CHRONICLES: 8 FIGURES AND A SHORT DASH By Gbenga Osowe (@gbengaosowe)

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Countless numbers of fowls, beheaded
Tubers of yam, pounded
Bottles of drinks, emptied                                                                                                                                                  
Merry-making and dancing,
An ecstatic father, an elated mother,
The solemnity amidst the merriment
As the priest pronounces the new-born’s name,
And the party continues
 
 Omo tuntun alejo aiye, omo {Oh new born babe, a guest in this world}
 Iya aburo ku ewu o, omo {Congratulations to the mother of the child}
 
Anguish and joy on the face of the mother,
Fear and excitement in the heart of the daughter,
Excitement, at the learning world ahead
Fear of the unknown within this world called school,
6 years of primary,
3 of junior secondary,
3 more of senior secondary
And the ivory towers beckon,
 
 Bata re a dun ko ko ka {Smart footwear will adorn your feet}

To ba k’awe re {When you become educated]
Bata re a dun ko ko ka [Smart shoes will adorn your feet]
 
                                             
Our baby is now a lady,
And oh the suitors come a-calling,
The date is set,
Hall prepared,
Groomsmen, dapper
Bridesmaid, resplendent
The groom’s eyes, gleaming
The bride eyes, teary
As she leaves her parents, a newcomer, in a new home
The song of “the women of the house”, delivered in ironic joy
 
 Ile awa dun, oko ni ng fo’sho {We have a lovely home, where husbands do the laundry}

Ile awa dun, oko ni ng pon’mi {We have a lovely home, where husbands fetch the water}
 
                                           
It’s four months from then, and the telltale signs are showing,
The birth of a new born is imminent,
The cycle of life in continuum,
5 more months, now the contraptions
Off we go to the theatre
But this is no play
 
The doctor’s needle, wrongfully inserted,
The surgeon’s knife wielded carelessly,
The blood gushes forth,
Stitch it! Patch it!
The damage, already done
 
The spasms, the throes
The agony, the last breath
The cries of the bereaved parents,
The plight of the semi-orphaned child
The sadness of siblings, friends and colleagues,
The ephemerality of life in its entirety
And the sweet hope of glorious eternity
Chronicles of a life
1980 – 2010
Eight digits and a short dash
A dash filled with memories of an industrious lady
 
 
Written In memory of AGIRI, OMOYEMI (nee OSOWE) and to the many women lost to childbirth.
1980 – 2010
 
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Boarding Tales ~ Episode XIV (Bosola’s Confessions)

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****

“Madness! That’s what this whole business had to be.” I said a bit loud to myself after leaving Yewande’s bunk. I listened to the peal of the breakfast bell as it rang for the last time. I wasn’t hungry at all or better still I had no appetite for food. I wondered if that was part of the effects of becoming a witch.

I was beyond angry, I felt betrayed and manipulated. I had thought Yewande had made friends with me because she really wanted to. I really wanted to make her pay but I couldn’t think of anything that could be done, I was too worried about the implications of being a witch.

There were a lot of things I still didn’t understand about the dream I had and the woman I saw. I was sure Yewande could shed more light but I was determined not to talk to her. Not in this life or the after I hissed holding back tears.

*****

It should have been just a dream, that’s what I had expected it to be.  Why else would I have been washing the back of a strange woman at a stream?   It was supposed to be a mere dream, fearful but meaningless. The first unusual thing about the dream was that it had started and ended with the woman saying “Don’t be deceived, this is not a dream.”

There had been two Hyenas lying down on the grass behind the stream. She had talked about Wheat and how I was supposed to spread the grains once a week.She had smelled of musk and sandalwood; a smell that even in the dream had reminded me of the incense that Mom sometimes burns. My horror started when after I woke up, the smell of musk and sandalwood pervaded the whole room.

How could what should be a dream not be a dream? The question that kept ringing in my head up until the time Yewande called me to her bunk and broke the news to me. I had felt shock at first but understanding had followed. It was certain. My worst fear was confirmed. Bosola was now a witch.

