Tag Archives: story

You are the reason

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It’s funny how something so seemingly sturdy suddenly breaks and then you begin to see that in retrospect, there were cracks. Cracks you thought you could ignore and they would fix themselves. Cracks you thought you could hide from the world. Cracks that widened and expanded to form irreparable gutters with the things ignored floating on the surface.

Sitting there in church with his bible in his lap, Pastor Tunde was there but he wasn’t. 
He looked over his notes. His sermon today was supposed to be part 3 of “Getting marriage right”.

In the background of his thoughts,Pastor Tunde could hear the choir singing.

“You are the reason why I lift my hands
Why I lift my voice
Why I sing to you”

When he told Tolu five years into their marriage that God had called him to be a pastor and to start his ministry, she had been silent. Then she had told him she couldn’t handle the pressure of being the “mummy” of the congregation. That she didn’t want to be second in his life to a God she wasn’t so sure she believed in. That she couldn’t lose herself for a calling that wasn’t hers. 

He knew she would come around. And she did. She understood that God had to come first.

She always looked beautiful in her skirt suits and hats on Sunday mornings. She handled the congregation with effortless grace. They were living the life God wanted them to live.

For Pastor Tunde his perfect structure had shattered to smithereens when he walked in last Friday from his 3-day prayer summit trip to Abuja to find Tolu and their maid, Jane, groping each other on the couch.

He looked up at his tear-stained face on the projector screen. The camera men had a habit of keeping the camera on those who were moved by the worship and were in the spirit.

“You are the reason I’m alive today
I am here to say

It’s all because of you”

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Hi guys! Hope life is treating you well.

I haven’t been writing a lot these days which is really sad.

As always, I can be found more often on my hair blog here if you’re ever missing me and if that’s your sort of thing. (I talk about other stuff too, not just hair but mostly hair) 

Xoxo

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Double standards

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My first memory of it was when I was 8 and my uncle gave my brother, Ugo and me a box of crayons to share. The crayons were 15. I wanted to take 8 so Ugo could have 7 after all I was older but Ugo threw a tantrum and said he wanted 8. I ran to my mum and she said to me “Chinenye, let him take 8. He is a boy and you are a girl”.
I didn’t understand what she meant. If she had said “He is your baby brother”, I would have understood even though I wouldn’t give up that 1 crayon willingly. I would have understood.
But she said “He is a boy and you are a girl”.
You see, I’d never thought we were different until that moment. Sure enough I knew daddy always gave him a bigger share of the dried meat he brought home often but I always just thought it was because he was younger.
When daddy told Ugo not to help mummy cook anymore because the kitchen is a woman’s place even though Ugo loved it, I began to wonder.
I said to mummy “why can’t Ugo do what he likes? Does it matter that he’s a boy?” And she said “Nne it does. Some things are for boys while some things are for girls. That is the way it should be”.

In JSS1, I remember practising for weeks the points I would make during the inter-school debate I was meant to represent my school in. I was so excited. My parents were coming to watch me with a photographer to cover the event.
We had had an in-house debate in school and I had won the votes of my classmates beating Vincent 150-40.
On the morning of the event I was dressed in my cleanest, most ironed pinafore with my socks whiter than snow and my shoes so polished you could see your reflection in them. I got to the school bus only to be informed by the debate master that “Vincent will be going for the debate instead. We decided that he will do a better job because he is more confident and assertive”
I cried for days! Vincent that couldn’t even string a sentence together without a grammatical error. Vincent that couldn’t even look you in the eye when he spoke, “more confident and assertive”?. Of course my school lost.

I had worked at B&G Holdings for 7 years and I was due for a promotion. It was down to me and Segun Aina and everyone knew I would be the one because Segun had been in the company for a little over 2 years and hadn’t brought in half as much business as I had. It was a no-brainer, the promotion was mine.
When Segun got the promotion instead, I went to my boss and asked why. He said “Chinenye, you know you are a woman. Very soon you will get married and your family will become number one in your life instead of the company. Besides Segun will be a better representative. People will take him more seriously as the face of the company”.

All the inspirational quotes tell you to work hard so you can be successful. They never mention that you should be a man too if not you will live your life always almost getting to the top, always being second best even when in all honesty you are the best.

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It’s been too long guys, I know!! Forgive me! This post is fiction but is inspired by Chimamanda Adichie’s “We should all be feminists” speech(I’m too lazy to get you a link but you can google it and watch it on Youtube. An excerpt of it is in Beyoncé’s Flawless) and by my baby brother telling me “You can’t be rich unless you marry a rich man. That’s what I heard on Afmag” after I said “I can’t wait to be rich!”.

