League Day 15, Round 3 – LOW18
Welcome to the third round of league Day 15 – final round for LOW18.
League Of Wordsmiths is an initiative of Whyke Anthology which began last year. Serving as a means of promoting poetry, story writing…and art as a whole, across Africa, whilst also serving as an aid for young, budding, aspiring…writers in the African diaspora.
This round is for the Short story category and would see Iteoluwa Adesina, Anoemuah Pelumi, Jesutofunmi Fekoya, and Samuel Victory slugging things out for the prize.
Theme For This Round is: LASTING SMILES
1) Judges Decision takes 80% of the total decision, while votes recorded from voters takes 20% of the total decision.
2) Under no circumstance should you guess the owner of the individual stories.
3) Voting lasts for 24hours.
4) Only Votes recorded in the comment section of this post remains valid.
5) Vote using “I Vote story 1”, or “I Vote story 2” or “I Vote story 3”…
6) A voter is allowed to vote maximum of 2 stories out of the 4 contesting stories .
7) The contestants are urged to invite friends to vote for them. No rule exempts you from canvassing for votes.
Let The Game Begin!… May the best story win.
Most people associate “smiling” with the thought of a lover, friend, or even a funny memory. They’re not wrong to do so. Smiling reminds us of memories that even just for a second, made us forget our demons.
I smile a lot. I believe smiling is therapeutic. The greatest source of my smiles, are my family. Friends grow apart, lovers break your heart and in the end, they leave. But family is constant. Family is always there for you. They love you just as you are. My most fond memories, are those with my siblings. I come from a family of 3. We’re all currently in different universities, in different parts of the world. I miss home. A lot. And I miss my siblings. I remember the moments we shared. Those days when we all wanted to kill each other. We’d fight for hours and ignore each other. Then those moments when we’d laugh and gist till we were exhausted. We’d sit around doing nothing, enjoying the company of one another.
Some days we’d tease and make fun of each other. On other occasions, we’d connive against our parents, because really, parents will be parents. We’d back each other up and if we fell, we fell together. That was what made the bond so strong. We’d encourage each other, and complement each other’s weakness. We’d argue about family gifts, and even more about who should get the tv. But we could always count on each other. The love between us, although unspoken, was evident. Without even being there, they made me smile. I just needed to remember my brother wrestling our dog and eventually running away screaming for help or my sister singing and our neighbors coming to ask why our cat was crying.
The saddest thing about being away from home, wasn’t being away from everyone. It was knowing that we may never get the chance to goof around again. Because people grow up, and life changes people. Regardless, I’ll keep making my siblings smile. Because they make me smile. And those are the smiles that last.
From grass to grace
“Life challenges after Mama’s death was far from palatable. I had just concluded my final examinations in my secondary education. She developed a strange illness earlier that year that defied all medical solutions – at least the ones we could afford in our poor status. Her death rendered me an orphan, having lost Papa before I was born. Since I was the only child, it was not long before Uncle Chuks from Lagos came to take me along. I thought life would be much easier.
Uncle Chuks worked as a driver for a rich Chieftain in the city, I had to work as a maid for the same man. Working in Chief Ola’s house went on well, at least I got remunerated monthly. However, the strange thing about him was that he lived alone. I was told his family were out of the country. As you can relate, he started making advances towards me. I informed my uncle, but he said I should comply as that would elevate our standard of living. But I had a resolute mind to keep my virginity till marriage. I had to leave the house when the pressure became unbearable.
Out on the streets of Lagos, I applied for the position of a sales girl in a big supermarket and I was offered. All went well at the supermarket until another incident happened. It was an evening while we cleaned up the supermarket to mark the close of the day. I saw a big purse lying carelessly on the floor. On opening it, I discovered it contained thousands of dollars and some important documents. As honesty was one of the core values instilled in me by Mama, I handed over the purse with its content to the manager. He contacted the owner of the purse who was so grateful for my honesty and kindness. He asked me a number of questions and promised to sponsor my education. And here am I, graduating as the best student in the university.” I dropped the microphone with smiles, as the audience gave me a standing ovation.