I spent half of that Sunday thinking about the woman, wheat grains and Hyenas. A part of me thought about how it could be a blessing in part. I would be able to punish Slappy. Perhaps turn her into a mouse. I laughed at that loving the idea. I discarded the thought after reminding myself that I had no wish to be a witch. So what’s the way out? I asked myself. Later that day, an idea formed in my mind; something that could only be executed after the masquerade festival.

****

The day our parents and our accusers were to come, I dressed up as early as 5.00 am in readiness. Yewande woke up later than usual, perhaps because she knew she wasn’t going to be attending the class. I watched as she packed her bags and emptied her wardrobe. She gave her provisions away and I watched in disbelief as everyone scrambled to get some even the ones who had accused her of being a witch also collected. Aren’t they scared? I thought

I attended the morning assembly while Yewande stayed in the room. I would have advised her to attend if we were still talking. But since I was still very angry with her, I hadn’t been talking to her. It seemed she had noticed and had also stopped all forms of interactions with me.

I wasn’t afraid any longer. I was ready to face the guys. Their books and the money were even in my backpack, I intended to return to them and apologise. I knew this might spell trouble for me but for my plan to work out, I had to make my own conscience clear

****

I couldn’t concentrate in the class; I had never been able to. Even without the burden in my heart I wouldn’t have understood a word.

It was further mathematics; a subject I believed was for the heavenly beings. The best score I ever got in mathematics was 56 so I wondered how anyone would expect me to grasp further mathematics. What’s my business with dy dx for heaven’s sake? That was the question I had almost asked the teacher once when he told me to find the dy dx of a particular mathematical problem. I had thought better and to avoid problems simply told him I don’t know. It had never bothered me to be called a dullard, not then, not ever.

I tried to drown out the teacher’s voice with my thoughts but somehow it kept creeping in. I checked my watch amazed at how much time was gone already.

Where were my parents and the guys? I wondered. I was still thinking of this when someone walked into the class. I looked up immediately and met Toluse’s eyes as soon as I did. I wondered why he could turn cold so suddenly. A thought crossed my mind making me smile wryly. I looked intently at him as he spoke to the teacher and I noticed he was trying to change his posture every second. It seemed as though he could tell my eyes were on him. I knew getting Toluse back wouldn’t be an issue if I was interested. The teacher motioned for me to follow Toluse and heaving a sigh of relief I did.

We didn’t say a word to each other throughout our walk to the principal’s office. He entered his office with me and I wondered why he felt the need to do so.

*****

Yewande was seated with a woman who I presumed must be her mother. She reeked of wealth and class. She seemed angry but for some reason it looked like her anger wasn’t really meant for her daughter. I spotted mum and dad next; there was no emotion in their eyes. It wasn’t as if I was expecting them to be overjoyed at seeing me but I expected to see anger or disgust. The two guys we had met in the university were also seated on the left. It could have been a courtroom of some sorts with the pissed looking principal as the judge and Mr Adisa with the no nonsense look plastered on his face as the prosecuting lawyer. The only thing that would have been wrong with that court was that there were no defence lawyers.

The principal cleared his throat.

“Ahem….it’s good that the second odaran is here now. You girls have both had one week since this incident happened and none of you still deemed it fit to confess. I am very ashamed of you girls and more importantly of the disrepute that you have both brought this school into. You have shamed me and the decent teachers and students of this school. For this reason we have decided to punish you both. Yewande is a serial offender and although I hate to disappoint her Mom I am going to have to send her out of my school his time around.”

I glanced at Yewande and saw that she could as well have been a thousand miles away.

“As for Bosola,” the principal continued. “She would have to go on three weeks suspension.”

I heard my mum gasp mumbling Jesus.

“It’s painful to me that you girls have not confessed to stealing the properties of these gentle men. Since you have refused to own up to it, I would have no choice than to pay for their loss.”

“Sir, there will be no need for that.” I said

“I took those items and I’m ready to return them.”

“Bosola you did what?” My Mom screamed. “Lord have mercy, are you also a thief now?”

“Calm down woman”, my dad said. She looked at him and nodding her head she sat down.

“Sir,” I continued. “Before I return those items to them I would like to say here now before everyone and my parents that I do not wish to remain in this school.”

“What!!! Yewande screamed startling everyone. Bosola how dare you say that, have you forgotten Iye’s mandate?”

“I don’t care.”

“You have to!”

