Tag Archives: love

WORLD OF A RECLUSE 6

We arrive at South Africa in good time; Tamuno and I are still not speaking to each other. I must confess, the airport is super beautiful and I can’t help but stare in awe. Not restraining myself, I start to take selfies, and I drag Tamuno for a few too, nobody knows me here after all.  We grin from ear to ear and go back to not speaking to each other after the pictures.
I’m drained by the time we got to our hotel; I lay on the bed as soon as we got to the room. Tamuno Is humming a song, she just wants to piss me off the more but I won’t let her rather I’ll focus on my new environment which is extremely gorgeous. She finally stops humming and sits down next to me; I’m not speaking to her till she apologizes.
“Hey, don’t ignore me while I’m trying to ignore you” she says while hitting my side.
“I’m tired T, stop hitting me” I try to stifle a yawn but it proved itself stronger than my jaws and lets its way out.
“I’m sorry boo, but mehn! You really shouldn’t have called Desmond though”
“I know babe, I know”
We are both quiet and I look at her, she is sound asleep already. I get up and adjust her so she’s laying right, then lay back and join her to sleep.
South Africa, the city of the sun as  they call it is as beautiful as the sun at dawn. Our tour guide Jon is handsome, tall, broad-shouldered, dark skin with perfect dentition.
“You should be a model” was the first thing Tamuno said to him, I seconded with a smile.
“Thank you very much” he said with a funny accent.
He takes us shopping first and as much as I try to restrain myself I still contact the shopping fever, we end up buying stuff that we probably don’t even need, you know when you go shopping and pick stuff because the store attendant tells you it’s cool and stuff, we both fall victims. We feel like queens as Jon takes us around even though I feel like a dwarf beside Tamuno and him.
The next day we go to the beach, it’s my first time at a beach and my dad should not hear of it, he keeps seeing me drown in his dreams, I find it ridiculous whenever he says it; but being at the beach today, I’m amazed at how scared and cautious I am. I don’t even go close to the water, a lot of guys stare at Tamuno;  she’s perfect like a mannequin, standing at above six feet tall, with perfect shape and perfect face. Anyone would notice her before realizing my presence, pretty as she is though she rarely noticed her admirers, she really didn’t care. We sit by at a corner together “sunbathing” but really we are just trying to feel among. We’ve had enough sun in Nigeria to last us five lifetimes, we apply sun screen and lay on our mats with our shades on, I get bored first and take out a novel.
“You don’t read at the beach Hun” a very deep voice from behind me said. I turn around and see this fabulous-looking man with a very gorgeous smile. I smile back at him and drop the book, he comes closer and sits beside me and I turn to face him.
“Hi, I’m Desmond”
Tamuno sneezes behind me, twice, idiot! But really, another Desmond, “I’m Mirabel” I say finally and extend my hand for a handshake, he takes but rather than shake it he kisses it, ok he is a flirt but today I choose to not care.
“Tourist?” he asks.
“Yes, how do you know?” I automatically start fiddling my weave with my finger
“Well you don’t look like you are from around here, where are you from?” he replies with a smile
“Nigeria, How do people from around here, where are you from?” he replies with a smile
“Nigeria, How do people from around here look?” I say with a smile too, playing along in the flirting game.
“Not as hot as you ma’am” he says with a wink.
As stupid as it sounded, I give him a wide grin. “Nice try brother, good luck on your next punch line” I say in my head but still holding my smile. I look towards Tamuno and say, “oh, meet my friend Tamuno, Tamuno this is Desmond”
She sits up and smiles at him; he returns the smile and kisses her hands when she extends it.
“Hey, you are new in town, I can show you two around” his jaw should be hurting from all the smiling already.
“No, we have everything planned, our tour guide is over there” I point towards Jon who is sitting at a stall sipping a margarita.
“We can hang out in the evening, come on let me have your number. In case you change your mind”
I look over at Tamuno, she shrugs and smiles at Desmond, I hand him my phone but he gives me his card so I take his phone, dial my number and hand it back to him.
He winks at me, “nice meting you Mirabel and Tamuno- which he pronounces as Teemuna- I’ll hit you up” he waves goodbye and heads back to his spot.
“Another Desmond, nice one” she laughs.
“Yeah whatever” I roll my eyes.
“He’s cute though” she winks at me.
“That doesn’t look good on you love, but yeah he is cute”
“You should hang out with him though, if he calls. He looks safe”
“Looks can be deceiving my friend, I’m not risking it, we are here to have fun and that’s it” I pick my book and flip through its pages. “Would you come too? Just to be safe”
“Tell him to bring a friend” she says smiling like a happy baby.
“What do we have planned tomorrow?”
“Safari!!!!!” she exclaims and start to giggle, I join in. we both have never been to a zoo all our lives, and are both really excited about our first visit. The fun is just starting, I look over and see Jon heading towards us, smile plastered on his face, walking towards us like he is on a runway, I smile at him too.
“Time to go ladies” he said smiling.
Tamuno and I both get up at the same time; “you really should consider modeling” I say with a wink  and catch myself, he smiles shyly, where did that come from? I shake it off and concentrate on tomorrow, safari!!!!!

