Becoming Undone

“It was her hair that got him to marry her?”

“How magical was the hair?”

“Isn’t that supposed to be so trivial… here today and gone tomorrow?”

“People must really be getting married for very crazy reasons!”

And she continued to consider the funny details of the story she had  just heard- about the man whose reason for choosing a bride was because she had the loveliest hair ever…

“But then, what if there was more to what he had revealed?”

“What if it was more than the hair?”

“Perhaps she was equally good, and smart, and tender hearted…?”

“How did the story teller even get to know these details?”

And she pondered some more, concluding that it really wasn’t her business, nor in her place to determine people’s reasons for their choices. She could pray instead for the man and his marriage, but she chose not to, preferring that people learnt to accept the consequences of their choices.

But then she began to look inwards, to ask herself if she wasn’t equally currently making any choice that people would consider insane. Her recent desire to relocate houses suddenly hit her, and she began to ask herself new questions- why really did she prefer this new place? Yes, it was beautiful and serene and of a good neighbourhood; but was there anything more substantial? She began to remember her uncle’s insistence that she finds a solid reason for house relocation or to remain in her current habitation.  She had fought with him, and accused him for lacking good taste in good things. She had let him know that she’d feel better and gain more in this new place she intended to move into. But her uncle had insisted that one could feel, and actually be better living anywhere, and being “of a good neighbourhood” shouldn’t be her (or anyone else’s) primary reason for shifting base. He had asked her to come up with written substantial reasons or forget about moving base. She had ignored him, primarily because she could very much afford the house without his assistance.  But she loved her uncle, and very much respected his wisdom, and in the light of this story of the man who she learnt had married because of the hair of a woman, whom she had also almost despised, she began to consider the fact that she may equally be in the same boat with him in this her desire to relocate houses just for the sake of convenience.

She subconsciously began to utter prayers for guidance over her choices, and surprisingly, over the man she had no idea who he was, whom she had also initially refused to pray for. She then realized the great blessings of having people like her uncle who would always stick their head out to see to the betterment of other humans. She began to appreciate him the more, and decided to sit in that day and produce a list of substantial reasons why she would (or not) be shifting base.

 

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Out of the web

He first saw it live on his aunt’s computer screen. She had always lived with his family, and after she had realized that she shared the same (weird) hobby with him, she had begun to draw him closer to herself. They both loved studying. She first noticed the traces in his curiosity as a growing boy. He would ask her all sorts of questions that she considered more than his age. She had first discouraged him and explained that such behavior would make him to be tagged as a nerd and to become an object of caricature by/for his peers. She however realized that it was a passion that he could hardly control (like hers) then, she began to encourage that habit. She would invite him into her room to study when she was, and afterwards, they would discuss the key points from their study material. Whenever his siblings’ play disturbed his study time in his own room, she would invite him into her room to evade such distractions. After a while of observing him and concluding that he had no pilfering habits, she granted him access to her room in her absence.

One solo study day in his aunt’s room, he grew tired of serious study and wanted something a bit unserious and entertaining. He mopped around for anything that would catch his attention, but nothing seemed forthcoming. He dived on the bed to rest a while as an alternative and as he bounced on the pillow, a novel flew up. He was about to return the book to its position when the cover caught his attention. He had seen his classmates exchange novels with such covers but was never really interested in finding out what they were all about. He considered them too unserious for his taste. This day was different. He was ready to engage any unserious stuff; especially something from his beloved aunt’s room.

As he flipped the pages, it got more interesting. He was excited about the sensual descriptions he met on the pages of the book. It was his first time coming across such. He had never really considered that his body could work in the way that was being described. Nothing that was taught in his biology class really prepared him for this experience. He got to what he considered to be the core of the book: the description of the coitus, and that was when he caught himself wishing he was the man being described in the book. As his insides swelled with excitement, he heard footsteps approaching the door. He quickly returned the book to its position and returned to his serious study position. His life had however, already began to change.

His reasons for solo study moments in his aunt’s room began to change. His mind had begun to wander and to imagine all sorts of sensuality even at odd times. Whenever his aunt stepped out, he would neatly search her room for more unserious stuff. Initially, he wouldn’t find any, which frustrated him. He however learnt to put his frustrations to good use. He would pen down his own fantasies and read them instead. He also began to steal some glances from his friends’ exchanges at school. It gradually stopped being about the love stories between the characters of the book. It became more about the accompanying sexual experiences and about broadening his sexual fantasies. As he kept penning down his growing fantasies, he became less interested in the novels such that when he finally found a couple of them lying around in his aunt’s room, they could no longer match up to his expectations. He soon started to wonder if this wasn’t too much for his fourteen years, so he decided to pedal down a little bit. But it was already late: he couldn’t easily let go.