“You ladies should wait a minute, who and what is Iye?” The principal said

“Sir, that’s where I intend to go next, there is a lot to talk about sir and I’m glad we have our parents here and these two outsiders too. You have been living in a fool’s paradise sir. Today I’m ready to tell all.”

photo credit: google images

MOTOR JAM POLICE – Osowe Oluwagbenga (@gbengaosowe) & Toyin Fabunmi

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MOTOR JAM POLICE – Osowe Oluwagbenga (@gbengaosowe)

Melodious rhythms echoes from the bean cake seller

As she bids all to come and gladly partake of her delicacy,

“Sweet honey bean cake, bring small money make u come take”

Then two silly swerves of the vehicle,

Like a madman on cheap drugs

And alas of the cake, none would yet partake

Motor jam police

Police jam mama,

Akara mama trowey

Abeg na who go pay?

Who’s going to pay for the young lives brought to waste?

After the many years suffered in stained ivory towers,

Learning obsolete theories, mastering the science and art of copy and paste

Who’s going to pay for the lives cut short by bullets gone astray?

From the hands of policemen who for the reason of their protection earn their pay

Who’s going to pay for the lives cut short by the criminals called militants?

Amnesty pays, did I just hear you say?

Amnesty never pays the victims but the perpetrators

To keep them at bay while the same sad conditions continue to enslave us

So we earn so much but sit atop the list of debtors,

While we watch and see as sanity and progress visit our less illustrious neighbours

Motor jam police

Police jam mama,

Akara mama trowey

At least make una sha bring home the tray!

What will you do with the tray when there are no bean cakes to trade?

For fanciful display like the cranium of a beauty queen lacking in its matter grey?

Or you keep the tray like a symbol of your once beautiful past with tales

Of how you swayed your hips and made young men your every command obey

Now you walk aided by a dead wood, creaking footsteps with every move,

Your time in life is way past noon,

Your offspring no longer have time for you

They only bother with how much longer you’ll live before they’ll have to bury you,

So they’d throw talk-of-the-town parties in merry

Feeding their vanities and ego but while you live gives not a damn about you

 

 

Motor jam police

Police jam mama,

Akara mama trowey

Ehn ehn, e don tey no be today?

 

I see the regrets on the faces of old men looking forlorn

Reading between the lines of the wrinkled faces

The tales of men who wished they made hay while the sun shone

Stares at me, daring me to make the same mistakes of their generation,

So many chances, not taken

So many stories, not told

So many battles, not fought

So many songs, not sung

So many mistakes already, I dare not make more

Motor jam police

Police jam mama,

Akara mama trowey

Oya, all of una youths, wetin go be una gain?

 

I see youths like Mama’s wasted honey flavoured bean cakes,

Deprived of giving the world their flavour to savour,

No way would I be part of this wasted generation

And watch generations yet unborn curse me when my head is full of grey

For my inactions when the world was waiting for me to be the solution

To the problems facing the nations

Now I’m going to get up from this swampy place and

Be the honey soaked bean cake, feeding the world with knowledge

And passions of my heart, day by day.

 

 

 

MOTOR JAM POLICE–A Short Play by Toyin Fabunmi

Mama alakara’s shed has been hit by a police car which was hit by a danfo. Her shed is gone, her adogan and agbada are broken, and palm oil flows on the ground like a river of blood. Akara balls roll in the sun like there was an invisible force chasing them. Her enamel trays lay scattered amidst the ruins of the wooden shed.

Mama alakara shrieks, tears her hair out, removes her head tie and straps it around her waist.

Mama Alakara: yeh… ofo se, oriburuku ba esu odara.

Turns to the gathering crowd

Can you all see that my life has been ruined? Can you all see that they have killed me?

The police men ignore her and climb back into their van zooming away from the scene.

 

Mama Alakara: You people stood and watched. You watched the unfortunate beings leave. You watched them hit my shed and you allowed them leave.

Crowd murmurs and wring their hands helplessly.

Mama Alakara: Which one of you will say he doesn’t know my husband? Akanni onigi, the one that is known in every saw mill and carpenter workshop from here to Patigi.

