Afrosays to me

…random excerpts from my communions with the AfroMuse

Pink Polish August 3, 2012

Filed under: Scenic — Betty @ 3:33 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

The sounds of blotted ink that can’t be erased. And of efforts to repair damages. Of efforts. And picking up the pieces.
Listen.

 

PINK POLISH

 

 

 

You stare at the black tiles under your feet; at the contrast your fair feet and pink nail polish make against the dark shiny floor. Your shoes are outside the room because that woman had stared at your red shoes with scorn before shifting her gaze to the line-up of shoes on your right. You had silently obeyed.

 
You will obey. And wait- wait for their verdict, hope that they believe you and pray that you do not leave this house alone.

 
You had only wanted to numb your pain- press a cloth to your seeping wound. You only wanted to forget; to blur it out a little; it was only solace you sought. And the concave bottoms had promised to leave you deadened; abandon you comatose. But they had broken their promises- one and all. Not unlike Lanre.

 
Lanre had vowed you forever, you remember! In that crowded church with the famous pastor leaning over you. Your corset had imprinted lines of pain on your ribs but your heart had fluttered and skipped as Lanre promised to be with you- forever. You remember his nervous fingers pushing the gold band half-way up the wrong finger before correcting himself to the sound of jocular laughter. You remember.

 
So when he had gone, one minute here, next minute gone- like peekaboo gone wrong; you had known that you were over. It had felt like your chair had been pulled out from under you in the middle of musical chairs- one second dancing cheerily, the next- a crumpled crying mess on the floor. And it took you a while to regain your balance, but you have- it is why you are here.

 
You look up at the old clock making faces at you from the opposite wall. Five past three. You have been waiting for thirty-five minutes. Thirty-five minutes and the restlessness has relayed to your left foot which is involuntarily tapping itself against the floor. But you will wait.

 
Because waiting is not new to you. You had waited an extra month before the baby boy you and Lanre had created decided to make his appearance. You had waited through hours of labour as your son’s head crowned, then receded severally- ambivalent even in the womb. You had waited while they bathed and clothed him in the carefully-selected blue wrap before returning him to you as you smiled up at Lanre in that beatific way that said- “Look what we’ve done!”

 
So, waiting is your buddy. An old buddy that has a few shirts in the bottom drawer of your guest room. It is fifty minutes now but you pretend not to count; you catch your eyes returning to the peeled wooden door behind which your existence lies. Yes, existence, because if you leave here alone, you are ready to leave your body behind.

 
Your chin falls to your chest and you whisper another prayer. They need to give you this- so you can pay penance. So you can pile up plenty good to tip the scale over. If you could use one of the time machines Lanre had been so interested in, you would never have picked the first bottle of gin. Or the second or third.

 
You would never have left your son crying in his room in hunger because his mother’s head had a glorified position on the toilet bowl. You would never have passed out on the floor of your son’s bedroom to wake up to his wet dark eyes peering at you in question. You would never have locked him up because his crying aggravated your headache.

 
No. And when they came for him- Lanre’s family, you wouldn’t have screamed and broken things. You wouldn’t have sat there, afterward, staring as they packed up his things, your glassy eyes unfocused in inebriated disinterest. You would have crawled and groveled at their feet and promised to change. You would have sworn on Lanre’s grave to put aside your bottles and personal hell to focus on the living, breathing gift Lanre had left for you.

 
But it is why you are here now. It has taken you four months but you are here now- to pledge and promise and vow and swear an oath if need be- that you will never return to the despicable mess you were when they saw you last.

 
The door creaks open and your eyes widen as you take in the smiles on the faces of the men and the stern looks on the women’s faces. Your heart begins to contract and you fear you will have a heart attack but the small nod on Lanre’s uncle’s face makes you dare to hope some more. You scan the faces again and… ‘Junior’, he calls into the room behind him, ‘your mummy is here.’

 
 

 
 

 

The Baby April 13, 2012

Filed under: Scenic — Betty @ 9:20 am
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Betty beats a gong of riotous sounds. Listen.

