UNTIL DEATH DID US PART

indexCertain events make us realize the error of our ways, by normal human nature, we only become remorseful, when we get caught doing something wrong, we ordinarily  would never repent if we got away with doing evil over and over again.

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BROKEN MIRRORS

confused man

It took us five years to get pregnant, first two years of our marriage, we spent discovering each other, and making plans, building our home. At first it didn’t bother us, because we thought we had it all planned out, we wanted to be ready before the baby came, so we waited, one year became two years and the three years, and my wife became worried, so did i.

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PARADISE ISLAND PT2

 

wpid-sad_black_woman.jpgToday I turn sixteen years old.  

As I lay there deliberating my friend Omoefa’s coarse and loud voice rang out as she shouted my name from outside startled me out of short lived reverie. I got up from the bed still in my pant and bra holding my head which had subsided a bit, just by sheer will and effort managed to put on a pair of Jeans and tee shirt. I slipped on a pair of slippers and stepped into the slightly darkened corridor crisscrossed with other rooms adjoined leading out to the compound.  

I beheld one of the older girls who also worked in our compound Cindy and friends dancing near the window but ignored them only extending a brief greeting to Deborah one of the girls as I moved on, I heard from Omoefa’s roommate Cindy was from a good home, had even been sent to school a real secondary school but had run off with an older boyfriend her father’s pension safely tucked in her bag. The boyfriend swindled her and traveled out to Spain, leaving her with just a letter I suppose as memento or reminder I don’t know. Some have feet and shoes to wear on them, some have shoes but no feet, others possess neither shoes nor feet I wish, i wonder….  

I met Omoefa sitting in a corner with the girls smoking ‘Igbo’ weed as they all shuffled to the music emanating from the stereo. I went towards them and as soon as they sighted me, they all shouted as if on cue hailing AREA HOW FAR NAH? Happy Birthday!!!

Tinuke Omoefa’s room mate passed me a cup of “Tombo liquor “as I joined them on the bench Omoefa passed me the smouldering wrap of ‘Igbo’ she was smoking. I held it between my thumb and forefinger the embers cackling, sparks emitting from the tiny embers of the seed as i tapped the excess ash off. I put the cup to my lips and swallowed a mouthful of the local gin, my eyes watered slightly as the ethanol hit me full in the chest, oblivious to my pain charting a burning path down my throat traversing relentlessly down, a fiery passageway to the pit of my stomach. I took a long drag of the ‘Igbo’ weed inhaling holding in the smoke as long as I could thankfully, it was not the highly intoxicating kanaku hybrid.

The smoke circulated slowly coursing through internal orifice, oh so soothing…swirling as in creating an artificial smokes screen, cloud-induced interface alongside sudden No stark reality of the life i existed in.   It was all I could do not to lean back in relief my headache slowly receding as though dancing backwards, evaporating into nothingness…air, just like the smoke emanating from my slightly parted lips and nostrils drifting up into oblivion. I watched it all swirling upwards towards a stack heap of forgone memories where earlier introspection, niggling conscience end up never to harm or hold my thought process in a choke hold leaving me free to indulge in my vices, my excesses with no recourse to conscientious thoughts. 

The first time omoefa and I met she had accosted me hiding behind the sand dune crying profusely on a Friday night. I was tucked away in a darkened corner hence did not notice my presence until she nearly stepped on me. Omoefa shouted out in fright jumping back “Blood of Jesus” seeing me clearly her initial fright swiftly morphed into anger. She rounded up in anger asking who I was and my purpose for lurking in the darkness, all the while getting ready to smash her upturned fist in my face. Tears still running down my face intermittently casting furtive glances towards the main gate i had escaped from, she must have realized the extent of my disconcert especially at the sight of my torn clothes as I held tightly to cover my half exposed breasts. Her anger turned to concern, as she asked me what had occurred abandoning all her initial resolve and hostility.  

When I arrived Paradise Island I was still naïve hence was oblivious to what the girls actually did until much later. I only started to enjoy myself after I met Obiri, a girl who lived in a shack next to our compound. She was my age although looked and acted older, that girl was a real tomboy a fire cracker. I often wondered how she came to be living on their own in the ghetto later after becoming firm friends, she confided in me that she ran away from home hiding under a lorry ferrying plantains to Lagos.

