“On seeking with the true intention of finding.” by Osione Abokhai https://link.medium.com/JcNnujsB7V
“On seeking with the true intention of finding.” by Osione Abokhai https://link.medium.com/JcNnujsB7V
As I sank deeper and deeper into sleep, awakening was a bright vortex beyond my reach. I screamed as I fell but my voice wouldn’t come out. I looked down and I saw their eyes huge and sinister now, a million and one hands stretched out to grab me “No please let me go”, all I heard was laughter, screeching loud laughter, then voices, they wouldn’t stop speaking.
I could hear them all at once
” you are of the grave, of this grave you are!”,
“who are you?”, I tried to make out the words but nothing. I was limp, a ball of lead , noodles for limbs, I could sense my heart beat weaken, it switched from a steady thump thump to a silent thud and then a restless ease. In that moment I…
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The day I died, was the day I went to prison.
My life had just begun, or so I believed. It was shocking to me when I found out that i’d be serving time, being me, my obvious crime.
The cell had black grainy walls, tightly compact . Grains below, grains above, I could not see the sun, I could not see the clouds, my cell was very dark.
The grainy walls were porous. From time to time food and water were passed down to me though the narrow holes.
I spent my first days looking up, I was scared and confused.
Why wasn’t I enough? why was I here? who keeps feeding me? where is my mother?
Day after day the cell walls grew tight around me. I could not push anymore! wet faced, and exhausted from trying, I looked…
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The pitter patter, rain drops on the window seal in my bedroom, too loud yet incapable of blocking out the sound of your gentle sobs, the ones you cried softly so you wouldn’t “wake” the children that never slept,
The heaving of your chest as you spit out the words ” nne I have tried! This will be my last night here”… Night after night.
I can’t forget, the gurgling that made me rush to your room door, heart banging against my chest, “let me out of here!”, so I can fall on the ground and break into a million little pieces and be blown into the wind never to return here. Numb. It was sore relief and welled up anger to know you were only laughing, ” why were you laughing in that manner?! You scared me!”.
You see, the fear of what you went through built a false resistance of man in me, like to be free I had to stay bound beneath layers of suspicion and sensitivity, so everywhere you shielded yourself from the blows, I rose my hands to block away the light that struggled to pierce the darkness in my eyes and where you lifted your voice in protest against deadly blows, I rose mine as well ” No! Please don’t!” Don’t come any closer!
For in my heart He had the semblance of a man and I was done with fathers.
When he held your hands to pin them down in place… ” No don’t touch me! ,go away!”, I struggled same, for days and years, because why would He touch me, why would He even care? You watched him and did nothing so why are You even here?
It was in the struggle I would realise that the consequence of violence even the one termed domestic, is a big issue in all, the reason that He Came. In expecting Him to destroy the fires starter, I never noticed He had walked into the fire to ensure I was not consumed. He came to pour water.
My strength grew weak from fighting, my mind grew weak from asking, my eyes grew weak from crying as He firmly held on to both my hands terribly shaken, He said
“Ozugo! It is enough..”
For the teeth of a child will no longer be dazed by the sour grapes his ancestors ate.
Ozugo, it is enough!
Because another will not die to pay for the sin of mistakes in the name of Love blasphamed.
Ozugo it is enough!
Because pierced hands and feet will redeem the broken, the bruised and the pained.
“You see my Child I come in peace, Jide ya, take it, allow me show you what Father means”.
#InspiredbyMsraysOzugo. #ItIsEnough. #CAPagainstDomesticViolence
Image taken from here
I looked at your picture today and I felt nothing.
No acid rain rushing up from my belly tight with churned butterflies into my throat, no heat ripples clasping tight around my joints and edges, no prickly pairs standing on end at the tips of my hairs, no creepy crawlies walking around lazily, mercilessly beneath my epidermis, Nothing.
I know this because I waited,
I deliberately sought out your profile picture from where it consistently changed at the bottom list of my blocked contacts on WhatsApp.
I wanted to know how my immediate insides would feel seeing your lifeless smile, smirk, frown or feigned absent mindedness in that little square.
So as I picked up my phone, heart still racing, I was shocked when my heart stopped and in all honesty, before God and man I felt Nothing.
You see, it had nothing to do with strength, akpor, ginger or will. I hadn’t made any resolutions seasoned with ‘girl power’ to forget you lately. My mind was not on a rampage to find peace from spoiling myself silly, savouring vacations that tasted of sugary cakes, leaving my pocket sore, only to return home to the places I wept, the places I slept, the places that did me ‘yimu‘ because they knew me long before I packed my bag and left. Yea, i gave it thought, so I did not go, because leaving home meant carrying the very environment I wanted a break from with me and that didn’t even make any sense! So from the very beginning I chose to let go of my assumptions that a human being could ever belong to me.
But seriously, it pained me.
