Wednesday, 30 July 2014

SPOKEN FOR 02





Kemi shut her eyes as the infant cried non-stop, louder than the sound of the small generator that powered the apartment. The child was hungry, and the mother had refused to feed her. Kemi hissed and reached out for her ear phones, and then she plugged them in her ears.

Yes, she couldn't deny that despite all the hatred she had built up towards her own daughter, a part of her wanted to reach out and calm her down. She hadn't really held the baby since they had been discharged at the hospital. Her mother dropped in some times to help take care of the baby but of late, it seemed as though her father had found out about what was happening and he now forbade her from even going to church on Sundays, because he knew she would always stop by and spend some hours at Kemi's place.


She thought about what she wanted to do with her life. She couldn't just let the child take away every hope she had for the future. Kemi opened her eyes and went towards her shelves where she had kept some of the money that her mother had given her to take care of herself and the baby. She had been thinking of going to buy a GCE form so that she could take her O'Levels at all cost. She had been counting the fifth note in the wad that she had brought out when the baby stopped crying all of a sudden. She breathed in a sigh of relief for the quiet it brought, but then there was something weird about it. She dropped the money and walked towards the small crib where the baby was placed. The child wasn't asleep. She lay there, eyes open, staring up into the ceiling, wimping. For the first time, Kemi begun to notice the semblance this baby shared with her. She had her big and round eyes, and her pointy wide ears. But the baby was bequeathed with all the beauty that Kemi had been denied. It was not understandable how something beautiful could share that much striking likeness with something not beautiful.

Kemi reached out and picked up the baby. She wasn't exactly sure what to do with it. Maybe the baby was hungry, sleepy,  had pooed or had peed.  She could feel the baby's high temperature. The child was sweating, and wimping like a wounded dog. Kemi hissed again, thinking of what to do. She was confused. She was still her mother's own baby. She didn't know what to do with a sick child. Immediately, she dashed for her phone and dialed her mother's number.

"Mummy!" Kemi said, trying not to panic.

"Yes, what's the matter?" Her mother replied.

"The baby is sick...it's running a high temperature and it's just making funny noises. What should I do?" Kemi said. She was afraid. She didn't like the child, but she didn't want her to die...

In about an hour, they were all at the hospital; the grandmother, the mother, and the baby. Her mother had
left the house despite her father's threats on not letting her back in if she went.
Kemi and her mother sat in the empty seats inside the doctor's office, as he examined the baby.

"How often do you feed your baby?" The doctor asked Kemi.

"I gave it some milk yesterday afternoon." Kemi said.

"What?! Yesterday afternoon?" Kemi's mother screamed, looking at her child unbelievably.

"I slept off..." Kemi replied.

The doctor was going to say something but then he kept shut.

"You need to take good care of her. She's not feeding properly. Breast feeding her exclusively will keep her very healthy. For now, we will have to do some other checking up to be sure everything is okay with her." The doctor said, after some time.

"By the way, what's her name?" The doctor asked Kemi.

She looked at him, then looked away. She didn't know the name of her child. She didn't even have a proper pronoun for her. She called the baby It. 

"Where's the birth certificate?" He asked.

"It's somewhere in my house..." Kemi stuttered.

"Ejo sir," Her mother hissed. "The baby's name is Folorunsomi."

He gave Kemi a look which she couldn't really decipher if it was meant and directed at her for her irresponsibility, or maybe it was mere pity that she was a teenage mother.




Kemi's mother had decided to spend the night with her daughter and grand daughter. She didn't mind what her husband would do. What was the worst thing that could happen? He already had another family outside their marriage.

She finished bathing the baby that had obviously not been bathed for some days. As she dried her little body in a soft white towel, she tickled her cheeks. The baby giggled and chuckled, excited at the way her grandmother was playing with her. She dressed the baby up in her diaper after a dump of silky white powder, and then put her inside a onesie, then she placed her in the crib.
She saw Kemi at one end of the bed, crying.

"You really should be crying for neglecting this baby." Her mother said, walking towards her, and sitting beside her on the bed. She held Kemi's hand in hers, and then placed her daughter's head on her shoulder.

"It's okay, my baby. Every thing will be alright, sogbo?" She said softly.

"Mummy, I don't want to be a mother yet. This baby has just disrupted my life! I have a long way to still go in my life. Will any body ever want to date me or marry me because of that!" She pointed at the crib.

Her mother had had enough. She had already hit Kemi hard in the face with a slap before she could even realize it.

"Can you even hear yourself talk? How different are you from your father who disowned you?" She yelled at her.

Kemi burst into louder sobs and more tears.

"It's not fair!" She cried. "This is not how I want to live!"

"Nothing is fair in life. You are in this situation, so deal with it. You have to grow up and own up to your responsibilities!"

"I want to take my O'level exams and go to the University." Kemi said.

Her mother sighed this time.

"I can't take the baby to the house because of your dad. Who will take care of her?" She said.

The baby interrupted them with her crying. Kemi turned back and looked at the crying child from the crib, but she didn't stand up to go and cuddle or feed her. She hissed.

Her mother went over to the crib and carried the baby, then begun to rock her gently in her arms. The baby didn't give in. She cried louder.

"She's hungry, Kemi." Her mother said.

Kemi stood up and went to the kitchen then she came back with a feeding bottle of amateurishly diluted milk.

"Is that what you feed her with?!"

Kemi was about to reply her mother when the older woman came closer to her and placed the crying child in her arms; where the child belonged.

"Breast feed her." She said.

Kemi hesitated but then, after much battle within her mind, she finally unbuttoned her chiffon blouse.

"Mum, please turn to the other side or close your eyes..." Kemi said.

Her mother laughed.

"You don't want me to see your breast. Hahaa...I am your mother, I used to bathe you!"

Kemi shrugged, and then, let the child feed from her. The baby clung to it like her life depended on it, drawing every bit of the natural milk she needed to survive. Kemi couldn't take her eyes off her. She couldn't believe how another person was relying on her absolutely! Then she begun to see it...she was responsible for this child. She was mother.
Her mother saw it too. That was when she stood up and excused her self, giving Kemi the chance to live and relish that irreplaceable moment.



***



The next morning, Kemi didn't want her mother to leave. It felt like boarding school all over again, when her mother had taken her to start JSS1 far away in Ipetumodu, and had left for Lagos. Kemi had wept and cried for so many days, till reality begun to dawn on her that she now had to live and grow up with other children, and would only get to see her parents on visiting days, which they hardly went for anyways. Her mother tried to go for some...but her father had never showed up.

"Mummy can't you move out of that house and come and live with us?" Kemi said, holding her mother's hand like a toddler.

"I have to go back to my husband, my dear, and to your sisters too."

"But he doesn't even love us."

Her mother raised her hand half way in the air, meaning Kemi had said enough.

She sighed, and finally hugged her good bye, knowing her persuasion would do nothing to change her mother's mind.

"Please call me when you get home. I also want to speak with Kitan and Kofo. It's been a while. I miss them." Kemi said as her mother got into her Toyota.

"Okay o!" Her mother laughed.


The time was 11.30 AM.



.....



The time was 6.30 PM when Kemi glanced at her Disney princess wrist watch. She had still not received the phone call that her mother had promised. She was starting to get worried. She had called her mother's phone but it was switched off. She tried after some time again, but it was the same response.There was no body she could call at home. Her younger sisters didn't have phones, and calling her father was a no-no.

By 7.15 PM, a call finally came through.

It was her father.

Her heart skipped a beat, then a couple more. Why was he calling her?

"Hello..." She said, calmly, building up her courage.

"Kemi..." It was Kitan's voice. She was whispering.

"Kitan...what is it?"

What she said made Kemi realize that Kitan had not been whispering but that she had actually been sobbing.

"The Police came to the house. Mummy had an accident on her way home..."

"What?!" Kemi screamed, not minding if the baby was asleep or not.

"I stole Daddy's phone to tell you."

"Is she alive...is she okay?"

"She's at the hospital. They said she is unconscious. Daddy has gone to the hospital. He forgot his phone in the house."

"Oh God!" Kemi said.

"I'm afraid, Kemi. Kofo has been crying since. We don't know what to do. We don't want mommy to die. Why are bad things happening in our house?" Kitan cried.

Kemi had started to cry too. She ended the call and took in a deep breath.

She left the baby in the house, locked in, as she ran to the main road to get a bike that would take her to the hospital. Kitan had told her the name of the hospital. She knew where it was. It was just about three bus stops before her house.

She had been trying to explain to the nurses at the reception about whom she wanted to see when her father walked straight out from the corner that led to the inner parts of the hospital. Kemi was silent.

"She's in this hospital because of you. Because of your irresponsibility and stupidity!" He started. The look he had given her was one she could never forget. It housed so much hatred and disgust. He raised his voice at her so high that it crept underneath her skin to make the hairs on her stand in fear.

