Tag Archives: DPchallenge

Through the door

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Emeka walked tiredly to the coal black door with 17B written on it in gold, turned his key in the lock and walked into the overwhelming smell of incense, apples and something else he couldn’t make out but didn’t find pleasant. His wife, Halima, and his daughter, Julie, were praying in the living room. He wanted to go to the kitchen to drink water but he couldn’t because he would have to walk in front of his wife and daughter and he knew he wasn’t allowed to walk in front of people who were praying. He’d learnt that the hard way. So he sank into the couch and swallowed saliva repeatedly hoping to at least make his throat a little less dry while he waited. Not only was he greatly thirsty, he was starving. He had eaten an apple for breakfast and he had been so busy at the office that he didn’t have time to eat lunch.  Confined to the couch, he had no choice but to wait till their prayers were over.

“Hello darling, dinner is almost ready. How was your day”, Halima said, after their prayers were done. Julie hugged him and ran upstairs probably to continue chatting with someone she’d put on hold for her prayers. “My day was long and tiring and I’m famished. What’s for dinner?”, said Emeka, all but whispering. “Aww, sorry dear”, Halima said, ladling something from a pot into a bowl. “We’re having Mama Aimal’s stew and some apple pie for dessert”, she said as she brought the bowl of stew to him. Emeka wanted to cry. He now knew what that smell he couldn’t make out before was; it was the stew. A blend of pig brains and intestines,weird spices and other strange things made Mama Aimal, Halima’s grandmother’s stew and it was a treasured family recipe. He hated that stew with a passion and always poured it down the sink when Halima wasn’t looking. He sat there with fake happiness on his face spooning the gross liquid into his mouth as Halima watched him, his soul weeping.  He also hated apple pie; he thought it was just too sweet to be called food. After several spoons of the stew, Emeka couldn’t take it anymore so he pretended to doze off. He ignored Halima’s light taps until, finally, she carried the bowl of stew to the kitchen and started to load the dishwasher.
 Emeka heard her make her way upstairs and only then did he rouse from his fake sleep and go upstairs. Showered and lying in bed next to a sleeping Halima, Emeka waited for sleep to come. Strands of Halima’s long, sleek hair tickling his face, he thought about his beautiful wife that his family disliked. When he told his mother on the phone that he had found the person he wanted to marry, she said ” ah, Chukwuemeka! I thought you would come back home to find a wonderful Igbo girl, preferably from our hometown to marry. Anyway, I trust you my son. I know you have found an equally good Nigerian woman over there”. When he said his wife to be was not Nigerian, his mother screamed as if someone struck her with a big stick. “Jehovah! Chukwuemeka, you want to marry an American. Do you want to kill me? Eiii God oh”. Emeka thought it wise to not divulge any more information so he told his mother he and his girlfriend would be coming to Nigeria to see her and his father. When his mother first saw Halima, she whispered to Emeka, “Why is she tying her head like all those Muslim people” and Emeka said “mama, she is Muslim”. His mother’s face wore the expression of one who had seen a ghost but she said nothing. Later that night, sitting in the living room of his family house in Aba, his father merely nodded while his mother told him they would not consent to the marriage. His mother, arms akimbo, said at the top of her voice,”We cannot agree oh,Emeka. Never! Not only did you bring a white woman home as a bride, you brought a Muslim white woman. You must be joking. You will not kill me; I did not kill my parents, so you will not kill me”. Then with tears in her eyes and palms raised towards the ceiling, she knelt down and said “God, where did I go wrong please. Did all my prayers for my son’s future go unanswered. Will my years as a devout Christian go unrewarded. Jesus oh! Father why me”. Emeka explained time and time again that he loved Halima and he would never marry anyone else but his mother just cried and screamed and his father just shook his head mournfully. Emeka still married Halima. And then they had Julie. They couldn’t decide on a name; he wanted her to have an Igbo name, preferably Ngozi after his mum as he secretly hoped this would make his mother accept his new life, but Halima wanted to name her, Aisha after her own mother. So they decided to just give her a neutral English name they both liked. Emeka had hoped that his parents would change their mind now that they had a grandchild but their stance on the matter remained unchanged. Soon, the void created by the figurative loss of his parents was filled by his growing love for his daughter. She was just like her mother, maybe that’s why he loved her so much. He was a little hurt when, 13 and bright eyed, she decided she didn’t want to be Christian anymore.
Emeka fell asleep and he dreamt of a different life. It was one of those dreams that you know is a dream from the get go but can’t seem to wake up from so you just go along with it till your alarm clock rings. He walked up to 17B, turned his key in the lock and walked in. Seated on the couch was his mother singing an Igbo lullaby to a new born Julie. But her name wasn’t Julie in this alternate universe, her name was Ngozi. “Papa Ngozi, welcome. How was work”, his mother said still looking at baby Ngozi. “Fine mama”. The appetizing aroma of food hung in the air like a thick comforting blanket. “Welcome darling, your dinner is ready”,said his wife.  Her accent made it clear to him that she was Igbo, most probably from his village. She had dark shiny skin and a gap in her front teeth and she looked like Igbo personified. He could see why his mother liked her. “What’s for dinner, he asked”. “Oh, your favourite. Pounded yam and Okazi soup”, she said taking his jacket and briefcase. As the first bolus of pounded yam drenched in soup made its way down Emeka’s throat to his eager belly, Emeka woke up to the sound of Halima’s 5am prayer alarm.
His life was like punch at a college party: a mix of many things that boggled his mind.  But, he wouldn’t have it any other way. Even though he had no one to go to Mass with him on Sundays, even though he hated the smell of incense, even though he’d prefer pounded yam and Okazi soup for dinner instead of Mama Aimal’s deadly stew, even though they stuck out in public like a sore thumb, one black, one white and one caramel, even though his family didn’t agree, he loved his life and that’s all that mattered.
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Hi guys, this was written a little hastily so I hope it’s coherent. It’s in response to this week’s writing challenge( http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/05/06/writing-challenge-door/?utm_content=bufferf4266&utm_source=buffer&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Buffer ). What do you guys think about marrying/dating someone who is different from you? Someone of a different race or even ethnic group, someone with different political views, someone with totally different religious beliefs etc?

