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It is three years now since I saw you last. I have not written in a long while. I have not written since then. Remember the handwritten letters we used to write ourselves. We’d both say that written love letters was our love language. I lied, it wasn’t mine. Spoken words of assurances and affection were mine. You, Rufai’, you were my love language. Did you lie too? I miss those times. 

Don’t fret, I have moved on. One has to move on from these things, even if it takes three years, sleepless nights, depressed thoughts and a part of your soul. Seven years of marriage is no joke. But I have moved on in less than half of it, life; fickle!

You may wonder why I am writing to you then. You have since settled with your new wife and beautiful baby. Well, one reason is because I haven’t written in a long time. And I don’t know how to write to another person but you. But I will learn soon. But there is another reason. I want to finally tell… THE TRUTH!

Rufa’i, when the truth came out, it was not the truth, it was the truth you had to see to let go. But in reality… it is so different from what you found out, what you thought you knew. I didn’t tell you all this while because I knew your mind was made up, and I knew our marriage was not salvageable, I knew mistrust and resentment had fermented and simmered the places our love was meant to block, there was no turning back, I had to free you, so I let them finally crack us apart.

I will stop with the long introduction now and just dive right into it. I did not do it Rufa’i. How could you possibly believe that after 10 years of being together and holding each other’s hands I could hurt you and liaise with your enemies? I hate Aminu, you know I do. I know how the papers leaked and I am sorry to say that it was your brother. I remember the day he came to get them. You were not around. He just swaggered in and demanded to go to your study. I said I couldn’t let him in without your permission, he assaulted me, hit my head on the wall. I swear it. I had a bruise afterwards, remember? You asked about it and I told you I hit an open cabinet door. I ran and locked myself in my room. 11th December, 2019, three years ago today, check the CCTV footage if you think I am lying. I didn’t tell you because I didn’t want to cause a rift between brothers, your family already hated me as it was. Anyway, he proceeded to your study. Apparently that was where he got the documents and took some money too. Check the footage. I am only sorry I didn’t tell you this earlier, but I didn’t want to cause a problem. Your brother took those documents to Aminu and made the hostile takeover possible, I am sorry you lost most of your fortune. I really am. But I am glad you have rebuilt it back up. You are a resilient man Rufa’i.

I have always told you you trust too easily, and you had always said it was because I have trust issues, and both have been true. Last year, I launched an investigation regarding the assassination attempt. Because my spirit was never at ease knowing you will always associate that incident with me. Why? How? Come on Rufa’i, you know me better than everyone and just because the police who were actually paid to blame me said it was me, you decided to believe them? I have helped you unravel the case and you had better fire Solomon and hand him over to the authorities because it was all him and your brother working for Aminu. I know this sounds unbelievable, I am finding it hard to believe myself, Solomon was family, or so we had thought. I have attached all proof with pictures, names and transactions. Remember the man the police caught who confessed to the attempted assassination, the man who said it was me? Guess where he is now? Not in prison. It was all staged, a fake ‘suspect’, they set him free after the deception was done. I have attached his address so you can go check yourself. I swear it, I can’t lie to you Rufa’i, we have had too good a life for me to do that, the fact that you think I have done those things and that I am your enemy rips me apart every day, but I am telling you the truth now. Beware of who you call family.

Your mother doesn’t know your brother had a hand in those treacherous acts, I know they were close but she could never do that to you. So I beg you to please not tell her, it will end her. Especially since your brother is dead now. It is not worth it. She is a great woman who only wanted the best for you, even if she thought I was not on that list. Even if she believed Asiya was on that list. She had always wanted it to be Asiya. She said I had jazzed you. Lol. I? You know the love we shared, think back now and reason if it had a single element of jazz.

I know what you are thinking. What will explain the charms found in our home and the bottle with your picture, a black empty shell, a paper with words written in a foreign language, the skin of a mottled snake and some weird items in it tied by a rope which was locked with three leather padlocks. I know you are wondering how they couldn’t have been my doing when I was seen burying them. Yes, I did. I buried them but listen I was given these things in a closed plastic bag and was told not to open them by her driver Mallam Dahiru, she told me to bury them, Wallahi Rufa’i your mother did. I am so sorry, I didn’t want to tell you but I have to, she told me that it was for your protection and to strengthen our home. I didn’t even believe in all of that, but I humoured her. I have never denied I did it, I just opted not to tell you who made me. Ask Mallam Dahiru. Then go and check her phone. She sent a message to me on the 5th of August, 2019 telling me Mallam Dahiru is coming with the package and that I should call her for instructions on how to use them. Please go and check our correspondences if she still has them and tell me you didn’t see that. All our other conversations were over the phone but this one was a text, I’m glad it was. At least you will see some proof.

Why, you ask? To break us apart and get you together with Asiya obviously. Because I couldn’t give you children and her beloved goddaughter Asiya, the chosen one who could do no wrong could. I am not being bitter, I am just reminiscing about how we both were blindsided. And I daresay she has succeeded. I don’t know if Asiya has a hand in it, but well… I have asked around and charms like those could only be done by the other party to their object of affection. Your mother could not have acted without your wife. I am so sorry you are finding these things out now and this way.

