Not So Happily Married…… Episode One

Hi everyone,

A new series begin. Let’s start the ride. New episodes to drop every Wednesday.

Enjoy

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Yes I do…………..But should I really be doing? I asked myself the moment the pastor said the words “You may kiss the Bride”.

“Join me in wishing the latest couple in town a happy married life.” the pastor shouted as soon as Jite’s lips met mine.

The cameras clicked away and the wedding guests shouted excitedly as we kissed. It seemed genuine enough; we tried to make it look so.

As we received hugs after hugs and wishes after wishes the smile plastered on my face never wavered, perfectly masking the fear and sadness that enveloped my throbbing heart.

****

To say I didn’t know I should not have married Jite will be a big lie. Who else marries a man that hates her? Truth be told, I don’t know why he married me either. He obviously hates me enough to not go on with it but for some reason he saw it through. I have my suspicion though. I think it might just be due to plain ego. He once promised me it was either him or no one else. If he can’t have me, no one will.

 Jite used to be wonderful you know. Every inch the gentle man. He was the kind of guy that won’t expect you to cook for him just because you are his babe, he was a man that would open doors for you, fight anyone for you and say I love you like a hundred times daily. Yeah he was that kind of man from the first day we met until the day an unborn baby and a cripple came between us.

*****

I don’t know whether to call how we met unusual or dramatic. I had been in Game to look for a set of pots. For some reason I had scoured the whole of Lagos looking for a set of non stick cookware and had frowned upon every brand I saw until that day in Game. There it was on a well polished low shelf; sleek, red, with ornate wooden handles. Just what I had been looking for. I was about to grab the carton not bothering to check the price when another pair of hands touched it.

‘‘Hey, I bought that.” I said.

“And you bought it how?” He asked fixing me with a piercing glance.

 “Errrr…. I bought it by thinking of it already and as you can see I was standing in front of it about to carry it.”

“And madam, as you can also see, I was about to carry it too and I think my hand touched it first though.”

“It did?” I asked unsettled by his glance. He had on one of those massive eye glasses that some guys believe look cool. We looked about the same height but because of the advantage my heels gave I decided to stare him down but I needn’t have bothered. Dude was ready to stare back.

“What kind of a man even drags pots with a woman?” I exclaimed exasperatedly.

“The kind of a man that cooks and also appreciates good quality cookware.”

“But there are other brands here, Mister. Why don’t you just pick one?” I asked my eyes already getting misted with tears. 

“No Madam, I want this.”

“Okay”, I said walking away before he could see the tears in my eyes.

“Hey, you know we can solve this by getting married. That way the cookware will be ours or better still yours.”

“Oh, Jokes.” I replied waving him off. I would later learn that phrases like “let’s get married”, “I love you” and “let’s break up” were some of the easiest words for Jite to say. They come naturally and it’s hard to decide if it’s being said jokingly or seriously.

I left the mall few minutes later. I was about to start my car when someone leant in and said

“Can you open your Car boot”? I looked up sharply and it was him.

“Hey, I’m sorry if I sounded like a twat in there but I was just pulling your legs really. You can have your cookware; all you have to do is refund my money.” He added handing me the receipt.

I didn’t even think twice before jumping out of the car to hug him. I didn’t let go until he started patting my back like I was a baby. That was when the irritation came back full force and I condescendingly pointed to the boot for him to drop the carton in.

 “Can I get a ride?” he asked afterwards and against my better judgment, I allowed him. Halfway through the journey, we were already talking like old friends and I think I fell in love the moment he told me he left his car at the mall just so he could meet me. Yeah, that was the cool Jite. Not the one he became after I did what I did.           

****

We prepared for the wedding with so much passion and energy that you couldn’t tell how much Jite detested me. Sometimes I blame him, Most times I blame me and the rest of the time I blame both of us for going through the charade of getting married.

The day we went to see our wedding planner. I smiled when the wedding planner asked what the budget was and said just one word.

‘‘Unlimited’’ Jite’s mom had decided her son’s wedding was going to be one to remember and had given us a blank cheque. She had just finished a contract for the federal government and was rolling in cash. We were to spend as much as we wished she had said while giving us the cheque.

The event planner shifted in her seat and then asked.

“What and what do you want, how do you envision your day to be?”

 I told her we wanted something that screamed money, romance, elegance and class. I pushed away the niggling thoughts at the back of my mind and smiled.

