Tag Archives: african short story writers

Death wish

The aroma of Tolu’s food wafted out of her kitchen into the nostrils of the other students in the block. It was a block of six flats occupied by students of the University of Lagos. While some students stayed on campus, some preferred to have a home away from home. They rented apartments outside which were close to the school campus.

Tolu heard the knock on her door as she prepared to settle down to consume the bowl of semovita and ilá àsèpò that she had just cooked. She knew who was at the door. There was no need asking. She ignored the knocks.

As she put each chunk of semo into her mouth, the intensity of the knocks increased. She got upset and walked to the kitchen to wash her hands. The persistent knocking continued as she strolled towards the door and opened it.

“Haba Tolu, why didn’t you open the door on time nau?” Feyi asked as her eyes searched round the room like a thief looking for something to steal.

“Ahn…ahn, so you are eating without me now? No wonder.” Feyi continued as she walked to the kitchen, washed her hands and settled down before the bowl of food. She dipped her hand in and began to cut the semo in large chunks, swallowing them in quick succession.

Tolu looked at her without a word.

 

The next day, Tolu walked into Feyi’s flat without knocking. She knew the door was always open during the day.  It was locked only at night. Tolu cleared her throat to announce her presence. Feyi, who was lying down on the floor reading a novel looked up.

“Wassup?” Feyi asked as she dropped her novel on the floor.

“Nothing much. I came to pick up a few things.” Tolu said as she walked towards the kitchen.

“Ehen! You did not keep anything here.” Feyi replied as she stood up and followed Tolu.

Tolu had come with three big polythene bags. She opened the kitchen cabinet and started to empty everything she saw into the polythene bags. Garri, rice, beans, spaghetti, curry, thyme, maggi etc.

“Ahn…ahn…what are you doing nau?” Feyi shouted.

“I am packing the foodstuff we would need for the month.”

“What is the meaning of this?”

Tolu stopped and looked at her. “Pick one. I pack the foodstuffs we would need and you can continue coming to eat your lunch in my place or I poison the meal, so you can die and leave me in peace.”

Feyi’s jaw dropped. “Haba! It hasn’t come to this nau. You should have just told me that you don’t need my company during lunch.”

Tolu burst out into hysterical laughter.

“What is funny? Please just drop my foodstuffs. I won’t come to your flat again.”

“No ma. This is to replace everything you have eaten in the last one month. You can decide not to come again from today.” Tolu said as she began to walk towards the door.

Feyi stood in front of the door and tried to stop her from going out.

“Feyi, don’t try me. You know me from way back in secondary school and you know that I can redesign your face if I get upset.”

Feyi frowned as she moved away from the door. Tolu was known as “mama fighter” in secondary school. Feyi watched helplessly as Tolu strolled out of her apartment with all the foodstuff in her kitchen cabinet in the polythene bags.

As Feyi locked the door to her flat, she decided she did not want to die yet. It was better to stay away than get poisoned.

——

Photo Credit: http://www.familydoctor.org

The Choice of Freedom

Bisola looked at her husband of thirteen years with confusion clearly written on her face. “Was he serious about what he just said?” She thought. “Where had she missed it?” “Was this a result of something going on that she had been blind to?” So many questions that begged for answers.

Ikechukwu walked out of the house and slammed the door behind him. Bisola looked on unable to stop him. Her husband’s statements had torn her and she wondered what she was supposed to do.

******

Ten years ago, Ikechukwu and Bisola had a registry wedding followed by a small reception for close family and friends. It was an agreement between both of them to cut out the unnecessary expenses associated with large weddings and save for their future and that of their kids. They had both prevailed on both families to agree to their decision. It had been difficult for Ikechukwu’s family to accept as he was the first son of the family but he had been adamant. His family insinuated that Bisola was the one manipulating  him do a small wedding. He however explained to them that Bisola’s father also wanted a large wedding but after consultations, her father had agreed to what he proposed. He therefore, told them if his proposed father-in-law could agree; they had no choice but to consent as well.

