Short Stories

Hello! & A New Short Story to Say I’m Sorry

Hello People!

Missed me? *angel face*

First things first, thank you all SO MUCH for all the well wishes and prayers you’ve sent my way in the last couple of months. It’s a pretty exciting time for me as you can imagine and I’m grateful for the show of love and support.

Blogging has become a bit of a chore I must admit. I need me some motivation and inspiration ‘cause those wells are all dried up. Sigh. I found myself debating the Gary Glitter fiasco with my colleagues yesterday and was reminded of a story I wrote a few months ago.  It was inspired by some of my childhood experiences. Now now, I’m not claiming I was molested by an Uncle so please, interpret the term inspired loosely!

As a young teenager I was propositioned by so many older men, it’s a wonder I wasn’t a loose cannon. There’s something about the Nigerian culture that makes men think it’s okay to lust after prepubescent girls. I have PLENTY personal stories to tell on that front but by the far the most traumatic was being propositioned by a man of the cloth when I was about thirteen years old. Anyway, I’ll save that story for another day.

Till I get my mojo back, here’s a little something to keep you going.

xxx

Waila

************************************************

“Come let me tell you a story,” he said, his arms stretched out, beckoning. Her little legs skipped across the living room floor and settling into his arms, she listened to yet another tale about the infamous tortoise and his mischievous ways. This time, the tortoise had climbed a palm tree to pick a kernel to quench his hunger.

“Uncle, why is the tortoise always getting into trouble?” she giggled as he told the part of the story where the evil spirits came out of the drum and give the tortoise a good flogging. “He is greedy that’s why, he doesn’t like to share.”

“Mummy says I must always share my things with people who don’t have.”

“She is right but you must also share your things with people who you love and who love you. You know uncle loves you, don’t you?”

She nodded in agreement.

“Do you love uncle?”

Again she nodded.

“But you never tell uncle you love him! That’s not fair. Go on, tell uncle you love him.”

“I love you uncle.”

“Good girl! Say it again.”

“I love you uncle,” she repeated.

“Do you know how you show someone you love them?”

She shrugged her shoulders, palms turned upwards.

“When mummy tells you she loves you, what does she do?”

“She cuddles me.”

“What else does she do?”

“Sometimes she kisses me.”

“Go on then, give uncle a cuddle and a kiss.”

Wrapping her tiny arms around him, she gave him a peck on his left cheek.

“Tut tut, that’s not a real kiss!”

“But that’s how mummy kisses me!”

“Doesn’t she kiss you on the lips?”

“Sometimes.”

“Go on then, kiss uncle on the lips.”

Her lips barely touched his before she withdrew.

“That wasn’t a proper kiss. Is that all the love you have to show me?”

She kissed him a few seconds longer this time. As she made to withdraw he clamped her against his chest.

“I thought you were a big girl but you’re just a baby.”

“I’m not a baby!” she protested, “I will be five next week!”

“Then give uncle a proper kiss!”

Holding her even tighter, he thrust his tongue into her mouth.

“That’s how big girls kiss.”

“Okay uncle. Can I go and ride my bicycle now?”

“Yes princess, off you go but make sure you wear your slippers before you go outside.”

“Yes uncle.”

Slippers in place, she skipped out of the front door, his gaze trailing her till she was out of sight.

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A Time To Die: The One With No Title

I feel the moisture crawling down my neck, slowly making its way towards my spine. The air is still, the heat hovering, suffocating. A violent kick sends the duvet flying off the bed. Even before my brain is fully alert, I know she’s been in my room.  Why won’t the woman mind her damn business?! Reaching above my head, I flick the switch on the air conditioner. The low hum as it comes to life soothes my irritation. Eyes still shut, I rehearse the speech I’ll be giving that woman come the morning.

“Mum, I’ve told you to stop turning off my air conditioner. You may not like the cold but I do so please, for the zillionth time, leave it alone!”

“Your air conditioner, did you buy it with your money?”

“Whatever mum, it’s in my room so please, just leave it alone.”

“You can’t tell me what to do in my own house. If you’re tired of me, pack your load and go to your husband’s house. “

Here we go again.

“You are so unbelievably predictable! What does your turning off my a/c have to do with me getting married? Is the fact that I’m not married your only problem in life?”

“Yes, it is! How many of your mates are still living in their parents’ houses?”

“Do you think I like living here? Believe me, the minute my man appears I’m out of here.”

“That’s your problem, is it by magic he will appear? Instead of you to ask your friends how they found husbands you’re there waiting for him to appear.”

“Am I God?! Or am I supposed to parole the streets of Lagos begging men to marry me?”

“Has God not already created men?  If you like don’t pick one, be waiting for heaven to deliver him to you. “

“ I’m sick of this nonsense mummy, when he comes, he comes and if he doesn’t, he doesn’t  I’m not about to kill myself because I’m 35 and single. You are my mother for goodness sake, show some support!”

