Not So Happily Married …. Episode Seven

Couple_ToyinFABBB

Please click here for previous episodes

“The days ran a bit too fast abi Boye?” I asked as the flight attendant announced that we were about to take off.

“Yeah it did.” she replied closing her eyes

Something about her was different.  It started the morning after our reconciliation. She seemed lethargic, angry and bothered. Perhaps I was naïve to have imagined everything would just go back to normal. I thought looking at her taut face. There was something distant about her. The sex on our reconciliation night had been great but that too had changed afterwards. It became almost clinical. She would always insist that we do the missionary and that I stay in for a few minutes after climax. She would also refuse to clean up preferring to lie there on her back with her hips wide apart.

It was weird especially since she would only give an indulgent smile whenever I ask. My confusion brought about a lot of “what ifs”. What if she was being too desperate to get pregnant which of course would be my fault. What if she was finally beginning to get angry about what happened between Bisade and I?

The words of an old friend kept coming to mind. He believed the worst set of people were those who forgave too easily and too early. He believed most of them never truly forgave but were merely trying to push the grievances to the deeper recesses of their mind. He would go on to say that such people were not only dangerous but also capable of revenge when the anger finally comes to fore.

I glanced away a sudden fear enveloping my mind. What if she hasn’t forgiven me?

******

Somehow I felt constantly drained. The strange thing was I loved feeling like that. My emotions were in a quandary or should I say my hormones suddenly had a mind of their own. Could one possibly feel symptoms of a four day old pregnancy? I couldn’t help wondering. At least it was only four days since we had our first un-protected sex as a married couple so if I was pregnant it couldn’t be more than four days old. Why then do I feel pregnant and what does it even mean to feel pregnant? I mused.

Common sense told me I couldn’t possibly be exhibiting symptoms so early. The last time I was pregnant, I didn’t even know for two months so how could I know in four days. But still, I enjoyed the feeling. I wanted to share it with Jite but somehow I knew he wouldn’t get it and I believed his negativity could jinx my pregnancy. I am not even sure if I could call it pregnancy yet. Anyone could easily dismiss it. I could imagine Jite saying he didn’t agree that my stomach was a tad bigger and that he doesn’t think the light headedness I feel could have anything to do with pregnancy. I was sure he would also disagree that my palms were pale and so I kept shut.

There was a lot to think about and that worsened my sour demeanor. I still didn’t know who Skipper was although I had a strong suspicion that it had to be Bisade. I had thought it interesting that there was no contact named Bisade or Abisade or anything similar on Jite’s phone. There was also Boladale….and the fact that I wanted to deal with her. For that I had an idea. Let her stew for a few weeks, talk to her and pretend I was okay with her pregnancy, get her to tell me the identity of the colleague and take it from there.

****

I am certain Omoboye’s behavior can’t be normal but I didn’t know anywhere else to seek help except Google. It was three weeks since we returned from our honeymoon and things seem to be going from bad to worse. She walked around the house like she was carrying a three month pregnancy; she was even spitting, constantly rubbing her stomach and throwing up. That should be normal and exciting only I think it is weird considering she had her monthly period a week after we got back – something she had been quite determined to hide from me.

That too wouldn’t have been too strange if not for how it happened. I had wanted to make love to her; she had been quite un-responsive and had said she was tired. I asked if she was in her menstrual period and she had denied it. I couldn’t sleep for a long time after that. I had felt it while touching her – I had felt the sanitary pad. I had enough experience with women to know it when I touch it so why would she lie about that? I had then watched her closely for the next two days and discovered she was truly menstruating and was intentionally doing all she could to hide it. That was a grave cause for concern.

I would be the happiest man alive if it turns out she is pregnant but her behavior was disturbing. My fears grew after I asked her to take a pregnancy test and she declined.

I kept wondering if she felt she needed to fake a pregnancy. I decided it was best to do some research to help me understand what was happening and so I turned to Google.

“Can a married woman fake a pregnancy? Having symptoms but menstruating and insisting on not taking a pregnancy test.”

I knew the words were too long but I was hoping someone somewhere would have had a reason to ask a similar question. Typical of Google, there were so many links to open. I opened all the links on the first page. As I hoped, there were lots of people who had asked similar questions. There were web sites where people tried to answer those questions. I read through almost every answer and considered most of them useless until I saw a particular one in response to a question about a woman faking a pregnancy.