She was labelled a witch by a man they called ‘Prophet Zephaniah’ in her village, Prophet’s minions tortured then forced her to drink a concoction made out of water droplets drained from a dead body, declaring the spirit of the dead will compel her into a confession of her deeds even against her will. It seemed one of the strongest demons dwelt in her dark heart as she failed to confess, repeatedly maintaining her innocence. This provoked Prophet’s holy anger as he instructed assistants to hold her down, mouth forced open using his holy staff and concoction poured down her throat. Ensuing stomach cramps triumphant validation for prophet Zephaniah.

She had been accused initially by her father of deploying the powers of witchcraft that strong demonic spirit to drain his destiny causing an inability to feed her 8 siblings, he was a subsistent farmer. Her ropes had been untied in the dead of the night by her mother, who urged her to run away or be killed. Rescuing her mother and siblings from her father’s clutches and giving them a better life has been her motivation for hustling. I will make it in Paradise Island one day you watch and see if I don’t she often said with strong conviction and seriousness.      

Aunty had sent me to buy some Panadol at baba Oyibo’s chemist not very far from our compound. On my way back, one of the boys who hang around our street accosted me snatching Auntie’s change off my hand. I cried out begging him to give me back the money but he laughed taunting me until Obiri walked towards us and faced him. Looking on steadily no expression on her face bellying her true intentions she asked him to return my money, but he didn’t pay her any heed neither did I to be fair. Request repeated again this time firmly resolute as calm as you please, or he would get a beating. He finally paid attention to the irritant quickly surveying her small frame incredulously, unbelieving of the sheer impudence from this tiny runt as he laughed gleefully. Truly Obiri like me was shorter than the boy, by this time his friends had sauntered closer cheering urging him on.

All of a sudden she lunged forward grabbing his neck like a man and raining punches, open mouthed map of disbelief displayed all over my face at the sight “See this small ‘Pelenge’ girl fighting a boy. The fight seemed reminiscent of David and Goliath bored children had begun watching and clapping as the impromptu fight progressed. She landed a quick succession of punches then another slap Ha it’s a miracle!! I stopped counting after nine punches with interjecting slaps, a cut on his thick black lips blood spurted trailing down his jaw line. He was riled seriously angry now, yellow rimmed eyeballs bulging in naked resentment as he wiped excess blood with the hem of his oversize 2pac long sleeve tee shirt, he began pulling up his sleeves. It has gotten much personal no more a random past time but saving face that male ego has to be redeemed forthwith. He deliberately rushed towards Obiri swinging wildly right hand busy, as he made to grab her with his left hand we all gasped in fright but she darted back evading his latest swing, then moved in crouching like Malaika the great wrestler in our village. She grabbed his legs in a seemingly coordinated motion and shoved him backwards. He landed hard on his buttocks the audible grunt of pain sounding like a pig’s grunt. The tides had swiftly turned at this stage everyone turning the boos earlier directed towards the small girl into cheers the now vanquished fighter lying on the ground, smarting from defeat. I watched her beat him back to the ground, even after he unsuccessfully tried to get back up until an old woman drove the crowd away with a long broom.  Caught up in the excitement I had forgotten about my dilemma until I felt my cloth tugged from the back i turned around to see her still looking disheveled from the fight and sporting a small bump on her right cheekbone, without a word she shoved the crumpled change in my palm abruptly walking away.

To Be Continued……………………………

Written By Bunmi olaniyan 

Read Part 1 HERE

PARADISE ISLAND PT1

sad girlAunty Edith sauntered into the room and dropped her overnight bag on the floor. She Kicked off her heels and hung the wig on the rusty hook by the door, settling her considerable girth on a stool in front of the small dressing table as she began to rummage in the small drawer attached, where our toiletries, makeup were kept.

She fished out some cotton wool and a plastic bottle of cleansing spirit vigorously wiping off the greasepaint off her face, muttering half angrily under her breath “that osho free just used my body till the next morning, then handing me a paltry N5,000 after we had agreed on N12, 000 what am I supposed to do with that chicken feed? She asked rhetorically staring at the mirror masking her audible anger.