WRITTEN BY: MIRIAM EHI-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

WORD OF A RECLUSE 4

My week starts with a call from Tamuno. She sounds excited, well I’m excited too.
“Mirabel!” She screams from her end. If someone were listening, they’d think she just won a lottery.
“T!” I scream back returning her excitement.
“I’ve missed you”, she pronounces it as “milzed” I smile. Tamuno is four months older than I am, but a lot more childish, annoying too. Charming as she is Tamuno she could also be a pest, more like a pest you couldn’t live without. You know how annoying puppies could be but somehow still win you over with their cuteness; that’s a perfect definition of T.
“Baby, mama has missed you more” I mimic her pronunciation of “missed” and we both giggle. “How was your trip?” I added
“It was okay, stressful but okay. I’m on my way to work sef”, Tamuno and I graduated same year, supposed to have served together too. In fact, we had planned on working it to the same state but I had issues, not academic issues; I’m a smart ss. I actually deferred because of Segun. Yeah, love for me isn’t just blind, it’s dumb, deaf and ……stupid. She is done with service and also got retained at her firm, and while she is in the labor market I still hold the “graduate” title, pathetic huh? I know.
“Babe oya gist me, how did it go with Almighty Desmond” she laughs.
“Well, it wasn’t so bad, wasn’t so good. It was normal sha. He took me to a lounge ordered beer and I water.
“Wait, he drinks alcohol. Really?”

