Monday, 31 March 2014

Night Worker

Her heart thumped with every minute that passed. She knew that soon enough, her phone would ring, she knew that he would take his eyes off the T.V., off the cartoon network that he had been watching and that he would affix his childish gaze and innocence at her, that stare, the one that makes her melt every time, that makes her feel guilty. She also knew that he would understand what she meant when she said ‘where?’ to the person on the other side of the phone line. And that he would look disappointed when she gets dressed and leaves him alone in the house.
At ten P.M., inevitably, her cell phone rang, to avoid his stare; she took the phone to the kitchen to answer it, his gaze had a unique way of conveying sadness, madness, disappointment, hatred and love all at the same time. ‘Where?’ she said after she had pinched a button and the phone’s rather large screen was caressing her left ear-lobe. ‘Alright,’ she said after a pause, ‘give me an hour.’ And then she cut the call and turned to leave the kitchen but there he was by the door.
Are you going out again this night?’ He asked with that unique look on his face.
Yes, dear, you know there’s no money in the house and I need to buy some foodstuff.’ She said, ‘but I will be back very soon. I promise.’ She smiled, he frowned, his little red lips made a ‘u’ shape. She went towards him and got on her knees and hugged him then ruffled his hair – her precious nine year old. ‘It’s okay, I will be back very soon.’ She said again. ‘Just make sure you don’t wait up for me, okay?
Yes,’ he said, but it was the type of ‘yes’ that one would say in capitulation. A – Whatever, do as you wish – type of yes.
At eleven, she had gotten dressed; she dressed the same way she always did when she was going out at night time – skimpy: a short, tight skirt and a purple shirt, with a large, round neckline, so that her bosom was revealed. Then she wore a long black jacket that covered her skimpiness. She walked to the living room where he was sitting on the couch, still watching cartoons. ‘Immediately I leave, you should lock the door, and go to bed, okay?
He nodded.
See you later, I love you!’ She said and then walked out, shutting the door behind her.
He had a faint idea of what kind of work she did, but he did not want to be sure, how could one want to be sure that one’s own mother is a prostitute? But still, he switched off the television, opened the door, and followed her, maintaining a reasonable distance behind her, so that she would not see him if she suddenly turned around, but he would see her.
It was a long walk for him, not for her – she had gotten used to walking, she could walk anywhere. She was very fast, almost too fast for him, as if she got more strength with every stride she took.
Thirty minutes of walking passed and he was about to quit and go back home when he saw her enter into a big hotel, he was relieved and went into the hotel as well, he just caught sight of the room where she had entered, and started towards it, he was about to knock at the brown, wooden hotel-room door, and then he decided against it. He was going to let her finish her ‘work’. So, he sat by the wall, next to the brown, wooden door and waited for her to come outside, after all, she had said that she will be back very soon. He waited. He fell into bouts of sleep, none of them lasting past five minutes, none of them deep enough for him not to notice if someone passed.
Four hours later, she came out of the room; he had sat so close to the wall by the left of the door that she did not notice him, she just began to walk away, outside. She had only worn the tight black skirt and the purple shirt, she had forgotten her coat.
Mum, your coat, you were wearing your coat, now you are not.’ She heard him say. She knew the voice all too well, she couldn’t mistake it. She broke into tears as she turned to him, beady salty water were streaming down her eyes. She went towards him, knelt down and hugged him tight and cried some more. This is it, she thought to herself, never again. She would find another way to provide for them.

Monday, 24 March 2014

One Year - Thank You!

For the thousandth time, I say, I started this blog to write stuff: to put pen to paper, or in this case, thumb to keyboard,  am glad and grateful that I have not looked back since I started exactly a year ago today. while I have not been as 'faithful' as I used to be, or perhaps the word is 'committed,' I must say that I have become a better writer by miles. Sometimes, I read my past posts and laugh and wonder if I wrote them, and what I was on while I wrote them. Still, I like them, I like them because they were lessons. Every single post I wrote here was a lesson, a stepping stone. Doesn't matter whether I wrote them playfully or otherwise. Every thing that I have written here has lay the ground work for me to at least be able to say I am a tad better at it (writing) now than I was then. And I feel proud looking back, that I have had a relative measure of consistency since I started till this point, and even success as well. Now, I am working hard on my first novel, it's titled 'Dear Ella' and I could not have possibly started that project without the experiences that I gathered on this blog, (and I am still gathering.)
I am indeed extremely grateful to everybody that has ever visited this blog, whether by mistake(clicking the wrong link,) or otherwise. I am very, very grateful to the people that visit me constantly, to see what I have been up to, or what I have to say, or what I am babbling about this time. Thank you very much for following. I admit that I would have quit a long time ago if not for the fact that I see all of you visitors checking in, everyday. Thank you.
When 'Dear Ella' finally comes out (and watch this space because it is coming very soon), I promise that you guys will be the first to know, sometime within the next few weeks, something about it will be available here, so watch.
It's celebration time everyone, I am honoured to have you, you have stuck with me and with this blog for the past year, let us make the next year phenomenal. shall we?
Cheers to you, my readers.
 Till next time,, Keep dreaming!!

