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A SMOKY TALE

I am dozing on my bed this hot afternoon,halfway to the land of sleep, when I hear one of the cleaners yell. She has a loud speaking voice normally but her yells,my goodness,are of the earsplitting sort.

I turn to the other side of my bed and wonder who or what wants to cause this hearing loss for all of us.

She yells again and I decipher the word she is yelling.

She is yelling:”Baba!”

Now, I’m wondering who this Baba is and why his name is being yelled.

She yells again in Yoruba that he shouldn’t kill us.

At this stage,I’m wondering fuzzily, if I remembered to lock the door after my roomie left.

There is a bout of silence and I heave a sigh of relief. I turn again and continue my nap.

Then she continues,screaming at the unseen Baba,asking him if he wants to ruin people’s clothes.

That gets my attention and I open my eyes,fully alert.

Today is Saturday and the clothing lines in the backyard are full of clothes in varying colours and sizes spread out or hung up.

I happen to be one of the people whose clothing is spread out on that line by the dint of hard work,being that I woke up early,8am precisely( Yes. 8am on a Saturday is early for me), to wash and spread them.

She yells again and I sit up fuzzily.

As I rub my bleary eyes ,I smell the smoke.Warning bells go off in my head.

The man who has a plot at the back of our building farms it and occasionally he indulges in bush burning to our detriment.

I mean,isn’t bush burning in residential areas illegal? If it isn’t,it should be.Without any apology to his neighbours too!

I peep out my window and see the spirals of smoke and ashes descending upon the backyard and our hard washed clothes.All traces of sleep vanish from my eyes instantly.

I hear doors opening and people shouting in outrage at the sight of the unwelcome smoke spiraling over the fence.

The cleaner is still yelling and cursing as she packs away the clothes she spread out this morning. She has a murderous glare on her face as she stuffs the clothes into a large basin.

She keeps on cursing as the smoke spirals down. 

I feel the tickle of laughter in my throat and am tempted to laugh. I really am.That is, until I realize I have clothes outside too.

Snapping back to attention,I put on my slippers to go and rescue my clothes,before they start smelling like those of  an “asun” seller.( Not that they smell particularly unpleasant or anything)

Like grasscutters being smoked out of their lair ,we rush out with one quest in mind: rescue your clothes.
Written by Miracle Eme

 
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Posted by on July 31, 2017 in Literature/Writing

 

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SERENITY

Tola can hear the megaphones of the church down the street blaring.
She hisses and draws her blankets up. She pops in her earphones and presses play on her Ed Sheeran playlist.
At least she can still sleep in peace.
Subconsciously she reaches out to the other side of the bed, Niyi’s side.
It is cold and empty. The way she felt the rainy evening he left. The day he found out about the abortion.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Niyi is spitting furious as he clutches the receipt from the nondescript clinic where she had the D&C.
His cold words and disdain sting even as she struggles to explain herself.
How could you do this to us,Tola!“, he thunders
She is mute.
Soft spoken to a fault,Niyi has never raised his voice at her in all their years together.
Still furious,he continues: “it was our child! Our child! How could you kill it with no qualms? No fear! You had an abortion without telling me! How could you?
His voice drops to a broken whisper
How could you?

Tola can’t find any answer.
All her reasons at the time seem to have evaporated. She can’t say anything justifiable, not with the naked hurt on his face.
Niyi looks at her as if seeing her for the first time.
Then with a look of distaste,he turns and stalks into their bedroom where he begins to toss his things into one of his duffel bags.
Tola finally finds her voice.
Niyi,please. Don’t leave. I can explain.
He laughs ,a mirthless sound.
Explain what?”
His voice is as cool as ice.He is still tossing his things into the bag,his back turned to her.
When we first met,we both agreed that our careers came first. We didn’t plan for this. This was a mistake.I couldn’t put this on you!

How thoughtful“, he says coldly.He whirls around to face her,his face furious.
You should have told me,damn it!“, he rages.” It was a part of me too! I was entitled to know,Tola! You call it a mistake?How could you be so selfish?
I’m sorry “,she whispers in a cracked voice” .
Please don’t leave“.
He stares at her but his eyes are those of a stranger,cold and impassive.
I can’t talk to you now, Tola. I don’t want to. I have to go“.
With that ,he zips his duffel closed and leaves without a backward glance.

