Tag Archives: family

WORLD OF A RECLUSE 7

Its 10am and Tamuno is still snoring in bed, I’m five minutes awake and tempted to wake her but think against it, knowing how grumpy she get when she’s woken abruptly, nah! I don’t think I can put up with her grumpiness today. My phone starts to ring and I rush at it, it’s definitely Jon with his funny accent telling Tamuno and I we are behind schedule, well he should know it is not easy working with ladies.
“Hey, good morning”, I hear a familiar male voice, not Jon’s but familiar, but I didn’t give anyone this number, I’m racking my head when I hear a soft laugh from my callers end, “It’s Desmond, we met at the beach”, my  heart skips a beat.
“Oh, Hi Desmond”, I’m short of words, no totally out of words; so I keep quiet and wait for a cue to start a conversation.
“Slept well?” he asks after few seconds of silence.
“Yeah I did, did you? I respond.
“So, I kind of enjoyed our little chit-chat yesterday and I really hope to see you before you leave for Nigeria” he says totally ignoring my question.
“We didn’t talk long enough for you to call it a chit-chat” I roll my eyes
“I know I’m sorry” he laughs. “That’s just the first word that popped into my head Hun”
“Uhh it’s Mirabel, not Hun”
“Pardon me then” he said without a hint of irritation in his voice, maybe over there he has a deep frown with an arched eyebrow in a  way that says, “what is wrong with this child?”
“Ok” I simply say.
“I really would love to see you again though, what do you say? Let me take you out to Lunch or dinner tomorrow, we can make it today if you don’t have plans already”