"You're a disappointment, Kemi." He said.

She swallowed her saliva, not knowing what to say. Her head was bowed down, not in respect, but in shame. She wanted to say she was sorry, and to apologize for everything that had happened, but the words wouldn't come out.

"Excuse me sir!" A nurse ran towards them, followed by the doctor that had been speaking with her father a few minutes ago.

"Yes?" He replied, as though he already knew what they had come to say.

"Sir...we're sorry. She...your wife didn't make it. We just lost her, I apologize." The doctor said, without any feeling or look of an apology on his face. It seemed like a rehearsed line that he told all his patients' relatives each time he had to deliver bad news. Kemi looked at the doctor, her head spinning out of confusion.


"Oh." Her father said, nodding his head.

He looked at Kemi, with a more disappointing look than the previous one, then he walked away.



"I'm sorry dad." She finally whispered, almost choking on her tears, but he had walked away, out of the hospital, and out of her life.








*fisayotalabi
*SPOKEN FOR
photo credit drum.co.za















Monday, 28 July 2014

SPOKEN FOR 01

Hello everyone. Happy holidays for those of us in Nigeria.
No, I didn't have writer's block. Lol. I just didn't want to rush and write something that might not make much meaning, so I decided to think something through, before putting pen to paper; or do I say, finger to keyboard. Lol. Thanks so much for always reading the stories on the blog. It keeps me encouraged!

Lots of Love.

Please enjoy this new series I've titled: SPOKEN FOR.



___________________________________________







Her hands shook vigorously as she pressed the sachet of capsules that the doctor had prescribed. Rita had taken her to see the roadside doctor. His shop was just beside the mechanic's stand and the woman that sold recharge cards. But his shop required some further trekking into the bush. Rita had promised her that she wouldn't have to undergo any kind of operation to get it out.

"Kemi hurry up now! We have to go soon." Rita yelled at her.

Kemi shivered. She shivered so much that some water spilled from the big stainless cup that the doctor had given to her.

"You think say I wan kill you?" The doctor said. "Rita why you bring this kain customer come for here?"

Rita sighed.

"Why are you wasting time for God's sake!" Rita yelled at her again.

She shut her eyes as the four pills; the four different colored bitter pills, went down her throat. She shook her head several times. She felt like throwing up. Rita collected the stainless cup from her and went to the rusted sink to pour away the water that remained. There was a small bug in it and some sediments. The underneath of the cup was rusty too. It didn't bother Rita though, because that was her reality. She lived with her two parents and seven siblings in a one bedroom there in Ipetumodu and she wasn't used to looking out for dirt or anything. She just lived.

Kemi grabbed her purse, brought out two thousand Naira, handed it to the doctor, who also was the nurse and admin staff and everything. In a few minutes, they were back on the road, waiting for a cab or bike to get them back to school. By the time they got back to the school premises, Kemi's driver was already waiting, ready to take her home to Lagos. The school was getting sparsely populated already. It was the third term vacation and parents had started coming to get their wards.

She hugged Rita goodbye before she got into the backseat of the SUV, and then, the driver started to reverse so he could drive out. Rita was from an entirely poor background, but somehow, she was never transparent about it. She tried to act like all the other rich girls in school like they all had equal opportunities. She'd come into the College under the payroll of the church they attended. A rich church member had offered to help out of the promising young girls in church, and Rita had been lucky. The rich woman had promised to help Rita up till University if she was of good behaviour. She had just a year to go before it was time for University, all things being equal.


***


She had fallen asleep on the couch in the living room where she had been watching TV with her younger sisters. It was probably the movie they'd been watching, because in her dream, Kemi had also seen the Incredible Hulk. He had been coming towards her in all his might and fury. She searched for a hiding place but couldn't find any. He got to her in no time and started to hit her stomach. She kicked back but he continued to hit her harder. Then she let out a loud scream and when she opened her eyes, her sisters had gathered beside her.

"Are you okay?" Kitan asked. Kitan was her immediate and Kofo was the last child.

Kemi sighed, placing her hands on her stomach.

"I...I'm fine." She said.

She stood up to leave but then she crumbled to the floor. She felt so much pain in her abdomen. Extreme pain. But she was screaming more for her life than for the pain. She didn't want to die. She had been skeptical about that shack that Rita had taken her to, but she couldn't bear the shame and wrath of her parents if they found out that she was pregnant; pregnant at only fifteen years of age.

The next time she became conscious, she was on a hospital bed, and her mother and sisters were in the room. She looked around her as she tried to sit up.

"Mom," Kemi said.

Her mother shook her head and then told Kitan and Kofo to go wait outside while she spoke to Kemi. Kemi's heart begun to race faster than a sports car. Maybe something had gone wrong. Maybe the road side doctor had damaged her womb. Maybe they'd found out she tried to abort the baby...

"How do you feel now?" Her mother asked, after the girls had left.

Kemi nodded.

"I'm better..."

"Good. Because you have to explain to me how you are pregnant and who the boy is!"

Kemi held on to the bed sheet, like though her life depended on it, or as though holding it could save her from her mother's anger.

"No...I...I'm not..." She stuttered.

"Where on earth did you go to?! What did you try to do? You ingested drugs so you could kill the child?"

Kemi started to cry. That was the only sound she could utter in response to her mother's questions.

"Answer me when I'm talking to you, young woman!"

"Mummy I'm sorry. I thought...I'm not supposed to be pregnant anymore. I had already gotten rid of it."

"Well you didn't get rid of anything because you're a week past your first trimester. Gosh I should have come for your visiting days! If I had I would have known this..." She placed her hands on her head.
"What do you think your father is going to say about this?"

Kemi was confused. The road side doctor had told her the drugs had killed the baby the moment she swallowed them. She'd thought things would go back to normal and she wouldn't have to deal with the consequences associated; from her parents' anger, to actually having to birth and take care of a baby.

"I don't even know what to do right now. Kemi what have you done! What's your father going to say? He won't tolerate this."

Kemi kept on crying.

"Who is responsible?" The big question came.


***


It was November. It was a month short of the end of the year. She'd had her baby that night, at a good hospital. Her mother had paid for it, and had somehow managed to sneak out of the house to be by her side.

Kemi's father had found out about the pregnancy and every little feeling of affection that he had ever had for his daughter vanished into the air. He had ranted on and on about how he would not allow a bastard into his home and how Kemi and her sisters were no good. They were female children and nothing good could come out of them. He had even let the cat out of the bag himself that he had another wife who had given him two sons. Her mother had been heart broken, and so were her little sisters. Kemi felt horrible. She couldn't stand living in the house, knowing that she had been the reason for everything that had gone wrong. And so, when her father declared that he had disowned her and he never wanted to set eyes on her or her bastard child, she was glad to leave. She didn't know what was planned ahead for her, but she just wanted to walk away from this mess.

Her mother had rented a two bedroom flat for her on the Island. The place wasn't too far from her church. She had purposely picked the place so she could spend time with her on Sundays. Kemi's father never attended church, so it wasn't going to be a problem.


The baby was a beautiful and healthy girl. She cried out with her healthy lungs as the doctors held her and then gave her to Kemi to hold. Kemi had tears in her eyes, as she stared at the baby who was crying on and on. She wanted to cuddle her and kiss her, but she was void of the emotion. All she wanted was to throw it away. She didn't want it. It had caused and cost her so much. First, her father had sent her away and cut off all responsibilities. Her mother had put a lot of money into renting that apartment for her, and in also sending her upkeep money. She'd kissed SS.3 goodbye. The school authority had found out what happened and had expelled her. And now she had nothing.

"She's so adorable!" Kemi's mother said, as she held the child. She looked at Kemi who was frowning and looking away.

"Are you okay? Don't you want to hold her?"

Kemi hissed.

"I don't want it. I don't want to have anything to do with this thing!"

Her mother opened her mouth in surprise.

"How can you not love your own child? Your own flesh and blood? How is that even possible? It's natural!"

"I don't! Dad was right. It's a bastard."

"Will you shut up?" Her mother yelled.

Kemi shut up. She shut her eyes, trying not to cry. The last months had been a roller coaster for her. Everything that had seemed perfect had now fallen apart. And she didn't even have a plan for her future. She was just fifteen years old. She was just a child.

She remembered that day at the boarding house. She had stayed back after classes while every one left to go back to their different hostels. A few people passed by and some came into the classroom, but she pretended to be studying, with her Biology text book opened on her desk.

In a little while, the coast was clear. She closed her text book and walked out of the classroom, then straight down, till she got to the Chemistry Lab. She tried to open the door but it was locked. Then quickly, after a few seconds, someone opened it and she went inside, then he locked it again. It was just two of them inside.

"You're so beautiful, Kemi." Uncle James said, as he started to kiss her neck and her face.

For the first time, Kemi actually believed those words, especially because they were not coming from her mother who was obliged to say so.

