Afrosays to me

…random excerpts from my communions with the AfroMuse

Decades II – The Sixth Decade (51-60) September 24, 2011

Filed under: Decades — Betty @ 10:00 am
Tags: , ,

The Decades project II.

Thanks for waiting. In case you missed the preview, find it here so you know what to expect. If you’re not sure what Decades is about, kindly check the preview out.

Decades II – very much like the original Decade project – explores the wholesomeness of womanhood as lived in ten-year intervals; Girls; Ladies; Women; Mothers; grand and great-grand mothers all. They live the same life we live, experience the same joys and pains unique to their decades and maybe we can learn a thing or two from them. Find the subtle connections that link their lives together and get lost in stories told. Decades II.

Please do subscribe to the blog to follow the project. (Column to the right for PC browsers or in the comment section). Also, we hope that you’d be kind enough to leave a comment. Your feedback is important to us.

The Sixth Decade (51-60) by @Ms_Dania


ENTER @Ms_Dania
Take five.
I smile. I put down the novel and close my eyes for a few minutes, trying to obey the coach in the novel who’d just told his junior league team to take five. As I expected, the thoughts came. They were so frequent and powerful these days; wrapping round my heart with their gnarled fingers, threatening to squeeze the life out.
I’m not sure.
I have a husband who loves me. My first daughter just got married, my only son is about to complete his Masters degree abroad and my baby girl (I smile as I remember the way she cringes when I call her that in public) will soon start her penultimate level in university. She’ll make a fine lawyer one day, that one.
As managing director of Mainstream Bank, it can be said that I’ve done very well for myself.
What is there to regret?
I’d always wanted to be a writer; and write I could. I remember telling my Mama whenever I finished reading a new novel that she’d brought home that I was going to grow up and write stories for the whole world to read. I excelled in essays and even won a few competitions here and there. Pre-NYSC, I did a bit of editing work and wrote for a couple of magazines. My parents were happy; they liked that my hobby made me small money on the side.
Post-NYSC, I got a bank job because everyone knows that you gotta get a real job after NYSC. Right? So I did. But I had a plan. I would work for a while then get married. If my husband wasn’t earning enough to support the family alone, I’d wait till he was and then I’d quit and venture out into my writing career properly. It was a foolproof plan.
I met Tunji right after NYSC at a friend’s birthday gig. He was…nice. He looked nice, spoke nice, smelled nice; he was the quintessential nice guy. He was a mid level employee at a small private company at that time with hopes and dreams and potential. And he loved me to bits. I was very comfortable around him and we became fast friends. From the beginning, I knew he wanted more and so when he kissed me after the movies that first day, I didn’t stop him. I didn’t kiss him back either. Somehow he didn’t give me butterflies. We kinda started dating sometime after that. We broke it off -or rather I broke it off- a couple of times but somehow we always got back together. I did love him in a way, and we were so used to each other. But he still didn’t give me butterflies. It didn’t come as a surprise to me or everyone around when he asked me to marry him three years later. We had indirectly talked about it. We had met each other’s families. I told him I needed time. He said to take all the time I needed. Nice, sweet Tunji. I didn’t have butterflies. I thought about all the other guys that wanted to marry me. Most of them had more money. One of them was heir to a fortune. I thought about my sweet, loving, considerate Tunji.
Chioma said butterflies only happened in the movies. Bimpe said no grown woman needed butterflies. My mama said what was important was that we loved each other. Biology said that, at 28, my time was running out. Why give up the man in one hand for a winged creature you haven’t even sighted yet, no matter how colourful it may seem?
Our wedding was…nice. I kept my bank job, waiting for his potential to turn into kinetic. The children started coming. I continued waiting. Diapers, cribs and preschool. Still I waited. Thirteen years into our marriage he lost his middle level job. Like a good wife, I told him not to worry that I’d cover for him while we waited for him to get another. Maybe it was God’s way of moving him to something better. Maybe I would finally quit this job that was draining the life out of me slowly. Perhaps I’d still get to write that novel. So I covered. Boarding house, tantrums and Masters Degrees. I kept covering. Covering and waiting, covering and waiting. Day after day, when he’d come home crestfallen after another day on the streets trying to get a job, I’d be there smiling with open arms, hot food and open legs. Even though I hated my job with every vein in my body, I did more than endure it; I excelled at it. I was determined to be the perfect wife and mother.
As we grew older, he stopped seeking employment and came up with all sorts of business schemes and proposals. I continued in my role as the good wife; smiling, cooking, sexing and funding the harebrained schemes.
Its 32 years after and I’m still smiling. Not as brightly though. My dreams of being a famous novelist were just that: dreams. The novel I was just reading is the first I’ve read in decades. The only reason I’m at home and have time to read it is because I had to take a compulsory leave after I collapsed at work last Tuesday. “Fatigue”, the doctor said. Unhappiness, my heart corrected. I hate my life. I love my children. My husband. I love him. And then I hate him. I hate him for being the reason my heart flutters a little each time Chinedu Ubaka comes to my office. You see, Chinedu is an extremely successful business man and one of the bank’s most important clients. He is very well spoken, well read and well travelled. He is also divorced. And he likes me. He’s put it out there but he doesn’t push it; he wants me to “take my time”. I feel him watching me whenever he comes in for a meeting. I wonder if he notices that I’m freshly made up every time. I can’t help it, I like him too. Or I like the idea of him, I don’t know. Maybe it’s just the idea of his success that I like. Maybe if Tunji was successful I wouldn’t feel this way. At least if he was successful, I wouldn’t be working at the bank and I wouldn’t have met Chinedu. But I’ll never know because I can never cheat on Tunji. I think.
So I hate him. Because I love him. I hate him because I love him. Every time he looks at me with failure in his eyes I physically fight the urge the grab him by the collar and shake the lights out of him, screaming, “Get up off your sorry ass and turn your potential into kinetic, dammit! This was not the life you promised me!”
They say the ‘fairy tale’ happens only in the movies. So I settled for real life. Shouldn’t real life pay off? I did the right thing and married my ‘Nice guy’. I did not follow the other guys with their money. I could have been wife to the bloody heir to a fortune. I did not hold out for the man that would give me butterflies; I settled for common sense. I followed the rules. I should be happy.
Shouldn’t I be happy?
Doorbell rings.
I open my eyes and look at the time. My five minutes is up. It is him. Standing up, I pick my novel off the floor, smoothen out my dress and walk towards the door.
And then with my hand on the knob, I put my smile in place.
Margaret Osuji is the name I go by. The good wife is who I am. Smile is what I do.
ENTER @UcheAnne


