What Do You See in Him Anyway

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And he took your love for granted and

He left you high and dry

But you know someday,

When you’ll wonder on what you see in him anyway

When that day arrives we’ll live on

Ocean drive

Lighthouse Family – Ocean drive

 

 

The lyrics that played in your head as you remembered him. He doesn’t come into your thought anymore and you wouldn’t even have remembered him if a friend hadn’t mentioned his name.

The name you used to love, the man you used to care for with your whole heart. The one who loved you, hurt you and then hurt you some more. Even then you used to wonder what you saw in him; there was nothing a sane girl would love about a man like him. Yet you loved him and even you couldn’t explain why. The days after you found courage to walk away; you decided that yours was the love of a victim. The more he maltreated you, the more you loved him.

He would call you names. Idiot, fool, stupid, bastard, retard ….. those were some of the nicer ones. You would cry yourself to sleep on several nights praying and asking God to change him and afterwards you would ask yourself if you were crazy to be praying that God should change a man you were not even married to.

Why don’t you just leave Folake?” You would ask yourself.

I can’t leave, I love him, and he needs me.” You would reply yourself

 

—-

 

On the few occasions when things were good, they were really good. He was the best man to be with on such days and so you would tell yourself that he is not really all that bad. You could never predict what would trigger his anger, they were that erratic. Even the things you did thinking he would be happy could make him mad. You just couldn’t be sure and so you took great care in all you do.

 

—-

 

You are a daydreamer, it’s what you love doing. You would try to imagine your future with him but the pictures were always blurred. That was unusual, your visions were almost always clear yet the visions of your future with him looked bleak, blurry and depressing.

That alone was enough reason to leave but fear won’t let you.

If I leave him, how will I cope?”

I will miss being with him.”

What if no other man comes my way?”

Where do I start from?”

I have spent several years with him already; will all that go to waste?”

What will my friends say?”

Leaving him will mean accepting failure and I am not a failure.”

A lot of people know us together already, it will be so shameful.”

Someone has to marry him anyway”

Perhaps this is the cross meant for me to carry, everyone has theirs or don’t they?”

 

—-

 

Some days he would call you and demand that you move the phone towards the television just so he could be sure it was the television he heard and not that a man was in the room with you. Other times you would have to give the phone to your sister or neighbor so he could be sure you were home. You also had to scream “I love you” each time he called otherwise he would suspect foul play.

—–

The day your liberation came, no bells rang, no doors crashed. It happened so simply you didn’t even know you just got liberated. It was during one of those periods when you and him have the fights that happened for no reason at all. The days when you would check your call history and realize you have dialed his number for up to fifty times without any response. You would ask yourself if you were still sane or crazy to have called someone that many times. On such days you would walk around with the world on your shoulders, weighing you down with every step. It would be as though your life was incomplete and all for nothing unless you heard his voice.

 

—-

Your liberator bore no resemblance to superman; he was just a man like any other yet the differences were easy to note and they slapped you in the face. He is gentle where the other was brash and harsh. He is polite where the other was offensive.

He is what the English call a gentleman and you couldn’t even believe it. He is too good to be true, you told yourself. He must be pretending, no man can be this good. Men are all the same, he is going to change once I let him into my life.

 

—–

You really wanted to try, at that stage the visions of your future with your boyfriend was finally clear. You could see the future and it was filled with sadness, despair, domestic violence and infidelity. You sat yourself down and asked if you had the strength for such a future, you told yourself you didn’t and willed yourself to leave. Yet you were so weak, too weak to let go. Like a dangerous habit or addiction, he was under your skin and it would take serious intervention to get him out. Finally you sought God, you asked him to help. You gave him two options; it was easier that way for you.

You said God;

If it is your will that I should have an unhappy future, then let me marry this man but if there is another man out there that could make it all right, that could bring me happiness, that could show me what it means to be loved and cherished then lord please bring him speedily.

After that prayer you relaxed and you began to realize that you could do without him after all, you stopped calling and it was painless. You discover a day could go by without you thinking of him. You started spending more time with the gentleman. You realize this was home, where you were meant to be, where your happiness lay and so you relaxed and allowed him to show you what love really is.