“I think she may be somatizing. She is probably desperate for a child and the emotional upheaval is getting to her. It might not be that she is faking it. It’s a disorder kind of. See a doctor to understand it better”

There was something intriguing about the word “Somatizing” I had no idea what it meant but was sure Google could help.

******

It was the third week since we got back from Zanzibar and I believed my stomach was getting bigger although Jite didn’t think so. He wanted me to do a test so we could confirm if I was pregnant or not. Truth is I was scared to do the test because I was afraid it could turn out negative. My period started a week after we got back but I didn’t tell Jite. I didn’t want him to tell me what I already fear; that I may not be pregnant. I like to think that I am one of the few women that will be pregnant and still menstruate.

Somehow I knew I wasn’t pregnant yet I loved walking like I was pregnant, turning my face up at almost everything from the smell of fried beef to Jite’s perfume. He looked confused most of the time and would bury his head in his ipad. Sometimes I would wonder if I was scaring him or if he thought I was developing a mental illness. He would look at me when he thought I wasn’t taking notice and it was not the lover’s look. It was a look of concern or alarm. He didn’t talk about his feelings the same way I haven’t talked about Skipper. There were times we would be sitting together and he would walk away to make or receive calls. I would trail him with my eyes and later check his phone to see who the caller was. I was never really surprised to realize it was Skipper yet I didn’t ask him. I still tried hard to bring the memory of who Skipper was to fore but it remained elusive. I could have asked him but I didn’t.

****

I wasn’t prepared for what somatization turned out to be. After four hours of going over several articles, I was sufficiently scared. Who knew words like Somatization even existed but it was the only thing that explained Omoboye’s behavior. After reading some of the articles I was left in no doubt that my wife was not pregnant and she wasn’t faking the symptoms either. She was having them quite alright only it was her mind that was making them happen and not her body.

According to Google Somatization is when you exhibit physical reactions to illnesses that do not exist medically. I didn’t really get alarmed until I saw something about “undifferentiated somatoform disorder” and one of the examples listed was pregnancy symptoms. It made sense, she was anxious about being pregnant, desperate even. She was adding weight,  throwing up, eating excessively and was looking pale and still had her period and was refusing to take a test. It had to be the undifferentiated somatoform disorder. I was sure of that after four hours of web surfing. Trouble was how do I get help for her?

The treatment described was even scarier and sounded long term but I believed she would be fine if she could talk to a psychiatrist only I wasn’t sure if such existed in Nigeria. I got the information I needed on the website of a high brow hospital in Lagos only there were two more issues. One I would have to ask Mom for financial help. Secondly, I didn’t know how to tell Omoboye I believed she might have a mental disorder.

From what I read I knew I could also help her psychologically. I knew it could be because she feels pressured to get pregnant so she could make us both forget about the baby that was aborted. I knew I had to find a way to allay her fears. I had to find a way to make her relax. I decided I needed to assure her that I would still love her even if we didn’t have children.

*****

“Baby, I noticed you have not been feeling well.  Don’t you think we should see a Doctor?” Jite said one morning while driving me to my make up studio.

“I’m fine Jite; there is no need for that.” I replied

“You are not fine ooo Boye. You keep throwing up, If not that I’m hoping you are not pregnant yet I would have said you were pregnant.”

“You are hoping I am not pregnant? That’s so good to hear coming from the man that almost chopped my head off for aborting a pregnancy.”

“I mean it Omoboye. I will like for us to have a whole year to ourselves. No pregnancy, no children. I mean we could use this first year as a honeymoon period, just fun no stress. Do you get my point?”

“No Jite I don’t get your point. In fact I don’t know what you are talking about. If you really believed that why am I just hearing about it? Why have we been making love all this while without protection? And don’t even tell me that was why you used protection on our wedding night because we both know that wasn’t why.”

“Okay, Omoboye I agree it’s a recent thought. I have been doing a lot of reading and I have realized there are usually a lot of issues in the first year of marriage and somehow children add some sort of complications. We are going through a lot already; imagine how it would be when you are pregnant. You know all those hormones and all will only make things worse. Then giving birth again would bring a new kind of stress, we would be parents and somehow lose an intimacy we are still trying to find.”

“Jite, I know all that but don’t you think this is coming too late? What if I am already pregnant?”