Pour three gallons of Expectation in the pan of Potential.

Throw in your Bird In Hand, plucked and fine and ready.

Then add two Gold Bands. Leave to boil on your Hopes for years.

Next, ten pints of Disappointment and Regret, stirred in slowly.

Don’t forget all the resentment; add Bitterness to taste.

Simmer for another couple of years; then take out the fire.

Leave dish to cool on your resignation. Serve with a smile.





FIND THE ART OF @Ms_Dania here and the art of @UcheAnne here
N.B. The project still goes on for the following three days. Tomorrow we have The Seventh Decade by @BoukkieO plus a special surprise by @Aeda_ soon after.
You can subscribe to the blog (at the right column or in the comments section) to follow the project.

Decades II – The Fifth Decade (41-50) September 23, 2011

Filed under: Decades — Betty @ 10:00 am
Tags: , , , ,

The Decades project II.

Thanks for waiting. In case you missed the preview, find it here so you know what to expect. If you’re not sure what Decades is about, kindly check the preview out.

Decades II – very much like the original Decade project – explores the wholesomeness of womanhood as lived in ten-year intervals; Girls; Ladies; Women; Mothers; grand and great-grand mothers all. They live the same life we live, experience the same joys and pains unique to their decades and maybe we can learn a thing or two from them. Find the subtle connections that link their lives together and get lost in stories told. Decades II.

Please do subscribe to the blog to follow the project. (Column to the right for PC browsers or in the comment section). Also, we hope that you’d be kind enough to leave a comment. Your feedback is important to us.

The Fourth Decade (41-50) by @weirdo_oo


ENTER @weird_oo
With a divorce from a childless marriage notched under my belt, I was ready to take on the world.
Where to start?
A year past the big ‘Four-Oh’ and I didn’t look a day over thirty-five; a big accomplishment for me considering the fact that I hadn’t accomplished anything worth mentioning in my life. As my ex-husband would ‘fondly’ say during our arguments, “Even ordinary children, umuazi! You cannot have! Useless woman!” Who could fault him? I knew my worth; nothing.
I had accepted barrenness as my portion and was ready to move on with my life. Was it too late? Although I was given a proper divorce settlement, I couldn’t get over the snide comments other well-to-do women at church threw my way during our C.W.O meetings.
“…MY company is ready to refurbish that part of the Parish…”
“…I’d have the girls at MY media organisation deal with the publicity…”My! My! My!