 

—–

The brute came back with a force, the moment he noticed you had gotten over your addiction, the moment he noticed you were happy and he wasn’t the reason. He couldn’t live with the fact that he was no longer important. He came back a seemingly changed man desperate to persuade you he could be good. He reminded you that the devil you know is better than the angel you don’t know. You told him to go to hell that what would you be doing with the devil when you could be with an angel. He cried and pleaded. He told you he couldn’t live without you, he said his world will end but you didn’t listen, you were unmoved.

You couldn’t recognize yourself. You never thought a day would come that his presence would become irritating, that his voice would mean nothing, that his tears would have no effect. You were over him and it was massive. You felt like someone who suddenly discovered Indomie after feeding on earthworms for years. He noticed and he was scared, the fear brought back the monster and he started to attack and threaten you. You laughed when you saw his real self reappear. Whatever did I see in this brute anyway you thought telling him to get lost and never come back.

It was easy to forget him, your gentleman made that possible. He erased all the hurt with his love, his attention. He treats you like a precious gem and loves you completely and sincerely. In a short while you forgot he existed and the few times you remember him now, you feel nothing, no pain, no regret just praise to God for delivering you.

And here is your song:

 

O ti mumi gbagbe oooo, ibanuje igba kan

You have made me forget the sorrows I once lived with

Ase were nise oluwa

I never knew the Lord could so easily turn my situation around

Oba ti mo pe to’n je

The King I call that answers

Ase were nise oluwa

I never knew the Lord could so easily turn my situation around

Oba ti mo pe to’n je

The King I call that answers

 

 

 

Foot note:

He  or she is abusive? Or is it that it just doesn’t feel right? Leave now and forget all your fears and insecurities. Don’t get married to someone who abuses you verbally, psychologically or physically just because you think you can’t get someone better. Yes there is a man or woman out there waiting to love you, waiting to show you who a real man or woman is. He or she  is out there but they may never find you unless you let go of the brute. You deserve better, you deserve happiness; do not let the enemy tell you otherwise.

Just bring God in, let him intervene. Trust me you can’t do it alone.

Not So Happily Married…… Episode One

Hi everyone,

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

Enjoy

Couple_ToyinFABBB

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)

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.

 

 

Why I said Yes

madeforeachother

So after he proposed, and I said yes, he sighed and said;

“Tilewa, I have some questions for you to answer”.

I looked at my fourth finger and sighed;

I just got engaged to the man and he has started questioning me.

What’s he about to ask now? I mused.

‘‘I hope he is not going to ask me how many men I have slept with, or if I have ever been pregnant.’’ I stylishly put my left hand behind me. ‘‘There is no way he will get this beautiful ring back.’’ I decided

And then he started…

“Tilewa, why did you say yes”?

I sighed inwardly once again, what kind of JAMB question is this one now I asked myself. I smiled at him ready to tell him it was only because I loved him so much. I however decided to be honest.

‘‘Timi, I accepted your proposal for the following reasons’’;

  1. I am honest to GOD tired of living with my parents.
  2. I haven’t gotten any other offer yet and I will soon be 29.
  3. I am tired of my sister telling me what and what not to touch in her house. I want to be a madam of my own house too.
  4. I really want to stop hearing my mum nag about how a part of the house wasn’t properly cleaned.
  5. I think it’s time to have my wedding pictures on Bella Naija too
  6. I also said yes because I love the ring,

‘‘I couldn’t say no to such a ring’’, I concluded grinning oblivious to the shocked expression on his face.

He stood up and left the room without a word.

I watched him leave wondering why people hated to hear the truth. I made myself comfortable and looked for a perfect angle for the proposal picture, the one I was about to shock the social media world with. My stalkers revealed themselves when barely a second after I posted it on BBM and facebook, the comments began.

“Oh babe congrats”

“I’m so happy for you”                       

“When is the wedding”?

I responded to the first person with “thanks hun” and copied it; it was to be the standard response to everyone.

*****

I relaxed on Timi’s bed and changed the channel to Sound City, One of the problems I was sure our marriage was going to have will be Timi’s preoccupation with Universal Channel and the boring series they keep doing. I was having fun but kept feeling as if something was missing, after a full hour and there was still no sign of Timi, I sighed and picked my phone, he picked on the first ring.

“Hi baby”

“Tilewa”, he said simply

“Baby, are you pissed at what I said”?

 “Hmm”, he replied

“You know without any doubt that I want to be with you but for now those are my reasons”

‘‘Love grows with time. You know that right?”

“You know that baby, don’t you?”

