Sunday, 17 May 2020


By Bernard Nasamu

In Lagos, the city that never sleeps, time was everything. Everyone found a way to be busy, pacing around, doing one bidding or the other. At the same time, it is known to provide the best opportunity for basically anything and everyone. A city characterized with unending road jams, crazy transport system, noisy nooks and cranny, and of course frustrated inhabitants. Above it all, it was a beautiful nest for as many lovers as possible.
It was 8pm already. The exact time of the day for B&B food factory entertained lovers with the best steak in the whole of Lagos. Not only was the restaurant beautiful, it was notable for the best customer service, of any restaurant around. And just like in any restaurant in the world, the drama never ends. Every day, there were auspicious dates; breakup, make up, proposal, contract deliberations. All came in different pockets and shapes.
 "What could be taking him so long?" 
Anything could make anyone late to a special date. Its Lagos, everyone is believed to be unbalance. Besides, since businesses close by 6pm; movement by road can as well be considered as “the battle of troy”.
Mitchell kept adjusting her wine flair gown decorated with lovely floral petals design. She signals to a waiter, who keeps smiling like someone that won a lottery.
“Excuse me, can I get another glass?" She was beginning to get very nervous. 
“The number you’ve dialed is unreachable” was the response she got after several attempts of calling him. And just as expected, the frustration was crawling up her sleeves.
"But what’s taking him so long,” she thought to herself as she kept checking the time.
It was 9:15 already, and Jeff was never late to any appointment. She couldn’t seem to get a hang of herself. He had called her hurriedly that morning. 
"Good morning beautiful. I have something very important to tell you. Let's meet where we had our first date”.
For a hopeless romantic, Jeff did a lot before he could get Mitchell’s indifferent heart. But, in two years, she stood no chance against his charms. He was attentive, had the right words and most of all very meticulous. There were a bunch of things she admired about him like his bravery. We never plan for a lot of things. Sometimes, love just happens and all we get to do is move along with it.
You remember how they say you know love at first sight? Theirs was not the normal Hollywood where both parties accidentally collide; books fall to the ground and maintain eye contact for three minutes. It was nothing like the contemporary love meets. In contrast, it required a bold step. The sands of time could bear witness to the clash of temperaments. 
Jeff never failed to tell Theo about how he found his amazing love with Mitchell over drinks once. Today, he was going to recount the story in style.
”She stepped into the banking hall that afternoon, and joined the queue like every other person. While I sat in the waiting room, trying to sort out my account malfunction with the customer care attendant. Everyone could sense the change in atmosphere, when she started giving a random dude some intellectual insult. And trust me, she had and awesome way of dishing out a piece of her mind.” Jeff started that day.
"How dare you touch me? What nonsense? You’re such a pervert? You deserve to be castrated”. He continued, mimicking Mitchell.
”With a voice as subtle and commanding as hers, she had the attention of the banking hall. What everyone could see was her rage. All I could see was how her hair fluttered in different directions. It felt like an Indian movie remake. Kathrin Kaif couldn’t act this scene any better, even if she wanted to."
“Dammmmmmnnnnnnn…” Theo remarked with a thrilling smile.
“Dude that’s not all," Jeff paused to continue his love tale. 
"Trust me naw, as warri lawyer wey I be, I took charge of the situation”. Theo and Jeff burst into laughter.
” What did you do?” Theo inquired with a big smile. He was so engrossed and thrilled, he couldn’t hide his excitement.
"I walked up to her and said, pretty lady let me handle it. Trust me, Theo, I regretted that statement. She just blew me off with a disgusting stare. But I didn’t let it get to me. I turned to the accused and give him several offences he could be charged for. Thankfully, an average Nigerian fears what he doesn’t know, especially when “Kirikiri” pops up. He just went on his knees and started pleading. I was so cool with myself. I was expecting the American ‘thank you’ with a peck on the cheek or at least a name and number.” He threw his hands in the air visibly tipsy; he brought his hands to his chest to knot his tie.
“And, let me guess, she totally ignored you,” Theo suggested with a mouth ready to explode with laughter.
Jeff just resorted to get a glass of 1885 Baltimore Shardon, his favorite, and he continued to knot his tie.
"She just looked at me and said, I could handle it, but you just had to throw your weight around. Then she stormed out angrily. But as fate would have it, her complimentary card dropped from her bag".
"The rest is history," Jeff said with a smirk on his face. Jeff takes a look at the time.
“It is 6:30pm already, dude, you caused this” Jeff said with a slight frown.
“And you know today is special!” Jeff exclaimed. 
Theo scoffs “my bad bro, I was just engrossed in the gist.” Theo apologized.
Jeff was a very composed young man. He was slow to anger and of all things hated keeping anyone waiting. Like the popular saying, if you want it, you have to put a ring on it. Jeff was going to propose at dinner. He went to a jewelry store where he got the jeweler to remake his dad’s ring. He stepped out into the lonely garage. He got jumped and before he knew it. It was lights out.
"Doctor! Doctor!! Doctor!!! We have an emergency,” the nurse called as they rushed a patient in to the hospital.
"Rush him down to the ICU immediately. I need the report for the patient."
“His wallet says Jeff Coker and his phone has been buzzing all the way here,” an eye witness related.
"Please, call the last caller on his phone and explain what happened," the doctor implored. 
Mitchell decided to call Theo, since Jeff wasn’t picking, after waiting for close to two hours at the restaurant.
Theo was as confused as she was. 
"He left the house well over three hours ago," he kept saying to an inattentive Mitchell.
Just as she stepped out of the restaurant to get a cab home, her phone rang. She angrily ignored when she saw the caller ID. Jeff should know better than to try to apologize for keeping her waiting for 2 hours. Her phone rang for the tenth time.
"Hello, I don’t ever want to see or talk to you again," was all she said before ending the call.
 Tears started to race down her cheeks, the caller called again. In the moment when she was the weakest, Theo broke the news that Jeff was in the hospital. She felt like running mad. She took off her heels and wig as she hassled the cab driver to the hospital.
“Quickly, take me to St Augustus memorial hospital.” She screamed with a feeble voice
Theo was standing at the hospital counter when she arrived. Then it dawned on her, she couldn’t handle the way her heart felt like jumping out of its chamber. And just out of curiosity she asked Theo with a shaking voice, like a bird drenched in rain.
“What did Jeff want to tell me so badly?”
Theo took a deep breath and said,
"He wanted to propose to you. They found it in his wallet." He reached into his pocket and brought out the ring.
She was trying to piece it all together when the doctor intruded the moment of truth with very disheartening news. 
“Which of you are his relative?” 
“We both are.” They both chorused.
"Well, we did all we could, but we lost him unfortunately. Please, accept my condolences." The doctor stated to them in his office.
At that moment everything stopped. She felt the cold that gripped her feet push the buttons on her shared memories with her heartthrob. Tears seized, wailing stopped, her heart felt pierced with a 12’ inch tornado nail, her body lost strength, her mouth resist the urge to scream. It felt like the death of her. All she could think of was the words of the Italian painter; “life takes the most unexpected turns, just trust to have the right map guide”. She literally slumped into unconsciousness, with her eyes wide open.
A matron just stitched up the patient’s head in the ward next to the ICU.
"Sorry ehn, make sure you take your drugs oh, how will you get home now? This is Lagos oh, be careful next time. She cautioned.
"Matron what happened to this fine bobo?” One of the nurses inquired.
“Ahh! My dear, he was robbed just as he was about getting into his car. The thief must have used gun to hit his head. But he is okay now."
"Thank you, Ma" was all Jeff could muster to the lousy matrons.
 He was about to leave when an officer came in to cross check the report from the witness. The officer follows the doctor into the ICU to confirm the identity of the deceased
“Officer, you’re sure this is a criminal? His ID card says otherwise.” doctor inquired.
“Well, turns out the person lying on your hospital bed is a fugitive” officer Ray continued.
 Apparently, a convicted criminal who broke out of jail was the patient rushed in earlier. He’s been out in the wind for three days. And he has been tailing Jeff the whole day. Robbing his car and impersonating Jeff to commit a crime felt like the perfect revenge plan. After all, Jeff was one of the reasons why he was locked up. That bloody barrister. But, the Big G had other plans. 
Jeff was assisted out of the ward. He entered the reception. He stood numb before what he saw. Standing right there are the people he wanted to see the most. With mouths left opened wide. Shock enveloped the room. 
They embraced each other.
“Fate is overwhelming”. And once again two lovers reconnect in the most auspicious conditions.
 ...happiness is found in the most unexpected places, tranquil situations and unflinching faces