“Support your manlessness? Aren’t you ashamed? Your younger sister is married and you’re there chasing a career.”

“Well excuse me for wanting to make something of myself. It’s my fault for living in this house. It’s about time I got a place of my own where I don’t have to deal with this crap.”

“Over my dead body! You want to bring disgrace to this family? You will not turn into one of those wayward girl that are proud of being single. What kind of woman moves out of her father’s house before marriage?!”

“In that case feel free to drop dead. I’m getting a place of my own. I’m done tolerating your insults!”

“I should feel free to drop dead?! You are a stupid girl, that’s why you won’t find a husband. I blame your father, he is the one that sent you to England where they talk to their parents anyhow. Idiot…”

I’d had enough. Picking up my car keys I stormed out of the house, her insults trailing after me, hot tears burning my eyes.

Does she think I don’t want a husband and children? Does she think it doesn’t hurt knowing she’s ashamed of me?

I drove to the nearest estate agents to find myself a place to live and three hours and two viewings later, realised I was kidding myself. I couldn’t afford the extortionate rent on the Island, not comfortably anyway. Anger deflated, I made the journey back home and headed straight for her room. Annoying though she was, she didn’t deserve to be spoken to the way I’d done.  I could just lock my bedroom door before going to bed to keep her out of my room and give us one less thing to argue about.

“Mum, are you there?”

Knocking gently, I let myself into her room. She was there, slumped against the wardrobe, inhaler lying next to her lifeless body.

Nothing Left To Say

I sit and wait for hours. My eyes are heavy, weighed down by the forces of sleep. I yawn so frequently, my mouth is permanently ajar. The grandfather clock in the hallway chimes; Ding. Dong. Ding. It’s three am, the kids and I have to be up in four hours to get ready for school.

Dear Lord, please let him show up soon.

On cue, I hear his keys rattle as he attempts to open the front door. A part of me wants to punish him and leave him at the mercy of the merciless British winter. Willing my tired muscles to co-operate, I drag myself to the door and let him in.

Our eyes meet as the door swings open and I realise he’s really gone to town this time. I make a mental note to check our bank balance as I reach forward to help him in. My weary bones crumble under the pressure of his weight and I find myself lying on the ground, his ribs crushing my lungs.

When did he get so skinny?

A now familiar stench assaults my senses, interrupting my thoughts.

“You need to get off me Tim, I can’t breathe.”

No response. Not even the drunken grunts that have become his sole method of communication.

“Tim, get off me!”

The silence accentuates the sound of his breathing and the steady rhythm tells me he has fallen asleep. Hands pressed against his heaving chest, I push as hard as I can. His eyes snap open.

“Please Tim, you need to get up,” I whisper, “The kids will be up soon, they can’t see you like this.”

After what seems like an eternity, he rolls off me and sits up, his back slamming shut the open front door.

I see the pain in his eyes and my heart breaks knowing I caused it.

“I’m so sorry Tim, so sorry. I hate myself for what I did. Please, don’t do this to yourself, I’m not worth it.”

He grunts in agreement.

“Please say something, the silence is killing me. We can’t go on like this. I’ve apologised, what else do you want me to do? Tell me and I’ll do it. Anything.”

Ignoring me, he pulls himself off the floor and staggers towards the stairs.  Jumping up, I grab his hand to steady him. I’m not prepared to be flung across the hallway. As I hit the ground with a thud, I stare at him in shock.

“Tim?!”

Making his way slowly towards me, he looks me straight in the eye and spits in my face.

For the first time since he found out, I see more than pain and betrayal in his eyes. The hatred, the revulsion is unmistakeable. In that moment I realise the consequence of my indiscretion. He will never forgive me.

It’s over. It ended the day he found out I’d had an affair.

Courage

“Hello, my name is Courage.”

I extended my right hand and he stared at it like it was a venomous snake poised to attack.

“I don’t shake house helps,” he said.

“I am not a house help, I am your cousin.”

“That’s not what mummy said.”

I stared at him, forehead creasing. “Alright, if you don’t believe me, let’s go and ask her.”

Taking him by his right hand, I dragged him down to the living room to settle the matter.

“Aunty, Efosa doesn’t believe I’m his cousin. He thinks I’m the new house help.”

I was pleased to see the shocked look on her face. Vaulting off the sofa she closed the distance between us. My head rotated, propelled by the force of the slap.

“Don’t you dare lay your filthy hands on my son!”

I caught a blurry glimpse of Efosa’s hand still encased in mine and let go.

“The next time you touch him, I will beat you black and blue. Is that clear?”

“Yes aunty, it is clear.”

“Good, now get out of my sight.”

