League Day 6, Round 3 – LOW18
Welcome to the Final round of league Day 6.
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, Samuel Victory, Adeshina Ajala, & Jesutofunmi Fekoya slugging things out for the prize.
Theme For This Round is: Concept Of Leaving
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.
Being raised up in the ghetto, I also permitted the ghetto to be raised up in me. At the tender age of ten, I had been involved in pickpocketing, street fights, and other vices. By twelve, I started dealing with drugs, I began with a puff of cigarette, then progressed to wraps of marijuana. I became a source of grief to my single father who leaves home before daybreak and returns at dusk. My older siblings tried their best to salvage me, but I was hardhearted. This influenced my academics as I became a drop out by 14. My whole life became a mess. Being an addict, I would do anything to get drugs. I lived at the mercy of drug dealers. I remembered a time we went to steal embalming powder from a funeral house, just because of its intoxicating properties.
I knew I was heading the wrong direction, but there was no remedy in sight. My father neglected me, while my siblings detested my being around them. I was on my own. I realised I needed help. As God would have it, I came across an NGO involved with the rehabilitation of drug addicts. Dropping drugs was an herculean task as my body system won’t agree. There were times I felt like going back to drugs, but I knew that would lead to my destruction. At the rehabilitation center, I was introduced to a new set of friends, peope with similar storylines. I dropped all my vices and turned a new leaf. My family accepted me back, but the society would not – I had to prove to them that the change was genuine. We started a campaign against drugs in the neighbourhood, and we influenced lives.
I got enrolled back to school and I finished my secondary education in flying colors. I gained admission to study criminal law in a reputable university across the country. Resisting the temptation to go back to drugs on campus is not easy, but I knew the fight against drugs has just begun.
GONE INTO THE DUSK
I woke my husband up at midnight. He yawned, grabbed the blanket off his face.
“What’s the problem?” He hurried to sit in the bed when he realized that I was seated already.
“I have this thing disturbing my mind.”
“What’s it, Tola?”
“Errm, this girl that always help us do laundry…”
“Yes, Cynthia.” He cut in.
“Can we convert her to a house help?” And softly added, “ send her to school eventually and help her attain something in life.”
Bukola nodded to my suggestions.
“It’s done, dear.”
“Let’s sleep, okay?”
“Thank God,” I rubbed my palms together and pulled the blanket over my joyful frame.
It’s Cynthia’s twelfth month as our house help. She’s full of virtues.
I began to notice her bulging tommy.
I’m yet to carry pregnancy. I could miss early pregnancy signs, but not a pregnant tommy. My eyes can’t be teasing me. Cynthia couldn’t have been sleeping around with men outside. Thoughts went frenzy in my mind.
Evening. Middle into dinner, I summoned Cynthia. She stood, locked her hands behind herself and waited for an instruction.
“Dear, I’m very sorry.”
“I hope you’ll forgive me,” I felt my knees hit the floor. I pleaded more and more. He wondered at my persistent plea.
I broke the news to him, “Cynthia’s pregnant.”
Bukola buried his face in his palms.
“I’ll explain.” Cynthia begged, pointing at my husband.
“It’s-s-s-s him,” she stammered.
“I did it,” Bukola whimpered, refusing to lift his head.
My legs started burning, sweat collected on my forehead. My tongue became tied.
Cynthia dashed into her room. She struggled with her bags out. It was as if I were numbed before a T.V screen.
“I’m not going to break your home, Mummy”
“I never intended.”
“This night I’m leaving to safe your home.”
“I’m leaving to keep the sanity of a woman like an angel,” she broke into tears and turned the door’s knob. My husband rushed to prevent her in vain. She was gone into the dusk of this dreamy evening.
CONCEPT OF LEAVING
Leaving. Such a simple word. Separating yourself from things you’re tired of, things that don’t interest you, things that annoy or hurt you. But as simple as it was, my mum didn’t understand it. She was married to a wife beater, a man who had raised his hands on her the day after their marriage and who had beat her continuously for the last twenty years. Mum said he wasn’t always like this before the marriage. She made excuses for him but I knew the truth, she was just afraid of him.
Dad had his own excuses too. He had been a good guy since he was little but his parents abandoned him. He had treated his first wife with love and care but she had stolen his money and left him. So he resolved to be the monster he was. He was going to make my mum scared of even the thought of leaving him, and his plan worked. Mum couldn’t even think of leaving him.
People wondered why my mum stayed. Each black eye or swollen cheek was a reason for her to leave but she stayed. It wasn’t because she loved him, that love had gone years ago. It wasn’t because of her child, I wanted her to leave dad too. But she was afraid, afraid to leave. She couldn’t separate herself from the person hurting her. The concept of leaving her husband was a mystery to her.
I too didn’t understand it—the concept of leaving. Maybe if I did, I would have left the house, left an abusive father and a hurting mother. But I couldn’t leave my mother. Since I couldn’t convince her to leave, I was ready to stay with her. But maybe I should have tried harder to convince her to leave or made dad understand that he was hurting her. Maybe she would have still been here today.
Mother left. She left from this world to the next. I don’t think dad ever thought about that part of leaving. We didn’t think the concept of leaving included death.
THE UNEXPLAINED CONCEPT
I hate that I’m a sensitive person. I wish I didn’t have emotions. Life would be much easier.
Mom died from cancer when I was 9. Dad was heartbroken. He had to be. They’d been the perfect example of true love. He tried to be strong for me. It didn’t work. The doctor diagnosed him with severe depression not long after. He died from heart attack a year later.
In less than 2 years, I’d become an orphan. An orphan at 11 years. The worst part was he’d died on my birthday. Depressing? Very. My aunt took me in right after and raised me. Time flew and before I knew it, I’d bagged my first degree in economics and went to serve my country in a small eastern state. I should’ve waited a year. Then I wouldn’t have met Tayo. He’d studied marine biology at a university back home. He said he wanted to open a fish pond after service year. He claimed it was lucrative. He had vision. He was also very charismatic and funny.
It didn’t take me long to fall head over heels for him. The good thing was, it was mutual. A year after service, we tied the knot. Few years passed and soon enough, we’d already had 3 wonderful children, and were thinking of having more.
That was when everything fell apart. I’d come home early from work that day to surprise him. That was when the call came in. Tayo had been involved in an accident. There were no survivors. They’d all died on impact. I think I died when I heard too.
Sitting down, staring at a blank TV screen now, I feel nothing. I’ve tried to understand. I’ve thought of every explanation. I still don’t get. What’s the concept of leaving? Why enter someone’s life only to leave after a while? First my mom, then my dad. And now, Tayo. They all came into my life and left me with way more hurt and pain than I could handle. Now I’m broken. And I still don’t get the concept.