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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Happy weekend!

Rachel’s Musings: of Seers

Come away with me. Let’s dance in the rain. There’s something so peaceful about the weather. The rain drumming on the zinc roofs and the grasses looking greener outside the window. It’s so picturesque. India was good. It was an eat, pray, love journey for me. I found what I had been missing- me. I met with an old lady who most people referred to as the ‘Seer’. I guess you can somewhat compare her with the psychics we have around.

‘What defines you?’ Was the first thing she asked me. I began to express proudly how I was the best in my field and the awards I had gotten for my artistic skills. She smiled gently. And told me ‘wrong answer’ in that obvious Indian accent. I was distracted by the strong stench of garlic that fell out with every word uttered. Gee! Why do people eat that?

‘Think again.’ She said with a crooked smile that exposed her missing teeth. I don’t know what I expected, coming into this little dark room with incense all up in the air. Some moving thing caught the corner of my eye. ‘Is that a live snake?’ I asked, bewildered.

She smiled and calmed me with her hand gestures. Apparently her English was limited and I couldn’t speak her language either. So how’s this reading going to be? I wondered.

‘What defines you?’ She repeated. I gave her another long list of my abilities. I was quite proud of my achievements, my skills, my trips, my possessions and my life as a whole. She shook her head, unimpressed.

‘You are not alive till you have lived’. Was what she said with clenched teeth. What does that even mean? I have lived, I have traveled, I have loved… oh please, what did she even know? Maybe she was just a one eyed woman leading the blind in that community. I was agitated and picked my things to leave. I had just wasted money for nothing.

‘Look outside you and you find life’ was what she said as she stroked her pet snake. I felt as though the slithery animal was crawling on me. I really hate creepy crawling animals!

The sun hit me as I stepped outside. I quickly wore my aviator shades and began the stroll to the cuisine I had discovered earlier. Oh my! The food was so good. It had this sort of pepper that hurts but tastes so good. Pain and pleasure. The two are inseparable. They taught me how to complete the meal before drinking water.

As I slowed down on the food, my mind went back to the Seer. What does it mean to look outside yourself and find life? You are not alive till you have lived? I knew my curiosity was going to take me back. So there I was sitting on the red pillow facing her.

‘I knew you would come back’ she said with that crooked smile. Sure you did, I said under my breath.

‘You are not alive until you have looked outside yourself to help people around. You are not here for yourself. You won’t find love if you do not look outside.’ She continued.

These were simple sentences that seemed to confuse me further.

‘Are you saying I’ve been selfish?’ I asked with undisguised contempt. How dare she call me selfish?

‘We see life as we are, not as it is’ was her response. My time was far spent again and I didn’t want to pay any more money for another session. It felt as though she deliberately picked her words just so she could keep her customers coming back to know more. Besides, I never really believed in the whole psychic nonsense.

I should be on my way. But my legs refused to move.

psychic
Photo credit: exemplore.com

‘Look outside you and find love’ She said. This time the snake was all coiled up on her laps. I couldn’t spend an extra minute.

I’ve spent the last three weeks trying to decipher what she meant. I’ve read books and biographies of people who have lived life and helped others. I always had this somewhat limited view that when you help someone, you’re cashing into your ‘IOU’ account and it can be withdrawn at will. But these guys just helped others for the sake of helping. How possible is that? Are humans capable of being unselfish? Can our corrupt nature allow us love truly? Is there any purity in our love? The more I thought of it, the more confused I was. The focus had shifted from them who left to me who remained constant.

i

I want to dance in the rain.

Forget my pain

Wash away the stain

Let the tears go down the drain.

 I thought this was the end. But is there ever an end? Or are endings just beginnings?

©Mfon Etuk, 2016

 

The Therapist

I watched as her demeanour changed when she picked up the phone to see the caller. She didn’t answer. Neither did she put the phone on silence. She just looked away. Her features looked distressed. Who could the caller have been? I wondered. My friend who had just been laughing some minutes back now looked as though she partook of the ice bucket challenge. Her face was completely flustered.

I’m not one to dig into personal concerns except people willingly share them with me. Well, that’s why I get paid for my listening and confidentiality as a therapist. But I still couldn’t help but ask her.

“Who was the caller?” She looked a little shocked as though she wasn’t expecting me to notice.

“It’s him.” She swallowed hard. Fighting the tears that soon began to stain her artificially blushed cheeks.

Him.

What is it about men that made women cry? Why do they wield such power to open the floodgates of tears for even the strongest of all women? That I would never know.

As I tried to console her, she freely opened up as to how they had been having issues in the relationship. He’d beat her and later buy her some expensive gift as an appeasement. My one night of having fun away from work got ruined as it turned out to be another therapy session.

By the time we were done, she was happy and empowered. While I looked drained and ordered another drink.

“He’s here to pick me up.” She said after taking his call. I could see the asking-for-permission look on her face.

“Oh please don’t worry about me. Go have fun!” I encouraged. She scampered away with a lot of thank yous.

I was back to being alone. The way I had always been. Lately being alone scared me. Lately- that’s because prior to this period, I had always savoured my aloneness. I’d say being a custodian of other people’s secrets isn’t so good after all. It keeps me up at night, tossing and turning.

Now I was taking some drinks because I was down. I just had to cover up my own heartbreak and be there for my friend. But now that I needed someone to be there for me, there was no one in sight.

It’s funny how some people are always seen as rocks. So solid they don’t have weak moments. So people never really bother to find out how they are. I’m one of such rocks. And men, I must say this rock is breaking.

I’ve been having a lot of strange dreams lately; dreams that I can’t seem to figure; dreams that keep me away from sleep.

Insomnia.

I can’t bear to go back home now, even though my friend bailed on me.  It’s grave back there.

Now that I think of it, was I right to tell her she could still go back to her man who beats her? Or was I too carried away by my problems to actually think things through. That’s why therapy sessions should be saved for my couch, not a bar stool. Sighs.

©Mfon Etuk, 2016

 

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 Hey guys, sorry there’s no Rachel’s musings this week, please bear with me. Plus, you might be seeing a lot of unrelated fiction stories like this, just enjoy it and stop tryna piece them together 😉  Remember the purpose of the Friday fiction is for entertainment and to help my fiction writing skills. Please feel free to share improvement tips or topics you’d like me to write about. Thanks and God bless! ❤ 

Rachel’s Musings: of Friends and Lovers

Stay with me. That was the last thing I said. Stay with me, was the last song that played before the lights went off and the gloom returned. He couldn’t even fight for us. He called me today though- I should probably be happy. I mean, I’m in a good place aren’t I? Then why is my heart beating faster? Why am I sweating when the AC is down sixteen degrees?

He said I was still his love even though things weren’t working out well for us. All I could do was let out a wry smile. I mean, ‘yeah right!’

I haven’t had any success stories when it comes to love. Maybe I make a monster out of them. I don’t know. I think I’ve given up on trying to figure out these things. I don’t know the happy version of the love story. I only know the sad tales with the broken hearts that live happily never after. Now when I’m going into a relationship, I go with the thought of the end in mind. But it’s funny how no matter how prepared I am for the end, my heart still aches differently when it is over. I’m sure if it were possible, Dex would hand me the box of tissues and sad playlists whenever one ended. Because he knows this. His thick fur has absorbed most of my tears. But it’s fine.

I’m thinking of traveling again. Maybe a bit of Indian spiced dishes will give me a different reason for the tears that seamlessly fall down my made up face. Oh yes, I finally learnt the art of making up. I’m still too laid back to do it every day but oh well! I learnt something new. Thanks YouTube!

From the makeup, you probably guessed there’s something special about today. Yeah, it’s my birthday. Every birthday since we became friends, Austin sends shoes. Well the first order he tried got mixed up but soon it became a ritual. I was sure I would get a new pair of shoes every birthday. And a note with the address for our dinner date where I’d wear the shoe to, of course.

I’m a little anxious today though. Considering what happened a couple of months back. I had gotten into a relationship with this morning’s caller. His name? Call him Drake. Not because he is my favourite musician but because his beards are so well carved. I think I like guys in the beard gang. Focus. So yeah I started dating Drake and the awful day came when I had to tell Austin. I think it broke him. He withdrew and stayed for days without chatting with me. Funny though, I and Drake couldn’t work out.

Friendship.

How do you know those guys who should just be friends? I think Drake and I made for good friends with no romantic undertone. And Austin? He has always been my friend! I mean how do you lose a friend by festering feelings that may lead nowhere?

friends and lovers
Photo Credit: quotesgram.com

I don’t have many friends. Maybe because I am not friendly enough. Oh no, that’s not the case. I am friendly and make friends easily. Sustainability. Now that’s the issue. I don’t know how to sustain such friendships. No wonder why I can’t sustain romantic relationships either.

My musings come alive when it’s raining. I want some hot chocolate and waffles. Unfortunately, I can’t have that now. I would opt for some fries but the merchants are not out yet.

The weather is comforting. Well except the mud I have to paddle through. I pray my birthday turns out well. But these days I don’t care so much for birthdays. I’m 29 already. Getting old. I should have a kid by now. Chuckles.

Kids.

They are cute when little and obedient. But soon they become little monsters running around the house. I would know this because I watched my niece grow. So adorable! Yet mischievous.

So back to the friendship thing. My mind finds it hard to understand it. I make friends with the hope that he’s the one. But soon enough I find out he isn’t and I stash them with the remaining trophies on the friendship shelf. More like a new pair of shoes to my already robust collection.

Is it wrong to date friends? Is it right to friend zone potentials? You can only have one ‘the one ‘ right? Sighs. I don’t want to be greedy. I’m known for eating my cake and having it. But I mean, I could just take a tiny bite and keep the rest.

So instead of hot chocolate for the weather, I’m having iced lemonade. At least the cold matches the cold in my heart. And the sour taste, that’s just the taste of all my broken relationships and sour friendships.

I hope Austin sends my birthday gift. Not like I need a new pair, but I just need to know he still values our friendship. It’s okay if he doesn’t. I will be fine. I never told him I broke up with Drake. Just so he wouldn’t ask me out and receive an inevitable no. If only friends will just be friends. Sighs.

It’s still raining. I need to go out. I hate being grounded. Hopefully I should be up in the air next week. India will do me good. I believe. Come away with me.

©Mfon Etuk, 2016.

Over

‘It’s over’ she screamed as she banged her bag on the coffee table right in between her boyfriend and the girl whose hands he was previously holding.

‘Babe…’ he tried to start explaining. Shock and fear registered across his face. ‘It’s not what you think it is’

‘Oh really?’ Elizabeth glared down at the other girl who seemed more interested in sipping her cup of coffee than in the ruckus ensuing.

‘She’s just my friend’ he blatantly lied to her face without blinking.

Elizabeth couldn’t believe it. The relationship had been going through ups and downs; a little more downs than ups but she was naive enough to trust him. To believe every lie he told. Until the truth broke out.

The truth, they say, sets one free. But she felt more bound than free. She desperately wanted to believe him. To forgive him. But for how long? How long would she keep patching it up before finally accepting the hard truth?

‘It’s over Sam.’

Tears stung her face as the sun tortured her on her way out of the restaurant. The little teardrops glistened as she walked briskly.

‘Lizzy, wait! It’s not over until we say it is.’

She stopped in her tracks and turned to see him on his knees with a ring in his hand. All her friends were holding up placards with the question ‘Will you marry me?’

Cut!!!

Hope you enjoyed the little piece of fiction. I intend to play around with this a bit more before the end of the challenge. Watch this space! 😉

15 down, 11 to go!

Ciao! ❤

~M.

O

 

Forsaken- Finale

4

Lisa jumped with a start as she heard her name.

She turned around but no one was in sight. The windows were slamming against each other as the rain began to pour down. She snuggled under the thin sheets but was immediately woken up by the familiar voice. In a flash, she remembered the story of Samuel and how God called him in the night time. She heaved a sigh, knowing it was totally ridiculous for God to be calling her name. He had nothing to do with her-neither did she.

She slept back for a few more minutes, shivering from the cold of the dark cell.

“Lisa.” The voice was gentle, yet firm.

“You are right where I needed you to be. Finally, you can hear me speak.” The voice continued.

She sat up, a little scared.

“Who are you?” Her voice was a mere whisper.

“I am who you say I am.” The voice replied.

She knew without doubt who it was. There had been times she heard the voice back when she still believed in its existence.

“Why did you watch them die when they loved you so much? Why didn’t you stop me from getting hurt and imprisoned?” The questions came flooding in, breaking banks.

The silence followed.

“There you go again. Bailing out from the mess you’ve put me through.” She griped.

Immediately, she was drawn to the Bible she had barely noticed on the stool at the right corner of the cell. Reluctantly, she picked it up and flipped through the soft leaflets. Finally stopping at where the book marker was. She took a deep breath as she began to read the chapter.

Why do you confuse the issue? Why do you talk without knowing what you’re talking about? Where were you when I created the earth? Tell me, since you know so much! Who decided on its size? Certainly you’ll know that! Who came up with the blueprints and measurements? 

How was its foundation poured, and who set the cornerstone, while the morning stars sang in chorus and all the angels shouted praise? And who took charge of the ocean when it gushed forth like a baby from the womb? That was me! I wrapped it in soft clouds, and tucked it in safely at night. Then I made a playpen for it, a strong playpen so it couldn’t run loose, And said, ‘Stay here, this is your place. Your wild tantrums are confined to this place.’ 

“And have you ever ordered Morning, ‘Get up!’ told Dawn, ‘Get to work!’ So you could seize Earth like a blanket and shake out the wicked like cockroaches? As the sun brings everything to light, brings out all the colors and shapes; the cover of darkness is snatched from the wicked – they’re caught in the very act! 

“Have you ever gotten to the true bottom of things, explored the labyrinthine caves of deep ocean? Do you know the first thing about death? Do you have one clue regarding death’s dark mysteries? And do you have any idea how large this earth is? Speak up if you have even the beginning of an answer. 

Do you know where Light comes from and where Darkness lives; So you can take them by the hand and lead them home when they get lost? Why, of course you know that. You’ve known them all your life, grown up in the same neighborhood with them!

Word after word, line after line, question after question. Lisa’s eyes remained glued on the words that flew out of the book. Awestruck. Tears began to flow as she read on from chapter to chapter.

“Now what do you have to say for yourself? Are you going to haul me, the Mighty One, into court and press charges?” I have some more questions for you, and I want straight answers. Do you presume to tell me what I’m doing wrong? Are you calling me a sinner so you can be a saint? Do you have an arm like my arm? Can you shout in thunder the way I can? Go ahead, show your stuff. Let’s see what you’re made of, what you can do. Unleash your outrage. Target the arrogant and lay them flat. Target the arrogant and bring them to their knees. Stop the wicked in their tracks – make mincemeat of them!

Lisa imploded, falling to her knees, sobbing hysterically. She began to recall details she had neglected as a result of her myopic vision. She remembered the unusual menstrual cramps she had the day she was to travel with her parents. She remembered how she had reacted foolishly by blaming God for the reckless oil tanker  driver that had swerved to the curb where her parents were as against having a head on collision with a School bus full of kids on the next lane. The anger she had held for so long against God began to thaw as ice.

“I’m sorry – so sorry Lord” She kept saying in between sobs.

Her body vibrated as though a defibrillator had been used on her chest, sending shock waves through her veins. Jolted. Her Spirit came alive, as though it had been dead. “Forgive me Lord” She cried from her Spirit in total repentance. Words could no longer come out of her mouth as her lips only opened and closed.

“I have long forgiven you” The voice reassured.

She felt an overwhelming sense of peace wrapping its warm hands around her like a blanket. She couldn’t remember when last she felt this safe. Cozied in the Father’s arms, she slept like a baby.

Photo credit: lovethispic.com
Photo credit: lovethispic.com

Two months later…

The criminals had been arrested and Lisa was exonerated with all charges dropped. She had returned back to church with a new sense of belonging.

In no time, she had turned her family home into an orphanage home which she called the “HOME FOR THE FORSAKEN”.

With every new life she saved, she felt more fulfilled than ever.

Photo credit: fotosearch.com
Photo credit: fotosearch.com

 (Excerpts from Job 38-41, MSG version in bold italics)

For further reading; Job 38-41 and Psalm 27

© Mfon Etuk, 2015

Forsaken 2: Night Falls

Lisa tried to adjust to the neon lights in the club a friend invited her to. She quickly spotted her friends who beckoned her to the bar. Sensitive parts of her, silently whispering enduring memories of the accident that had claimed her parents. Memories, writhed in a thorny knot inside her, struggling for expression, persistently stretching out through her mouth up into her mind so much that she didn’t need to be told to battle them back down with alcohol.

‘Give me your hardest drink!’ Lisa said to the bartender as she grabbed a stool. Throwing caution to the wind, she was set to drown her sorrows with alcohol.

Loud cheers from friends as she took the first two shots of tequila. In no time, she got into a drinking challenge with Andrew who had been watching her for a while.

‘Ten shots!’ he screamed at the bartender pointing to Lisa. ‘You win I pay’, he challenged. Shot after shot they drank with Andrew who gave up after only six shots and paid for the drinks as the challenge required.

Lisa gave a loud shout as she dropped the tenth empty glass. Her friends roared with excitement at her victorious conquest. ‘Here, take this. It takes away your worries’ Gordon, Lisa’s friend handed a pill.

‘What’s this?’ Lisa asked naively.

‘Just call her molly.’ Gordon replied with a wild grin.

The other friends laughed, knowing molly was another name for ecstasy. The drug that kept them on an all-time high.

Lisa hesitated at first until the crowd started cheering her on. Mouth open, she threw in the pill, and pushed it down with another shot of tequila which had suddenly become a pal to cherish. Grimacing, she squeezed the lime into her mouth savouring its sour taste. ‘Let’s get this party started!’ Lisa exclaimed with so much energy and enthusiasm. She had soon forgotten about the sorrow that had weighed her down for the past weeks.

Amazingly, Lisa came up with fantastic dance moves which left the crowd cheering and dancing along.

After a while, she felt lightheaded and everything seemed blurry.

‘I’ll be leaving now’ Lisa yelled across the room to her friends who couldn’t hear her against the blasting stereo.

‘Are you sure you can go on your own?’ They responded without an iota of concern.

Lisa gave a blind nod and headed toward the door. Unsure if it was a yes or no response. Bumping through people, she set out.

Lisa staggered her way home. There was no taxi in clear sight and the club wasn’t far from home she thought.

Photo credit: onlyjust21.tumblr.com
Photo credit: onlyjust21.tumblr.com

She had not gone half way when she heard deafening sounds of gunshots blazing through the dark shadowy night. For what seemed like eternity, she was frozen in her tracks. Her eyes widened as the head lamps of a getaway van flashed across her face. Piercing through her inmost consciousness. She was in trouble and her drunk head could barely think of an escape route as the Van pulled up aggressively beside her. The screeching sound of the tyres clenched by the tooth of the brakes seemed to have woken her from a distant slumber.  The back door flew open right beside her.

‘Get in!’ he yelled pointing his gun at her. His masked face got Lisa uneasy and her mind flew at a sight of his bare brawny arm. Sweat trickled down her face despite the cold wind of winter as she sat still in the back seat of the old wagon. Everything was hazy, then blank- she fell unconscious with a thud on the back seat of the van.

© Mfon Etuk, 2015