Efosa’s giggles escorted me out of the room, mocking me till it was silenced by the dense wood of the bedroom door. I wanted to cry so badly but anger stalled the tears.

Picking up my unpacked duffel bag, I made my way back down the stairs. There was no way I was staying with these people. I only came because mummy said she wanted me to spend the weekend getting to know my cousin Efosa. We just moved from Lagos to Port-Harcourt and I was desperate for someone my age to play with. In Port-Harcourt none of the kids liked me; no one ever invited me to their birthday parties. Mummy said it was because they were jealous that I was always top of the class. When I asked her why the kids in our estate didn’t like playing with me either, she said they were jealous because she was richer than their parents. I thought Efosa would like me because we are cousins but he is just as bad as the rest of them.

Dropping my bag at the door of leaving room, I announced my presence.

“I want to go home to my mummy.”

Aunty Rita laughed so hard her fair skinned turned a deep shade of red.  As she walked towards me, I slowly inched backwards. My cheek still stung from the slap I’d received earlier.

“You want to go back to your mother?”

I nodded my head vigorously.

“Go on then, go and meet her in Lebanon.”

“Where is that?”

She laughed even harder.

“At thirteen you don’t know what Lebanon is? I thought your mother said you were intelligent? Efosa, tell this fool what Lebanon is.”

“Lebanon is a country,” he piped up.

“Yes, your mother has followed one of her men to Lebanon and she is not coming back for you.”

“Which men? What do you mean?”

“How do you think you mother has managed to feed and clothe you all these years? Oh, she didn’t tell you? Your mother is a prostitute, an ashewo!”

Efosa giggled and I screamed at him, “Shut up!”

Grabbing my ear she flung me across the room.

“If you ever speak to my son like that again, I will kill you. Do you hear me? Ungrateful idiot. You are a liability, you should be grateful I agreed to put a roof over your head.”

Tears streaming down my face I screamed defiantly, “I want my mummy, take me to my mummy!”

“Your mother is gone. Get that into your thick skull.”

“You’re lying, take me to my mummy!”

This time the slap sent me to my knees.

“Let this be the last time I warn you about the way you address me. You can forget about going to school, I am not wasting my money educating you. You will earn your keep. You will cook, clean and look after your cousin. If you are not happy with that, you can go and find somewhere else to live. I’m sure you’ll manage just fine, after all, you are your mother’s daughter.”

Swinging her wide hips from side to side, she sauntered out of the living room dragging Efosa behind her. Mummy couldn’t have left me with this witch, she couldn’t have! I remembered the suitcase sitting in a corner of the bedroom. It looked familiar, just like one mummy had. I raced up to the room and even before the lid slid open I knew my clothes would be in it.

The Trust Series: Stranger In My Bed

         

                Image © Nevit Dilmen 

           Today is like yesterday and yesterday, like the day before. Time is in limbo or perhaps it’s me? I can’t make sense of anything anymore. Thinking conjures memories and memories, emotions. I can’t have that, so I lie here desperately trying to murder my ability to feel.
          It’s not working.
          Is there no respite from this pain? Ten years, Kunle, ten years of selfless love and endless sacrifices and this is how you repay me? Oh God! You have allowed my enemies to mock me. What happened to preparing a table for me in the presence of my enemies? What happened to all things working together for my good? Have I not served you faithfully? Have I not done all that you require of me?

