A Knotty Affair.

He wanted to ask where she had gotten the gun from, it was easier to be practical than to try to unravel the knots, tangles and mazes that brought them to the point where his wife calmly- even casually, promised to stain the wall behind his head with his blood and pieces of his brain.

“Ehi…” he began.

“Ehi calm down? Ehi be rational? Isn’t that what you are going to say?” each word hitting him with the force of bullets. Continue reading →

Mrs Shebi

A facebook post by my friend Chimamaka about her niece reminds me of an incident that occurred when I was nearly six, just before my baby brother was born. My grandparents lived very close to us, going to see my grandmother/father involved coming out of the house and walking 10 child steps to the road, crossing the road and walking past one long house before jumping into her shop where I was assured Coca-cola or maltina, or whatever I wanted to wash down the liver from her goat meat peppersoup that she always had ready for me. My brothers and I would fly to her for hugs even if we had seen her an hour before, she gave the best hugs at the time. Continue reading →

The Voices…

You left home at 6:49 in a rush because you were nineteen minutes late, but not before applying an extra coat of the indigo lipstick that makes little children wail when you smile at them. You tried to stop a bike but he looked at your lips and shook his head, his action made you grimace and decide to head to Kilo instead of the Lawanson you’d been aiming for. Finding your way to Kilo would involve two different keke rides or one keke and one okada, you chose the latter option even before you began. Continue reading →

He came second.

A Facebook post reminded me of something I’d forgotten, a memory lost to time and the worries of life.

 

We were in primary four and he was my best friend in class, I talked about him all the time- my dad even teased me about him, calling me Lekan’s wife until the day I went to him as he washed his car and told him I didn’t like being called Lekan or anybody’s wife because I was too young to be married to anyone- I was just eight and a very serious child. Continue reading →

Artful Dodger.

Feeding the three picky eaters she had given birth to, always required plenty thought, trickery and cunning and if all failed, her weapon of last resort- fried plantains and scrambled eggs would get them to finish the food, leave two or three slices on the plate, or eat the fried eggs and four slices of plantain respectively in order of their births. Continue reading →

Remember me and smile.

My mother’s not gonna like this.

This morning, just before dragging my T-shirt, jeans and sneakers clad self out of the house despite the rain that begged me to take it all off and catch up on all the sleep I’d been owed for at least ten months, there was a clip on CNN that competed with my breakfast for the greater portion of my mind. It was about leaving a digital footprint after death, recording video messages for those you leave behind.

 

I don’t know if the participants had terminal diseases or were just trying to be extra prepared, I started watching midway (I think) and I had fried yam and dodo and fried eggs singing my favourite song on the plate and in my mouth. I watched a young woman record a message for her boyfriend and for her mother and burst into tears as she remembered her mother’s kindness and sacrifice. I thought about making that kind of video too, but I’m not sure I can go through with it without collapsing like tissue paper in the rain or if my mother would not kill me- or my dead body, if she sees the video.

 

Death has been on my mind for a while, even before I lost the man who became a mentor in a very short time, we’d been talking about death and it was he who said “we are not afraid of death, it is the when that is the problem” as we drove from Ekwerazu town, Mbaise to Owerri less than a week before he died. Perhaps it is having my thirtieth birthday circling above my head that makes me think of my own mortality and fragility and eventual goodbyes if I’m lucky enough to get them. Shouldn’t death be something we prepare for? Apart from writing wills and sharing assets, how about making sure that the people you leave behind know exactly what they mean to us?

 

When we leave this world, the most important thing we will leave behind is love. Money is an ornament jumping from hand to hand in cyclic rhythm; it is inconsequential in the driving of the universe. Power and possessions will always go to another, you didn’t create it, you can’t destroy it. But love? It’s yours, will always remain yours even after you are gone, even after the body has become food for worms or ashes in the Ganges- if you are so inclined.

 

The people I have lost have left me a treasury of memories that have brightened my days more than any bank alert. From the friend who’d listened for my quiet voice in a cacophony of teenage voices, to the grandfathers and grandmother who thought me precious and imagined I could do anything I wanted to- even hang the moon to the uncle who’d named me computer and would tell me anything he wanted to remember, confident that even after the years had passed, I would remember. He is the reason I haven’t eaten roast corn in nearly eleven years, it’s been ten years plus since he passed and during corn season, it’s hard to get through the days without tears collecting behind my throat, he loved roast corn so much. I will not cry, I will not cry, I will not cry.

 

So when I die, I hope to God that I do not regret not loving more, that the parts of my heart I reserved for myself will not become slivers of repentance for stinginess. I do not want tears as my memorial but smiles at my quirks and joy for the little things that bring me to mind. I had an uncle once, who knew how much I loved mint notes, so everytime he came he would bring mint notes for me- he worked in Central Bank. When I put aside mint notes in my mint note purse- yes I know it’s a form of OCD, I remember my uncle Victor and smile. You see, that is how I always want to be remembered- with a little smile that belongs only to me.

Continue reading →

The sins of the father…

You were looking out of the car window, wincing at the mother who was flogging her son too furiously for his sin- whatever it was, when you heard your father’s voice and the tapping of his fingers on the steering wheel. You turned to him sharply, your brow arched already and concern drawing your eyes together.

“I wonder why he doesn’t greet me anymore,” he said

Who doesn’t greet you daddy?

Look at him” he tilts his chin left to a man walking with a little girl who looked to be about four or five years old.

Who is that?

“Gerald, remember him? He lived across the road with his parents, they were my friends. Can you remember them?”

“How can I not remember them?” you muttered through a suddenly parched throat.
The car suddenly felt like a furnace, you wanted to jump out of the car, out of your skin even, anything to escape the memories about to hit you but you sat still with legs pressed together and your hands gripping your knee as the dam shook and  then collapsed.  Continue reading →