“Baby we can find out, he replied. I think you should do a test.”

“No, Jite. I am not ready for that and let’s drop this issue. We will talk about it later.” I replied busying myself with my phone.

Wonders they say will never end, the same Jite that was so sad about losing an unborn baby he almost gave me depression. Why don’t I believe this new found theory?

A crazy thought entered my head that perhaps Bisade was pregnant already and he was hoping I wouldn’t get pregnant so he could divorce me after a while. Was he using something? I wondered remembering an article I once read about hormonal birth control pills used by men. Could Jite be using such? Is that why I haven’t gotten pregnant yet? My heart pounded.

“Jite is Bisade pregnant?” I asked before I could stop myself.

Some Women Cheat Like It’s a Sport….

HAIR

 Me I don’t do that kind of slow motion ooo. See these things are not that hard, you do what you have to do, clean up and go back home to cook for your husband. The thing no dey read meter my sister.”

****

The other day I was at a salon to make my hair and this woman came in all made up and pretty. She seemed to be a friend to the salon owner and it was apparent she didn’t come to make her hair as she had on a relatively new hairdo. I can’t remember how the conversation turned to cheating but the first thing that attracted my attention was;

“Iwo lo slack ooo….o smart rara. Me I don’t do that kind of slow motion ooo. See these things are not that hard, you do what you have to do, clean up and go back home to cook for your husband. The thing no dey read meter my sister.”

WHAT!!! I exclaimed inwardly at the “clean up and go back home to cook for your husband. The thing no dey read meter my sister.” I immediately paid rapt attention to the discussion.

“Hmm, ekun.” The owner of the salon hailed. “You know sey you get mind.”

“It’s not about mind. There is no big deal really. These men do these things too and who says we can’t get our own pleasures when we need to. All you need to do is be smart, ensure you are not caught. You are only guilty when you are caught.’’

“But me my reason for contemplating it is money ooo.”

“It’s not just about money. My dear. You know I don’t do it for money, it’s not like I don’t have more than I need but sometimes you need love more than money and most of these our men don’t know that. They rarely think of fulfilling our emotional needs so we have to be responsible for our happiness and grab it from wherever we can get it.’’

 

She moved towards the Salon owner and whispered something in her ear. It was hard to hear but I strained my ear, I did not want to miss any part of the gist.

“You know Raji now, ehn Raji.” she repeated at the look of surprise that came over the stylist. “He is the current one.” She added going back to her chair and laughing at the shocked look on her friend’s face.

“But I thought he was history.’’ The Salon owner said

“Yeah, that was until we met at Silverbird two months ago after over five years. See I’m chopping life ooo. Mo’n jaye ori mi. I am a young woman now; you want me to start gathering cob webs?”

 She stood up and checked herself out in the salon mirror making a mock parade. She was beautiful really with shining dark skin, you couldn’t say she was fat and you could not say she was slim either.

“My sister first love is important in a woman’s life. Even if you have not been cheating on your husband before, the day you meet your first love again it all changes ooo. I tell you.”

“Hmm”, the Salon owner replied.

“So me, I am just having fun ooo. Oga does his own and I do my own too. God no go vex.”

“But just be careful oo, so he doesn’t know.”

“How will he know? He trusts me so much. Even if someone tells him, he won’t believe. I have never given him any reason to doubt me, so he can’t.”

“Hmmm, ore sha connect me ehn, help your sister. I need to upgrade my shop. Don’t you want to see air conditioners here?”

“Na you dey slack na, when you are ready let me know. Meanwhile I have to leave soon to prepare Oga’s dinner, besides the school bus would have also dropped the children by now.”

There were two other ladies in the room; a lady whose hair was being relaxed and the apprentice working on her hair. The lady would shake her head in disgust from time to time spilling relaxer crème all over the arm of her chair. The apprentice however seemed to be enjoying the conversation and would hail the woman intermittently. Mummy Dolapo!!! Eyato si won jare. You are special.

I left the salon in deep thought; several thoughts and questions on my mind.

            i.   So I have been so naïve to believe women don’t really cheat 

            ii.  How hard is it to cheat really?

            iii.  How can one prevent a partner from cheating?

 

 Hmmmm….it is well.

 

Folk Tales: I Searched for Rats, I searched for Fishes……..