One more thing, if you still doubt the charm incident, you still have a picture of it on your phone I suppose. That image you sent to me raving about how I was doing diabolical stuff to you… hmmm. I am still trying to get the words you used out of my head Rufa’i. The ache is still raw. Anyway, please zoom in a particular picture with the bottle snapped from behind, you’ll see the word Rufa’i and below it Asiya. It is faint, but zoom well and try, you’ll see it. I didn’t notice until last year too. I don’t think I need to say much after that. 

Everyone chose to blame me because I was an easy blame. But I have to move on. Just like you did. I have to create a new life too. I am sorry if this may sound selfish but I need to dispense with all these burdens for me to completely be ready for a clean slate. I hope you won’t take any drastic actions after reading this. Afterall, it is past, your brother is dead, and no one is after you now. Hopefully no one is after you, seeing that you are rising again, you can never be too sure.

I don’t know how to round this letter up. Be careful Rufa’i. I hope life treats you better than it treated me. Please don’t feel bad in my case, we had a good thing, the best thing really, but it overstretched its duration. Even though we never had any problems as a couple and you know it. You know we had a loving marriage before it all went awry, I believe not all things are meant to last till eternity. I am terribly sorry you are finding these things out now. Please take it easy. Don’t think too much of it since everything is working out fine for you. Good luck Rufa’i.

This is the last you will hear of me. 

Yours…

Maimuna.

I re-read the letter, lower my glasses and rub my temple. Well, this was a hard day’s labour. 

I really do feel for Rufa’i. No one deserves this. But then again, maybe some people do. Maybe some people do, for throwing away people that have stood by them for people that are opportunistic. The letter should have reached Rufa’i a few hours ago. He should have read it by now. I am sure he probably has. I am picturing his reaction, it is not pretty. He will come.

It is two days after the letter has been sent now, I hear the knock, I know who it is. You know who it is too, reader, afterall, we knew this would happen when we sent the letter. I don’t open the door immediately. I am composing myself. I wait for a few more frantic bangs before I rush downstairs from my room to open the door. He is here, Rufa’i is here. He has come to me. As I knew he would. And boy does he look like a mad bull has run him over. My face is full of pity and understanding when I gesture him in without uttering a word. He looks haggard, helpless, lost.

“It is all over Maimuna”. He says. Oh! how I have missed this voice. I swallow hard so he doesn’t see how his presence and words affect me. Even though he looks like a worn out, sun beaten copy of his charming, vibrant self, his presence will always make my heart sing. 

“I am so sorry” I half-whisper with a sad shake of my head. My voice is uneven, tears are pooling in my eyes. It was all your fault, I say in my mind. It was all your fault.

You shouldn’t have thrown me away when you found out about the documents and the assassination attempt and the charms Rufa’i. You should have listened to ME, your wife! But you just yelled and judged and declared me guilty. You chased me away with nothing but the house you gifted me to mark our fifth anniversary. You did not even look back at me who used my father’s connection and some other less decent methods to get you the contracts that built you. I quite literally made you! And you turned it all to dust.

Everything I did was out of love. Just like everything I do now. The documents? Yes I gave them to Aminu to sabotage you but it was only because the richer you got, the more your mother  and all those hungry girls wanted to take you away from me goddamit! You had to go down, lay low, so they could get their stinking paws off you! Yes I am screaming! 

The video of your brother in your study is a doctored one. I paid your maintenance guy to splice it in. I hope you see it and and I hope your heartbreaks for disbelieving in me. He is dead, there is no one to prove me otherwise. You can confront Aminu but he will just scoff at you and term you crazy. He is too arrogant to try to defend himself.

The assassination attempt was just that, an attempt. To scare you. I would never, ever hurt you. You should know that. I would rather hurt everyone else, all of them. But I had to stage a scare so you could come back to me, to my arms, trust in only me. It worked for a while, before that bloody sniffing policeman discovered the man I paid. But no worries, I have made sure they released the man. He will sing Solomon’s name now. He will tell you Solomon paid him to lie about me. And the proof I attached of Solomon being shady is true, yes he is shady, doing things behind your back, but not to that extent. You don’t need to know that though. He will try to explain that he was merely defrauding you, and you will not listen. Just like you did me. 

The charm? Come on. Any woman that charms a man must just love him as much. Besides, it was just reinforcement. I know you love me. I can sense it, see it. Now that I think about it, I knew the charm thing was fraud, you still married Asiya even though the names written were to keep you apart. But like I said, reinforcement.

