Life!

Hi guys! this is a short story written by my lovely sister and upcoming writer, Gbenga Oti. Enjoy! She would appreciate your kind thoughts too, there just might be a sequel.
……
I had waited so long for the day when I would walk down the aisle, with my arms locked into my fathers’ and my eyes set on the man I love. Everything was going as planned, the venue was booked and invitations were sent out.
He travelled for a business meeting. The meeting was successful, I was speaking to him as he was about to board a bus back to Germany, all of a sudden the line went dead and his mobile phone was switched off. I found this very strange as he never switches off his phone, maybe his battery died. An hour later, my mind went into overdrive, flooding itself with multiple scenarios of what could have happened, none of which were good.
The days that followed were tortuous; it is commonly said that “it’s better for someone to die than go missing”, then I understood, you grieve everyday hoping that they will return. I couldn’t sleep, eat or concentrate on my work. I contacted the Embassy and the police in Sweden; I got the standard reply “we are working on it”, this was really frustrating. I could not just sit around and do nothing, what if he had been kidnapped, but why wasn’t anyone calling for a ransom, was he dead? but NO that cannot be. A week later, my phone rang, it was HIM, he said he would be back and the line went dead. He was alive, that was good enough for me.
Then again, two weeks of silence, I could not contact him. I began to worry again; at this point the date of our wedding had passed by, my dream wedding was in shambles, my man nowhere to be found.
A month later, the embassy finally responded, he was arrested for paying for a bus ticket for some men he had just met over lunch. These men were illegal immigrants (unknown to him), his story was verified. I was so happy all this was over, and he would be back by weekend.
Or so I thought…

Black Roses

black

In a voice dripping with so much empathy it was disgusting, they doled out rehearsed lines, a million times retold. “We are truly sorry madam, we did our best to save her”. Those were not the words i was expecting to hear, this was not a possible scenario. I was supposed to become her mother today, now I’m not sure who I am. “Oko  yin nko“, the nurse was asking me where Ade was, like I was supposed to know. Knowing his whereabouts was not my problem. It was his mother’s. My mind, traitor that it is, remembers. it remembers exactly why this was not supposed to happen.

…………..
“Mum, I’m pregnant”. I blurted out the truth I had known for weeks, as her eyes travelled from her pot to my eyes, I knew she had already figured it out. “Whose is it?”, she asked, “is it that stupid boyfriend of yours?” her voice heavy with disappointment and dangerously veiled anger. She stirred the stew with so calmly that I thought she was going to pour it all over me. She proceeded to tell me what I already knew, she expected more, with eyes glistening with tears, she told me my options, the ones she was willing to give me. “Tokunbo, listen to me very carefully, you can either get an abortion(which is illegal in my country) or you can marry him. If you’re old enough to have a baby, you’re ready for marriage.” Then the real speech began, how she a single mother struggled to put me through school when my father(whom I had never met) left. Then the tears began while I watched, dry eyed.
Two weeks later, mummy Tokunbo dragged me to my future in-laws house to explain how their son and I were stupid enough to put a fetus in my body. His parents were pastors, they had a reputation to uphold. It was decided, we would get married. I was a fresh graduate, he had just finished his service year. He said he loved me, that was before this alien invaded my body, now he looks at me with contempt. I barely remember if the sex was good now, apparently condoms are no guarantee.
His parents would pay for the wedding. Mama Tokunbo had no husband, I was her mistake too. I wish I could tell you that it was perfect, that I wore a lovely white dress, that my father walked me down the aisle. I wish Ade looked at me like I was the only virgin in the room, but that would be a sweet delusion.
I had a dress, it was yellow and it was ugly. I walked down the aisle alone. Their stares were like daggers, they wondered how I could break my poor mother’s heart after all she did to support me Their thoughts ended with ‘like mother, like daughter’, I’m sure. Halfway down, it chose that epic moment to kick.
Ade could barely look at me, He blamed me for being the irresponsible womb that chose to carry his alien. At least, he showed up, albeit unshaven, dishelved, and hung over. What is left of what is right for us is this façade of a marriage built on guilt, and a never-ending blame game.
In my mind’s eye, I tried to imagine what our lives together would be like. Would he become an alcoholic? Would he give up on us? Would he love it? Would he be the father it needed? What would become of it? Could I love it? Would it repeat my mistakes?
I slowly walked down the aisle to my new life, a spineless bag of fears and doubts. The deep baritone voice of the pastor told me that I had reached the altar and it cut into my thoughts unapologetically as he asked, “do you take this man to be your lawful wedded husband?”, with such expectation. My mother’s eyes told me what I must say. I wondered if she would live with him and cook his meals. I allowed myself that playful thought before I heard myself say ‘yes’, when I wanted to scream ‘no’ from the rooftops.

