In lieu of a going year and an incoming year; and in preparation for ‘spices’ to be introduced to this blog in the incoming year, I wanna hold back till 2016 but I said ‘why not’. . . Here goes the inaugural post on the new section ‘Flash Fiction‘. . . A taste of the new experiences you might be having come 2016 on Ibukun’s Writing Lounge. . . I submitted this story for a competition some months back and it’s like an excerpt from a story I’m working on! It was after I submitted this piece that I started to develop the story. . . Enjoy!
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‘How many times have I told you to stop hiding those oranges inside that old dress of yours? Don’t you know they are like the udala fruit! Tell me, if the udala tree hides its fruit, how will passersby know when it is ripe for plucking? Huh?’
The voice of Madam Lucy echoed in my head as I stood in front of the mirror debating how to dress for the night. The fear of seeing her eyes goggled at me with her hands firmly twisting my ears made me decided otherwise.
Friday nights are not my favourite but they had become one to look forward to beyond the stench of otapiapia I had to stomach from the male customers who knew nothing but to scream Aisha, nye m ise karama otapiapia in thick Igbo accent, the uncultured men who slapped my buttock whenever I serve them drinks, the haggard-looking young ladies who made me wonder if Nigeria was reliving the Biafran war again; the ones who came flashing their brown teeth, flaunting their nipples, and sniggering at their loudest to the amusement of men who loved fondling with their nipples like it was some koko twist hairstyle.
‘Your mother was a beautiful brave woman Aisha! Very brave! At least I considered her brave for choosing me over your stepmother.’ Madam Lucy said, holding one bottle of ogogoro in one hand and a smoking pipe in the other.
‘You look so much like her and she loved your father very much you know! But she loved you more. . . I remember the night she gave birth to you, the smiles she had on her face when she named you Aisha, it was priceless! But that was all she could do, giving you a name and leaving me to raise you. Madam Lucy continued with heavy stench of booze flowing into my nostrils.
‘That was all she could do?’ I pondered in my mind. Of course, that wasn’t all she could do. I had numerous options but she decided what was best. She made the call.
‘But we had to leave Kaduna when you were 5 years old. . .’
“And why did we have to leave Kaduna when I was 5? I’d ask her. . . but her silence always left me waiting for Godot.
Madam Lucy was never one to hide the fact that she wasn’t my mother but I have heard these tales since I was 9 till I was 16; yet, my imaginations never faded. I never stopped wondering about what could have been different back then about Madam Lucy that made my mother trusted her with my innocence.
‘Was she different back in Kaduna? Did Enugu change her? Has she always been like that?’ All these questions needed answers.
The thought of who my mother was made me sick even though thanks to Madam Lucy, I knew she died when I was born and I probably still have a father but who was my mother? Was she tall? Was she plump? Who was Madam Lucy to my mother? Were they friends? Was she a stranger? No, she couldn’t have been. . .
Was my mother Igbo just like Madam Lucy? Maybe not . . . If she was Igbo, she would have named me Amaka or something else not Aisha! . . . What about my father? Was he given the chance to set his eyes on me before I was given away? Did my father wanted me? What kind of man was my father? Was he rich or poor? What would have made my mother choose Madam Lucy when she could have given me to my stepmother to raise? Do I have siblings? Was I the only child of my mother? . . . Was it impulsive that she handed me over to a woman like Madam Lucy? Did she deny me a family on purpose?. . . Was my stepmother wicked? Did my Mother think I was going to break? Maybe that was it. I chose to see it that way.
I hated my mothers guts for thinking I was weak to handle the stress that comes with living with my Father and his other wife. Maybe I would have eaten in the kitchen while the others ate in the living room, maybe I would be washing her clothes when I have assignments to do, maybe I would be hawking while her children read, but I could have handle that just like fifteen year old Chi-chi in my class. I wouldn’t have cared to sleep on the mat, I wouldn’t have cared to read through into the night just because I couldn’t during the day, I would have looked into the future and not the present.
Maybe my Father would have sent me to school or not but I would have had a family, I wouldn’t have mind sisters who laughs at me, I would have endured the discomfort for the comfort my future will bring. . . but now, I’m not less than what she thought she was preventing me from.
I hope the dust spared my mothers eyes so she could see that my udala fruit was plucked when it was still sore and had no juice. . . When it needed her rain and not the sun Madam Lucy exposed it to. I prayed she could see the sharp knives in different sizes that felt my skin to bleed and no one cared that it bled. I was just a little child caught by a web.
Maybe that wasn’t the story but how would I know when Friday nights recycled stories. I yearned for new stories; I wanted tales I wouldn’t be able to tell word for word. . . Maybe I would never get it but I would continue to mix the little drops of Otapiapia into Madam Lucy’s ogogoro every Friday night hoping for new tales.
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Who is looking forward to the plenty shades of Ibukun as a writer?Hehehehehe! I am *winks* Trust me, you can’t wait!