“Actually, I’m working with a tight schedule”, I say this with my head high, feeling all important.
“I thought you were here on vacation”, he asks.
“Well yeah, still on a tight schedule. But….i can spare an hour of my time tomorrow” I wouldn’t blame him if I get a sarcastic answer, even I can’t stand myself sometimes.
“Ok, you should bring your friend along. I wouldn’t want her all lonely in your absence”
Oh my! I almost forget T, “she definitely would never let me off on my own with some strange man in some strange land, bring a friend too, that’s if you don’t mind”
“That’s the plan Hun, I’m sorry, Mirabel” I can hear him smile, ask me how? I don’t know but I hear it.
“Alright, have a productive day miss”
“Thank you” I hear the click and put down my phone.
My sleeping beauty, more like sleeping grizzly bear has stopped snoring but still has drool plastered on her soft cheeks, I look at the time and its almost 10:20am, where is Jon  to start with?
“Tight schedule huh? Tamuno says with a yawn escaping her mouth.
“Yeah, little miss eaves dropper” I snap.
“I couldn’t help listening; your gestures were so loud, louder than your voice”
“Ok you are annoying, I wonder how people put up with you, oh no, there’s no people, it’s just me and I might probably head to the gallows soon” miss grumpy grizzly bear up to no good again.
“That makes two of us” she fires back
“Go take a shower T and call Jon, would you? She rolls her small eyes at me, she’s cute in the morning, her weaves standing from its edges like she got struck by lightning and her makeup from yesterday all smudgy due to her many turns in her sleep, I wonder why a sane person would sleep with make up on.
“Call him yourself, you can use my phone, I’m hungry” she has a cute pout on her face and I’m not angry anymore.
“Take a shower, I’ll call for breakfast” her face brightens and she rushes in the bathroom with her hands in th air, I chuckle then head to phone to make two phone calls; one for breakfast and the other to Jon.
Lion cubs are so cute, I want one!!!! Maybe I should get my own mini or petting zoo, but hey! God is awesome, I’m a Nat Geo Wild fan, in fact it’s my favorite channel but watching it on a 3D television has got nothing on seeing everything for real. Tamuno is a little frightened though, we get to the monkeys cage and they are chattering loudly, I turn sharply at her.
“Oh my, why didn’t you tell me that this is a reunion?”
She looks puzzled, obviously not getting the point, “reunion?” she asks.
“With your family” I say with a laugh while clasping my hands. “They are so happy to see you baby, welcome home”
Jon chuckles beside her and she rushes at me, this gets the monkeys a little more excited, it feels like they are encouraging us to fight. I hold her by both arms and push her forward, monkeys aren’t so ugly though.
We see an Elephant too, and I get kissed by one, cute huh? Yeah, super cute Dumbo kisses me with his trunk .Everything is perfect, nature is beautiful, and God is amazing.
Getting back to the hotel, I’m exhausted. We both take showers and go for dinner with Jon, who we are becoming friends with,he’s pretty cool. Talking and laughing with Jon, who I must say has a great sense of humor I spot a familiar face, walking towards us, oh my God, it’s Desmond!
“Hi, fancy meeting you here, quite a pleasant surprise” he says as he approaches us, he is wearing a suit, I look down at his feet, very nice shoes, dressing rate: 100%, a year ago I would be certain its destiny bringing Desmond and I together, matter of fact I would conclude in my head that we are meant to be but I’m grown now, I still have destiny ringing in my head, ok maybe I’m not so grown.
“Hello Desmond”, I say with a smile. He pulls out a chair and joins us, “Hello Tamuno” he says, this time pronouncing it like “teemunare”
“It’s Tamuno” she corrects him without the hint of a smile.
“Oh, I’m sorry” he says looking apologetic, I roll my eyes at T, “pardon the man now, would you?” I mouth to her.
“Its fine” she said maintaining her straight face.
He smiles at Jon and they both exchange pleasantries, after which he joins us. Jon looks at his watch almost immediately and says he should call it a day, he smiles at us-he is beautiful when he smiles- and gives Desmond a handshake before leaving. Tamuno starts yawning and says she is tired as well, I give her a “don’t leave me look” but she looks away.
“It was good seeing you again Desmond, but I’m tired and I need to catch some sleep” she comes to my ear and whispers, “don’t go anywhere with him” I chuckle and nod my head. She gives Desmond a straight look before making for the staircase.
“She’s really protective huh?” he says
“I’m sorry?” I raise an eyebrow
“Tamuno, your friend” he pronounces her name right this time.
“Well yeah, trusting people is hard these days, plus my parents put me in her care”
“Your government would come after me if I do you any harm” he says assumingly
“Ever heard of Chibok girls?” I ask
“What now?” he asks with his eyebrow rose, with a liittle grin
“Ok, bring back our girls?”
He is clearly amused now, obviously getting the point. I am proudly Nigerian though but the #BBOG thing gained us a lot of attention, negative attention. He chuckles then takes my phone, I’m confused, and he slides it open, takes a selfie and hands it back to me.
“Here, send this out to anyone you would call in case of an emergency, I’m safe Mirabel”, he’s grinning from ear to ear, I’m amused too but hold a straight face: joker!
I shake my  head, “I’ve seen this in a movie”
He shakes his head too and chortles, “how are you?”
“I’m good, great, went to the zoo today, first time ever” I can’t contain my
Excitement; I get goose bumps just thinking of today’s event. Desmond is smiling and listening to me intently, I catch myself and clear my throat.
“I’m sorry, I get really chatty when I’m excited” I take a sip from my already lukewarm diet coke, he’s still looking at me with a smile, ok maybe he is a little weird, I clear my throat again and raise an eyebrow.
“It’s cute, tell me about yourself Mirabel” he says with a smile, he is pretty though.
We talk about ourselves, I tell him about me, he tells me about him, we talk a little about Tamuno too and guess what, he’s Nigerian, with a South African mom though, visited a few times before and after his dad died. From what I see and notice, Desmond is cool, pretty cool, but then my instincts are always questionable, I’m not catching feelings though, this road clearly leads to nowhere; doesn’t mean I can’t thread its part for the fun of it, it’s a vacation.
We do have a nice time though, and our plan is still on for tomorrow. He kisses me on the cheek and I head back to the room. Oops! I forgot to check out his ride, I laugh at myself at this thought, wo! Tomorrow abeg. Tamuno is fast asleep when I get in the room; I undress and lay beside her….sleep on my doormat already.