Friday, 15 May 2020

Art, Flower and Beauty

 By Emmanuel Dominic

Art, Flower and Beauty 
Since we are tasked with staying safe and being responsible, let’s talk about the things that make the heart jump. Art, flower and beauty are three concepts that have shaped the human race for centuries. They bring colors, creativity and even nature to life in a unique way. Often, these concepts are combined in the making of a master piece. Art, flower and beauty are intertwined when they are used in the same context. 
Art is commonly defined as the creative demonstration of skills in expressing emotions with imagery. And this can actively occur when a man is sensitive to capture moments of others, and use that experience to express the emotions conversed. Wikipedia sees art as a diverse range of human activities in creating visual, auditory or performing artifacts (artworks), expressing the author's imaginative, conceptual ideas, or technical skill, intended to be appreciated for their beauty or emotional power.
Some see art as an expression of oneself, the creative work of a human. Art can be entertaining and used for communications. Art is just creativity.
Purpose of Art
* Art isn't just made for amusement. Have you ever seen a work of art and remain speechless? Not because of its beauty, but because of the perfect perception. 
* Art as a basic Human instinct. It is a "must do" activity for humans by nature to actively express feelings.
* Art provides a function, of expressing imaginations. Both in imagery painting, or in unique way of words formation
* Art, as people perceive is also a means of entertainment.
* Art can also be used for psychological purposes, it is called Art therapy, and most therapists use it as a process of helping their patients.
* Lastly, Art is a means of communication. It is a major purpose, as art in every aspect is a mean to communicate emotions, feelings and mood to the other individual viewing it or reading it.
Flowers are known for beauty. It serves as a means of admiration. They also serve as a means of passing messages across, so they are used for varieties of events. Varieties of Color beautification have made flowers so known round the globe. They are the artistic structure of nature, so amazing. As funny as it sounds, flowers have purposes other than beautification 
Purpose of Flowers 
* Flowers can be used as a means to express love and feelings  
* It is also use for Wedding and Funeral Functions. 
* Also for Birth and christening
* It can also be used for the creation of art
Flowers like daisies; which symbolize Innocence, Lily/Irises; life or resurrection, and Roses which symbolizes love, passion and emotions are good for easy communication.
However, before you take your money to the florist, make sure the person you want to gift it to appreciate flowers. Most Nigerian gifts prefer a box of chocolate.
Beauty is everywhere and easy to see. You can see a trash can but someone else sees that trash can as a good picture concept. According to Wikipedia, beauty is the ascription of a property or characteristic to an animal, idea, object, person or place that provides a perceptual experience of pleasure or satisfaction. In other words, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Beauty is not only picture attractiveness or something pleasing to the eyes; it also has a lot to do with Psychology. Beauty can be seen in intelligence, charisma, elegance and so on. 
Art is a way of showing the beauty in flowers. The three concepts have attractiveness and interest in common.
Man has been able to accomplish so much by harnessing these three Concepts.
It's therefore said, Art, Flower and Beauty are the bedrock of creativity, emotions and expression. 