The story below is another folktale. These stories are as old as the Yoruba race itself. They are probably completely real, based on real events or pure fiction. I guess we will never really know.  I want to believe most of them have been modified over time and this is majorly because they were transmitted orally from generation to generation. I have tried to maintain the basic features of these stories but still they have been told in my own voice as I cannot claim to remember them exactly as we were told while growing up.

Please drop comments whether to tell us how you remembered the stories in case your own version is different or to even mention some stories that you might have also heard. I am enjoying this, I hope you are also.

PLEASE CLICK HERE FOR PREVIOUS FOLKTALES

 

Mo weku  me reku

Mo weja me reja

Mo fori ade sebe, me le saroye oooo

FavoriteAfricanFolktales

Once upon a time, there was a woman who lived with her husband and two children in a small village. This woman loved gossiping so much and would sometimes leave her children alone at home to visit her friends.

So one afternoon, after her husband had gone to the farm, she wanted to visit a friend in the neighbouring village. She knew it would take some time before she got back and so she called her eldest son and told him to prepare stew for dinner.

She said; “Ajadi, look for rats in nearby bushes, if you cannot get a rat, go to the stream and look for fish. Whatever you do just make sure there is meat in the stew.”

Ajadi told his mum that he would do as she said.

Minutes after the mother left, Ajadi and Ade his five year old brother set out for the nearby bushes, he took with him a big stick. The method was simple; it was something he had done several times in the past. He would look for Rat holes and set fire to the entrance of the hole. He would stand with the big stick lifted in readiness to hit any unfortunate Rat that decided to run out.

That day however, it was as if all the rats in the bush had decided to go for a meeting in a neighbouring town, he set fires to several holes but not one rat came out. He was at it for several hours but all his efforts proved fruitless. When he was tired, they left the bush and headed for the river, Ajadi took with him a fishing line and bait. He told his brother to sit on the river bank while he went to the river side. He squatted and threw his line into the river but no fish came near. After spending several hours at the river without getting a Fish, they went back home.

Ajadi was sad; he knew he had to make sure there was meat in the soup. He knew his mother would be very angry if he cooked the soup without meat or fish. He thought long and hard about what he could do. Finally a thought came to him and smiling he picked a sharp cutlass.

****

Evening came and the mother returned from where she had gone to visit her friends. She went straight to the outdoor kitchen and was glad to perceive the aroma of freshly cooked soup. She opened the pot and used her finger to pick one of the meats in the pot. She popped it into her mouth and nodded her head immediately.

‘‘Such good and tasty meat’’, she said spitting some pieces of bone out.

‘‘Ajadi, Ade’’ she called out. ‘‘Í’m home ooo.’’

She patted Ajadi’s head as soon as he came in. ‘‘Welldone my son, you have certainly done well. This is a very tasty soup. Now all we need to do is make some eba for supper. Your father will be home anytime now. Get me the container of gaari from my room and where is your brother Ade? Is he sleeping?’’

‘‘Ade you said?’’ Ajadi asked

‘‘Yes, Adekitan. Where is he? Has he gone to play with Iya Alaso’s children?’’

‘‘No, mother. I don’t know how to say this so I will just say it with this song. I am sure mother you would understand.’’

Mo weku, me reku

{I searched for Rats, I couldn’t find Rats}

Mo weja, Me reja

{I tried fishing, but I couldn’t get a fish}

Mo fori Ade sebe

{So I decided to use Ade’s head to cook the soup}

Me le se aroye oo

{Do not disturb me as I don’t have the time or energy for much talk}

The woman cried out in disbelief and ran into the house calling Ade’s name frantically. She entered her room  and there she  saw the headless body of her younger son on the mud floor.

The End

Moral of the story is?

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

akara

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

Boarding Tales ~ Episode XIII (Yewande’s Story)

imagesCAE5SIKE

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.

Boarding Tales ~ Episode XII (Yewande’s Story)

black_love_art_4~~element979

Please find all previous episodes here

“What’s he doing here?” I murmured thoughts of rape going through my head.

Yewande, egbe ni e o? Why are you screaming just because you saw a young boy like you?

“I didn’t expect that anyone else will be in and then he was hiding behind you and watching me so I got scared.”

“There is no need to get scared.” He said laughing

“Kole kilose e now?”

“Why are you acting like a small boy? I thought I trained you better.”

“I’m not a small boy uncle.” Kole replied pulling out his shirts from his shorts as if it that would prove he really wasn’t a small boy.