She finished scrubbing and simultaneously slapped a tattered shower cap on her head, then struggled out of the ultra-tight dress throwing it in a corner, as she wrapped a brown threadbare towel round her large frame, getting ready to have a bath. I rose up from the bed stretching and mumbled greetings. She Looked at me scornfully eyebrows slightly raised asking me how much I made yesterday. I rummaged under the pillow and handed her the crumpled folded Naira notes, she counted carefully and grunted as she bent down and opened the bottom drawer of the bedside cabinet where she kept our money putting it away and locking up, carefully tucking the key into her bra.

Aunty Edith had always distrusted banks feeling secure in the knowledge that I was the only one who knew where she kept our money, besides every act of theft in the compound was brutally suppressed anyway. she had informed me that banks held on to  people’s money and will not return it complete  anytime you needed it back, i have no idea if this is true because I have never been inside a bank before much less owned an account.

I was exhausted from yesterday though I only had few customers and two bottles of imported beer, I spent the most of the night with the old man Ambricose.

He is a constant regular of mine and has been coming for a long time, two sometimes three times a week, even before I arrived ‘Paradise Island’. The kind of ‘Igbo’ weed he brought with him yesterday knocked me out and now, I have a serious headache an after effect of that devils cigarette. I vaguely remember him warning me it was the notorious ‘kanaku Kenya’ hybrid, but the inebriating effect of alcohol induced euphoria had deadened any sense of precaution in me. I must have smoked more than normal, as the ceaseless din reverberating in my head seemed like the blacksmith in our village, hammering and shaping a tool in earnest consistent hammering on and on.

Ambricose had been a frequent customer even before I was brought here hence his shift in attention to me had created a festering jealousy in Airou, who had been his favorite before my arrival. Airou was same age as me, and well admired by many that patronized us she was blessed with an olive skin and a sort of caramel complexion the color of imported sweets displayed prominently in those supermarkets situated along the nice part of the island, her skin looked a cross between the Indians and Lebanese traders who owned sea food shops on the island, her oval face and pointed nose gave an alluring and innocent almost regal beauty seldom found in Paradise Island.

I heard from Obiri my friend who had known of her long before my arrival that she was from a place called Chad in the north, I have no idea where that is as I have never gone past our village and Paradise Island. She had informed me Aunty Celestine whom we all knew as her guardian had found Airou under the bridge, near waterside area being forcefully raped by one of the old disabled beggars under the bridge and had rescued her. She had been unable to communicate verbally then due to her age, but they were able to approximate her age at around 7years or thereabouts. Airou was brought back to Paradise Island and nursed back to health she has been with her ever since, the only real mum she had ever known. It seemed the symbiotic relationship they had, was of   mutual benefit  and obviously worked well for both.

Even though Ambricose pays well always gentle with me unlike most of the ‘area’ boys, nevertheless often forced me to do things I don’t like. I sometimes wonder where an old man like him learnt all those depraved sexual acts, but cannot ask questions as long as he has paid Aunty who made the decisions.

Today is my birthday.  

Instead of feelings of elation and Joy upon this special day, I sit wondering questioning why I am feeling this despondent. I feel much older than I am for some obscure reason that eludes me, maybe it is due to people’s remarks that I am a big woman now. A woman big enough even old enough to satisfy those countless men who have shared my bed, who have passed through me. Who knows if it had to do with experience, checkered  history with older men here in Paradise Island which has matured and tested me ‘wiser’ beyond my years, Or maybe I am truly old, am i no longer a child? Or so I’m told. So maybe, just maybe.

Written By Bunmi olaniyan 

UNFRIENDLY FIRE

 

confused manHe would stare at her for long minutes at a time, wondering how any human could appear so flawless, beautiful and graceful all at the same time.

I would tell him several times in a day, to keep his fantasies to himself, you see Amarachi, was a married woman who lived next door, yes a lovely woman I might add, but married none the less, and there was something else, something dark and sad, a secret shame she tried so carefully to hide.

Amarachi was married to Somto, better known to his friends as the Johnny Blaze, well because he could easily blow up without warning, and he really was a “prick”. Somto was a night club bouncer, and he got used to treating everything like garbage, including Amarachi his wife.