Sunday, 16 February 2020

Silent Tears

By Okafor Eberechukwu 

Oh! How shame engulfed me. It was wrapped around me like a wet cloth worn during the harmattan season, shivers running down my spine. Silent tears dripped down my clear and flawless skin. My skin was admired relentless by my peers but I still thought to myself.
”Not again!” I wished beauty could be swapped for the problem I was facing. I wished the cold ground could just open and swallow me. The thought of a 24years old girl wetting the bed was unimaginable and an embarrassment! Why couldn’t I control my bladder? Why did it have to be me facing this type of problem? Why me! Why me! The silence of the brightened room hit me hard as only the birds chippering outside with happiness was my only companion. Probably waking up to start a new day gave them so much hope and I thought.
“Why were the birds given the privilege and I wasn’t”. It was only around 2am and I had slept around 12am with the feeling that if I didn’t sleep for long then I could escape this horrific experience but it always followed me like a plague or an evil shadow, because I always woke up panting like a dog and anticipating the boomerang that was about to be thrown at me. It was always there, the map of Nigeria sitting proudly on my sheets. Not again!!! When will this stop! I wasn’t a drunk, I was a responsible 24 years old girl, I stopped drinking a lot of water, I always used the toilet before going to bed so who did I offend! Where did I go wrong! Who cursed me! What a wicked world! I sat on the floor and wept. How was I going to tell my aunt who took me in after my parents’ death? My mother, Mrs. Rosaline Mbah was always being likened to a goddess. I was always described as my mother’s vomit because of the striking resemblance we had. I tried to pick myself up from my shame as I recalled the accident that led to my parents’ death.
“My little angel” the thought of my dad simmered in. He always called me that when trying to beg me after he must have offended me; he was a stout man with a bald head but he was the best father to me. He excellently was as the best husband to my mum but the cold hands of death snatched them both at the same time, before help could arrive. I remembered the blaring sound of the ambulance and the doctors saying the time of their death, then it dawned on me that I was an orphan. I cried bitterly even though I was surrounded by family and friends. My aunt Muna and Uncle Moses decided to take responsibility of me since then.
Aunt Muna looks so much like my mum and always reminded me of her. She loved telling me stories while sewing and I loved listening to her with a smile always plastered on my face. She always knew when something was wrong with me without being told and always urged me to tell her what the problem was. Uncle Moses on the other hand is a quiet man who loves watching the news, he loves me as much as Obinna, their 23years old son who was never pampered. Mostly, Obinna got the rod of words instead of me, maybe it was because of his inability to secure a job after his NYSC. 
“It would build him into an independent man". In Uncle Moses opinion. My thoughts slowly slipped back into my present condition. Even though I always told Obinna my secrets, how could I tell him or anyone else what I was going through! It will end up being a disaster! I tried going for deliverance but it seemed no one had a solution for me. I was giving up, I was tired of such a life. Maybe this was my parents calling me to come and join them, I thought to myself. Frank, my boyfriend has continually endured my profound refusal to sleep over at his place for over a year. I laughed out loud at the thought of that, as hot streaming tears rolled down. How could I sleep over? So I’ll show him my artistic skills? And go back to being single? No! I wasn’t about to take that risk. Frank loved me, of course I knew that, he used every opportunity to show me he did. What a loving soul! He definitely deserved better than being with a hopeless bed-wetter. I laughed out loud so hard, one would think I was going mad! I have been on the floor for over 2hours crying and thinking alone. I needed to stand up and get ready for the day’s work. I wasn’t done being sorry for myself though. I took a shower scrubbing myself like I was trying to wash off the sins of the world from my delicate skin. With my towel tied around my body and folded on my firm breast, Obinna’s loud voice resounded.
“Rose, Mummy and Daddy said you should come down for breakfast and you better do that fast so they don’t send me back here oh”.
“I’m coming twinnie.” I replied as that was what we often called ourselves. I dressed up in a sunflower dress, I love this dress because it always complements my skin. I hurriedly went down the stairs and met a steaming hot bowl of jollof rice. The smell hit my nose and my tummy rumbled to the aroma.
“I know you will come quickly because u love food a lot” Obinna said suddenly and I laughed forgetting my sorrow a bit. I sat down to eat but then, the appetite disappeared as I pondered on how sick keeping my dirty secret was making me. I was still lost in thoughts when my Uncle’s voice jolted me back.
“What is wrong Rose, you aren’t eating? Is something wrong?”
“No uncle, I’m fine.” I barely touched my food when I decided to head for work. I bade them goodbye. On my way to work, thoughts of Frank enveloped my thoughts, today marks our 1year and 6 months anniversary, and then a genuine smile hit my lips for the first time since I heard the first cock crow. I picked my bag from the taxi as we got to the gate of the school.
Baptist model high school where I taught Science. Trust me, I was good at my job and it has always been my passion. Why won’t it? When it was the medicine to my sore that refused to heal. I didn’t want my sorrow to spoil my day so I tucked it back wherever it was coming from. Getting to the school, the smiles on the kids’ faces lit my face as I returned their greeting with a smile on my face showing my perfectly created face. With my dimples sitting on my left cheek, my perfect jawline, my pointed nose and my natural hair which I hurriedly styled into a bun, nevertheless it got the admiration of people. I swayed my hips as I walked into the SS1 class for my first work of the day. I braced myself for their usual “Good morning ma’am” that resonated than my morning alarm. I won the award for the best teacher last year, I was proud of myself as I gave myself a pat on the back. After the greetings and they were all seated, I started my teaching.
 “Anita what is wrong with you, you seem to be lost in thoughts?” I asked the short child who was never quiet.
“Nothing ma, I’m sorry ma.” She apologized.
“It is fine, just pay attention to what I am saying so you won’t say I haven’t taught u in your exams” I replied and continued with my teachings. The day dragged so lazily as I continued teaching classes after classes till I was done teaching for the day. I dragged my feet back to my office and before I could remove my shoes, Anita strolled in.
“Anita, can I help you?” I was concerned.
“No ma, I mean yes ma.” She sounded confused, I knew something was wrong.
“Have your seat Anita, you know you can always talk to me if you can’t go to the counsellor’s office.” I said softly putting my arm around her as she sat. 
“Yes ma, I know. Ma, Ma.” It seemed like she was debating whether to open up or not. 
“We all have problems, I have mine too but if u aren’t ready to share it then it is fine to wait until you are ready". My mind wandered to thoughts of my bed-wetting problem, I couldn’t tell anyone about it so I could understand how Anita felt. I was still in my thoughts when Anita’s shaky voice said;
“Ma, I bed-wet and my parents are very upset with me” I was shocked, we were both having the same problem. What advise was I supposed to give this girl when I couldn’t even stop the problem from happening to me? 
“Ma, did u hear what I said?” Of course I heard her but what could I say to soothe the shattered heart.
“Anita, how old are u?” I was surprised my voice came out without cracking.
“I am fifteen ma” she said with her head bowed. 
“Anita, don’t let what u are facing affect you academically, you have a bright future and so much more to gain. Talk to your parents, tell them you are not happy bed-wetting and wished for it to stop, maybe they will be able to find a solution to it.”
 "Thank you ma, I feel better and I’ll do as u have said.” she said as she smiled walking out of my office. I was happy I could do something to make her smile. I packed my bag and got set to leave.