**********

          Meeting Kunle Kunle ten years ago was an answer to prayer. We were both Christian and determined to do things God’s way. We prayed and got people to pray with us till we were convinced we were meant for each other.
          Our wedding night was beautiful. It happened eight years ago but I remember it like it was yesterday. It was a first for us both and unlike the many stories I’d heard, wasn’t awkward. There was no confusion; we instinctively knew what to do. I felt so much closer to him afterwards and he said he felt the same way. We were eager to start a family and didn’t use any contraceptives. Kunle was thirty-two at the time and I, twenty-eight. We had our whole lives ahead of us and stayed up many nights sharing our dreams for the future.
          The dreams started to develop a mind of their own when a year into our marriage, I hadn’t conceived. Who has sex every other night, without contraception, for a whole year and doesn’t get pregnant? We were concerned and decided to get tested. We visited the best fertility clinic in Lagos, emptying our pockets for the privilege and the news was good; there was nothing wrong with either of us. His sperm count was above average and his swimmers were Olympic quality.   My eggs were healthy and gagging for a hatching. The doctor told us not to worry, it would happen soon enough.
          Two years later, it still hadn’t happened. At this point we’d been married three years and both sets of parents were getting restless. We couldn’t bring ourselves to tell them we were trying so we lied, said we weren’t ready to start a family. They didn’t believe us. What thirty-one year old woman in Lagos didn’t want a child? Desperate, we decided to get a second opinion at a fertility clinic in London. Thankfully, on the fat salaries we both earned, we could afford to. We flew 6,218miles, coughed up thousands of pounds and endured intrusive pokes and prods only to be told the same thing; there was no medical reason why we weren’t pregnant. I broke down. Had I offended God? Why wouldn’t he bless me with a child? It was Kunle who comforted me and encouraged me to trust that God would give us a child when the time was right.
          On returning to Lagos, we came clean to our parents. My mother, true to form, broke down and started wailing about how I was bringing shame to the family. My father just looked on like I hadn’t said anything. Kunle’s dad told us not to stop praying and believing it would happen but his mother smirked and muttered something about bareness being incurable. My spirit broke as a woman that once declared me the best thing to happen to her son stared at me with venom oozing from her eyes.
          I begged Kunle to consider IVF but he refused, said it was us sending a message to God that we didn’t trust him to give us a child the natural way. Sometimes I agreed with him, other times, I didn’t. Didn’t God create science and give doctors the wisdom to come up with the whole IVF thing? Be it by IVF or other means, I wanted a child. I watched my friends children enter the world, say their first words, take their first steps and celebrate birthday after birthday with a heavy heart. Kunle on the other hand refused to be depressed about it all. His faith that God would bless us eventually was so strong that on my dark days, I drew strength from it. I thanked God for blessing me with a man of faith, a man that wasn’t swayed by his mothers repeat suggestion to take a second wife. My love for him grew in exponential proportions as I watched him protect me from his mother’s razor sharp tongue and my mother’s wails of despair. In time, I was able to match his faith and together, we prayed and patiently waited for God’s time to coincide with ours.
          It’s been eight years since we got married and still we are waiting. I am now thirty-six and truth be told, have accepted the reality that I may never have children. I have suggested adoption but Kunle says we’ll consider it in a couple of years if we still haven’t gotten pregnant. What did I do to deserve such an amazing man?

**********

          Kunle’s job sees him clocking plenty of air miles so when he said he had to go to Abuja for the weekend, I dropped him off at the airport as usual, kissed him goodbye and told him to hurry back. He stroked my hair, said he’d be back before I knew it and disappeared into the crowd of travellers struggling to get past the police men at the entrance to the departures terminal.
          Kunle and I typically spent Friday nights at a couple’s fellowship but that night; it was the last place I wanted to be. I missed my husband and didn’t want to be surrounded by couples making gooey eyes at each other all night. Instead, I decided to grab a take-away dinner at Marco Polo and sit in front of my TV catching up on the last series of 24.
As I walked into the restaurant, I noticed a couple tucked away in a corner. The man had his back to me but something about him was familiar. The lady was stunning, super model stunning and her laughter which was what caught my attention, had a warmth to it that was endearing. Our eyes met and the startled look in her eyes had me puzzled. Had we met before? I smiled tentatively. Startle descended to panic and I wasn’t the only one who noticed. The man she was with turned around to find out what was causing her distress and it was then, life as I knew it, ended.
          Kunle, my Kunle, whom I had personally dropped at the airport less than six hours ago, was sat at the table opposite this mamiwater of a woman. I stared straight into my husband’s eyes, down at their linked hands across the table and then back up into his eyes. The guilt in his eyes said it all. I spun around and fled from the restaurant.
          I waited three days for Kunle to come home and explain himself. Three days filled with an endless flow of gut wrenching tears. When he finally showed up, it was to tell me our marriage was over. The woman from the restaurant was the mother of his two children. Two boys he said; Kunle Jnr and Kayode. I stopped breathing, I swear it, my heart stopped. Kunle had children?! The older of his sons had recently turned five and the other was two years younger, he causally informed me as he folded his clothes into suitcases.
          “I’m sorry Kemi, I know this must be a shock for you,” he said apologetically. He would allow me time to come to terms with what was happening before beginning divorce proceedings. He was a reasonable man, he was willing to split our assets 50-50. I could keep the house; he had another where his whore and children lived.
          Was I supposed to be grateful?
          I stared at this stranger I’d dedicated the last ten years of my life to, the only man I’d given myself to; mind, body, soul and spirit. My heart had a lot to say but my lips refused to cooperate. I watched in silence as my husband packed himself out of our house.
          It’s been six months and still, my lips have refused to speak.

The Trust Series: My Auntie Pearl

Saturday 3rd of September, 2011

Auntie Pearl is my favourite auntie! Whenever I get into trouble with mummy, she always helps me out. She takes me out and buys me treats on her way home from work. I’m no longer mad that I have to share my room with her. She is fun!
She tells funny tortoise stories at bedtime that make me laugh and when mummy pokes her head round the door to find out why I’m not asleep, we both make snoring noises so mummy thinks we are sleeping. He he.