All I did was throw around my husband’s money, nothing I had made with my own hands. Things were going to change! I was going to make a name for myself! Well, that was the idea. I started by globe-trotting. What better way to garner ideas?
My forty-second birthday caught me in New Delhi, taking a short business and managerial course. “India is the place to be!” My best friend Nkiru gushed when I told her my plans. She was wrong. I hated India. The food was terrible! Sticking to a vegetarian diet was probably what kept me alive. Hia! The men weren’t even desirable. I could not stomach the thought of their hairy bodies, rubbing against mine. Their breath? Mba! My apartment was beside a mosque. What was I thinking? Five a.m. every morning, I was woken up by the loud noise of the speakers, calling faithful to prayer. The people were so hard to understand, with their annoying head shakes . The school was the worst! Everyone already had a business running and I had to endure the pitying stares when I told some of my course mates I was unemployed. I was left out of most conversation. What did I know? I couldn’t take it anymore. I left India, half way through my course, kissing my thousands of rupees goodbye. I was ashamed to return home with my tail between my legs, but that was my next destination. Who needed classes to teach them how to run a business anyway? Biko! Experience is the best teacher.
After much argument with Nkiru about my ‘attitude’, she introduced me to a friend of hers, Chief Ogbogu. “He’s into importing and exporting. He would be able to help you immensely”. Well, Chief wasn’t also into that. She forgot to mention he was a chronic womaniser! That old goat! I complained to her and she wasn’t fazed. I became suspicious. Had she also been ‘helped’ by Chief? “Its either you take this opportunity, Rose, or you let it go!” Ehn? Me? No way! This was one opportunity I wasn’t going to take!
Again, Chief proved he had yet another layer to him; vengeful little man. I started up my store, without his help, at Aspanda, Lagos. Two weeks after the successful opening of Rosie Shoes, rumours began to circulate. I was oblivious until my ex-husband called me.
“Listen, woman! I don’t know what you’re doing, but whatever it is, please use your maiden name and stop dragging mine into the mud!”
“Hia! Bia Fide! O gini kwa? What is this now, eh!”
“Mechie onu osiiso! I’ve heard how you sleep with all the young boys in Aspanda. Ashawo! Ihere mekwa gi! Ntiibachaku! Ohuru mmuo…”
I cut the call, tears brimming in my eyes at the insults. Mmuwa bu Rose? Sleeping with men? Those sweaty things at Aspanda? I sat in my office and cried my heart out. As I was about to ask myself who would have formulated such nonsense, the answer came to me. Chief Ogbogu. Furiously, I picked up my phone and dialled his number, screaming insults at him immediately he picked up.
“I chere na inwa anya? Aga m emegi ihe na Aspanda,” he said menacingly.
You think you’re smart? I’ll deal with you in this Aspanda.
Things went downhill after this, and months later I closed down, disheartened. I ended my friendship with Nkiru. She wasn’t a good person at all! All alone, I cried myself to sleep every night to my forty-third birthday. “Why me?” I asked the mirror that birthday morning, dying the grey strands of hair showing themselves in my beautiful head of hair. The stress had given me wrinkles and I stood there, in my underwear, unsuccessfully pulling my frown lines to smoothness. Facelift. The only answer.
My vanity took me to the US, and there I met Mark. He was as sexy as sexy could be! A self-made young man, introduced to me by my friends at a friend’s party in New York.
“I like older women,” he had said naughtily into my ear as we danced, the beginning of our whirlwind romance. After a week, I moved in with him.
“How would you like to work with me?” He asked sweetly one morning as he prepared to leave for a business trip. I could not believe it! I agreed, ofcourse, and the next day I was in his office, receiving training. *Big sigh.* I should have known something bad would happen. I should have prepared myself.
Mark lost his life in a plane crash just a week before his thirty-fifth birthday. I was heartbroken. I lost the only man who cared for me. I lost my job, thanks to his partners who had never taken a liking to me.
My time in the US was up and it was back to ‘Naija’. My forty-fourth year passed in a blur of trials and failures, and at forty-five I was running out of ideas. My bank statement scared me. I was running dry. Grovelling at the feet of my ex-husband, I was able to get a steady paying job. I was too grateful to complain about the nasty way the sexy manager/new wife treated me. Besides a few crow’s feet at the sides of my eyes I was still supple. Nothing make up and the occasional facelift couldn’t handle. I had even found another younger sexy thing to amuse myself with. ‘What could possibly go wrong now?’ I thought to myself one night, smiling.
The Cosmos answered
What started with swellings under my armpits escalated to fevers, hot flushes, swollen and sore breasts.
“Menopause,” a friend of mine at the office said, dismissing my worry.
Menopause at forty-five? I wasn’t sure if I was too thrilled about it. I knew ladies over fifty who hadn’t had theirs after all!
“Go check it out,” my toy-boy said after a particularly lackadaisical love making session. I wonder now if he had really been worried about me or just put off by the fact that I hadn’t been fantastic in bed that night. I took his advice anyway and got a medical once-over.
I had breast cancer. My left breast had to be removed to avoid it spreading. Somehow, I wish I hadn’t gone to the clinic. I wish I had remained in the dark. But then, wouldn’t I have died? Dying with two breasts beats living with one… didn’t it? Then it hit me. Five years after vowing to accomplish something, I was still living off my husband.
Treatments started. I had to quit my job, and soon enough my account went red. Predictably, my toy-boy was on the high road, waving me goodbye without even a glance at my ravaged frame. With my parents dead, my younger brother was my only family and my saving grace. We managed; somehow we just managed.
Luckily, my cancer went on remission. A cancer survivor at forty-seven! Ekene dirikwa Chukwu! I co-founded a breast cancer foundation with my friend Tayo who had been just as lucky as I was to survive. We were ‘Team No to Cancer’. This was what I was born to do; reaching out to women and explaining the need for regular health check-ups. Two years later and our foundation was going strong. There were talks of government aids to help us expand to West Africa.
Contrary to what I preached, I missed three monthly check ups. Getting so caught up with running the foundation, I kept putting them off, even though I knew better.
A trusty friend came calling.
‘Hello there! How are you?’
I slumped during a presentation in Abuja and was rushed to the hospital. Cancer fatigue. According to the doctor, I might not survive the battle.
‘Hello there! How are you? Remember me? Yeah! I took your left breast! What a coincidence! We meet again! Can I get you a drink? Maybe talk about old times, no?’
I’m in the best hospital in India (yes, bloody India!), in a private ward, on my sick bed. So alone. My brother just left to tend to business. Again, he was funding my treatment. Tayo would be dropping in next week. You see, it’s my 50th birthday next week. I’m wondering if I’ll even live long enough to see it.
Miss Rosemary Ndubuisi brought out her rosary from within the folds of her hospital gown. She had always worn it merely as an accessory, though she did go for Mass every Sunday.
“Where’s God when you need Him? After everything I went through; childlessness, sickness, failure. Where was He? Chineke mmuo,” she whispered, jerking the beads off her neck and watching them rattle on the linoleum floor.
ENTER @nwaokpoechi

