Short Story: Battle At The Home-Front.

 Shina, told the bartender “just a plate of “bokoto” for me please” his eyes trailing Nkiru’s gait as she dragged her heavy backside into the small cubicle at the end of the room

It’s 9:32pm. The day is still young I said to my friends as I glanced at my watch. “The night seems to be crawling today.” Retorted Sir Kay.

I signaled to the bartender to serve another round of beer and a plate of “bokoto”, it was my sixth bottle of the night.

“Thanks a lot” I said as Nkiru filled our order.

Shina, told the bartender “just a plate of “bokoto” for me please” his eyes trailing Nkiru’s gait as she dragged her heavy backside into the small cubicle at the end of the room. Though 16, she has the body of a 25-year-old lady.

“Shina, Stop Committing Lookery” I said. You are a married man for chrissakes.

“Ol’boy, bone dat tin mehn.” Sir kay replies with a belch. “Women are just necessary evils and marriage is an attempt to sustain the human race.”

The three of us are married with good jobs; the only boat that seems to be rocking is our marriage.

Shina is blessed with three wonderful kids and pretty Eno.

Sir Kay is divinely gifted with Ayoade a wonderful woman who has giving him Akinola while expecting another baby.

As for me, I have a wonderful and beautiful Adeola for a wife. We’ve been married 3 years and we love each other like bread and butter.

Shina looked at me, at Sir Kay then back at me. Shook his head and said. “At least my wife is not here,” He said wiping his face with a blue handkerchief. “So let me look all I can”. Let me get home first before I start worrying about her.

Each time we gather like that, we talk about our homes and the challenges we face at home. Sometimes we talk about work or other things, recently, issues we discuss these days is the home front.  Most especially, our wives and their pranks.  The same thing seems to be happening to us all and this has made me conclude all women are the same.

Last week, it was Sir kay’s wife who started picking on his tie, She complained his tie was too loose when he got home, that if he had no skeleton in his cupboard, she would be the one to un-knot his tie. Despite Kays’ insistence that he could not navigate the Lagos gridlock with a tie around his neck. He slept on the couch for the rest of the week. The cause: Kay is yet to give her the 75k she asked him two weeks ago.

As for shine shine bobo, it took the arbitration of family members to quench the brimstone. His wife suddenly kept checking on him at close intervals via calls and BBM. Whenever he was to leave home, Eno would simply jump into the front seat and demand they go out together. The cause: Shina was too tired for lovemaking after he accompanied his boss to a CSR event and was shown seating beside her on Tv.

Tonight, my home is the topic of discussion. Last night, my wife nagged about the DsTv subscription. We still have a week before it’s due but my wife made an issue out of it. She accused me of being insensitive to her needs. She even said it point-blank. “Tunde, you are not making me happy anymore.” To which I just kept mum. I know her too well for me to say a word at that moment.

You see, I love my wife and I hate to hurt her, but since mama came visiting 2 months ago, her nagging has been on the increase. If there’s one thing I know about my wife, it’s that she’s not always like this. She was a loving and wonderful young girl I married. But after we had our first and last miscarriage, we’ve not been able to conceive. That I guess is the reason for her apprehension.

I also hate arguments. So each time she brings up an issue, I play dumb and take the defensive. Why bother?  I end up apologizing even if she’s wrong.

When I could take it no longer, myself and the guys sought solace in mama Nkiru’s bar. Every night, we drown ourselves in liquor, so when we get home, we take a shower, eat supper (if it’s available) and sleep off at the dinning.

No matter how much my wife rants, the liquor blocks all. I wake up in the morning apologize for last night and hope for a better day.

A glance at my watch again 11:25, time to head home. The traffic should have reduced.

As we had our last drink and paid Nkiru, the look on our face was as pale as death itself. Home is meant to be a place of rest, not a war front.

Though different battle grounds, we were all fighting the same battle, and until truce is brokered, each man to his cross.

********

My Ghanaian Princess.

“Good evening customer, how work today?” She said beaming with smiles like a child at his birthday present.

“I’m fine” I replied managing to muster a smile. “Work has been wonderful. How market?” I asked her.

“Market dey move Oh! In fact market don move as I don see you.” She said as she packaged my kenke. “Just for one person ma.” I told her.

She arched her brows. “Why now? Where is your sister, she no come today?” She asked me

“She has travelled” I replied.

“Ooohhh Kay! My regards to her O!” She said handling the black nylon containing my kenke and fish.

That was mama john. She sells kenke at the junction to my house. I’m not Ghanaian; neither do I have a Ghanaian relative. The only Ghanaian word I know is kenke it self.

 

Yet my love for kenke increases by the day and it’s the only thing that gets me close to her.

 

Eating kenke has become a ritual of some sort for me. It’s more like an obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). If a prophet told me that in just three months I’d relish kenke this much, I’d have cursed him. But when love touches your heart, you do the unthinkable.

As I made my way back home my thoughts wandered. All I could think of was my Ghanaian princess.

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

  Hmm hmmn! She replied as she hurried into the bathroom, that was our first encounter. It wasn’t a love at first sight kind of thing ‘cos it was dark. It was at my cousin’s place. I had come to spend the weekend.

Who was that I asked my cousin?  Giselle.

She replied.  “Giselle?

“What kind of a name is that? She’s black” I asked puzzled.

“Whoever said only whites can bear Giselle, are you been racist?” Taunted my cousin.

“Cut the crap gurl and answer my question”. I snarled at her.

Well she’s here on a visit and she’s Ghanaian.

“Oh oh! Lil wonder. I exclaimed. Is that why she wouldn’t greet well? This is Naija O, and we greet well, you better tell her.”

 

My cousin looked at me, shook her head “she’s a very nice girl  just get to know her before you crucify her and she’s not feeling fine.” She said rolling her eyes as she went into the kitchen. “By the way, what’s eating you up egbon? You don’t get worked up over trivial issues like this.” Kike my cousin said as she served my meal.

“Nothing. I’m just a bit tired.”

“You don’t expect me to believe that shola, I know you too well to let you be on this. Oya spill the bean.”

Kike sure knows how to get me talking. We’ve been too close for me to lie to her. I tell her everything. She knows when I’m happy, sad or bothered. Since I broke up with my ex, we’ve been even closer. That was two years ago.

 

I began to tell her my tales as I ate. Giselle strolled into the living room and walked up to me. “Good evening Uncle, I’m sorry bout the greeting earlier; I’m just having the usual erm… ladies stuffs. I didn’t mean to be rude. You must be uncle Shola. I’ve heard a lot about you.” She said. I was fixed, but managed to say hi.

“I just came to apologize before going to bed. I hope you are not cross with me anymore” she asked smiling.

“Uhm! No offence taken. I didn’t know you were not feeling fine. I said. Just take good care of yourself.”

I will she replied as she made for her bed room.

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

Whoever thought I could be so fond of you?

Everything about the kenke reminds me of her. The kenke balls as hard as they are remind me of your boobs. They are pert, perky, and firm. It makes me wanna hold them again.

 

The hot kenke sauce reminds me of the first time we were together. It was a mixture of pain and pleasure as I unveiled her. She was a virgin. She squinted and dug her nails into my back. It was painful for her at first but she got used to me. She wrapped her long legs round me and synced her hips with mine.

The fish reminds me of your elegant shape, your skin and velvety black skin. Her father must have meant gazelle. I loved to watch her undress and she was aware. What a great seductress she was!

She would tease me as she made for the bathroom.  I would chase her like policemen after a fugitive. Then we’d make passionate love in the tub.

 

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

It was sad you had to go. I didn’t want you to leave. You didn’t either, but you had to. We had just finished making love when that call came through. It was your mum. Dad was sick and you had to go home. He’s actually been sick for a while. So you told me.

Though Ghana is not too far and we’ve been calling each other, it’s not like been with you. Life has been very bland.

It’s been 3 weeks since you left and I’ve never missed my kenke, because you cherished it. As I begin to eat my kenke, I remember mama john asking after Giselle. If only she knew you were not my sister. She must have concluded so because you always called me uncle.

My Ghanaian princess even though you are miles away, I still love you and will always do. I will also continue to eat kenke, even if it gives me heart burns, I won’t stop patronizing mama john even if the kenke sauce purges me.

 

Till me meet again here or there, my solace lies in mama dokunnu.

Scribblings In Idleness: Her Decision.

Not all that glitters is gold…whenever she had to deal with a man, this was her watchword, and indeed it was one that had never failed to protect her. That men had elastic hearts devoid of elastic limits and breaking points was a well-known fact to her, their hearts could only be stretched, it could never be broken. The females got the breakable hearts from God. Men were thespians, subject them to tests, stand aloof for some time, do not yield to their advances, and they are bound to move on. They seldom wait; those that do must have found other amusements while waiting for you to make up your mind. Stay objective, remain watchful and you are bound to see them for what they really are. This is all you need do to avoid heartbreak. It was just so simple and she never quite understood why females still got their hearts broken like a piece of Chinese porcelain. Her friends never quite appreciated her too; some labeled her crazy, while the others thought she was just plain childish. However, whenever any of them had to nurse a piece of broken china, which was what she called their shattered hearts, they agreed with her wholeheartedly, albeit temporarily. At such periods, she was their pillar of support. A role she got to play ever so frequently. A few weeks later though, they would heal, and were ready to give “love” another chance. She never could understand those friends of hers!

Like her father she had exceptional looks, and like her mother she was intelligent. Perhaps this was the cause of her hard stance on men. Perhaps this made it difficult for most men to sweep her off her feet. She could match most of them looks for looks, brain for brain and wallet for wallet. She was quite a handful for any man, any day. She had so many suitors, but separating the wheat from the chaff wasn’t tedious at all, given that, to her, virtually all men were chaff. Operating on the same frequency with most of them was an idiosyncratic problem. Some bored her stiff with dry jokes, with nothing to talk of except their favourite soccer players, clubs or their new acquisitions. Most tried to make impressions with ephemerals.  Some others painted pictures of a rosy future, of weddings where she was of course the bride. One of them went as far as saying he dreamt she was his wife and they had three kids. That same guy got married two months later. Men! How on earth did they come by those sugar-coated tongues of theirs? She never took them serious, and never allowed any of them too close for comfort. With men, she never used her heart. It was head over heart all the way. Undeniably, none of her numerous suitors made any impression on her, none except one.

They lived on the same street. He moved into their neighborhood less than two years ago. Like in the movies, he was dark and tall. Also like in the movies, the first time they ever talked, she had had a flat tyre just outside her flat on her way to work. He drove by, saw the car boot opened, parked his car and offered to help. In no time, she was on her way to work again. From there, they became acquaintances. He was a senior lecturer at the university in town, an enviable achievement for his age. He had a good sense of humour and a strong awareness of purpose. He would always regal her with tales of his postgraduate years abroad, he had studied human nutrition and dietetics in Tokyo. He would always say “I am a Tokyo man” And for a man well short of thirty, he was much-travelled. In his company, she was very comfortable; he was one man with whom she could have a rational conversation with her guards down, or so she thought.

One evening however, he had come to her house and professed his love for her. Initially, she thought he was at one of his many jokes. And so she tagged along. By now they had become well acquainted, but she never saw him as a friend, simply because she didn’t know any member of his family. She was that practical. But with every passing moment, she became deeply involved with him. He looked and acted sincere enough. His routine was quite predictable, unlike most men. He was devoted and committed to her, and was never quite successful in hiding anything from her. All of a sudden he became shy and many times, she had to encourage him to speak his mind. He would continually say he was a novice in matters of love, and it seemed like he truly was. Gradually, she began to look forward to his calls and his crazily compiled texts which weren’t spaced. But she couldn’t bear to put her heart on the line. For all she knew it could be a grand scheme, after all he was a man.

Sometimes later, she got angry when he didn’t call to say good night. At that moment she realized something was wrong. She was falling for the cheapest trick in the book, and she hadn’t even put him to the test. She was becoming attached and possessive, this was a negative sign. Her friends would surely taunt her if they heard of this. She was supposed to be their Margaret Thatcher. Explicitly, she decided to change gear. She became cold and unreceptive to him, refused to pick his calls or reply his texts. She didn’t laugh at his jokes anymore. These did not in any way deter him, he remained steadfast. He stressed the subject of love, his unflinching love, to which she just laughed before reminding him of what his previous opinion of love was. He asked to be considered on the basis of their previous friendship. She scolded him for thinking that by changing her car tyre and their having a few conversations they had become friends. She offered to pay for his service so all would be square. That obviously hurt him, yet he remained relentless. He continually articulated that she was his jewel of inestimable value; it was either her or nothing. She went as far as accusing him of trying to con her into his bed with the well mastered skill he used on his female students. He had a distinct ready smile for her scathing remarks; he appeared to have it all figured out. It didn’t look like he would be so easily dispirited.

The manner in which he handled it all uncovered a specific and vital statistic, he may be a rookie in matters of love, but he absolutely wasn’t one without game or experience when it came to women. She knew was walking on thin ice. Enlisting the help of her friends, she took the game to him. They were so willing to help her ridicule him. And like the men in her seemingly infallible theory, he had moved on. Only if he had waited, only if he had lingered.

Whatever it was she said or did that finally made him back off she didn’t know for sure, but in the end she had achieved the most important thing; she had protected her heart. Now, many weeks after, she admits she misses him, and maybe she could have handled it better. But there is no way for her to know whether she was right or wrong.

Scribblings In Idleness: His Decision

Scribblings In Idleness: His Decision by Sanjo ‘Biodun Owojaiye

Females are funny creatures…forged by Mother Nature and fine-tuned by Father Nature. They say one thing and mean another and it is that which they do not say that really matter. If you ever want to go crazy, try to understand a woman. Be the nice guy and you will never win a fair lady’s hand. Nice guys always come last. Women are necessary evils, evils we can’t just live without. A successful love relationship with a woman is possible only if you are a failure. Women are for the good times, they flee when the rainy days descend. His childhood was filled with this and such other wonderfully odd ideas, which at that time were necessary to help guide him on the right path. Days have rolled into weeks, weeks have turned into months, and years have flown by.

Enter the present. Over the last couple of months, after giving it sufficient thought, He decided to take action to give his heart that which it craved for, something he had never done before.  He wasn’t so much a believer in love, for to him, love was a sign of weakness, the entrance of love into anything, and place or event usually meant the exit of reason. His childhood lessons were ever fresh in his subconscious. Not that there haven’t been girls in his life, indeed there have been many, but Continue reading “Scribblings In Idleness: His Decision”