Yes your mother sent something for me to use on you. Kayan mata, hogwash. We never needed aphrodisiacs to spice up our intimate life, we created fire in the bedroom and sizzled the sheets. We were so good together in all aspects you see. But I collected them from Mallam Dahiru anyway. And I gave them to my househelp to use. I didn’t need all that. Besides, I couldn’t trust your mother. I couldn’t trust anyone. I don’t trust anyone. All these things I am telling you with my eyes, Rufa’i. All these truths. Saying them for the last time before I close them off, erase them, throw them away, brand them hallucinations and actually believe that they never happened.

Now you are here crying to me. It is all over for the second time for you. All the things I told you have been corroborated and you believe me. But you are done fighting. You are tired. Your life starts taking shape and then it crashes. And that is why I am here. Your rock.

“I am so sorry Maimuna” You say for the hundredth time or what feels like it. I am fighting between being broken and pitying you. How do you treat a man who picked the world against you only to find out that the world was wrong?

I know I shouldn’t let you hug me. We are not married. But you seem so broken. You seem like you want to do anything to make it stop. You seem like I am the only home you know. So I let you. And I pat your back and I tell you it is alright. You are a strong man Rufa’i. You will bounce back. But listen, you can never truly stand tall without me. We both know that, and that is why I have steered you back to me. I will always look out for us, the means I use don’t matter, the end is all that is important.

My heart is filled with so much love when you say “You are the only family I have”. I smile. You don’t see it, but I smile. You are always so trusting. You didn’t read my letter well it seems, oh well, some things never change. You obviously missed the part where I wrote. “Beware of who you call family”.

So my grand plan is to not go out into the sun. It makes me look like a half-baked witch when all my vanity wants is to resemble some Nubian beauty princess who has all the rich princes trying to get the glass slipper on and she doesn’t have to work a day again in her life.

I’ll try to not go out, I mean the government are basically begging us not to and I’ve heard rumors of curfew so perfect. I’ll drink only detox water. If I must go out even within the house, I need to have on sunscreen. I’ll exercise because Ciara body will not make itself. I want step out into the world after my estimated three months and look like a glossy ‘Vanity‘ magazine cover come to life. Y’all are not ready.

There’s however only one problem, my vanity is so vain and poor hence my quest for money. I need to utilise this lack of work period to venture into money making things that aren’t necessarily as deep as yahoo yahoo but kinda deep. I need an entire wardrobe overhaul because I want to attend rich people weddings and meet rich people friends and just bask in rich peoples glory even if for a while before I eventually get tired like I do with everything.

I need to purchase the baddest assest skin and hair care products so I can rock the baddest assest skin and hair and bags! I need fancy bagssss of life. I need lipgloss because they are an absolute necessity. Apart from having naturally dry lips, Iipgloss make me have an attitude. This baby is going to be born again.

But before all that, I need to open my eyes, get off this bed, greet the wicked stepmother and her husband who happens to father my siblings and I, get pissed by them for all of three minutes because I am tired of their pissful attitude, call my mother to calm me, piss some sister off or vice versa, eat a big fat burger and suya , gain weight and await apocalypse. 

Awesome! Sounds like a solid plan for a good day.

Fafa is up when I go to the parlor. Sometimes, it’s like she never sleeps. You go to her room in the middle of the night and the lights of her phone will be reflecting her face. You’ll think she is doing something reasonable then 5 hours later, you are on Twitter and you discover your sister had tweeted in the middle of the night how she can’t sleep because of mosquitoes or how she’ll die if she doesn’t eat seafood that night. Then one Arewa Twitter person will tell her to go eat crayfish from her mothers kitchen and she’ll laugh along on the timeline but will call him bastard in reality.

‘Oh! You are up’ she says after glancing at me.

‘Nope. I say with a yawn. ‘I’m fast asleep. It’s called somnambulism; sleep walking’.

She lets out a loud fake laugh then almost immediately dons on a blank face.

I walk to the kettle and fetch her pre-boiled water- because I know there’s always hot water where there’s Fafa as her constant high is one god-awful tea concoction or the other- I pour a teaspoon of Apple Cider Vinegar and hold my nose as I gulp.

‘What’s that meant to do? Spark up ulcer?’ Fafa the intermeddler asks.

‘Weight loss’ I reply shortly.

‘All I see is ulcer’ she shrugs.

‘Just because you are fighting your internal battles-literally’ I add with a smug smile ‘- doesn’t mean we all will’.

She shrugs. ‘Whenever you feel the heartburn rising, just know that I have Mama’s puke-worthy concoction for that’.

‘You and Mama always have one medicine or the other for everything in life’.

She smiles enigmatically. ‘What can I say? It’s a gift’.

I roll my eyes. ‘Any food from the other side?’ I ask her.

She shakes her head without looking up from her phone. I sigh and look for something to eat from the kitchen; some bread, some mayo….will do.

Where’s Yasmin? I ask Fafa after the gulping my last spoon of cereals and internally wondering of what use the vinegar is since I just ate bread with mayonnaise and a bowl of cornflakes.

She shrugs. ‘Probably on the other side’. I contort my face to mirror Fafa’s. Apparently Yasmin is so loveable even the wicked stepmother likes her. The wicked stepmother liking you is the biggest deal; equal to winning a nobel prize for likeability.