Yes, Somto was a big “prick”, a slob, in subtle terms he was a pig, he would drink all night, come home drunk, scream about everything he saw, drink some more, and yes beat his wife with a belt, sometimes he would beat her in the backyard, and when we tried to intervene, he would say she was his responsibility and he had to train her, yeah right like she was a wild animal he was trying to tame.

Femi, my friend and house mate would go over to the house and confront Somto, but he would shrug and walk away, we called the police on several occasions but nothing was done, they were his buddies, and I remember once they said we were trespassing and Somto would press charges when next we tried to gain access to his home, of course we had no evidence, and Amarachi was too scared to call the cops herself, she would later say she was in a helpless situation.

Amarachi was a school dropout, she was a dancer in a local club, Somto frequented back in the day, and according to her, he was the only one who treated her right, I guess she knew what she was saying.

Many times we would hear Somto call her names, yeah he was that loud and on many occasions he would lock her out in the backyard overnight, Femi would stand by the kitchen window and watch her sob.

He told me many times how she needed to be rescued, he would say she needed a man to love her and treat her right, I guess he thought he was her knight in shining armor, I would always tell him to thread carefully, because Somto was a maniac, and his little brain always told him to act violently first and think later, if at all he ever did.

I remember Femi gradually started be-friending Amarachi, at first she was reluctant, but gradually she began enjoying his company, he would go over when Somto was at work, or they would discuss over the backyard fence when he was at the bar.

Gradually Femi fell in love with Amarachi, and I think she did too, Femi was making plans to run away with her, I don’t know till now if that was a good idea or not, well obviously my opinion didn’t matter.

Amarachi now relished the nights Somto would lock her out, she would sneak into our house and into Femi’s bed, and soon she mastered the art of sneaking in and out, I lost count of how many times it happened, on one hand I was glad she was happy and found comfort in Femi, on the other hand I was worried as to what the outcome might be if Somto ever found out, and no I wasn’t worried because I was a coward, I was simply worried because he was a very dangerous man.

I found out soon enough, Somto was getting suspicious, you see Amarachi was regaining her self-confidence, on one occasion she walked out on him, and went to sit on the back steps, Somto came out and beat her black and blue, I had to pick up a golf club to make him stop, I called the police, and reported a domestic dispute, they never showed, and Femi was off visiting his folks.

He was furious when he got back, but I told him not to confront Somto, for lack of reason, and that night Amarachi came over, she cooked us dinner and cried her eyes out, we cheered her up with jokes and taught her how to play guitar hero, the fun ended abruptly when she heard his van pull up, she was not quick enough to get into the house, but she made it to the back porch, Somto stormed into the backyard and started pushing and slapping her around, questioning and asking where she was all night, he called her a no good whore, and punched her in the face, she ran into our kitchen, her nose bleeding, Femi held her, and I went to get the first aid kit and my golf club, I knew Somto would come and I knew he would come for a fight.

True to his brute nature he stormed in, with a kitchen knife, he screamed and cursed, Amarachi hid behind Femi, her nose bleeding, Femi and I stood our ground, we threatened to call the cops, he wasn’t moved, he lunged at me, punched me in the nose before I could swing the club, it fell to the floor, and so did I, he kicked me in the stomach, and I felt like all the air had left my body.

Femi charged him, and knocked him backwards, the knife fell out of his hand, he regained his footing, and rushed Femi, Somto was a huge man, it was like a bull coming at you, Femi picked up the club and swung, he missed, and he got punched, I saw Amarachi run out of kitchen.

Somto was on Femi, kicking and punching, I tried to crawl up to them, but I wasn’t of much use, I could hear the blows, suddenly I heard sirens in the distance, he screamed at Femi, threatened to kill him before the cops got there, from the side of my eye I saw him pick up the knife, his knee was on Femi’s back, he pulled Femi’s neck backwards, he was going to slit his throat, and that was when I heard it, the first shot, then the second, then the third.

Somto dropped in a heap, Amarachi stood there, gun in hand, with a look I had never seen before.

The cops rushed in, I passed out.

 Written By Arome Ameh (The Priest)

REPRODUCTIVE ABUSE

image

Last night I watched an interesting episode of Law and Order SVU, and this topic caught my attention, I was stunned and watched it to the end.