Because no matter what, the heart has a way of becoming home and when someone moves in its like roots begin to grow on floors and walls, and flowers bloom from buds and its hard to ignore the one that uses your blood as soil, the one you become fond of. He grows on you.
So I cannot deny that when you walked away even though it wasn’t literal, because walking is something you do to move around but somehow your branches stretched far out toward a different side and I struggled as the strain of your deep set roots pulling out of my heart daily, left me leaking on many sides, I thought I would die, again not literally, but inside.
So when time passed and I scrolled down to your profile just to look at your picture, I was thrilled!
Because not only did I feel nothing, my heart had healed and as the dull edges of my lips cracked into a smile, I realised that I was actually happy to see you after such a long time.
ODUFA BY OTHUKE OMINABOHS
One terrible thing about having a first person narrative in a good book is that the story is born, lives and dies with only one character.
So where there is a plethora of characters with different parts to the same story, only one of them takes the lead. This character is myopic when it comes to having a full understanding of the other characters. He/she is only human and therefore cannot read minds.
In Odufa, I was lunged into a world of assertions, assumptions and hopes of one man, Anthony Mucoro.
I cannot bring myself to open that book again, at least not in a little while. The Love story has haunted me since I read the 391st page with a thumping heart, puffy eyes and a thousand and one questions in my mind.
– ODUFA STILL REMAINS A MYSTERY.
Till the book closed I wonder, what was her past like?
What made her love so ravenously?
Is there really not more to this captivating character?
– I wish Othuke will write a Sequel and call it TONY, so that I can hear Odufa’s side of their story that tears at my heart this way. I want to know what she was thinking when she said every word and carried out every action. I want to know if it was all worth it.
Its true I cringed at the seeming immaturity of their Love. I could not reconcile the feverish romance with the deep set, blinding hatred in between, but non the less I had hope in them. Call me crazy but that’s what Love does. It hopes helplessly.
Efezino, I pray you see Love.
This is a story told through the eyes of a real child.
WHY IS SHE HERE?
I have never been one to hate the fact that I was born this way. Never been one to wish i was something or someone else. Up until this time, even if the truth about this recent realization had smacked me in the face with a chair, i still would not have believed that its fallacious insinuations or its somewhat ancient behavior actually existed up till this day.
The truth is that I never believed that one day, I would be the weak link in a seemingly strong chain. Someone should have told me that this organ i have, in this dark part of me as secret as it is, would become the death of me.
I do not wish such ill fate on anyone, not even my worst enemy , but this is only hope speaking. I was submissive to my father’s bidding and every word he said to me was binding because he was a man and I must be subject to men.
WHAT DOES SHE KNOW?
All my life, well the little I have lived, I learnt my place is in the kitchen, in the market, in the bedroom and back to the kitchen. As i washed and scrubbed the cement floors, i often wondered why. Why I couldn’t spend some time outside exposed to the sun, sprinkled with cool water to calm my sweaty lips, play suee with Haphsat and Mairo or just simply sit on the porch and air my aching limbs. I never knew and i never asked or i’d risk getting one of those harshly yelled reprimands that were always followed by slaps on the back of my head or a pull on my dry lips. I knew better than to question the way things have always been and one slip up and my mother would stand aside… It was the price for trying to be too wise.
So I always took it as what I must accept, after all this is what i get for being born with a fountain between my pillars. I was silent up until the time my vows and price were paid for me.
The reality began immediately I got into the house. There was no time for adjustment or ‘getting used to’ the new life. It was immediate work and i didn’t have a say or pay. The market and the kitchen, those were the easy parts even though I had money flung at me and food poured in my face whenever he felt it didn’t taste as good as he wanted it to. I was always sorry i could hear my mothers voice saying ‘if you are submissive and quiet, your marriage will prosper’.
I believed her.
WHAT DID SHE LEARN?
There was one strange part about being married however. One that I refused to talk about until I realized that I was not the only one. He would grab me by my hair which was usually covered and drag me into the bedroom, push me on the bed and begin to tear off my clothes. One time, I hit my head on the wooden table next to the bed but he didn’t notice. He just pulled off my panties and sodomized me with his…(okay okay I can’t bring myself to talk about it in detail). But it was painful and i cried a lot. I dreaded his visits because he wasn’t always in town and his returns were not so pleasant. Soon after, the changes came and I began to feel sick with my body swelling. The doctor said I was pregnant. I guess he saw the naive look in my eyes if not he wouldn’t have gone further to explain to me that pregnancy meant I was going to have a baby. I didn’t see any cause for alarm, babies are small,cute and harmless. Having one would be easy… or so i thought. The doctor said i was already 3 months due and even at 7 months, nothing changed in the house. In fact i worked harder than I did before. At least my lord was more careful with me in the bedroom but it still felt dark and cold, I really wondered if he knew that I wasn’t enjoying these ordeals whatever they are called.
WHAT WAS THE CONSEQUENCE?