All her life, Kemi knew she wasn't exactly a pretty one. She wasn't as pretty as her younger sisters. No boy ever approached her. Even her dad never really showed her emotional affection. He merely did his duties as a father, and expected all his children to fear and respect him. When all her friends had started to have boyfriends, no boy even looked her way. So the minute Uncle James, the new Chemistry teacher who was a Youth Corper, had started to pay a little attention to her, she felt on top of the world. She couldn't forget the day she went to submit her Lab book in his office which was in a corner at the Chemistry Lab. He'd held her hand and told her she was pretty. Then the second time, he'd kissed her cheek. She couldn't help it. She believed every word he said because he was more mature than all the small secondary school boys she had been bothered about.

Uncle James had told her he really liked her. He had bought a card for her on Valentine's day and even though the words had come with the card, and not that they were handwritten by him, she lingered on every single word, as though they proceeded from his very mouth.

She bought a card too, and then she gave it to him during lunch break. He had smiled and winked at her and told her to come to his office after school hours, when every one had left.


Uncle James deflowered her. She had cried, but at the same time, she was happy that Uncle James found her worthy of this. He kissed and touched her and she never wanted to go back to the hostel. She wanted to marry Uncle James, so they could do this every day. He was a Youth Corper and he was going to be leaving soon. As soon as he was through with service, she imagined he would get a big job that would pay him big salary and by then, she would be studying at the University. Then as soon as she graduated, they would get married and live happily ever after.

She saw a small red flower that had fallen off from the bunch on his table, as though to symbolize the act of deflowering that had just happened between them, on the cold black rug in his small office. She was shy. She looked away, as she played with the flower. He got up and begun to pull his trousers.

"Go to your hostel now." He said. His voice seemed different; a totally different tone from how he had been speaking pre-deflowerisation.

She stood up timidly. He looked at her and threw a handkerchief to her so she could clean up herself. She didn't like the way he was looking at her. It had this mass of disgust in it.

"Did I do something wrong, Uncle James?" She asked, just before she left.

"No. Just go. And don't tell anyone about this." He said.

Then the next day, at Chemistry class, he hadn't even looked at her. He stopped talking to her and started to ask Ijeoma, another girl in her class, to see him in his office.


...


It was November. The baby had been born. The baby she felt no love for. It was almost the end of the year, except for the hope of December, as though December was a last shot to do what had not been done throughout the whole year.

Kemi shut her eyes.






*fisayotalabi
*Spoken For.
Photo credit ameboofafrika.blogspot.com

Saturday, 19 July 2014

ANNIE MARTY!

*All characters are entirely a work of FisayoTalabi's fictional imagination.








I couldn't believe this. It was difficult to understand. I couldn't place my fingers on how it was even possible for Ogechi to do this to me. I locked my phone first, then I wiped the screen of my Galaxy with my shirt. I didn't care if this shirt was white. I just wanted to see the picture clearer.

And there it was, staring me right in the face. No be say dem say. Ogechukwu had posted these photos herself, with her own hands; those hands i loved to kiss tenderly all the time. Those fingers! I had declared in my heart that I was going to bejewel the fourth one on the left. Yes. That one that she painted in a color different from the others, as though she was sending across a message to me that it needed to stand out truthfully. It had been undecorated long enough.

Oge had even changed her status from 'In a relationship' to 'married' on Facebook.

That's why this was so difficult to believe. Where was the time she had to date this her new husband? We only had a misunderstanding last week. Could she have dated and known this new dumbo in just a week? I hadn't even been the one to argue with her. I never argue. I know how women are. They just like to talk and go on and on and on. I know that if I had replied one word, it would only have landed me in a lot more trouble.



She had come over to my house and she had worn that backless top that girls wear these days. I saw the top all over Instagram. Of course, My Oge has a nice back; upper back, and lower back. She's very light skinned with not a single spot on her entire skin. I confess that's one of the things that attracted me to her.
Oge knew I didn't like that top. The back was totally exposed and the front was entirely covered up, as though the front was making a case for the misdemeanor of the back. To top it all, we were supposed to meet with my Pastor. He had said he wanted to meet the woman I was in a relationship with. I know that was my fault. Oge always complained that I never introduced her to the important people in my life. But she had met my elder brother and his wife a few times. Wasn't that enough? For now, at least. I was trying to be slow and steady. I had explained to her so many times that I didn't want to rush things and I was making money for our future together. After I made a good sum, I would take her to Anambra to meet my parents; Papa and Mama Ukaegbu, and then we could proceed with plans for our wedding rites and ceremony.

"Why are you wearing this, after I already told you I do not like it?" I had asked her.

"Like what?" She looked over her outfit, building up her defense.

"This top. I told you before that I don't want you to wear it anymore." I replied.

"But I like it and I want to wear it."

"We are going to meet my Pastor today! You knew that already!"

"I have a blazer with me. I can wear it over the top."

I sighed.

"Oge when will you start respecting me as your man?"

I didn't know if what I said was funny and why it warranted her laughter. I had just asked her a serious question.

"Have you respected me as your woman?" She retorted, like the answer was programmed in her head already.

What was she talking about? I gave this girl fifty thousand naira every month! My salary was 150k! That means I was left with just 100k per month. I had bills to pay, I needed to stock the house with food because Oge never bought food stuffs when she came over to cook. I had to pay the DSTV bill because Oge loved to watch Telemundo and Fashion Police. I had to fuel my Generator every time because Oge said her skin couldn't stand heat, as though she had ever lived outside this country.

I had opened my mouth to speak but then I decided against it. I didn't want to start an argument. She saw I was quiet so she leveraged on that and continued to rant.

"Six years! Six years we have been in this relationship. All my friends and even my juniors are getting married. When will you even propose to me, not to talk of marriage? I am getting older, Ikenna. And there you are talking about a top."

When she was angry at me, she didn't call me I.K, or Bae. She called me Ikenna. Thank God she didn't add my middle name and surname.

We were back at this wedding thing. I was going to propose to her. I really was. I was saving the money but I'd taken out fifty thousand from it because my boss paid late and I needed to fund her account.

"I'm not going to see any bloody Pastor! I'm tired. Gosh!" She yelled. I had never heard my angel, Ogechi, say that adjective she had qualified my Pastor with. She grabbed her purse...the purse I had bought her, and she stormed out of my apartment.

I'd thought it was one of our many fights that we were going to be able to settle after a few hours, or max, two days. But things spanned on and on and Oge did not reply my messages nor pick my calls.



...


She was wearing the wedding colors that she had always told me she wanted when we got married; Teal and Silver. Oge was a goddess. She stunned in her outfits.
The groom. I zoomed in on the picture. He was a Nigerian, but he was based in the U.S. He was wearing dark DKNY shades, and he had a strong build...stronger than my four and a half packs. Oge always said i had Muskules and not muscles. I always laughed and told her she would be surprised when I started to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger, back in his Terminator days. Obviously, her groom was a rich man. He had no doubt, paid for the whole wedding, because I knew Ogechi's retired Government-worker parents didn't have the money for such a loud wedding.

I started to scroll through the comments. 79 Comments, and 106 Likes! My God!!! Her friends were all a bunch of hypocrites. I saw Uchenna's comment, and Obianuju's, and Freda's, and even her yoruba friend with a weird name, Olorunfunminigbala. I had tried to call her Funmi for short. The name was too long. But the girl always said she wanted me to pronounce the full name...Olorunfunminigbala. These her friends were the same people who had encouraged me and had told me that Oge was totally in love with me and that she would never break my heart or hurt me! And now they had even been at the wedding and were wishing her well! It was Uchenna's comment that annoyed me the most.

My boo Ogechi finally ties the knot with the finest and swaggest husband ever liveth! 

I could tell already that she had benefited from Oge's husband in monetary terms, the same way she had benefited free Jollof rice, Chinese, Suya, Grilled Chicken, Pepper soup, and even clothes and shoes, each time I took my girlfriend out with her friends. Gosh, I forgot to mention the myriad of recharge cards I sent to her each time Oge and I had a fight, so she could help me persuade my woman.


...


So time had passed since I was dumped without words, and my woman got married to another man. She never called me. She never even replied my text message when I demanded an apology and an explanation. Well, it was over a year now, and via the same social media platform, I'd been informed visually that Oge now had a baby. Her baby was a cute one. I tried to ignore her other photos but I couldn't fight that temptation. I opened them. Oh. So she now lived in Maryland with her family. Nice. At least it was a better life for her. I'd loved her for six years. I couldn't wish her nothing but well.
I started to read the comments on her recent post about her new baby. I was tempted to comment. I started to punch in the words.

He's so adorable. Congratulations, Ogechukwu. 

I entered my comment and I didn't regret it.

I didn't regret it because that evening, I checked again to see if maybe she even acknowledged me and as much as Liked my comment. She didn't like it. She liked everyone else's, except mine. Hmmm.