Ikechukwu worked as a top executive in a commercial bank while Bisola was a sales executive in a pharmaceutical company. In four years, Bisola gave birth to three boys in quick succession. Ikechukwu asked her to take a break from work so that she could give their kids undivided attention. He said he did not like the idea of maids taking care of his kids. Bisola agreed and resigned her job to take care of the home.

However, Bisola knew that she couldn’t sit at home and do nothing while tending to her kids. She therefore, wrote professional exams and acquired entrepreneurial skills. She started bead-making from the money she had saved over time and soon, she became sought after by all and sundry because of her penchant for durable products.

 

Everything was going well for the family of five until last year when Ikechukwu lost his job at the bank as a result of a mass restructuring programme. Ikechukwu became depressed. Bisola tried to cheer her husband up by asking him to invest their joint savings in a business. Bisola advised that they invest in a poultry business which would bring steady income but Ikechukwu wanted more. He couldn’t wait for a gradual increase in their profits. This caused a friction between them as Bisola was skeptical about the business he wanted to invest in.

 

After many weeks of friction in their marriage, Bisola agreed reluctantly and signed the cheque authorizing Ikechukwu to withdraw eighty percent of their savings. In four weeks, Ikechukwu realized he had been scammed and their whole savings of about ten years went down the drain. Bisola was devastated. Their last son had just gained admission into the secondary school. Their upkeep at home had been solely from her bead-making business which had expanded over time.

 

Just when everything seemed to be going downhill, Bisola received a call from an old friend. Her friend told her that a marketing manager was needed in her organization. The company was a pharmaceutical company of repute and she asked Bisola to forward her CV to her. Bisola immediately brushed up her CV and sent it to her friend by email. She hoped and prayed for the much needed break.

Two weeks later, Bisola was invited for an interview and in a month, she received a letter of appointment with a decent salary and an official car. She got home to share the good news with her husband. She had intimated him about the call and had carried him along but she noticed he had been indifferent.

 

Bisola looked at the letter of appointment opened on her laptop. Ikechukwu couldn’t be serious about her having to choose between the job and him. She had listened to him when he asked her to resign her job years ago to take care of the kids. The kids were in boarding house and the last one was going to join them in September. “Why was he being selfish?” She thought. She understood that his inability to provide for them like he used to was depressing for him but now that she had an opportunity to assist financially, why was he giving her an option of choosing between him and a job.

Bisola put her hand on her head as she contemplated on what to do. No, she wasn’t going to reject the offer. She would plead with her husband when he returned to listen to the voice of reason. She prayed in her heart that his ego would not stand in the way.

——

Photo Credit: http://www.shutterstock.com

One Last Chance

Lekan took one last look round his room. The room had one window opening. A tattered wrapper which was torn in so many places was used as a cover from the prying eyes of neighbours. A kerosene stove stood on the left side of the room but it was obvious that it had not been in use for a long time. A pair of trousers, four shirts and two ties hung on the wall above a flat mattress which looked more like a pieces of foam cut together. He should have returned the ties to Wale by now; he thought. He was sure Wale would come get it later; that is if he decided to. He shrugged.

A brown bucket with a broken handle was placed beside the door. A bar soap lay inside a native sponge in the bucket. The green soap was both a bathing and a washing soap.

He sighed as he looked at the small ziploc bag for medication in his hands. Ten white tablets sat in it, waiting to be consumed. He had borrowed some money from his neighbour and told him he would return it at the end of the month. With the look his neighbour gave him, he knew the man did not believe him; but he did not care because he knew everything was ending today.

 

He had told the man at the chemist that he could not sleep well. He avoided the pharmacy. They would ask too many questions. The chemist gave him the ten tablets and told him to take one every day for the next two weeks.  He opened the medical bag and poured all the  ten tablets into his hand. If only the man knew his intention, he thought as he took a deep breath.