Monday 5th of September, 2011

Why was Aunty Pearl crying last night? I heard her when I woke up to go to the toilet. I asked her who made her cry and she said she wasn’t crying. I don’t believe her.  😦

Tuesday 13th of September, 2011

Aunty Pearl cries a lot but she tries to hide it. Sometime she comes out of the bathroom and her eyes are red, like mine after mummy’s spanked me for being naughty. It makes me sad. I asked mummy why Aunty Pearl always cries and she told me to mind my business. Hmph! Nobody tells me anything, they say I’m only a little girl but I’m 7! Hmph!

Sunday 18th of September, 2011

She told me! She told me why she cries a lot. She misses her husband. They had a fight that’s why she came to live with us. She says she can’t have babies so her husband doesn’t love her any more. God, please let Aunty Pearl have babies so her husband will love her. She is sad without him and I don’t want her to be sad. She cries a lot God, please don’t let her cry any more. Amen.

Friday 4th of November, 2011

Aunty Pearl has gone.  I’m sad but I’m happy too. Can I be sad and happy at the same time? Her husband loves her, he came to the house to tell her. He is nice, I like him. His name is Uncle Kenny and he’s REALLY tall, like a giant. He carried me on his shoulders and I touched the ceiling! He he. He said I can come and visit anytime and Daddy said I can go as long as it’s during the school holidays. They live in Port-Harcourt though so Daddy says I’ll have to fly in an aeroplane!!!!!! I’ve never been in an aeroplane before, I can’t wait!

Saturday 10th of December, 2011

I’m going to Port-Harcourt tomorrow! Daddy said I have to come back before Christmas though so I’ll be back in Lagos on the 22nd of December. Mummy told Aunty Pearl she mustn’t spoil me while I’m out there and she agreed but when I spoke to Uncle Kenny, he said I’d be so spoilt, I’d be rotten and they would have to throw me away. He he. Adults say silly things sometimes.

Sunday 11th of December, 2011

I’m in Port-Harcourt! The plane was scary! It kept shaking and I cried all the way. The lady looking after me said it wasn’t always like that but it was really windy so the plane had to fight the wind. I don’t know if I believe her but I’ll try one more time. If it happens on my way back to Lagos, I’m never flying in a plane again!

I like it here. Uncle Kenny’s house is big, bigger than our house in Lagos. He has many cars. I think he is very rich. Auntie Pearl took me out for ice-cream this evening and when we got home, Uncle Kenny had loads of DVD’s for us to watch. We watched Shrek. The donkey was so funny! Uncle Kenny said there’s a part two and three so we’ll watch them tomorrow. I love Port-Harcourt!

Thursday 15th of December, 2011

Auntie Pearl beat me today and I cried! It wasn’t my fault that I broke the handle of the kitchen door. She told me to get her a glass from the kitchen and when I tried to open the door it wouldn’t open. I went back to tell her and she slapped me and said I was a lazy girl. It really hurt so I cried. She said I shouldn’t come back to the living room unless I had the glass with me so I tried really hard to open the kitchen door and the handle fell off. She beat me with her belt and there are marks on my arm. They hurt.

I was still crying when Uncle Kenny cane home from work and when he saw the marks, he was angry with auntie. I could hear him shouting and I was scared so I went to my room. Not long after, auntie came into my room with the belt in her hand. She said I came to her house to destroy her marriage and then she beat me again. I didn’t tell Uncle this time.

Saturday 17th of December, 2011

I don’t know why auntie doesn’t like me anymore. She treats me differently and doesn’t talk to me unless she wants to send me to get something. I tried to hug her yesterday and say I was sorry I broke the door handle and she pushed me away. I wanted to cry but I didn’t so Uncle wouldn’t get angry with her again.

I still like Uncle, he’s nice to me. He took me to the amusement park today and we had fun. Auntie didn’t come with us, she had a headache. We went to the supermarket and uncle bought me plenty of toys and a new dress! I really like it! It’s yellow and has black flowers all over it. We had dinner at Chicken republic before we went home.

Auntie didn’t look happy when we got home. She asked Uncle why he was carrying me when we walked in. She said if my legs weren’t broken, I should get down and walk. Uncle put me down, kissed my forehead and told me to go to bed. I tried but I couldn’t sleep. Auntie was shouting at Uncle and I could hear her.

Sunday 18th of December, 2011

I want to go home! I told Uncle Kenny to call my Daddy, I want to go home! What have I done to auntie? Why does she hate me so much?

This morning we all went to church together but Uncle had a meeting so he didn’t come home with us. As soon as we got home Auntie told me to go to the kitchen and chop some onions. When I told her I didn’t know how, she got angry and called me a spoilt brat. She dragged me by ears to the kitchen and told me to start chopping the onions. I wasn’t happy anymore so I told her I didn’t want to chop onions, I wanted to go home instead. That’s when she started beating me and shuting at me. She said I’m a prostitute, that I came to her house to steal her husband. I don’t even know what a prostitute is. She pushed me to the floor, took off her belt and wouldn’t stop hitting me. I screamed and screamed but no one came. I think I slept because when I woke up, I was in Uncle Kenny’s bed and he was stroking my hair. He said he was sorry for what auntie did but I still wanted to go home. I tried to move but my body was paining me. I started crying and told him to call my daddy.