“Yewande relax, I’m leaving you with Kole. You people should talk and get to know yourselves. I won’t be back for the next three hours so feel free eh”. He added winking at us.

We would have such meetings every week in Mr Adisa’s room. We talked and did more than talking. We had enough time and we spent some of it exploring each other’s bodies.

After two months, Mr Adisa called us both for what he called a very important discussion.

******

“Kole Omokomo.” he hailed as soon as we all entered his room.

Kole smiled and took the hand Mr Adisa had raised to him in salute.

“So how far are you a man yet or are you still a boy?”

“Ah, uncle I can’t answer that question oo, I’m ashamed”

“Ode leleyi ooo”, he said slappin Kole on the back.

“Oya answer joor”

“Uncle I have always been a man o.”

“You know what I’m talking about or do you want me to ask her.” He said turning towards me.

My head was bowed in shame, I knew whatever he was talking about must have to do with what Kole and I did every Saturday afternoon.

“Ahhh, uncle don’t ask her ooo”

“Okay, oya answer.”

“We’ve not done it”

“Yeh, see this boy. O fe jo mi oooo.” He exclaimed putting his hands on his head.

“I have been training you but you have refused to learn. Ema wo bobo yi sha.”

“Uncle it’s not like that ooo. She is not ready; we want to wait till we are in S.S.1 or S.S.2”

By that time my head was already in my lap. I was too ashamed to even raise my head up so they went on talking about me like I wasn’t there.

Slacker niwo yi ooo. All your friends are men. Toluse, Kitan, Bafunto. All of them and see the kind of girl I even gave you.”

Eran agba lomo yi now, I just want to be nice that’s why I arranged her for you.”

“I know what to do sha, I will just give her to Toluse”

“Uncle please don’t do that oo, I will find a way around it. I promise.”

“Okay, I’m leaving now so you guys should take care of yourselves.”

Oya baby come and hug me.” he said pulling me by the hand.

I rose up reluctantly and hugged him. He planted a kiss firmly on my lips and left.

I rubbed my lips with my palm like I usually do every time he did it.

Kole and I didn’t talk to each other for over fifteen minutes after uncle Adisa left. When we started talking Kole told me that we had to do it or he would have to break up with me. I told him to give me time to think about it and that I would get back to him before the next weekend.

****

I stood in front of the boy’s hostel waiting. I had sent someone to call Kole out. He came out frowning, acting as if he was annoyed. I had thought about nothing else since we parted at Mr Adisa’s house the previous day.

I was curious about how doing it will feel. I also didn’t want Kole to break up with me. I had thought of how Aunty Shadia and the others used to cry out in pleasure. I reasoned that if doing it with a woman could bring that much pleasure, doing it with a man should even bring more pleasure.

Kole smiled immediately he read the note that I handed him. He hugged me saying ‘‘see you tonight, I will talk to Mr Adisa’’ and ran back to the hostel.

Few minutes after I got to the hostel, someone brought a package for me and said it was from Kole. I opened it and saw six pieces of Indomie and two shortbread biscuits. He had also added a note on which “Thank you my love” was boldly written. I sniffed the note and smiled as I perceived the scent of his body spray. ‘‘Enchanteur’’ I murmured.

*****

I was scared and my heart beat was faster than usual. It was time, a part of me wanted to change my mind but I was afraid of how Kole would feel. Mr Adisa was out of the school and had given Kole the keys to his room.

I wanted us to sleep and do it later during the night but Kole couldn’t sleep. He wanted us to do it and get over with it and so we did it with my hostel wear still on and the lights off. I didn’t want him to see me naked. It was nothing like I expected, I cried myself to sleep afterwards, I felt dirty and soiled but held on to the hope that it would get better with time and it did.

*****

I soon discovered that it could be pleasurable and couldn’t have enough. The day I did it with Mr Adisa was the day I realised that Kole was a small boy and I started treating him as such. It didn’t seem to bother him when it became a gist in the whole school that Mr Adisa was sleeping with me. I later understood why that was so. I discovered later that the boys did the tiresome job of deflowering small girls for Mr Adisa and then he takes over from where they stopped.

My relationship with uncle got so serious that I started believing that perhaps we could have more. I reasoned that since he wasn’t married we might even have a future and he might love me enough to wait for me.