Crowd nods their head

 

Mama Alakara: You all also know that his profits are spent in bars and whore houses. Some women have husbands, some women are widows, and other women have husbands who are alive but might as well be dead. You all know that Adunni alakara oloyin falls in the latter category.

Man: Yes Adunni Alakara we know that very well. Was it not the other day that I saw him in Ijora Badiya with Iya Oyinbo in a ….

Iya alakara cuts in

 

Adunni Alakara: Kowope Alajo save your breath. Baba Onigi’s issue is not my problem today. My problem today is: who will repair my shed, who will replace my broken Adogan and Agbada?  I want you all to tell me who will buy now another keg of palm oil for me. Do you know how much a keg of palm oil is now? Do you know how much a sack of beans costs in Balogun market these days?

Woman: Adunni Alakara, don’t talk too much, much words causes one to offend the almighty. We all know the extent of your loss. We know how hard things are these days; we know how hard it is to feed our children, clothe them and send them to school.

Mama Alakara: Food you say? The sacrifice with which we appease the god of the stomach, the one Edumare placed inside us to demand daily and regular sacrifices. We all know how it itches and bite when it has not been satisfied. We know how it makes our children cry. Abefe, (mama alakara points to a woman with a bowl of pure water perched on her head.) is it not this god that makes your child Boritife come to my shed every afternoon, mucus dripping from his over sized nose, hands outstretched for crumbs of akara.

Woman selling pure water: Yes Adunni alakara, the stomach takes no appeasement than food. But be strong Adunni you would bounce back. Orisa oke will return your loss in multiples.

Mama Alakara: Orisa Oke? The same orisa oke that has watched the six sons and two daughters I have for Baba Onigi remain jobless for many years now? Most of you here know that those children were fed and bred on this akara business. Most of you here know that I trained these children with money made from this my akara business.

Old Woman: Yes Adunni we know. You are a brave woman, you did well. Pity the children do not have jobs despite the huge books they read.

 

Mama alakara: Yes you are right, it’s a great pity. I started Akara frying thirty and six years ago, the moment I realised that baba onigi would not mind watching my children and I starve to death. See this Adogan and Agbada (she points to the shards of the broken tripod and frying pot) those were gifts from my mother. Iya Alaso of blessed memory. You all know her.

Crowd murmurs

Old woman: Ahhh iya daadaa, obinrin takuntakun. The whole of Isale eko knows her

Mama Alakara: Thank you Iya wa. She gave me those items and told me to take my destiny in my hands. She told me the government would not know if I starve to death, she told me a woman has to be strong for herself and for her children. So I opened this shed and sent my children to school. I didn’t ask the government for anything. This road has not been tarred in my lifetime and I would love to see it black and shining but I did not ask for that.

This city has never seen water that flows in pipes. I did not ask the government for that too. I needed electricity to watch my black and white television and the coloured one when it came, I still did not ask for that. It would have gladdened my heart if my children could have gone to school without having to pay for fees or books. I still did not ask for that. All I asked from this government was to provide jobs for my six sons and two daughters. This they did not do. All I asked from this government was to be able to fry my Akara in peace. Yet they sent their agents, the ones cursed to wear mourning clothes to destroy the source of my livelihood. Who do I turn to now? Pray answer me.

Young man in Danfo bus: Mama we are all sad about what has happened. This lunatic (points at danfo driver) drank burukutu before starting the bus today and has been on a mission to drive us to death but almighty God didn’t allow it to happen. Ma, I am a graduate, unemployed and I’m aging. We all are in this unfortunate situation together. All we can do is keep hoping and praying. All we can do is live one day at a time and hope for the best. I believe that things will get better.

Crowd murmurs and nods their head

Man: Yes it will get better, hopefully before we cross to the other side. Be consoled Adunni. We all have to go back to our daily jobs.

Crowd disperses, the danfo moves away. Adunni Alakara picks her trays, places them under arm and walks away soliloquizing.

photo credit: google images

COIN …there are two sides to every story by Temitope Obasa (Episode 1)

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Happy Owanbe Saturday to everyone. This series was written by TEMITOPE OBASA and would be published every Saturday. Enjoy!

Prologue

 

 

For weeks, the stranger planned the greatest task, so far, of his life.

His master, whom he loved to think of as Chief, had carefully set everything in motion and there was to be no mistake, as Chief kept hammering in his ear.

