Posted in Featured, Fiction Fridays, Series

The Therapist- Thoughts of the Past

Previously on the therapist…

After too many sleepless nights to count and another appointment with Richard, I struggled to stay awake. I’m not sure how much longer I can keep this up; trying to solve other’s problems when under the surface, I was one giant time bomb ready to explode.

If anyone needs a therapist, it’s me.

It was a sad irony that continued to haunt me. I could solve other’s problems, but I could never seem to fix my own. At the same time, I’m pretty sure it’s this very job that gives me the courage to get out of bed every morning. They say that helping others eases our own pain. I believe this is true.

Today, Richard began to open up about his childhood, which was more difficult than I could have ever imagined. He was abused as a child by parents who were hardly around. He often went to his best friend’s house after school, hoping to escape the pain, but lost his friend to a drunk driving accident at only seventeen. I could only imagine the pain that would come with loosing a friend to a reckless, irresponsible driver who should never have gotten behind the driver’s seat to begin with.

Little by little, I’m beginning to learn his story, and discover the demons of depression and anxiety that he battles on a daily basis.

It seems that so many of our battles start in our youngest years, as our experiences and personalities mix to create the person that we are today. I still remember the day that my dad walked out on us. My mother begged him not to go, as my youngest sister cried. My older brother tried to be aloof, but I found out later that he took it the hardest of all of us.

I suspect that my dad leaving may have something to do with my difficulty in forming relationships. Psychologists have said that we learn through imitating those around us. Without a healthy relationship to imitate, how could I be expected to form one of my own?

I don’t mind it though. The extra time gives me the chance to think and reflect; something that’s almost as essential as breathing to me. There’s a familiarity in the solitude. I know what to expect from it.

The same can’t be said about people.

I often wonder how God creates plans for us when He knows we’re so prone to screw them up. Why does He allow us the privilege of carrying such great responsibility in the midst of our fallen state? How can we be image bearers of God when we can barely keep up our own image?

These are the things that weigh on my mind when I’m alone too long with only my thoughts to keep me company.

I climbed into bed and pulled the sheets over my head, trying to shield myself from the storm that was making it’s way into my mind. There was a time to analyze my life. This wasn’t it.

Now was the time to get some sleep. I have a big day tomorrow with a new patient, in addition to my regular appointments with Richard.

If I wanted to be of any help I would need to be well rested and alert; which meant that I would somehow need to catch up on a week of lost sleep overnight.

When my head hit the pillow, I wasn’t sure I would be able to do it.

The next morning, I came to the realization that I could.

©Courtney Whitaker, 2016

I was so happy to have Courtney help out with the series. It takes a brilliant writer to be able to pick up from where another stopped and run with it! Thanks again Courtney.

Lesson for the day: It doesn’t hurt to ask for help when you need it!

Have a pleasant weekend! xoxo

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Posted in Featured, Fiction Fridays

The Fixer of Broken Dreams 2

Previously on The Fixer of Broken Dreams

2:65 pm; Exactly one month since Eno’s death. ‘One day at a time, one day at a time’ Ani whispered her new found mantra over and over and over again. She had said it to herself so much that it stopped making sense to her but she had to keep saying it because it kept the silence away and she couldn’t stand the silence. The silence gave way to memories, the day she found out she was pregnant, all the fun she and Gabe had fixing up Eno’s nursery, the day they brought her home from the hospital, her first smile, first tooth, her first…no, she didn’t want the silence so she continued to mutter; ‘one day at a time, one day at a time’. She had given up driving entirely after she hit a pole twice in two days so she just took the bus and walked the rest of the way home. She was so tired, tired especially of all the pity that was being piled on her, everyone walked on tip toes around her and treated her as if she were breakable and she was so sick of it. She was already steeped in grief and she didn’t need the constant reminders of the child she had lost, she and Gabe just wanted… she and Gabe, sigh…

couple apart
Photo Credit: 360nobs.com

Gabe hadn’t said two words to her since the day the buried their daughter. It was almost alarming how much they had grown apart in the space of a month. The tragedy that was meant to bring them together had driven them apart like the earth from the sky. That first night that they spent without Eno, Ani tried to cry with Gabe or talk to him even so they could grieve and mourn together but he wouldn’t say a word to her. He had shut her out completely. One night she was jerked awake from her fitful sleep by the sound of Gabe dismantling Eno’s crib, she heard him sobbing and when she went to put her arms around him, he got up to leave the room but he turned around and walked back in and yelled. He yelled at her with such viciousness that she nearly passed out. He blamed her for being negligent and that if she had paid more attention, Eno would still be here and when he couldn’t yell anymore, he turned around and walked out, leaving her with the broken pieces of the beautiful white crib, broken pieces of their dreams.

****

Gabe walked out of the manager’s office looking deflated. He had just been issued a warning for throwing an object at his secretary. He couldn’t even remember what the poor lady said to him that made him so mad; all he knew was that he was suddenly taken over by a red hot rage that he couldn’t even comprehend. He got back to his office and after apologizing to his scared secretary he shut his office door and sat on the floor with his head in his hands. He was so mad, all the time; mad that his baby girl, his angel died and he wasn’t even there, mad that he was so busy rushing to work that he didn’t even kiss her goodbye like he always did and that he made Ani do it for him, mad that she was all alone in a dark cold grave but above all, he was mad at his wife and it was eating him alive. What was she doing? Where was she? Why didn’t she check up on Eno? Why??? he asked and asked but got no answers so he stopped asking and just swallowed his grief. It was way past close of business but he didn’t want to go home, home didn’t feel like home anymore. Home was just a sad, quiet and empty place. Every night, Ani left dinner for him on the dining table, every night he ignored it and went straight to the guest room to sleep. Every morning she packed his lunch for him, and every morning he ignored the purple lunch bag on the table as he stormed off to work, because in his twisted mind that was just another way of punishing her, of making her as miserable as he was. He finally got up and went home but as he walked past the dining room, he did a double take. There was no dinner waiting on the table, Ani had given up.

Written by Adaugo from Adaugo Diary.

Posted in Featured, Fiction Fridays

The Fixer of Broken Dreams: Ani’s Story

5:39am; Ani sighed deeply as she tried for the umpteenth time to find a more comfortable spot to fall asleep on. She had tossed and turned all night and she could only sleep through short uncomfortable stretches of time. She could already feel an intense headache coming and she was tired and oh so exhausted even before she got out of bed. She finally gave up the struggle and felt her way through the dark room until she got to the bathroom and switched on the light. The intensity of the light hurt her eyes and she closed them till she adjusted to the brightness.

ani
Photo Credit: imgur.com

She stared at herself in the mirror and she almost didn’t recognize the agonized person staring back at her. She splashed some water on her face and as she started to brush her teeth, the pain came crashing down on her all over again and she burst into tears and cried deep racking sobs until her tear ducts gave up on her and the tears stopped coming.

Ani was a blissfully happy wife and mother, up until two weeks ago when her sun set in the morning and her whole world went dark…

‘See you later darling’, Gabe said to his wife Ani as he kissed her goodbye on his way to work. She turned around to face him, wound her hand around his neck, stood on her toes and kissed him right back.

‘I love you honey, have a good day at work and don’t forget to carry your lunch downstairs.’

‘Ok babe, I love you too and give baby Eno a big kiss for me, bye!’ He hurried down the stairs to pick up his lunch and as he drove away, Ani stood at the window, with one hand on her chest and the other hand on her lips blowing him a kiss. She knew he couldn’t see her but she blew him the kiss any way and when she couldn’t see his car anymore she turned around, whistling a happy tune and was ready to start her day.

Still whistling and smiling, she made a mental note of all the things she wanted to do before noon and she walked into her baby girl’s room to pick her up and get her ready for day care; but as she got to the edge of the crib she stopped dead in her tracks. She suddenly couldn’t move or breathe and as she forcefully willed herself to look into the crib, her eyes confirmed what her heart already felt. Her baby girl, her precious little angel, lay dead in her crib. Ani’s heart thumped furiously as she stood there holding her cold, stiff baby. She finally let out an ear piercing scream that had the gate man racing upstairs to find her.

‘I’m terribly sorry Mrs Ime but Eno is dead and the cause of death is suffocation, for some reason her air supply was cut off in her sleep and her brain couldn’t survive the sudden lack of oxygen so her heart gave out and…’ Dr Thomas went on and on but Ani no longer heard a word that came out of his mouth and as the last of the adrenaline holding her up finally drained out of her, she passed out and fell right into her husband’s arms.

The rest of the day went by in a blur but mentally Ani had checked out. She was there, but she was gone in her head, she hadn’t shed a single tear and she moved as though she were a robot. The sun was setting as she walked back into her baby’s room to pick an outfit for her funeral. She picked the white and gold dress that baby Eno wore for her christening, it was only right that she wore it to go meet the Lord. Time seemed to go by in such a hurry. In less than ten hours, a plot at the cemetery had been paid for, a tiny little white coffin had been bought and as the last rays of the run reflected on the tiny coffin being let down into the tiny grave, Ani knew that her life as she knew it was over…

The shrill sound of her phone ringing brought her back to reality…she sighed deeply and left the bathroom to brace herself to face the day. One day at a time she said to herself, one day at a time…

Written by Adaugo from Adaugo Diary.

*** Hope you enjoyed the story! I was so excited to have my friend/blogger Adaugo agree to take on part of the Fiction Friday posts this month. She’s amazing and her words are so real! Gee! You could almost see yourself in her stories. Do check out her amazing blog Adaugo Diary  Thanks for reading!

Cheers to a blissful weekend!

Posted in Fiction Fridays

Little Girl

This is where it all begun.

little
Photo Credit: freeimages.com

There was something about this little girl that drew me to her. She was African-American with big black eyes and wild black afro hair. From our first encounter, I sensed she had a nasty attitude. But I didn’t mind. I still wanted to talk to her. I watched her in the same spot she was yesterday. Once again, against my better judgment, I walked towards her.

‘Hello. What’s your name?’ I asked, squatting beside her.

She glared at me for a moment then continued scribbling on the ground.

‘What do you care?’ she finally replied

‘Please, I just want to be your friend.’ Her utmost look of shock was no surprise to me.

‘Why?’ She asked, still bewildered.

‘Because I want to know you.’ I seemed to have gotten her attention before I heard a voice calling out behind us ‘Rasheedah!’ I turned back to see the really skinny black woman on dreadlocks. She looked like she was in her late 20s. The little girl scampered to go and meet her. The woman had quite a scary air about her, I could understand why the little girl was so afraid.

I turned back to go get my daughter, Karen when I noticed a white piece on the ground. I carefully unwrapped it and the first sentence struck me like a thunder bolt.

I feel like dying,

Just put an end to my misery,

This life isn’t worth living,

I can still hear the kids laughing,

Well, the joke’s on them,

Though they may never notice when I’m gone- no one will

I’m the invisible girl

 

I read the note 5 more times. It left me distressed. My thoughts spiraled. I couldn’t comprehend how a little girl could be so- disturbed? Is that the word? Why did she want to kill herself? I was more curious about her now.

‘Mom!’ Karen’s voice broke through my thoughts. I quickly hid the note and went home with my little girl.

****

I drove so fast to go pick my daughter because I wanted to continue from where I stopped with Rasheedah. I prayed I could get to her before she took her life away.

I heaved a sigh of relief as I saw her petite frame crouching on the same spot. My heart went out to her. I stooped beside her once again.

‘I saw your note.’ Ignoring her puzzled look, I went on, ‘why do you feel like dying?’ I asked holding out the note.

She grabbed it from me and store it safely in her dirty pink bag.

‘Please talk to me. I want to help you.’

‘You can’t.’ she snapped. I could see the pain in her eyes. She had probably seen too much darkness for a little girl.

Day after day, I went to see her and talk to her. Karen finally came around and left me undisturbed with the little girl.

This beautiful day was special. The sun was out; the birds were chirping. I went to meet Rasheedah as usual and we spoke briefly. Well, I spoke mostly and she just nodded. After much hesitation, she reached out to her backpack and brought out a rumpled diary with dog-eared leaflets.

‘Here. Read this. If you still want to be my friend afterwards, you know where to find me.’ She stood up and disappeared in the crowd of kids while I kept staring at the diary. Finally, I would get to know why she was so- different.

©Mfon Etuk,2016.

Posted in Fiction Fridays

Music or nah?

‘Mom, I want to study Music’ I heard my little brother say from across the room. I unconsciously closed my book as I directed all attention to the ensuing conversation.

My mother took some minutes to regain her composure after such shocking news my brother had so lightly delivered. ‘Why Music?’ My mother finally asked.

‘I love music. I don’t imagine studying any other course. To be honest, nothing else interests me.’ He spoke out of sincerity.

My mom paused for a while before she spoke ‘we’ll discuss this when your dad returns’.

We all knew what that meant. It was never a good thing. It was more like facing a panel of unbreakable opinions. I was quite curious about the end of this news my brother had courageously exposed.

Jide, my little brother was the musician of the family. Everyone knew that. But studying Music as a course? That was a hobby gone too far. I couldn’t help but admire how gutsy he was. I was never so bold to confront my parents about my interests. I was the perfect kid, you may add. Graduated top of my class. Followed dad’s career path of being a Diplomat. I love my job. But then again, I can hardly hide my inclination for fashion designing. The first time I mentioned that to my dad as a kid led to an outburst of laughter I had never heard before. In but a few seconds, he had successfully crushed whatever desires I had of pursuing fashion designing. As I said earlier, I love my job. Or am I just trying to convince myself?

‘Funmi!’ My mother’s voice pierced through my thoughts.

‘Yes mom’ I abruptly responded, following the direction of her voice which led me to their bedroom.

‘What’s wrong with your brother eh? Why does he insist on disappointing us?’ She barely waited for me to close the door before she began her lamentations.  I quietly sat beside her on the bed and leant her the listening ears she desperately needed, pending when my dad would return from his conference.

I was a bit confused at my mom’s undisguised displeasure at my brother’s decision. If anything, she was the more liberal one in my family who believed in pursuing one’s dreams. As a successful social worker, she always used herself as an example when it came to the wholehearted pursuit of purpose. So why was this different? Why was mine different? Not like I ever pushed for it seriously. But why was this different? I returned to the issue at hand.

‘Mom, what’s wrong with studying Music?’ I was clearly treading on enemy territory with that question but I just couldn’t help it.

Just as I had expected, she gave me the look. The look that a typical Nigerian mom gives her child who is asking a rather stupid question. She began to voice out her fears on how he would be perceived. The son of an honourable Diplomat turning out to be a musician? After paying so much money for school. She heaved a deep sigh and secured her face in her palms. She was so concerned about the perception that would come our way from the thousand unrelated acquaintances she had. I didn’t know what else to say so I quietly enjoyed the silence.

Although we had lived abroad for well over 10 years owing to dad’s career, my family was still as African as our skin colour. Of course remaining true to who we are is a major plus but often times, traditional thinking such as this leaves me rather frustrated.

I tried to ease my mom out of her fears reminding her of famous musicians who even perform for the presidents and ceremonial heads.

‘Just imagine the honour it would be to see Jide performing at the President’s ball or any elitist party’ I babbled relentlessly. Trust me to see the silver lining behind every cloud, I was known for that.

That seemed to brighten her up a little as she lifted her eyes as though seeing the picture of the future.

‘Our son could become a famous musician ‘ she thought aloud. I nodded in affirmation.

Jide who had been eavesdropping smiled and hugged me as I got out of my mom’s room. I admired his dogged nature and I believed in him.

‘Don’t get too excited. Mom spoke with dad and he said it’s either you go to Julliard or you study something else’ a smirk played across my face because I knew my brother as a hip hop artist who didn’t really appreciate classical.

‘That’s not a problem’ he said with a wink and skedaddled.

I wonder what would have happened if I had taken the leap of faith as he did. If I turned my so-called fashion designing hobby into reality. I can’t start crying over spilled milk jare. It’s too late. Or is it really? Is it ever too late as long when you’re still alive and breathing?

©Mfon Etuk, 2016.

*****

What do you think about the idea of influencing your child’s course of study? (bearing in mind that kids never really know what they want). Would you rather say it’s a way of protecting kids from the disappointments that come with pursuing hobbies? As a parent, would you allow your kid study any course (even when you know it’s not a serious money-maker)? I’d like to hear your thoughts! 

Posted in Fiction Fridays, Series

The Therapist- Sleepless Nights

Previously on the therapist…

By the time I got back home I was completely fagged out. I fell on my orthopedic bed with a loud thud and drifted to sleep. Was I asleep or was I awake? I don’t know anymore.

 I saw Richard while sleeping. He told me he was afraid to live. He said I should have allowed him drown. He had lost his wife and kids in a car accident and he was recently laid off from his job and couldn’t even pay his bills. He’s the only child of ‘only-child ‘ parents who had passed away a couple of years back. His wife was also orphaned and literally, he had no other family.

therap
Photo Credit: sleeptoliveinstitute.com

 Amidst my tossing and turning, I opened an eyelid to notice my grandfather’s massive antique clock on the purple wall striking 3 AM. I must have slept because I closed my eyes at 11 PM or was it 12? I don’t know anymore. Turns out, I dream of things I’ve seen through the day. It’s no wonder I’ve been having insomnia for some years now. Who would sleep after hearing the horrendous stories shared everyday by clients?

Richard had been through a lot and death was pretty much his best option. Definitely not the only option. He complained that life had lost its meaning and he didn’t even know where to start from.

I think about death a lot lately. Sometimes I welcome it with open arms, other times I just ponder upon the power death wields. It takes anyone without a second thought. It turns its cold back to the ceaseless tears flowing upon the plain faces of loved ones.

When my spell began some few years back and I had an episode on my wedding day, I was pretty much ready to die. His parents didn’t allow him go ahead with the marriage. Heck! His face was as white as though he had seen a ghost. Maybe that’s when I cut all attachments and became a lone ranger. A loner at night but an ever listening, ever patient therapist at day.

You know how we often think we are the only ones experiencing the worst of situations? Every therapy session reveals otherwise. There’s always a worst story. Day after day, client after client, I’ve learned the untold evil that plagues the inhabitants of this planet. As selfish humans though, we get stuck up in our pool of despair that we fail to see the other person falling off the cliff.

I’ve been on medications for as long as I can remember but the best medication for me has been listening to other people’s pains and helping them get out of their heads. In the end, most of what we feel or experience is all in our heads. I get them out of their heads and do the job for them. Excessive thinking.

Maybe I make up for my pain by ensuring no one lives through it. I think I’m addicted to the pain. My pain has numbed me. No one should go through that.

Richard has to live. Even though I know suicide is an illusion of escape from the known world, I know the unknown world is not where Richard would like to be right now. It’s worse than this place. He won’t even be able to handle it. He blames me for not allowing him die that day and put an end to his misery. If only he knew, he would thank me for saving him from the afterlife.

Sometimes I wonder how something as cold as death emerges from a world as hot as hell. The known and unknown worlds. I wish I could completely figure those out. Turns out the books I’ve been reading on them leave me more confused.

It’s another sleepless night, I didn’t get the rest that was required of me. But I’ve got to get back to work. I’ve missed it. Maybe that’s because the work is all I’ve got to keep me sane.

©Mfon Etuk, 2016.

Posted in Fiction Fridays

The Day She Died

she died
Photo Credit: freephotos.atguru.in

I remember the day as though it was yesterday- but it’s already five years down the line. To be specific, it was in the year 2011. I was standing in front of her hostel in O.A.U wearing my favorite red Tees and ripped jeans. I had informed her the day before of my proposed visit but she tersely warned me not to bother. I went ahead anyway because I wanted to resolve the unending conflicts between us. I picked up my phone which was already beeping a warning red light because my battery was low and called her. My ears ached from her outburst “I thought I asked you not to come over? What the hell what are you doing here?” she hung up immediately and refused to pick my calls. I looked up at the pink drapes that lined the window of her room. She was on the 5th floor and I couldn’t risk taking the stairs without confirming her presence. I called her sister and she immediately hung up when she heard my name.

That was the second time I would visit her while in school. The first was a little bit weird because it was our first meeting ever since we started dating a few months ago. I was shy and so was she. We sat under a tree and ate the snacks and yoghurt she bought. I was smiling like a little schoolboy the whole time. Don’t blame me, I was in love.

She finally came out after leaving me to the mercies of the cold harmattan wind for some forty-five minutes.

“What do you want?” She asked with a stone hard face. “You’ve just a few minutes and as you can see I was making my hair before you came.”

That’s when I noticed her puffy hair tied in a red scarf. She still looked beautiful with her oily face and half-done hair.

“Can we at least sit down?” I asked while gesturing to the same tree we had sat the first day we met. Then, the flowers were lush and red but now, the harmattan breeze had shriveled their lushness and all that was left was a skeleton of what was once a beautiful tree. Just like our love.

“No” she curtly replied.

At that point, I didn’t know what else to say. All the words I had previously rehearsed grew wings and flew away at the sight of her cold countenance. I fumbled with words that didn’t seem to make any sense. I have no idea how she had such a hold on me.

“We can make it work” I finally said.

“Don’t you get it? We are not compatible”

I shifted my weight from one foot to another while looking at those brown eyes that held no warmth as they used to. Who had she become? The song ‘You’re not the girl I used to know’ by Darey began to play in my mind.

In about ten minutes, she said she wanted to leave and I pleaded, “Would you at least walk me down to where I will get a bike?” This, she vehemently refused and turned her back to me.

Without a doubt, I knew it was really over.

We were not always like this. We used to be best of friends. I still remember how we would stay up every night talking on MTN extra cool for long hours. Such days of bliss! The fun didn’t last so long as she got admitted to the ivy league university and little things I did began to irritate her. We would quibble and quarrel consistently until we grew apart.

Why do relationships get sour after ‘I love you’ is involved? Why do things that meant nothing when we were just friends become objects of irritation as soon as we start dating?

The ride from her hostel to the school gate was short. I remember shedding a few tears. I don’t know if it was because of the official break-up or because of the cold breeze, either way, I shed tears. I was sad because I gave it my best. I did everything humanly possible. I went the extra mile to make it work and used my last money to pay her the visit but it all ended with four words; ‘we are not compatible’.

That faithful day marked the day she died to me. I slowly got over her afterwards and have since moved on with my life. Her mum is still my good friend and we talk nonetheless. While her sister refers to me as ‘the guy without a dull moment’ because of how bubbly I was around them and her younger brother calls me Chief Owonikoko because of my baritone voice. I will never forget the memories she left, but as for Mimi- she is dead to me.

Written by Emar Ogar.

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Hey guys, I hope you enjoyed this interesting post by a friend of mine. If you’ve got any interesting stories to share, please send me a mail on contact@daintym.com Thanks!

Happy weekend!