He didn’t respond so I said;

“Please come home, so we can talk better”

“Outside the house already”

At that, I dropped the call and heard the front gate open and close almost immediately

He walked into the room and I met him with a hug

He hugged me back a little loosely.

“This is kinda crazy; we should be celebrating the proposal” I told him holding him closer.

‘‘Hold on a minute Tile, I think I should also tell you why I proposed marriage to you.’’

  1. I am tired of going to bed hungry on most nights
  2. I felt with all these sexually transmitted diseases around it will be better to put one woman in the house and get it free and constant.
  3. Mum would not let me rest, she keeps asking for grandkids
  4. I chose you out of all others because you are the only one with a well paying job

‘‘Is this a joke Timilehin? Where is love in all of these things you have said?’’

‘‘Well, I didn’t see love in any of those things you said too.’’

‘‘Its okay then, but I have to say this. You are going to be very miserable in this marriage if it ever happens.’’

  1. I don’t like cooking and marriage won’t make me like it
  2. Who says I won’t be sleeping with other men?
  3. I don’t intend to have kids for the next five years, so your mom has five more years to disturb you.
  4. I would be the only one to spend my money. The best I can do is borrowing you some which will be collected back by any means possible.

‘‘Babe you are a clown’’, Timilehin said frowning.

‘‘Bobo you are a dunce.’’ I replied drawing my sandals out from under his bed.

He sat on the bed fiddling with his wristwatch and then said; ‘‘Tile, since we have both realized we are not ready can I have my ring back?’’

‘‘No, you can’t have it back, what do you want me to tell my friends who have already seen it on blackberry messenger and facebook?’’

‘‘You can tell them it got missing, just get creative.’’

‘‘No Timilehin, I would have to borrow this for a while and after some time I can tell them you dropped dead and return it to you.’’

‘‘I dropped dead? What sort of nonsense is that?

‘‘Bye Timilehin.’’ I said moving to the door of his one room apartment.

‘‘How about a good bye kiss and errm, err….?’’ He asked scratching his head.

black_love_art_4~~element493

‘‘I can do that.’’ I replied dropping my bag on the rugged floor and heading towards  him.

 

images credit: google images

The Day the Sky went Dark in Mid Morning….

sky dark

It is a situation of the weevil and the beans.  I know that now. If you can’t get the weevils out you destroy the beans…

 

We are the beans my father, mother, my sisters, all of us the villagers- the ones who work hard tilling the land and fishing to earn our living. Those people- the bombers are the weevil amongst us, the people with long flowing robes which appear wider than anyone else’s perhaps to conceal all sorts of weapons. They are the weevils that live among us. The ones who have bore holes into us and shield themselves with us.

 

The other people; the ones the government gave authority to get rid of the weevils. They believe the Beans and the weevil have been so mixed that it is better for them to destroy the beans so that the weevils get destroyed with it.

After what happened the other day I would say they have succeeded only they failed in their success. They destroyed the beans but the weevils managed to wriggle out.

 

——

Things weren’t always like this. There was a time we had peace, when all we did was pray, eat, sleep and procreate. We would all gather in the evenings, the women on mats spread in the compound. The men under the large tree which almost every compound had, some smoking Rothmans, others chewing Kola nuts. Everything started changing or at least I started noticing the change the day Uncle came for a three day visit. 

 

Uncle was my father’s brother, he lived in Abuja; the place where Mama said they had houses that were as tall as mountains and lights with all the colours of a rainbow. She said it was a beautiful place that also had an ugly part. She told me uncle lived in the ugly part. I had asked why and she had said uncle was poor that the government didn’t pay him well enough so he had to live in the filthy part of Abuja. I had asked Mama why Uncle didn’t move to the village instead of living in a filthy place and she had told me to ask uncle myself when I see him.

 

 

—–

The day uncle came, it was in the morning. He brought a newspaper like he usually did and after he had greeted every one in the house. I went to meet him in Father’s sitting room. It was a ritual; anytime uncle came around he would bring a newspaper with him. I would sit and watch as he read waiting for him to say something about what he was reading. He would watch me come in but he won’t say a word until he was through with the paper.

 

“That’s a country” Uncle suddenly exclaimed in English.

