?” he asked turning towards me

“Bosola.”

“Bosola kini?”

“Bosola Adesegun”

“Bosola Adesegun, I understand you are a new student and you just joined us in this secomd term. I know you won’t want to disappoint your parents so I want you to reply me truthfully, where did you girls spend the night?”

I turned towards Yewande and replied in a shaky voice; “Where she said we did sir”.

“Where she said?”

“Are you okay?”

“Do you think this is a joke?” The principal bellowed

“No sir, it’s the truth sir, we slept in the dormitory.”

“Can you get your room mates to testify to that?”

“Sir, everyone hates me, no one will testify in my favor”

“Okay, since you girls have no truth in you I will have to show you this.”

He handed a printout to each of us. I glanced at Mr Adisa irritated at the look of righteous indignation plastered on his face.

I read the e-mail, re read it and glanced at Yewande, there was a bored look on her face as if she couldn’t care less. My mind was in a turmoil and I kept imagining what my mum’s reaction would be  if she heard about what just happened. But first I wanted to slap Yewande, she was supposed to be the more experienced and smarter one between us, yet she was the one who made the dumb mistake of leaving her prefect tag in the guys’ apartment.

“Sir, I don’t know anything about the missing items”, I said turning to the principal

“Young lady, I don’t understand you, are you finally admitting that you didn’t sleep in your dormitory last night?”

“Yes sir, we didn’t sleep in the school.”

I realized it was useless to continue lying, the e-mail had all the evidence they needed, Yewande had forgotten her prefect tag in Sylvester’s room. The tag had her name, and the school’s name printed boldly on it so it.  Yewande hadn’t been the only stupid one. I had also made the mistake of allowing Kolade to take a picture of me lying on his bed wearing nothing but one of his t-shirts. That was the picture I was certain would kill my mum if she saw it. They had included a photograph of Yewande’s tag and also my picture in the e-mail they sent.

“Yewande is that true?”

“It is true sir, we slept in those guys’ place. I spent the night with one; she spent the night with the other guy. That’s all.”

“That’s all? How can that be all?  ”What about the missing cash and novels?”

“Did you read what those guys called this school? They called my own school a training ground for prostitutes. That’s what they called you girls and I am tempted to agree.”

“Which of one of you stole their =N=2,000 and novels?”

“I didn’t take anything sir,” I replied in a trembling voice

I honestly wanted to disappear; this is something to be ashamed about Bosola I told myself. I could live with being called a prostitute but a thief was unthinkable.

“Adisa, take them both back to the hostel and search their belongings very well. I worked hard to build this school to the great standard that we boast of today. I won’t allow these stupid children to ruin my work.

 

*****

Mr Adisa led the way back to the hostel, he announced at the entrance of the hostel that he was about to come in, he gave the girls five minutes and then entered the dormitory.

“This is really a day for standards” I mused; usually Mr Adisa would barge into the female dormitories anytime he felt like. Sometimes during siesta, he would even walk around the bunks and kiss some of the female students on the lips.

We entered and I went straight to my bunk, the occupants of the room watched on. There were lots of mutterings and hissing and somehow I guessed they had gotten wind of what happened. I watched disinterestedly as Slappy approached and told Mr Adisa that she would love to help with the search. They searched all my belongings and even almost ripped the mattress out but they didn’t find anything.

“I and some other seniors can take her to the bathroom and search her body,” Slappy suggested

“Don’t bother with that yet”, Mr Adisa replied

Mr Adisa, Slappy and her team moved towards Yewande’s bunk and searched her things as thoroughly as they had did mine. I stood by watching as they searched, I noted the sweat beads that had formed on Mr Adisa’s head and wondered about why it was so easy for him to switch back and forth between being a responsible teacher and an irresponsible one.                                                                    

“Take them to the bathroom and search them” Mr Adisa ordered after searching Yewande’s stuff for over thirty minutes and not finding any of the missing items.

 “Slappy must be pissing in her pants from ecstatic joy”. I thought looking at the wide grin on her face.

photo credit: google images

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