“Just go all out please, go all the way. Money is not a problem.” Jite interjected rubbing my arms affectionately.

And all the way she went.

****

My friends’ emotions were bitter sweet and also tinged with slight doses of envy. I had paid for their bridesmaid dresses and I had also handed a kit to each of the sixteen of them complete with jewellery, hair accessories and even toiletries. In the midst of the oohs and the aaahs I couldn’t fail to see some of what they really felt. It was quite hard for them to get over the fact that I was leaving the single’s league and in style too. We had all shared stories of our efforts to make the men in our lives propose and they knew there weren’t going to be such stories again. That brought a kind of grief. I have felt it before and so could recognize it.

Our theme colour was Gold; it dominated the 1200 capacity hall that was our reception venue. The hall was exquisitely decorated. There were Gold draperies, fireworks, table to ceiling high center pieces, Candle holders, and a cozy couch for Jite and I strewn over with rose petals. The dimness of the purple lighting and the coziness of the couple’s enclave gave our reception the perfect romantic ambience that I wished for.

Our faces radiated sunshine, warmth and love, we smiled at the cameras, we kissed at every available opportunity, we both smiled for the guests, for the cameras. We danced for an hour to Lionel Richie, Phil Collins and Marvin Gaye’s songs; our favorite songs. He held me close and we smiled into each other’s eyes. To the world the pictures will show a couple totally in love but within us we know it was all a lie, we know it was a mistake that should never have happened.

****

The Limousine that took Jite and me from the reception was snow white. Mom stood by the door and wiped at her eyes. ‘‘Go well my daughter’’, she said. ‘‘We miss you already’’. I felt tears roll down my eyes and Jite wrapped a hand around me to comfort me. He kissed my ear and cooed against my ears. ‘‘Don’t cry baby’’. We closed the door, and we watched them wave till we could see them no more.

Jite’s mood went black immediately the Limousine moved. ‘‘Drive us around’’ he told the driver before closing the partition.

I cleared my throat. “Jite, aren’t we going to the hotel?”

“Not yet.” he grunted removing his arm from around me and shifting to create space between us.

“Okay, Jite will you just hold me? I’m cold.”

“Well, that’s your business. Didn’t you know you would be cold when you chose that dress he asked pointing a finger to my strapless mermaid tulle dress. I would have thought wearing a dress that accentuates your flat and firm stomach would have given you enough happiness and you won’t even need me.”

“Jite, please let’s not do this, please make me happy if only for today please.” I said my eyes misting over. Silence. It was as though I was talking to a wall.

to be continued …………

image designed by Okunade Hammed (@okunadegoodman)

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COIN……there are two sides to every story by @obasatemitope (Episode III)

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IN CASE YOU MISSED PREVIOUS EPISODES, PLEASE SEE HERE

“Notice any phone around this room?” Kogberegbe asked the closest police officer to him.

“No sir” the officer replied “The parents confirmed it’s missing. They have been trying to call the number since early morning and it’s not even ringing. Her dad said she never switched off”

“Wrong move” Kogberegbe said inaudibly. He straightened up and walked towards the window. There were traces of sand on the rug that suggested where the perpetrator had marched. It wasn’t enough to make a cast but Kogberegbe could deduce that the owner had big feet and judging from the sole imprint, it was a heavy shoe, probably boots. His eyes went from the rug to the drawn window blinds.

“Was the curtain drawn when you got here?” Kogberegbe asked, looking out the window to the front of the house where the gateman now crouched, weeping openly. He was a Hausa man, far away from his home and very likely without a relative close by. He was on his own.

“No. we pulled it to have better lighting. But that” he pointed at the side window “was open when we came. We suppose the culprit came in through it”

Kogberegbe moved to check the window. The sand there was thicker than the one at the other window but contaminated. He didn’t bother to ask who did, just instructed the photographer to record the mark at the other window. It wasnt the first time he’d experienced the nation’s policeforce contaminating evidence at a crime scene, even after being warned not to; they just seem not to understand how relevant the tiniest of evidence could be. Kogberegbe surveyed the window pane and saw a faint line of blood. The owner must have tried to wipe it clean, making it a smear. He noticed a sharp edge on the window pane which must have cut the culprit’s arm. He looked outside the window. To the side, a large tree grew with a thick branch just under the window.