He took out the sachet of whiskey he had kept under his mattress and looked at it. He had never taken alcohol before and he wondered how this would taste. He used his teeth to tear it open, threw all the tablets into his mouth and poured the drink down his throat. He grimaced as he swallowed. He downed a cup of water to help push the contents down.

Now, he only needed to lie down and wait.

******

Wale had this sudden urge to open Lekan’s email account. Lekan had opened it at a business centre after their graduation from the university seven years ago. He used it to send his resume to various organizations but none had called him for a test or an interview. Lekan had given him the email and password to help him check his emails from time to time in case a job offer came up. He had told him he could not afford to waste money that could be used for food at a business centre.

Wale wondered why Lekan was so unlucky. He was one of the best graduating students in the Business Administration department but life had been unfair to him. He was an orphan without siblings. He had lost his mother at birth. An aunt who had decided to take care of him after the loss of his father at the age of twelve had treated him like a slave. He had to hawk everyday to be able to eat. His aunt refused to send him to school; so he used the proceeds from his hawking to get a secondary education.

He secured admission into the University and the struggle continued. Most times, he worked through the nights at various times as a security guard, a bartender and a washman just to get a University education. He had hoped to get a good job immediately after graduation with his good grades but that eluded him as well. He had to continue doing odd jobs just to keep body and soul together. He had asked to borrow a tie from Wale whenever he wanted to write bank tests or attend interviews but Wale had decided to give him two.

Wale felt pity for him. He wasn’t one of the best in the department and he remembered meeting Lekan on so many occasions for tutorials. He had however secured a job with one of the top banks in the country immediately after they completed their National Youth Service. He had also assisted in submitting Lekan’s resume to the bank but he never got called for a test.

He knew his bank was in need of customer service agents and tellers from time to time and he had discussed the opportunity with his boss numerous times. His boss had however, refused to give Lekan a chance. He told Wale that he needed experienced hands. He felt unhappy because he knew his friend was already tending towards depression. He had paid him a visit last weekend and he could see dejection written boldly on his face.

 

He logged into Lekan’s yahoo account and the first email that stared at him was an invitation from a recruitment company asking him to visit Wale’s bank to sign a letter for a contract job as a teller. His monthly package was also stated and he was given a month to either accept or reject the offer. Wale could not believe his eyes. He did not even know that the customer service and teller jobs in his bank had been contracted out. He was so happy that he immediately put a call to Lekan. The phone rang out a number of times without response. He wondered why Lekan wasn’t picking up his calls. He looked at his wrist watch. It read 4:30p.m. In thirty minutes, he should be done for the day.

At 5:15p.m, Wale walked out of the bank. He contemplated whether to go home and change before going to Lekan’s house. He was famished and he needed to rest. He had prepared some jollof rice for himself last night and he was already dreaming about eating it with a cold bottle of coke. He put a call to Lekan again and the phone kept ringing. He eased into his blue Toyota Corolla and drove out of his office. In an hour, he was seated in front of his TV with a plate of jollof rice, chicken and a bottle of coke. He called Lekan’s phone again without success.

At 8:30p.m, Wale woke up with a start. He hadn’t realized that he had dozed off after the meal. He picked up the remote beside him and switched off the TV. He remembered he had been trying to reach Lekan and he put a call to him again. Lekan’s phone was switched off. He hissed as he thought about going to bed. He was about to go to his room when he had a strange feeling. He stopped suddenly in his tracks. He picked up his wallet and car keys, locked his door in a hurry and ran out of the house. He drove for the next forty-five minutes like a mad man as other drivers spewed expletives at him. “Oh God, oh God, let it not be what I am thinking.” He prayed as he drove.

******

Lekan had seen the first call from Wale. He wondered why Wale was calling him and he had ignored the call. When the calls became persistent, he tried to pick it up but he was already dizzy. He decided to let it ring. He didn’t need anyone’s pity right now. He wanted to go peacefully.