A chat window suddenly popped up. It was from someone I didn't really know.Well, I had so many friends on Facebook that I didn't even know at all.

The person's name was Annie Marty. There was a thumbnail of the picture. It was a lady. I wanted to ignore but I decided not to.


Annie Marty: Hi. How's your day going?

Ikenna:  Hi. Good thanks. I don't know you, I'm sorry

Annie Marty: I know. I don't know you either. I just know we are friends of each other here.

Ikenna: Okay. 

Annie Marty: (Smile) Nice photos you have. 

I smiled. Good thing I had deleted every single picture I had taken with Ogechi on my profile. I wasn't really busy that night so I checked her photos. They were just three photos of her. And mehn! Annie Marty was sooooo hot! I knew this was my revival! My deliverance from the pangs of Ogechi.

We started to chat almost every day. She told me what she was doing, asked what I was doing too. Told me what she did for a living. Cute. She was a medical student at a school in Boston. She was Nigerian. An Igbo chic! Her Igbo name was Somtochukwu. I loved that name! I have always had it in my mind to give the name to my daughter.

Time had passed again, and it was over three months since me and Somto, as I had preferred to call her, started to talk. I asked her for her phone number many times but she declined. I checked facebook but I didn't find it. I knew she was playing hard to get. Been there, done that. Oge played hard to get for three years before she finally dated me.

I'm a good christian, with strong faith and a very strong belief that I am going to heaven when I die. But Lord have mercy! She was too hot to handle; too sexy for hating. She sent me a picture of her wearing only a bra once, and then, she typed, 'Oops! That was a mistake.' I told her it was okay, but I never deleted that photo. I begun to stare at it, like a bible. Day and Night, I meditated on it. I think she did it on purpose because she asked me if I still had the photo, and I told her yes. Then she sent me another one, with a different color of underwear, and then, Naked. And then she asked me to send one of myself. She wanted to see me. 
I'd never done this before. But maybe I wasn't thinking straight! I went to my bedroom mirror, and I took off my shorts, and snapped myself naked, then sent it to her, but not without cropping out my head first. I now had the muscles Oge teased me for not having, and the six packs! She laughed and said she was impressed. My conscience pricked me, because my Pastor called me right after I had sent the picture, asking if I was fine, and how I was doing generally. I told him I had just finished studying the book of Isaiah.

That's how we started. I mean, that's how I got addicted to sending naked photos to Somto, and receiving same from her. Then we started typing sexual things to each other, arousing each other. And before I knew it, I got addicted. I was a Somto addict! Which man wouldn't be?



...



I saw Oge's missed call one Sunday, after I had just sent a picture to my Somto. Why was she calling me? What did she want? After all this time. I ignored her call. But she still knew my weak points. She sent a text begging me to reply if I ever loved her. Smh! I called her back though. She always came to me when she had problems because I always had smart solutions for her. She always told me I was the smartest person she knew.

"Ikenna, I'm finished o!" She was weeping. I couldn't really make out what she was saying.

"What is it?" I asked. I was concerned. I hated seeing her or hearing her cry.

"My husband! I don't know who to talk to! I can't tell my friends. They will laugh at me and spread the story. Please I don't know what to do oh!"

"Talk to me now!" I raised my voice. She was getting me hyper.

She paused.

"So my husband left his computer on. I was bored because my son was asleep, and my husband had gone out for a jog. I saw photos in one folder, of a man! Naked photos! A very attractive man. He has nothing less than thirty pictures. I didn't see the man's face. They were cropped. And there are also photos of other men. Black men, white men!"

I was trying to wrap my head around this. What in the world was going on?

"I checked his Facebook page because it wasn't closed. I don't understand. There is a page of a woman called Annie Marty, with a pretty face on it. I thought he was cheating on me with her, but I'm seeing photo-shopped and enhanced pictures of my body. They are pictures I have sent to him of myself when we were apart. I recognize them. I can't believe he worked on my pictures and posted them to different people he was chatting with." She mumbled, confused and in shock.

She started reading out the names of the people her gay husband had been chatting with.

Michael Jones

Terrence Baldwin

Eric Harris

Lamar West

...

I knew it already. My name was going to pop up. I was one of Somto Annie Marty's customers.

Oge was faster than me. I was going to end the call before she called my name.

"Oh my God! Ikenna?!" She said.

I ended the call immediately. I wasn't going to wait for the rest of it.







The End.




*fisayotalabi
*Annie Marty!
*Please read, drop comments, and help share!
*Photo credit  crystalclearcomputersolutions.com

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Survived the Shoah 08 Finale.



Anita heard a car pull over in her drive way, and she heard voices and footsteps approach her door. She dashed towards the window to check who it was. A part of her hoped it was Benjy. Or someone who knew something about Benjy. She was stuck and clueless in a strange land. Her hallway was filled with dozens of mails. The mails were majorly her bills, and letters from the Bank informing her of declined transactions on standing orders and direct debits. She hadn't even known that the house hadn't been fully paid off. It was on a mortgage. And that morning, another mail had come. It was a reminder letter from the Bank on the mortgage repayment.

It wasn't Benjy that came out of the car. Anita saw two Police men. And in few seconds she heard them knock on her door. She was scared. She didn't know what to do or say to them. She didn't really know if the system was different from her country, where the Police arrested whoever they found in the house, until the wanted suspect appeared at the Police station.

She climbed down the stairs, each knock scaring the very essence of her being. She planned to tell them that she wasn't his wife, but a cleaner. But they would ask her how she got access into the house, if truly the owners weren't home.

She hurried back upstairs and locked the bedroom door as though the Police would hunt her down to the bedroom. She hugged herself, shutting her eyes to the knocks...the knocks life had given her.


***


She grabbed her home phone in one hand, and scrolled through her Mobile phone in the other, checking for which number she could call for help. She couldn't call her parents. She just could not. How would she tell them that her marriage of less than two months was crumbling down to the sands? Because she was now oyinbo based, they saw her as a goddess and held her in very high esteem, and they had even told her that they wanted her to help out the youngest child of the family, and put him through University education in Canada. Even while back at the firm in Victoria Island, she had been the one sending money home from her not-enough salary. 
No. She couldn't ask them now. 

She called her cousin, the one who had caught the bouquet. She lied to her that Benjy had traveled out of the country on business and that she didn't have a Canadian bank account yet so he couldn't send money to her. She promised to return the money as soon as Benjy came back. Before she finished speaking, her cousin already started to explain that she was saving money for her Masters' degree as she was sponsoring herself, and that her house rent and other pending bills were due. 

Anita called another friend who had given excuses of being very broke at the moment and had also confessed that she had even been meaning to borrow some money from Anita. 

She ended the call, and then scrolled to see who she could call again. 

Derin. 

She knew Derin had her own financial problems. In fact, she felt terrible about how she had treated Derin. She had been cold to her and had purposely kept her distance after the wedding. She hadn't bothered to call her up or check on her health and how she was faring at the office. She hadn't even thought for one day about Derin, all the time she had been having the fun of her life with Benjy's money, until the problems started. 
Anita was ashamed. 

She would tell her she was sorry. She would tell her she had let her self get blinded by public pressure, and of course, a rich husband. Which girl didn't want a rich man based abroad for a husband? She would tell her she wished she had listened to her that day, right before the wedding; the official sealing into her tragedy. 

Anita punched Derin's digits into the phone which she held in the other hand. The call didn't connect because she had run out of airtime balance to place a call. She cursed and hissed and slammed the phone on the floor. She didn't need this now. The Internet data on her mobile phone had also run out and she didn't have any money to make any renewals.

She didn't know what to do anymore. 


...


Derin was bored at work. She had arrived early. Earlier than her other colleagues. So she decided to check through her favourite gossip blogs online. She had read news about Kim Kardashian's outfits. She sighed. The woman was, in her opinion, over celebrated. When and why did someone's outfit become news? She scrolled again and checked out stories about the terrorist boko haram sect, and their constant fatal mischief in the North, which was beginning to spread to the East. They had also recently bombed a public park in Abuja. As though the writer had planned the order of her posts, the following post was about the present President's intentions of running again in the coming elections. She shook her head and sighed. God really had to take control of the country.

The following post was about a Young African woman who had committed Suicide in Toronto. Derin had wanted to skip it but somehow, she found her self tapping the Headline to read the full story. 

They'd said the Police had been knocking the woman's door for many days, with no response. Her husband had been wanted by the Police and so, they were finally able to break into the property after knocking repeatedly without a response. 

They had identified the woman as Anita Benjy-Olayemi, a thirty three year old Nigerian. 


***



EIGHT MONTHS AFTER...


Derin still sort of blamed herself for Anita's suicide. She didn't know why this kept on happening with her friends. It seemed as though God just delighted in taking away every person that had meant something to her.