Kogberegbe decided he’d seen enough from the room and it was time to survey the compound, so he proceeded out of the room, accompanied by a police officer at Kogberegbe’ request. Kogberegbe was glad to find out another flight of stairs led down apart from the main one he came through. He didn’t want to face the Okanlawons just yet; he didn’t have as much information as he wanted. His hunch was that the culprit jumped the fence from the back of the house. However, the fence was high and glass shards were used for security on it. No one could climb through this without getting injured except – Kogberegbe turned sharply and started checking the fence at the back side of the house. At the right hand side of the house – the side which faced Ronke’s bedroom, the shards were chipped. With the thick sole the killer wore and with the aid of a ladder at the other side of the fence, the entry was bound to be a piece of cake. But how could he have jumped in with such soles without being heard? He certainly wouldn’t have dared to use a ladder inside the house?

*****

Kogberegbe decided it was time to question the guard. Kogberegbe found him at the gate, looking a little more composed but didn’t say a word or meet Kogberegbe’ eyes. Kogberegbe noticed another guard, he had expected that the old guard would be fired and was certain Dr. Okanlawon would have him locked behind bars for not preventing the unfortunate incidence. On second thoughts, Kogberegbe walked past the guards to check what lay behind the fence, detailing the officer to stay behind with the guards. A very thick bush was all that separated the Okanlawon’s property from the next building. This must have come in handy for the murderer. Kogberegbe looked at his beloved Nike shirt and thinking it might be the last time he would wear it, plunged into the bush. Thinking he was lucky to have worn his field shoe, he traced the chipped part of the fence. Beneath it, he found a tyre rim with a new rope tied to it, which was flung a length away from the rim. Kogberegbe was certain this was the work of an amateur who didn’t think of covering his tracks much.

Back inside the compound, Kogberegbe saluted the officer and said “Can you get some of your men to fully search the bush beside this building?”

“Yes sir” the officer replied

Kogberegbe then motioned for the old guard to come with him to the side of the house.

“What is your name?” Kogberegbe asked him

“Musa sir” he replied

“How long have you worked here?” Kogberegbe asked, squinting his eyes.

“Ah oga, flenty years sir, long long” Musa said, his accent very thick.

“Can’t you give me an estimate?” Kogberegbe pressed.

“Sir?” Musa asked, with a confused look.

“Never mind. Tell me what happened last night”

“Oga, I no just know. I only know oga” Musa pointed toward the building, indicating Dr. Okanlawon “come down this morning and he vex. Another time, just folise, e fush me here, fush me there. Oga, I no kill am, Allah, no be me”

“I know it wasn’t you” Kogberegbe wondered the best way to go about the interrogation as the man obviously had problem communicating in English. As he paused, Kogberegbe saw two men dressed in white, emerge from the building pushing Ronke’s body in a stretcher. The ambulance driver got down at the sight of the nurses and opened the back door. Kogberegbe would go for the autopsy report later that day if it was ready. Although he didn’t see any bruises around the girl’s thigh, he still needed to be sure she wasn’t raped. He couldn’t rule out that this was just a lunatic case.

“Musa, what time did you sleep last night?” Kogberegbe asked, bringing his attention back to the guard.

“Ah, like fast three oga”

“Past three Am? Did you parade- I mean, walk round the compound while awake?” Kogberegbe asked

Musa shook his head vigorously “No oga, at night like that, is diraft we play so we no go sleef”

“So you played draft all night?” Kogberegbe asked and Musa nodded “who did you play with and where?”

“Me and Adamu. Is Adamu cofa that building” Musa said, pointing at the building to the left of the Okanlawons.

“Where did you play the game?” Kogberegbe asked

“In that my afartment” Musa pointed at the gatehouse

“When did Adamu leave?”

“Two Porty- paip” Musa replied

“How are you sure it was two forty five?”

“Is time young madam come” Musa said, momentarily shocking Kogberegbe despite suspecting the girl had been out the previous night.

“What do you mean ‘come’” Kogberegbe demanded, writing on his pad

“Sir?” Musa asked puzzled

“Come from where?”