There’s a knock on the door. The messenger has arrived, I think. What does she want now, someone to back her while she dazzles Baba with a spell?

I open the door expecting to see Umaima, Mommy’s somehow relative who is always the one sent with messages for us. My eyebrows shoot up when I see the tired person standing by the door.

‘What brings you here this early morning?’ I ask him.

He frowns, pushes himself in and settles on the couch.

‘You too? It’s my father’s house last time I checked’.

I almost roll my eyes. ‘I mean isn’t it too early… never mind’ I stop myself. Everything you say will be definitely misconstrued and be given a negative meaning by him.

‘Good Morning Yaya’ Fafa greets him. He merely nods back at her.

‘Aren’t you going to school?’ He asks

‘Baba says it’s not safe, besides it’s closing on Monday.’.

He snorts and shakes his head. ‘As if he cares’. 

I shake my head at the ridiculous dysfunctional family I have and go back to my room to freshen up.

Baba is on everyone’s not-good book. But he is definitively on my brother, Abdullah’s bad book. We call Abdullah, Yaya as he is the eldest in the house but he sure doesn’t act like it..

Yaya doesn’t stay in the same house with us, he left with Mama upon the arrival of the (Wicked step mother) WSM; short. She literally kicked them out.

The story of my family’s fall from the grace of one single unit to a dismembered chopped off family tree started some 6plus years when my father decided it was wise to join politics. Then maleficent set her eyes on him, then he fell in love and everything came crashing.

When I come out, I find Yaya lounging on the couch. Yasmin is back from her visit to the other side and Fafa is on the phone with her loud friend Naima. No one needs to be told when Fafa is talking to Naima because Fafa’s throat also gains an amplifier and they start a shouting match trying to be heard over the others din.

Like calm down sisters it’s called a phone, they don’t do town criers anymore.

‘Good Morning Nana’ Yasmin greets me.

I answer her and she intercepts me before I ask where she was. ‘Mommy sent me a text asking me to help her with some calculations of her record of accounts. I think something is fishy, her staff may be shortchanging her’.

I stare at her for some time before I nod. ‘Okay Sherlock’  I say loud enough for her to hear.

Yasmin is the only one among my siblings who relates well with the WSM and with Baba because one;

She is the young sweet one (to them)

She is the smart one

She is unrebellious 

She is the one who has so much potential they had better gotten her on their side so they can claim their accolades when she joins NASA

She is just the model child, miss-goody-two-shoes, forgive-everyone lets-live-in-peace-and-harmony. *Eye roll*

Sometime I see her as a traitor, sometimes I feel she isn’t being true to herself, she is trying to conform to what everyone expects of her, she is trying to be liked by everyone except of course we, the siblings. With us, she bring out her thorny side.
But you of course can’t say a thing because everyone will say it’s envy. I am older than that brat with 5 years and I sure am not jealous of her for nada. I Just can’t live a life of ‘yes’ to everyone and everything, I’d rather be fed to the crocodiles, neither can Yaya. Fafa is in the middle, rebellious but useful enough to be liked or at least tolerated. I don’t even try pleasing them, it pisses them off. 

It’s possible it’s because when the WSM crashed my family, Yaya and I were the most affected because we were more mature and we saw what it did to our mom. Whatever is the case, I just want a way out of this environment. And something tells me marriage might be the only way. Sigh!!!!!!! My non-existent love life you say? That’s a story for another day.

Next time I come back to you dear journal, I’ll pick up the pieces of our family book and put the puzzle together so it all makes sense. For now, just know that our middle name is ‘dysfunctional’ and our lingua franca is ‘drama’.

See you next time.

PROLOUGE

Dear Reader: If you are reading this then there are several possible reasons why;

-The world did not come to an end. Good thing

-The pandemic ended and I did not survive- not necessarily a good thing- and some gold diggers decided to Anne Frank it.

-The pandemic decided to disappear and I cash this baby out.

– The pandemic has shown no sign of leaving, we have learnt to live with it and I have turned my dear journal to a dreary history book.

Either ways. It is being read by you. I don’t know how this will play out. I might start coughing tomorrow and die in 5 days time- my throat has been itching- I might not write an update for weeks because may uninteresting life has become even less interesting or I may be whisked away by a royal family of handsome rich people who are adamant that their highly chivalrous and intellectual son must marry me and the pandemic will be a royal honeymoon. Then I’ll have plenty of stories to tell.

Another thing is I may be too embarrassed writing my life’s deepest senselessness and I may not be able to share all this.

        Chapter  One: The Lists

I know I’m not going back to that humid office that smells like our boss’s sweat for a long time. I feel it in my bones. Maybe Corona will mandate the closure of the wastage of time, mental energy and fashion sense that is NYSC or maybe I’ll be rusticated because of the hostile energy I exude whenever I wear that terrible Khaki that looks so nice on me. Apparently poopoo green is my colour, with the things I’m beginning to discover about myself, I’m not even surprised. 