I remember how we met; He had been jobless after his NYSC, sitting at d same barbing salon where I went to meet up with Obinna. One thing I noticed was his constant gloomy face. He said hi to me and tried to make a conversation but I wasn’t ready to make any friends. I answered him coldly and when he asked for my number, I had a double mind about giving it to him but ended up doing so. We continued talking and he told me his problems, his joblessness, about his really ill mother. This made me remember my dead mum as I touched d pearl necklace which was the only remaining possession of hers that I had with me. I immediately asked for his account number and transferred him some money so he could sort the hospital bills. I knew he felt reluctant to collect money from a girl but I forced him to take it. A little while later, a parent engaged me with an open job slot; just in case I knew anyone interested.  Iimmediately, I told him about it and that was how he went for the Job’s interview and got the job. Now he is a manager at a bank.
After the day’s work, it was time for my man! As I left the school premises around 5pm waiting for Frank to come and pick me up.He was such a gentleman that never kept his woman waiting. Barely two minutes after getting outside, I saw his black car moving towards where I was standing, pretending he didn’t see me, and behaving like he wanted to hit me. This was his usual play, as I always ended up screaming and telling him to stop it, I certainly would feel good about being one legged. He laughed, showcasing his perfect dentition with clear white teeth complementing his Melanin colour. 
I entered the car and we went to have dinner. We also visited so many other places. Oh! I loved this man! Not that I didn’t know before but it grew daily like a flower blooming beautifully. After having so much fun with my heartthrob, he decided we go to his place. The sex was mind-blowing, he just knew how to drive my emotions wild. I felt like was going to break and when he slid into me, it was gentle and sweet. He said he needed to savour my sweetness and not treat me like he was a savaged beast. Bliss!!! I thought to myself until I felt the wetness between my thighs! 
My God! I had dozed off! How could I have made such a mistake! What was I going to do! What will I tell Frank! I was confused at this point. Frank turned in his sleep and that was when I realised he was lying right beside me. Then a thought came running through my mind. I got a glass of water, and then I woke Frank telling him I had spilled the water on the bed. He looked at the bed, looked at me and then it hit me with the sad truth that he knew I was lying! He wasn’t dumb! But he played a fool just to save me from shame. We changed the sheets and I washed my cloth and we both resolved to sleep on the cold tiled floor. I woke up at d break of dawn and so did he because he had to go to work. I was scared of losing him. He took me into the bathroom, removed my clothes and his and decided to bathe me. I was confused and then his question hit me like a sharp pricking of a needle.
"Since when?" His thick husky voice rang through my ears again. I was speechless! I was consumed with fear! Shock gripped me and my body shook with tears filling my eyes but I answered.
“Since I was 20” he continued bathing me like he didn’t hear what I said and I said it again.
“Since I was twenty”. 
"Why didn’t you tell me?" He asked, I was silent, dumbfounded, I couldn’t breathe. Something or someone was squeezing my heart like it was a piece of paper about to be thrown into the thrash. I looked into his eyes and it was void of any emotions, I knew I had lost my one true love, how would I explain to him? What will I say to him? I was vibrating like a leaf left out in the cold storm. Shockingly, he hugged me and kissed me and said soothing words. Hot tears I had been holding back started pouring down like heavy rain, I thought I had lost him. What did I do to deserve this man? He was my ray of hope in my dark and gloomy life. We went on having our bath and no words were exchanged. It was a comfortable silence appropriate for that situation. We got out of the bathroom and got dressed. I left some clothes behind in his house so thanked God I had something to wear. We were getting late so we skipped breakfast and he dropped me off at work and went about his business. I walked to my first class of the day with a dull face, on seeing my kids I was filled with my usual smile. Seeing Anita, I remembered our last conversation and asked her to see me after the class. I finally had a free period, walking down to my office, Anita walked up to me with a beaming smile.
 “Ma, I talked to them and they understood and did not judge me and promised to find ways so I could stop bed-wetting” I was overjoyed; 
"That’s beautiful, I’m happy for you. Now run along, you shouldn’t get to your class late".
“Yes ma.” she jolted joyfully. My free period went by so fast but lunch period came by quickly. At lunch, I got to my table and received flowers and chocolates. I was confused because it wasn’t my birthday neither was it valentine and then I saw the beautiful card, it was from Frank. My man! I didn’t expect him to understand so perfectly, he is God’s special design for me. I read the card and he asked me to meet him up at a lounge wearing the red dress that was packaged alongside other things. I wished that the time could go by quickly. After the closing of the school for the day, I hurriedly picked my bags and I rushed home in a taxi. I had my bath, sprayed a nice perfume and got dressed. 
Obinna, the usual chatterbox looked at me and smiled.
“Lover girl, where are you rushing off to like this?” 
“To your girlfriends house!” I mockingly replied 
“You are off to see Frank right?” 
"Yes sir, I smiled back". I bade my aunt who was cooking and my uncle who was watching the news goodbye.
“Oh, Rose come back early” he said without taking his eyes off the television. 
"Okay sir.” I said while putting on my shoes. 
“Rose, what do u want for dinner?” my sweet aunt asked”. 
“But u never ask me mum.” Obinna’s jealous voice rang out and I laughed.
“Anything Aunty.” I replied walking out of the house. I ordered an Uber and the Lagos traffic showcased itself with the sun hitting the wound up glass of the car. Getting to the lounge, it was decorated beautifully and Frank looked more handsome than ever, I was drooling at the sight of him as I walked slowly to where he sat. “Hey boo I smiled as I moved closer to him.
"Hey babe" he stood up and gave me a light kiss on the lip. So, what do u want to eat or drink? I chose a drink on the menu and ordered, so did he. 
“Copy copy, you copy me a lot. Why did u order the same thing I did?”
“Because I always want whatever u want” I blushed. I was still laughing when a waiter came to deliver a beautiful cake to our table with the most beautiful ring I had ever seen, seated at the top of the cake.
“Sorry, that’s not...” I couldn’t complete my sentence as I saw Frank going down on one knee and propose to me.
“Rose, I loved you. I love you, and I’ll always love you Irrespective of your short comings". "will you marry me?” he popped the question. 
“God my answer is yesssss!!”I screamed for joy as I handed him my left hand and he slid the beautiful ring into my finger. My joy knew no bounds, I was getting married my head was spinning. It was a quiet proposal and the best. He promised that we were going to solve the bed-wetting problem together but that didn’t change his feeling for me. I couldn’t stop staring at the ring as we went to his house together. That night, I called my uncle and aunt to share the good news and they were extremely happy for me. I slept in Frank’s house and that night, he held me tightly to sleep but woke me at intervals to go and pee but still, as usual I woke up like a dog, looking for the map but there was nothing, nothing!!! 
For the first time in 4 years I didn’t pee on the bed! I cried, because I was happy, overwhelmed with joy. I woke him up to tell him the good news and he smiled and hugged me. We went back to bed together and for the first time in years, I was at peace with myself as I thought with silent tears dripping down my cheeks.