………….
The tears would never be enough, I held her for all of five seconds before she turned blue and stopped breathing. I was supposed to be a mother, she was supposed to make him smile at me again. My heart is ice cold, barely beating beneath my chest, if I could go back…

END

Author’s note: This is based on a true story. There is nothing new under the sun, but a story though a thousand times retold should never lose its ability to stir our hearts.
Olamide

Duty and devotion

Great storytelling.

omolaradee's Blog

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Under the full glare of the Nigerian sun, he limped through Kasuwa, the market with every eye fixed on him, he kept his head down but he could feel their stares, like arrows piercing through him. He was a local celebrity, the one-legged man who killed his friend.
*****
Hassan and Jubril grew up in the same neighbourhood, their houses separated by a narrow path. They had raised hell together in their little village. Together, they bullied younger children and were bullied by the older kids; they were inseparable; Hassan was the precocious one. His growth spurt had preceded any of the other kids’. Jubril tried to catch up with him but he could only go as far as his genes permitted.

Expectedly, Hassan became the muscle and Jubril ended up as the brainy one.
On completing secondary school, Hassan joined the army. Brainy Jubril got admitted into the state…

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Broken…the finale.

Writing this story has been a great learning experience for me and I wish that it didn’t have to end so soon. Enjoy!

Free as a bird,
To do as I please,
To soar like the eagle,
To overcome obstacles,
To be rid of the chains that hold me captive,
I long for freedom.

I buried Zee today, with Bernice by my side. She was my sister and my best friend for many years, and the only family that I had left. I’m grateful to Yahweh for the support of the man I had slowly begun to love who has made this loss so much easier to bear. The day Zee and I discovered this town seems like another time, another decade, a different age.


 

Simeon was going to let me go, I had cried out to Yahweh for help in my hunger and desperation for freedom. He had found love he said in the arms of another, one named Absa, a man he said. My hand-maiden would be the cover for his taste for unspeakable things never before heard of in Canaan but I could not let that happen so I whispered it into the ears of the land’s own gossipmonger. Jacob disowned him and Leah cursed him, all of Israel had something else to talk about now that my story had lost its flavour. I still thirsted for his blood even after my release from the farce that was our four month old marriage.
Everyone dies, I just sped things up a little for my husband, one as enraged and impulsive as he was deserved a death like no other, the kind that would give my daughter nightmares if she knew what I had done to her ‘uncle Simeon’.There was a time when I thought that life was easy, that I would be little Dinah forever, oh how I wish it were possible to turn back the hands of time and be her again.

Something was pulling me under, stealing my breath away I as I kept screaming for Yahweh to help me until my screams were drowned out to a feeble gasp for breath. I woke up in a cold sweat like I had been doing every night since I found that I was pregnant. I was the ex-wife of my dead brother, put in the family way by my dead rapist and disowned by my now dead Father.The judge of Israel had put a price on my head, so here I was on foot running for my life with my hand-maiden Zee who diagnosed my recent early morning illness as the first sign of an unwanted pregnancy.
We were living on fruits and the smoked remains of dead animals hunted by Zee and every pool of water in the never-ending forest was a cause for celebration. We slept on the bed provided very generously by the floor of the forest and the fire we made around us kept the wolves away but not the tiny little ants and bloodsucking mosquitoes.
Our journey lasted three whole months and we barely survived but we made it to the little town of Uz which we would make our new home, for my time to nest had come, even as I waited the birth of the creature whom I was sure to hate.

The people of Uz welcomed us with open arms, they were an hospitable people who served the Lord God of Israel. They knew us not, yet they offered us kindness like I have never before experienced even among my people. A man called Job helped us the most, he gathered all the young men in the land and asked them to build us a house. I was humbled in my spirit and the ice around my heart began to melt even as I begun to experience Yahweh’s love all over again.
My daughter came that winter, with Zee by my side, teaching and helping me to bring forth as so many women before me had, the pain was unbearable and is one that I never want to experience again, every push reminded me of the abomination that resulted in her formation and I relived every unholy thrust that Shechem had made inside of me.
I thought I would hate her but the minute I saw her, I knew she was the answer to a prayer that I didn’t even think He had heard. She was a perfect miracle and the good that came out of a bad situation and so I named her Bernice, ‘the one that brings victory’.

Someday, she would sit at my feet as I teach her the way of the Lord, and she would serve Yahweh with all her heart. I had so many dreams for her, and they would come true, this time they would.

The End.

