NOT BROKEN

dropping ink

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We stared at each other for a while. He smiled, but I turned my face away. Why did he bother to come for my birthday party? He had on a black turtle neck, a blue jean, and a black sneaker. I could see the other girls throwing glances his way, and I wondered if they were attracted to his light skin. Else, what is there about Demola for girls to get their eyes employed? Anyways, mother once said that familiarity breeds contempt. I was not just familiar with Demola, he was a huge part of a fresh memory.

My cousin had invited some of her friends, and they were seated at the extreme of the museum hall, as well as Demola. A friend of hers slightly raised her dress as she made an attempt to get his attention. It was so irritating. I scanned the small hall with my eyes, in search of Ferdinand. He promised to be here for my party; he used to be my crush before I and Demola got into a relationship. I had wanted him to date me at that time, but there was this other girl he won't stop talking about whenever we were conversing. It broke my heart, until Demola came along.

We met at an event where well doing business men came to share their success stories with all those in business/those who wanted to venture into one. Demola sat beside me, but my eyes were glued to my phone and I said nothing to him after answering his question of “what time is this event scheduled for?” I told him it was meant to begin by 2pm but the host was waiting for more people to come. He hated that he was waiting for people who could not keep to time, and said he would not have considered them if he was the convener. I had nurtured the idea of leaving at first, but if I was ever going to be a successful entrepreneur, I had to learn patience.

And so I waited, It was quite a great event in the end. I was the first to leave the hall, as I was not in a mood for networking. Few steps to the gate, he called my name from behind. I slowly turned around as I wondered who it was, I didn’t expect to see any familiar face at all. He walked up to me and started up a conversation. I love intelligent individuals, I was soon carried away as he knew so much about all the things he spoke about. I wasn't used to getting male attention, especially not from handsome guys, so I enjoyed the moment while it lasted.

I didn’t get to see him again, until a month later in a mall. He had a strawberry jam in hand, and a worried look on his face. I walked up to him, he was excited to see me. He had not gotten my number the last time. He mentioned he wasn’t going to make that mistake again. His smile was broad and beautiful. I realized how I had not really paid attention to his physical features the last time. His eyes were grey, but of course, I knew those were contact lenses. I noticed how similar his lips were to the content of the strawberry jam. “Is this good enough?” he asked, referring to the strawberry jam. “Yes it is, I use that all the time.” I replied.

I smiled when he took the shopping basket from my hand. He said my dimples were lovely and he will love to see me more often, just to see how it deepened when I smiled. “What a funny way to ask me out on a date” I said. He laughed and said since I had mentioned it, he’ll appreciate that we go out on a date. We both decided the next Sunday will be a good day for that, considering the fact that there will be lectures for me to attend during the week.

That was the beginning of a romance. He asked me out on several occasions, and also asked me to be his girlfriend, when I asked him if he had one. I made him his favorite fish pepper soup whenever he came to visit. He said it will take me some time to know how much he loved me. I never bought the idea of premarital sex, but with Demola, I didn’t know if I wanted to remain celibate. Sex was good, and I got addicted. When I wasn’t on his bed, I was in my room, using my index finger to dip into my vagina. I would imagine he was there in my room, fondling my breast and making me moan out of pleasure.

I decided to introduce him to Becca, when he visited me in school. We all had a good time, they exchanged numbers and I was pleased that Becca liked him, she said all the other guys I had introduced her to, were no good. "You are so lucky to have him, I will do anything to have a man like that." Becca said, on our way back to the hostel. Becca was a friend right from my senior secondary school days, and even when we proceeded into the university, we still maintained our friendship.

I was to take Becca to the woman who had sewn me a black dress that she liked, I called to remind her some days later, but Becca apologized and asked that we make it another day because she wasn't feeling too well. Demola complained on how work was taking a toll on him, I would have gone to pay him a visit since I was all dressed up but I did not want to bother him.

It was on a Saturday, I had little provision and decided to go get some. I met both Demola and Becca at the mall where he had proposed our first date. They were holding hands and laughing, he drew her close to place a kiss on her lips. My small black bag fell to the ground, and then they saw me. I ran back the same way I came. The provision I had gone for, forgotten. He ran after me and called my name, but unlike the last time I had on a warm smile, this time it was different. My eyes stung with tears, my voice was going to be hoarse. So I just kept running. Becca was slim. Her skin was spotless and beautiful, unlike mine. Did he leave me for Becca because she was more beautiful, am I not good enough for him?

I thought he loved me, I thought he wanted me. I thought I was everything he had ever dreamt of. He said he was sorry, that Becca told him secrets I hid from him. Becca said I was a terrible person and he deserved someone better. I cried all I could, and called him all sort of names. Becca never called after that day, I hardly ever saw her in school. My birthday party was over, I had spent the best part of it on memories. From where I stood, I could see his empty seat. He had gone to be with the one that I once called a best friend. Why did he show up, if he was still going to leave? From behind me, I heard my cousin say to me; be careful you don’t make friends with another girl who would choose your man over her conscience. I almost wouldn't have heard her, I was thinking of when I will be alone in my room. I smiled down at my index finger, and breathed a sigh of relief.

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WHILE I WAIT.

by Joy Okwori, published 1 month ago

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I was once imprisoned by words whose aura is darkness. I was held down in this prison by unfriendly forces, so I sat on a stool of uncertainty as I held the moon.