Saturday, 8 February 2020

Raging Tranquility

By Pelumi Hassan 
It was so quiet, where she laid with her eyes up to the old and sickening ceiling. It was a dark rotting room, with rats and cockroaches playing the day away. She didn’t move even when the rusting liquid fell to her face. She was so still, so motionless that any passerby could mistake her for a cadaver. She didn’t blink, it was also very hard to tell if she was breathing, but she was alive, very alive. Proof? She was in tears, she wasn’t crying, nor whimpering, not even sobbing; those words were too loud to describe it. She was as silent as a crypt, yet in tears. Then, for the first time in some minutes, she took deep quick breaths. 
“Kola.” She thought to herself. With rush of regrets bursting out of her heart to every pain of her body. With great painful effort she tried to lay on her side, at least to prevent the slimy liquid from falling to her face.
 “Kola.” She thought to herself again this time, trying to say his name, she whimpered. With the intention of sitting up, she vibrated violently, sobbing with convulsion, her back met the floor again. 
“Kola!!!” she wanted to scream her lungs out, but all she did was to kick and puke with rage. When she was done offloading her gut, her dizzy mind wandered back to how it all started.
Some people say they get signs to warn them on the day they meet with the devil. They say it is usually a very simple but strange sign like striking your left foot against a stone or a sudden change of weather or even a calm voice to warn you against going out of your house. 
Well, I must be an unlucky one because the day I met Kola started like every other Tuesday. I had woken up to a screeching alarm, grumbled out of bed to join the rest of the Collins family for morning devotion. In fact, as sleepy as I was, I avoided colliding with the wall or bumping into something. Everything was normal, or did the calm voice speak to me when I fell asleep during morning devotion? Maybe it spoke while I was singing in the shower. My name is Adebimpe Collins and this is my story.
My mother’s car horn blazed out as I grabbed a mouthful of moi moi. That morning was so bright and blue that all Mrs. Collins yelled was my full name when I got into the car.
“Adebimpe Collins, if you don’t win Miss Nigeria in 4 years, you will have to apologize to the family.” She joked. The ride to school was smooth, I had the habit of looking into the blue sky to appreciate its beauty. I felt the cool breeze caress my face as Ajoke by Fireboy; a Nigerian musician played. It was a perfectly normal morning. I arrived school just early enough to talk to a few friends before assembly, I didn’t talk to a lot of people, just Tinu and my classmates. 
“Bimpe, can I see your literature assignment?” Joseph asked. I nodded.
“But there is no way I’m letting you copy it.” I added as he stared me down.
“So, it’s exactly a month Mama SU left for America.” Tinu stated, adjusting her glasses. Tinu was a sweet girl and the closest to me in school. Tinu was tiny; she was short and very slim, her pink and purple uniform must have been repeatedly adjusted to fit her light skinned body. Her freckles were so cute that they could not stay hidden under her very big glasses. Her size made people believe she was a very fragile person so she lurked around the only person that didn’t see her size. 
“I even pity SS3 class because we’ve not had civic class for a month now and they will write WAEC soon.” I replied pulling a comb out of my bag to run it through my teeny weeny afro. I was the only girl in senior school with low cut, and possibly the only one that hadn’t permed my hair down. What was there to perm anyways? I was glad that people thought it was cute, I was amongst the 3 girls that topped the class most beautiful list. I mean you had to give it to my melanin hour glass shape. I was not too slim, neither was I too fat. 
 “I really hope we find a replacement for Mama SU ASAP.” Tinu said. Mrs. Oliver was our Civic Education teacher, but we started calling her “Mama SU” because her skirts were long and big enough to hide the sins of the world. She had to leave the country with her husband to America. She left Hilton High without a replacement teacher so the senior students hadn’t had Civic Education classes.
Tuesday timetable started with Civic Education. We were expected to read a book or send for another teacher but there was no harm in starting the day with a free period, so the noise began.
“Principal is in school!” Joshua shouted as he ran into the class and immediately everyone placed a book on their tables and soon there was silence. Hilton High was quite big but if you sat in the right corners, you could see almost everything happening in the school. I was close to the window so I saw Mrs. Kingsley, the principal. She was quite petite and cute but somehow she commanded the respect she deserved. She just knew how to combine her outfits, nothing she wore felt wrong to me. She matched a flower-patterned fitted gown with black heel on her beautiful ebony skin. She stood in front of the staffroom like she was waiting for someone and then the staffroom door creaked opened and out of it came a tall man I had never seen.
“How tall is Mr. Kingsley?” I asked Tinu whose seat was very close to mine.
“Principal’s husband?” I nodded, “Err… well, he’s taller than she is.” We laughed.
“You might want to keep it down, Mrs. Kingsley is heading for this class.” Atinuke, the class gossip said and we focused on the book before us. 
“Good morning all.” The principal announced her presence smiling from ear to ear at the doorstep. We jerked out of our seats chorusing a “Good morning ma” followed by a comfortable quietness. She nodded with content presenting her escort the class. 
“Yes, have your seats. This period is for Civic Education right?” We nodded. 
“Good, so you are going to be the first class to experience Mr. Kolawole James’ teaching. Say hello to your new Civic teacher.” I don’t know about the other student, but when I saw Mr. Kolawole James my heart skipped a beat or two. Everything around me slowed down as I took in every detail of his body. Mr. James was light and taller than all the boys in class, he was even taller than Faruq the iroko tree of the class. He had the glorified natural pink lips with the perfect moustache for it. He possibly had his hair cut the day before because he was definitely the neatest being I had ever seen. His eyes were black but they were beautiful. He had beaten Mr. Henry off the rank of the most handsome teacher in Hilton High.
“Hello class…” he spoke, revealing his white pearls, using them to bite his pink lips as he tucked his hands into his pockets. “Father Lord did you create this man on a Sunday?!” He was just… just beautiful. He was nervous and it showed as he chuckled with his black eyes to his glossy black shoes. He took a deep breath in and started again.