 

Wale burst into Lekan’s room at 9:20p.m. Lekan had not made an attempt to lock the door. Wale saw his friend lying on the mattress with a satchet of whiskey beside him. He instantly knew there was trouble as he was aware that Lekan never drank.

“Lekan, Lekan, Lekan.” He shouted shaking his friend. Lekan was still and Wale began to panic. He put his thumb under his friend’s nostrils to check if he was still breathing. He felt a faint wisp of air. He ran out of the room to seek help and bumped into the man that Lekan had borrowed money from.

“Oga, take it easy nau, haba!” The man said.

“Please help me, please.” Wale pleaded.

“Wetin?” The man sneered.

“Help me carry my friend to the car.”

“Your friend? Who be your friend? Wetin do am wey he no fit waka by himself?”

“Please just help me.” Wale begged.

“Abeg comot.” The man said pushing Wale away.

“Oh God, oh God, Lekan, please don’t die.” Wale said almost at the point of tears.

The man turned back and looked at Wale. “That jobless Lekan nah your friend? He borrow money from my hand. I go make sure say I collect my money at the end of the month.”

“He is about to die, please help me.”

“Die ke? Abeg, I need my money oh. Make e no die yet. Where he dey?”

Wale pointed towards Lekan’s room and the man rushed towards the room with Wale at his heels. The man helped Wale drag Lekan into the car. Wale sped to the nearest hospital with prayers on his lips.

******

The doctor came out of Lekan’s room an hour later with a grim face. Wale rushed towards the doctor as he asked about his friend.

“Doctor, how is he? What is wrong?”

The doctor took a deep breath. “The blood sample taken shows a high dose of a sleeping drug. There was also alcohol in his blood which is a deadly combination.”

“What does that mean doctor? Will he be fine?”

“Let’s take it one day at a time.” The doctor replied.

“I don’t understand, doctor. He is alive, right?”

“For now, but he is in a coma. Let us hope he survives it.”

Wale put his hands on his head in lamentation. “Oh God, why didn’t I get there earlier?”

“Don’t punish yourself unnecessarily.” The doctor said as he patted Wale on the back.

“Ah doctor, you won’t understand.”

The doctor gave Wale a sad smile as he walked to his office.

******

Wale kept going to the hospital every day after work. About eight days later, Lekan came out of the coma. He was a bit disoriented and had no idea of where he was or what happened to him. The doctor ran some more tests on him and referred him to see a psychologist.

“Your friend is fine and can go home now.” The doctor told Wale some days later. “He is definitely lucky. Some cases like this don’t end well. Please ensure he sees the psychologist.”

Wale nodded his answer.

 

As Wale drove Lekan to his apartment, he said a silent thanks to God for keeping his friend alive. He was going to keep an eye on him going forward. He had prepared the guest room in his apartment for his friend. Life had given both of them a second chance and he was going to try his best to make sure he did not fail this time.

——–

Photo Credit: http://www.shuttershock.com

Hot dookie

Bola panted and blew air through his mouth. Sweat beaded on his forehead and he asked his driver to reduce the temperature of the air-conditioner in the car.

“Okay sir.” His driver said as he did his bidding and switched to full blast.

The weather outside was cool but Bola was hot inside. The journey from his brother’s house to his usually took no more than thirty minutes but today just happened to be an exception.

He puffed again and wiped his brow with his handkerchief. His brother had warned him to wait till he got home before he took anything but he had waved it aside and went ahead to take the green tea.

Right now, he regretted not listening to his younger brother. His stomach rumbled and he held his breath to hold a fart. He did not want to risk farting and getting poo as a follow up to the fart.

He stretched his neck to look out for an eatery nearby. It was just a few metres away but with traffic at a standstill, it looked like a journey to eternity. He thought about walking down there but threw the idea into a bin immediately. He doubted he could make the walk. He imagined every little step he took would be like that of a woman in labour.

Tears pooled in his eyes and he gritted his teeth. He was at a loss for his next line of action.

“Jide, please look for how to get out of this traffic.” He said to his driver.