Daddy sounded angry. He said he had missed the last plane but he would come and get me first thing in the morning. When Aunty Pearl came into the room I screamed until uncle told her to leave. I made him promise not to leave me so he lay beside me and sang silly songs to make me feel better. His voice is funny, just like mummy’s voice.

Monday 19th of December, 2011

Daddy is here! I’m going home. I hate Port-Harcourt and I’m never coming back.

I hope I see Uncle Kenny again. He promised to buy me a Nintendo Wii if I come first in my class!

The Trust Series: Daddy’s Little Girl

              

               He always knew the right things to say to turn my tears to laughter. He was the one I went to when I wanted to unburden my often burdened mind. He teased me, said I took life too seriously, and called me an old woman in a young girl’s body.  He taught me how to ride a bike and kick a football. It was him I clung to on my first day at school while my mother looked on helplessly. Daddy’s girl, that’s what she called me.

               Everyone thought I would grow out of but they were wrong. The older I grew, the more attached I became to him, and he to me. When mummy suggested I go to an all boarding high school, he was furious. I burst into tears, begging him not to send me away and he held me close and said he would never let anyone separate us.

               My friends didn’t understand why I loved my Daddy so much, they were happier when their fathers were out of the house. Only Daddy and I understood the bond we shared. Mummy is manic depressive. They say she couldn’t bear to look at me after I was born and the first time she touched me was when I turned one and daddy made her hold me to pose for a picture. Changing diapers, midnight feeds, rocking me to sleep…daddy did it all.

               When I was a little girl I would cry all the time, asking daddy why mummy didn’t love me and he would tell me that she did but because of her illness, didn’t know how to show it. He loved me so completely and showed me so much affection that he became enough for me. He became my world and I, his.

********************

               I had become used to silence in the house, save for daddy and I’s occasional giggles, so I found the loud arguments distressing. Overnight, mummy became a different person; confrontational where she was once cowardly, aggressive where she was once docile. Whenever I tried to talk to Daddy about it he would smile vacantly, give me a hug and tell me everything would be alright. He’d never given me reason to doubt him so I took his word for it. Weeks turned to months, still it carried on and still he assured me things would be fine. Many nights I cried myself to sleep, praying that the old mummy would return and things would be as they once were. Daddy’s smiles no longer reached his eyes and his clothes now hung from his once stocky frame.
               On the morning of my sixteenth birthday I woke up to find Daddy sitting at the foot of my bed. He smiled at me and I lunged into his arms. It was the first genuine smile I’d seen on his face in months. He carried me down to the breakfast room where I found a plate of pancakes, bacon and sausages waiting for me. He gave me an hour to eat and get myself ready to go out. I asked if mummy was coming too and he said she wasn’t. We went shopping for a new dress as he said we were going out to dinner that night. He took me to the salon to get my hair and nails done and then to an ice-cream bar for dessert. I begged him to tell me where we were going to dinner but he said it was a surprise.
               As soon as we got home, I rushed up to my room to get ready. I loved my new dress! It was a shimmery gold knee length fitted dress with a plunging neckline. Daddy let me have it because I promised to wear a camisole under it so I turned out my drawers looking for my black vest. I couldn’t believe how beautiful the dress was and all dressed up, I ran into mummy’s room to show it to her.
               “Mummy look what daddy bought me!”
She was lying in bed with her back to the door and didn’t turn around to look at me.
               “Mummy, see my new dress!”
She pulled the blanket over her head. My heart shattered, landing like shards of glass around my feet. Silently, I shut the door and made my way downstairs to meet Daddy. That was the mummy I knew, the mummy I’d prayed would return, but still, I couldn’t help but be hurt. As soon as he looked at me, he knew something was wrong. He held me and I broke down in tears. I told him what happened and his eyes glazed over. I’d never seen him look that way before. Dragging me up the stairs, he kicked her door open.
               “Look her dammit, look at her! I’m sick of this pity part you’ve been having the last sixteen years. Look at her!”
The new mummy returned and this time, the screaming reached unprecedented volumes and went on for hours. I tried in vain to calm them both down and when I couldn’t stand it anymore, returned to my room, crawled under my duvet and cried myself to sleep.
               As soon as I woke up the following morning, I went hunting for Daddy, I needed to check that he was okay. I walked into his room to find his bed made. That was unusual, I usually made his bed. There was an envelope sitting on his pillow and curious I inched closer to see what it was. It had my name on it. I recognised the hand writing, it was daddy’s. Tearing it open, I pulled out a single sheet of paper.

