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Kuku’s Nest. Episode 03

06:45 a.m
Dad:
“What are you cooking this morning?”
Dupe:
*yawns*
“Sleep”
Dad:
“You stayed up all night, didn’t you? Okay”
*Pecks sweet dreams on Dupe’s upturned cheek*

09:30 a.m
*Looking-delicious Sir Beardy shifts slightly out of kiss range. Dupe moves towards him again but just as her lips are about to touch his he moves. Again! She scowls, then realises it’s her own body moving left and right out of the kiss. Outraged, she opens her eyes. Dad is sitting on the bed beside her, rocking her body gently*
Dupe:
*frowns*
Dad:
“Ma binu (Don’t be angry). I’ve fried you eggs and plantain. Come and eat before worms eat your stomach. You can return to sleep after”
* * *
Dreamland Sir Beardy’s lips looked yummy. Pink. Firm. Nibble inviting… so darn promising!đŸ˜ŁđŸ˜„Â But shey you see the handiwork of #VillagePeepu, sleep has refused to come back! Wassall dis?!!!

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Inked Ghosts

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 The unpublished beginning of dreams, nightmares, fantasies and frustrations.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 clichĂ© 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…

barton_fink-typewriter1A 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.

 

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Sleepless Night

I can’t sleep

And can’t begrudge

The dream that steals you on a whim

 

I can’t sleep

Words swirl in catalogues

Of shapes, tales, and wails

 

I can’t sleep

My doppelganger’s ghosts

Strut in heels behind heavy lids

 

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Of Souls and Shadows

I’m sitting here

In the middle of this debris

Of blood and jagged muscles

Pulsing the beat of the drunk man’s trudge

The demons race

Debating pain and hurt

Whispering dreams and hopes

Madness tethers on this unspeaking frenzy

 

Your eyes tell that story

Of empty bottles and drowned soul

Mine speak primitive tongues

Of broken groans and rising throes

Don’t say tomorrow

That pregnant dream reminiscent of nightmares

No. Don’t shed light

It casts shadows too

 

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Dear Widow…

Her voice was that quiet confidence that spoke volumes. It echoed the graceful direction of sound by grandma; directing you, telling a story, or lovingly scolding you. I smiled in my head, the kind that only appears as a slight lift of eyelashes in an otherwise unperturbed face. I was being interviewed for a job, she my potential employer. I wasn’t sure she would appreciate being told I was thinking of her in poetic terms. Women can be unpredictable like that. Years of trying to break through the glass ceiling have made some of them sensitive to the slightest nuance. And while I wasn’t sure I wanted the job, I knew I wanted to spend some time in her company. She exuded that unmistakable cool aura of strength and confidence. Call me what you please, but I think those are the most attractive things a person can possess. For some reason, she chose to like me. Perhaps for same reason or another, she chose to tell me a little about herself. I was the interviewee; but I daresay I learnt more about her than she did about me. We spoke, ignorant of time’s passage, unwilling to track it.

“I am a widow”

I felt my jaw drop. Unconsciously my right hand rose to perch my glasses closer to my eyes; it seemed I was seeing things wrong. Some minutes and discreet up-and-down gazes after, I noticed my tongue unwilling to move, felt my eyes grow bigger. My brain was interpreting what my eyes were seeing through the ‘widow’ filter, and getting “error404 Page Not Found” response.  She was exquisite: a dress that curved her body while leaving room for your imagination, a dark jacket with a bright red emblem just above the curve of her full bust, and blood red stilettos. For the love of God! Stilettos!!! I watched her gait when she walked to bridge the gap between us and could only think of a cat. Her last of three sons had just finished from college, and she looked just about 20 years older than me (and I look like I’m 16 years old). She was at the top of her career, and managing two homes; continents apart.

***

Today, on International Widows Day, I empathize with every woman who has ever had to bury her husband. Every woman who felt her world shift because the centre of her universe stopped breathing. Every woman who felt pain so deep she thought her heart would physically shatter. Every woman who hoped her heart would literally shatter so its pieces might fill the emptiness she felt inside. For every woman who lost her sense of identity and/or belonging in the world because her husband left it.

I also iterate the words of that amazing woman who gave me a glimpse into the world of widowhood:

It’s okay to be broken. But don’t stay broken too long. You don’t know why who might pick your pieces if you stay afloor too long.

When the world hits you down, when your world is a chaotic jumble of ill-meaning others, when pain is all your heart can feel and your spirit is a wilted flower, when you can’t breathe because memories of a happy lifetime ago suffocate you, when you’re talking but there’s no one to listen and all that’s left are sounds in your head, when you wake from dreams and the pillow is soaked with tears… remember those words. Accept your broken self and heart, then build it all back together. Piece by bleeding-tear piece.

P.S:

I’ll be tweeting about widowhood @DupeKuku between 4 and 5 p.m today; Nigerian time. Dear Reader, kindly direct your network that way; let’s make today memorable for every widow on cyber space.

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These Days

I’m the figure taking quick glances at a red Skone watch at regular intervals; whispering “the fuck?!”. They are angered exclamations offered to the universe; some sort of argument; I think.

If the universe would agree to negotiations and talks, I’d make my case like this:

There are tons of things I couldn’t do when  I was ill. They all have deadlines. Do you think you could maybe drag your tail a bit? You know; make time a little slower? I still can’t do so much; lest my doctor scrunches up his nose at me in disapproval and, heavens forbid, declare I can no longer have coffee. Or, worse, that I have to be back on some over-sized medication.

But the universe isn’t responding today. And I’m that scared figure, heads bowed into her laptop, mumbling inaudibilities, hands and fingers fluttering in a frenzy. Or the one with her hands raised to the ceiling; a helplessly frustrated expression on her face. The perfect vision of desperate beseeching.

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He Was

He was fantasy.

His eyes were a dark brown, almost black, circle set in contrast against a clear white pool. They shone bright with intelligence, danced with mischief, lowered lazily to strip me of flimsy clothes, and pierced sharply to read the depths of my heart.

His voice was caramel nuts and rum on a starstruck night; deep, dark, full, textured, layered, irresistible… breaking with delicious emotions. He was whispering something I could not hear because goosebumps on my skin had my mind foxed, as did the melting honey weakening my knees someplace south.

His gait was temptation. Strong, it hinted at determined ambition and, lazy, it incited yearnings for evening strolls with the wind kissing hair tousled. Both ways it was muscled, and told of paces to orgasmic heavens.

His lips twitched, a slight teasing movement that drew me forward. I was going to touch, taste, elicit a groan, and maybe fevered beseeching; but he was a wisp of imagined desires.

He was fantasy. The protagonist of the novel that had my heart thumping a racy beat.