A stupid girl, Ronke, had chosen to be Chief’s enemy and his enemies deserved to die. The stranger didn’t know the atrocity Ronke committed but he didn’t have to. For the Chief to be upset, Ronke deserved whatever she got.

So far, things worked out. He checked his wristwatch which glowed in the darkness, it was just 1:30 am and he was well positioned – inside Ronke’s room. She had a knack for sneaking out after her parents went to bed and that gave him an idea for easy access; he climbed up the way she normally did. The stranger knew Ronke’s routine by heart now because he had carefully watched and studied her over three weeks.

He waited patiently in the dark room, musing about the brilliance of Chief’s plan. During his watch, the stranger had carefully shattered the security shards of glass over the fence. If one didn’t look well, it was hard to notice because it was just wide enough to allow him passage. He wanted to wear soft sole sneakers so as to make his fall from the fence noiseless but Chief pointed out that he would be in danger of getting pierced by the glass remnants.

Together, they concluded he was better off with a hard sole and the question of noise solved by using a rope which he tied to a tire rim, to hold his weight. The rim was carefully hid in a thick bush that separated Ronke’s house from the next building.

He’d simply flung the rope into Ronke’s compound; having watched her sneak out an hour after the light in her parents’ room went out.

The stranger listened for sound; there was none, so he made his climb. He understood that once inside the compound, things became risky but he didn’t mind; he would do anything, even risk his life for the Chief. For one, he had to leave the rope hanging from the wall till he finished his assignment so he could make his escape with it; the problem however was it could be spotted if a vigilant person passed it. For another, he simply used the fact that Ronke’s parents’ room was dark and that the light went off at about the same time every night, to assume they were asleep. And then, there was Musa, the security guard. If he as much as caught glimpse of him, everything would go wrong because the stranger didn’t have instruction to kill more than one person and even if he decided to kill Musa, the stranger hadn’t come with any weapon.

The stranger would never betray Chief even if he was caught, that was the agreement they had.

Luckily, Musa didn’t come towards the direction; the house was as silent as a graveyard. The stranger entered Ronke’s room with ease, using a huge agunmaniye tree that grew beside the room. Ronke would be home anytime soon. He was excited, standing behind the curtain of the window that overlooked the front of the house. He spotted a car headlamp and smiled, it could only be one person at this time and in this area. The car stopped a building away and the slut, in whose room he was, leaned over to kiss her boyfriend, who drove the car.

The stranger felt disgusted, the world wasn’t as it used to be; where were the days when women remained chaste till they found a man that would take their hand in marriage? He felt a surge of anger as he watched the young girl wave happily to her boyfriend before turning to bounce towards the gate house. She tapped the gateman’s window gently and after some minutes, appeared through his door. She dared not use the gate for fear of waking her parents; she would rather climb in through the gatehouse window. He knew because he had watched her do it severally over the weeks. The stranger checked the time again; it was 2: 45am- the usual time she returned home. He knew she would use the side window so he kept himself well hidden behind the thick curtains where he stood but away from the window for fear of being seen from outside in case Ronke decided to put the lights on before he attacked.

Sure enough, Ronke climbed noiselessly into her room and from the moon that illuminated her face, he saw her contented smile. She flung her handbag and high heeled shoes she came in holding, on the floor with her back turned to him.

The stranger came out carefully from behind the curtain. Her hands were around her neck, trying to free it of the heavy beaded necklace that hung around it, when she felt more than hear him. Her hands paused and her head turned slowly. Her eyes only had time to register shock when he clapped his right hand on her mouth while the left held her struggling arms. She was tall but slim, which made her an easy prey for him. Rather more forcefully than he intended, he snapped her neck and felt the struggle die within her as the body went limp. He lifted her effortlessly and dumped her on the bed, still clothed in her skimpy wears. He was happy for the good deed he just did – assisting in ending the girl’s miserable life; certain she would have a better chance at finding peace in the next life than the one he just ended.

He made for the window quickly. He knew he should climb and escape but temptation kept him rooted.