 

 

Sheila and Dayo were an odd quiet couple. They lived in their quaint bungalow at No. 4, Adeniyi street. The house had been Dayo’s father’s and Dayo being the only child, had inherited it upon his father’s death. Sheila and Dayo could be seen huddled together as they took long walks or just looking straight-ahead as Dayo drove them to church or the supermarket.

 

They were the couple that other parents warned their children to stay away from and a topic they shared with visitors when the couple passed the front of their gates. They had eyes only for each other and had no friends save colleagues and other parishioners.

 

But this little family lost their silence when Sheila had a baby. Her pregnancy had mostly gone unnoticed as she had quit her job at the Primary School teaching Art in her third month, long before a bulge was evident. It was left to Dayo to provide for their family from the funds from his furniture shop.

 

They named their daughter Annabelle Ayomide after both their mothers who were both too dead to witness the little naming ceremony that a few friends from the Furniture shop, the Primary school and the church attended. Anna cried through it all. She cried when her the pastor lifted her up for blessings; she cried when the well-wishers gathered around to coo at her strong lungs and she cried when her mother tried to stuff her nipple in her mouth in an attempt to quiet her.

 

This became the announcing symbol that Sheila or Dayo was near- the lusty crying of their daughter. She cried at the supermarket, inviting evil glares from other customers. She cried at church, until Sheila began to spend her services outside, under a lone speaker the church had set on the street to attract lost souls. She cried at night, while her parents would wrap themselves in each other’s arms in the next room and pretend not to hear her for one hour.

 

Sheila, or Dayo, would then march to the baby’s nursery, hit the light switch and glare at the baby. Sheila would pick Anna up, try to feed her then return her to her cradle and proceed to sleep through the noise. Dayo would gather Anna into his arms, rock her a bit, throw her into the air, make funny faces and then give up to join his wife in sleeping through the noise.
Sheila or Dayo, when seen without the baby, could be seen sporting dark eyes, laden with eyebags. Pitying looks were cast their way where wary glances had been thrown, before Anna.

 

The breakthrough came a night when it was Sheila who got out of bed. The electricity was out so she lit a candle and placed it on a high chest of drawers on the other side of the baby’s cradle while she settled in the armchair. But Sheila missed it because it wasn’t until the next morning, when she woke up with her neck hurting from sleeping off in the armchair, that it occured to her that her baby had stopped crying.

 

Dayo and Sheila rejoiced but the next day and the day after saw them back in the feeding-tossing-sleeping-through-the-noise phase once again.

 

Sheila figured it out eight days after. She lit a candle and set it on the chest of drawers then went off to the kitchen to make herself a cup of tea. She returned to see an amazing sight. Anna wasn’t silent, but she wasn’t crying either. She was cooing and making baby noises while smiling and stretching her little arms towards the candle’s dancing flame. Sheila ran to wake Dayo and they did a little jig in Anna’s nursery before going to sleep soundly for the first time since she was born.
Candles were placed at distances from each other and heavier curtains replaced the flimsy ones there to keep out the light. Anna became a happy baby. Her little eyes shifted from one flame to another; her hands flailing about while her legs kicked happily. Everyone was happy again.

 

Sheila and Dayo could once again be seen taking walks, huddled into each other, without their daughter. They went to church without their daughter. And went to the supermarket without their daughter. Anna was happy in her sanctuary of candles, giggling and waving.

 

It shouldn’t have come as a surprise when Dayo and Sheila were interrupted in church with cries of “Your house is on fire!” But it did. Dayo and Sheila rode home in a frenzy, their thoughts hopping about the place, never dwelling on the horrible visions their minds conjured.

 

No one else knew how it happened except the boisterous rat and Anna, who had watched it run into a candle that fell to her diaper bag which was leaning against the curtain. She had watched with amazement and her widest smile yet as a fire bigger than any she’d ever seen enveloped her. But neither Anna nor the rat could relay this story as they were both burnt to crisp by the time Sheila and Dayo arrived.

 

The neighbours, those who weren’t at church, had tried to put out the fire- but it hadn’t occured to them that a baby had been indoors, alone- perhaps they would have put more effort.