This life I’m living

I’ve lost it searching for its meaning

hoping, praying, believing

The end is nigh, it has to be

Surely there’s no more to it

Because everything I have, I’ve already given


FIND THE ART OF @weird_oo here
N.B. The project still goes on for the following three days. Tomorrow we have The Sixth Decade by @Ms_Dania.
You can subscribe to the blog (at the right column or in the comments section) to follow the project.

Decades II – The Fourth Decade (31-40) September 22, 2011

Filed under: Decades — Betty @ 10:00 am
Tags: , , ,

The Decades project II.

Thanks for waiting. In case you missed the preview, find it here so you know what to expect. If you’re not sure what Decades is about, kindly check the preview out.

Decades II – very much like the original Decade project – explores the wholesomeness of womanhood as lived in ten-year intervals; Girls; Ladies; Women; Mothers; grand and great-grand mothers all. They live the same life we live, experience the same joys and pains unique to their decades and maybe we can learn a thing or two from them. Find the subtle connections that link their lives together and get lost in stories told. Decades II.

Please do subscribe to the blog to follow the project. (Column to the right for PC browsers or in the comment section). Also, we hope that you’d be kind enough to leave a comment. Your feedback is important to us.

The Fourth Decade (31-40) by Feyisayo Hassan (@Zaffiro)


