I am back after a long hiatus and I will explain better in a separate post as to why I have been absent; my apologies! In the meantime, I have included an excerpt from a short story that I penned. I am posting it before it’s too late to change my mind haha.
Things Fall Apart – that was the name of her favourite book as a child. Things Fall Apart…Roisha enunciated each word slowly, her voice almost an inaudible whisper like she was being forced to give a sordid account of a dirty little secret. How could the name of the book escape her? It was critical that she included this significant detail in her mother’s eulogy so that they would see that behind that beguiling exterior, lived an intelligence that had the power to astound, a wisdom that transcended anything humanly possible. Instead she choked; her memory letting her down as so many had done before.
The eulogy would be rendered useless of course, the degradation of her mother’s reputation now complete. What should have been an opportunity for vindication, exonerating her mother’s name of the shameful words that had become synonymous with it – Itunuoluwa, had certainly gone amiss. Itunuoluwa – ‘consolation or comfort from God. Roisha scoffed at the mere thought of it. She certainly didn’t feel comforted, the gravity of all that had occurred bringing a premature weariness to her face.
They had called her mother all kinds of names before she died and Roisha doubted that they would relinquish themselves of this duty now that she was no more. She had to hand it to them however; they had put on quite the performance this afternoon. Wailing and screaming at the top of their lungs, faltering at the sound of her name. Roisha had barely said two words before Aunty Mercy collapsed haphazardly into her husband’s arms, their arms and legs an entangled mess. Mummy Toba, the eldest of her mother’s two sisters let out a shrill cry that neither resembled human nor animal.
‘God knows best Remi; God knows best.’ Mummy Toba was the first to approach her as Roisha descended from the stage, Aunty Mercy following closely behind. Mummy Toba brushed her corrugated palm across Roisha’s cheek ensuring that she was in full view of the congregation. Roisha hated when she called her Remi and Mummy Toba knew this and played on it like an experienced pianist. ‘Thank you’ was all Roisha could muster.
She searched Mummy Toba’s eyes looking desperately for any sign of remorse but detected none; bar the tears, her eyes were as they had always been – steely and piercing. Mummy Toba drew Roisha close to her chest, the distinct smell of rob threatening to consume her. ‘What a child cannot see standing up, an adult can see sitting down. Stay in your lane my dear, stay in your lane.’ Mummy Toba whispered quietly enough for anyone within earshot not to hear but loudly enough for Roisha to understand the message loud and clear; the brutality of it settling in her spirit…