“Oh, she go kilus flinty night with uncle”

“She goes clubbing at nights?” Musa nodded “But her parents said she never kept late nights”

Musa shook his head sadly “them not know. She climb down apta oga and oga madam sleef pinish. Simall uncle now stay outside, carry little madam go. Apta, he bring am con’ back. E say I no tell”

“And you didn’t tell?” Kogberegbe asked

“I wan tell oga one time but oga e busy no be simall. Simall madam see me that day and she vex. She say she chase me leave if to try it again. I no get flace to go so I not tell again” he cast his eyes down “and oga not will belief me sef”

“When did she start going out at nights?”

“Ah, flenty flenty times ago o. She still go secondary school that time but almost pinish”

“Hmm, tallies” Kogberegbe nodded, scribbling more on his notepad “come with me please” Kogberegbe led the way around the fence, stopping at the chipped part and pointed up.

“Eh!” Musa exclaimed “Is there he enter?”

“My guess. Did you hear the person break this glass?” Kogberegbe asked

“Nobody bireak anything last tonight” Musa shook his head

Kogberegbe mused over this information and caught a glimpse of a shabby looking man stroll inside the gate. His skin had a dirty colouration it must have attained over years of going unbathed. His clothes looked like it would never recover, not even with a good laundry. Kogberegbe however wasn’t surprised at this sight, he saw people like this almost every time. The man’s mouth was open in what might have been confused for a smile but on close consideration proved to be the way his lips permanently stayed apart, baring his brown set of teeth. He stood at a distance resting on his hips, watching Kogberegbe.

“Who’s this guy?” Kogberegbe asked Musa who was still assessing the damage

“Ah! Adamu” Musa said, beckoning to Adamu and saying more words in their native language. Adamu, with mouth, still agape, walked closer. Kogberegbe noticed his eyes were also permanently squinted. He gave a long Hausa speech.

“Where were you last night Adamu?” Kogberegbe said, cutting him short in whatever he was saying. Adamu only gave Kogberegbe a blank look. When Musa started his own round of Hausa, Kogberegbe understood that Adamu didn’t understand English and he concluded questioning him wouldn’t be much use since there won’t be a way of verifying. Adamu started another long speech punctuated with “two porty paip” and “Ronke”

Kogberegbe pointed at the chipped glass while Musa quickly supplied the question. Kogberegbe couldn’t decipher the expression in the squinting eyes but was willing to take it for ignorance. Adamu spoke again, giving his head a forceful shake, palms up. Musa explained that Adamu hadn’t heard any sound either.

With Musa’s help, Kogberegbe found and heaved a ladder against the fence. Musa also found something heavy enough to break glass with.

“When I say ‘now’, start breaking the glass, okay?” Kogberegbe instructed Musa who now propped on the ladder. He nodded his comprehension.

Kogberegbe went to the gatehouse where Musa and his friend claimed to have spent the night and called out “Now”

Musa hit the glass as quietly as possible but strong enough to break it. Though faint, Kogberegbe heard the sound, and it was daytime. Even if Musa slept off, the other occupants of the house would have heard. He concluded the glass wasn’t broken the previous night. Through Musa, Kogberegbe learnt Dr. and Mrs. Okanlawon’s room was at the back of the house, away from the traffic noise that never ceased, even at night. This explained why the culprit chose the side fence to break in. and it showed the perpetrator had a lot of time to study the house with its occupants. Kogberegbe rubbed his forehead. How could the suspect be an amateur but know enough to study the family well, as well as know when exactly to carry out bits and piecesof his plan?

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

A Tale Of Three Goats By Toyin Fabunmi

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She pulled open the wooden window and inhaled the smell of fresh goat droppings that wafted into the room. The sky was still a little dark as dawn was just approaching. She put out her head and saw her Goats milling around the courtyard. She had over twenty goats but Egbin wasn’t hard to spot even among hundreds of goat so her heart skipped a beat, when she couldn’t see the goat. “So Egbin didn’t come home eventually?” She whispered.

 

Egbin had a special place in her heart; apart from the fact that she was so beautiful, she was the goat that Adunni’s in-laws had brought as part of her bride price. Her coat was the colour of snow and dried grass ingeniously mixed by the creator himself. Her long and graceful neck was covered with snow- white hair that was without blemish and Iya Ijesha had fallen in love with the goat at first sight. She believed that there was never a more beautiful goat since the beginning of time. She was glad when Egbin got pregnant and prayed everyday that Egbin would give birth to a kid that would have its beauty.