“I Love You Darling, I’m Sorry.”

               It didn’t make sense at first. Why would he leave me a note? I looked around the room, confused and it was then I noticed the open doors revealing his empty wardrobe. I looked up and the suitcases that once lay gathering dust at the top of his wardrobe were gone. I pulled open the drawers of his bedside table where he kept important documents, empty. I raced down the stairs, out of the house and into the garage where he parked his car. It too was empty. I stood in shock as reality sank in. He was gone.

Let’s Talk About…TRUST

Trust: The firm reliance on the integrity, ability, or character of a person or thing -free online dictionary

Some things come naturally to me but trusting my fellow man, isn’t one of them. Like many, I have seen too often, displays of the the desperate wickedness that lies in the heart of man and it terrifies me no end. It’s one of the things I’m working on changing though because to live life unable or unwilling to trust people is to live life crawling on your belly, afraid your feet will fail you.

You know me, I like to think I’m a hard nut to crack but truth be told , my unwillingness to dole out certificates of trust is an unwitting admission of my vulnerability. After all, I should have no qualms trusting if I’m really that unaffected by people’s opinions and actions, no? 

This being human thing sucks eh?! *wink*

I know you’re waiting for my sob story but I’ll spare you, this isn’t reality TV and there’s no million pound prize awaiting me post public therapy.

Alright alright, relax those twitching ears. I’ll share some stories with you and yours too if you’re willing to write them up and email them to me. Let’s have group therapy, it’ll be fun!

By the by, have you decoded the message behind all this waffle? Well done Sherlock, you’re right; it’s time for a new series! *whoop whoop*

We’ll be exploring all things trust; the lack, the loss, the restoration, the beauty.

If you’ve got any stories you’d like to share, I’d love to read and publish them! Please email them to wailacaan@gmail.com and as always, you can remain anonymous if you’d prefer. Your identity is safe with me.

Hopefully at the end of this new series we would have exorcised some of our demons and freed ourselves of some of the baggage we carry around.

Stay tuned!

xXx

Waila

In My Skin

Hey guys,

Just stumbled on this short story I wrote a while ago and thought I’d share it. No explanation needed, it speaks for itself…I think.

xxx
Waila

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Evening turned to night and night to morning. I still hadn’t managed to fall asleep. The sun rose, its rays peering through the skylight which hung above the foot of my bed. In the distance I heard the sound of wheelie bins shuffling along the pavements and the whistles of the rubbish men as they carted off two weeks’ worth of trash. Mothers greeted one another and children cried as they were dropped off at the nursery a few doors away. I heard my neighbour‘s door slam and the thud of her feet as they hit the stairs. Her washing machine began to spin and I closed my eyes and let the vibrations that shook the entire floor, rock me to sleep.

I dreamt about him; his pale translucent skin, the deep husky tone of his voice, the warmth of his smile, the kindness in his charcoal grey eyes that mirrored the tenderness of his heart. A heart that once was mine. I saw his lips move. It’s too complicated they said, my family are dead set against us. They aren’t racist, just traditional. They don’t believe in interracial relationships and much as I love you, I can’t turn my back on my family.

I called out as he made to walk away. I asked him why he’d let me waste the last five years of my life if he knew he could never marry me. I’d met his family many times; mother, father, siblings, grandparents, nieces and nephews. They were always nice, never showed their disapproval. Was it something I said? Did? They like you his lips said, think you’re a wonderful girl. If you weren’t black, you would have been perfect. They think marriages are trying at the best of times without embracing avoidable complications…and I see their point.

How does my being black complicate things? I went to one of the best independent boarding schools in the country as did both my parents. In that very school was where we first met. We both graduated with first class degrees from Oxford. Mine in Economics and his in Politics. At 29, I’m the youngest partner at the leading consulting firm I work for and rake in an impressive salary. He is a high flying trader in a global investment bank. Our families go to the same church and are members of the same clubs. What’s so different about us?!

I asked if he’d know his family’s position all along and saw the guilt in his eyes. He said he’d hoped they would come around in time. I begged him to reconsider, reminded him of the promises we’d made to each other. Didn’t he realise how much I loved him?! I could see he was torn but I was one person, they were legion. Without so much as forming a fist, he’d given up on us.

I woke up sobbing. Dragging myself out of bed I knelt before the full length mirror that stood upright against my bedroom wall. Not for the first time in my life, I hated being black. Growing up, all the girls around me had long silky locks of hair but mine resembled a forest of barbed wire. I stuck out like a sore thumb. I begged my mother to perm my hair but she said I had to wait till I turned 18. I cried until she came up with a satisfactory alternative. She let me have my hair in single plaits so it was long like everyone else’s. Then there was the hip era. All the other girls were rake thin but I had hips and a well rounded bum. “You’re curvy not fat,” mum said when I complained about being overweight. I went on my first diet when I was twelve.