I stopped dreaming in second term J.S.S2 when I realised I had too much competition to stand a chance. I liked him so much that just being one of many wasn’t enough for me. I decided it was best to break up with him and date guys closer to my age. He had warned me earlier that no one breaks up with him but I still went ahead. I wrote him a letter where I poured my heart out to him. I told him how I really wished we could have a future but that I had realised that I was just a girl that he sleeps with.

I told him that we never discuss or talk about meaningful things and that all we did was banging, banging and more banging. I felt like he would smile when he saw the word “banging”. It was a word that he had used severally when talking to me. It always made me think of a door that someone keeps hitting with a pebble.

I made up my mind that day that I wasn’t ever going to date any student. I had seen students sleeping with themselves at night after prep classes. There had been days when coming back from Mr Adisa’s quarters I would hear noises coming out of classrooms that should have been unoccupied at that time of the day. I would stand beside the window of the class, peer into the darkness. I wouldn’t see anyone but the creaking benches and the moans told the story of what was happening. I couldn’t imagine laying my back on a hard bench for anyone after I had been doing it on a soft bed. It only makes sense that I take it out of the school I decided.

Mr Adisa’s revenge came a week after I broke up with him. I had been unfortunate enough to be on the list of noise makers sent to his office. Every other person was told to cut grasses on the school field but I was the one who got twenty four lashes of the cane and still went on to cut grass. I took it stoically and laughed when my school mother advised me to report to my parents. What parents I thought? The mother that was probably in the Netherlands or God knows where else or would I report to the father that was dead or simply never existed?

****

After the beating, he let me be and made sure there was practically no communication between us. Word went round the school and I discovered I needn’t have worried about dating anyone in the school. No boy came near me; no one wanted to fall into Mr Adisa’s bad books.

I became the girl that sneaks out of the school every weekend, the one they had to suspend every now and then.

I’m glad it is all over now I thought listening to the deep breathing of the occupants of the dormitory. They had all gone to sleep, the howling Dog/Hyena or Wolf forgotten until the next time it pays its visit. I looked at Bosola as she slept on her bed. I grinned wondering how she would feel when she finally learns of her assignment, when she gets confronted with the mandate she had been given.

It was an assignment that had been given to me by the woman of the stream; Iya Stream as the students call 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……

To be continued

photo credit: google images

Some Men Make You Want to Hurt Them…..

Kosi

 

 

Some men make you want to hurt them; men like my husband….

To him, he is first Tomide’s dad before he is my husband.

 

His twitter profile reads……… Thinker, Lawyer, Tomide’s dad”

 

His Facebook profile name was Tomide’s dad. Going through his albums on Facebook, you would never guess he is married. The pictures were either of him or of Tomide. You wouldn’t find a single picture of me anywhere.

 

****

His life and our marriage revolves around Tomide. He is the one that he spends seventy percent of his income on. My husband only bought me a car because I gave him a son. During the pregnancy; he believed BRT and Danfo were good enough for me. It was because of Tomide that I got the first opportunity to travel out of the country,

“My son is too precious to be born in this stupid country, let’s arrange for you to have the child in America”. 

It was because of Tomide that I had to be a stay at home mom. “I don’t want my son in a day care.” “No one can take care of him like his mother”

 

I had insisted I couldn’t be a housewife and he had promised to give me money to start a business of my choice. Five million naira later and a promise of more I agreed to quit my job. I kept the money in a fixed deposit account and chose to sit at home taking care of Tomide. My husband never asked why I didn’t start a business, he was happy to see his son have a full time nanny.

 

*****

I have no illusions; Tomide was the reason he married me. I am a baby factory, nothing more.

I still remember how my journey into baby mamahood started.

I had been spending a weekend with him like I usually did; I hadn’t been myself that particular weekend and he had noticed.

 

Baby, what’s wrong with you?

You’ve been quite sluggish of late, abi I don score goal?

“Which goal?” I had asked raising an eyebrow

“Do you want to score a goal? Did you not say you are not interested in getting married for the next five years?”

“I know I said that but I didn’t really mean it oo, pregnancy changes a lot of things you know. If you get belle now, the story go change. In fact I will marry you before the end of this month.”

“Ehn ehn, really? congrats nigbayen ooo, because I’m pregnant.”