 

Dayo and Sheila rebuilt the house. Neighbours say they became a little crazy, if they weren’t before. They still went on about on their huddled walks and supermarket visits and church services but whenever asked about their crying daughter from a clueless curious or about their general wellbeing from a kind curious, they would look behind them- as if haunted- and whisper: “But the fire made her quiet.. The fire made her quiet..”

 

 

 

The Black Hole August 3, 2010

Filed under: Scenic — afrosays @ 6:38 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The goddess was held me in her arms as I wept.

My world was crashing all around me.

She reminded me that old civilizations always had to give way to new; I’m just hoping Jerusalem isn’t coming down for Babylon.

She sang me a lullaby, I slept.

I’m now awake and I shall sing it to you all only because Afrosays:

THE BLACK HOLE

The Black hole

The Black hole

“Beep… beep… beep”

The seconds of my life were being counted by one of the several boxes of wire that kept me alive.
I wasn’t sure I was ready for the extremely long beep that would signal the end of my life but according to what the doctors had said, that sound was two days late and it would be here anytime soon.
It’s not that I wasn’t prepared; I’d settled grievances, seen my lawyer and put my house in order. Heck! I’d even told Cecilia that she could marry that moron that had been the centre of our family trouble for the past two years since she finished college. I was desperately trying to use these last moments to buy inner peace but I still wasn’t sure I had the right currency.
Freddy told me that the idiot across the room holding my daughter’s hand. Freddy said he looked like the angel of death that was responsible for all the recent motor accidents along the Benin-Ore Express way with all the scrap metal coming in and out of his disgustingly tattooed skin. The first day I saw him, I wished the London Arts School scholarship hadn’t come through for Cecilia, six years ago. I never seemed to understand the fact that her boyfriend was a successful musician somewhere in Europe, Cecilia deserved better.
But she wasn’t my burden at the moment, I was. These past few years had been my most successful; I had taken a lot from the world and given it gifts in return. I was sure my name would be remembered for my outstanding contributions to health science. I had been a good man, but was that ever enough? Freddy said my wife’s pastor was still in the room and according to the religious rituals we’d gone through together the few weeks before I blacked out, I was cool with God and ready to go, but deep inside me I wasn’t sure if there was a place to go to. The pastor had once mentioned that the just shall live by faith, but it was too late to ask him what the just was meant to die by?
My eyes were closed.  My body was on shut down. I could only depend on my ever reliable brain. It had a nickname, Freddy I called it. I had developed Freddy so much that he was two hundred years older than I was and had a mind of his own. I didn’t deserve any of those accolades the world lavished on me, Freddy did. He deserved everything from the national honour to the Nobel price, yet, he couldn’t help me out this time. He hadn’t been able to come up with a sensible explanation for eternity, re-incarnation or two thousand virgins. All Freddy knew was limited to this sphere.
I had searched through my childhood memories of Sunday school till my early years of marriage, before the call of humanitarianism took me away and all I found were contradictions. The only problem was that no one had been honest enough to admit they didn’t have the answers. They were all too scared to think for themselves and relied on any man who was bold enough to pretend he understood the great mystery of life. Those kinds of men got too many with time and the contradictions became more evident. Eventually the bright left in search for the real truth.
I still haven’t found it. I used Google till Microsoft bought it over and messed it up and it wasn’t in any of the two trillion web pages on their index. There was no truth in hedonism or even in excessive piety either. All my experiments led to one single fact: No matter how long man tried to pretend, his true nature always surfaced. No one was perfect. No one could uphold whatever dogma they put forth without falling short. They could only pretend in hypocrisy and that was my dilemma, the fact that no one could live up to any paradigms, even basic laws they set up themselves. If we cannot live up to our own standards, how much more that of some perfect deity?  We’re all doomed to incompetence and low self esteem!
“Beeeeeeeeep!  Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeep! Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep!”
Suddenly, Freddy came through, just when I’d lost hope. He seldom failed me.
“Doctor! Doctor!!!”
Pandemonium.
I didn’t care.
My soul smiled.
And then I laughed – I opened my eyes and laughed real hard.
They were shocked because Freddy had put me in a coma for two weeks so he could work.
I’d finally found the answer!
Being human was the joke of the millennium!
“Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep!”

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