Labour was the worst pain I had ever experienced in my life, the doctor said i had spent 28 hours in there. I couldn’t remember most of it, all I knew was that I was laying on my back drenched in sweat and my fountain hurt like hell not to talk of all the blood. I could not understand why a baby so small would hurt me so bad until I saw the child so fresh and soft, I felt a lot better carrying him in my arms. For a while everything seemed to get better because of the arrival of my son, there was even a time my lord smiled at me.
I felt warm all over and I actually was beginning to love being in the house. At least that smile kept me going, it made me feel like there was hope for me and no matter what, one day I would really be a part of my lord’s life. Just when I thought my life would get better, it came… i tried to hide it, i tried to clean up more often, i tried not to make it obvious but it just wouldn’t stop. I couldn’t talk about it, I felt so ashamed. Soon enough my lord noticed it, ”It stinks Walahi you are not staying in my house with this!!!” His words cut straight through my heart.
”…but I carried your son” I said in tears. I could never brace myself up for what happened next. A new girl was brought in to take my place and i was thrown out of the house. They took my son away from me. I was too sad, too lonely, too hurt, too scared, too broken, too lost, too young. Everything was too much for me to bear.
I never considered going back home, Baba will have me severely beaten and maybe even killed. I felt like dying but not like that. I had had enough rejection and hurt from family. I finally took refuge under a bridge. The harsh environment did not hurt me as much as the thought of leaving my child behind did. He had made me want to live and he brought a little hope between me and my lord but the urine just wouldn’t stop flowing.
WHERE IS SHE NOW?
I do not know why this happened to me. Perhaps I wronged the world somehow. Now sitting beside my lifeless body, I still cannot understand why I am here, I lay down to sleep and I woke up outside my body. I feel nothing now but I still remember everything. I would probably never understand why my life ended this way, perhaps it was my destiny all along.
‘According to web dictionary, Vesicovaginal fistula, or VVF, is an abnormal fistulous tract extending between the bladder (or vesico) and the vagina that allows the continuous involuntary discharge of urine into the vaginal vault.’ This condition is common in little girls who give birth prematurely. Child marriage, rape is inhumane. But we already know that right?
‘Secessionist or Nationalist?’ A friend once asked, I smiled, awkwardly adjusted my sitting position and fiddled with my pen a little until my smile slowly faded away… I had no answer.
Infact I had more questions than answers. Like what exactly was the labour of our heroes past? It seems as though our ‘heroes’ of present continuous have learnt nothing from the selfish mistakes or naivety that makes up our history. Where is the unity that should seemingly come out from diversity? That makes meritocracy the standard for elections, appointments, selections and development. Why is it easier to mobilise millions of people in Nigeria for riots and protests, shows and crusades, parties and street revelry than it is to gather young people to clean the environment? That young able bodied men and industrious young women would rather squander the precious treasures of the moment on self gratification and manifestations of offended idle minds on unfruitful gatherings than on productive, growth provoking endeavours. Why isn’t there a difference between potential and monetary success? That one is only considered valuable simply because of his or her tangible achievements, achievements that have been narrowed down to elaborate speeches of sweet nothings, the high end real estate projects with roofs erected to high heavens, built upon the foundations of crispy currency dotted with blood and sweat housing nothing but empty concrete bellies as her tenants take shelter in motor parks and under bridges,exotic trips that afford the ‘privilledged’ the mercy of taking photos in places that only fuel the greed drive of the youth to desire this ‘fast money’ so they can drive ‘fast cars’ speeding past their pillars, honking horns at brothers turned hawkers, a nation so eager to ‘die fast’.
A suicide mission indeed, for a people who have no consideration for posterity. Preying on the helpers, shying away from predators.
Where boys have grown too fast to even learn what it means to be fathers and girls don’t even grow before they become mothers. On the fast lane, in fast cars it’s almost impossible to stop and dig up what’s left of the ancient virtues. Like sharing a tiny piece of meat among nine siblings after a communal meal of eba and egusi soup, the Kindness entwined in the growing arms of a young boy as he backs his baby sister from the community primary school to their house on a dusty path, Respect for ones elders, consideration for the next person, greeting any and everybody including the younger ones just to teach them a lesson by sternly saying ‘good morning oga/madam’ as their ears got pulled, charity that begins at home and does not stop there, asking for things before taking them, speaking the truth because it added value to reputation, where the word of a person was more valuable than money and integrity gave a good name not ridicule. These things can’t be picked on the streets anymore or could they ever have been? How can I choose a side when all sides are made of the same substance. ‘It is only the simpleton who swims from a lake to a pond in search of dry ground’. The Pond is as wet as the lake.
I choose dry Land.
Definition: A Secessionist is one who advocates for secession (Independence of a part from a whole) and considers it as a constitutional right.
P.S. Such a person is ignorant of the fact that it is infact the part that makes up a whole.
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