They called her Rekiya, the name her mother whispered into her ears when she was born had been lost to time. She made Bambara under the dogoyaro tree near Aisha’s shop just before the mango groove where the village children plucked mangoes to sell at the market near Dutse. Her Bambara was the best in the whole town and just before she mixed the dough and pepper and set her rectangular pan with the round holes that formed the lush, oily, stretchy masses of perfection that had people queuing even before the first batch was ready. Continue reading →
How e come be say na you dey control my mumu button like how Okocha dey gum ball to im boot as twenty defenders dey chase am? You wey no even fine like that sef, with your k-leg and opolo eye and you no even dey try draw your eyebrow like your mates them. No be say na the better cloth you dey wear or long hair wey you kukuma get. No be say you no get your good points sha but I dey suspect say jazz dey involved for this matter. Continue reading →
Her memories of him always gripped her throat until she choked on the bursts of pain that flowed from her heart to her lips. At those times she’d wished she didn’t burn up all his pictures when he left her, she wanted to burn them again after sprinkling Cameroon pepper on his still form so he’d writhe in agony wherever he was and if he was with her, maybe the pain would scorch her too.
When he first left her, she cried daily, calling his name and phone, begging him to fill her arms again. At first he laughed at her when she called, his voice swollen with something that reminded her of pride. Sometimes she heard her laughter in the background, she longed for ten minutes alone with her and a pair of pliers strong enough to uproot her brown and scattered teeth, maybe he would be so disgusted by the witch that he’d run back to her. He soon started ignoring her calls and eventually blocked her number. She wept and made up silly revenge plots while her friends and family watched her closely and prayed for her. He never called, not once. She immersed herself in work, making more sacrifices than anyone and had the scars and plaques and hefty account balance to prove it.
But years were born and they died, with each one rolling her heart in a new layer of bitterness. News of him still percolated into her life, they were still together, he still laughed at everything she said just as he’d done when he first met her but she’d been too secure in his love to realise how dangerous that was. Their house was still quiet even though they’d filled it with art from far flung places and redecorated every quarter, it was just as quiet as hers.
Then she spotted two grey hairs, one at her temple, the other near her nape. She sighed and got her scissors, taking care to cut off only the offenders. She saw five more, two weeks later, she’d turned thirty nine the previous day and it had been seven years since her husband and the witch walked out of her living room with linked arms.
She played Jimmy Cliff’s Wild World on replay loop on her car’s mp3 player as she drove to the fertility clinic. Minutes later, the cracked voice singing Wild World in the car startled her. It saddened her that she’d let her voice die, that she didn’t know her own voice anymore. She dabbed at the tears collecting at the edges of her eyes and blew her nose with the pink handkerchief a prophet had given her in the past that would help bring him home, two years had passed and her husband was still married to the devil’s chief priestess.
Walking into the clinic was difficult, her legs felt like concrete boulders and her heart seemed to be playing a rock song as she walked into the doctor’s office. Her mouth dried when she saw him, even though they’d spoken five times on the phone and each phone call lasted at least twenty minutes as he reassured her that their sperm donors were all healthy, intelligent and kind men. He hummed Lagbaja’s Cool Temper while he reviewed her scan results and hormonal profile.
“We will start the first cycle next week”. He said just before squeezing her shoulder gently.
She smiled and nodded while she continued to battle doubt.
When her period didn’t show up for business after two months, she gingerly bought pregnancy test strips. She danced after each one changed from one line to two, then she called her sisters to tell them the news.
She’d barely began to show when she abandoned all her clothes for maternity gowns. People stopped her on the road to rejoice with her while she saw her story on certain gossip blogs and on social media.
She was drinking a mango and pineapple smoothie when her phone rang. His voice crackled with animosity on the phone as he launched into a tirade about her morals and accused her of faking the pregnancy.
“You’re so very funny”, she snorted as she cut into his diatribe. “You left me- the barren idiot, hooked up with Queen who would give birth to your football team. You did this nearly eight years ago and you have the brazen effrontery to call me and say dust about my morals? Get the fuck off my phone, you expired piece of shit”
She ended the call, switched off her phone, settled deeper in her chair, sipped her smoothie and said a prayer of thanksgiving. In a room across town, her ex-husband buried his face in his hands and sobbed, with the test result his wife threw at him just before she left with all her possessions, still on his lap.
Yes I know today’s Saturday, I didn’t finish this until this morning.
“You will kill me Jumoke and I will stroll to heaven laughing”
“And you will think you will go to heaven?” She swatted at the fat fly that tried to perch on the gleaming mass of white on the porcelain plate; that told of sweaty labour on a mortar and pestle.
“Haba! I am not the worst sinner na, am I not better than all your brothers put together”, his slim fingers wrested a big chunk of the mangala fish from the soup and he suspended them just below his mouth before smiling at her and slowly raised the fish to his thick lips.
“My brothers are saints, you are not even fit to dust Juwon’s shoes”
“Ah! Juwon, Commander in Chief of the allied forces of Yoruba Demons and Principalities,” he guffawed.
“You’re jealous because you do not have a hundredth of his sex appeal”
“Will sex appeal increase my account balance?”
“Ask Juwon, he just bagged yet another contract from the governor” Continue reading →
The sound walked into the ears of each of the men and they jerked in unison as it tickled the nerves encased in the bones of their backs. Your father closed his eyes and put his palms on his head, with his elbows pointing in opposite directions and he jerked again.
The sound continued on its journey as you chewed the kolanut slower than you did before, letting the bitterness fill your mouth and your heart too. Continue reading →
My dearest sister,
I can hear your laughter in my mind as I write this, I can see you gently wrinkling your nose as you remind me that you are my only sister, just before you ask what I have done wrong or if I want money. I wish I could hug you now, even if you would wiggle your shoulders out of my grip and mutter in your froggy voice about my softness. Continue reading →
My father married seven wives, one for each day of the week he liked to say. He would boast about how he controlled seven women when most men couldn’t even handle one, between gulps of Star lager he would compare himself with King Solomon and declare himself the son of thunder and lightning. He always had a bottle of Star by his side and a stick of cigarette in between his fingers, when I light a cigarette today it is my father’s face that makes me smile.