Can’t think of a title

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Last week’s “person,place and thing” challenge was the original inspiration for this post but when I saw the daily writing challenge for yesterday, the deal was sealed. The daily challenge for yesterday was to write about a song that has been stuck in your head or that you can’t stop playing. That song for me is definitely “When I was your man” by Bruno Mars. I love it so so much. I can’t get it out of my head and I can’t stop listening to it. I know all the words! Whenever the video plays on TV, my sister rolls her eyes because she knows I’m about to use the remote as my microphone and give a show stopping performance with Bruno Mars. I remember watching a Bruno Mars interview where he said “when you use songwriting for therapy, it’s hard cos I want people to hear the song but singing it reopens the wounds and memories”. I won’t even lie, my eyes welled up. It’s such a beautiful song with so much emotion. No wonder it’s stuck in my head. Why it speaks to me is that it rightfully tells us to never take love for granted. Never be ‘too young, too dumb to realize’ that the one you’re with is to be treasured. And so, this post is inspired by last week’s challenge and is in response to yesterday’s daily prompt ( http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/04/22/daily-prompt-earworm/ ). Enjoy!
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As I walk into the brightly lit classroom, still a tad hungover, I cringe. I’m clutching my cup of coffee for dear life as I make my way to the teacher’s desk. I study the curious faces of the first graders for a few seconds before I clear my throat and start the class. “Good morning guys. Your teacher, Miss White, is a little under the weather so I’ll be your substitute teacher until she gets back. My name is Mr Bamidele; it may be a little difficult to pronounce so you can call me Mr B”. So far so good.
“Today, we’re gonna talk about nouns. A noun is the name of an animal…”

Monkey. My little monkey is what I used to call you. Not just because of your obsession with bananas but also because of the little mischievous things you did. You always had that look on your face like you were about to pull a prank on someone. It was one of the things that intrigued me about you. I could never tell what you were thinking because of that look. I think I started to take you for granted when I finally cracked your code and became able to read your soul like a book. I could finally see the vulnerability, the need for affection and the unconditional love for me when I looked into your eyes. It made me feel like I had power, like I had the upper hand. I forgot what love was about.