First, it had been Osas, her best friend. Osas had gone for a party with a group of friends, and she had been the only one that died in the car accident. Then, it was Mercy. She had met Mercy for only less than twenty four hours, and she had even acted rudely to the girl. She never had the chance to apologize to her because she died before the next day.

Tobi had been the love of her life. He had blown her away right to her feet, and literally, when she kissed him, one leg went up like was seen in Disney movies. But again, Tobi had been taken away from her. He had broken up with her and left her on the hospital bed, sick as she had been.

Kola Cole. Derin could never forget her father. She still had memories from when she was really little and how she looked up to him as her protector and hero, and her everything. Neigbours called her daddy's pet. She remembered his pet name for her was Angel. But the point came when he could no longer bear the stress, tension, and panick that accompanied the Sickle Cell package. And yes. He had left her and walked out on his very own Angel.

She'd dated a few guys in the University, and even if she had just been catching fun, she'd still felt the stigma. She couldn't forget one time when news started going round between the guys about her health status. One of those boys she had been intimate with some time ago actually came to ask her if SS was contagious through sex.

Derin couldn't understand it as much as she tried. Perhaps there was something God was punishing her for. Maybe it was her wayward life back in Uni. Maybe it was because of the sin of some fore fathers. Maybe it was just God's will to have mercy on whom he chose to have mercy. 

Anita's suicide made her afraid for Folu, her husband. She couldn't afford to lose him to this trend she was noticing in her life.


Folu and Derin had gotten married some months ago. His parents had found out about her genotype, and Derin had thought that was the end of the relationship. But she was overwhelmed with surprise when his parents started to call her often to encourage her and assure her that they were ready to provide her with financial support any time she needed it. She didn't want their pity. But she was surprised at their warmth. Which parents in their right minds would let their only son get married to a sickler? Perhaps Folu's parents were not in their right minds.  Perhaps it was all a dream, and then one day, she would wake up to the reality of them bringing in another wife for him.

She was scared. Since God was in the habit of taking away her loved ones, maybe He would take Folu too. She had been so scared all through Folu's flight to Abuja, until he called her to tell her he had landed safely. He had gone on a job retreat organized by the company he worked with. She remembered back when she had packed her things to relocate to Abuja for a new job, but the disappointment had ended up in saving her life. Derin couldn't bear it if anything happened to him. She just couldn't imagine a life without him. He was her true hero. Her Captain America. Her Thor and her Amazing spider man. He had shown her the true meaning of love and what it meant to stick through thick or thin. Sometimes she wondered what was in it for him. Did he have a hidden agenda? Did he want something? She had absolutely nothing to give him! Except her heart.


She glanced at the clock. It was 10.50 PM. Folu had traveled to Abuja so she was all by herself in the house. He had called her about ten times that night to be sure she was okay. He had suggested her mother came over to their house to stay with her. Derin knew it was because he was afraid for her, in case the crisis happened again. She hated being watched over like a helpless person. So she had asked her mother not to bother coming over.

She took a shower and changed into a sheer night dress; the exact one she'd worn on her wedding night. 
She wiped her face with her facial cleanser, and as she stood, she saw the book Folu had bought her on her last birthday. It was still where she had left it since then. It was titled Shoah based on a 1985 French documentary film. She hadn't touched it. She wasn't really into reading books about history. She preferred Romance or Crime. However, Folu had a very broad and curious mind, and that was why he was so drawn to reading everything his hands saw to pick up. And people called her the smart one...

Her phone rang again. She knew it was her husband. She could tell from the Oloo mi ringtone.

"What are you doing?" He asked.

"Folu you need to stop checking on me every ten minutes. You're supposed to be on a retreat." She replied.

"I miss you."

She smiled.

"I miss you too, but I will miss your money more if your boss got upset with you and didn't give you a good appraisal." She said.

Folu laughed then he kissed her muah and ended the call.

She tried to sleep but she couldn't. She opened the book. Maybe she could just read it to pass time before she went to bed.

She started reading at 11.05 PM. By 1.30 AM, she was still awake, reading. She had stopped working with the Oil firm. She couldn't bring herself to sit every day beside Anita's former desk. It was as though Anita's ghost laid claim to it, because no one else got hired to replace Anita since she left the company. She'd started thinking of applying to schools abroad that could offer her a scholarship for a Master's degree.

The book was intense. It was about the Holocaust. Jewish witnesses and survivors told their own stories of how it had played out, and how they had lost their loved ones to the very brutal Hitler period. She couldn't understand how the Jews were exterminated with mobile gas vans, or how someone's job was to burn the bodies of people killed from the gassings. There had been no hope for them. They could be with their loved ones one day, and in the next second, terrible things had started to roll out again. One survivor claimed that her three children and her husband had been killed, and she had been raped by five German soldiers.

Derin thought her life was the worst thing to ever happen to anyone...up until she began to read about the Holocaust. Quite alright, she knew Adolph Hitler's name since she was a child. But all she knew was that he was the most brutal leader of all time. 
Mass shootings and gassings was incomprehendible. People were treated like animals; burnt offerings; the very meaning of the word Holocaust itself. What stigma could be worse than that?

By the time she had finished reading, she found out she hadn't gotten any sleep. The time was about 4.40 AM. 
As she turned to the last page, she spotted Folu's handwriting. He had written a message to her.

By the time you would have finished reading this book, I want to have faith in you that you will begin to understand how much God loves you. If a few people could survive this extreme brutality of Adolph Hitler, where it seemed like there was no hope, then how much more you, Aderinsola? You are more than a conqueror. You will survive this Holocaust; this Shoah. We will tell the testimonies together in old age. 

I love you my darling. Happy birthday.

Yours today, tomorrow, and for always,

Folu...


***


Child bearing had been the last hurdle on her bucket list. When she crossed twenty one years of age, she had written out a list of things she hoped to survive, if she lived long enough. She knew pregnancy was another world war for SS mothers. She didn't know how she would carry a pregnancy with the natural stress and changes it brought, let alone with her health status.

When she had announced that she was pregnant, Folu had been so happy. But she had been scared to her nerves. She tried to have faith. She tried to hold on and trust God. If God could stop her from going to that party with Osas because her mother had been home, if God could save her from a plane crash, if God could give her a job, even if it didn't pay so much, if God could give her a wonderful husband, which even absolutely normal women rarely had the chance to find, and if God could spare her through all the many deaths of friends, and held her hand through age twenty one, to twenty five, to her husband's house...then another count down of the three trimesters in pregnancy, then was childbirth too difficult for Him?



That evening, March 22, as the nurses wheeled her into the labor room at the city hospital in Florida, USA, with Folu by her side, and her mother trying hard not to panick, Derin couldn't kick off that bug on her faith. She just couldn't brush away the reoccuring voice that told her she would not make it.

"Folu," She said, holding his hand.

Folu squeezed her hand. His lips were moving. He was praying, but she could see fear in his eyes. He was worried. He had those questions too. He knew this was a tedious experience even for healthy women, let alone her. But she was glad for one thing. She was going to fight her best to hang on and deliver the baby, so he could be a father. Even if she passed away, at least she would rest with the pleasure of giving him something in return for all the love he had shown her.

"Please tell mom to tell my dad that I forgive him. I just need to get that off my list..." She said.

"There's no list, Derin! Haven't you learnt anything from all I've been trying to teach you? Look, God has saved you so many times. Please give Him some credit. Stop being like this. Don't empty the cross of its power. You believe in Jesus right? Trust Him to hold your hands through this delivery. Babe, I'm not gonna loose you. Not now, not ever..."

He didn't complete his statement before her eyes went shut.


***


The child weighed a healthy 6.5 pounds. He cried his lungs out, as the doctor wrapped him up in a blue baby blanket and handed him over to Folu. Folu held the baby tight, cuddling him. But he couldn't get his eyes off his wife.

They had carried out a Caesarian section on her to get the baby out in time. But then, Derin had fallen into a state of numbness. She wasn't moving.

"Is she okay? Is...Doc..." Folu said, trying to maintain composure, which was now very difficult to do.


The doctor took the baby and led Folu into another room while the other doctors wheeled Derin away and started to operate on her.

...


Folu stared at the baby in the nursery, as he slept soundly. It had been hours since they had wheeled Derin away and he hadn't heard anything so far. His lips kept on moving. He kept on praying, hoping, loving, and faithing. He was responsible for putting Derin in that condition, and he couldn't live with the guilt if something fatal happened to her. He remembered the first time he had met Derin. He had bumped into her and her wig had fallen off her head, but he had caught it in time. He wasn't going to let the wig fall off. She had to stay robed! She had to hang on. She had to survive. 

Mrs Cole was the one who tapped his shoulder. He turned around to face her.

"She's awake. The doctor has been looking for you. Derin is awake." She said.