As all great writers do, I’ll site my references for this story.
The Holy Bible; Gen 34
http://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/dinah-midrash-and-aggadah
http://www.moshereiss.org/articles/12_family.htm

Heart Over Head in Love

Disclaimer
This is a fictional story. The characters and plot are works of art. Any resemblance to real people is purely coincidental.
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I remember the first time i saw you, it was our first year of our journey as med students, and the first day of Physics practical. You were bald, clumsy and had an unserious look about you and I decided immediately that I didn’t like you because you didn’t fit into the in-my-head description of what my lab partner would be like, I remember telling my roommate the night before that I didn’t want a girl(I had had enough of girl drama in high school). I told her I wanted a boy, a smart one with a head for Physics who would do most of the work for the two of us and in the back of my not-so-romantic mind, would be my ‘The One’.

My number had already been called and yours was up next, but you were no where to be found, I kept shouting on the top of my voice “who’s no 56?”, until finally, you emerged, and quite arrogantly said, “I am”. I proceeded to give you a lecture about punctuality forgetting that I had only just met you, I told you my name and we entered the lab and were assigned to our workstation. I asked you if you had studied the theoretical aspect of the day’s work and you said you hadn’t, then I gave you yet another lecture about preparation, but by then you had had quite enough of my lectures, from the exasperated look on your face, I was already slightly irritated by you, because your lateness had us scrambling to finish in time.

Fast-forward to weeks after, I was late for the practical session that day and you called to ask why I wasn’t there yet and that was the beginning of our out-of-the-lab friendship. Then the long walks around campus, and phone conversations began. Although, you tried to hide it and till this day you deny it, by the next semester you were already head over heels in love with me, and after months of chasing and wooing I finally decided to your girlfriend.

You were my little big secret, and I told no one of our budding relationship. I remember our first kiss, we had been walking for about 30 mins and then we decided we were both tired, then we went to the park. We had been talking for a while and then you looked at me with those large sexy eyes and asked if you could but I don’t remember getting a word in.
We weren’t perfect, we didn’t have all the answers but we liked each other, the decision to date you wasn’t borne out of love, it was an impulsive ‘Yes’ that was counting on a relationship that would last a year at most. It didn’t occur to me that I could fall for you, the thought never even crossed my hard hearted macho mind, and I thought that at the first sign of trouble I could cut and run.

Then the worst happened, I fell in love with you.
When I found out a secret you had being keeping from me, I thought I could end it, afterall we had been dating for just a little over a year, but I couldn’t do it. You were unapologetic, and claimed that I probably wouldn’t have dated you if I had known earlier, you were right. Sometimes, ethnic and religious differences only strive to separate us and keep us apart. It’s been 4 years and several breakups after but I have never quite cut and run, I’m still here for reasons best left unsaid.

I’m a head over heart kinda girl except when it comes to you, my heart always seems to win the battle, and common sense no longer applies. I wonder what happened to quitting while we were still ahead, instead we seem to be saving the impending threat of a heartbreak for later.
Oh well! I’m a tough cookie.

Broken…the sequel

Yahweh said He would command His angels to guard me carefully, they would lift me up in their hands lest I strike my foot against a stone. I feel like I’m no longer on the edge of an abyss but falling to the dangerous depths of what lies beyond the precipice, wondering if it’s too late for redemption and welcoming the dark cloak of depression to surround and insulate me from reality. I keep trying to understand why He would allow such evil befall me. I was the perfect daughter, always doing as I was told. I am no longer Dinah, daughter of Jacob but for centuries to come I will simply be called ‘the Canaanite woman.’


 

I remember feeling nauseous, the trepidation of facing the unknown almost too much to bear. I had dreamed of my wedding day since I was a little girl. I had imagined and sorted out every little detail in my head till I had my picture perfect wedding; of a 100 white roses, of my flowing white wedding dress which my mother Leah would make, of my white and gold theme, and of a 100 guests who would grace the occasion in the sloping valley of Tibeh which was graced with the most beautiful lilies ever. In my dreams, my groom was tall, fair and faceless, yet I was sure he would be handsome.

I would be pure and untouched till that night which most girls secretly wondered about and mothers spoke about in hushed tones. This was not to be, there would be no dream wedding, no roses, no guests and no lilies. Ours would just be me in a not-so-white gown, no ball, and no train, with a veil so thick I could barely see my own hand, so thick that I would have to walk assisted by my Father. Then, we would face the judge of Canaan, backs turned to one another and say our vows as was the custom for tainted women like me, afterwards, he would lift my veil and kiss me on the cheek. Shechem said his vows, I said mine, mostly for lack of any choice than anything else and then it was over soon after it begun and everything had worked out as we had rehearsed. Then he lifted my veil and bent to kiss me. Nothing prepared me for the nightmare that was my life as it unfolded before my eyes, I realised that I was staring into Simon’s eyes, my mother and father looking on as witnesses.

Someone was screaming, high pitched shrieking that was driving me crazy and my last thought was that the voice sounded like mine, even as I crumbled to the floor beneath me.