WRITTEN BY: MIRIAM EHIS-SULAIMAN

WORLD OF A RECLUSE 5

Tamuno spends nearly the whole week shopping, I don’t know but I find it weird and annoying. It’s Weird because we are meant to shop in South Africa and annoying because she is dragging me along on this miserable journey. I can recall her getting on my last nerve a hundred times. Somehow I try to understand her excitement but stop myself, no one should really understand Tamuno unless they need mental help, yes she’s my best friend but I choose sanity.
We finally conclude on our arrangements and are set to take off tomorrow. Truth be told I’m excited too, a little nervous, but mostly excited. Desmond hasn’t called me all week, so I read this meme earlier today that says “life is so simple, why complicate it” you miss someone: call them, love them: tell them and stuff like that, maybe I should follow this principle and take the bold step, I feel like I’m in front of a large audience and they are all encouraging me by shouting, “Go Mimi” so I do it, I pick up my phone and take a deep breath, “come on Mimi, it’s just Desmond” I tell myself. I take my phone and dial his number again, the lines connect and I tap my foot in unison with his ringer, it rings for a while then disconnects, he didn’t take the call, bad as I feel I console myself with the assumption that he is busy at the moment and would call back when he sees my missed call.
I drag myself downstairs to the sitting room, my dad is sitting in his favorite chair (the one facing the television directly) face buried in a newspaper he Is holding with both hands, i move closer and clear my throat, he looks up at me with a frown, his goggles are almost at the tip of his nose making him look like an old principle.  My dad is handsome, for his age and way too conscious of it, standing at six feet, two inches he carries himself with so much pride, I’m a perfect replica of him though I took my mommas height
“We are leaving tomorrow sir, we have finalized our arrangements”, I said with the  straightest face ever, standing at an “at ease” position, an outsider would think I’m an officer speaking to my superior. He sighs and closes his eyes while I roll mine; I’m definitely going to be here till midnight.  I look at the time; it reads 8:49pm, what is wrong with me? Why did I come so early? I’m used to his many sermons anyway.
“Sit down”, he says finally.
I take the chair opposite him, I’m certain at some point of this talk I would doze off and I really don’t want to get caught. As predicted, our monologue ends at some minutes past midnight, I would call it a dialogue but he did all the talking, my only inputs were, “yes, no, amen” so yeah, monologue it is and yaay! I didn’t doze off at any point probably because I made him three cups of tea while his sermon was going on, I’m glad it’s over though.
As the little children our parents still perceive us as, Tamuno and I are taken to the airport by our folks. After checking in our luggage we all sit together at an eatery and listen to our folks talk politics and religion. My phone beeps and I jump, it could be Desmond, but it’s not. It’s Tamuno, “when are they leaving, I’m bored #sadface” I smile at my phone and look over at her, she really looks bored and sleepy so I get up, excuse myself and drag her along with me. We head for the rest room, laughing all the way there, we get a few weird looks from fellow travelers but we don’t care. Finally we hear our boarding announcement and head back to our parents. After hugging them goodbye, I feel a tinge of sadness; I let it linger before shaking it off and boarding the aircraft. Tamuno and I sit by each other, her eyes are closed and both fists clenched, I reach out to them with  the aim of unclenching them, she’s not so comfortable flying.
“It’s ok to be nervous right?” she asks, giving me the puppy look.
“Yes baby, it is. We’ll get there safely, I promise”
“Oh please, you are not the pilot”, she rolls her eyes.
I laugh, “so much for trying to put you at ease”. She’s obviously still nervous and I think of what to do to ease hers anxiety a little, then it hits me, “I called Desmond yesterday”
She turns sharply and gives me a piercing look, “you did what?”
I really want to laugh this off and pretend it was a joke but who would I be fooling, I sigh and look down my laps.
“What did he say?” she asks maintaining the piercing look.
I force a laugh, “he didn’t take it, maybe he was busy or something”
She starts laughing hysterically, calling the attention of a few passengers on board; my cheeks are burning with embarrassment.
“Congrats on making almighty Desmond mightier, I never knew you were miss desperado”
“Hey it’s ok to like someone, care for them and also show them that you do”, I snap at her.
“But hasn’t he shown you it’s not mutual, ladies are meant to be chased by men and not other way round, and that was a desperate move desperado”
Her words sting so bad but I somehow manage to swallow them without spitting back venom, the plane is in motion now and the flight attendants start their description and demonstration of safety measures in case of a crash, I roll my eyes. If the plane crashes, only God can save us. I say a word of prayer, pop a gum in my mouth and listen as the plane slowly maneuvers its way through the runway and then takes off, beside me Tamuno has fallen asleep, so I take a novel out and start to read and in no time join her in dreamland.