“…the name of a person”

Oluwademilade. When you first told me your name I thought to myself, ‘isn’t that a boy’s name?’. Despite my being Yoruba, I never learnt the language growing up. I asked you what it meant and you said “God has crowned me”. Indeed, God crowned me with you. You are more beautiful than all the jewels in the world combined. What’s that saying again? Oh yeah, ‘Heavy is the head that wears the crown’. I don’t think the heaviness I felt was from responsibility; I think the heaviness on my head was pride. At first, I knew you were too good for me. I knew this crown did not belong on this head. As time went by, alas, my love, I started to feel like I was the one who was too good for you.

“…the name of a place”

Shoprite Ikeja. That’s where we first met. You had rolls and rolls of toilet paper in your cart and I thought “this girl must poop a lot”. You caught me staring and that was the first time my heart heard that your funny laugh that can lift my spirit any day of the week. I left Shoprite and went about doing the other things I needed to do at the mall, your laughter ringing in my ears. When I got to my car in the parking lot, there you were parked right next to me, putting your rolls and rolls of toilet paper in the trunk of your car. We smiled at eachother like familiar strangers as I drove home tucking you somewhere in the back of my mind. After my visit with my family was over, it was time for me to go back to my life. And by some stroke of serendipity, as I got to my seat, 34A, there you were seated in 34B. You always said you knew we were meant to be from the moment you looked up and saw me standing in the aisle beside you. You said we were destined to fall in love. By the end of that 23 hour flight, we felt like we’d known eachother our whole lives. By the end of the flight, I couldn’t get you out of my head. The way you laughed loudly, the way you hit my arm whenever you were excited about something, the cute way you snored when you fell asleep on my shoulder. The same things I first loved about you became the cause of several silly rows.

“…or the name of a thing”

I’m your angel by Celine Dion and R Kelly. That was our song. On our first date, I took you to a 4 star French restaurant for dinner. I still remember how the lighting of Pierre’s hit every angle of your face like that was the light God used when he fashioned you. After dinner, we walked down the road talking when we came across this karaoke bar. Your face lit up as you said “oh my gosh! I love karaoke, let’s go in”. I remember muttering something about having the worst voice on the planet as you pulled me into the bar. You sang a couple of your favourite songs and I smiled all through because your voice was just as bad, if not worse than mine. But your confidence was remarkable. Then you dragged me on stage and said we were going to do a duet. I didn’t want to but I did. I thought to myself “Ugh! This is such a sappy love song” but then I saw how much you liked it. We sounded horrible but it was beautiful. And everytime I hear that song, I think of you. It’s our song. ‘And when it’s time to face the storm, I’ll be there by your side’, I sang to you countless times. Yet, after a silly little fight last night, I said “Demilade, I can’t do this anymore. It’s over”. Funny thing is, I don’t remember what we were fighting about. I’m not sure if that’s because of how trivial the issue was or because of all the beers I downed at O’neil’s pub after the fight. But lately we’d been fighting a lot. I was always the one who started the fights and they were always over the stupidest things. I had had this idea brewing in my head that I was tired of you, that I was too good for you, that I was too amazing to be a one-woman man and so my aggressive side came out. Now, I’m realising just how huge a mistake I’ve made.

“Excuse me class, I’ll be right back”, I say as I all but sprint to my car. I’m remembering that song by Bruno Mars that was playing on the radio when we were going to lunch on Friday, about a man who lost his love because of his stupidity and I think to myself, “that man must not be me”. Before I start the engine, I take out my phone to send you a text: ‘Dee, my precious little monkey, I’m so sorry about last night and all the other fights, I don’t know what I was thinking. All I know is, there’s no one I’d rather be with than you, no place I’d rather be than in your arms and nothing I’d rather do than love you. I’m coming over’.