He heaved the greatest sigh of relief he ever had. And in his heart, as he held his mother-in-law's hand and they walked towards the room where his wife was, he knew she had survived the Shoah.





The end.

......................................................

*Thank you so much for your commitment to the blog, your patience, your comments, and even sharing this blog to increase the number of visitors. God bless you! I'm so thankful and I appreciate you totally. 

Survived the Shoah was intended to be a short series, simply focusing on the awareness and prevention of the Sickle cell. 
And for the amazing and strong people living with it, please live healthy and stressfree. The Shoah is survivable. 

God bless.





*fisayotalabi
*Survived the Shoah
simonateba.com

Monday, 14 July 2014

Survived the Shoah 07





Derin washed the dishes her mother had eaten with, and had started drying them with a soft napkin. She couldn't stop smiling to herself. Folu had just been promoted at work, and it felt as though she had been the one who got the raise in status and salary.

She looked at her wrist watch. She had removed it from her wrist and placed it on the kitchen table. The time was 11.AM. They had a date. He would arrive her house soonest. She hurried up with the cleaning and went into her room to take a bath; the second bath that morning. She picked a green chiffon dress and decided to wear it with silver sandals and a checkered blazer. She didn't have the time for the discomfort of high heels. Besides it was a Saturday. Her feet needed a rest from being elevated and pressurized by six-inch heels all week; Monday - Friday.

Folu was already in the living room with Mrs Cole when Derin stepped out. She knew she avoided bringing guys into her house because her mother would raise up hopes of a coming marriage. But somehow, she really didn't mind that Folu was talking with her mom. She glanced at them. He seemed really comfortable with Mrs Cole. By the time they noticed her presence, Mrs Cole said "She never told me she had a boyfriend o. This my daughter ehn..."

Folu smiled as he watched Derin try to defend herself with meaningless excuses.


They had planned to eat at a restaurant in Lekki Phase 1. She was surprised when he passed the Lekki Phase 1 round-about and drove continuously along the express. She decided to hold still. Maybe he wanted to pick up something somewhere first before heading to the restaurant. Or maybe he had changed the choice of restaurant.

They arrived at Royal Estate just after Nicon Town, and Folu took the next turning to the left. Now, she was getting freaked out. Of course he wasn't a kidnapper. She trusted him...but for the sake of a benefit of doubt, she dared to think something funny was going on.

"Please where are you taking us to?" She said finally.

"To see my personal herbalist." He said, expressionless.

She laughed but he didn't laugh back. His face was rock-solid hard and straight.

"Folu, please be serious. Where are we going now?"

He picked his phone up and dialed someone's number.

"Hello," He said.

Derin tried to understand what the conversation over the phone was about.

"Good afternoon Baba. I'm bringing her already. I hope you have the goats and chicken blood ready? Remember you said the ritual should not exceed 1 PM." Folu said.

Derin blinked. He had said everything in Yoruba. The last words he said were translated ago kan losan. It sounded like one of those lines in Africa magic Yoruba which her mother never stopped watching.

She didn't know what to think. The path he was driving on was rather deserted...with thick greenery every where by the sides of the road. She shut her eyes, saying Jesus repeatedly. She picked up her phone but Folu snatched it and hid it in his pocket. Her heart started to beat faster. This was real. Could Folu really want to use her for money rituals? Seriously? Was that why he wanted to be with her despite knowing she was SS?

Then Folu stopped at a house with a black gate and started to honk.  He burst out laughing. He looked at Derin who was looking more confused than ever. He could give anything for the expression on her face.

"This is the ritual house." He laughed, as the gate man opened the gate and he drove in. The house was a big duplex painted in cream color. Dogs begun to bark. In a few minutes, a young girl came by the car.

"Is this your parents' house?" Derin asked.

The young girl knelt and greeted them, rushing to get Derin's handbag, and also to check the trunk of the car if he had bought or brought anything. Obviously, that was the house maid.

She didn't need him to respond to her question.

Her heart thumped ten times more, as they walked into the house. She preferred the fright of being taken to a herbalist's shrine, to this. Folu hadn't mentioned it. She had no idea he was bringing her home to meet his parents. She was scared. She was nervous. She didn't know if she was ready for this. She hadn't prepared.

As she sat in the massive living room, her eyes glued to the family portrait hung on the wall of Folu and his parents and his siblings, she heard footsteps...and then a woman in her fifties, light skinned and glowing like a middle-aged woman, appeared before her. She didn't know what to say. Folu had left to get her something to drink from the kitchen so she was on her own in this.

"Hello..." The woman said.

Derin sprang up to her feet, then she went on her knees.

"Good afternoon Ma." She said. Her voice didn't shake surprisingly to her.

"Afternoon. You must be Aderinsola right?"

Derin smiled.

"Yes I am, Ma."

"Get up, get up. Come and give me a hug, my girl." The woman said. Derin was shy. She went over to her and hugged her. The woman was a representing woman. She recognized the scent of Coco Chanel No 5 perfume anywhere, any day.

Folu joined them in the living room with his father, shortly. As his parents engaged her in different topics and asked her many questions, he couldn't take his eyes off her. She was full of grace and poise. And he couldn't have been prouder.

When his mother excused herself to get something in the kitchen, Folu rushed after her, eager to hear her opinion on what she thought about his girlfriend.

"What is it? Why are you so jumpy?" His mother teased him.

Folu laughed.

"Tell me, tell me. Do you like her?" He said.

The woman smiled.

"Of course I do. You really took your eyes to the market this time, unlike when you brought that Ope girl home." She said.

Folu pecked her on the cheek and hurried back like a school boy to join his father and Derin in the living room. Shortly after, Derin excused herself and went to help the woman in the kitchen.




...


"So, what do you think of my parents?" Folu asked, as he drove along the express way. They were going to see a movie, before he would finally drop her off at home.

Derin had opened her mouth to say something but then she shut it.

"What?" Folu said. He noticed she was suddenly quiet.

"I don't know. I don't really like them. Especially your mom." She said.

Derin could almost swear that she heard him hit the brakes so hard that there was a screech.

"What do you mean?" He said. His anger was rising gradually. She could always tell when Folu was getting angry about something.

Then she laughed.

"Pay back. Gotcha." She punched his arm, laughing.

Folu shook his head and joined her laughing.

"You crazy, you know that, right?" He said.

"Don't forget to branch at the herbalist's place o." She teased.


They got to The Palms and then went up the stairs. She went to get the popcorn and drinks while Folu got tickets to see the movie. She felt her phone vibrate about twice. She had turned off the ringer earlier. She reached for her handbag and then brought out her phone. It was an International number calling.

"Hello," She said.




***



"Hi, Derin." Anita said over the phone. Her voice was shaky. She had been crying for most of the night. It was morning already, and she knew if she didn't talk to someone, she would go crazy, or need the instrument of her husband's trade desperately.

"Anita!" Derin almost screamed. She had missed her friend so much! Derin in the midst of her excitement, could sense that something wasn't right with Anita.

"Are you okay?" She asked Anita.

Anita wanted to talk, but she didn't know what words to convey her bitterness with.

She wanted to tell Derin the depth and diameters of her mind. She was losing it! She wanted to tell her how Benjy had hit her and how he had left the house for days, leaving her with no money. She didn't have a bank account. Benjy always gave her cash, or his own Debit Card for everything she needed to buy. She wanted to talk about how he came home some nights ago, drunk, and how he had hit her again and raped her.
Yes.
It was rape. Even if she was his wife, he had forced his way on her and put her in so much pain.
How could she tell Derin that her husband had decided to do one last cocaine delivery for a top shot from the United States through his delivery boys, but the top shot had turned out to be the Police as an undercover, and they had arrested the boys. The boys had confessed that they worked for Benjy.
How could she say it to Derin that Benjy had fled the house, the city, or maybe the country, and she had no idea where he was? And how could she begin to ask Derin to send her some money because she was stranded and might have to leave the big house for no where in particular. She had no family, no relatives, no friends...

She wanted to tell Derin. Yes. She wanted to tell her Chief Bridesmaid. The one who had her back before she walked into all the mess. The one who performed the real duty of a CBM; to keep the bride from being stressed out. Derin had warned her. The scene never stopped playing in her head.
Anita found the words, but they just wouldn't flow through her mouth to Derin's ears at the other end of the line.

"Anita, are you there? Answer me. I can hear your breathing. Are you okay?" Derin said again.

"I'm great." Anita replied, wiping a tear which had rolled from the bridge of her nose down to her bathrobe. The beautiful and soft white bathrobe was the one which Benjy had bought her from a very expensive store. It was the same store where she had gone to on the day before, to get household items, and Benjy's debit card, the only thing he hadn't run away with, had been declined.



***



It was a Thursday morning. Derin's alarm had gone off as usual at 5 AM. She was still joining her neighbor for morning rides to work. She still hadn't learnt to drive. Even if she did, she couldn't imagine herself driving and getting stuck in very horrible traffic from her house to Victoria Island.