ENTER @Zaffiro
Her fortieth birthday was racing towards her like a NAScar with failed brakes; it would meet her rich, dejected and unmarried.
She could picture her cake: Olajumoke Peters is Forty! If the caterer had a sense of humour, she would scribble: ‘wrinkled and single’, under Forty. She laughed out loud the way one would at a cruel joke; she laughed so hard her eyes watered before the tears came rolling down. She wept for her loneliness.
She had aged well like fine wine. There were laugh lines around her eyes now but they only made her lovelier to behold. Her ebony skin still glowed from constant care and expensive creams; nature had been partial with her body, giving her the perfect figure.
Life for her had always been easy.
As the only child of a wealthy chief, she had grown up pampered and spoilt. She remembered being exempted from general punishments in high school because her father was their most generous donator. University had been a breeze, she held memories of partying wildly with her clique of hot nonchalant friends and paying her way through every semester. With the arrogance of one who was aware of her beauty, she had flaunted it, enjoying privileges from every guy that expressed interest. She discarded boyfriends as easily as she met them only slowing down in her mid-twenties. A ghastly accident returning from a soiree one night which landed her in a hospital bed and left her left leg in an ugly cast for 6months had caused her to reflect on her life. She pressured her father for a job and lost contact with most of her friends, save Ann, her best-friend since childhood.
Life, however, had become largely unkind to her. The dreams she had of wet diapers and tiny feet remained just that, dreams. Three men in ten years, passing through her and leaving her like they had found her…worse even. They were thieves, giving her hope and robbing her of her affections, attention and body.
She had never been short of suitors, where had she gone wrong?
At thirty-three, she had a marriage proposal secure, a 16-carat diamond ring on her engagement finger.
‘Toye’, she sighed.
They had met at Tracy’s wedding when she was thirty. She had been fresh from a shattered relationship, getting old by society’s standards and available. She remembered all too clearly his gait, the way he had approached her table like he owned the party. He had asked her to dance and when she’d politely declined sat down to chat with her the rest of the evening, leaving only once to grab her a drink when she’d expressed interest in the cocktails the waiters whizzed past.
They had exchanged numbers as they parted that night.
Toye had been an attentive lover, a thoughtful man, the –quintessential- ‘husband material’ it had seemed but for his skills as woman panel-beater. Adonis that he was, she still wondered how such contrasting attributes managed to coexist in his edible bod. The first time he had hit her she hurt more from the shock than the pain of the slap. It became more regular but she had stuck on. Heck! She was in her thirties and desperate to settle down. Barely a month after her thirty-third birthday when he proposed, he had beat her so much, she landed in a hospital. That was the last, painful straw that had almost literally broken her back. She ended the relationship and deleted him from her life. She had no desire to spend the rest of her days nursing injuries. The painful break-up with Toye couldn’t have come at a worse time: a week before Ann’s wedding where she would play bridesmaid. On the morning of Ann’s wedding, she wept. Could she bear this? With a plastic smile set in place, she stifled the tears that threatened to fall, determined not to ruin her friend’s day with her problems; it had to be the longest day of her life.
Thirty-four met her single and not quite searching. Her job was enough for her. Was marriage worth it? If it was for procreation, she could easily get pregnant. If it was for sex and companionship, married men lined up at her door ready to start illicit affairs with her.
This new attitude worried her parents, so much that it resulted in a blind date with dad’s client’s son.
‘Give it a try’, her mother urged. ‘You never know till you try’.
And try she did, meeting Nicholas in a crowded bar. She arrived first and selected a table not too far from the exit.
‘Blue shirt you say? Okay, I see you’, she said and dropped the phone as he approached the table.
The two words her cerebellum registered with the new face that night; her pulse quickened.
Sparks flew. He became ‘her Nicolas’. She wanted to carry his babies, children that would have their father’s honey brown eyes and perfectly sculpted pink lips.
Her Nicolas turned out not to be hers after all when she found out he was cheating with his secretary through a friend that worked in the same organization. She ended things instantly ignoring, her mother’s protests.
They are men, it is their way of life, give it another try, she pleaded.
A try got me into this, no thanks.
Her pleading turned into anger.
Do you think you are the hot cake you used to be in your twenties? You are in your mid thirties. Settle down, time’s not ticking backwards for you.
I haven’t forgotten mother. You remind me every day.
She picked up her car-keys and drove out of the house in rage. Moving out wasn’t an option because of the Yoruba tradition that a woman had to be married out of her father’s house; her father, being the strict traditionalist that he was, would hear nothing of her living single and alone. Who came up with those things anyway? Insensitive bastards!
That was her biggest fight yet with her mother. Father had watched the proceedings with a sad resigned look on his face. He even went as far as setting up a reconciliatory meeting between her and Nicolas but it had ended on a sour note.
Nicolas and his ‘beloved’ secretary got married six months after. She wondered if she should have stuck it out; maybe they would be happily married now. After all Ann was on her second child.
Her zest for life was fading. Each day did not leave her without a reminder that she was unmarried. Was she cursed? Where had she missed it? She never thought she would be this, the old maid at her parent’s home waiting for a husband, the one her mother’s sister remembered in her prayer sessions at MFM. She couldn’t stand it any longer, this way her married friends looked on her with poorly disguised pity and quickly changed the topic from husbands and children when they caught themselves, to spare her some embarrassment. The dark circles from constant crying under her eyes became a permanent fixture.
At thirty-seven she stopped attending weddings. Was she ever going to be the one in the horrid white dress dancing towards her groom in delight. Hers was going to be unconventionally short, she had decided long ago. Nothing clichéd. The thought that she might never get to wear one chilled her insides.
When would it be her crowd sitting in the church pews in their brightly coloured geles and aso-ebis that fought for attention?
Her hopes were ebbing but Segun returned them. He turned out to be the ONE. He was a widower with one child. They had been introduced by a concerned Ann. The connection was instant; blame desperation if you like. They completed each other’s sentences and one never seemed to get enough of the other. They were together for eighteen blissful months before he proposed. Ah, finally! Their families met in a small introduction ceremony. She went about with a glint in her eye and a spring in her step. The wedding date was set, invitation cards were sent out, and her joy knew no bounds. She made plans for the cake, the hall, the events centre, the train, the church, so much to do with so little time. Her parents and Ann volunteered to help. Her dress and shoes were coming in from Paris, custom made by her best designer all paid for by her fiance. Her fiance. Fiance. Fiance. She repeated the word over and over again; it was music to her thirty-nine year old years.
Congratulations poured in. She would be Mrs Segun Kuforiji in a fortnight, before the dreadful words hit her on a cool Sunday evening.
‘Babe?’ Segun called and tenderly held her hands.
‘Yes, my love’, she answered with a smile.
Forgive me.
She looked at him, confused.
I can’t do this…
‘Do what?!’ she cut in, springing to her feet.
…get married to you, he blurted, tripping on his own words.
She saw red.
It wasn’t her, it was him.
Nigeria held too many painful memories of his late wife …
‘We can move abroad together and start a new life’, she suggested.
…and the upcoming wedding made him feel like he was trying to replace her.
There were gaping holes in his life it was unfair to ask her to fill.
His demons had caught up with him.
He was sorry.
‘Ah ahn, Segun! What is this?’ She whispered.
‘Why don’t you just pick up a knife and kill me now. Twist it through my heart and kill me!!! You evil bastard!!’ she screamed in rage.
And he moved abroad with his lone kid.
She could not- would not -be comforted. Sleep eluded her, pain spent each waking morning mocking her. She locked herself in her room for days refusing food and company. How did he expect her to stand the shame, How did he expect her to face people? She cursed him, the coward, running abroad and shattering her heart. She ate tears for breakfast, lunch and supper. Her parents were at a loss, they had tried everything.
In backward order, Segun, Nicolas, Toye; these men had destroyed her. She could never love again. Ever. At this point, she embraced her fate. She would never know the joy of having another’s last name.
Miss Olajumoke Demilade-Peters, she would remain. A lone soldier.
ENTER @maria_kesh
Let’s toast.
To my tears, to my hurt. Again.
Lets toast, to my pain..
My salty tears. My salty warm tears are what we would drink
Lets toast to me.
To only me.