 

“No, nothing must happen to Egbin” she whispered again in the dark room. The goat was pregnant and so was Adunni, everyone knew the fate of a bride and the goat used as her bride price was intertwined. The goat had to be fine; Adunni’s wellbeing in Lagos depended on it Iya Ijesha thought determined to find the goat at all cost.  She sent a silent prayer of protection to Orunmila; asking the deity to keep both Adunni and Egbin safe; That said she re-tied her wrapper firmly around her waist and moved to the front of the house.

 

“Tilewa”, she screamed.

“Ma”, the girl replied falling on her knees in front of Iya Ijesha.

 

“Moomi, hin kaaro.” My mother, Good Morning”

“Inle, omo mi”. “Well done my child”.  She said patting her head.

Tilewa was her first grandchild, the first child of her first son. Mama Ijesha had taken the girl from her parents before she was two years old, saying that eleran lo ni akobi” The owner of the goat owns the firstborn. Tilewa’s parents didn’t mind, they both agreed that it wasn’t good that the old woman should be alone.

 

“Tilewa, have you seen Egbin today”, Mama Ijesha asked.

Moomi, I don’t think Egbin came home”

Iya Ijesha sighed. She and Tilewa had searched all the neighboring bushes and houses up until around 10.30pm the previous night thinking that perhaps Egbin stepped on a thorn somewhere. A thought crossed her mind and she wondered whether someone had stolen Egbin. It wasn’t a far fetched thing, she reasoned considering such things happen quite often in their neighborhood.

 

Iya Ijesha sat down on the bench in front of the house thinking of what her next line of action should be. She stood up; suddenly sure of what she needed to do. The people who stole her goat had to return it; she would make sure they did. Now is the time she thought.

 

*****

 

“Lati, kilode! Do you want to kill yourself over a mere goat or what kind of madness is this?” Ayinde asked angrily.

 

“Ayinde, there will be trouble in this house if I don’t see my goat this morning because I am very sure that it is your………”

 

“My what? onisokuso! You better take it easy, because that’s how you were tossing and turning in your sleep all night murmuring your goat’s name like a cursed individual.”

 

“You can say I am saying rubbish, but I promise you that somebody will leave this world today if I don’t see my goat and that person won’t be me. You had better ask your wife, Ayinde, call your wife and ask her where she hid Ayesoro.”

 

Lati left the room banging the door after her; she grabbed a stool from the passage and placed it in front of her rival’s room and standing on it she launched her first attack.

 

 

****

Sholape was worried about her goat, it never stayed out overnight; the Goat was always by the gate whenever she came back from school in the evening waiting for her to open so it could enter. She wondered if someone had stolen it or it had trespassed into someone’s farm and had been shot. She shuddered wondering if there exists anyone that would be so callous to animals. She knew she should be out looking for the goat but she had a lot of tasks to finish before 7 am when she would leave for her work place. She resolved to wait till evening when she would have time to search.

 

*****

Iya Ijesha climbed the stairs to the upper floor of her one storey building and chose a vantage position where her voice could be heard by everyone in the neighborhood. She rarely came up because of the stress of climbing as her right leg was ravaged by arthritis but that morning she climbed the stairs with an agility borne out of the determination to find Egbin.

She cleared her throat and began to deliver her message in a voice that rang clear and true in the early morning air.

 

 

Oni ba gbe ewure mi kegbe ele ooooo              whoever stole my goat should release it

Oni ba gbe ewure mi kegbe ele ooooo              whoever stole my goat should release it 

Ke ba gbe e le Lùkúlùkú, Sanpona ,                 If he/she fails to do so, Lùkúlùkú, Sanpona

Ati Olode la pa gbogbo ile re run oo                and Olode will destroy his/her household

 Ke bagbe e le,                                                   if he/she fails to release it

onitohun ni jere ise owo re                               the person will fail in all his ventures

Ewure mi dara bi egbin,                                  My Goat is as beautiful as egbin

ose pataki si mi ooooo                                      It is very important to me

In gbe ele oooo                                                Release it oooo

Emi Iya Ijesha ni ooo.                                     It is I, Iya Ijesha

 

*******

Lati checked that she was well balanced on the stool and that she was facing her rival’s door directly. Satisfied, she started her song;

 

Kokoro owo yara mi lowa                      the key to our husband’s purse is in my room

Apoti owo yara mi lowa                         the purse that houses the money is in my room

Oko ti en ku le lori                                  the husband you want to kill yourself over       