Seventeen years later, I am a willowy size six. My hair is permed and I always have my 18inch Brazilian hair extensions expertly sewn to tracks woven into my hair. My academic and corporate pedigrees are the envy of many. I’ve done everything I can to become the person I’ve always wanted to be and thought I’d succeeded…until now. I scowled at my flawless chocolate brown skin. It was the only thing that stood between me and total acceptance. Stripping off my pyjamas, I slowly made my way to the bathroom where I scrubbed away at my skin till it began to bleed.

The Abortion Series (FINAL): Hazel Eyes

My hands wouldn’t stop trembling and without warning, my feet followed suit. My head only just escaped a collision with the edge of the toilet bowl as I crashed to the bathroom floor. I watched the little cylindrical plastic tube skitter across the room and cursed it into oblivion. There was no way I was carrying that animal’s child! Hadn’t I been through enough already?! Rage like I’d never known swept over me. A strange beast took control of my lungs and sounds I’d never heard filled the room. My sister Tara came running in. She knelt beside me and tried to take me in her arms but I shook her off. She tried again and I lashed out, striking her across the face.
I needed to find him, to do all the things fear had stopped me doing that day.
In a flash I was off the floor and racing out the front door. I ran towards the train station where he used to sit cross legged on a bed of cardboard, shabbily dressed in a worn grey pin striped suit, a battered black satchel nestled between his thighs. I ran, the cold prickly tar bruising the bottom of my bare feet. In the distance I saw a bright light piercing the dark of the night. I ran towards it willing it to shine into the abyss that now lived where my soul once resided.

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I woke up forty-eight hours later in a hospital bed, surrounded by whirring machinery and the familiar faces of my sister and two of the three ICU doctors I’d become well acquainted with in the weeks I’d spent hospitalised after the attack. Sighs of relief echoed throughout the room. I’d been hit by a car they said. The driver hadn’t noticed me running down the middle of the road till it was too late. The memory came flooding back and instinctively I clutched my stomach.
“The baby is fine,” one of the doctors assured me.
“I don’t want it, get rid of it.”
A thick veil of silence descended in the room.
“I am not having the child of a homeless schizophrenic who battered and raped me.”
Tara took my hand and squeezed gently. “Don’t make any rash decisions,” she said, “I know it’s not an ideal situation but give yourself some time. You might feel differently once you’ve thought it through.”
Every head in the room nodded in agreement and I shut my eyes tight to ride out the wave of anger washing over me. As if on repeat, the scene began to replay itself in my head.
I felt his hand clam over my mouth as the sharp blade of a knife pressed into the small of my back. Warning me not to utter a sound, he propelled me forward. I choked back a scream as my head hit the builders skip blocking off the alley from public view. The pain had barely subsided when he spun me around and landed the first punch. I fell to my knees, blood seeping through a gash on my upper lip. After the third punch, I felt myself slipping away and the last thing I remember as I curled up in a ball, my hands cradling my head, is asking God to save me.
“You have two options,” I announced to no one in particular, “You either help me get rid of this child or I do it on my own, in my own way. The choice is yours.”

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 I saw myself standing over the most beautiful baby girl. She was wrapped in a white blanket, her fingers peeking out, reaching for the stuffed monkey that sat smiling cheekily in the top right corner of her crib. I stroked the crown of her head, my fingers weaving through her sparse locks of hair. She giggled, her big hazel eyes lighting up, willing me to do it again. Instead, I wrapped my right hand around her throat and squeezed as tightly as I could. She let out a blood curling scream, her stumpy little legs kicking furiously, hands clenched, forming miniscule fists. Her tears flooded my fingers like water gushing from a burst pipe. The more she screamed, the harder I squeezed. Her face turned a funny shade of blue and suddenly, silence filled the air. Her big hazel eyes were wide open staring at me, a blank expression across her face.
I woke up gasping, sweat oozing from my every pore. I looked up at the clock that hung ticking over the head of my hospital bed. It was just gone 6am, four hours till the procedure. I lifted my right hand to my face and stared at it like I’d never seen it before. I felt her tears burning trails along my palm…and then I saw them…her big hazel eyes, etched in the palm of my right hand. Her screams rang in my head and our voices blended as mine matched hers; agony for agony, fear for fear.
The door burst open and two nurses appeared at my side.
“I killed her! I killed her!”
They tried to calm me down but I was inconsolable. I knew then that she would never forgive me. Those eyes would haunt me for the rest of my life if I went ahead with it.

 

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This is a fictional story and yes, it’s the last story in the series. Hope you’ve enjoyed it!

xxx

Waila