FIND THE ART OF @Zaffiro here
N.B. The project still goes on for the following four days. Tomorrow we have The Fifth Decade by @weird_oo.
Also, Our dear AFROSAYS worked on a story in The Writer’s Roundabout, a project by our very own @d3ola, one of the Decades team members. The Writer’s Roundabout is a place for the insanely creative, silly ridiculous. Naughty! I tell you! Find it here. It’s a series of silly stories written by different writers/bloggers so be sure to start from the very top and give some feedback. AfroSays wrote the last story, Jason vs Derulo
You can subscribe to the blog (at the right column or in the comments section) to follow the project.

Decades II – The Third Decade (21-30) September 21, 2011

Filed under: Decades — Betty @ 10:00 am
Tags: , , ,

The Decades project II.

Thanks for waiting. In case you missed the preview, find it here so you know what to expect. If you’re not sure what Decades is about, kindly check the preview out.

Decades II – very much like the original Decade project – explores the wholesomeness of womanhood as lived in ten-year intervals; Girls; Ladies; Women; Mothers; grand and great-grand mothers all. They live the same life we live, experience the same joys and pains unique to their decades and maybe we can learn a thing or two from them. Find the subtle connections that link their lives together and get lost in stories told. Decades II.

Please do subscribe to the blog to follow the project. (Column to the right for PC browsers or in the comment section). Also, we hope that you’d be kind enough to leave a comment. Your feedback is important to us.

The Third Decade (21-30) by Omotayo Adeola (@JadenTM)