“Okay sir.”

The request to his driver was near impossible but right now, he needed a miracle.

The miracle came suddenly when an army officer got out of his car and walked down to see what was causing the bottleneck.

In two minutes, the road was cleared and traffic moved freely. As they got close to the eatery, Bola shouted; “Park here, park here.”

The driver parked and Bola jumped out of the vehicle even before it came to a halt. He ran into the eatery making a beeline for the convenience.

Ten minutes later, Bola walked out of the eatery sweating like a man who had just run a mile.

—–
Photo Credit: https://www.flickriver.com

THE BARREN WOMAN

Nkechi looked at her husband’s family members comprising her husband’s mother, his sister and his first cousin. His sister, Ujunwa spat in her direction.  

“Tufia. You must leave this house today.”  

“Pack your load, barren woman.” Ejike’s mother shouted. 

Nkechi stood like one in a trance. She looked at Ejike but he refused to meet her eyes. His new wife sat beside him grinning from ear to ear. She was old enough to be her daughter if she wasn’t barren like her husband’s mother had called her. She took a deep breath and looked to the heavens. No words were muttered but her heart cried out to God in anguish. 

 ********

Nkechi had met Ejike in the Aba market. She had run an errand for her mother and was about leaving the market when she saw one of her classmates talking to Ejike. Her classmate had introduced Ejike to her as his cousin who just arrived from Port-Harcourt for the festive season. Immediately Ejike saw her, he smiled and said; “You will be my wife.”  

Nkechi had looked at him like one who had lost his senses. How do you meet someone and immediately call the person your wife? She was about to write her final exams and marriage was definitely the last thing on her mind. She intended to go to the University to study Nursing as she had long admired the sparkling white uniform of the village nurses.

A week later, Ejike and his father came to her house to discuss with her parents. Their discussion was not shared with her and she wondered what it was about. After her final exams, her father called her and informed her that Ejike and his family had asked for her hand in marriage. She told her father she wasn’t ready to get married but her father said he understood her fears. Ejike had promised to ensure she went to the University to study the course of her choice. Even though, Nkechi was not comfortable with her parents arrangements, she had had no choice but to accept. 

 

Twenty-one years after, she had two degrees, a loving husband but no child. Ejike had stood by her all through but after the death of his father two years ago, Nkechi’s world came crashing. The death of her father-in-law opened her eyes to reveal her husband’s family. Her husband’s father was the only covering she had and she became exposed to the wiles of her husband’s mother and sister. 

 ********

“Are you now deaf?” Her husband’s cousin yelled. She was yet to be married at forty-five and she really did not care about breaking her cousin’s family. She stood up and looked at her cousin. “Ejike, if you are not man enough, we will help you.” She said as she stormed towards the bedrooms. 

Thirty minutes later, her husband’s sister and cousin dragged a box to the living room. “Carry your load and go oh. We don’t want a cursed woman in our family.” Her sister-in-law said. 

“Ejike, Ejike!” Nkechi called as she took a deep breath. “What have I done to deserve this?” 

Ejike kept mum refusing to look at the face of his wife of twenty-one years. 

“No problem. I will go but I leave you in the hands of your maker.” Nkechi said as she shrugged. 

“Witch, leave. Leave! She has eaten all the children in her womb.” Ejike’s mother shouted as she clapped her hands. 

 ********

Nkechi went back to her mother’s house. Her dad was late and her mum now lived alone. Each day, Nkechi cried out to God and at a point, her mother had to tell her to leave God alone. “You have cried enough, my daughter. God is not deaf.” 

One year later, Nkechi came back from work one evening and met one of her course mates from school talking to her mother. 

“Uche!” She screamed when she saw him. “What are you doing here?” 

Uche laughed. “I came to see you.” 

“Me? How did you know I live here?” 

“It is a small world and information flies around.” Uche said grinning. 

Nkechi’s mother stood up and left the friends to catch up on old times.  