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Explain This

The queue at the banking hall is ridiculous, you shake your head as you enter inside. You walk towards the last person, ‘Is anyone behind you?’ you ask.
She shakes her head no. She has long, natural hair and her fingernails are the colour of her shirt - purple. 
I am now,’ you say, then head towards one of the cashier’s table to pick a deposit slip. You want to send some money to your cousin at school, his exams are around the corner. Students tend to need more money during exam periods – you will never understand why. There is contemporary instrumental music, Yanni, specifically, playing in the background. You do not understand what the big deal is with contemporary instrumental music. People say it is music for intelligent minds, you think that is ridiculous, the kind of music a person listens to has absolutely nothing to do with his intelligence. In fact, your theory is that some people listen to this kind of music so that other people will think that they are smart, not necessarily because they like it.
You fill the slip and go back to the long and contorted ‘S’ shaped queue. You try to start a conversation with the lady in front of you, you want to speak good English, but there is no translation for what you wish to say in good English. ‘This queue na wa oh,
She smiles. ‘Honestly, it is something else,’ she says, ‘if I knew I would have come later in the afternoon.
And it’s not like it is the end of the month when government workers are coming for their salaries or anything.
Everybody needs money every time.’ She says and smiles.
Except me.’ You say.
Then what are you doing here?’ She laughs.
I came to deposit,’ you say, then you show her the deposit slip that you have carefully folded into two, over wads of one thousand naira notes.
Hmm,’ she says.
Ten seconds pass then someone begins to scream about fifteen people forward from you.
It appears that a man has collapsed and is lying unconscious or dead on the floor. It doesn’t take too long for a crowd of people to envelope him, you join that envelope of people. Someone tries to resuscitate him by performing CPR. He unbuttons the unconscious man’s shirt then feels his lower neck for pulse. After that, he blows into the man’s mouth and begins to press in his chest. ‘1. 2. 3. 4., 1. 2. 3. 4.’ He keeps saying but the man on the ground does not budge.
Let us take him to the hospital.’ Someone else in the crowd suggests with urgency in her voice.
A well dressed man joins the man performing CPR, he is wearing a lavender shirt well tucked into a black trouser. He asks the man performing the CPR to step aside, then he bends towards the unconscious man, and begins to whisper something. It seems as if he is praying, he is praying. Every time he says ‘In Jesus name,’ he says it with more intensity.
Wetin this man dey do?’ A man in the   crowd says. ‘Abeg make we carry this person go hospital now.
And suddenly, the unconscious man coughs, and then again, and again. A few seconds of absolute silence and surprise passes and the man who was unconscious sits up. It seems rehearsed to you, as if it had been preplanned, but it was not.
Praise the Lord,’ the man who offered the prayers shouts.
A lot of people in the crowd roar a literally thunderous ‘Halleluiah,
The man who was unconscious is helped to a sit and offered a glass of water, he sips gingerly.
The queue forms again almost automatically, that long, contorted ‘S’ that infuriates you.
God is good.’ The girl in front of you, the one that you had been talking to before everything began says.
You smile. The episode reminds you  of an argument you had with an atheist friend of yours, you like to argue with him because he always tells you his own point and never tries to convince you that he is right.You had told him that his problem was that he liked to have an explanation, an analysis for everything, that there were certain things that just existed and could not be explained, they could only be believed, religion was one of such things. ‘All the time.’ You say to the girl.
You wish that friend of yours was there with you and saw the miracle you saw, the miracle that unfolded before your very eyes. You would have asked him a single question, a very simple one: ‘Explain this?