“Yeah, he does”
“I thought you didn’t like alcoholics”
“One bottle T, ok two. That doesn’t make him an alcoholic now. Anyways, we talked and we kissed.”
“You don’t sound excited about the kiss, was sup with that”
“Well, I wanted to feel sparks you know, like how I felt with Segun or Denzel or even Anthony”
“OK, there was no spark with Denzel , I remember you spitting all night and even brushing your teeth twice, and you could stay two days without brushing your teeth twice, and you could stay two days without brushing your teeth, my God Mirabel you used to be a pig” we are both laughing hysterically.
I gain composure first, “it was my first abeg, free me.
“Uhh, you complained he had mouth odor and you were sure you had his saliva in your mouth”
“That’s enough now, ok cancel Denzel. Anthony’s kiss was good”
“That’s the only thing you were after, that guy was ugly sha. Ok no one is ugly, he wasn’t near presentable. I still can’t get over his face Mimi, especially when he dyed his hair red…” she is roaring out laughter and I can’t help but join in; I feel tears in my eyes and wipe them off. “Imagine, being so dark and dying your hair red, what was he even thinking? Then he said he worked with a law firm while he was only an undergraduate”
We are both laughing so hard; I could imagine the look on her cab man’s face. I dated Anthony in my third year in school; it wasn’t really a relationship though. He was tall, skinny and dark; he called it ebony Tamuno called him burnt: she’s so childish; I thought he was cute though, like Rich Homie Quan. We dated for a year and some months but saw each other just six times, he had no motivation to see me, he’d always tell me he was busy at work till I found out he was writing post UME exams.
“Don’t over-analyze Mimi, just let things fall into place. If he chases you hard enough, let him catch you. And what about Segun, you gave him two years of your life and he married someone else. Take your mind off it now”
I sigh, maybe I wasn’t totally over Segun, and then I remember Desmond, “He was 20minutes late, didn’t open the door for me, walked in and left me behind and my sandals got stuck to the foot mat and this annoying couple laughed at me”
“I have to go now, I’ll text you when I’m free, Kisses (she said in Falz’s voice). I hear the phone click, she was gone. I sit on my bed and time knew best as it slipped from my arms and flew.
It’s Wednesday and Desmond hasn’t called yet, not even a text from him. Can someone really be so busy? This makes me think of Anthony. I don’t know why but I keep picturing him on a white horse, in a white suit coming towards me with a bouquet just like Tamuno said she had imagined Anthony, I laugh at this thought each time it hit me. Tamuno and I are definitely birds of the same feather, it’s no wonder we flock together.
Another Friday night and as usual I get a call from T, it’s definitely about another party and who would be there. I’m a little reluctant; she always made me feel like I was letting time pass without savoring its taste.
“T, you should really stop calling me with gist and details about your Friday night escapades, grow up would you?” it’s the first thing out of my mouth and I don’t feel sorry until I hear her tone.
“I wish, I’m home” she sounded tired, so unlike her.
“Are you okay?” I asked with concern.
“I’ll be fine, I’m just stressed. Has he called yet?”
“Desmond? No he hasn’t. He is probably busy you know, hustling and stuff” I try to laugh but it sounds more like gaggling”
“No, he’s not. At least he could text. Anyway, it’s his loss”
“Awwww, you think so?” I ask smiling.
“No, did I just say that? No! But he’s a jerk though”.
“He’s cute, he can be anything he wants to be and girls would still dig him”
“Being cute is not an excuse to treat people bad though”
“He hasn’t treated me bad you know, you think I should call him?”
“Oh yes please, maybe he got hit by a bus and screaming at the nurses right now like, Help! I want to talk to Mirabel, my life depends on it”
I shake my head at her imagination, “do you think through the things you say before they come out of your mouth?”
She chuckled and went silent for a few seconds, “sometimes, I honestly don’t”, she starts to giggle and I join in,“You are better than this though” I hear her say from her end, and I picture her serious face and choke down laughter.
“Idiot, thanks babe, we should go out this weekend”
“Yes, main reason I called. I finally got my leave; we should take a trip or something. What do you think of South Africa?”
“Xenophobia land!!” I exclaim.
She hisses from her end, “Xenophobia is old gist, I don’t think it exists anymore. Don’t be like that, would you come with me? Consider it a vacation-like thingy. You know you and me…huh?”
“It is a vacation and I don’t want to spend the whole time scared rather than relax and why do you sound like a man wooing a lady?
She laughs, “Is it working?”
“No, I’m not that jobless T”, actually I am, no job, no source of income, red account, I could go on and on with this list. Right now I have no idea of what I want to do with my life, one reason I’ve been avoiding the social media and staying indoors, seeing people living big and flaunting it was enough to make me want to jump off a pedestrian bridge,don’t get me wrong, I like seeing people happy but its better seeing people happy when you are also happy. “I’m not that jobless T” I repeat.
“Yes you are, I’m sure you’ve been hovering around your phone like a hen to her eggs waiting for Desmond’s call. You need this more than I do, what do you say?”
“Oh no I wasn’t he should go to hell for as long as I care, anyway I’ll think about it”
“Common, don’t be a sissy, it’ll be fun. You’ve been hidden for too long”

“Ok then” I sigh, she’s right I guess.
“Yaaaay! I’ll make the arrangements then. We are going to South Africa!”
I’m not enthusiastic about the journey though, my mind still on why Desmond hadn’t called. Truth is, I do need the trip to take my mind off a lot of stuff, Tamuno is still screaming at her end. I would kill to be so happy.
“T”, I finally say and get her attention immediately. “Do you think Desmond would ever call or is worth this stress?” I hear her sigh, “Time would tell, only time would. But to be honest, I don’t think he is worth the stress, he obviously doesn’t have you on his mind, maybe he does, I don’t know but you’ve had a crush on him for over a year, get over yourself missus. Just take your mind off it, we are going to South Africa be happy!”
She is right though, maybe Desmond isn’t worth thinking about, but in the meantime, I have a trip to plan!!! South Africa here we come!!!

WRITTEN BY: MIRIAM EHIS 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