*Rain is threatening with heavy winds*
“See your mummy. I told her not to put the groceries in the corridor! She said she wants to sort it out first. Now she has gone out and rain wants to fall. Come let’s carry these things in”
*Goes to fetch the grocery cartons from the kitchen. On her return, Dad has taken some things into the sitting room. A sound at the gate.*
“It’s like you mummy has come”
*Dupe goes to fetch Mummy from the gate. When Mum gets in:*
“Modupe thank you! I was scared when it got windy. Because that your daddy will just say he warned me and leave it there for me.”
“Ah well. I just said I should pity you small”
“Oko mi -my husband-, shey you’ll please come and help me carry these bags of salt? They’ll be too heavy for my daughter.”
“You’re not serious. You and your daughter. Why not come and break my back? I carried everything inside, it’s your daughter you told thank you. Now I should… Look! Leave me alone o! Me too I have mother”
*Falls over self laughing.*
You are glass shards
Bits of me staring back
Velveret honey creaming whiskey
Pagan worship and primitive desire
“Let me teach you to drive”
“With a Jeep? So I’ll now jam something and… Alakoba!”
*alakoba: One who gets another in trouble
“Girl come and learn to drive na”
“With a Benz? So I can use all my money on petrol? Why not fear God?”
*sitted at Daddy’s feet, facing him*
“Daddy you know I’m old enough to drive now. When would you start teaching me?”
“You didn’t forget that discussion? Since 2004?!”
*Dupe frowns, looks like a child whose ice-cream suddenly vanished *
“Aah Modupe mi, ma binu.”
*My Modupe, don’t be angry
*reaches hands out, cuddles her*
“You should have known I’m too impatient to teach you to drive”
*Song about a broken heart resumes in background*
Her mane curls in luxurious waves
Lush, bouncy; an ebony itch to lusting palms
Her eyes are twinkles; silver lights peeking beneath a coal shawl
Titillating flirtations of the Geisha
She numbs your miseries in cotton shawls
Lends your hand a bottle. Maybe two.
Whispers secrets of deepest dreams
And amps orgasmic moans when the genie yields to seeking thrusts
Whispered kiss ferried on winds; a promisory glance back at the lover
Your heart aches. Curses ascend with dawn’s voyeurism of your tryst
Your eyes, like glue, stick to her departing behind; anticipating dusk
I was 11.
A little younger than some of my classmates; and imaginarily less “attractive” than girls who had convex flesh bracing their nipples, or the area between their waists and legs. That was all that mattered then. How old you were. How much fawning attention of the opposite sex you got. How well you could dance. How many people were in your “crew”, the weight of your social traction. Your grades were those things that made your parents buy the things you wanted. Or caused them to compare you to your siblings and other kids.
I was only 11.
And all I had were an interesting mind, good grades, and the ability to strings words and sentences together pretty enviably. So one day I wrote. But it wasn’t what they wanted to read, so they tore it. They also made fun of me. Dancing round me in circles, they chanted. And chanted. Till days became nights which faded into weeks. Till my nights became silent sobs into unyielding cotton sheets.
I was just 11.
And I’d finished writing two novels. Short stories, we would now call them. The unpublished beginning of dreams, nightmares, fantasies and frustrations. They became the last novels I ended. Books I’ld write in future became placations. The half-loaf cliché pronounces to be better than none.
One day Beau said writing owns me.
I kept quiet. Hated how close he’d hit home. I’d tried occupying life with other things, to spend time not writing the novel in my head. So I can just stay with my articles and story pieces. The things that don’t cause stirs. That don’t cause anyone to sing my name in lines of derisive chants. That don’t shed pain in bunched pillows…
A chapter a day. That’s today’s resolution.
And this is for you like me, with great dreams and haunting fears. Here’s my challenge to us both. That we do not live in fearsome shadows of adolescent mishaps. Because life needs us. It needs our dreams and our tales to truly be beautiful. To reach inked fingers and widen a stranger’s view. To widen their lips till their teeth flash at the sky, soothe their pains, resonate with their spirit… Name your fear and the shadows holding you back. Life is short. Too darn short to not live your dream, and there’s no better time to start than today.
The aroma that lifts heavy lids
Teases breathing nostrils
Thumps drowsy hearts with a kiss
I was the little figure on the road with shoes in her left hand, a handbag in her right hand, walking almost lifeless, the sun just over her shoulder as it sunk beneath the horizon. Bad boys whispered dark promises in my ears and my lower lip was grazed by my teeth, cheeks lifting in decadent smiles.
“I’m an addict
Every piece of your body I gotta have it
I’m strung out, so far gone
Girl you’re in my veins…”
Something tapped me; a rude intrusion of nirvana. I spun around in broken motions, startled yet too weak to execute a smooth turn. A young male smiled awkwardly behind me, clothed in sagged tight jeans, a tee-shirt, fashion glasses, and a punky haircut. I lifted my left hand to press the pause button by the side of my headphones, shoes taking advantage of the position to kiss my cheeks. Mr. Awkward Smile (MAS) didn’t say anything so I asked what he wanted.
MAS: “You are beautiful”
Me: *Quirks eyebrows quizzically*
MAS: “I’m Kunle. I study at Moshood Abiola Polythecnic. I’ll like to get to know you better. We can be friends. I think…”
MAS: “Why? You asked…”
Me: “There are shoes in my hands and headphones over my ears. And you want to toast me right now. Are you for real?”
MAS: “Sister, I…”
Me: *Looks harder at his too-tight jeans. Shakes tired head*
“Today is not the day. And I am not the one”
*Reaches up to press the play button, continues trudge down the hill; a lone swaying silhouette in the darkening, breezy evening*