Then I decided to contact a very good friend of mine, Google, and found a lot of material on the subject, to say I was stunned would be an understatement, but after reading up on lots of articles and wikipedia, I decided to compile this post, just to shed more light on this issue, and I can bet lots of people, both men and women don’t know this form of abuse exists.

Reproductive coercion (also called coerced
reproduction ) are threats or acts of violence
against a partner’s reproductive health or
reproductive decision-making and is a collection
of behaviors intended to pressure or coerce a
partner into becoming a parent or ending a
pregnancy.

Reproductive coercion is a form
of domestic violence, also known as intimate
partner violence , where behavior concerning
reproductive health is used to maintain power,
control, and domination within a relationship and
over a partner through an unwanted pregnancy.
It is considered a serious public health issue
and has great psychological and social
consequences including drug dependence,
suicide attempts, and post-traumatic stress
disorder .

Women report that their partners engage in
reproductive coercion because they want to
leave a legacy with the woman or have the
woman in their life forever as a few of the
reasons they perpetrate the coercion.

The three forms of reproductive coercion are
pregnancy pressure, birth control sabotage , and
pregnancy coercion; they can exist
independently or occur simultaneously. There
are also three periods in which reproductive
coercion can take place: preintercourse, during
intercourse, and postintercourse. Preintercourse
may involve pregnancy pressure, during
intercourse may involve birth control sabotage,
and postintercourse may involve pregnancy
coercion. If a woman does not comply with her
partner’s wishes, her partner may act out
violently against her, which is a common
response.

Pregnancy pressure

Pregnancy pressure is enacted by a woman’s
sexual partner when he pressures her into
having unprotected sex in order to become
pregnant.Ways in which this occurs are
through verbal demands, verbal threats, and
physical violence.

Examples of verbal pressure are:

“If you have a baby, you will never have to
worry about me leaving you. I will always be
around.”
“You would have my baby if you really loved
me.”
“I’ll leave you if you don’t get pregnant.”
“I’ll hurt you if you don’t agree to become
pregnant.”
“I’ll have a baby with someone else if you
don’t become pregnant.”

Birth control sabotage

Reproductive coercion can take the form of birth
control sabotage, either as verbal sabotage or
behavioral sabotage, and acts as an active
interference with contraceptive methods. Direct
actions are taken to ensure the failure of birth
control (such as poking holes in or breaking
condoms) or complete removal of contraception
(such as flushing birth control pills down the
toilet or removing contraceptive rings or patches
from the body). Partners can also forbid women
from using family planning or force them to have
sex without protection.

The most common forms of birth control
sabotage are when the partner refused to wear
a condom and when the partner ejaculated
before withdrawal , although it was the agreed-
upon contraceptive method.

Pregnancy coercion

Pregnancy coercion is the act of controlling the
outcome of a pregnancy – to either force the
continuation or termination of the pregnancy – by
threats or acts of violence if the woman does not
comply with the perpetrator’s demands or
wishes. Reproductive coercion
behaviors may result in several unintended
pregnancies that are then followed by multiple
coerced abortions .
Women who seek abortions are nearly 3 times
as likely to have experienced reproductive
coercion by a partner in the past year, compared
to women continuing their pregnancies.

Role in domestic violence

A strong
association between domestic violence and
reproductive coercion exists. Women in
abusive relationships are more likely to fear the
consequences of resisting their partner’s
reproductive coercive tactics.

Women who are abused by male partners and
men who are abusive to female partners are 3
times as likely to have an STI or contract HIV .40% of abused women reported that their
pregnancy was unintended, as compared to 8%
of non-abused women. Between 4% and 17%
of women report domestic violence during their
current pregnancy. Some women experience
increased domestic violence during pregnancy,
with violence more focused on the abdomen.

Men as victims

Men are more likely than women to
experience reproductive abuse, with 10.4% of
men and 8.6% of women reporting pregnancy
coercion or attempted birth control sabotage.
Contraceptive fraud is the conversion of a man’s
semen for a purpose that he does not consent to;
in this case, pregnancy. Conversion is seen
as the civil equivalent of theft, but because the
crime was committed by the mother and not a
third party, such as the resulting child, the father
is obligated to pay child support. If he attempts
to avoid or lessen the child support, it is seen as
seeking a remedy from the wrong person.