Emeka was the first person to tell me I had no bum. “The hips of a white woman”, he’d said. Then he’d walked over to where I stood, kissed me, and placed his hand on my backside, squeezing my cheeks playfully. With every increasing dent I felt my self esteem pass out of me. So, at the party, I didn’t shake my booty. I raised my hands high above my head and wiggled my shoulders. I couldn’t komole so I fosoke’d, I moved my knees where I could no longer justify moving my hips, and all my friends said I danced like a white girl.
I heard he became an actor, but I don’t believe it. His eyes used to go blank when he told a lie; he wouldn’t even blink as he stared into the tear filled pupils of my eyes. He would recite his lines with decided precision and I would blink back my suspicions and smile, trusting him with my heart. Until I overheard them describing his backstroke in the ladies’ bathroom, the day after he’d looked me in the eye again and told me he loved me, only me.
I didn’t cry when I told my friends, and they eyed me in suspicion.
“You didn’t love him,” Nike said.
“Are you made of stone?” Rose said.
“She must have been cheating too,” Dami said she overheard Fatima say to Busola.
So I broke up with them, too.
Twenty one was that year; the one where you find out there’s more to life than Brazilian hair and overpriced Ankara skirts. The one where you count your losses and bless them one by one, the one where you realize your life has just begun.
They all got married. One by one they dropped like dead leaves into the forever of matrimony. Busola got pregnant and couldn’t get married in Church. Fatima married Emeka’s brother and inherited a live-in mistress. Nike got fat, and at her wedding she made all her bridesmaids wear satin boubous and stick bows in their hair. Either that or she made sure there was no one on her train who could shop outside of a plus-sized store. They shuffled around with their inflated faces as they filed into the reception. The band started to sing (Nike Peperempe! Omo Olakúnlé!), and I waited until they were all dancing around her to walk over and say hi.
“You look so good!” Rose (nee Ndubuisi) blurted. Nike jabbed her in the side with her elbow.
“Thanks for coming”, Nike said.
As I smiled and walked away, Dami ran up to me and told me that Busola told Fatima that she wanted to know who my doctor was. I gave her directions to my gym.
I told my mother I got a promotion and she wailed in agony; twenty six was the year when success was reckless. The line of pot-bellied suitors at my door shrunk the moment I bought myself a ‘big’ car and my father, strong and silent as he is, led me to his study to impress upon me the merits of marriage. I impressed upon his fading memory the amount of money he’d spent on my education.
He sent me to fetch his coffee and wished me a good day at work.
I was too busy to take my lunch break, but Tracey brought me a slice of cake anyway.
“Happy birthday,” I said.
“Oh no, Jumoke got me the cake because I’m leaving. I’m getting married! Can you keep a secret?” she gushed. “My corner office has your name all over it. Congratulations!”
She wiggled her hips and walked merrily away, even though I hadn’t said a word.
I went to the wedding. I even wore the designated office aso-ebi, posed for the pictures and stood in line to catch the bouquet. Her bridesmaids – and Jumoke – took turns holding up the train of her dress, and her mother hugged her with tears in her eyes as the DJ played ‘Sweet Mother’. Her husband held her hand and pulled her close, and every so often he would whisper something into her ear and she would burst into fits of giggles. And when they thought no one was looking, he would kiss her.
I watched them. And I let myself wonder; maybe I wanted more.
Maybe I wanted a friend.
Maybe I wanted a hand to hold, somebody to lean on; a rock to be strong for me so that I didn’t have to be strong all the time, so that I didn’t need to be strong anymore.
Twenty eight was the year I realized… maybe I wanted love.
So the second time Bamise asked me out, I said yes. I choked down my doubts, put on a dress and tried on a smile as we walked into the restaurant.
He held the door open for me, and he didn’t walk ahead of me. He pulled out my chair, but he didn’t wait for me to be seated. He ordered for me, but he asked to make sure I didn’t mind. And even though I know his eyes must have slipped downward repeatedly, I only ever caught him staring straight into my eyes. I let him kiss me after our third date.
He didn’t make me choose. When he said he wanted me, forever, it didn’t come attached with an ultimatum. Even though I knew I could, even though I knew I would if he needed me to, he didn’t make me swap my Range for his ring.
My father smiled at me as we posed for the cameras. My mother danced with her in-laws as they sang aloud to the choir’s ‘This is the day that the Lord has made’. My husband held my hand and gazed into my eyes, and when he said I love you I knew he wasn’t lying. He turned me around on the dance floor and I threw my hands up high, above my head, and around his neck.
At thirty, I still dance like a white girl.
ENTER @_Ayaba
Beauty is vain, it cloaks the pain

Smiles conceal fears conceived

Who will see behind the veil?

Who will set, the wall ablaze?

To such a man belongs the jewel.




N.B. The project still goes on for the following five days. Tomorrow we have The Fourth Decade by @Zaffiro.
You can subscribe to the blog (at the right column or in the comments section) to follow the project.

Voices May 2, 2011

Filed under: Scenic — Betty @ 10:20 am
Tags: ,

Hello world,
I’m beating a black hollow gong; the sounds rattle the soul.. Get submerged in the riotous tides…
Yours, DarkBetty.

... the black is coming ...