“Hi guys, sorry but I’m not the formal type of person, so you can chose to call me Mr. James or just… Kola.” He winked as the class applauded with joy in spite of Mrs. Kingsley’s protest. I wasn’t even in class anymore, I was already saying my wedding vows to this Mr. Kolawole James.
“Seriously Kola would make me feel better.” He spoke again, Mrs. Kingsley shrugged as she walked out of the class. 
“Sit down guys, so, can I get the whiteboard marker?” he asked looking around for someone to come to his rescue. 
“You, with the low cut.” He pointed at me. If you have never heard your heart beat when someone you love talks to you, I don’t think you will understand how I felt. I froze but my heart raced for joy. He actually noticed me! But how could he not, I stood because I wanted to stand tall enough for him to see that I was the complete package. 
“What’s your name?” he asked visibly impressed with the beauty in front of him. 
“Bimpe sir.” I was glad that he was glad.
“Bimpe can you get me a black marker?” I nodded and he smiled at me. You see that smile was the beginning of everything. As I raced to the staffroom for black marker, all I could think of was his amazing smile, he had the most beautiful smile ever! I got back to the class just in time to see his smile again. His fingers brushed my skin and sent cold shivers down my spine when I delivered the black marker, I knew the contact wasn’t strong but I liked the way it made my throat run dry. 
“Oh God, am I in love?”  I thought to myself as I returned to my seat. 
“Why are you smiling?” Tinu asked me. I wanted to tell her I was in love with the new teacher I met few minutes ago but I just smiled and said;
“You wouldn’t understand.” And focused on how Mr. Kolawole James taught Human Rights.
You see love is indeed a beautiful thing but it can make you blind to your stupidity. Sometimes it made no sense. My love for Mr. James made no sense, it happened so fast and it kept growing. Of course no one knew how I felt, not Tinu, I couldn’t even write it in my diary. I got back from school every day to cling to my pillow in thought of him. To make him hold me in my fantasies, if only he could just look my way.
However, Civic Education was moving so fast that in 6 weeks; with the help of Saturday classes, we had almost finished the syllabus. Saturday classes were fun classes. First I had the opportunity of leaving the house on Saturday, I also had one more day to drool over him. Secondly, Mr. James developed the habit of walking Tinu and I home since we found out that we followed the same route to our houses. Tinu’s house was the first stop, then mine. So I wasn’t really jealous when SS3 girls hovered around him, I had 30 precious minutes with him alone each Saturday and that was all I needed. 
Mr. James was a fun loving man. He loved nature, and mythology. He often talked about his philosophies. To him, love was painful and he used cupid and the arrows to prove it. He must have gone through a horrible heartbreak in school or something because his face was always pale when he talked about love. He studied Chemistry  in Obafemi Awolowo University but he couldn’t get a job. 
“I am just teaching in your school for a while, I will get a job soon.” That was almost like a chorus as I heard it every time we talked. It was always painful to hear that though. I knew he had to go someday, but I silently prayed it would be later.
“So, I don’t know if you want me to take you out sometime. Just the two of us.” He asked one burning afternoon.
“Sir?” I was dumbfounded. 
“Come on, I already told you to call me Kola.” He smiled.
“We will just go out for some drinks, not alcohol oh! Drinks like Fanta, Coke, and Sprite. I know you like Sprite. Just the two of us…” was he proposing a date?
“Mr. James, I don’t think I will be allowed.” I replied. I was going to nod my head and scream yes but when and how will I be allowed to go out? What was I going to tell my mother?
“Don’t worry, no one has to know, I will set it all up if you want.” Something in his voice sounded odd but I just felt he could read me.
“Mr. James…” 
“Call me Kola” he interrupted.
“My mother will not allow me leave the house, I am here just because of Saturday classes. I’m sorry, I can’t sir.” I refused his offer and almost immediately I wished I didn’t. He nodded that he understood but face became pale and rigid all of a sudden. He looked angry and it tore my heart apart. The rest of the journey was quiet and boring. When I reached my stop, he didn’t smile or wave or speak a word, he just kept walking. I began to understand the cupid and the arrows philosophy. Maybe I should have taken that as my sign and let it go but I was terribly in love with this man, or so I thought.
Mr. James changed after that day, he became too busy to walk, talk or even smile at me. I was hurting and he knew it. I fell ill twice in a week because he refused to even look my way. My parents bought me medications and everything they thought I needed but no one knew I was suffering from heart ache. I couldn’t just tell anyone, they wouldn’t understand. When I couldn’t take it anymore, I decided to fix it.   
I approached Mr. James at the cafeteria during prep period the next Wednesday.  The cafeteria was always empty and enclosed at that time of the day. I knew he would be there because he had once told me about how secured and empty the cafeteria was after prep.
“I will make it this Saturday Mr. James.” I said loud enough for his ears, there was no use explaining anything. He pretended to be busy with his phone. Come on! Mr. James, this girl might die if you don’t talk to her. My eyes got misty as he maintained a tranquil state.
“Mr. James please!” my voice was louder this time 
“But I don’t understand what you want from me Bimpe!” he responded in the same volume. 
“I offered to show how I feel for you but I get it, you clearly stated that you don’t feel the same way about it. So please, let it lie.” He bloated out. He had feelings for me? How could he not see that I felt the same way?
“Mr. James I am in love with you! I have loved you since the first day I saw you.” I confessed as a tear dropped. I wanted to say more but I was overwhelmed by my emotions so much that my tears kept pouring out. I didn’t understand why I was crying but I knew it changed his mood. He reached out to me shushing and patting me calmly.
“Calm, calm down dear.” 
“I’m sorry sir.” I choked out. He wrapped me in his arms, slowly, he worked his fingers on my back to help me relax. That was the first time I was close to his heart and trust me, whatever illness I had was cured. He used his handkerchief to wipe my tears as he bent to my height. I could feel the warm air he exhaled, he used his fingers to raise my chin up. 
“You are a very beautiful girl Bimpe, and I like that you love me.” He said and sealed it up with a kiss. There was no time to think about what he said, my brain had fried out. The kiss was slow, passionate and very daring. He worked his hands to feel every part of my body, I loved it. All I can say is that it felt like fireworks.