The bus ride

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Hey guys, *cough* *cough* this blog is so dusty! It’s really been a while. As this is the first post of the year, happy new year!!! *fireworks*.
So I decided to join this WordPress writing challenge that’s aimed at helping you post more and write better. Yippeee! Let’s see if it actually makes me post more often *fingers crossed*.
Today’s post is in response to the weekly writing challenge. This week, it’s a challenge to talk about a person, a place and a thing. ( http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/04/15/person-place-thing/ ). ENJOY!
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I walk briskly towards the multitude of parked yellow buses with black stripes and try to listen closely to the slurred names of places the conductors are calling out. “Sango, Sango Ota, Sango”, I barely manage to make out. I turn to my left and see him beside a bus as rickety as he. I walk up to him and ask “Sango?” just to be sure because with Lagos bus conductors, I’m never really sure what exactly they’re saying. “Yes, sister, enter”, he says in English laced with a thick Yoruba accent and he proceeds to dust my seat with his old palms before I sit down.
As I take my seat by the window, I begin to properly study this old conductor. He is bent over with age but I can tell that he was a tall and agile man in his prime. He is skinny and he has a crown of grey hair. He has tribal marks on both cheeks; each cheek has 3 horizontal black lines above 3 vertical black lines. His face is etched with wrinkles; I can tell that they are not only from age but also from worry. He is about 70 years old from my ‘guesstimation’ which makes his being a bus conductor so fascinating as bus conductors are usually aged 15-35. I wonder what his story is and I can tell it will be a very interesting one. Everybody on board the bus is calling him “Baba”(father), respectfully, as is customary. Under normal circumstances, there should be 2 seats left on the bus for passengers to fill as the conductor usually stands and clings to the side of the bus but this is not a normal circumstance. There is only one seat to fill as Baba will be occupying the second because he is too old and weak to stand and cling to the side of the bus like other conductors. Eager to fill the last seat, Baba is doing a funny dance to attract a passenger as he screams “Sango, Sango Ota, Sango”. Baba was obviously the life of countless parties back in the day. He successfully attracts a young woman and begins to collect money from the passengers. As he collects money and gives out change, I notice just how thin and shaky his hands are with many visible veins. I also notice that he’s missing quite a number of teeth as he smiles often. He is a happy old man. He is polite to all the passengers and in return, the passengers are polite to him. I imagine he’d be a pretty great granddad.
As Baba slowly collects money, I look out of the window at the area we are in. I had been in such a hurry to find a bus before that I didn’t look around much. This is the first time I have been to this part of Agege as I don’t come to Agege very often. To my left is the highway with cars racing by so I decide to study the area to my right. This area is quite filthy. It is muddy and there are heaps of garbage in several places and many stagnant greenish puddles with mosquitoes flying over them. The area is also rather smelly. I can only imagine just how horrible it is on a rainy day. It must be one of those parts pictured in encyclopaedias about Lagos that make you wonder why the wicked publishers didn’t use pictures of nice places like, Victoria Island and Lekki. The bus I’m in is next to a railway line befitting of the very old and sick-looking trains which are typical of Lagos. As usual with all the Lagos railways I’ve seen, it is a makeshift market place. There are women on the tracks selling things from mangoes to rechargeable lamps. When a train is coming, they pack up their goods and make way to return after the train passes. There is a child squatting close to his mother on the train tracks defecating as people walk by hastily in different directions, often bumping into eachother.
My thoughts are interrupted as the bus coughs to life and begins to speed down the highway, leaving Agege behind. Baba tries to close the door of the bus 3 times before it finally closes. Both Baba and the door’s feebleness contribute to this difficulty. I can’t stop staring at the door. It is extremely worn out and is just hanging on to the side of the bus for dear life. It has definitely had its fair share of forceful and careless opening and closing. Although closed, it seems like it is not properly closed as it looks rather wobbly. The door is all metal and has a few pointy edges on it and anyone who leans on it carelessly will probably reach their final destination with a cut or two as souvenirs from this trip. The door is shaking like a leaf as the bus speeds on like it has not a care in the world. The door is so frail that I keep thinking the wind will push it open or blow it right off the bus. We reach the next bus stop and old hands meet the old door as Baba opens it with great struggle for passengers to get off the bus. As Baba shuts it again and we continue on our journey, my only prayer is that Baba doesn’t fall out if this unreliable door bursts open.