WRITTEN BY: MIRIAM EHI-SULAIMAN

WORLD OF A RECLUSE 3

My entire week goes slow, each day seemed to crawl by in snail motion, I wish I had a time machine at some point, funny thing is I never in any of these days get a call from Desmond, not even a text to check on me; he is probably busy.
The thing is I’m fresh out of school with no job and only a few friends; Tamuno is out of town for God knows what, so I’m all alone with no excitement to accelerate the speed of my week. I thought of calling Desmond a few times, but thought against it; I have a huge ego.
Sunday morning finally comes, bright and beautiful. I wake up with high spirit, singing and dancing while I made breakfast and lunch. My mum comes in the kitchen and eyes me; she is surprised at how excited I am. You see, I hated Sunday mornings, because I had to wake up as early as 5am to start breakfast and lunch which we make before going to church. My mum and I always made sure we didn’t leave the house without quarrelling, my whole family always anticipated our Sunday morning fights, it was either I spent too much time in the bathroom, on my make up or my outfits were not good enough, too good or my make up was way too much; bottom line she always had a reason to pick a fight with me. Today is different; I have my date with Desmond after service, yaay me!
Getting home after church service, I sit in front of the mirror for over 20minutes, changing lipsticks. I finally settle for the pepper red shade but still sit, admiring myself. Yes, I’m  a very pretty young lady; not just saying though, I really am pretty. My oval shaped face held nice features; perfect cheek bones, perfect deep set eyes, irresistible full lips and a pointed nose, that’s how Segun described me the first day we met. I’m not so tall though, some people called me small but really I am five feet and four inches tall, not so bad huh?
It’s 2:45pm now, and I’m all dressed up in ripped jeans and a lace top, ready, waiting for “Almighty Desmond’s” call, I’m starting to get upset. “You are not calling him today Mirabel”, I caution myself. The sound of my phone ringing wakes me up, its Desmond. I sit up and look at the time its 4:30pm, I pick his call prepared to lash at him. But hearing his voice I calmed down immediately, this guy must be , he apologizes and says he’ll pick me up in twenty minutes, I end the call smiling. I get up and touch my make up a little before heading for the sitting room to sit, fortunately everyone is asleep. It was our Sunday routine to come home, eat lunch, go to sleep and wake up late in the evening scavenging for food like hyenas.
Typical Desmond gets to my place 45minutes later; his car pulls up in front of me as I get out of the gate. Damn! He’s so pretty; dressed in a black t-shirt and blue jeans with black shoes to match, I start smiling sheepishly.
“Was sup?” I ask as I get into the car.
He smiles at me, making my heart skip two beats, he has dimples!! How can one person be so cute? He was definitely made on a Sunday.
He mumbles something uninteresting, I turn and look at him sharply, “it took you 45minutes to get ready and come pick me up?”
He smiles without looking at me; I roll my eyes starting to foresee boredom,” this might end up becoming the worst date of my life!!!” I scream in my head.
He takes me to this very pretty suite, we get down from the car together and I follow suit to a lounge. Desmond opens the door and walks in leaving me behind, I’m like wtf! I let it slide but then my footwear gets stuck to the foot mat, I try to no avail to get it loose. I look up to see Desmond walking unaware of my struggle, carrying himself like a peacock, I catch sight of this couple giving me the “eeyah” look. I want to scream at him instead I bend down, using my right hand I set my sandal loose. I catch up with him and sit on the leather sofa he was sitting in. Without looking at me, he gets up, take my hands beckoning me to stand up for a hug.
“Hell no, I’m not hugging you. Better sit down and respect yourself”, I’m actually upset at his actions, this guy has no manners. He sits down back and says how embarrassing that was. I look away from him; I should really learn to not be so expectant.
We start talking, well he asks the basic questions: my state of origin, age, siblings, occupation, and so on…..I didn’t feel like asking any questions, I had lost interest already. Then I remember and ask what he does for a living that makes him so busy, “I’m hustling”. He responds, I want to laugh but look at him and realize he is serious.
“What do you mean hustling?”
“I have a lot of things going for me, a little bit of this and that, here and there. I’m staring at him and I can tell from his expression that my facial expression is not helping, I don’t have a problem with my mouth, but my face definitely needs deliverance. “I’m not a yahoo boy though” he added.
“Yeah right, like a yahoo boy would admit he is one” he looks at me but says nothing.