Temitope Obasa is a young nigerian author. Although she studied science at graduate level, she discovered early her talent in writing and has since developed a vision around that. She has written a lot of scripts for stage and televison. Her first novel STROKES OF LIFE was published in 2009.

photo credit: google images

The Ignorant Future Leaders By Adesokun Mayowa – @kaybanconceptz

 

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Last week as was my practice, I went for the compulsory weekly Community Development Service program  in the place of my primary assignment. One thing led to another and a fellow corp member raised the issue of Boko Haram and the State of Emergency declared in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states. Ready to learn as usual, I paid 100% attention to his opinion and to my surprise, he started with the phrase “OUR OVER 22 MILLION SOILDERS” will wipe those Boko Haram off in less than two weeks. While I have no problem with wiping off Boko Haram in the affected state, my problem with him was the concocted figure of “22million soldiers in Nigeria”. I was miffed and furious within myself when he remained adamant and unfazed by his fallacious figure.

 

Since I was not comfortable with his analysis, I told him to wait and allow us to do some simple analysis or mathematics. He was so full of himself and shouted me down, saying I should not argue the figure again else I’m a LEARNER – a popular slang in vogue to describe novices. From his utterances, I wanted to follow the word of my good brother, Dr Olumide Henry Fakolade, who once told me, during a disagreement I had with someone on social media, “Kolawole! Never ever in your life argue with some adamant and wayward individuals because you will never win them. They will bring you so low to their level of low reasoning and mind you, just because they have experience in shallow thinking, it will be very easy for them to finish you”

 

I patiently waited for him to finish spewing his balderdash but my mind won’t just let me ignore him. So I asked him if he has an idea of the total amount of the Defense ministry’s 2013 budget. His response? “What is my business with that?” Since the listening audience was not seeing fact from all he was saying, they directed the question to me and asked me what the budget of the Ministry of Defense was. I told them that the Budget is less than a Trillion Naira. To counter his acclaimed 22million soldiers’ argument, I said if at all we decided to pay our Soldiers only from the Defense Budget, less than a trillion naira won’t be able to Pay his acclaimed figure for two months with exception to Airforce, Navy, staffs of defense headquarters and acquisition of military Equipment and lots more. He was shocked and looked embarrassed.

 

What lessons can we learn from here as youths? Nobody is going to kill us on what we don’t know, it is very easy and advisable to learn from other people’s opinion when the raised topic of discussion is off your field and you have no actual knowledge about such topic. Silence is always golden. Fact remains unmoved by mountains and it is only a fool that argue blindly where fact is presented.

 

I left the secretariat more disturbed and confused about what we, the much-acclaimed leaders of tomorrow, have in stock to offer our generation, the aging generation, the next and what legacy we plan to leave for our unborn kids. If at this critical developmental and preparatory stage of our life, we decide to pay little or no attention to our leaders past misdemeanors and/or ignore necessary facts and figures we should be familiar with, then we are on a sorry curve of recycling such errors!

 

The consequence of ignorance in our teeming youth is the major cause of the lack of preparation, greed and incapacity we see in our leaders today. The question is, How prepared are we to take over from this set of leaders we criticize daily on social media and the prints due to their gross misconducts? How do we hold them accountable for such misconducts when we do not even have facts to back up our claims? How do we keep our underperforming leaders on their toes if all we do is complain and criticize unintelligently?

 

We all have a responsibility to make our country work. Remember, “No organization can grow beyond its leaders”. If the leaders of tomorrow have stunted growth, the nation they lead will definitely experience stunted development. The thought of that is scary but it also looks inevitable if we realize that the above quote is a time tested truth. If we do not intend to lead an ignorant nation, we must do all we can to get rid of personal ignorance.

 

After all, Knowledge, they say, is POWER.

 

Thank you All

My Wife is Another Woman by Kolade Gboyega @newnaija

 

                               This was written as a sequel to Some Men Make you Want to Hurt Them, see here

mother

We got married ten years ago and the union had been blessed with three boys before the birth of our baby girl some six months ago. Ever since the birth of the baby girl my wife has turned into another person.

We are intimate strangers. Forever together always miles apart in our thoughts and priority! It was not like this from the beginning! What happened to us…?

We had the three boys in quick succession. Every other eighteen months there was an addition to the family via my ever loving and beautiful wife.  Um, after the third boy, we had to do a little re adjustment that would keep the babies at bay at least for the next four years or so.