I know I’m going to miss a few things like the chit chat with Lauje, the office assistant who is either in his twenties or fifties-I really can’t say- tall and lanky (hence the name) and whose head is clearly missing a few knots. He is loud and almost always speaks off point except he is talking about money; then he becomes a pro arithmetician.

I’ll miss looking at Mrs Binta, the lady whose real complexion remains the biggest office mystery -because a mix of the purple-brown lipstick and heavy foundation do funny things to ones visual senses- as she strolls in last every day and strolls out first because her ex-husband was the director and no one can say nothing.

I will definitely miss the epileptic wi-fi I can connect to only on the stairs on the way in and even though it means meeting and greeting people except when I’m pretending to be on the phone, it is worth downloading three episodes of Stranger Things after three hours.

I have barely stepped off the Napep when the scent of Jacqueline’s noodles swarm my senses and a wave of nostalgia hits. I already miss that heaven sent plate of noodles that tastes like epiphany. I always discover new things about life in every fork and I suspect she cooks them with weed, chicken poop or something like that so that we always keep going back for more. I told Hadiza that the other time and she looked at me as if I am a heathen for suggesting Jacqueline might have a slight.

Today, the Government have made an announcement ordering all offices to shut down. Today, I make two lists. 

One; all the things I would love to do in the three months (my estimate, seems far fetched but we shall see) it will take before Corona sorts himself out (definitely a guy). 

Second list; what I would love to do before the world wraps up and ends in the next few months because while an extreme end of my mind is hopeful, the other extreme end is in plain idiotic paranoia.

I swear when I see the figures of Covid-19 cases on the screen of TV before I walk out the moment the news starts because Millennials aren’t meant to like news, it looks like we have reached the finishing line and they are just rolling in the end credits. 

But then Anne Frank probably also thought so, then she decided to write a journal, then the world (Germany here) picked up the pieces, pieces of her memory and glorified her years of isolation and eventual death. Could be me. Being famous even if post mortem is better than passing through all this ‘The First Wave’ movie come to life without being acknowledged for my bravery. So let’s write this journal.

Here’s what my lists look like. Should we start with the gloomy one or the hopeful one?

To do list before Covid19 departs and the world gets back to normal even though I doubt that:

– Make money

– Make friends from different countries

-Eat junk

-Exercise 

-Make money 

-Get a boyfriend

-Make sure he is rich and doesn’t have smelly mouth (these two are hard to find together)

-Start planning on getting hitched (how does this even work?).

-Reconnect with family and old friends.

-Be nicer 

-Read Qur’an, learn Hadith everyday 

-Try reading a novel without having a headache and nausea

-Meditate inside a tub of warm water

-Sleeeepppp to get rid of eyebags and unwanted people

-Practice becoming ajebutter

-The boyfriend must be rich (emphasis)

-Go natural and grow hair to a healthy afro or waist length, whichever comes first.

-Melanin popping or just bleach the darn skin.

Pretty realistic right?

To do list before the world wraps up AKA Apocalyse

-Memorise Qur’an

-Have one kid, but I’ll have to marry first right? And I really have no time for that.

-Make money

-Sadaqah

-Eat junk because we will all die.

-Spend all the money on food… I repeat,  we will all die.

– Tell your crush you have a crush on him and that we will all die.

-Write a letter to your boss giving him tips on how to stop smelling like a skunk for the betterment of Earth.

-Sleep or don’t sleep. That’s your problem because we will all what…?

-Slap Tasi’u’s always clean shaven head because I really want to do that before I die.

There, done. My list looks like the beginning of an award winning movie.

Now to the implementation.

‘Hmmm! You smell like your office’, my sister greets as she walks by. 

I glare at her for a second.  ‘You see, it is these things you say that makes people contemplate suicide’

She laughs and walks away feeling like her life’s mission of annoying people 3 times in an hour is gaining momentum. 

I knew things were out of control when I found my sisters ‘To Do’ list from three years ago and in between the ‘make friends and stop talking to them’, ‘buy Iphone 8plus through prayers’ and ‘escape going to the University’, she legit has ‘annoy people for no reason at least 5 times daily’ like some sort of worship.

‘When did they take the lights?’ I ask her.

‘They never brought it back’ she screams back. 

I let out a long sigh, drag my bag behind me and vow to get a power bank the next time I go out. Then I remember Corona and I sigh even deeper. 2020 is going to be a long year, I can feel it.

If you are here to read about how I excel at solving mathematical problems (I suck at Math), or how I’m a pro basketball player or how I can read minds, or something equally uninteresting and eww-inspiring that only simpletons do, then you shouldn’t move on from here. My life is not that serious and honestly I don’t want it to be. 

Now that that’s out of the way, lets move on to the 12 totally amazing and awe-inspiring things I excel at doing😊.