I kicked myself inwardly the moment the words left my lips. No one was supposed to know I was pregnant. It was a pregnancy destined for termination. I had no wish to have a child for the world’s greatest loafer. The action that led to the pregnancy itself had been a mistake, a madness induced by excess alcohol intake.

“Are you kidding me?”

 Say you are joking, I told myself but I found myself confirming it instead.

“I’m not kidding.”

“You mean you are pregnant for me?” He asked pointing a finger towards his chest.

“Yes”, I replied almost choking on the lie.

That confirmation changed our relationship, I got an engagement ring the next day and two months after we were married.

Perhaps, I would have summoned the courage to tell him he wasn’t my baby’s father if everything hadn’t happened so quickly. I never had a chance to take a breath.

 

****

Being a baby factory or feeling like one is no fun. Tomide is Kosi’s world. I have a tiny corner there just because Tomide existed. Some days I feel so tempted to tell him that Tomide isn’t his son especially on days when he makes me feel like Tomide’s nanny instead of his mother.

“Why is my son’s feeding bottle on the dining table?”

“Why hasn’t his cloth been changed all day?”

“Did you buy the toy I asked you to buy?”

“How many times have you changed his diapers today?”

He would go on and on irritating me to no end.

I would want to scream, “relax oga, he is not even your son”. But I never did perhaps out of pity for him or just out of plain fear of what he will do to me.

 

Sometimes I would laugh inwardly when he bragged about how much he and his son had in common.

He would tell a friend;

“Na my forehead, nose, mouth and eyes my boy carry. He resembles me in everything. I won this one oo totally. Maybe I would give this Iya the next one, she can decide to have a girl if she likes; this one is mine.”

 

Sometimes he would turn to me and say;

“Did you see how my boy kicked that ball? He will be a good football player like his dad.”

“Did you see how he turned up his lips just now?”

“Mum said I used to do that as a kid.” He would add grinning happily.

I would nod and summon a fake smile. I would later wonder why nature decided to play such a huge joke on men, a woman would always be sure that a child was hers but men on the other hand accept whatever we present to them as theirs.

 

Tomide shared absolutely no resemblance to Kosi, their nose and forehead might be of the same shape but I was sure there were millions of other people who had the same type of forehead and nose.  I knew for certain that Kosi’s blindness would be cured if he saw Tomide and his biological father together. My son is the split image of Setan. I don’t like it but there was no doubt about it. I could only hope that they would have different behavioral patterns.

 

*****

It is not my wish to tell Kosi he has been wasting his time and money for the last three years but Kosi tempts me so much. Each time he treats me like a machine that produces children and takes care of the house, I feel like screaming the truth just to hurt him. I have tried to keep myself from saying it for three long years but I feel one day I won’t be able to restrain myself.

I fear that a day would come when I would scream it out; he would go pale in shock and would ask me if I was saying it just to hurt him or if it was true, he would point at Tomide and say, “he is not my son?” I would nod, grab my son and run. Five million naira plus the more that will come should go a long way in taking care of a woman and her child or would it not? One can’t be too sure these days.

 

photo credit: google images

Previous Older Entries

Moskeda Lounge

Relax, Read, Chat and Maybe even Toast

One Word More

one word at a time

theinkheartblog

letting the ink tell the tales conceived in my mind.........

HaroldWrites

The Pen Whisperer

Malcolm's Blog

My vantage point laced with acerbic muse of experiences, events and people. I am responsible for what i write; not for what you understand. Welcome to my world...

Farafina Books

Telling Our Own Stories...

Kayode Faniyi

literature. life. guff.

Newnaija's Place

...a peep into the future...

Seun Odukoya

Your Stories. My Stories. Our Stories. Please forward all enquiries to seunodukoyaofficial@gmail.com.

Word_smith

Illusionist

Tobi Olowookere's blog

...that I may know Him

Untold Stories

'There Is No Greater Agony Than Bearing an Untold Story Inside You' ~ Maya Angelou

Ikhide

Father, Fighter, Lover

Nzesylva's Corner

A repository of my thoughts

Chris BAMIDELE

Scattered Thoughts, Opinions and African Stories.

soulcaste

...from Soul to Ink

OSCARPOEMS

Welcome to Oscarpoems blog, a combo of my musings and poetry

Deniz blog!

An imagined perfect place...

tlsplace

A Beautiful Mind

Iconsnest's Blog

Love. Culture. Food

%d bloggers like this: