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Posts Tagged With: Nigerian short stories

The Visit

The visitTime and chance visited. There was no warning.

He’d skipped dinner, sat up all night computing figures, refusing sleep to his eyes. Excited…beyond excited. Bills, paid; stocks, doing well. More cash to save. Now what to do? Family car needs change. Another BMW? May be an escalade, like Mr. Lawals’. Now, that would be nice. Fuck the economy, who cares? Definitely not this man. I’m living large, he thought. The house…oh, the house. It needed another new coat of paint. Yeah, how about changing the floorings, make it hard wood; turn the kitchen to pure marble, like the Buchis. Wifey would like that. Yes, that would be nice.

Then, we’ll know who’s who.

The thought went through his mind, and he got the visit.

The pain lanced through his chest and travelled down his left arm. It happened so fast, he slumped, hard, on the ground. The noise brought Wifey  in, running.

“Help,” her faint cries reached him before he slipped away into a darkness so overwhelming, he felt extinct.

He saw no shapes; no figures, yet  he knew their voices  had called out to him.

He said Yes, I’m here. He didn’t hear his own voice. When he  spoke, it was a language so different from the one he knew.

Stand up.

So many voices. They laughed, evoking  dread in him.

Where am I?

Their hilarity  encircled him. Like wolves, their mirth wasn’t kind.

Please where am I?

He felt, rather than heard their collective, impatient grunt.

A chasm, they said.  Somewhere between hell and heaven.

Oh, a hospital, he guessed, probably suspended on a ventilator with several wires hooked up to him as Doctors and Nurses battled to save his life. He stood up. Pain lanced through what was his chest, now turned to empty space. He swallowed hard to stifle his growing sense of panic. He looked down. No feet. No legs. No arms. He reached up to touch his face with fingers that were no longer present. He felt …vacuum.

Did I die? Am I dead now?

No. Last night. You didn’t eat. Why?

He shook his head. What used to be his head.  Here he was, caught between heaven and hell, and this was the question they were going to ask him.

I was busy -the words flowed out of his shapeless, formless void .

Busy. He felt the hardness to their tone.  Busy doing what?

Trying to be; to become.

Become what?

Rich. Successful. Famous. Better than my neighbor.

You didn’t eat.

No, I didn’t eat.  He hadn’t meant to reply, but it wouldn’t have mattered. Here, words weren’t uttered. They simply hovered  empty space.

Suddenly, he felt hungry.

But I’d like to go home now. I’m hungry. I’d like to go home and eat.   

That won’t be possible. Your home is in the world. The world is for the living.

You said  I wasn’t dead.

We said you didn’t die now.

I don’t understa-

You died. A long time ago.

I don’t understa-

You died. While you lived.

So I’m dead.

You’re dead. No going back.

 No going back.

Their laughter continued. He stooped to weep, knowing it would be for eternity.

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

Even men cry too (part III)

Click to read Part 1

Click to read Part 2

“You lied to me Mike,” she started. “You told me you were on a business trip. Guess what? I called your workplace and they told me that you were on vacation.”

I folded my arms across my chest, discovering quite suddenly that I wasn’t ashamed that I’d lied to her. In fact, I was kind of glad that she had discovered the truth. I reasoned she’d come to realize that I wasn’t happy in our marriage and perhaps, would be willing to work with me on how we could resolve our situation.

“Yes, I lied to you,” I replied. “I needed some alone time to reflect on the state of our relationship.”

“And what conclusion did you come to?” she asked scornfully.

“Chichi,” I began, “I think we should talk about this when I come back home.”

“No. I demand to know what decision you’ve arrived at,” she shouted, her body language speaking of an aggression that was well familiar to me.

I turned away, refusing to dialogue anymore. That was when she pulled my shirt and tore the material in a single split. I shrugged her off, but that action only plummeted any form of control that was left in her 5 foot 4 inches body.

“Get off me,” I said, warding her off again, knowing that if the squabble worsened, the Police wouldn’t believe me if I told them she had hit me. I’m a black man with a strong Nigerian accent so it’s only going to be natural for them to believe that I had been the abuser.  Forcing myself to calm down, I turned to plead with her only to accidentally hit her elbow with my hand. That was the cue she needed to let her anger seep out like a broken dam. She screamed, ran to the kitchenette and brought out a table knife.

Pointing the knife at me, she screeched, “You want to leave me, right? You want to end our marriage, right? After I lost our only child to your indiscretions and had my tummy warped, you now want to end our marriage? I promise you, I won’t make it easy for you. I’ll kill you first, then I’ll kill myself.”

And all I could think to myself was “Dis woman don craze finish.