1- Thinking incomprehensible senseless stuff right before I sleep off – My gibberish creative time and space is right before I doze off  or when I’m between consciousness and sleep… that time, my brain rolls films of nonsense that makes sense to my brain and that I’ll not recall after I’m fully awake.

But I swear when that is happening, I feel so inspired I can write a book.

2-Washing toilets- Is it weird that this is the first thing I actually typed (brought it down to seem more normal)? Because I think I was washing a toilet when this topic came to mind. I was washing and thinking, damn! You are one good toilet washer. In another life, I could wash toilets for celebrities and charge €1000 per session (clean toilets only).

I just really hate to see that I’m done with a toilet and it’s not very clean so I use up a whole bottle of Kleanit (best toilet washer ever.. my sister sells it), use brooms, plastic brooms, soft and hard sponge, Jik, detergent… everything until the toilet looks like Trumps teeth.

3- Sarcasm – In my mind or verbally. I cannot stand people who don’t get sarcam. If the snide sarcastic remarks I make in my head are to be revealed for a day, I wouldn’t have a single relationship with anyone I know afterwards. We say the most sarcastic things my head and I.

The remarks may be orally said but I have to be comfortable with the person first and I have to be sure the person will 100% get what I mean and so far, only 2 people get my ostensibly sarcastic, dual-meaning, exaggerated comments. Whenever we are together with one of them, she calls me mad like 4 times on average. 

4- Elite humour- I’m sorry if you don’t get my humor. It’s elite, you are not. Since people always use the word elite for even the most inappropriate of things, why not?

When you see me smiling alone for no reason, most likely I just thought up a super funny joke or scenario or I’m engaging myself. Telling this scenario out loud is never a good idea because it never sounds half as funny so I just keep it in my head and laugh … alone… like I’m crazy.

5- Writing fast- Maybe because I learnt how to read and write late (in my primary four; before then, I’ll write letter by letter as in alphabet by alphabet as in if the word on the board is ‘fringe’, I write ‘f’, look up at the board, write ‘r’, look up…) much to the chagrin of my classmates and teachers… so when towards the end of primary 4 I was hit-in a moment of epiphany-by the reading formula, I became a torrential writing force.

 I write so fast, faster than I process the word, faster than my brain processes the word. 

In classes where lecturers talk in the stead of lecturing or dictation, I usually have notes while my classmates complain about not even being able to jot. Even though the notes are not comprehensive to others apart from me.

Because of that, my handwriting is horrible.

6- Being inconsistent- I’m sorry but this blog is suffering for it. When I start (any new project or commitment), it’s all fun and games and I have enough ginger to make tea for a village but before you say ‘ginger’, my steam has run dry. Sigh!

7- Overthinking/ Over analysing: I over the top think through and think back on everything imaginable. Whether its a fact or an incident or a person or something said and done or something I said and did or a movie I watched, a book I read, the little baby crying in the bus, the man driving the Napep I entered today who looked like he has herpes, the woman in the market who might have shortchanged me, the intentions of people and their trustworthiness….. etc. Endless list. Some are deep, some are vain. 

And I analyse all these things from every angle possible.

8- Over looking things- You can do something to me that should elicit an explosive response and I’ll over look, but that just means I don’t really rate you or I don’t want to indulge. I can overlook and downplay serious things and choose to react to ones that may seem trivial…

9- Typing on the phone- I take notes in class on my phone sometimes and I usually keep up, I wrote my two books on my phone, my University project, over hundreds of thousands of words… and I type really fast.

10- Changing topics- You think you’ll loop me in a conversation I don’t want to be in, you need to have another thing coming. I can change topics so subtly… you’ll notice, if you are smart, 4 minutes later.

11- Daydreaming – Why do you think I fail a course? Because I’m a listener, I understand while listening better than reading, so in class, when I should be listening, I’m usually daydreaming about another world, therefore I’m not listening , therefore I fail to utilise my listening learning capacity… it’s sad.

12- Making parfait- I am at liberty to once in a while market my brand and I’m saying this with my head high that I make the meanest greek yoghurt and greek yoghurt parfait that has ever graced your taste buds. And this is me not even selling myself.

Do you relate to these things or do you find some weird. What are the things you excel at? Share, share lets see.

You reading this can post all the things you wish to post about your life but I defiantly will not believe you because I’ve been let down so many times by people i thought had it together but are so full of it.

The reality is that It’s not all picture perfection and rosiness as is always the case on social media (I mean who will show you a picture of his failure and hard times?) because social media life and reality are as far apart as Spongebob and sense. 

Many events and people and situations were responsible for the reality check that knocked my sense to proper functionality because I too- like many others- had, once upon a time assumed that to a very large extent, the width of the smile on a persons face on his/ her social media pictures and videos are a reflection of reality. Boy was I  wrong!

Turns out for some, it was the only place they had to smile, it was the only way they could feel a flicker of happiness which soon dies and in a bid to revive it, they need to post more pictures, tell more lies, spread more rumours and pretend they are fine.