That was something I admired about uncle that he could speak English fluently. He went to school; father said that is the problem. But I don’t think it’s a problem, I want to go to school too, I want to be like Ruqqayatu and be a minister of education. When I get there I will make sure every parent sends their children to school. Corper Kalu the village teacher said I was the most brilliant and that my future is bright. I believe him and I want to realize my dreams. Mama believes that too but papa thinks I should just marry Maliq and settle down to be a good wife.

 

“That’s a country” Uncle exclaimed again.

I wondered what it was that was so exciting in the paper but I couldn’t talk yet not until he put down the paper.

“Shettima, I know you are a bright girl, listen to what I read here.” He said removing his huge glasses and placing it on his laps.

“See America is a great country, you can hate them but they are still great.”

“They caught those bombers, Allah be praised.” He added raising both palms to the ceiling.

“Which bombers uncle? Did they bomb America?” I asked surprised

“Yes, Shettima.”

“Two boys bombed America but they caught them.”  “They have them.” he added his eyes twinkling in excitement.

“You know Shettima, these things happen here everyday but no one catches them.”

“We know these people but we can’t even report them. If we report them they kill us.”

“True, Uncle. We have them in the village. They wear wide flowing gowns, their eyes……

“America is great, Shettima. I want to live there someday.” he said his eyes taking on a dreamy look.

 

 

—–

Later that evening I told Maliq about what Uncle read in the paper and his comments on it but he said I should him pay no heed that America is the great Satan.

“Where did you hear that?” I asked suddenly suspicious.

“That’s what Akeem said.”

“Maliq, I thought you promised you will no longer listen to Akeem or even talk to him?”

“I don’t.” He replied fidgeting.

“Maliq don’t lie, you must have to have heard that.”

“I overheard it, Shettima. Let it go. You are a woman, you shouldn’t be questioning me”

“Maliq” I exclaimed lifting up the edge of my veil to wipe my face in case I wasn’t seeing well.

“That’s not something you would say normally. Without doubt you have been spending a lot of time with Akeem.”

“Shettima, I would leave if you won’t give me peace”, he said standing up from the bench.

“Maliq you may leave if that’s how you would talk to me.”

“I thought we agreed that we would not act like villagers, that you would respect me. We agreed that I will be your only wife, we would never fight, you would be a senator, and I would be a minister. But you are changing now Maliq. It’s just one week that we didn’t see each other and you have changed this much.” I added giving him a disbelieving look.

 

“I know we said all that, I still want to be a senator but certain things have to change first in this country. Allah must reign supreme.”

“Maliq, when did you start talking like this? Akeem wears a big flowing gown. Have you joined those people and what’s that you have been hiding behind your back?”

 

“Nothing” he said still standing. “It’s just a letter Akeem asked me to write.”

I looked around to see if anyone was paying us attention. It was in the evening, a time when the women will bring out mats and sit while the men gathered under the tree in the compound.

Maliq and I are not allowed to touch but I needed to grab the paper in his hands. Checking carefully to make sure no one was watching us, I made to grab the letter in his hands but he walked away before I could.

I watched him leave wondering if the next time I see him he would be wearing a wide flowing robe too.

 

——

The government people came two days later, it was the morning Uncle was supposed to leave. Mama and I had woken up early to smoke the fish we would take to the market in the afternoon. She had just told me she was with child and I had jumped up in excitement.

“Mama this baby will be my child.”

“How, Shetti?” She asked smiling

“Mama, I’m fourteen now, I am old enough to be his mother.”

“That’s true Shetti but you would be busy with school, uncle wants to help you get into a secondary school in the state capital.”

That’s good news Mama. I replied referring to the baby she was carrying.

 

I looked at her dark face and wondered how excited she must be. She had been unable to conceive after she had me so I knew this must be great for her. Father’s other wives had numerous children; Mama was the only one with one child.

 

“Sit down Mama; let me turn the fish, from now on I won’t allow you to do any work.”

“No Shetti, I have to work to stay strong. You know……..”

Her last words were drowned by the sounds of sudden gun shots. We were used to hearing gun shots but there was something about this that was different.

I looked at Mama and drew her arm immediately.

“Mama let’s run for the house now” I screamed as the gun shots became louder

We ran towards the house, suddenly there were people everywhere all running in different directions, screaming on top of their voices. The gun shots kept sounding louder and louder. We ran inside Mama’s room and I lay down on the floor telling Mama to do the same. Corper Kalu had told us that lying flat on the floor was the right thing to do when there is a shooting going on. I didn’t want Mama to lie on her stomach because of the baby so I told her to lie on her back.