I had just married my brother, and my life just ended

He killed them, all of them, for me, he said, and convinced our father to let him marry me, this was incest I screamed, but too late, I was reminded, the vows had been said. Yahweh hated divorce, and it was my duty to obey Him. I hated my family and I would never forgive them, with Shechem, I stood a chance at least, a chance at love perhaps,now, I was married to Simon, son of Jacob in whose heart anger always ruled above reason.

After the debacle that was my wedding, I retired to my room alone. There would be no wedding night, I vowed that I would never let my own brother take me to bed, so we slept in separate rooms as we would for the rest of our lives. I was just glad I survived the day. I slept fitfully that night, events of that day plaguing my mind and depriving me of sleep as I plotted my escape.

He would take other wives, and I would be stuck in a loveless marriage for the rest of my life, unless I killed him first.

 

 

Broken.

 

Hi guys! This is my first published attempt at a short story, please go easy on me. I hope it’s worth reading though. Here’s to new beginnings!

Bones old and brittle,

Heart broken,

Eyes, cold and unseeing,

Bits and pieces of me, formless and without substance.

Who will save me now?

 

It is the fall of the year 2000. The forest is alive with colours, the leaves are golden beneath my feet, the breeze is cool and soothing. The years have not been good to me, a wry smile almost reaches my eyes as I remember the days when I was happy, as blood flows to my face, the ache reminds me that my smiling muscles have not been used in ages. As I stare at my reflection in a tiny pool of water, I see that my once beautiful face has been ravaged by the thing called ‘life’. As if it was yesterday, I remember the day that my life changed. The memories haunt me day and night reminding me not to forget how fate changed the course of my life and altered my destiny.

It was summertime, the trees were in full bloom, the sun was blazing hot and the heat was unbearable. I am Dinah, daughter of Jacob and Leah. My parents are the best parents one could hope for, although I wish my father loved my mother a bit more than he loved my aunt Rachael. My family defines the word ‘dysfunctional’, but I suppose that there is no such thing as the perfect family. “Dinah!, where are you?”, that’s my father checking up on me, again, you would think that now that I’m 20 he would let up a little, “I’m coming, I replied.” My father and his sons liked to read and talk about the farm, play board games and discuss my betrothal on days like this. I, on the other hand would rather go into the city to see my friends. Sometimes being the only daughter sucks, although I always get what I want. Especially now that I have leverage, I have not forgiven my father for locking me up in a chest to prevent his brother Esau from marrying me at their dramatic reunion earlier that year.

My friends, Ruth and Naomi were going to teach me to how to make dresses from sheep skin, at least that was my excuse to escape the over protectiveness of our predominantly male clan. The only reason my father let me out of his sight was because he was still begging for my forgiveness. I also secretly craved attention from the men of the land, the kind my mother never had and no longer wished for. Then I saw him, or rather, I heard him, his voice was exactly as I imagined it would be, soft and sure and then he said my name, “Dinah,  that’s your name right?”, I couldn’t think, my voice sounded foreign even to me, as my muddled brain formed the word “Yes.” I turned around to inspect the first male specimen that had ever given me any attention. He was as I had imagined he would be; fair, tall and broad chested, and he was speaking to me. “You are Ruth and Naomi’s friend, they just went to the fields to play”, ‘Oh!” I exhaled sharply. He must have seen the change in my countenance because then he suggested that I followed him home instead. I was powerless against his strong arms as he carried me against all protests, my father’s warning about the men of the land a distant echo.
The next few minutes were a blur. It happened so fast that even now the memory of that day is jagged and not quite together, I only remember that I felt violated and used, and when the tears began to flow, I saw nothing but compassion in his eyes. Then he said, “I am Shechem, son of Hamor, I shall make a respectable woman out of you and wed you.”

As do all bad things, the news spread like wildfire and all hell broke loose! I hadn’t been home since the incident and my brothers and father had finally found me after days of endlessly searching.
Suddenly, I realised that I didn’t want my time with him to end, sinful as it was. How naive little Dinah was. In a week-long flurry of activity and deliberations between both families, my fate was decided. The man called Shechem would be my husband. My mother had given me a lecture on how we would grow to love each other and birth many sons and daughters. It was just a rape and as the daughter of Jacob, it was my duty to forget. I remember wondering if Shechem would want me still, I had nothing to worry about, he came begging for my hand in marriage and promised to love me. I had found a man of integrity despite his caveman-like attributes, while I wished he hadn’t forced himself upon me, I know that Yahweh sometimes uses our bad experiences for our good, or at least I did.

The wedding was done in a hurry albeit protests from my brothers Simeon and Levi who had anger management problems and were a constant thorn in my father’s side. They insisted that Shechem and his clan be circumcised first. and to my surprise, they agreed and my fate was sealed. In spite of my misgivings and doubts, I was happy for a time, and then, I was not.