One day, his aunt had asked him to help her assess some serious stuff on her laptop. He had afterwards, diverted to mopping around his aunt’s system. He found his first video there and naturally preferred it to the novels. So he watched some more. He also memorized the computer’s password and would assess it whenever it was available for more.

The end drew near on the same day he considered himself a genius. His aunt had naturally first called him a genius because of his smart mind. His family had learnt to call him the same and would challenge him to several smart questions beyond his age, of which he never failed. He however considered their reasons very normal and wouldn’t address himself as such. He would only address himself as a genius after he had successfully innovated some serious stuff. So, on the day he saw it live for the first time on his aunt’s screen… the day he saw a clip exactly as one of his penned down fantasies, he accepted the genius title, but he was too afraid to be excited. It suddenly felt wrong. He knew this wasn’t any of the innovations he had aspired towards. This was solely supposed to be unserious stuff. So, it got him very worried and ashamed. As he closed his aunt’s computer, he began to panic. For the first time ever, he felt like a failure. He felt like reaching out for help but couldn’t share with anybody. He felt chained. As he walked out in shame, he bumped into his father.

It was his shivering that caught his father’s attention. As his father asked if all was well with him, he wished for the floor to open and swallow him up. He couldn’t look his father in the face so he bent his head and said nothing. Throughout that day’s dinner, he was morose and didn’t hear his mother ask him a smart question. While his siblings celebrated that their brother wasn’t that much of a genius, the elderly family members knew that something wasn’t really right.

The elderly ones were right because as the father walked across his son’s room later that night, he heard him sobbing. He listened closely and heard him ripping some papers. Confused, he tapped the door. After much silence, the father tapped the door again, and then tried the door knob. It was locked and the silence grew. Out of fear, his father jacked the door open. He found his son drowning himself in his bath tub.

After his return from the hospital, he explained his shame and fears to the elderly family members. His aunt felt bad and soon moved out of their house. His mother felt shocked and wouldn’t speak to anybody. His father however felt glad: glad for the chance to school his son that he was still normal and hadn’t really disappointed the family; glad for the opportunity to let his son know that he was just in the right phase of his teen life; and glad for the opportunity to be able to guide his own son through life experiences and disappointments.

To love and to let go

She didn’t see it coming. Nothing prepared her for it. They were just friends in her book. She couldn’t even remember the inception of their friendship, but somehow, they became best of friends. No strings were supposed to be attached. He was not particularly her spec; but although she wished he were a bit different in some ways, she never loved him any less. They shared the God kind- agape kind- of love, mixed with a lot of pleasantness and some dotes of fondness. They were able to talk freely about anything… until she had to travel out of the state.

Before her travel, he had said he would miss her. The weight was in the way he said it- the emotions… but she was naïve and didn’t understand. She was only quite confused, because they had planned the trip together, and he was almost the instigator of the trip; so why would he claim to miss her that much? She would later consider this moment in retrospect, and understand why he would miss her that much, and wish for it to return, but it would be late.

They became long-distant friends due to her travel, and tried to maintain the friendship. They still considered themselves to be favorite buddies, and talked as much as they could. They were just great friends as long as she knew, until he traveled.

His travel was quite different. It was out of the country, and just as she would ever accuse him, out of sight gradually became out of mind from his angle. She accused him of not thinking much about her. She became angry, and wouldn’t be nice. She wouldn’t even consider that he may have been trying to re-adjust to his new life overseas. He responded, and begged her to understand and to be kind… she couldn’t… she hadn’t figured out the source and reason for her feigned bitterness. By the time she had it figured out: that she was missing him sorely, it was late… he would rather they were silent than having to fight all the time. And she agreed to the silence, as she’d rather sulk than reveal… she was afraid: was she supposed to miss him that badly? She was proud: he wasn’t her spec after all. She tried to chide herself out of it, but the more she did try, the more she realized that she had become emotionally attached to him.

Her friends told her she was in love, but she denied and defended: more to herself than to them. For the most part of her youth, she had carefully prevented and avoided running into such mess with her male friends, so it was hard for her to embrace her new reality.