“I will set it all up, all you just have to do is come to school on Saturday okay?” he said after his lips left mine. I nodded like a fool and he smiled aware of what he had done to my head. He left the empty cafeteria but I sat there wondering who will marry this beauty if I didn’t. 
Thursday and Friday had never felt so slow. I just wanted Saturday, I wanted to be with Mr. James. I was actually very excited, my first date with my first love! Mr. James became friendly and smiley again, he even winked at me when no one else was watching. They were very beautiful moments, he just knew how to confuse me with love without even toughing me. Within two days, we had exchanged calls and messages than anyone on my contact list.
Finally, the D-day came. I woke up before my alarm woke me up that Saturday. I couldn’t sleep, he was all I could think about. I had carefully selected a simple black gown and a pair of shoes. I had my bath and waited for my parents to call me out for morning devotion. I could not really pay attention to my father’s prayer points because I was praying to God that my plans didn’t fail. So as soon as the sun was out, I dressed up for “class”.
Mr. James had fixed short classes for all the senior students. The plan was for me to wait till everyone in school had gone. He taught SS1 class first, then SS2, by the time he was done teaching SS3, I had escorted Tinu to her house and in pretense of heading home, I went back to school. He did all his normal ritual of talking to girls and when he was done, he sent me a text.
“Opposite school gate now, stay hidden.” I sneaked out of school unnoticed and I was united with Mr. James or should I say Kola. How could a man look so good in a pair of shorts and polo? We took a different route, a route I didn’t know. The afternoon was hotter than usual.
“Do you want us to stay somewhere till the sun is not threatening to cook us alive?” he joked. I nodded, I cared less for where we went, I just want to be able to recreate Wednesday’s magic. We kept walking till we got to an old building. It was a quiet environment, there were no houses or shops around. I felt cold shiver of fear down my spine but I held onto Mr. James. 
“Calm down.” He said sensing my fear. 
“I come here a lot to relax. Everywhere is just calm.” He smiled as we found an uncompleted building . I looked around and I was bothered. Why would anyone want to relax in a place like this? It was dirty, there were cockroaches and rats everywhere. Well, one cannot judge a man for where he finds solitude. I closed my eyes to try to find my comfort. 
“I’m with Mr. James.” I reminded myself. He finally found an almost neat comfortable spot. So we sat on the bricks we found.
“So, would you like to play a game?” he asked with a smirk on his face as he stood. I really did not care for games Mr. James, I just want you to hold me. 
“Yes.” I nodded. He approached me, stopped just in front of me and bent to face me. 
“I have never felt this way for any girl your age Bimpe.” He said with a shaky voice of desire. I knew he wanted to kiss me as much as I wanted to kiss him, so I adjusted a little. Following my cue, he held my neck till his lips finally made it to mine. There was that feeling of fireworks again. He fondled my body. It was enjoyable for the first 3 minutes but it became intense and demanding.
“Mr. James, I think we should go now.” I said when I finally broke free. His eyes pierced into mine as he muttered something I didn’t hear.
“Sir?” I asked.
“Call me Kola!” he shouted and fear gripped me. He tried to kiss me again but I declined. I really just wanted to leave that creepy place. He stood up to his full length and I saw it. The erection behind his shorts. He looked down at it laughing monstrously. Perhaps I should have taken to my heels or something at that point. My dumbass just sat there. 
“Stand up.” He commanded. I was going to but I was just suddenly weak.  “You don’t listen to instructions huh?” he fired with hungry eyes and grabbed my thighs. Where did my sweet Mr. James go?
“Mr. James please…” I started as I tried to free myself of his grip.
 “Please? Please what? I’m not going to hurt you, just calm down.” He tightened his grip and dragged me against the rough ground.
All in a flash I understood what was about to happen. I kicked and struggled to break free but his grip was firm. With one big arm, he pinned me down, with the other, he rid himself of his shorts.
“Mr. James I’m begging you in the name of God. Please sir, please!!”  I pleaded trying to stop him from reaching my panties. His other big arm landed on my throat. 
“Hey! I won’t hurt you if you cooperate.” His eyes were dark and evil when I looked into them. If I cooperate? If I let him rape me? How did I get here? I metamorphosed from begging him for mercy to screaming for help. He got really irritated at this and his calm tranquil voice was raging at me to stop.
“No one will hear you here!” he yelled  as he succeeded in ridding me of my panties. I kicked violently as trying to escape. He was so strong, too strong. I bit him very hard on his arm so much that I could taste his blood. He released me groaning in pain. I sprang up as fast as I could, crying and running away from the lunatic. At that moment, I wish I had joined the track team.  
I saw him race past me and before I could run the other way, I felt a heavy load of pain on my head, I collapsed on the floor before the stick he hit me with did. I couldn’t hear or feel anything for a while, I was sure he had knocked my soul out of me body when he hit me with that stick. The next thing I felt was a huge sting of pain in my tummy as he forced all of himself in me. I cried and groaned in pain as he thudded and moaned. I felt pain everywhere, I kept trying to fight myself free but it was all to no avail. The pain I felt wasn’t only physical, it was mental, emotional and psychological all at once.
So I gave up, I felt sanity leave my body that moment. My time for tranquility came, I remained mute as he continued his deeds. I didn’t cry or shout or scream anymore, I was just still. He didn’t even check to see if I was alive or breathing, he just moaned and groaned. 
When he was done, he took his shorts and left. My heart bled as his footstep faded and soon it became very quiet. I looked up to the old and sickening roof with drips of slimy liquids falling to my face. I just couldn’t move, or breathe or cry or even whimper. I just laid there like a corpse. I wanted to just die. If I maintained that position for a while without giving my body oxygen, maybe I would be dead. I felt my tears divide my skull. I took quick deep breath as a rush of regret gripped me. 
“Kola.” I thought to myself as another liquid from the roof met with my face again. I tried to lay on my side to prevent the slimy liquid from falling to my face again. 
“Kola.” I thought to myself again, I was raging. I vibrated violently in pain. I felt pain all over my body, I sobbed with convulsion, and made it back to the floor again. How could he have done this to me?
“Kola!!!” I wanted to scream my lungs out, but all I did was to kick and puke with rage. Cupid’s arrows really struck me hard.