The apartment door slams shut.
Alone,Tola sinks to the floor and gives in to her tears. She has never been able to cry daintily and her sobs are loud and throaty,racking her petite frame.
She has never felt this alone.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

It’s been a month now and Niyi hasn’t still picked her calls and her trips to his office have been futile.
She has called his brother,Deji to inquire about his whereabouts but Deji’s hasty denial confirms that he knows. Niyi must have told him about it.
Tola has left endless remorseful messages on his answering machine and sent him emails and texts.
His only response is to mail back his own keys to their shared apartment.
Tola, finally coming to terms with this,the end of what they had, is an emotional mess.
And it starts to reflect,even at work.
Finally,she takes two weeks off to regain herself,whatever that means. It is what her boss suggested in that no nonsense manner of hers after she burst into tears in the middle of a meeting.
Now,on this Sunday morning,the last day of her forced leave, this church people are putting paid to her plans of sleeping in till twelve.
As she burrows in deeper,the megaphones seem to get louder as if reprimanding her.
She can’t recall when last she went to church.
Niyi wasn’t the churchgoing type and neither is she.
This church which is two blocks from her apartment is one of the new generation churches. Its enthusiastic members are always showering her with pamphlets,inviting her to this progamme or that.
Niyi used to tease her about actually honouring one of their invites.
Tola suddenly hit by an unshakeable resolve rolls out of bed and hits the shower. Then she hunts up an appropriate dress and heads out.
She walks the short distance to the church and is ushered in by a smiling usher.
She takes a tentative step in and hears the melodious peals of the singing choir.
Tola is struck instantly by an indescribable feeling,one that she hasn’t felt in a long time.
It is one that calms the turbulent emotions swirling inside her.
She feels a weightless sensation,as if she is floating in the air.
Her remorse seems to fade away.
She is at peace.

Written By Miracle Eme

Published by Great Opara

 
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Posted by on March 18, 2017 in Literature/Writing

 

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BUS RIDE

The yellow and black bus lurches from side to side like a drunk returning home in the morning. This bus could probably do a billboard ad for Titus sardines with the way we are packed in its cramped space. As I sit uncomfortably on the edge of one of the seats, I begin to reason again why I am heading home on this hot Friday afternoon.
Already my left ankle has been assaulted by one of the buss rickety seats which collapsed when one very endowed aunty sat on it. I am squeezed in by three other passengers on my right hand side and my legs are already becoming numb.
Back to my reasons for heading home:
Mums birthday. Jollof rice. The extra cash is also a motivation cos a sister is broke.
I am jolted from my thoughts when the bus lurches to a stop and evacuates some of its human content and new passengers get on.
To my relief, two people on my row of seats get off and I savour the temporary respite of sitting comfortably.
Too quickly for comfort, one of the new passengers squeezes in next to me.
He is a dark muscular guy with darting eyes that seem to rove all over the bus. He keeps glancing in my direction and continues to furtively glance all over the bus. At this point, I begin to feel suspicious as I notice his black tee shirt and bloodshot eyes. He notices my gaze and glares at me.
I mutter a silent prayer under my breath as I avert my gaze and look out the window.
Dark Guy thankfully gets down at the next bus stop and a wizened old man gets on and occupies his former position.
The old man looks like the average white haired grandfather and I relax. I plug in my earphones and start to doze. The man then brings out a tattered Ghana must go bag from under the seat .Wait a second. I didnt notice that when he got on. The slightly dirty bag has a weird bulge protruding from the bottom as well as a strange smell.
My sleep vanishes as my mind travels to all the stories I have heard about ritualists and their modus operandi on public buses. I begin to feel uncomfortable.
Then the man brings out a bottle with a dark liquid and pours out from it onto his palm and licks it.
Now I am legit afraid.
I say another silent prayer.
Then he begins to doze and as if sleep can be transferred I begin to feel sleepy too.
I quickly sit up and turn up my music to the highest volume I can without suffering hearing problems in the future.
Not today, village people.
Now, unfortunately, a traffic jam has brewed up and the bus comes to a jerky stop amidst grumbling and hisses from everyone. The LASTMA checkpoint in front is conspicuously empty.
I look out my window and happen to lock eyes with a trader who has spread her wares on the roadside. The woman is picking her nose and she is digging in so vehemently as if shes trying to find gold in there. I look away quickly.
The traffic finally clears up, owing mostly to the efforts of two belt-welding soldiers and some reappearing LASTMA officials.
A woman with a little boy gets on at the next stop and sits directly behind me. The little boy begins to fidget and she reprimands him sharply in Igbo asking him if his father has even a bicycle tire. Wow. Such savagery. There are some snickers from the back of the bus.
The boy quiets down. Strangely I think he understands the insult.
The portly woman in front of me begins a convo with the driver on money ritualists and the likes and how they spend money anyhow. Gist started when driver began to talk about a guy with no visible source of income giving his side chick 200k just for one small something. I didnt hear what. They soon move on to discussing which politicians have stolen money and their current net worth.
The woman keeps looking at me as if inviting me to join in. Me, ke! i just smile at her and plug in my earphones.
Not today, bus parliamentarians.
Thankfully my stop is at the next bus stop. As the conductor yells out my bus stop, my “owa” is so loud and relieved.
As we get to my stop, the driver moves past it. Anger propels my pidgin in that moment.
Wetin happen nah? Why you pass my bustop? Abi u no hear me when I shout owa?Shuo..
The conductor looks shocked.
I dont look like the pidgin speaking type. I glare at him for good measure.
He apologizes claiming that it was because of the touts at the bus stop.
Pacified, I get down and begin the walk back to my bus stop where the next okada will take me home.

Written By Miracle Eme

Published By Great Opara

 
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Posted by on February 26, 2017 in Literature/Writing

 

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