In order to overcome reproductive coercion, and
domestic violence in general, there needs to be
greater awareness, improved identification
techniques, and education about available social
and legal interventions available for victims and
survivors.

Well that’s all the light I can shed on this topic, I hope it helps.

Additional Source- The ever available Wikipedia

Posted by Arome Ameh (The Priest) From WordPress for Android

Staircases And Cupcakes

 

image ofI was eleven when it happened, I can remember how it happened, because I was there when it happened.

It took me twenty four years to get here, and a lot of guts, but I think it’s time I got it off my chest.

I won’t pretend I grew up in a perfect home, and suddenly things went bad, for as long as I can remember, it was always the same, I grew up thinking all Fathers yelled, and all mothers cried.

Father was never happy, he always yelled, everything was always done wrong, and even when he did it wrong, he always found a way of blaming mother.

I saw him punch her, shove her, swear at her, but I never saw him hold her, hug her, kiss her, or even say anything nice to her.

It’s not a long story, just a brief sad story, of an eleven year old boy, a story that changed his life forever.

I just got back from school, I was in the kitchen eating, and as usual, mother would set my meal with the usual cupcake on the side, chocolate flavored, so I could eat immediately I got back from school, she never missed it, I still remember the smell of cake batter, she baked so much, the aroma was almost permanent, and even up until now as an adult, I always remember her, when I smell cake batter, among other things.

It was quite, unusually quiet, I didn’t think much of it, because I knew it was just a matter of time before father would get back, and he would find something to yell about.

He got back earlier than usual, I was just about biting into my cupcake, when he walked in, I remember losing my appetite, he walked passed me like I was not there, not that I cared, I was accustomed to it, he yelled out for mum, but he didn’t get any response, I knew she was asleep, she was pregnant, and it was hard for her to keep up with her daily routine, I didn’t bother checking up on her, because I knew she was a light sleeper, and I didn’t want to wake her up.

He yelled out again, and still yet no reply, I remained in the kitchen, and waited for it, I heard him walk up the stairs, I could tell he was mad, what else was new, suddenly I heard him yelling at her, I couldn’t quite make out the words, but I knew there were angry words, I left the kitchen, and made my way to the foot of the stairs, I stretched my neck, trying to hear what was being said, dad was yelling, and mum was trying to pacify him, suddenly he appeared at the top of the stairs, and stared right down at me, I felt a chill, this was not normal, “what are you looking at you stupid boy”, he said, don’t you have anything better to do than stuff your face with cakes? Your mother has made a girl out of you, am pretty sure you are the first boy who will have his period; those were things father said to me.

I let his words wash over me, but I didn’t move, I was accustomed to it, I think deep down he just needed to rave and rant all the time to give himself a sense of self-worth, mother emerged from the bedroom, and simply told him to leave me alone, and that was when it happened, he turned around and punched her in the face, he didn’t care if she was pregnant or not, she spun around, and used her elbows to shield her tummy from hitting the wall, he grabbed her by the hair and pulled her back, haven’t you done enough to ruin him, father said, why doesn’t he act like normal boys, and you dare tell me to leave him alone, he spoke about me like I wasn’t even there.

Mother tried to pacify him, he started shoving her, I saw her walking back, towards the head of the stairs, I tried to warn her she was too close to the edge, but his constant yelling drowned my words, she missed her step, I saw her fall, it was like an eternity, but while she fell, she tried to shield her stomach, I saw her fall, I heard bones crack, I saw her falling, and I was rooted to the spot, until she hit me, and we both landed on the floor, I hit my head, and when I opened my eyes, I saw her, lying down, she was staring at me, but was looking through me, suddenly I felt something sticky on my cheek, it was red, it was warm, it was her blood, and then I realized, she was dead, he pushed her, I passed out.

I didn’t see him anymore after that, I went to live with my uncle, years later he told me, my father left, started afresh, was arrested, but never convicted, ruled as a domestic accident, people fall down stairs all the time.

I still don’t understand why he was such a bitter person, mother didn’t deserve what he did to her, I haven’t spoken to him or seen he since that day, personally I see no point

I have moved on, am happy, have a family now, they give me joy, decided to share this, I don’t know how it will help, but am pretty sure it will.

Written By Arome Ameh (The Priest)