Wednesday, 29 January 2020

New Story - Solitude!

By Black Pen
I laughed so hard when Kunle sent me that nonsense WhatsApp sticker, with the inscription "That's why you are still a virgin". We had joked about me not having a girlfriend. I had always taken solace with my system and Google assistant. 

I knew he was a d*ck, but he knows just how to rub his love life in my face. This day, it got to me. It threw me off my feet. I had always abused myself, a way to insulate myself from other's judgment. I went offline instantly, casting my mind back to why and how my solitude started 

Secondary school in Ondo town was the highlight of my academics. I was what every good male student wanted to be. Smart, handsome, humorous, reserved, and of course, girls found me seducing. The eyes, the hair, the voice, the smart. Even myself would fall. 

None of the girls in class caught my fancy, they were sharp contrasts to my person, I wanted someone like me. But there was none in my class. none, till she came. Fair as a fairy tale. Voice like that of a nightingale. 

She was pretty, and instantly I felt a connection with her. The one I subconsciously get. Thinking of her made my heart warm - I technically feel the warmth. Writing stories made me feel characters and descriptions beyond sight, I feel touch right in my head. 

I live in a fantasy world of my own, processing every word and interpreting it to actual feelings, that elicit physical reactions. My hand got sweaty as she said "yes" when I asked that I just wanted to be her friend. 

Everyone wanted to be closer friends with the new girl, so I stepped back for the guys. Weeks past, I just looked from afar. We greeted when we met, talk the bit I could process, borrowed notes and went on to do me. 

But something had changed, I didn't get to enjoy the attention of other girls anymore. I suddenly lost interest in those I had been forcing myself to tease and converse with. I didn't know why. 

"Hey, you've been avoiding me for two weeks now" she asked
"Really? no, I haven't. Just didn't want to disturb you like the other guys did. " 
"Ok, we agreed to be friends, your presence is always what I look forward to"

My fantasy neuron kicked in, I gave a thousand meaning to her statement. The other guys saw they had no hope with her. The "early birds" shot shots, but all missed. I didn't shoot any shot, neither did I plan to, but here she was. 

I was happy she agreed to be friends. We closed from school together, took the school bus, seated beside one another, shared the cafeteria table. My guys resigned that we were dating. I was used to such scandals. My former school then was worse.

"I love you damola, I want to be your girlfriend" She said one day as we held hands out of the school. 

Instantly, I lost the grip on her hand. The sweat dried up, my skin thickened. My skin crawled. I didnt believe what I heard. I was in complete silence, not just for the day, but for the rest of the week. 

I had seen movies of people that loved and dated, they fought at the slightest chance. What wouldn't have caused a fight if they were just friends. The responsibility, the accountability, the...everything. 

I kept my distance from her. I just wanted to be friends, I was satisfied with just seeing her. So, I walked away. I could see her in class. that was enough. 

Seeing her didn't take long. "Paula is dead, damola" my friend ran into the class. He was coming from the staff room, he was the class rep. "She was traveling over the weekend with her father, the car had an accident. both are dead"

I lost me. Everything went cloudy. My heart felt ripped apart. I stared daily at her chair. My mind cast back to all the memories. To the few weeks we shared as intimate friends. All the life before she popped the question. 

I loved her, but didn't want to say. I wished she never asked that day. For the one week we were seperate after that, I longed for the perfect way to get back. 

I had seen videos on YouTube over the weekend. I found the perfect way to tell her that I loved her too. That I wanted to date her. That I wanted to just be more than friends. That I wanted to call her "sugar!". That I wanted to travel to California with her. 

I waited happily till Monday. Hoping that she'd come back to school. Monday came, but she never did. I should have told her when I had the chance. I should have cast away my worries and taken the bold step. 

But I took the cowards way out. I only want to date someone I am friends with, someone I can be friends with, not just a random girl. She became the friend, but I still failed her. 

If I had said it, if I had not been cowardly, she wouldn't have traveled on a Valentine Weekend. She would have stayed. It was all my fault. 

Now, I have the friends, but I still can't say "I love you" to the one I really do love. What if like me back then, she just wants to be friends and walk away like I did, If I say it. Being friends is better than the risk of losing the one I hold dear. Isn't it?