 

The sounds of the gun shots were so loud that we had to shout to hear each other.

“Allah protect us” Mama chanted non stop

I kept saying Amen even as a thought came to my mind that perhaps Nigeria wanted to be great like America and catch the bombers amongst us. Another thought followed it immediately telling me that that couldn’t be it.

 

We continued to hear wails, gun shots and cries outside. There were sounds of running feet and I could also hear the sound of people falling to the ground. I wished I could go to the window and see what was happening but I was too afraid to stand up.

“Allah, protect Shetti, protect me.” Mama was screaming now.

“Mama, there will be no problem. I’m sure they came for the men in wide robes. They won’t touch us Mama. We are innocent.”

“Are you sure Shetti?” she asked drawing me into her arms.

“Mama I’m sure.” I struggled to say.

 

___

Mama smelled it first.

“Shetti can you smell smoke. Houses are being burnt” she exclaimed. “We need to get out Shettima” she shouted above the thundering sounds of the guns. She tried standing up but I held her firmly.

“Mama if we go out, they will shoot us.”

“They will?” She asked, tears streaming down her face.

“Yes Mama, I think they will.”

“But who is burning our houses”? “Can it be the government people?”

“No Mama, they won’t do that to us. We are innocent citizens. They are here to protect us.”

“So do you think it’s the bombers?” “Do you think they will burn their own houses, their father’s compounds knowing their people are here?”

“No Mama, I don’t think they would do that.”

“So who is burning houses Shettima?” “It’s certainly not we the terrified villagers.”

“Mama I’m confused too” I said wrapping my arms tighter around her.

“Let’s just say AYATUL KURSI a prayer of protection.” I said clutching her palms in mine.

The sound was like nothing I had heard before. I had been in the state capital once during a fight between the government people and the wide robed people and the guns hadn’t been this loud. I suddenly wished it was all a dream and hoped someone would wake me up.

We started to say the prayers clenching each other’s hands.

We were still praying when we heard shouts in the third room to ours; the one where father’s second wife lived. We heard screams and gunshots and I felt a wetness run between my legs. I opened my mouth to continue praying but I couldn’t. I was shivering all over from fear, my throat was dry and no word could come out.      It dawned on me, we were going to die. Everyone in my father’s household.

Mama stopped praying and wiping her eyes, she said “Shetti stand up, we are leaving. I would rather die trying to escape than wait to be burnt inside the house. The whole village is on fire, it would soon get to us. That was Bisiriyu’s voice I heard just now, I fear she is no more.”

I had no wish to argue with her any longer. It seemed certain that we will die and it might be good to die trying to escape. We both stood up, walked quietly to the back door that led to the bush behind the house and started running towards the bush. I couldn’t look around as we ran but I could see smoke and bodies everywhere. The village is gone I thought. Mama and I ran blindly without a care in the world, our goal was the bush, safety.

I didn’t hear Mama scream, it was the sound of her fall that I heard; I made the scream that was supposed to come from her throat turning around to see her unmoving body.

“Oh no,” I screamed kneeling down beside her.

I didn’t see the gun man or the raised gun before I fell and the world went black.

 

——

Some people came yesterday to help us. They brought drugs but they didn’t bring food. We have drugs but we are hungry. The drugs can only help a few as most of us need more than drugs. They said the government will bring help for us soon. I don’t believe that, I have no faith in them. Was it not the government that brought us into this situation I asked Hajia Turai who lay beside me. She didn’t reply me, she merely nodded.

 

The people who came had turned the village school into a clinic and had brought flat beds which the wounded were placed on. There is no one I know here, Mama is gone; I haven’t seen Maliq, my father, uncle or any of my father’s wives or children. They are probably dead or even somewhere around but I can’t walk around to find them.

 

The people say they have no relationship with the government, that they are just a society who likes to help. We are grateful.

The doctor came to the bed where Hajia Turai and I lay and looked at my bad leg. I asked her if they will cut it, she says I should not think about that yet. But I am thinking about everything, how just yesterday I had a mother and an unborn sister or brother. I’m still crying.

“Will I still be a minister?” I asked Hajia Turai after the doctor left

“You can still be Shettima.”

“Not with one leg Hajia, not with one leg. I replied sobbing.”

“Shettima, please don’t cry, you will just probably have to use a wheel chair because of that shattered leg.”