What do you guys think? Are there (still) double standards when it comes to men and women especially in Africa because I think there definitely are? What can we do about it?

P.S: if you’re ever looking for me, I can sometimes be found over at my hair blog. You can check it out here if you’re into that sort of thing.

Peace!

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Letter to my unborn child(Ayomide)

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Dear Ayomide,
My joy, my love, my everything. I miss you. I miss the way you used to kick me and wear me out and give me sleepless nights and aches and pains.

Ayomide, I prayed for you, ached for you, willed you to come and you heard me. You were finally here! Our joy, mine and your father’s. In my belly, kicking, tossing and turning.

I could see you in my head, saying your first words, taking your first steps, going off to preschool, graduating from college, getting married with daddy sobbing like a baby; my cute little girl with curly, soft hair like mine and perfectly set eyes like her father’s.

I could feel you. Feel you hugging me, feel your presence in all my happy moments,feel the pulsating, overwhelming love I had for you.

You were mine, finally. Until you dripped down my legs, a bloody mess for the third time.

Now white hospital walls is all I see. Pain and emptiness in my belly and my heart are all I feel.

Why is it that you don’t want to stay? Do you think I’ll be a bad mother? I promise you I won’t if you only give me a chance. Or it that God is punishing me? For what exactly? Is He just toying with my emotions, dangling you in front of me and then snatching you away when I reach out to touch you? Showing me that I’m nothing but His puppet? Or is it the devil that’s afflicting me and God’s just there watching, arms folded?

Ayomide, come back to me. Please. And stay this time. Stay.

Your mother.

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I’ve been wanting to write this for a while but I kept forgetting and then something somewhat similar happened to someone I know and I remembered. It’s pretty short and I don’t know if I was able to quite capture the emotion but I hope you enjoy.

Alhaji Gafar

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Lying there, Alhaji Gafar could almost see his father’s stern face, hear his father’s deep voice telling him “Gafar, you have to grow up to be an upright man. Always do what is right no matter what it costs you. Be a good man. This is what Allah expects of us”. Alhaji Gafar had spent his childhood and teenage years trying to be good because it was what Allah expected him to be. As he grew older and wiser, he began to feel the joy of being good, the love for people and he realized that he shouldn’t be good thoughtlessly only because Allah expected it of him, he should be good because there was joy in being good, because it was good to be good and it felt good to be good. So Alhaji Gafar, armed with this epiphany, was the very definition of all that is good and upright.

When he was approached with the government job, he was reluctant because he knew that most people that held government jobs were deceitful,evil,greedy and had hands stained with the blood of many. But Alhaji Gafar told himself he would be different and he would try to bring positive change so he took the job. He didn’t care that many powerful men screamed death threats at him when he refused the cheques they pressed into his palm to change figures somewhere, put their names somewhere or remove someone they didn’t like from a job. He never embezzled money, never gave or received bribes, never used his position to oppress others.

And so lying here on the cold ground in a pool of blood, the knife of revenge sticking out of his belly, life seeping out of him and death breathing harshly on the back of his neck, he wondered if he should have been different but he knew he had led a life he,his father and Allah were proud of. He closed his eyes and let death take him by the hand and lead him away from this world where good was bad.

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Hi guys. I know it’s very easy to be bad and extremely difficult to be good but let’s all try as much as we can to do the right thing(Isn’t it a little funny that I’m saying this after the good guy died. LOL). Happy Democracy day Nigeria! May God give us more and more good people in the government with each passing year.

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?

June 3rd

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I’m featured on The Rambling Newt! Please check it out guys!

Ramblings of the Newt

Today. We have Jennifer, gracing our ‘eyes’. Enjoy.
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I check my watch for the umpteenth time. It’s 11:59 so I just watch the second hand make its way around the circle. 12:00! Finally! Like clockwork, my phone rings. No need to look at the screen for caller ID, I know it’s you; you always call first. “Hi baby” I coo into the phone. You proceed to sing me “happy birthday” with me smiling like a fool and wiping a couple of tear drops.
I always told you that you were an angel in human form; not only because of how special you are, but because of your voice that would put the birds, the American Idol contestants and a few angels, dare I say, to shame. Your singing ends and you say “Happy birthday baby! You are the light, the love and the joy of my life and I’m…

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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’.