She tried to get up, but she was feeling so weak. She was running a high temperature; certainly above 37 degrees. She felt feverish. Her head ached. She didn't know why she was feeling that way. She'd felt very okay the day before, except that she had those constant headaches that wouldn't go away. She had taken Paracetamol, and by the time she went to bed, she felt a lot better.

By noon, Derin was lying in the hospital bed. It was yet another crisis. Mrs Cole had started to cry again, as the nurses rushed into the ward to pierce Derin's veins. As usual, they had to slap her hands repeatedly, searching for a vein to insert the needle.

Mrs Cole was tired. She didn't know when the crises was ever going to end. She had to admit that she feared for her child. Yes. Her daughter always survived the sicknesses, no matter how strong they were. But what if she never came out of this one? What if this was the last one?



Folu dashed into the hospital, almost an hour after Mrs Cole told him what happened. He had been trying to speak to her all day but she wasn't answering or returning the calls. He felt very worried. Extremely worried. So he had called her mother who had told him that Derin was having the crises.

He was scared as he looked at her. For a moment, he didn't know if he had made the right decision to want to be in her life and marry her. He was a young man; under thirty. He didn't want to be a widower early in life. What if she couldn't hang on and she passed away?

As soon as Mrs Cole saw him, she begged him to stay with Derin who was now asleep, while she went home to prepare food for her. Folu hugged the confused and panicky woman, and then after she had left, he sat on the couch beside Derin's bed.

When Derin woke up, she saw Folu, and almost immediately, tears begun to well up in her eyes. She hated that he saw her like this. She looked so vulnerable and weak. She didn't want to be that kind of woman for him.

"Hey..." Folu said, standing up and walking towards her. He cleaned the dropping tears with his fingers, and kissed her forehead.

"Folu please leave. I don't want you to have this mental picture of a sickly me." She said.

"Of course you know I'm not going anywhere." He said, gliding his fingers over her face.

She sighed.

"I think it's bad. I have pains in my back. Really bad pains. My legs hurt, my joints are killing me. And my chest hurts to." She said. "I've never felt the back pains. It hurts so much!"

Folu didn't know what to say.

"You'll be good." He said.

"I don't know...And I don't care." She said. She coughed. Folu saw it too, before she could hide it. The blood in her handkerchief was quite much.

"When did the cough start? Do you always cough?" He asked.

"It happened a few times. But not together with the pains in my back." She replied, almost like in a whisper.

Folu sighed.

"You see why I told you it didn't make sense dating me? I always get sick. It's stress enough for my mom. I don't want to put you through this." She said.

"Derin, please, save the strength you have for something else. Stop talking." He replied, looking at her with so much fear, as he squeezed his mind hard, for what he could do to make her feel better.



....

Derin had fallen asleep again.

He grabbed his car key and blazer and walked out of the ward.

When Derin woke up, she didn't see anyone. Her mother wasn't there. And Folu had left. She waited for about thirty more minutes, then an hour, then an hour and thirty minutes. But Folu hadn't come back. She reached for her phone. She still had about 4% battery life on it. She dialed his number. It went on ringing for about three times but he didn't answer the calls. Derin ended the call and smiled. She was hurt. She knew it wouldn't take long before Folu took off, just the way Tobi had. Her walls of jericho had succesfully been broken down, and now, all of her heart was exposed to the harshness of hurt. She understood perfectly. It wasn't his fault. He had a wonderful family and she didn't want to polka dot his happiness with bits of sorrow here and there.

She didn't care if she died. She didn't care if she didn't survive this crisis. There was no point. She was still going to die anyway, someday. She shut her eyes again, trying to stop herself from crying, when she heard her door creak open. She looked up to see Folu walk in.

"Folu?" She said, in unison with her heart.

He looked at her, then came closer and hugged her.

"How do you feel?" He asked.

"I don't know...I'm just tired and in pains. I feel really weak." She said, her voice weak with weakness.
"I'm scared to sleep. What if I don't wake up?" She said, and then she coughed again, and two more times, with blood spilling on Folu's hand.

"I'm sorry." She said, trying to clean his hand. "I'm fed up, Folu. I'm tired of this thing! I just want to have final rest! I can't keep being sick or living on drugs." She started to cry again.

"You're not going to die. I promise you." Folu said.

"Don't promise things you have no control over." She said, her voice really tired.

"Look, I went to pray when I went outside. And I told God He has to strike this deal with me. I want you to be my wife, and He won't take you away from me, because you have to marry me, and live with me, and have my kids first." Folu said.

Derin stared at him.

"You're silly." She mumbled.

Folu sighed, then he dug his hand in his blazer pocket, and brought out a small Princess cut ruby stone engagement ring. He took in a deep breath, then he held Derin's left hand.

"This is proof that you're surviving this crisis. You have a job being my wife, so you can't die on me." He said. He slid the ring in her fourth finger.

Derin hissed. She eyeballed him, although she looked very tired.

"Is that how they propose in your village?" She said.

Folu laughed. He was glad she was still her spoilt and proud humorous self. He went down on one knee and looked at her as she lay on the hospital bed.

"Will you marry me?" He asked.

"I want to sleep now.If I wake up, I will marry you." She replied.








*fisayotalabi
*Survived the Shoah
*Please read, comment, and share.
*xoxo
*Photo credit www.bet.com






Sunday, 13 July 2014

Survived the Shoah 06





Derin felt lonely. Anita had resigned from the firm and had moved to Canada with her husband, Benjy. It wasn't necessarily Anita's absence that affected her. It was because Anita had suddenly become cold and distant. She knew she should never have mentioned a thing about Benjy to her.

Folu had been angry with her too. Anita had gone to confront him after the wedding, and she had told him to mind his business. He had felt so embarrassed and upset at Derin for breaking her promise not to mention it.


Time had passed since the wedding. Folu and Derin had reconciled and were back to being good friends.
That was also one of the reasons Derin missed Anita for.

Folu.

She had started to enjoy this beautiful friendship with him. She didn't feel good with herself if she hadn't heard from him in a day. They spoke over the phone, text, phoned each other again after work, and spent weekends together. The only thing missing was that they were not officially dating. And Derin refused to admit to herself that her walls were developing their own minds and were letting themselves down, brick by brick.

They had a date. Well, she called it hanging out. He wanted to take her to go watch a short stage play titled Thick thin Lines  adapted from a Prose written by the multiple award winning Lagos writer, Fisayo Talabi. Derin had never been to the theater to watch a play before. It wasn't really her thing. But Folu seemed really interested. At least it was better than hanging out at home watching Africa magic Yoruba. Her mother never changed nor let anyone change the TV station from Africa Magic Yoruba.

She actually enjoyed the Play to her surprise, although she was not as engrossed as Folu. Sometimes she marveled at his appreciation for literature. The man was a computer software engineer. Definitely he must have been in the Sciences in secondary school.

"Did you enjoy it?" Folu asked her after the play. He held her left hand with his right, like her body guard, as they walked out of the hall.

"I did. Thanks for bringing me here. At least that's one item ticked off my bucket list if I die soon." She said.

She wasn't really surprised at her words. She didn't think she wanted to hide anything from Folu. She wanted to be as open a book as she could be. She questioned herself why she felt the need to let him know her health status. After all, she wasn't exactly interested in a relationship with him, or anyone else.

He was about responding when someone walked up to meet him.
Derin had seen the lady first. She was wearing a lilac body-con dress, and her Funmi hair bounced with lustre and gloss. She was a beautiful young woman. Derin knew she was beautiful, but she stood no where close to this lady. She caught her self looking at Folu, to see if he was checking out the pretty young woman.

"Folu!" The lady said, smiling and feeling very comfortable with him.

Folu smiled too.

"Hi, Ope." He said.

She leaned over and they hugged.

"I never would have guessed you still came here." She said.

Oh, so there was a history...Derin thought. 

"You know I love coming here." Folu replied.

There was silence between both of them. It was more like an awkwardness.

"Em...how are things with you?" Folu asked.

"Yeah, very good. I run my own make-up business now." She responded.

"Wow. I'm glad for you." He said.

Silence.

Derin began to feel more awkward being there.

"I'll go wait in the car." Derin said.

Then Folu remembered to introduce her.

"Oh, I'm sorry. Er...Derin, this is Ope..." Folu started.

"We used to date." Ope said immediately, laughing, as though she was trying to prove a point.

Derin smiled, nodding. Actually, she was beginning to feel really uneasy.

"This is Derin...my..."

Derin waited for it. In fact, both women waited for it. Derin wanted to know what Folu referred to her as, and Ope wanted to know, perhaps, if Derin was his girlfriend.

"I'm his friend." Derin said, smiling.

She left them and went to stand a little afar off. When Folu still hadn't concluded with Ope, she went to sit in the car.