“Hajia, if I was in America and they cut my leg, will I have to be a beggar?”

“No you won’t have to. They will give you another leg, a man made one that will work like the one God gave you.”

“Okay.” I replied turning away from her. “Now it’s clear why uncle wanted to go to America.” I thought my vision clouded with tears.

“It was a curse to have been born here.”

 

©Toyin Fabunmi April 2013

photo credit: google images

Disclaimer:

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

So you want to marry her? Should you really? by John Okpaleke

woman

Having a good woman by your side as your partner is a good thing. In fact, it is the dream of every normal man in this world. The right woman is a woman who can make you grow into a better man.

Many men experience failure in relationships because they are too quick to choose, too easily attracted and fall in love with a woman without thinking whether she is worthy or not (of course mistakes committed by men can cause failures too). Below are ten characteristics of a woman that is good enough to be called or made a wife:

1. Supportive

She is a figure who will always support you in your life as well as your career and always by your side when the whole world walks out. As we know, our society tends to require a man to be a strong man and not be a fragile person, but sadness and stress that come repeatedly will destroy you if you don’t vent your feelings. Thus, a good woman can be the best listener by providing support and comfort for you. She also gives you the freedom to develop yourself as you want.

2. Independent

This characteristic is important because it means she can manage and take care of herself. It will be very annoying when you have to be her ‘babysitter’ all the time, right? She can go home by herself when you can’t pick her up, she can go shopping by herself when you can’t accompany her, and she can rely on herself when you can’t help her. An independent woman is a woman who can stand on her feet and walk alone when you can’t be there (of course she still respects you as the leader).

3. Beautiful inside and out

From the outside, she is not a woman like Taylor Swift, Kate Middleton, Megan Fox, or Jessica Alba, but she looks beautiful and attractive in her own way, her simplicity and friendliness. From the inside, you notice that she is a person who has an extraordinary and inspiring personality.

4. Confident

She loves her imperfection, perfectly. She doesn’t hurt herself or dying to be famous and beautiful like a movie actress. She doesn’t try to be someone else, she is confident of herself and (of course) proud to have you by her side.

5. Respects you

You are the leader and she, as your partner, has respect for you and the decisions you make. She doesn’t make you afraid of her and look like a loser. But of course, you have to respect her too by not humiliating and treating her like a slave.

6. Know when to speak and keep quiet

She knows the stories that can be told to her friends and the ones she should keep to herself. She doesn’t gossip about your faults and your relationship. She knows when to speak and listen to your words. She also can speak tenderly (without yelling) when she expresses her opinion to you.

7. Loyal

Someone who’s in normal or happy circumstances tends to be a kind person. Don’t immediately assume she has a good character when she is in such conditions; just wait until you have some problems. Then you will know her true character and who she really is. Women who are not loyal will turn around and leave you when you face problems, either minor or major ones while women who are loyal will remain by your side to face the problems together. That’s why you need time to evaluate your partner before moving to the next stage of your relationship.

8. Doesn’t fall in love with your wealth and social status

In this modern era, money is something that has tremendous appeal. Money can buy positions, power, authority and even ‘love’. Of course they love the money not the person. Although money remains an important thing to think about (you can’t eat and shop without money, right?), but a good woman won’t put her love on your wealth because she already has something more valuable than money… You. Think about this… Love of money is only temporary because wherever the money goes, that’s where her heart is… But love that comes and grows from her heart to you will last for a lifetime. Why? Because wherever you go, that’s where her heart is. Do you notice the difference?

9. Simple and down to earth

There was a joke that said, “The average woman would rather have beauty than brains, because the average man can see more than he can think.” It’s funny but also true. Women are a good target market of beauty products by various companies. In fact, MOST of their body parts are good for marketing. Their hair, face, ears, eyes, hands, fingers, toenails, and so on. Don’t be trapped by a high maintenance woman if you can’t afford her needs. It’s better to choose a simple woman who still looks good with whatever she has without requiring too much maintenance. In addition, she is modest and humble in everyday life; she doesn’t demand a lot of facilities to indulge herself in.

10. Gets into your life

And the last thing is she knows and gets along well with your friends. She also knows your family well, helps your mom to prepare meals, travels with your family, and most importantly she enjoys it all sincerely. When she knows your life well and has a good relationship with your family, then you have a good chance to move into the next relationship stage: Marriage.

 

photo credit: google images

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