 Yara mi lo’n sun                                     spends his nights in my room

Otutu ni o pa eni ti o loko                       she who has no husband will die of cold

A si ma ka sio sio                                    such people are always withdrawn and depressed

 

Ayinde hissed standing up from the bed furiously as he heard Lati’s voice, what kind of woman is this; he cursed pulling the door angrily. He froze and turned the door knob again. He glanced at the key hole and discovered the key was missing. So Lati locked me in the room, he thought. He remembered what his father had said when he told him he was marrying Lati as his second wife, the man had told him she was going to be the end of him. He had shrugged his father off then but now he believed. He sat down on the bed listening as Aduke his first wife’s voice rent the air.

 

Oni bata gogoro mafi te mi ooo                              don’t trample me with your high heels

Oni bata gogoro mafi te mi ooo                              don’t trample me with your high heels

Sebi ile lo bami                                                       did you not meet me in this house?

Sebi emi ni iyale                                                      am I not your senior?

Oni bata gogoro mafi te mi ooo                               don’t trample me with your high heels

 

Lati re-tied her wrapper firmly around her waist, so she even had the guts to reply, I will deal with this woman today she thought clearing her voice, she banged heavily on her rival’s door:

“Come out you unfortunate woman,”

“Come out and show me your face”

“Come out and tell me what you did to Ayesoro my goat.”

“Come out useless woman and face me.”

 

The whole house was silent except for Lati’s voice, her rival was determined not to open the door or engage in a further war of words with her; she was tired of Lati’s troubles. She resolved to keep quiet certain that Lati would go away when she was tired of shouting.

 

****

 

“Don’t you think this Goat business is funny?” the first clerk asked

“It is more than funny” his partner replied. “In fact I am very uncomfortable about this whole thing. How can we be arresting Goats for Christ sake, we are like a huge Joke and the whole country will have a good laugh at our expense when this gets out.”

been bad

“What’s your own, nobody will know you are the arresting officer now; it’s his Excellency they would direct their abuse at.”

The first clerk; Kowope burst into laughter holding his sides, “arresting officer abi what did you just say.”

“Goat arresting officer now” Tifase; the second clerk replied and they both rolled in laughter.

 

****

It was Kofo one of Iya Ijesha’s tenants, the one that sewed aso ofi in her one bedroom apartment that told Iya Ijesha that her Goat was in the government’s custody. She watched the news on the TV and recognized Egbin immediately.  She ran to the old woman’s room and told her breathlessly where her goat was.

 

Iya Ijesha was distraught. “The government will not return Egbin she lamented; they will be too taken by her beauty”

“Iya Ijesha, just take 2500 naira and go there to bail your goat”, Kofo advised.

“They stole my Goat and I still have to pay for its release?” Iya Ijesha asked incredulously, “Haa, this government is wicked ooooo.”

 

****

Lati was alone in her husband’s room when she saw Ayesoro on TV. Ayinde had warned her strictly not to leave the room for the rest of the day after forcing her to apologize to her co-wife.

She rushed out of the room immediately she saw the news but that was not before she had taken some money to use in bailing Ayesoro from Ayinde’s trousers, the one he hang on a nail driven into the wall.

 

She ran out of the compound, ignoring Ayinde’s screams for her to go back into the house before Sango strikes her down. I will deal with Ayinde later she thought, her mind completely on rescuing her beloved goat.

 

 

****

Sholape saw it on the news later that night and turning to her husband, she told him it might be her goat as one of them seemed the right colour and size. Besides, the one she thought was hers was the only one left and the news caster had been saying the law enforcement agency was waiting for the owner to come and bail the goat.

“What nonsense”, Babatunde exclaimed

“Are you out of your mind, you would go and bail a goat. Can’t you see these people are clowns?”

“I mean, who arrests goats for Christ’s sake?”

“Anyway I have always told you I hate the sight of Goats in my house, so just break down the goat pen and forget about all this. By the way you can keep the chickens at least they lay eggs.”

“But I was grooming that Goat for Christmas ooo.” Sholape protested.

“I told you I don’t have money to give you to buy meat abi?” Her husband said giving her a look that signified the discussion was over.