Social media (using term to refer to situations whereby people live-literally breathe on -and because of social media) is a sickness, a mental disorder and many are suffering from it directly or otherwise. 

Remember that Middle-Eastern British couple that were the perfect muslim couple personified? Remember the sham there lives were and how in reality, one had even attempted suicide? (Even though they are back at it now)

All because they had to portray a perfect life on social media and they couldn’t keep up because no one’s life is that flawless and in pushing to do so, they lose themselves .

There are the rich ones who are in fact broke or are fraudulent. Or the ones who body shame and flaunt their perfect bodies which in reality are photoshopped, or the ones who are easy-breezy-life-peasy but their lives warped AF. 

They are all masks, a facade; believe at your own risk. Social media profiles are in most cases the only aspect of people’s lives that they can control (before hackers come for that too), and of course they’ll paint it pink and lavender.

It is sad how we spend hours and money at the expense of a real social life all so that we can lose our souls to the internet in exchange for a clowns suit, because only in the clown’s world is it always full of laughter and merriment.

There are plenty more people I’ve admired, Nigerian socialites, motivational speakers, celebrities whose real lives look like a dull shade of black. 

Motivational speakers are the worse because behind all those words urging you on is a broken spirit roaming about a dark cage but the worse part of it is that they do not know. They see from the inside out so as far as they are concerned, you are the broken-spirited person in need so they try to heal you who needs little healing by giving you bits of the spirit they have left.

If social media where to be away for a little while and people are to try and really please themselves no matter the condition away from the eyes and expectations of others, then life would have been so much easier because many will find themselves.

I’m not painting social media bad, far from it; if you know how to utilise it for good. I’m not saying don’t post your pictures even if you are fake smiling (fake it till you make it right?). I’m not saying delete your social media account or don’t listen to motivation, I’m just saying; wise up, know what to believe, know who and what to emulate, do not compare yourself with others, do not kill yourself to measure up to those who probably have less. 

Be you. The people you see on Instagram should never be the scale to judge your life and successes on. Many are sham.

How do you react to physical illnesses? Do you ignore physical pain, tell your loved one to ‘man it up’ when he has a killer headache, decide to treat yourself when you have diabetes? Or do you go to the hospital and seek professional help.

Now how do you react to psychological diseases? Are you aware that mental illness do as much harm to you and your body as the physical and many physical pain are in fact, a manifestation of the pain that is lodged up in your brain seeking a way to get noticed and treated.

Mental health awareness, in developing countries especially, is just gaining momentum after wreaking harm for years unattended.

Recently in Nigeria there is an appalling surge in the number of suicide and suicidal attempts, murder of spouses, relatives and strangers, terrorism activities and other life threatening acts. Are you aware that over 70% of these acts can be attributed directly (as in the case of suicide) or indirectly (as in the case of terrorist attacks) on mental ill health.

Psychopaths, sociopaths, people with borderline personality disorders and other personality disorders walk, work and live among us (they might even be us), but the lack of awareness on the signs to watch out for and when to get help can make the disorders worse to the point of making them dangerous in the society.

Depression spreads it’s tentacles far and wide, more so because it has found a suitable environment for growth in Nigeria fed by lack of awareness, shunning, pressure, frustration stemming from work, home, marriage life, studies or standard of living.

The lack of empathy makes it that much harder for patients to reach out and the stigma makes it worse when it comes to seeking help. But no one has ever stigmatized people for seeking help with cancer, so why is cancer of the mind any different?

What we need to understand is that mental diseases are diseases like any. What we need people to know is that having them is okay and seeking help is an act of courage. What we need from people is to research, know about the importance of mental health and what to watch out for, know the many different personalities and disorders, observe the people around them and give them a should when they need it.

Because your mental well-being means so much more than you think. It means the world.

She dipped the kitchen towel in a bowl of hot water and placed it on her hand. She winced as the heat seared through her tender flesh. There was a cut and several small injuries on the back of her hand and she couldn’t let anyone see it, especially the people where she was going.

She placed a band-aid and covered the small cut around her knuckles with foundation, she was wearing a long-sleeved gown to shade her wound from prying eyes. People, always trying to establish your life is not perfect like theirs.

She wasn’t going to address the cause of her pain until she’s back. He was probably on their matrimonial bed still asleep, but she had to get up, because she had to work, because she had to feed the family while he slept like a bunch of rotten bananas.

She checked her watch, frowned at how the small hand had ticked clockwise faster than she had wanted and hissed. The lecture wouldn’t deliver itself, she said to herself. Domestic violence, it seemed was a much sought after topic. Battered women where having none of the bullshit anymore, and she was proud. She stared at her bruised hand, she was proud of them.

Iridescent flowers that have already started darkening by the edges, that was what they looked like. Their faces lighted up in understanding and agreement as they stared ardently at her, eagerly sucking up each word like a child with an insatiable appetite of milk.

She shivered slightly at the sight of the innocence painted on their faces, innocence that for some, has already started getting tainted with a dark paint. She needed to save them; from themselves and from the others be it their parents, partners or the society… or all.