I crawled through the night with gritted teeth, like one with no hope. And I couldn't dance because shackles held my feet.

Yesterday was once, today doesn't make it twice. I breakout, I don't belong to prison; the Judge said so. I smelt like rotten tomatoes, frail from tireless torture.

The Judge beckoned with open arms, and I ran with the speed of light. My accusers didn't know what crime to nail me with. The Judge knew what currency to bail me with; the blood.

Broad smiles.

Heartfelt laughter.

I dance.

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Leah

by eli-smooth, published 2 months, 4 weeks ago

The ride down the empty hill felt like a deluge. Five people cramped into an old Peugeot 504. The car jolted its way down the rough terrain and with each sharp turn, their eyes narrowed with despair.

The driver was Kelechi, a 22 year old medical student who had joined the fraternity about a month ago. His low hanging beard chiseled into his sharp jaw-line. The scar that was above his eye gave him a menacing look.

“How could this happen?” He wondered as he drove through the rickety slope. His eyes squinted a little as he swerved to avoid a goat that had moved into their path. The sudden swerve forced the engine to quake mildly and shut down.

They all moved out into the open space.

Silence lingered for a while.

“What do we do now?” Simi asked. Her dark skin glistening under the low light of orange setting sun. She was a psychology student. Brilliant but edgy; unwilling to succumb to the wild stereotypes that followed the other women in her life.

“We do nothing; we just bury the body where no one can find it” Sam whispered coldly.

Leah winced and paced the space around them, sobbing gently as she walked from side to side. She seemed the most distraught of the five. She wondered how different the day before had been and wondered if her life would ever be the same.

But it was the fifth person who seemed the most odd.

His tattoos were visible under the sleeveless shirt he had on. A nose piercing marked him out from the rest of them. He barely talked as the others encircled the empty bushes around. He just leaned on the car and peacefully disappeared into his thoughts.

“We were only supposed to scare him” Simi lamented. Her voice seemed to echo a distant regret.

“I keep asking what happened and no one wants to tell me. We were all on the same plan but as soon as I turn to take a leak, I return and find a fucking dead body on the floor. What happened while I was gone?” Kelechi asked. He seemed to be screaming at everyone else.

“Is it that important? Would you rather not have the truth be a little subdued from your conscience now?” Goni, the boy with the tattoos whispered back at Kelechi. His voice was cold, almost haunting.

“I don’t know. I didn’t sign up for this.” Kelechi confessed.

“Oh, so you think we all woke up and planned a murder and you were the only person out of the loop?” Simi asked angrily.

Kelechi looked away. His hands shaking under the weight of his deepest thoughts.

Sam chuckled slyly as he watched Leah’s wandering theatrics. He seemed calmer than he was a few minutes ago.

“The truth is right here. Whatever we say it is” Sam cuts in. The others looked at him. He nodded. They all nod back except for Goni.

“We still haven’t answered the most pertinent question though. Who poisoned the little old chap?” He asked calmly.

“Does it matter, we all know he was a dwindling, two faced monster” Leah said.

She had stopped pacing and sobbing. She seemed calmer and her big round eyes cut into her beautiful face. Sam looked at her in admiration

“We all knew that, but we also knew that the idea was to scare him and not to murder. So who amongst us had the most reasons to murder him?” Goni asked.

They all went quiet. The few seconds left between their breaths built up a reckless angst. Leah stared at each of their faces. She wondered who amongst them fits the murder type best..

Sam was a nerd.

It was odd that the frat boys loved him but underneath his queer humor and deep lingering eyes, there was no reason to suspect that he could be a killer. Leah thought. Simi was mostly indifferent; capable of the mundane but also the awe inspiring moments. Her calculative mind set her apart as the most logical of the group.

Kelechi was by matter of chance, the only one that was unavailable when they witnessed the death.

Goni was the one who seemed the most vulnerable to accusations. He had fought with the dead boy just a few minutes before the boy broke into a fit. He seemed more dangerous than anyone else and he also seemed to be nonchalant about the corpse that lay in the trunk of the car that had just stopped.

  • Simi looked at Leah from the corner of her eye. Their eyes meet and for a few seconds, they lingered on in their sanctified space. Simi felt a rush of casual emotions rushing within. She remembered their nights underneath the moon when the boys were away. She remembered every feeling and it made her question her every truth. But she also knew the other truth.

The five of them stood in an arc as the trunk was slowly being opened. The three boys straddle the body and move it towards the empty path that led one into the bushes. The rustling of the leaves just in front of them stopped them in their tracks.

A Park ranger had his gun pointed at them. The boys surrendered and raised their hands. The Ranger looked on in surprise.

“Who killed him?” He asked as he nudged the safety of the gun; turning it off.

The group stood, staring at him in silence.

“Who killed my partner?” The Ranger asked again.

This time his gun was pointed at a visibly distraught Simi.

She was overcome with fear.

“Leah, Leaaah,

She poisoned him because he raped her” Simi confessed.

The boys look back at Leah, stunned.

Leah’s face bore a look of resignation.

“Thanks so much for having my back; Lover” she said in disgust.

They boys all stood stunned. Processing both news that had crept into their ears.