The voices in my head. They are shouting. They are screaming. They want out.
They want to manifest.
My left hand flutters to the scarf around my throat. Tight. Too tight.
I drag in deep breaths. No. Not now. Not today.
In. Out. In. Out.
I look at her from the corner of my eye. I watch her hand loosen the scarf; that always happens. Hand to throat.
I look down at myself, resplendent in white.
No. Not now. Not today.
She’s not well. I knew this before I loved her. I knew this, yet, I love her still.
But please, not today.
I see my gleaming bride try to discreetly glance at her maid of honor. This friend that is the only thing wrong with my bride.
I sometimes believe she loves her more than me. Like now.
But we’re getting married, please pay attention.
The screams are louder. Ricocheting on the walls of my mind. I tap my foot nervously. The shudders have started. I can see him frown at us. He doesn’t understand. My vision blurs slightly then everything’s sharp again.
They want out. I grit my teeth. Tight. No.
But it seems the more I resist, the more restless they get.
And I know.
With all certainty, it’s going to happen.
I can’t do this to her.
I turn to see her hand the bouquet over to another bride’s maid and walk slowly towards the side doors of the church. Her steps are unsteady. It’s happening.
I look at my groom. A scowl etched on his face. His dark eyes seem to scream: “Choose! Her or me?”
The pastor is asking if everything is ok. Of course not.
My eyes swing from my groom to my friend. Then back. And forth.
My mother is approaching the altar.
I watch my bride turn in a swirl of white lace and run after her friend.
She has chosen.
The crowd is moving and murmuring.
I look at my feet. Be a man. She has chosen.
But I love her.
“Stay here.” I tell the fussy mother and run after them.
They want out. They are going to get out. Please just let me get in. Let me hide.
Let my shame remain covered.
I reach the back office just as the first jolt comes and I am slammed to the ground.
Pain, sharp pain lances through my head.
The black is coming.
I let go and welcome it.
The voices are out.
I watch her fall jerkily to the ground. My tears fall freely, ruining the makeup that had been applied painstakingly.
I run to her and drag her fully into the office.
She is screaming. An incoherent language. She is jerking, her hands flailing wildly about.
I get a fist in my eye and I cry harder.
When will all this end?
I hear a gasp and see my groom staring at us in shock.
He came.
The picture that greets me is one I won’t forget. My beautiful bride is sitting on the ground in her white dress, trying to hold on to her screaming friend.
The friend is shouting gibberish in an unknown language.
Understanding comes.
And I love her even more.
I close the door behind me and join them on the floor.
Together, we try to prevent her from hurting herself.
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I am not a man September 20, 2010

Filed under: Scenic — afrosays @ 9:10 am
Tags: , , , ,

I’m not feeling too good at the moment.

Work + Work + Work + More Work = Stress, MeThinks?

I explain my position to the goddess but she doesn’t seem to care. She goes on to explain to me how her peers have been doing far better than she has and how much of a bad investment I am.

I complain about the absence of health insurance benefits with this Towncrier job office.

She starts to cry.

I’m not in top shape but I’d have to be a gentleman and resume office from my rest bed, beating the lousy gong, only because AfroSays:


I am not a man

Only sometimes

Many had tried to win the chief’s daughter in marriage: from top management at the company, from around his wealthy social circle, even from out of the country. I’m still wondering why he gave me a chance; Yes, I be fine boy, but I’m sure that little ego-booster of mine wasn’t even considered at all when the chief made the unspoken mental decision to let me court Beatrice.
Bashful Beatrice and I have been at it for a little over a year now and I hear the wedding bells ringing. The whole world knows we’re tying the knot soon but I haven’t actually asked the Chief for his daughter’s formally. Today, I’m in one of the five sitting rooms in his Ikoyi mansion, waiting for him to attend to the matter at hand. Beatrice is right next to me, looking for a missing pencil on the floor – being shy in the cutest way she knows how. She’s already explained to me how her family works, but I’ve never had any strong opportunities to interact with her aloof, distant parents or her uppity relatives, however, #TodayNaToday! I believe that since I didn’t get approached by the usual All-Black-Everything, two-man intimidation squad as all of her other suitors in the past had been, her father either likes or respects me.
Today is my chance to establish my real first impression with the Chief and I am determined to stand as a man with dignity even though I’m a public grammar school educated, OND holding, hustler with a humble background, and despite what Beatrice has told me about his possessive bothering on disgustingly intrusive nature.
I take a look at sweet-Bea and I’m still trying to explain to myself why the Chief favored me above other more-suitable suitors. She was his only child and the world expects at least someone of money-blood merit if royal blood isn’t immediately available. I have always felt damn lucky but today is the day to confirm my luck.
Chief finally shows up in a towel after three hours of waiting and gives me five minutes. His convex, satellite-dish-like stomach intimidates me by from time to time by peeping at me from under the towel every three seconds and beaming threatening microwave signals. I almost plead with him to stop taking those deep breaths. I however somehow summon the courage to relay my honorable intentions, all the while holding Bea’s hand in the highest tension. She seems to have escaped off with her little mind to Jupiter and her body is as cold as the Ice tea we were served on arrival.
Chief takes the deepest breath ever as if to instruct his satellite dish to launch a target-seeking missile to assassinate me on my way home for even daring to make such an unbecoming request. He looks straight at me.
I try, sincerely I do to return his gaze but I cannot be a man. After 0.000075 seconds, I break gaze and start untying and re-tying my shoelaces to stop my shoes from vibrating and causing an embarrassing noise like a hair clipper. I feel fresh sweat lines break out on my back in torrents. I wet my boxers a little.
I am not a man.
That must be why he’s offering me his surname.

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