She couldn't help it. Even the music in the car couldn't distract her from stealing glances at them. She was tempted to call him so he would leave her and they would get going. But she decided to hold her horses.

She saw them hug again, then Folu left her and finally began to walk towards the car.

The ride was quiet as he drove and got on the express way. Derin was upset. She didn't know why but she was very upset.

"Hey, why aren't you talking?" He finally said.

"Nothing. Don't feel like talking." She said, her voice flat.

"Is something wrong?" He asked.

"Nothing is wrong." She said. She grabbed her earphones and plugged them in her ears, listening to music from her phone.

Folu finally found somewhere to pull over and then, he yanked the earphones off her ears.

"What was that rubbish for?" Derin raised her voice, her eyes burning with anger.

"What rubbish are you talking about? Taking off your earphones, or not introducing you to Ope." He said.

Derin felt a surge of heat within her. If she were white, she would have gone all red with embarrassment.

"What are you talking about?" She said, looking out the window. Folu held her face in his hands and turned it so she could face him.

"You're upset because I didn't introduce you rightly to her, isn't it?" He said.

Derin wasn't just upset. She was jealous. But on what grounds was she basing her jealousy?

"Look, we are friends, aren't we?" She said.

"Is that all you want us to be?" He asked.

Derin felt her heart beating fast. All the walls she had built were coming down like the walls of Jericho, with Folu's alleluia.

"I...I..I don't understand..." She stuttered.

"Do I have to spell it out to you that I love you?" He said.

Derin heard him right, but she said. "What did you say?"

"You heard me. I love you so much. I don't want to be just your friend."

She was quiet for a while.

"Folu it's complicated." She said.

"Nothing is complicated. You're not in love with someone else, are you? I know you're over your ex, Tobi , already. And Ope means nothing. She cheated on me so I left her." He said, mumbling up all his words.

"You won't understand." She sighed.

"What won't I understand? That you're SS?"

She almost lost her breath and choked on her saliva with what he just said. How did he know? They had never discussed it before!

She didn't need to ask him anything. Her eyes were wide enough to do the asking.

"I'm sorry but Benjy told me. Anita told him." He said.

"What? You guys were talking about me?" She was getting angry.

Folu held her shoulders.

"No, it's not like that. I told him I was getting to like you a lot. He said if I was serious about it, I had to know that you are SS. Anita told him about it already...she wanted to be sure I could stick with you and all that."

She breathed in and out, then she shook her head.

"I'm sorry, I can't."



***


Anita sat on the rug, looking through her iPad, at their wedding pictures; Her and Benjy. The iPad was on one hand, and on the other was a towel damp with hot water. She was massaging her arm; the black spots where injury had been inflicted on her. Benjy had hit her.

She tried to hold back her tears. They were hot, and had welled up in her eyes. She remembered that day when Derin had dragged her into the bathroom. It wasn't that she didn't know he had been a fraudster and a drug dealer. But he had promised that he had changed and that he now owned his own business in Toronto. She had asked him what kind of business and he said he sold cars and exported used ones to Nigeria. She believed him.

 Did she?

She wanted to believe him, and she had chosen to believe him.

She had been scared when Derin mentioned it. But she couldn't pull out at that time...less than an hour to her wedding. She was thirty three years old. She was already getting tired of the constant teasing and reminders by her parents that it was hightime she got featured too on the Bellanaijaweddings that she checked so often.
Where would she start from? Many of the men who approached her only wanted a fling. In fact, they were always married men, some with kids already.
Benjy was wealthy. Even though he was dirty wealthy, she felt she could help do his laundry and change him into a better person.



...The previous night, Benjy had left the house, insisting that he had to go sort out some things urgently. Anita had complained and whined about his shady behavior and lies and many excuses. She had asked him to show her his office since they moved back to Canada after the wedding, but he always came up with a reason not to. He told her not to worry about anything and that he could provide her with any amount of money she wanted. She didn't have a job and he told her he didn't want her to have one. He said he had promised her parents that he would take care of her and that he was going to fulfill his promise.

But Anita was tired of shopping for clothes and bags and shoes. She wanted to do something. She was too young to be idle.


After he had left the house, she got bored and decided to go take a bath in the Jacuzzi upstairs. As she walked to the bedroom, she passed by Benjy's study. He always locked it up. He never allowed her come into that room. She was curious. She knew she couldn't force him into letting her in, so she decided it was a good time to check what was in there. Perhaps it was only his books that were top secret.

She found the key after a thirty minute long and tedious search in the box where he kept all the keys of the house.


...


By 10 PM, Benjy walked into the house. He had just received an order from a regular customer for three packs of white powder. He had some piled up under the rug, behind the shelves, in his study. He needed quick cash, because he had spent so much at the wedding in Nigeria. The customer wanted it delivered that night. He had already called one of his boys who helped with delivery to meet him up by 10.30.

Benjy ran up the stairs and dashed into the bedroom. Anita was dressed in her bathrobe, her hair wet and sleek. She had obviously just taken a bath. He kissed her face then dragged out the box where he kept his keys.

"What are you searching for?" She had asked, after watching him.

"The key to my study. I hope I didn't leave it open." He'd said, in a hurry.

Anita stood akimbo behind him, then she brought out the empty plastic bags where he had wrapped up stacks and stacks of cocaine.

"Are you looking for this?" She said.

Benjy stared at her eyes wide.

"What did you do?" He yelled, not believing what was going on right in front of him.

"Benjy I flushed everything down the toilet. You promised you had changed! What is..."

She never finished her statement. He grabbed the collar of her robe and began to hit her several times, cursing and yelling. She managed to let herself free from his grip, then she ran into the bathroom and locked herself in, weeping profusely.


...

Anita massaged her bruises with one hand, and stared at one of her wedding pictures on the iPad at the same time. She saw Derin in the photo, just behind her. She wished photos could listen so she could tell Derin, the friend who had her back, before she walked into the marriage, that she was sorry.



***


Folu felt really bad. He had poured out his guts of love to Derin, and she had just told him an outright No.
He knew she had been hurt in the past by her ex. He knew she was very afraid and didn't want to commit herself to another relationship again, but he wasn't going to take her No for an answer. He was a determined man. He always got what he wanted, and Derin wasn't going to be an exception.

Derin couldn't find any sleep. She kept on thinking about what Folu had said. She couldn't lie to herself anymore. She knew she loved him too. She wanted more than anything to be with him, but she didn't want to start something she might not be around to finish. What if her crises happened again and she couldn't survive it? She would leave him depressed and unhappy, and she didn't want that.

She remembered he had said that he knew she was SS. She was surprised that he knew this and was still willing to have a relationship with her. Maybe he wanted a fling. Maybe he just wanted sex. Maybe he wasn't in it for the long term.

By the next morning, she came up with a decision. It was a public holiday so there was no going to work. She took her bath, got dressed, and called a cab to take her to his house, after she had informed him that she was on her way. He had been so eager to hear her voice. She could tell from his pitch.

She smiled as she climbed out of the cab and paid the taxi man, then walked towards his gate. He was standing there already. She hugged him.

"Do you have any guests?" She asked. She knew he lived alone, but she just wanted to be double sure.

"No. I knew you were coming." He said.

She smiled, and held his hand, dragging him into the apartment.

Folu was still surprised as to what was going on. She hadn't exactly said anything. Maybe she wanted to talk...All that mattered was that she was there with him, and he cherished that above everything else.

She pushed his door open, and when they were inside, she shut it and then locked it. Then removed her high heels. Folu smiled.

She unzipped her dress, and then she begun to unhook her underwear.

"What...What's going on? What are you doing?" Folu asked.

"What does it look like?" She said.

"Why? Derin, please..."

"Isn't this why you asked me out? You want sex, right? Well, I'm here, all for you."

He looked away and then turned his back so he wouldn't face her.

"Please get dressed. Don't do this." He said.

She came towards him but he pushed her off and raised his voice, insisting she got dressed, then he went into his bedroom, leaving her in the living room, naked.

She was embarrassed. Slowly, she picked up her dress from the floor and began to get dressed. She sat on the floor, on his Persian rug, crying.

Folu came back into the living room and sat beside her.

"What did you do that for, Derin?" He said, still upset. "It's an insult. You think that's why I love you? Because I want to sleep with you?"

She shrugged.

"Then what could you possibly want?"

He sighed, then pulled her close.

"I want to be your man. I want to marry you."

She shook her head.

"How is that going to work? What's your genotype?" She asked.

He laughed.

"Obviously, it has to be AA, for me to want to raise a family with you."

She laughed too. His joke didn't hurt her feelings.

"I...I don't want to get hurt, Folu. Are you sure about this?" She said.

He hugged her.

"Yes, babe."

She put her arms around him and breathed in a sigh of relief.






*fisayotalabi
*Survived the Shoah
*Photo credit www.capitalfm.co.ke