The last light.
Jane rearranged the plastic flowers on her mother’s hospital table as the doctor’s words kept playing in her head. ‘Terminal stage IV cancer, few weeks to live, chemotherapy treatments, cancers cells spreading’ were all words and bits of sentences that were tugging at her brain.
Her family was practically living in the new cancer building in LUTH. Everything in her mother’s hospital ward was suited to look a bit like home. Her father looked drained as he walked into the room. She couldn’t blame him and her heart clenched with pain. He had been working so hard to pay the mounting hospital bills and holding the family together. But she knew deep down he was crumbling and the doctor’s report had shaken him to his core.
Her younger sister preferred to spend her days praying, fasting and had spent more of her days when her mother hit stage III of her breast cancer. But she was in the hospital room.
They were all present. Her dying mother had summoned them.
Jane was with her mother when she had suddenly awoken and begged that the whole family should come and see her the next day. Everyone had already gathered into the small ward, waiting for her to catch her breath. Joy was pacing around the room and murmuring Bible verses. Her face was pale and she was thin due to the numerous fasts she embarked on.
Jane looked softly at her mother’s face. Her mother was beautiful once. She was a beacon of joy and happiness and she radiated good health and vibes. They had been a very happy family once, that seemed like a long time ago to Jane now.
“I know you are all sad. You don’t know how much it grieves me to see the broken look you all carry. It even grieves me more that I am the cause of your despair and unhappiness” she had started.
“Mum, how can we be happy when you are so sick” her brother lightly protested.
Her mother gave a small smile. “It’s not the end of life. It will never be the end of life when I die. Pain is part of life and although my death will bring you pain and sorrow, let it not consume you. You will scale through this phase in your lives with triumphant and lasting smiles. I want you all to promise me that. Don’t mourn for me anymore. You have mourned enough”
She squeezed their hands individually and gave them each a hug with a bright smile on her face. Ever since their mum had been diagnosed with cancer, she had turned into a motivational speaker of the sorts. Jane had been thinking her positivity would save her from the clutches of cancer. It didn’t seem to be the case.
But she was happy and they were all happy as they smiled at each other and held hands. Cancer would not win the battle. It had failed to take away her mother’s lasting smile and theirs too.
Chidinma had never felt so ashamed in her life. She was laying on a hospital bed, attached to several tubes, but what had her attention were the frowns on her parents face and the tears trailing down her father’s cheeks. She’d never seen her father cry but now…Even her mother couldn’t look at her.
“I’m sorry, mum, dad. I just wanted you to be proud of me. I wanted to keep those smiles on your faces,” she said, tearing up.
Her parents loved her, she’d always been the apple of their eyes. From primary school to university, she came out the best student in her classes. But things took a drastic turn in her second year in the university, studying chemistry. Her grades started dropping. She knew her parents would be disappointed. Worse of all, she had no good excuse to give them, she didn’t know why her grades were dropping. So she looked for alternatives, spending nights with male lecturers or bribing the female ones. To get money for the bribes, she started dating older men who came to pick her at her hostel. It wasn’t long before she started having abortions. It was her 10th abortion that brought her to the hospital. According to the doctor, she had an 80% chance of loosing her life.
“Those smiles were not just because you were top of your class, but because you worked hard and got it fair and square. We weren’t just proud of your achievements, we were proud of your dedication. You should have told us about your grades, failing wouldn’t have made us disappointed, giving up would have,” her mum said, before bursting into tears.
Chidinma opened her mouth to respond but was cut off by a seizure. Her mum was all over her while her dad went to call the doctor.
“I’m sorry,” she gasped, tears rolling down her cheeks. All she wanted to do was put a lasting smile on her parents face, make them proud of her but she had used the wrong path and she was paying for it.