Tag Archive: sad

Day 20

Pie san’s day.


The confusion as the answers fade away
May the mysteries of the morrow
Be prevailed upon today

And in time The coffin beckons
And the feet hurry to go
Graying head is full of questions Heart, with maelstrom, beats below

It is weary, All is dreary
Leave desire, find your rest
Leave the chase of shady answers Never found, then lost is best

Lonely spirit, Can you feel it?
There is no one left to care
No quintessence, take your presence
Pack your longings, bring them here…

Three years today, a friend was stabbed to death over a Facebook argument. I was going to write something but i am a dry well.
I remembered this from Pie san and decided to use. I am just realising how apt this is.
This is for you, Salum Kombo.

Today’s post is by someone who would rather remain anonymous.
Do enjoy!



I read my uncle’s stories. Not Uncle Jonah, Uncle Joseph.
It gets confusing sometimes to differentiate
them in my head; all the twins I know look and think alike, even though mother says Jonah and
Joseph were as different as night and day. Mother has a folder of his stories and drawings, most of
them are from his twenties. All his teenage fiction is lost now, gone with the wind. There’s also his
diary from 2001, the one which mother took in 2002 and kept. I think I’ve read that from cover to
cover many times. Then he didn’t use so many big words and there was happier then. In one of the
pages he actually called mom and grandma hags.

Mother doesn’t talk about my Uncles Jo any more.
She doesn’t talk much, about anything. I’ve seen videos of her from younger when she wore really
small shorts and rode horses on the beach and seemed to constantly laugh at every little thing. She
isn’t that person any more. She misses them though, in her own way. The family portrait from when
they were younger doesn’t have any dust on it, unlike most things in this house.
I was tiny the last time I saw Uncle Jo, a baby really so I don’t really remember much about him.
But I know him.
I know he used to hate people shortening his name. There’s a day here, March 14, when
he got really angry because he introduced himself to a girl and she asked if she could call him Jo. He
was angry about it, his name was just two syllables, two phonetic sounds and she wanted to shorten
it to one.
People shortened his name a lot Joey, Joe, Jo, Jay; some even shortened his surname. He
felt shortening a name was robbing it of its power. Joseph meant beloved, everything else meant
nothing. He wrote that he felt guilty after, she really didn’t mean anything by that. And he’d taken
out his frustrations on her. Uncle Ed used to do that a lot, feel guilty because he stood up for himself.
I think he was a coward or too sensitive, most times a mixture of both.

I know uncle Jo felt under pressure, much like I feel. It’s a different kind of pressure from the one I
feel but at least the effect is the same. Pressure not to disappoint. Constant anxiety, its like this
physical thing, your heart in your mouth, sweaty armpits and hours trying not to rationalize the things
you’ve done, looking for mistakes in them.
Mine is from being the only child mother has. Her greatest legacy. Mother is a very hands-on person in her life. And she believes in results, that the work should be done in secret and the results presented like a magician’s show, so it appears effortless,
apparently plucked out of thin air. She is that way with her work. And she is that way with me.
At home I can be petulant and sad and needy and whiny, at home I’m allowed to have emotions. But
outside, in the company of strangers I’m only allowed one; serenity.
Smile to older strangers, walk slowly at the buffet table, even though I can people taking second and third helpings, eating my
plate covered with small clumps of remnant food scraped from the edges of the serving trolleys with
a demure happy smile.
The happy child.
Uncle Joe was the good middle child. Every other role was taken, stuck-up first born, sadist spoilt last born. Mom and his brother fought constantly for
grandma’s attention and in all the noise, his own rebellions seemed small, a welcome relief. So he
stopped trying and started writing and drawing; eventually he had to choose. He chose drawing and
dropped the diaries.

The pressure is pretty bad on most days but I think I have it better than he did.
I’m not being ignored by mother at least not as badly as he was.
I wish I could write like he did. But I’m already in my teens and the gift hasn’t been passed down.
Maybe his was like a disease that snuck into his body undetected because of all the activity that
puberty brought on, and when everything settled, his Immune system worked through and found it
and neutralized it. Or maybe he gave up one medium of expression for another.
His pictures are beautiful. They are of dark things, but beautiful none the less.

There’s this particular one, inspired by this song he loves. It’s a girl on a bridge, leaning forward and looking over, at a much smaller
reflection of herself, rippling in the dark still river. The girl in the water is not looking back at her, instead she is looking at her hands, which are cupped together holding a dandelion. She is smiling, happy and oblivious to black murky water that surrounds her. The girl on the bridge is leaning so far
out that its certain she’ll fall.
The girl in the water looked like mom and the girl on the bridge had Uncle Jo’s hair. When mother first saw it, she stood there, in the gallery full of white walls and stared at it as her tears fell.
I cried too.
I don’t know why.
Maybe because the girl in the water was already so happy she didn’t care about the girl on the bridge. Perhaps it was because I knew only a truly sad
person could create something like that. Something so ominous an yet so simple. Or maybe I just felt
jealous and somewhat protective of the girl in the water; she was happy, but her happiness was
dependent on the girl on the bridge, if the girl on the bridge walked away, she would just cease to
You are the girl on the bridge, leaning out too far, hoping to catch a glimpse of a part of you that is
truly happy and oblivious to everything around her. Drifting away slowly, cradling what remains of
your innocence in her palms.
You will fall.
That’s the only way you become the girl in the water.
Uncle Jo fell.
And his paintings and stories took on a life of their own.
I’ve been leaning over, reluctantly, looking for her. But so far, all I have seen is myself.


*Sigh* 🙂

What the Water Gave Me

The world’s a beast of burden
You’ve been holding on a long time
And all this longing…
Would you have it any other way?
You couldn’t have it any other way…
Lay me down
And let the only sound
Be the overflow…
What The Water Gave Me – Florence + The Machine

So cold, it makes me so alive…

The frigid water invades the frayed faux-leather of my snakeskin boots as I wade a step deeper. It swirls around my exposed calves and swishes in between my toes, coaxing me in ever so slowly. My mascara begins to run as the tears come; trickles at first and then bursting into small torrents of regret and relief. I am finally going to do it. I’m finally going to be free of this constant static in my head.

The water’s come up to my knees. The pebbles have given way to marshy silt that squelch with each step, sucking my feet in. Each step is slightly harder as I wade deeper. I can see lights on the other side, winking off and on, almost beckoning. Swim across, they seem to say, leave your past on yonder shore and start afresh. It is tempting, so beguiling, to just let a swim cleanse me. But I cannot undo the mistakes that have littered my path here, and I will not forgive the hurts that have crippled my soul and brought it to its knees.

The slightly browning cloud of disturbed filth advances before me like a herald. The cold numbs the stinging on my buttocks and upper thighs, the ‘not so little’ scratches; his little gift to me. I feel almost cheated, the stinging had kept me sane, kept from screaming the horror that clouded my judgement as he pushed me into the alley and put the knife to my neck. I whimpered as he groped for my lace panties, tearing them off to put his filthy fingers into me, checking if I was ready like I was some sort of oven. He took me violently on the cobbled street. He made me look at him as he used me, glorying in my filmy eyes and quivering lip as I tried my best not to cry. He didn’t bother to close his fly; just withdrew when he was done and crawled off me.
“Consider this pro-bono.” He cackled before he turned and ran away.
It wouldn’t have hurt as much if he’d buried the blade in my side. To him; I wasn’t even human, it wasn’t any different from jimmying a vending machine. He isn’t the first to dehumanise me, but he will definitely be the last.

Walking is almost torturous now. Each step drags me deeper into the mire as the added weight from the circle of weights tied to my waist causes my feet to sink deeper. Just like how each time made me lose a little more hope that I’d ever get out.
“You’re pretty as a button,” Lucinda would say, “not an old hag like me hiding behind a wall of makeup.
“All the pretty ones get out. You will too.”
But instead, each one dragged me deeper down, adding to my despair. One or two came along throwing me little buoys of niceties. A warm bed, a hot meal, intellectual discourse. And just when my fingers began to grasp, they sailed away. Lucinda’s words would haunt me,
“Paste on that smile like you’re in a pageant, treat them well; even the bastards. Someone will notice you… eventually.”

The small eddies break around my breasts. The tissue paper filling the pockets of space in my brassiere soak and float to the surface, and slowly drift away. My small breasts swim in the now empty bra and a wistful laugh gurgles out of me. What am I, if not a walking irony. A voracious reader whose reading habits started because she snuck off to libraries so she could sleep in peace and quiet. A child navigating an unforgiving world in nothing but garish makeup,oversized underwear and undersized clothes; a depressed prostitute tottering in heels, a dreamer living a nightmare.

A scream escapes as the silt gives way beneath my feet. It is quickly silenced by a mouthful of water. My legs kick involuntarily to propel me upwards, a skill drilled into me from childhood lessons at the community pool. I rise a little, then sink interminably slow. The air rushes out of my lungs in a flurry of bubbles. I gasp and water rushes in to fill the void. My arms flap wildly and my chest heaves as it tries to fight me, but neither of us are winning. I tire quickly and the involuntary flailing stop and in a moment of unprecedented clarity, I can see beyond my melancholy. The beauty of weightlessness, my body and all it’s scars, testimonies to my torment, naught but an afterthought. Is this what peace is like? Is this what I have been searching for?


This therapeutic writing was brought to you by my partner in crime, amongst other things, @edgothboy.
Show some love 🙂


For the thirteenth time, I replay the song, allowing the melody, wash over me like a refreshing shower of rain. With every high note the singer hits, my mind sways. It has to be done. Its my only way forward. My only way to break away.
She’s partly right.
I’m nobody.
I’m not free.

“You’re nobody and you’re not free, to sacrifice yourself to hope, to escape…”

I’ve tried.
My life so far has been nothing but a pawn in a badly played chess game in the incompetent hands of whatever Being bored enough to play with me.
My mother died birthing me.
I had no father; at least that was what my birth certificate said.
I was called Chioma. By whom, I have no idea.
Good God.
Was He? Was He really?
The only family I knew were other children, lost as I was in a world we had no business being in. Victims of circumstances. At least I was not abandoned in a bin. This I told myself, nights after the older children bullied me. I had someone. She only died. Ah. I was young then. I had nothing. She would have thrown me away like other young mothers, given the chance. I didn’t have a father after all. Who wants a child with no father in this society?
I was the quiet one. The weak one. The one that cried at every little thing. The ugly one. The slow one. The dumb one.  Our minders said it was a harsh world out there. It was hard to imagine then, considering the fact that life in the orphanage was terrible.
Harsh world out there. I had been thrown into that harsh world. I turned eighteen and was therefore an adult.
I cannot escape it.
Other younger ones envied me.
You’d be free.
No I wouldn’t.
I’m nobody.
I have no voice.
I’m a stranger in my own land.

“Nobody is your name, in an eternal search of a meaning that would fade soon…”

Have you any ambitions? What do you have in mind?
I stared at the Matron.
Yes, yes I do. I want to be a scholar. I want to get a degree. I want to be a historian. I want to be everything I read in books and see in the occasional movies.
Of course  I did not say it aloud.
I’d have been laughed at.
You barely passed JSCE. You have no WAEC result to speak of. A scholar? Pah! You’re not smart. An apprenticeship is what you should aim for.
I knew I wasn’t smart but she asked what I had in mind didn’t she?

“In a weird slavery, with a book in your hands and a lot of ideas in your head that you can shout in the wind but you’re Nobody and nobody will hear you…”

An apprentice at a hairdressing salon is what I’ve become. You’re lucky to be here. This is just a favour to your Matron. Watch and learn the trade, my Madam told me. I watch people with lives come in. They nag about jobs, school, husbands. I watch in my little corner,  in my old okirika clothes, hanging off my thin frame. No one pays me any attention. I’m not taught anything. The others are. I have no natural abilities like they do. Their hands can move at unnatural speeds while my hand works are sloppy at best. Nobody wants me near them. You smell.  They’d turn their nose up at me. I’m That girl. I have no name. I’m nobody.

“You’re nobody and you’ll be alone till your future won’t be written ’cause you smell of stranger in your own land”

It’s a Sunday and my Madam and her children are gone to church. I stumbled upon her son’s listening device. I press a random button and the song comes on.
I’ve been sitting here for a long while, on the floor of his dirty bedroom, listening to the woman speak to me.
I have done nothing today.
My madam would be vexed.
It wouldn’t matter anyway.
Slowly, I get up, shaking off the cramps in my legs.
She’s partly right.
I’m nobody but I will be free.


Madam came home to meet their house help, Chioma, hanging from a badly tied noose in the living room. She let out a surprised yelp, quickly shepherding her children out of the house before they saw her. “Call the driver” she instructed her eldest son, going back to the living room.

She looked at the tongue protruding from an ugly face she had always tolerated barely. She sighed in revulsion

“Stupid girl”



Phantom: I had not planned on writing anything new for a while but this song (Nobody-Ravenscry) was driving me insane. I feared I’d do something stupid if I didn’t write something down. Pardon me if it is less than satisfactory. Therapeutic writing I’m afraid.

Story of my life.

Daddy see!
I made it for you in class.
We did poh-tewy.
Do you like it?
Do you love me now?

Daddy see!
I used the poh-ty to poo.
I am now a big girl.
Daddy do you love me now?

Daddy if I finish my vegetables
And eat my fruits
Would you love me then?

Daddy I got an A in Math
My teacher says I’m a good singer
And I can join the choir
Daddy would you come watch?
Do you love me now?

Daddy I got straight A’s in my GCSE.
I have a chance at Oxford after college.
I would be a Doctor.
Would you love me then?

Daddy I got into Oxford!
I’m going to get a First class!
Daddy I’m going to be big
Do you love me now?

Daddy I’ve got a job!
I also get a house and a car.
Daddy see my adorable boyfriend!
He’s awesome like you!
Do you love me now?

Daddy I’m trying so hard!
Why won’t you love me?
I love you daddy!
Is it so hard to love me back?

the end


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