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Posts Tagged With: African romance snippets

When the Queen of awkward made an unconventional request – an excerpt from Lessons

Available HERE:

Upcoming book, Lessons In Love

Upcoming book, Lessons In Love


We’re now in his kitchen. He lets go of my hand. I doubt if any cooking ever takes place here. It’s so clean. So new. So contemporary. It ought to be in a museum. I lean against the granite countertop while he strides across to the very modern stainless steel fridge – I’ve not seen the likes of this before; in magazines, maybe. From where I stand I see the refrigerator is well stocked – all kinds of flavored drinks and a wide variety of assorted snacks. He mechanically procures a coke and tonic water from the fridge, empties it into two tall glasses which he has retrieved from the cabinet above the fridge. Then he reaches over to the wine cellar and brings out a bottle.  He twists off the cap and shortly pours it into the glasses. He carries both cups and turns to face me. His eyes glow with something I can’t decipher.

“Here,” he says, handing me one of the drinks. He is close enough for me to smell his crisp, mesmerizing scent, and frankly, it disconcerts me.

I eye him doubtfully. Truth be told, I’m nervous. I’ve just told this man I want him to sleep with me and he hasn’t made any attempt at giving me a reply.

He takes a long swig of his drink, then places it on the counter top and gives me a quizzical stare. “Are you okay?”

I shrug, trying hard to tamper down this mortification that’s washing over me in waves. “You’ve not said anything Jimi,” I say.

His eyes burn into mine. “Tara, cut me some slack. You’ve just stomped me with a request that’s a little disturbing…something out of character for you. A man needs a drink.”

Disturbing? What’s all this self-righteous talk? “But you were so willing to say yes yesterday,” I say bravely. “You didn’t need a drink then.”

“Tara, yesterday…I was speaking without thinking, something I rarely do. You were upset and defensive. I don’t know, I just lost it. ” He stops and grimaces. “When I said sex mechanics yesterday, you do know I wasn’t asking you to sleep with me, right?”

I nod. “I do.” In hindsight, I realize it was one of those awkward situations I get myself into where the conversation just spirals out of control.

“Look, I don’t know how long you’ve had sex but the way you wrote about sex in Tomorrow and Lagos Blues, it’s just … implausible. For two people who supposedly love each other, there was no tenderness there.”

I roll my eyes. We’ve been here already.  He has made me listen to the comments of other readers. Why are we rehashing how bad of a writer I am when it comes to love scenes?

“So when I said sex mechanics,” he continues, “I meant…” he rubs his hand on his head, struggling to find his words.  “Crap,” he spits out. “I don’t know what I meant. Tara look, you are the writer. Do what you need to do to get your material. Just make sure it’s good material.”

I frown, shaking my head. “But Jimi, I’m doing what I need to do to get good material.”

He gives me a blank stare like he has no clue about what I’m saying.

“I’ve never really been in love before.” Well, until now. “I’ve also never had sex before and I’m asking for your help, and you haven’t given me a reply.”

“What?” He whispers. I think he’s about to implode. “What do you mean you’ve never had sex before?”

I ignore his shocked expression and trudge on. I am a desperate woman on a desperate mission and I’ve got to air my piece, now that I still have the courage to say it.

“Look Jimi, all I know is that yesterday you were so willing. Today, you’re…..I feel like you’re trying to let me down nicely.  I’m no charity case. If you don’t want me, tell me and I’ll go ask someone else to do me the favor.”

I sense his menace before he voices it. “Over my dead body,” he says, and before I can take my next breath, he pounces on me.

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Categories: African Romance snippets, Blog, Books, My Stories, News, Novels, Romance | Tags: , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Looking like Cinderella: An excerpt from Omo Mummy.

 1985

“…and they lived happily ever after.” Mummy closes the book, smiles, and kisses me on the forehead.

Tito – my sister, she’s six-  is snoring beside me on our bed.  She fell asleep – a long time ago – when mummy opened the book to read Cinderella’s story.  Mummy always says Tito is too tomboyish to enjoy stories from a good book. Ruffian – that’s what she calls Tito. Mummy is very happy that I love to read, just like she does. She says she used to be a teacher before I was born.  Mummy says she stopped teaching when she married Daddy and started to have babies. So, she likes it when I read. Mummy doesn’t mind what I read, so long as I read. She’s always happy every time I tell her I want a book for a present. Mummy likes to read to me too. Tonight, she’s very happy to read to me because Tito and I are travelling again tomorrow. Tito and I travel outside the country a lot because Mummy and Daddy are very rich. That’s what Aunt Dokun – Dad’s sister –says. But this time, we are travelling for good…we are going to be in a new school. A boarding  school for girls. Somewhere in London. It’s supposed to be the best school for young girls and Mummy and Daddy always want Tito and I to have the best. They say there aren’t many good schools in Nigeria anymore because there’s too much erhm…bribery and ehrm corruption and that ehrm…the leaders don’t care too much about education. They are very worried about the new president. Babaginda – I think that’s his name. It’s a long name. Daddy says he fears this new president will make Nigeria worse.

Mummy and Daddy –  they call us Adunni.  Daddy says it means My Delight. Mummy also likes to say that I’m her dead mother who came back to life. Yetunde…that’s my other name. But Daddy doesn’t like it when mummy calls me Yetunde. Daddy says it’s super – ehrm – superstitious? to say someone is their dead mother come back to life. So Mummy only calls me Yetunde when Dad isn’t looking.

“Did you enjoy the story?” Mummy asks.

I nod. I’ve heard Cinderella’s story many many times. I never get tired of  it.  I sigh because I’m happy. Very very happy. I love Cinderella’s story. It’s my best story of all. I like her pictures  in the book too. Cinderella has white skin and long hair. Her eyes are blue. I have black skin and my hair is not that long. It’s black and it hurts a lot when the hairdresser is fixing it. My eyes are black too. But it says in my passport that I have brown eyes. And I have glasses. Everybody in my class thinks I’m smart because I have glasses.  My white teacher, Mrs. Herbert  – she looks like Cinderella, but she’s old – always tells Mummy and Daddy that I’m an intelligent Nigerian girl. She says I’ll be a professor one day. I don’t know about that. I don’t think I want to be a professor. I think I’d like to be Cinderella.

But it’s going to be hard for me to look like Cinderella. Look at her hair. Look at mine. I have attachment in my hair to help it twist into braids. Bob Marley – that’s what Mummy calls it. Bob Marley style. Tito and I, we always have Bob Marley style on our heads. It takes forever for the hair dresser to get it done, but once she’s done, we always look pretty. I know we look pretty because Daddy smiles and says, “Adunni mi.”

“Mummy, when I grow up, I’m going to be very pretty like Cinderella. Then,  I will fall in love, get married and  live happily ever after.”

Mummy frowns. “Ehn?”

I repeat myself.

“Kofoworola, you are very pretty now. I don’t want you to be like Cinderella. I want you to be Kofo. Besides, no talk of falling in love yet. You are a little girl. Just eight. You need to face your studies and then, you’ll go to a good university and when you finish university, you will marry a good man.”

I nod. But I’m confused. Why doesn’t Mummy want me to be like Cinderella? She’s pretty. Prettier than me.

“Mummy?”

“Yes Kofo?”

“Why don’t you want me to be like Cinderella? She’s very pretty and she lived happily ever after.”

Mummy shakes her head slowly and stares at me. “Oloun e ma gbami.

What?

“I think I’ve made a mistake.”

What mistake?

Mummy smiles a little. I think she can read the question in my eyes. She shakes her head. “Kofo, I want to tell you a story that’s even better than Cinderella’s story. It’s a story my own mother told me when I was a little girl.. It’s a Yoruba story about a girl. Her name is called Adunni too. She was just like you.”

I sit up immediately. Mummy has never told me a Yoruba story before. “Is there a book? With pictures?”

Mummy smiles sadly “No. Not that I know of. May be one day.  I’ve heard rumors that there will be a television show on NTA soon that will show Nigerian stories like Adunni’s. If it’s true, I’d like to name it  ‘Tales by moonlight’.”

I smile. Tales by moonlight. I like the sound of it..

“But for now, it’s not in a book and it’s not on TV. So, it’s an  alo.’

Alo? It’s an odd word.

Mummy grins. She likes it when I’m confused. Because it means I’ll be curious. And curious in mummy’s eyes is a good thing.

“Alo means folklore…. Or a story in Yoruba. And when I say, ‘Alo o’, You’ll say ‘Alo’. Okay?”

I nod.

“Alo o.”

“Alo,” I reply.

“A long time ago, there lived a girl called Adunni. She was very beautiful. She had lovely skin like yours, Kofo.”

I giggle. “Did she wear glasses?”

Mummy smirks. “No. She didn’t wear glasses because they didn’t have glasses back then.”

I giggle again.

Mummy wags an admonishing finger at me. “And don’t interrupt me in the middle of an alo. It’s not good.”

I stop giggling and sit still.

“Adunni lived with her wicked step mother. One day, Adunni’s step mother sent her to a forest that was far away to go and fetch some water. Adunni fetched the water but got lost on her way home. So she began to sing a song, asking for help from Olodumare, the god of their village.  Now, there was a prince passing by. He wore purple aso-oke  and had many servants. He heard Adunni singing in the forest and he loved her voice. So he sent his servants to go and fetch Adunni. When Adunni saw the servants, she got scared and wanted to run away but the servants told her not to be scared; that the prince had heard her beautiful voice and wanted to make her his wife. So the servants brought Adunni to the prince. The prince was happy because Adunni was just as beautiful as her voice. So, he married her and on her wedding day, he gave her a purple aso-oke, just like his own to wear. And they lived happily ever after.”

I sigh. “That was a beautiful story, Mummy. I like alo.”

Mummy’s smile is very big.  She looks really happy with herself.  She rises from the side of my bed. Tito snores loudly.

“Good night, Kofo,” Mummy says. She gives Tito a quick glance. “Sweet dreams.”

Sweet dreams too Mummy, I say in my heart. I close my eyes and fall asleep.

Read more about Kofo right here.

Categories: My Stories | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Lara Daniels’ Forever and a Day

The death of a child is the most traumatic experience any parent can ever have, and I watched Dad and Mom shrivel when Daniel, my 4-year-old baby brother and the joy of our lives died. The laughter that was all so commonplace in the mansion we called home died along with him, and Kemi, my quiet fraternal twin and I walked around the house like ghosts, afraid to breath in air; afraid to exhale the air we took in.

Our family never spoke of Daniel after he passed; at least, Mom never did. Yet, I could tell there was so much bitterness in her heart because it also lingered in mine. I was 13, grown enough to blame God, as the rest of my family surreptitiously did, for the death of my brother. Thoughts such as “God, as a lover of children should have prevented my baby brother from drowning in Lagos Country club” plagued me. Why didn’t He, if He was truly a good God, script the story of our lives such that Dad didn’t get that much coveted job in Lagos? If Dad hadn’t taken the job, then we would all still be in London where expert paramedics would have saved my brother when he jumped into the pool. Besides, if we hadn’t moved to Nigeria, we wouldn’t have become privileged members of that cursed country club where my Nigerian friends from school envied me for visiting every weekend. And if we hadn’t visited the country club quite often, then, perhaps, my brother wouldn’t have jumped into the glassy looking pool that carried no Caution signs to warn off kids, especially when we all knew he didn’t yet know how to swim.

So everyone in my family internalized their pain, refusing to share.  And deep down, my Ghanaian Mom blamed my Nigerian father for indirectly causing Daniel’s death while Dad, equally angry at God and at life was terrified of loving anyone for fear that he lost them as he had lost his precious Daniel.

Our parents divorced a year later from the pain caused by the inability to deal with Daniel’s death.  Dad found comfort in the arms of a young woman chosen by his parents to birth him another son. Before I could wrap my head around what had happened, our family, as I knew it, ended.

Mom took bewildered Kemi and I to Ghana to take up a teaching job at a private school. New country. New life. A whole new culture to adapt to and I found myself dealing with severe depression in my teenage years. Kemi, always the introvert, was very private in the way she dealt with Daniel’s death, but for me, the life-of-the- party twin, the experience of losing a brother and losing my parents to divorce did some crazy things to my psyche. In desperation, I began to seek for love and attention outside our home as Mom was still quite absorbed in her own grief.

At 16, I got the attention I craved from an older married man, a neighbor Mom and I trusted. Mr. Kwesi Gray with his flattering tongue got me pregnant and my world spiraled even more out of control.

The day I announced my news to Mom, I remember staring at Mom’s shocked expression. Mom never uttered a word. She simply got up from where she had been sitting – the sofa closest to the TV – and walked into her room. No comments. No hollering. Not even a single tear.

Later that evening, numb from everything that life had unloaded on me, I dumped a whole bottle of paracetamol in my mouth. I didn’t think much of my strange action until I began foaming in the mouth and reeling on the rugged floor. Before I passed out, I remember Kemi screaming; remember mom’s tormented scream as she darted out of her room to find her child on the floor with an empty bottle  of medicine by her side.

They carted me to the hospital. Later, Kemi would tell me that she and Mom sat in one corner of the room, terrified, as Doctors and nurses battled to save my life. Every time Kemi recounts the story, she says that she saw a strange look in Mom’s eyes as they sat there – one she’d never seen even when we laid Daniel to rest.  Years later, Mom would confess to me that as she sat in the hospital room, she had an epiphany: It was time for her to stop mourning Daniel and cling to life for the sake of her remaining children.

I survived my suicide attempt but when I saw the very relieved look on Mom’s face some days later, I started bawling for I knew in that moment that I’d lost the baby. True, I didn’t love Mr. Kwesi Gray, neither was I stupid enough to think that he loved me, but losing that baby, it made me feel like I’d lost Daniel all over again.

Mom and Kemi took me back to our cottage-like home in Accra to start a new life, but in my heart, the harm was already done. Distraught over the loss of the child that I’d secretly day dreamed would replace the fun brother I’d lost, I vowed never ever ever to open my heart to loving again.

And that was how I pretty much lived my life: Bitchy, cold and unloving, until I clocked 33 and had an experience that would change my life beyond ways I could have ever imagined.

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Categories: My Stories | Tags: , , , , , , | 32 Comments

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