I backed up against the wall, wishing I could somehow reach the phone to call for help. Never had I seen Chichi look so unstable. The beauty I once thought she had, pulled off her face like a mask, as she screamed vengeance.

“Chichi, calm down.”

But she was past caring. With eyes filled with the hot energy of retaliation, she reached for me. I ran. She chased. I ran some more. She chased even more, and as we did our cat and mouse dance, our yells became louder. It wasn’t long before insistent knocks rapped on the door of my hotel room, with voices demanding that I open the door. After what seemed to be like several minutes, the door came crashing down. The Security men ran to me first, holding me down.  But when Chichi came charging at me as they held me in their tight grip, they realized that the perpetrator in this dance of terror was Chichi. They held her, demanding that she quiet down. Unfortunately, Chichi was too far crazed to listen to them and she charged at them, intending to do them physical harm.

It’s been a year since the vicious event in Houston. Chichi was arrested and sentenced. I divorced her, while she continued receiving therapy in her anger management class – as that was what the Judge demanded at trial in lieu of jail time. I am still in the process of picking my life’s pieces, but it’s not been easy. My friends have been sensitive enough not to bother me with words of “I told you so”, but deep down, I still beat myself for falling for charm, forgetting that charm, like they say is fleeting, and that beauty, as they say, is vain. The most important lesson I have learned in all this is that I see the concept of beauty far different from most people’s view. For me, beauty runs skin deep, because I’ve come to understand that a beautiful woman without any form of control is like placing an expensive gold ring in a pig’s nose.

And you may judge me for all I care, but God knows, I’m so done with pigs.

***Originally posted December 7, 2011

Get my latest book, Lessons in Love, now available at Amazon and in Nigeria, exclusively at Takada Books.

Categories: My Stories | Tags: , , , , | 19 Comments

Even Men Cry Too II

Click here to read part I

I stepped into the house and my phone went off. It was the hospital closest to our home, calling to say that my wife was ready for discharge.

“She had a miscarriage last night,” the nurse said over the phone, leaving me bewildered. “But she’s fine now.”

But I was about to become more stunned, for as soon as I brought Chichi home from the hospital, she confessed to me that she had forced the miscarriage. It was her own way of punishing me for our fight.

They say men shouldn’t cry, but daily, I wept in my soul as I came to realize that I was married to an unpredictable, vicious woman. I was scared for my life but afraid to leave my marriage for fear of what she would do.  Outwardly, I put on a happy face whenever Chichi and I attended  social gatherings, which  was becoming very far and in between, as my regrets over marrying her strengthened with every passing second.  Privately, I became withdrawn, preferring to work into the late hours than go home to my wife.

My Costa-Rican boss noticed my worsening melancholy and asked me what was going on. I made excuses, saying my depression was a result of overworking. She took my reply to heart and mandated a two weeks leave with pay. Perhaps she thought she was being generous but I didn’t see her generosity as an act of kindness since it meant that I’d be cooped up with Chichi for the next fourteen days. Although Chichi was a hard working Banker and was rarely home during the day, it was the thought of being in the house when she came back from work that had me reluctant to take the two weeks leave.

So I did what any other man who didn’t want to spend time with his wife would do. I made reservations for a hotel room in Downtown Houston in Texas and informed Chichi that I was going for a work-related conference that would last two weeks. From her cheerful smile as I lied through my teeth, I thought she brought my explanation. What I didn’t know was that the bomb in her head was ticking again, waiting to explode.

In Houston, I wasn’t interested in taking in the sights, as I just wanted to reflect on a lot of things, particularly my marriage to Chichi. I deliberately turned off my phone. During those three days, I prayed a lot. I was in a dark, confused place and I wanted out of my marriage.  I just didn’t know how I was going to get out of it. I finally began to understand what Solomon in the Bible had meant when he said, “A beautiful woman with no discretion is like placing a gold ring in a pig’s snout.”

On my third day in the hotel, knocks pounded suddenly on my door, and my gut immediately warned me it was Chichi.  I could practically feel my heart jump into my throat. My reaction would have been laughable had I not been part of the drama that was about to unfold in my hotel room. Here I was, a grown arse man, scared to death of my wife.

I opened the door and she breezed in. Her tone, when she returned my greeting was deadly sweet, and the cold way she stared at me had me thinking that the bomb in her head was just about to detonate. Remembering that she could become extremely angry at the slightest confrontation, I attempted to be gentle with her. But she had come to do battle and no amount of diplomacy on my part would allay the blast.

To be continued …..

***Originally posted November 21, 2011

Categories: My Stories, Reflections | Tags: , , | 10 Comments

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