After much nagging from my wife and serious complaints that she also needed someone of her gender I heeded the call to try another one though I promised her that it would be my last attempt. As God would have it, her desire was granted, we were blessed with our bouncing Morenikeji.

The blessing is what is turning my once adorable wife into another person. The boys as we are now referred to have to fend for ourselves. Dinner is out of it, we make do with restaurant meals because the “gals” are busy or too tired to see to us. In fact, the house help we agreed not to be part of our household now does nearly everything.

Six months after the birth of her daughter we are yet to be together in the way of a man and wife.

“I’m tired”, “tomorrow” “later” are some of the few excuses I’m given. To make matter worse, her BBM carries Morenikeji’s picture, twitter handle name bears “keji’s mum’, her bio reads a loving mother of a beautiful and adorable queen KJ. Even her details on the facebook read on column for work “full-time mum and proud mother of KJ”.

How long can I cope with this KJ stuff? She is my daughter and I’m not jealous but the transformation of my once loving wife is bringing stale air to our family environment.

 

 

Boarding Tales ~ Episode XIII (Yewande’s Story)

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FOR ALL PREVIOUS EPISODES, PLEASE CLICK HERE

It was an assignment that had been given to me by the woman of the stream; Iya Stream as the students calls her. A woman all the students talked about but that few people had ever seen. I had met her early one morning while I walked back to the school through the usual foot path. It was a meeting I would never forget.

Here is how it happened……

 

I was walking down the length of the rock that fenced the hostel blocks when a rustling in the surrounding bush startled me. Someone walked out making my heart skip a beat. I looked at the person and was relieved to see it was a woman. A beautiful dark skinned woman who seemed to be about my mother’s age. She was dressed in a brown aso oke wrapper tied above the waist with a matching gele on her head. She carried a broken pot in her hands. I thought that was odd but proceeded to greet her genuflecting as I said e kaaro ma.

“Follow me” she said without acknowledging my greetings.

She turned towards the road that led to the stream and I followed her. I wanted to tell her I couldn’t follow her but somehow I found myself obeying her.

When we got to the stream she placed the broken pot in her arms on the floor and proceeded to remove her head tie.

She removed the wrapper, gele and her coral beads and was left with her underwear, a spaghetti strapped undergarment with pockets- the type worn by old grandmothers; the one they called agbeko.

 I thought it strange that a woman as young as her would wear such and watched on as she dipped her hands into the pockets and brought out all sorts of things – money, cowry shells, a straw sponge and black soap, pieces of dried grass and a black nylon which had a piece of white cloth tied to the mouth. My heart was beating very fast in fear as I watched her and I started praying earnestly that some students would come to the stream.

“Nobody will come to the stream until I’m done.” she said. Her voice made me jump in fright. How did she know what I was thinking? I thought immediately sweating profusely.

“Could this be Iya stream?” I wondered.

“No it can’t be.” I answered myself.

 Iya Stream was supposed to be old. That was the stories that went around the school.

“I’m the one you all call Iya Stream.” she said breaking into my thoughts. She was still busy arranging the items she brought out of her agbeko on the grass beside the stream.

“How do you know what I’m thinking?” I asked my dread showing in my voice.

“How do you know when you are hungry?” She asked looking directly at me.

I didn’t answer and something about the way she looked at me told me I wasn’t supposed to answer just as she wasn’t supposed to answer the question I asked her.

“Come close” she said picking a calabash floating over the surface of the stream.

I was surprised to see the calabash especially as I hadn’t noticed it when we got there. Could that have appeared out of nowhere? I wondered. I immediately told myself that it must have been that I simply didn’t notice the calabash and that it wasn’t possible for something to appear all on its own.

“It wasn’t here when we got here.”

“Ma, what did you say?”

“Child, what did you hear?”

“You said something wasn’t here when we got here ma.”

“Yes, you were wondering if the calabash was here before we got here and I replied you that it wasn’t.”

I wanted to ask how it got there if it wasn’t there when we got to the stream but before I could speak she said;

“Don’t ask questions whose answers you wouldn’t understand.”

“Come here, take that sponge and soap” she said pointing to an out cropping beside her feet

“Take it and wash my back with it.”