****** 

 Meaning of some terms:

Lùkúlùkú — this refers to a terrible and incurable disease. It is a curse commonly used by the Ijeshas ofOsun State

Sanponna—Small Pox

 Olode: An incurable disease

Sango: The god of thunder

 Ęgbįn: The Yoruba word for Gazelle. The animal is considered to be the most beautiful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Abused, Rejected But I am a Survivor By Omowonuola Maja

we condemndont hurt me

Here is My Story! I was abused as a child, got rejected after years in higher institution and went through several stages of depression. I’m gradually getting better and hoping for better days. I’m telling you this story to reach out to those who had been abused or going through one abusive situation or the other; please speak up and seek help. You are not broken.

*******

I’ve always been that extroverted child, the vocal one whom nothing could ‘befall’ till abuse came.

As a six/seven year old I didn’t know what it was but as I grew up, I understood more about what had happened. What our houseboy and family friends did to me was very wrong.

I began to remember those ‘events’ in flashes and patches. I’ll push them away most times, but after twelve years I spoke out for the first time. All I managed to say was “I was abused as a child”; it happened in the church at a workers’ vigil.

A dam broke that night.

I wept so hard! I felt ashamed that I’d been stripped of my ‘shield’ and dignity. I thought every one knew my ‘secret’ now and I would become a laughing stock amongst members. From that night onward, I became more aware of what happened and learned to deal with it. Then began the ‘fight’ to deal with ‘it’; my abusers live right opposite my house, I’ve seen them everyday of my life since then!

I couldn’t muster the courage to tell my folks; I knew blood would flow, I was scared. The next battle was to stop seeing myself as an object of pleasure, its has been a constant battle and I’m winning it but I needed a ‘weapon’, so I choose hate. I hated men, house-boys, and male family friends; as long as you’re male, I see you as an enemy. I was losing myself! My folks tagged me “sadist”, there was no explanation for the erratic mood swings or the sudden need to be alone in reclusion.

I’d inflicted wounds on myself, I couldn’t build relationships – erratic at them. I had lost trust for everyone and if I eventually trusted a person, it was the unhealthy kind because of my extrovert nature. It was hard to know but I had dark days.

I had contemplated suicide; even attempted it!

I met Christ while at the university. Life became better! I was progressing; I read books on child abuse and I read other people’s stories too. It looked like life was finally getting better, then another tragedy struck.

Two days to my final exams I got a call to report to the Administration office; on getting there, I was told there was a problem with my registration. The man said: “you’re not a student! you’ve been using a fake matric number” all these while. At first I thought there must have been a mix up, could be there was a mistake, but it turned out that it wasn’t a mistake.

It felt like a bad dream, it took the next 24 hours for the news to sink in. I saw all kinds of black, I moved like a robot, I wanted to die. It took me fifteen months to tell my mum. Those days were the darkest hours of my life, I craved death at every opportunity. I would forget to eat, comb my hair or even take care of my health.

I stopped living, I lost so much weight that I became stick thin.

There were moments of complete darkness! There was a blanket that descended on my soul. There was complete numbness, sometimes I would forget where I was. I felt worthless. I harboured guilt and hopelessness towards myself. I was hurt, depressed and felt abandonded. I thought maybe God hated me and He was ‘punishing’ me for an “unknown sin”.

Why only me?

I’m a ‘good’ girl – that, I’m very sure of. I’m a believer too. why would He let all these things happen to me? I went everywhere for help, I had to get back to school. I went to the governor’s office, commissioners and permanent secretaries offices. I was desperate! I met men who saw my desperation and banked on it, they wanted the ‘cookie’ before they would help. it was tough! After two years of running from pillar to post, I gave up and started over again. Seven years down the drain just like that and there was nothing I could do.

I had to come to terms with what had happened.

I remember telling my parent that I needed to see a psychiatrist and she went “Olohun maje!”. I’d been writing before then but it became more frequent, I found solace in writing; I’d write and weep! The dark days are still there that blanket descend on my soul….. I still see my abusers anytime I’m home, a lot of times I feel nothing and I wonder how many more little girls they’ve broken. I don’t know if I’ll ever confront them. Everyday is new and I always choose to live. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to visit my old school (tried it once, not a good move) or tell my folks about the abuse.

But today, I stand tall and I’m grateful for everything I went through and how I’ve been able to stay the course. I understand now that its okay to cry, its okay to be weak.

I’m a victor!

I’m a survivor!

Omowonuola Maja
I’m @OmowonuolaMaja on Twitter

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