Monday, February 25, 2008

She is Cultured

Six years old Wemimo sat between her mother's thighs making faces to ease the pain that came from her hair plait. Her mother’s hand moved rapidly as she passed the three part hair sections over one another in turn. “Gbo ri duro fun mi*” her mother snapped sporadically in between her talk with Mama Comfort who came to share the latest gossip in the compound.

“… although I heard her scream I just couldn’t be bothered. Maybe when he beats her black and blue then she will know not to bother him when he is drunk. When will she learn not to provoke her husband? It is as if she enjoys what goes on in their lives. Imagine, she went crying to the landlord this morning. I don’t understand why she craves so much attention” Mama Comfort tattled.

“So she can cry?” Wemimo’s mother let out a loud hiss. “Can you believe she wanted to fight me this afternoon? All because I removed her dry clothes from the barbwire fence. She terrorizes the whole building with her bickering when her priority is to take care of her husband. Don’t even get me started on how she mollycoddles that rotten son of hers Subomi. He is bad influence; Wemimo I hope you stopped playing with him like I ordered?”

Wemimo murmured a yes accompanied with a nod. She felt the compulsion to defend her friend Subomi who is more mannered than Comfort the mango stealer but it was best to please her mother at the moment because she knew a knock on her already throbbing head will definitely increase her misery.

Twelve years old Wemimo walked into a scattered mess living room. The room resembled the aftermath of a violent storm. A stray paper here and a lone book there, at the corner laid her brother’s football and sneakers smeared with mud. On the center table, specks of garri swam in a ring of water, stray cheerios played on the floor while the box stood at the base of the entertainment center. She watched as brown dried leaves were swept in an air vortex then its lazy rage quit as suddenly as it began.

“Bamidele” she screeched “why is the house so messy. Tidy this place up before mummy gets home”

“Why should I do it, aren’t you the girl?” he stated nonchalantly

Her face turned red with rage. “You must be mad. Did I participate in this mess? You made it and you must clean it up” Wemimo’s mother walked in during her outburst and was taken aback at the mess.

“How can I have a daughter and still come home to a dirty home?”

“But mummy, Bamidele, made the mess, I just ….”

“Clean this up now before you father comes home. As for you Bamidele, are you a pig? Look at the mess you created for your sister to clean up. I don’t ever want you to make such a mess again. Do you hear me?

“Yes mummy” he beamed and feasted his eyes back to the television just in time to see Clarke Kent change into superman

Eighteen years old Wemimo woke up to her mother terrified screams; she lunged for her wrapper and ran towards to her parent’s room. Her mother crouched on the floor with both hands on her head; the inarticulate sounds she uttered could not be deciphered. Wemimo’s father had a Koboko in his right hand, he looked like someone who had just quenched his rage of thirst but wanted more to get the sweet feeling of the very first drop. His smiling face disturbed Wemimo, it was the same facial expression he gave when he was promoted the year before and when Alaji Bakare forgave his huge loan. To him, that smile is associated with good. To him, what he just did to her mother is good.

Wemimo helped her mother up and led her towards the door then she turned to her father “I would have been proud of you if you had done this to Alaji Bakare’s son Ibrahim when he slapped you for stepping on his shoes.” She didn’t say more but the shame of that day crowded her father face.

She returned from school to see her mother waiting at the gate. “Wemimo, I hope you did not mention what happened this morning to anybody? What happens in this house should stay in this house. When you get inside, please apologize to your father. Under no circumstances should a daughter talk to her father the way you did this morning. Things happen in marriage, when you get married you will understand”

Twenty eight years old Wemimo rushed into her parent’s home crying with her two children in tow. “Mummy, i am divorcing Kunle. He slapped me twice in front of the children.”

“What did you do to him” she said calmly

“What did I do? Did you just ask what I did to him? What ever I did should not warrant any beating from him.”

pele, ile oko, ile eko ni. He is only teaching you”. Go in and sleep but tomorrow your father and I will go there with you. Under no circumstances should you ever leave your husband home. Do you know how many women will gladly take your place”?

Wemimo fought, she pleaded, she left for her uncle’s place but she heard the same thing there “ile oko, ile eko ni*”. She sought the help of friends, she got a small place to live, She was gossiped about at work, she was insulted and spat upon – “after all a woman who earns as much as she does can never respect her husband”. She was fired from work, her children were taken from her, she was evicted with no place to go.

Tired and broken she went back home

Home was with Kunle

He gave her a room, he gave her the children, he got her a job, and he beat her once a while

But she survived

Fifty four years old Wemimo sat on the balcony in her house with a newspaper in hand. Temilade her daughter rushed in crying “Mom, I am done with Dapo, I cannot take his daily physical and emotional abuse any more”

“What did you do to him”? was the first sentense Wemimo uttered.

Gbo ri duro fun mi – Keep your head straight
Pele – Sorry
Ile oko ile eko ni – Your husband house is a place of learning

(Sorry for the errors.. no time to proof read)

Thursday, February 14, 2008


I was going to put up another story then I realized it wasn’t appropriate for Valentine’s Day. I don’t want the heaviness of it to tamper with the love in the air (eyes roll)…instead I decided to do the game of THINGS… This should be intresting. I love to see some of your answers and please feel free to add to Things you think people should know..