Since they had become silent-communicating friends, they only way he would know about her new feelings for him was either by a vision or by her own mouth. She waited for the vision to help her out, but none of it was happening. She tried to joke about it and to send green lights, which all failed her. She decided and braced up and let him know. It was very bad; he had not just moved on, he had a girl.

She was left to struggle with herself, her God and her life. She accused life for being unfair, asked God why he watched and did nothing as she plunged into such mess, and chided herself for not being careful enough. But since the beginning of their friendship was vague and unclear to her, the end of it may have decided to be clearer.

 

From Eko Towers

The white expatriate with red scalp

And very soft looking

Very scanty black hair

That wouldn’t look my way

Was he afraid

Did I stare a little too hard

I still admired away

The beauty of our differences

 

The entrepreneur expatriate

Quite studious

Laptop open

Cup of coffee at hand

Or was that tea

Sitting on a table somewhat away

From the noise and the bustle

Scrolling away on his phone

Teaching me to work hard

 

The swimmer expatriate

In the pool

In the rain

In the cold

This must be a different kind of summer

In a way I am yet to experience

 

The cook

The butler

The steward

Domestic whites

Expatriates as well

Such an interesting world

 

The non expatriates

The Nigerians

The staff

The visitors

Alike in body

Different in soul

Some pleasant

Others not

 

The sole fish meal

The best in the pack

Took my soul away

And made me promise

To find a way to eat it as much as I can

 

As much as we can

 

“Girl, what’s your plan with all these finesse?”

“What?”

“Watermelon!”

“Chi please, I always look good…”

“Agbonma feeling funky!”

“Biko let’s go home… all these yarns”

Nma and Chi conversed as they hurriedly hit the road.

 

“All these rush Nma, hope you’re not running to see any man?” Chi teased.

“Chinyere Okorobia! You love to talk about men, and tonight, you are on your own, bye!” Nma mockingly rebuked.

Laughingly, they jumped into the commercial tricycle that they flagged down.

 

“Mega place” Chi said to the driver.

“Madam abeg, I no dey go there for night” he replied them.

“Ngwa, stop us for  junction” Nma responded.

“Hah! Aunty? Una wan trek there by this time? E dangerous oh!” he exclaimed.

“Nawa for you oga, you no go carry us go and we no go trek again… which one you dey?” Chi accused.

“No vex oh, I just dey advise, unto say una fit be my sisters” he pleaded.

“No worry, nothing do us, we be God Pikin, he dey guide us” Nma added.

“Amen oh!” the driver echoed and continued in silence.

 

“Nne, this place is rather quiet… are these goose bumps on your skin?” Chi questioned as both girls strolled into the street.

“Quietly please, something is not just right.” Nma whispered.

“No way are we giving into fear…” Chi started but was cut short by distant noises and stopped, holding Nma back from taking one more step.

Rumbles from people rambling inside the mini bush started penetrating the night and the girls quietly listened.

 

“Get down!” a voice said.

“You no dey fear?” another said.

“Abeg I no follow” the third said and it sounded like a girl’s.

 

“That’s a girl’s voice” Nma began to tell Chi, then, the lights went off.

“What a pleasant time NEPA” Chi muttered.

 

“Please oh, I could be your sister” they heard the girl plead.

“Comon shut up!” two voices hushed her down at a time.

 

“Girl, I’m going back” Nma stuttered.

“There’s even light, these neighbours just fearfully put out theirs” Chi said as though she didn’t hear Nma.

“Are you still talking about light?” Nma asked with disgust.

“A step forward or backward, and they’d hear, that’s if they are not already listening to us” Chi reprimanded.

“We can’t still stand in the middle of the road, they will see us… we should have a plan” Nma stuttered.

“Bravery against fear…” Chi began to suggest but was interrupted by a distant shriek.

“Security… let’s call those police men at that bank…” Nma began to breathe heavily.

“Stop putting fear into me this girl!” Chi rebuked.

The shriek became continuous and loud and the girls arrived at a good option.

“At the count of 3… 1,2,3” Chi spoke and both girls flew with an indescribable speed to the bank at the junction.

Exchange of gun shots and a near stampede got the girls falling into a roadside gutter, where they lay still.

“There’s a clinic close by” Chi offered to the police men carrying the bruised limp girl with clothes torn and almost totally ripped off, who had been yelling from the bush.

The girls accompanied the police men to the clinic and promised to return with clothes for her in the morning.

 

Image credit: sathiyam.tv