Category: friends


Saving Ruth


Hello!
A damsel brought an interesting story as an offering and today, we feast.
Warm welcome to Oluchi as she takes the helm today!
Enjoy.

SAVING RUTH

I knew that something bad had happened when Melissa barged into our chemistry class agitated, trying to control her stammering as incomprehensible words came pouring out of her mouth. She was trembling and tried to hold herself up, gripping with her left hand a rusty bar handle connected to the wall by the door. Mrs Aide looked up at me, and then at Melissa when her words started to make sense.

“It’s Ru.. Ruth. Sh.. She’s g-g-going to jump! She’s at the roof top and sh-sh-she’s going t-t-to jump!”

It felt like I would have a bowel movement the moment I stood up from the wooden chair I had been plastered to for the past hour, but I fought the urge to run into the restroom for fear of letting another delicate moment slip by. I could feel everybody’s reaction in the room, how their roaming eyes finally came to find solace on me. It’s obvious what I must do, I thought as I made my way quickly through the jam-packed chairs, avoiding the barrage of scouring curious eyes that followed my movement. I fought surprisingly for air which seemed to be lacking in the classroom all of a sudden. It was yet another day, another hour to allow my thoughts be completely overshadowed by Ruth’s being.

I did not bother to catch a glimpse of anyone staring or solicit their help because I knew they would only avoid my gaze like shrinking cowards. Our classmates had become accustomed a caitiff lifestyle when it came to dealing with Ruth, who could now be identified as the girl with “many problems”. They were so completely void of the mental bravery it took to read her foreign character so because it was easier, they avoided her like a deadly taboo instead. Had Ruth not been the type to sit at the back of the class and pay attention to no one but the lines in the books she studied so profoundly, maybe she would have more friends. Had she not been so obsessed with her solitude and launched a safe spot at the very end of the cafeteria to eat quietly like a little mouse, had she been like every other normal girl in class – then maybe they would have embraced her. She was still the smartest girl I had ever met and had a mind so easy to get lost in because it went on forever. After years of having to deal with listening to contents of her suicidal thoughts, I could not believe It was finally coming to reality. (Actually I could, I would be crazy to act surprised). It almost felt like I had waited and primed myself for this day.

The whole class was right behind me as I ran down the hall way and it was certainly not because they cared. Our blue checkered dresses flapped quietly behind us as we made our way down the corridor, shoes click-clacking noisily against the hard concrete floors. I went up the stairs as fast as I could, hoping over extra steps to increase my pace and simultaneously trying to null out the queasy whispering voices behind me. I would have turned around to ask that everyone shut their mouth up had it not been for the way my heart banged with worry and my head spun with confusion. Why would Ruth do this to me today?

I got to the top of the roof and pushed the door open. A generous puff of dust rose and clouded my vision along with that of the twenty other girls behind me. I heard a couple of people cough lightly as I walked right through the wall of dust that stood as a barrier between me and the girl whose body outline I could now make out. Her hair that was neatly cornrowed to the back in five sections glistened against the sunlight and her glasses sat uncomfortable on her nose like an unbalanced see-saw  Her slender neck grew an inch longer when she exhaled nervously and turned around carefully on the constricting cement ridge that created a barrier between the roof and the open 10 feet below us. I studied her skinny body, the way her arms folded across her chest as if she were cold or in want of a hug. Her eyes caught my attention and I remembered the disconcerting nickname she had gotten from our classmates, “the frog princess”. They were an oval bulging of irrevocable beauty that could see past the physical, and so they sat gracefully beneath her dark scruffy eyebrows. I couldn’t understand why she wouldn’t come to recognize how unnaturally beautiful her perceived ugly was.

We were both 15 and in high school. She was everything that I wasn’t and that was okay. I had been willing to accept her that way so I wondered for a minute why she would resort to this. Was I not good enough?

I walked up to her and in a bold step of faith raised my arm up, my hand extended as I beckoned for hers with pleading eyes. There was no rue in hers like there usually would be when she talked about self-destruction and made me upset. This time, it was dark and completely flushed. And I could not read it.

“Come down. Please. We can work this out. Whatever it is, we can talk about it. I am here for you.”

“No.” she shook her head slowly and then unfolded her arm, letting them fall to her side before lifting her right arm to show me her wrist. On it were little horizontal scrapes heavy with concealed stories from her past, days when she found comfort in hurting and healing under the cuts of her razor blade. There was a new bruise and I could tell it was barely a day old. The effect of seeing it again made my body feel like it was being pulled down to the earth by gravity.

“Please..” my voice trailed off all of a sudden and I was short of words. It was unusual and very unlikely that something like this would happen to me but I had truly not had anything else to say. Somehow I had managed to use up all the little tricks (I shouldn’t call them tricks) in my books and I was left with nothing. My mind had become a hollow land for little unwanted demons to dance in and I felt like they were mocking me. I felt defeated but I knew that I had to save Ruth again, from herself and from the rest of the world. She would one day prove to them that she was more than just a displaced eldritch; she was smart and funny and could make beautiful rainbows out of skittles.

And so I did what most people would not have expected me to do. I heard Mrs Aide’s midget outcry when I made to climb onto the ridge and stand with Ruth. It was so narrow that I wondered how I would manage to get on there and still maintain a calm conduct. Ruth looked panic-stricken as she watched me mount steadily, my whole body a spiral of trembles. She told me to stop, urged me to go back down. I told her no. I was assertive or at least I tried to sound like it.

“What’s it going to be Ruth? If you’re sure this is what you want, I am one hundred percent on your side. But you gotta be sure. And I’ll do this with you. Like I always promised. I’ll always be here for you.”

“Why are you doing this?” her eyes welled up. “Don’t do this.”

“I would do this, and a whole lot more. I would do anything for you.”

I held on to her for support and hoped the steady physical bond we had now created would grant me some sort of mental stability as well. I was now swimming in a well of trepidation and imagined my classmates to be little starved alligators waiting to devour me. Devour us. Give up now Ruth, i thought to myself. You have to save us now.

I was waiting for her to give in. The whole class was in a bubble of chaos now. I saw a girl, Sarah, fall lazily unto the ground and remain there motionless. It took me a minute to realize she had just fainted. Timid Lara went to the corner of the worn out wall that led back into the school and sat on the floor to cry. There seemed to be a lot of disarray and sensed anxiety from this group that once treated my friend like an unwanted pariah. I wanted to blame them for this and for everything. Mrs Aide was now shouting on the phone, supposedly to a man that identified himself as the head of security. I couldn’t make out her words, I couldn’t make out anyone’s thoughts. I didn’t want to care about anyone of them at that point. I just wanted my friend down and safe.

“I’m tired. I’m tired of it all. I don’t want to live in this world anymore. Please”

The way she begged me to let her do as she pleased, to let her die at the hands of these monsters made me angry. I wanted her to know I was worth staying back for, no matter how selfish that sounded, I wanted her to love me enough to want to be alive for me.

“Then we go together. You and I. We go now. We jump now and all this is over. But you can’t go without me. Do as you please but take me with you.”

Good. I saw her shaking her head and I knew that this would all be over soon. A gentle breeze blew across our faces, and then a little stronger but I clung tight to her and tried not to look down. I could now hear the sound of obnoxious distracting voices from the bottom. I could make out a woman’s deep-chested screaming like a mother hen who just lost her babies. There was a lot of racket around us now from different angles – from every corner that surrounded us. The security guards had arrived, three lousy looking scrawny men charred from the burning rays of our hot sun and sweating like labouring African slaves. They sounded so barbaric that I could not make out a word of what they were saying. My eyes were fixed on Ruth.

“Let’s come down.” she said.

I had agreed. I mean, I remember nodding my head in agreement as a pool of tears finally let loose across my cheeks. I remember squeezing her hands tightly like I would on a sweet juicy orange, trying to relish as much of it as possible. I remember looking right into her eyes, appreciating the love that she had shown me and in return loving my sister more. I remember reaching across to put my hands around her neck — but you see, I shouldn’t have done that. I got lost in the surreality of my our accomplishment that I forgot about the one little detail that should have had me at my toes. Had I not so desperately tried to tune it all out, I wouldn’t have completely disregarded how narrow that ridge had been – how unbelievably hairlike the line between life and death was.

I did lose my balance but I made sure Ruth stayed standing, living. I was fast enough to give her an unfaltering push onto safe grounds when I realized what was happening. As luck would have it, the event seemed to take place in slow motion which gave me enough time to think and realize that every thing happening and yet to happen was as a result of chance. I hadn’t been sure I would fall over the roof to the ground and have my body shattered like a fumbled bowl of overripe tomatoes but I had promised as I shoved Ruth that I would make it in time to save myself before the dilatory period was over. I knew it might or might not happen.

I let myself believe it didn’t matter as I staggered in utter apprehension to regain my balance. I let myself believe that the goal had always been to save Ruth, and it had been accomplished. The last thing I heard was her screeching bawl and my thin outcry. What must have followed when I drifted into complete oblivion were the cries of the hundreds of people that met my body as it landed on the rocky granite with a loud earth-shaking thud.

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And there you have it!
Please the writer has requested for feedbacks on the story so do endeavour to leave comments letting her know what you liked (and didn’t like maybe?).
Hope you all have a great weekend!
Jana!

Stakes


Hey!
Dionysus is here to take us all on a ride.
Sit tight!
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STAKES

Tell me what it means to die, for I cannot tell if I am alive. The wind glides through the hair on my skin and massages my pores.
The streets are never quiet; vehicles always screaming at the top of their lungs.
I smell the litter of waste and I taste the numbness of my soul. I got my last cash and I’m going in for a gamble.
Life is all about choices …or is it?
Is life not better if there was no such thing as having to choose? In between the alternatives, I see no light, no breath of fresh air.
Both paths ultimately lead to my misery
I change my last cash to coins and I am ready for my last encounter with ‘Chance’.
I see 3 slot machines right in front of me. Written on the first one..‘FAME WITH PAIN’..
Written on the second one.. ‘ALONE WITH PLEASURE’..
Written on the third one.. ‘PERFECTLY MEDIOCRE’..
I look at the 3 options and a plethora of thoughts flood my head. I look at the coins in my hand and not only do I have to make this difficult decision, I also have to gamble. This means that even after I choose to follow 1 out of these 3 fucked up choices, I am not still sure of getting there.
I insert a chip into ‘FAME WITH PAIN’.. I pull the lever and the apparatus in the machine starts to roll.
The first one shows a bag of money, the second one shows legs and red high heels, the third one shows a skull with two bones underneath..
5 coins left.. I insert another coin inside FAME WITH PAIN, Yacht/ Yacht / Cuban Cigar..
4 coins left.. I tell myself maybe FAME WITH PAIN isn’t for me or is it? What if I had more coins and kept playing? I used to have a lot more coins before but I gambled and lost it all. What if I just focused all my coins on 1 machine instead? Would I have gotten it? I guess I will never know
I insert a coin into ALONE WITH PLEASURE.. The apparatus rolls and the first thing that comes up is a Book. The second thing that shows is XXX. The third thing that shows is Drugs.
3 coins left… Damn.. I try again with ALONE WITH PLEASURE.. Facebook / Headphones / Food
I’m running out of coins and I’m getting anxious.
I wasn’t this anxious and restless when I had 6 coins.
I feel uneasy and tense, like karma is against me.
I feel I should take my last 2 coins and fade away into oblivion but again, that voice keeps telling me, “THis is the One, This is the One”..
PERFECTLY MEDIOCRE is the last machine I am left with and another voice tells me “Do I really want this”.
Still another voice tells me “If you don’t try, you can never win”.
Why should I try to be something less than the nothing that I am?
Fuck it..
*Inserts Coin into PERFECTLY MEDIOCRE*
Office / Marriage / School
*Inserts Last Coin into PERFECTLY MEDIOCRE*
Golf / Golf / Television
NO! I’m out of coins!.. I don’t fit into FAME WITH PAIN, neither do I fit in to ALONE WITH PLEASURE OR PERFECTLY MEDIOCRE.. I’m lost, an outcast, ostracized..
 NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!..
But wait…. I look at the casino and then a sudden flash of truth hits me right in the middle of my forehead; An epiphany!
I see the slot machines standing on the Casino floor. I see other people gambling. I see them smiling even though I cannot hear what they are saying. I am alone, no one notices me.
I see all these things and they exist in this big nothingness inside the casino. The people are there because of the big nothing that surrounds the place.
I am nothing therefore I am bigger than something.
I live underground and like a thief, I come out only when I need something from society. When I’m done, I go back underground, to my state of nothingness.
I smash the 3 slot machines with my fist and everybody pauses to offer me ‘the stare’.
Ever done something bad and then people stand still and look at you without blinking? What is the aim of that?
Am I meant to feel threatened by your glance?
I zip down and start peeing on the slot machines and they start to look away as if in shame before security comes to throw me out.
As I sit on the floor outside the casino, I realise something very profound. All those people who saw me break the slot machines and pee on them, what do you think they’d talk about when they leave the casino?
I stimulate their boring lives.
I’d be that ‘crazy guy that peed on the floor’ and they would all label me crazy but deep down inside, covered under layers and layers of repression, they all wished they were as free as me to do what I just did.
I am not free but they think I am.
I ain’t crazy but they think I am.
I am a slave.
I am a slave to nothing.
They are a slave to something.
Nothing holds me captive and whatever I do, I feel the need to retreat back to nothing.
I am indebted to nothing like Stockholm syndrome.
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Interesting read for me.
Now a question. If you ad to choose between Fame/Pain, Alone/Pleasure and Perfectly Mediocre, what would you go for and why?
Let’s here it!
And a big thank you to Dionysus as always!

We’d be back on Friday with a story from yours truly, ME!
He He He.

*set to In The End by Vanessa Carlton*

The keys black and white, like him and her.

His ochre skin glistened with sweat as he thrust into her, over and over. She arched her back into him, crying furiously as he took her. She wrapped her hand around his neck and squeezed, her wiry fingers compressing his windpipe with unnatural strength. Her eyes were sad, but they shone with a preternatural light as his thrusts intensified with the tightening of her fingers. He began to gasp as her body began to spasm under him and he buried himself deep into her, his outstretched arms  rested on flat palms on either side of her face. In a mindless lust filled haze, she bucked and was rewarded with a resounding snap. His head lolled and his arms gave way, his naked body collapsing onto hers. She wrapped her hands around his torso and cried softly, the relief of taking a life washing over her, silently savouring the warmth leave his body and the gentle weight that slowly grew on her as his blood stopped to flow and his limbs turned to lead.

It took ten minutes for his body to transmute from healthy ochre to a sickly ash and she laid under him through it all, arms wrapped around his neck, legs spread beneath him. With some effort she crawled out from under him, the smell of death upon her. It is just as it should be, she thought to herself, walking through the dimly lit belfry towards the little square of light cast by the moon through the stained glass window. The kaleidoscope of colours bathed her pale skin in the glorious hues, a mockery of the blackness she was inside. Her youthful skin, milky white in spite of the years she spent in the desert sun, playing away the beautiful concertos that she had longed to play in the darkened halls with beautiful high ceilings. Her breasts blue and yellow from the light cast by the robes and cherubic face of the Christ child, they had stayed small as they were when He first fondled them in that back alley, when he made her spirit soar and her skin flush with light and her womb bloom with his seed. Her flat belly was the cream of the sheep that lay beside the manger, the fertile pudgy sheep that bowed its head in adoration of the child. Hers would never rise, never. He’d taken that from her because she took his seed away from him. The only thing that continued to thrive was her raven hair falling to her plump buttocks, hiding the scars of her trysts with Him as He prod her over and over, every season she sook him out to lay with her.  He’d obliged her each time, but he forbade her to look upon his beautiful face, bent her over and took her, sinking his claws into the small of her back and raking deep gouges that took a year to heal. He thought he was punishing her, but she knew better, he was the only one who could hurt her and pain was better than the numbness she felt.

He would ask her to play for Him wherever they met, in a crowded market or a dingy slum or an upscale hotel. It never mattered to him how many would die after. It never did.

“I have missed my violin, Tana.” He would say. “Play me a little piece? I want to hear if he has been tuned and oiled like you promised.”

She would play, from mournful to joyous, from jubilant to brooding, astute to languid, and they paused  where the music carried. Young, old, beautiful, juvenile; it didn’t matter to Tana Brooks’ violin. They would stop in their tracks and gather around her, transfixed by the sounds her bow wrought. He would disappear into the mist as he always did, smiling at his creation. She would play as long as they wished her to, minutes, hours, even days. She would tap out melodies that reminded suited business men of their childhood dancing to folk songs and they would dance in helpless abandon while she cried for now she was so in tune with the violin she could see the deaths that would come for them. Eventually they would all get sated with her and as a swarm they would disappear to their deaths and leave her with the burden of being judge and executioner. And she would disappear until, her scars healed and compulsion drew her to seek Belial again.

“Doh! Doh! Doh!” came the melodious whisper from the aged piano in the corner. Tana shook herself from her reverie and noticed the light was much stronger now; she had stood there for hours. She turned to the sound and a smile parted her lips. Ashy and stiff, he perched naked on the tiny stool that faithfully stood beside the crumbling piano hidden in the darkened corner of the room, his frozen fingers picking notes of a child’s lullaby. His neck jutted out an angle and his glassy eyes stared into the dark but he didn’t need to see the keys to play. She stood in the light and watched in awe as his skin regained its lustre and his joints became fluid once again, his neck slowly inching its way back up, righting his head full of curly hair. She saw it every other night, but each time he rose from where they had coupled and healed, it awed her over again. He turned his now straight head at her and smiled ruefully, seguing from the jaunty march he had been playing into a languid waltz. Play with me, his eyes pleaded.

Tana picked her violin from where she’d laid it by the window sill and tightened the frogs. She tested a few notes ensuring her notes rang true to his, and plunged herself into the music; following his lead, complementing his dips and shoring the silences between his transitions. They played so beautifully, two angels of death, harbingers of doom, cursed by their chance meetings with Lilith and Belial to wreak death in all they did. She played the half tones that her heart had longed to sing and the dirges she couldn’t play at the funerals of all the people she’d loved from afar and watched slip into darkness and he played the grand hymns he had dreamed of subsuming himself in at the cathedral where he had grown up, on the colossus of an organ behind which he had prayed for eighteen years tightening screws and waiting for his turn to glory in its melodies. Lilith found him and cursed his eyes to stay forever open and his hands to freeze in death each time he ever played for another’s entertainment, she’d taken all he cared for away from him on a petulant whim.  She was his salvation and he her companion, the perfect waltz, the girl on the violin and the boy on the piano.

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This piece was written in 45 minutes as an imagined sequel to the  epic Girl On The Violin (read it here) set to the haunting song In the End by Vanessa Carlton. Our boy on the piano is none other than Johnny Depp. I hope I did justice to Tana Brooks. Shalom.

On Fathers


For Paternak

A father’s day post is sort of impromptu but the muse moves and I must obey. Its hard being a man, so many rules, so many constraints, so many expectations. The rules change right before your very eyes and your actions have such far reaching consequences it is almost paralyzing. Sometimes its easy to forget that men are human too, as flawed and weak as the women we love and care for, conceive and raise. Many are too weak to stay, some get swept away under the intensities of life. A father is charged with protecting his spawn, defending them and instilling values into them, being the voice of unwavering authority, the facilitator and fixer upper. In all this, the father is somehow expected to know that he should be gentle and kind, find a way to show unconditional love and instill so much trust in his child that nothing is too much to be shared. Some fathers are lucky enough to strike a natural balance but some fathers end up going to extremes. Having had quite a few intense friendships, I have seen first hand how hard it is to be there unconditionally without murking up your principles or becoming a yes man.

I grew up with two fathers, intriniscally the same but vastly different in their approach to life and love. And I have inherited traits from both, some which I fight and some which I emulate. But today’s post is not about me or my childhood but about the people I hold dear. There’s this girl I know, who has had to be her own father because the depression she struggles with every single day is too much for a single mother with three other children to bear. Somehow she still finds the strength to be there for others, share a smile and a word of advice for those who needs it. She has her down days when she privately retreats and fights the voices in her head, but she always come out stronger because she knows there are others who are weaker than she is, people she needs to be strong for. There’s this boy I know who has had to live through the deaths of the patriachs in his family and the void their absence created, yet somehow he still looks out for the best in others, even the self destructive ones. He gives all for his friends, never afraid to be the voice of dissent or the one who won’t toe the line everyone else is. People think of him as reclusive or elitist but he doesn’t let the chatter worry him, he is confident in who he is and isn’t afraid to live as his values dictate. I know this man who is ever cheerful and willing to make a new friend, willing to offer a word of advice from his vast experience and be a shoulder when it is needed. Sometimes his ‘cheerfulness’ irritates me and I withdraw but just knowing that he’ll listen is a comfort. There’s this friend of mine whose weaknesses remind me that people are flawed, he is so smart and insightful but has these moments of selfishness that make me realise how human we really are. How flawed men can be if we don’t check ourselves every single day we are awake. These are some of the people I consider my ‘fathers’.
I want children. I have always loved them from when I was three and forever trying to carry my much larger twin brother on my back because I was ‘older’ than him by ten minutes. I have had many opportunities to ‘parent’ a lot of my cousins and aunt’s children and I have come to appreciate the priviledge and responsibility it is to bring a child into the world. A baby is not something you can carry for a few hours and hand over when it begins to cry from a bout of colic. A child is not drycleaning that you can drop off and pick a few days later all rid of its acquired flaws. A teenager will always return home like a homing pigeon when he/she has stirred up trouble you had no hand in starting. Coupled with the horrific stories I see and hear, I am more and more humbled by what it takes to raise a child you can be proud of. I’ve seen first hand how teenagers can wake up one morning and rebel so completely they break your heart, how you can raise a child who turns out so socially inept you start to ask questions and prod them to do things you should be normally be preventing them from doing; how some children can live multiple lives and fool you so completely that when you eventually catch on, its too late to help. Being a parent is hard, but being a ‘great’ father is something few will achieve. So I salute the ones who try and I empathize with the ones who fall along the way, Fatherhood is a journey that starts every morning and is travelled every single day.

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