“So I guess you heard?” Nkechi asked. 

“I did and that’s why I came immediately.” Uche replied. 

“I don’t understand.” 

“Nkechi, I always wanted you but you were married.” 

Nkechi stood up abruptly as she looked at Uche. “Which kain joke be dis? Abeg, stop am.” Nkechi said; her face getting serious. 

“Do I look like one that is joking, Nkechi? 

“Uche, abeg, come go your house.” Nkechi said. 

“Please think about it, Nkechi. I mean every word.” 

“Don’t you understand?” Nkechi asked; giving him a confused look. “I spent twenty-one years of my youthful life with a man and could not give him a child. I have been labelled a witch and a barren woman. I want to live the rest of my life in peace. Biko!” 

Uche smiled. “I did not come to you because I wanted a child. I came to you for companionship.” 

Nkechi got angry and walked Uche out of her mother’s house. Her mother who had listened to the whole conversation chided her. “I thought you had been praying to God.” 

“Yes mama. What has my prayer got to do with this?” 

“Open your heart, my daughter. God wants to change your story.” 

Nkechi sighed deeply as she looked at her mother. 

 

Two weeks later, Uche paid another visit to Nkechi house and decided to discuss with her mother. Nkechi’s mother gave her blessings and asked him to give her time. Soon, Nkechi’s heart softened towards Uche and she accepted his proposal. In two months, marriage preparations for a low key wedding began.  

Six months after their wedding, Nkechi began to feel sick. She went to the hospital and she was confirmed three months pregnant. Nkechi could not believe the news. She went to two other hospitals to do a test and the results all came out positive. Uche was overjoyed and he began to take extra care of his wife.  

In the thirty-seventh week, Nkechi put to bed a set of twin boys wiping away her shame of twenty-one years. 

——–
Photo Credit: http://www.canstock.com

RUN YOUR RACE

She stared at her reflection in the mirror before her. She hardly recognized herself. The scars on her face were a constant reminder of what she had been through in the last eighteen months. She had been involved in a fatal motor accident which had claimed the lives of everyone except hers. Her survival remained a mystery to the doctors and according to them, it was medically impossible. After a series of surgeries, the doctors had made an attempt to give her a face.

 

At forty-two, she was still unmarried and she wondered if any man would desire her now with the visible scars on her face. The shrill tone of her mobile phone jolted her out of her deep thoughts. She tapped the bluetooth device attached to her left ear.

“Ronke speaking. How may I help you?”

She listened intently to the person on the other end as she nodded her head.

“Thank you very much, sir. I appreciate your patronage.” She said as she ended the call.

Her jewellery business was doing well and she lacked nothing. She had bought a house for herself and her parents from the proceeds of her business. She owned a block of twelve apartments which had been fully occupied by tenants. She also had investments in landed properties.

 

Her mind wandered to her closest friends and she sighed. Amaka had been married for five years with two beautiful kids. Within those five years, she had unsuccessfully searched for a job. She had tried her hands on various businesses but each one failed after six months. Amaka’s daily prayer to God was for a job.

Aisha was yet to have a child. Within ten years of marriage, she had had six miscarriages. Amaka and Ronke were always by her side to give her a shoulder to cry on. Even though she had a loving husband who told her incessantly that he married her for love and companionship and not for children; that did not stop Aisha from getting worried about her inability to carry a child to term. Her daily prayer to God was for a child.

 

 

Ronke took a deep breath as her grandmother’s words resonated within her. “Máa fi ago aláago sárè.” (Don’t run with another’s time). Each one of them had their own race ahead of them. She had every reason to be thankful. This time last year, she would have been dead and long buried. She was however alive and had found fulfillment in putting smiles on the faces of children who needed corrective surgery through her donations to a foundation which supported the cause.

She took one last look at herself in the mirror and smiled. She picked up her handbag from the dresser as she walked out of her house. It was another day and she was going forth to conquer the world.

——

Photo Credit: http://www.lydiamlee.wordpress.com