Things your parents forgot to tell you
That being an adult came with it set of problems -a whole lot of them. If I knew, I wouldn’t have been in a hurry to grow up.

Things you can do to get rid of unwanted guests
While talking to them, go and in out of rooms lighting candles of different colors, then ask them if they want to join you in evoking the angry spirits that live within the wall of your house.

Things you wouldn’t want to find in your Christmas stockings

Things you shouldn’t do at your wedding
When the minister says that you may kiss the Bride that does not include a full body grope.

Things you shouldn’t say to your friend before they go into battle
Be self assured that i will take proper care of your husband. He will not lack anything.

Things people do when no one is looking
Truly being themselves or pulling out a wedgy

Things you shouldn’t do on an airplane
Wear too much perfume or cologne. Please lay off the duty-free shops when you are about to board. Perfume should be a seductive scent when you pass and not make the eyes of the person next to you water

Things you wish were delivered
Men – I wish I can just order them according to how I like and if it is not what I want, I have 30 days to return him.

Things you should not do if you want to make a first impression
Please don’t pick your nose, flick the booger then clean the tip of your finger with your shirt

Things kids know more about than Adults

Things paramedics shouldn’t say to a patient on the way to the hospital
Any last words?

Monday, February 4, 2008

My Journey

I surveyed my future inheritance from the massive balcony overlooking the northern courtyard in my father’s palace. The dandelions and purple tulips gave the plains a unique color of deep blackish brown. From afar, the plains look dead and blanched but close up it becomes a beautiful place filled with flowers; swaying to the rhythm of the wind. Life is really good at home but I needed to see what was beyond those plains.

My father is a very powerful and wealthy king. His reign and praises is known in the entire kingdom and beyond. As an heir to the throne, I enjoyed all the rights I am entitled to in the palace. One of those rights includes the freedom to see and talk to my father any time of any given day, even when he has other pressing matters to attend. One day I told him how bored I was in the kingdom. I want to see the world and all its glory.

He called me a child for my lack of understanding. “I love you and want you here. Life is terrible down there. It is filled with hunched backs caused by drooped shoulders pulled down by the heavy weight of their self inflicted problems”

“But you are very powerful, why can’t you make them all happy”?

“The problem is that my people do not acknowledge me as their king therefore, they refuse to obey the laws of my land. The few who obey don’t fully understand the law hence the chaos.”

“But daddy, I want to see for myself.” I pouted

With a heavy sigh, “Do your will. Tomorrow you will go on your journey. All I said will be revealed to you.”

I mulled over the conversation I had with my father as I packed all I thought was necessary and compulsory to go on a pilgrimage. I stood before him the next day combat ready. He advised me to leave my luggage behind because it will not be needed. He descended the throne and embraced me, his warmth enveloped my whole being, his fatherly love tugged at my heart and immediately I was ashamed for wanting to leave home. With my eyes closed, he kissed me on the cheeks and bade me farewell.

Suddenly, i was in a dark warm enclosed space. There was not much room for movements but surprisingly I was very comfortable. I heard blurred familiar noise and sounds which put me to sleep. Without warning, I was transitioned from the dark amniotic sac into an infinite cold space with bright lights as coarse voices shouted “dhukha, dhukha*

Woh ladki hai (n)*” the disappointed midwife exclaimed. I heard my mother sob. My entry to the world was like being in a warm swimming pool right after a dive and abruptly you raise your head from the water. It was very uncomfortable. The world felt huge, alien and cold. My mother Lata kissed me and whispered into my ears. “Asha”. My dad Vishnu scolded her for what she did then took me from her, “you should not have named her” he sorrowfully added “she cannot stay” A bucket of cow milk was brought into the room, and he submerged me into the opaque white liquid till I stopped breathing. I had come as hope for them but because I was born a female in Bihar, my faith was death. Since my parents have no money to pay for a future dowry, the problem had to be taken care of now. If they had let me live, I would have lived up to my name - Asha*.

I returned traumatized; into another sac within minutes of leaving the first one. I prayed to be born a second time to a place where females are cherished. My prayer was answered; my new mom Jennifer was overjoyed to see a beautiful baby girl with a head full of dark hair. Frank, my new dad cried the tears of joy when he held his first child. My grandparents spoiled me very much. Life was good in Little Elm, Texas.

I turned one, two, and three, on my fourth birthday Frank passed away. Two years later, Jennifer’s new boyfriend Tom raped me continuously till I turned nine. I passed away the night he held tightly to my neck so I would stop screaming when he thrust his member into me.

I reentered benumb into yet another sac. This time I prayed to be born a male. Again, my prayer was answered and I was born to Nkem and Etim Ebong in Nigeria; a place where male children are a source of pride for the family. My birth was celebrated and I received many gifts for being the first son. I was happy in that household until my parents accused me of wizardry at the age of four. I was beaten and tied to a tree in a nameless street in a town called Esit Eket in Awka ibom for five days without anything to eat. Weak in spirit, I closed my eyes and whispered a message to my daddy “please forgive me; I am ready to come home”. The plains looked even more beautiful with its dandelions and purple tulips when I opened my eyes.

dhukha - Push
Woh ladki hai (n) - She is a girl
Asha - Hope