He orders a bottle of beer and I a bottle of water, I let the TV set in front of me take all my attention, I’m not alone. The both of us sat beside each other, eyes glued to theTV screen. He clears his throat after 10minutes, “we didn’t come here to watch TV now, we should move to the other part of the lounge” he picks up his glass and bottle and heads for the back; I follow at his heel and see my couple kissing, I should stone them with my sandal. I look forward and find him staring at me, a wide grin on his face. “What?” I ask.
“Its romantic, isn’t it?”
“Hell no, it’s disgusting, they should get a room”, I say out loud, hoping  they’d hear but they didn’t.
He looks at me closely and says, “You don’t look like you want a relationship, you just want to be rich”
I ignore his comment, what did he know?
I sit down with him and he looks at me and says, “You’ve got pretty eyes”.
I roll them and say, “Yeah, I get that a lot”. This makes him chuckle and I can’t help but smile.
“I really can’t believe you are sitting in front of me though, I thought this day would never come”
“Really? You are the one who always claims to be busy, hustling is a time consuming business I see”
I’m not sure he gets my sarcasm, because he merely smiles and takes a sip of his drink, “my imperfect gentleman”. I start to drum on the table then I spot the pepper and salt cans or whatever they call them, you know, those containers containing pepper and salt that restaurants put on tables. I go for them both and Desmond drags them from me almost immediately.
“No, I didn’t plan on losing my sight today” he says pulling on a serious face. I start laughing and he joins in. I’m a little relieved; it may not be so bad after all.
He looks deep into my eyes, leans forward and takes my right hand, “do you like me?” he asked.
“Yes I do, I think you are cool”, I reply with a hint of a smile.
He chuckles and I raise one eyebrow, “you answered like a hotel receptionist would when asked if there are available rooms.” He said.
“Oh, really? I’m supposed to go on on one knee and say yes with tears and mucus running down my face?”
He laughs hard, “its ok Hun”
Awwww, he called me Hun. He is still holding my hand; there is a ring on it. He takes it off and asks me to marry him! Don’t get your hopes up people, jokingly of course. I look him straight in the eye and say, “if you ever propose to me sitting down, I’ll give you back your ring and walk out the door.”
“Yeah, you are definitely that kind of girl”, he says seriously.
We start to talk about diverse topics, and guess what I find out? Desmond isn’t a dummy; in fact he turned out to be quite smart. In the next hour I learn a lot from and about him, he is not so bad after all. I would make a list but nah….It’s just a first date, I can’t be so sure. Three things he said that got my attention though were, “I always stand out, I like to keep it real and yeah, the punch line, “I’m hustling”.
Its 7:10pm now, my curfew is 6:30 and my phone starts to beep. His phone starts ringing too, he takes his call and I listen to his conversation. Apparently, he has a meeting at 7:30; meeting of the hustlers I think and hold down laughter. I don’t want him to go though, I don’t want to go home either, but I should go now if I still want a roof over my head and a surname.
He holds me back as I’m about to head for the door, he is so tall; he looks down at me and says, “You haven’t given me my hug yet”. I smile and he pulls me into a hug, gosh!I could die in his arms. He tries to kiss me too, but I duck it.
We get to the door, and like before he walks out leaving me behind, “get used to it Mirabel” I say to myself.
In the car now, he is taking me home and takes a wrong turn. I start to tell him but he puts a hand to my lips, “I know what I’m doing”, he says with a smile and then he stops the car.
A million thoughts race through my mind, “what is he doing?”
He stops finally, looks at me and says, “You are not going home without kissing me, a peck at least.”
I start laughing, this guy is crazy. I turn my face, thereby giving him my left cheek to peck. He chuckles again and declines it, saying he wants a peck on the lips.
Anyway, we did kiss. And guess what? It is the most awkward kiss I’ve ever had!! It is near terrible, I expected the world to stand still, see stars, you know the Hollywood kind of kiss, kisses you read about in novels but nope, it was a very awkward kiss. I break it off first and watch him clean my lipstick off his lips with his middle finger, he tries to hold my hand but I push it away, still disappointed in our kiss. We get to my house and we hug and say our goodnights, the hug is awkward too. The date went from bad to good, then good to awkward. I walk into the ompound, let myself in and sigh as I take the staircase to my room. I didn’t know what to make of my date with Desmond, I mean it was good but why didn’t I feel a connection when we kissed? I was supposed to yeah? I’m pretty sure I did with Segun. I try to put it out of my mind. I get to my room and sit on my bed, just then Desmond calls me, to check if I was safe at home, such a considerate fellow. We chat for a minute and few seconds before we say goodnigt.
I smile at my phone and lay on my bed, could this be the fire or just another flame?