“Ma?” I asked

“Child, do what you heard.” She snapped.

My heart still thumping wildly I picked the sponge and began to wash her back.

“You know I’ve been watching you for a while now, you are a very disobedient child. You are young yet very wayward.”

My heart beat went out of control at her words,

“Is she going to eat me?”

“Was she going to punish me for my waywardness?”

“Am I going to be sacrificed to some god?”  The thoughts ran wild in my head.

“No, I won’t harm you.” “Iye doesn’t harm anyone unless she has to.” She said once again reminding me she could read or hear my thoughts.

“I won’t harm you; the reason you are here is because I have a job for you. You are the perfect one for the job, there was someone doing it before now but she was part of the students that graduated to the senior school a few weeks back. Since she refused to pass on the job to someone else, I had to choose the person myself. I chose you.”

Ma, what assignment?

“Patience.” “You will know that soon.”

I continued to wash her back in silence and after a few minutes she collected the sponge and rinsed her body. I thought it odd that the only part of her body that was washed was her back and wondered if that was the assignment I would have to do.

“Oh my God”, I gasped inwardly. “Will I have to do this every morning?” I thought to myself

She burst into laughter and this time I knew her laughter was as a result of my thoughts.

“Of course washing my back isn’t the assignment I intend to give you.”

She tied her aso oke on the wet underwear, wore her beads and tied her gele. She picked the black nylon bag that had a white cloth tied around it. “Take this and keep very well. There are wheat grains inside it, once a week, spread those grains around the back of the female hostel.”

“Ma, what if they see me spreading the grains and what are the grains for?”

“No one will see you spreading them.” “As to what they are for, you would know that the first day you do it. You would understand in the still of the night. Take now and go back to your hostel.” she said pressing it into my hands.

She stepped into the water and disappeared into the mangrove trees that ran alongside the stream.

*****

As she said I would the  first day I spread the grains was the day I knew what spreading it meant and also the day I understood why we hear wailing and howling of a strange animal from time to time. The noise had woken me from sleep like everyone else. It was a sound that had always terrified me up until that night. It had been a while since we heard the sounds and at that moment I realised she had been right when she said one of the seniors that passed out used to do it for her.

The whole dormitory came awake in minutes. Chants of “Jesus” and “blood of Jesus” renting the air. Before that day, I had always joined in the chant even though I never believed that Jesus would listen to me, I believed my sins were too much for that to happen.

The noise was worse than ever that night; the wailing went on for close to two hours and after a while students huddled close to one another. The Muslims chanted in Arabic while the Christians too screamed Jesus. I lay on my bed unmoving wondering if I had spread more than I should and made a mental note to spread less the next time.

This was the assignment I was now to hand over to Bosola. Every month; I would go to the stream and collect fresh supplies of the grain. I would always think of asking her what it was that made the howling and if it was meant to scare us since it never seemed to harm anyone. But every time I opened my mouth to ask, she would place a finger on her lips and tell me not to ask the question on my mind. The assignment was another reason I was glad to be expelled.

*****

She was the one who told me I would be expelled before we even heard the news from Mr Adisa, she had appeared in my dreams during our siesta and told me to take any sweet thing from my cupboard, clasp it in my hands for a few minutes and give it to Bosola. I hadn’t been surprised that she mentioned Bosola’s name. I would have chosen her too as my successor if Iye had asked me. I had done like she said. Bosola didn’t know what she had on her hands yet I thought watching her sleep.

*****

The morning after Bosola’s first experience of the howling Wolf/Dog, I called her to my bunk to tell her about the mandate I had passed to her. It was a Sunday and I hadn’t gone to the school fellowship, Bosola didn’t go too and I realised that was one other thing that made her perfect for Iye’s Job. Although it wasn’t like the school’s fellowship would have gotten rid of whatever spirits it was that possessed her. The orthodox priest that presided was a member of the village’s Egungun festival planning committee. Iye had told me that.

She sat down on my bed and I proceeded to tell her about how I met Iye and the job she would do for her. Her response was surprising and yet unsurprising.

“I know already” she said. Iye and I spoke this morning in my dreams.”

“You did?” I asked incredulously

“Yes we did.” She said giving me a look of disgust before she stood up and left.

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