WRITTEN BY: MIRIAM EHIS SULAIMAN

WORLD OF A RECLUSE 2

Eight months after my failed relationship with Segun, I start to put the pieces of my life’s puzzle and I’m still on the single train; I’m starting to get bothered now because I’m a little lonely, I miss Segun so much but he is married now with a child. It’s amazing how I can still bear to talk to him after his betrayal but I loved him though.
At this moment I get a call from Tamuno, my bestie; there was a party. I wasn’t thrilled at the news, this girl knew I had an early curfew but always wanted me conscious of everything I was missing out on, meanie! I try to hush her but she is so excited and keeps feeding me with unwanted details, I love her so much and official is going to be there”, I hear her scream from the phone, this brought me out of my thoughts, “yaay!” I shout back while rolling my eyes.
“You know I can’t come, so what’s the relevance of this information biko?
“L-O-L, I know. You want me to talk to daddy on your behalf sweetie?” She asked her voice laced with sarcasm.
For a second I wished she was standing right in front of me so I could spank her tiny bottom. She was such an idiot, never seen an individual who used L-O-L while talking. She was silly but I loved her anyway.
“Have a great time love, kisses to Tekno official, tell him Mimi says hi”, I say this hoping she’d get the message, I wasn’t in the best mood tonight, I had a lot on my mind and Tamuno wasn’t serious enough to have a serious conversation. With this I hang up and put my phone down on the dresser. I hear my phone ring twice, it was definitely Tamuno again. I ignore it and went on to write my to-do list for Saturday.
What was the time? I look at my bedroom clock, the stupid thing had packed up again, I hiss and pick up my phone. Unconsciously, I open to see my missed calls. It wasn’t Tamuno, it was Desmond!!! Desmond my crush for a year, six months and fifteen days, yeah I’m good with figures. I jumped up and started shoki-ing, the only dance I wasn’t so terrible at. I met him last year, on my sisters’ birthday at a store, I was very upset that day but meeting him changed that. He was tall, dark, fresh and very handsome.

I dialed his number, smiling and dancing to the ringer. From the way I was dancing, one would think “shoki” were his caller tune. He picks up at the fifth ring and said, “Hi, let me call you back” then hung up before I could stop him.
“Such a considerate fellow”, I say wistfully.
His call comes in and I dance to my ringtone for ten seconds before clearing my throat and answering it.
“Hi”, I say with a frown, hoping it would reflect in my voice.

“Hey, good afternoon”
“Afternoon, what’s up with you?”
“I’m alright, you?”
“I’m good”
Truth be told, Des as I called him didn’t sound as good as he looked. Sometimes he talked like he was a straight dummy. But his looks made up for his empty head, or so I thought. I liked my men smart though, but with his looks, I was ready to make an exception.
We talked for approximately four minutes, there wasn’t much to say though, and it wasn’t so easy talking to him without rolling my eyes and stifling laughter. He sounded confused a lot. Anyway, I had a date the next day with Des. I started to picture a kiss already, “oh Mirabel, get your mind out of the gutter!” I caution myself. My to-do list! I pick up my diary; there were a lot of corrections I had to make. I blow a kiss to my broken clock and looked at the time on my phone before sitting back to work on my list. Tomorrow is going to be great indeed…
Saturday morning, I rush to the salon to get my hair done; Desmond had never seen me on weaves, just braids. Braids didn’t fit me well enough, so I decided to fix a weave on.
I was done before noon after which I went home to prepare my outfit for my “date”.
1pm, 2pm, 3pm, 4pm, it was now 4:30pm and I gave up and called him. He didn’t take the call, I sigh; So much for all my joy huh? Yeah whatever. My phone battery was so low; I turned it off and placed it on charge.I had developed a cold already, it was the stress. 30 minutes later, it had worsened; I changed my outfit, wiped my make up off and head out for the pharmacy. On my way, I keep hoping I’d see Desmond’s car or something but I didn’t.
When I got home, I switch on my phone and first thing I got was a message from Des. He was apologizing and asking if we could see at that moment, shit! That was 30 minutes ago. I hit myself, why did I turn the stupid phone off? Just then his call came in, I pick it up and he starts apologizing, saying he was busy and asking if we could still see each other. I explain I have an early curfew and he asks for a reschedule, we plan on meeting the next week after which he gives another apology. Mad as I was, I gave him the benefit of doubt, maybe he was indeed busy. I sigh and lay in bed, feeling less enthusiasm. I take the pills and in no time I was off….

WRITTEN BY: MIRIAM EHIS SULAIMAN

WORLD OF A RECLUSE

Raised in a violent environment, they pressed on for survival. The insecurity within the family was taking a negative toll on them all but they suffered and smiled, hoping for the best but prepared for the worst daily, referees in their home they separated fights and suffered injuries. They didn’t mind, maami mustn’t get hurt, she was all they had. Her brother was the oldest, chief referee. He loved maami most, he was her shield, he played this role without relent like a soldier at war. Papa would curse, “Worthless son! I’d rather not have a son” he pushed him away, as a tyrant in his house he scared them all away. Made him watch the football match from the window and her watch the kiddies show from the passage, they tried to adapt to the prison they called home, constantly guiding their cell mate who was being picked on by the warden.

Her little brother grew up in fear, timid as a mouse he couldn’t socialise, having a voice he couldn’t use, he tiptoed around the house afraid to be seen, for the fear of being beaten at the smallest mistake or provocation to papa. Her sister regarded as a failure studied and worked hard, trying to please papa in his chosen field for her. It wasn’t her choice, it was her weak point, but she tried to the life of her to make it her strength till she lost physical strength, all she got from papa were discouraging words that pierced like a dagger. She was the strongest at heart, open about what went through her mind and not afraid to speak up. She tried to be the glue, the bonding glue. Trying to bring everyone together to avoid a next fight, but all efforts proved abortive, the glue didn’t seem to hold rather it tore them apart.Her big brother was killed in school, it could have been prevented. The war at home led to his negligence and they lost him. Papa assured them it was God’s will, he wanted it to happen or he wouldn’t have allowed it, unsure if it was said out of guilt or nonchalance they let it go, for a life lost could never be gotten back.

She grew up beautiful but barely noticed, almost never. She went from social to loner, from glue to water. She was more or less a shadow, barely noticed by people. She got out of school with only a handful of friends, the lowest self-esteem one could think of, she wore like a batch. Years after big brothers death the fighting started again, mammi’s shield was gone, and her replacement was also being beaten. Papa hit little brother so hard his skin turned purple,the courage came from within, though her voice came in gasps she said, “Leave him alone! Do you want to kill him?” Papa turned to her, grateful for the distraction she received the merciless beating with a welcome heart, she could take it, and maami was too old to be treated that way. She never knew love, papa made money available but never his presence. He had a burning flame on the crown of his head, a roaring hot flame. Maami and her siblings were the center of her world, the few friends she had were all so far away. She didn’t mind, it was her given part and she was going to tread on it with courage.

She met him in her street on a Friday evening, she had been running away from a giant turkey when he ran into her, he was handsome and confident. She let him in without thinking twice, he made her feel like a queen; breakfast in bed, kisses on her forehead and he listened. She threw caution to the wind and fell in love, he was her best friend. It wasn’t just about how she felt about him, but how he made her feel about herself. She got it back; her self-esteem built up like a tower, her water thickened and became adhesive, she became a pleasant soul and one could see it from a distance. Then he broke her heart, she realized he never loved her, she was just company for he had a wife and a kid; a beautiful kid.

Dumping her puzzle in a jar, she picked up grass and puffed, made the bottle her best friend and started a journal. She had been misused and abused and she wanted the world to know that love was a myth; at least she had proven it. “Fuck love”and  “fuck life” were her opening words, she had seen the worst of life. Consumed with anger and pain, she pushed everyone away, maami and her siblings; she locked everyone out and raised her voice at the slightest provocation. She was alone, in love with the solitude. She overhead maami apprehend her little brother, “don’t do that, you’ll make her shout and beat you”. She was hurt; she was becoming papa, the tyrant, the prison warden troubling the cell mates. She got up, took the jar for it was time to put the pieces of her lives jigsaw, she was going to start from the corners, till she got it done and lover herself till true love comes chasing.

Written by: Ehi-Sulaiman Miriam