And so her voice got stronger with each word, with each message, with each example stating a hundred and one reasons why a woman is the owner of her body and why no one, can take that away from her.

‘The word ‘woman’ has, for a long time been taken to be synonymous to ‘weakness’, and that is why the girl child has been conceived of weakness, birthed by weakness and brought up in weakness. It has been drummed in our brains for so long we begin to believe in that and that is why when our husbands batter us’ she cringed at the thought of that ‘it is taken for granted and blame is heaped solely on us, the weakness’ her voice dripped of passion. She needed them to understand that they needed to stand up for themselves, she needed them to understand there in the grand looking assembly hall of the school of the elite children before it was too late.

‘But not anymore’, she went on. ‘The modern woman is strength and power. She understands that she is human before woman, she understands that she is woman and therefore priceless, she understands that dowry is not a ticket to torture, she understands that she is the owner of her body and she will fight to see that every other person accepts same’. She concluded.

The thunderous applause made her jolt a bit in fright. She stood stunned as the crowd of young secondary school girls and teachers stood up and cheered.

It always happened like that and that was why they scouted lectures so much from her for whenever she was delivering a lecture on violence against women, she was never herself. She was a woman from fifteen years ago who had been dragged and man handled, slapped across the face and told to shut up or the knife glistening in the dark will be buried within her. And she had to stifle her scream and lie for hour-like minutes until the deed was done and her innocence, gone. The most painful part being she knew who it was, and she knew he was a coward as only cowards hit women.

She smiled and lowered her eyes as if shy. The rage of being a victim had subsided and she was back to herself.

The admiration in the eyes of the female students and the profusely stated appreciations were enough for her. Her job was done.

She didn’t want to go back home. She didn’t want to face him or anyone. She just wanted to drive away, far away, but she knew she couldn’t, she knew she had to face her worse nightmare who shared her bed every day for 5 years.

The moment she pushed the door open and heard the sound of feet shuffling, she knew he was home. Where else would he be? Useless man.

‘Come here’. Silence.

‘I said come here’. Now with obvious annoyance.

She felt the rage creep back in. He always had that effect on her ever since he decided it was a good idea to rape her. Little did he know, he fucked with the wrong girl.

10 years after the rape, she had bloomed into a beautiful woman,and he had thought that she had forgotten as it happened a long time ago. And so when she did everything young ladies were prone to do to get the attention of men they liked, he had succumbed and had fallen prey. Some months later, they were married, what he will come to discover was her plot for revenge all along.

She had made his life a living hell from the first year of their wedding. She had made him lose his job, distanced him from family and friends and basically made him dependent on her so that all the power were in her palms, the palms she used to batter him all day as she relieved that dark night that awakened the monster in her.

Her fists were still sore from the punch she had given him last night and she could see him visibly shake as her palms curled to fists.

‘Bloody coward. I hope you tell this story to your fellow weak men who hit women’. She spat out in disgust and landed him another punch.

Title: Different 

By Dela Azojani Adeorike

Samson was Delilah’s little piece of heaven and she was everyone’s desire. The six months with him had been a bed of roses until fourteen days ago.  Samson had invited her for a party. At the party, she couldn’t find him. She asked few people,” please am I his keeper?” said another hissing and cursing…when she found him, “meet me upstairs in five minutes’ time”Samson said giving her a snack. Walking up the stairs, shecollapsed at the door. With nausea, she ran to the bathroom for a puke only to feel something roll down her thighs. Delilah had been waiting him, but he wasn’t welcoming at all. ” where have you been? I have been worried sick about you, don’t you know-” Delilah said but he cuts in ” madam you don’t need to worry about me, hope your whole adventure with those guys was mind-blowing like they said”. He was gone before she could reply. Thinking of the whole incident, she found herself at Samson’s door, he had planned the gang rape and spread that she was a cheerful giver.  She waltzed in with a gun, points samsonand smiling, she pulled the trigger… 

By Stephen Ezennwa

I thought we were done;

She said I was gonna miss her; no doubts I did, but this?

No, I didn’t bargain for this, none of this.

I broke up with her over the phone and thirty minutes later she was at my apartment;

We talked it out;

She told me that it wasn’t going to be easy for her to move on;

But she promised me she’d be fine;

I made her promise me that she won’t do anything drastic;

She left with tears in her eyes;

Even at the moment I broke up with her I loved her;

Seven months later, I’m at Kilimanjaro getting myself treated to a nice meal, courtesy of Phay, my new girlfriend;

After not seeing her for so long, She walks out of nowhere looking like she’s been on some strong shit, wearing a pair of boots and raggedy clothing;

Merely looking at her I knew she hadn’t gotten over it;

I rushed over to where she was and gave her a hug;

Phay opened up for one but she wasn’t taking any of that;

She joined us at the table, we talked, ate, laughed just like old times but she carefully avoided talking directly to Phay;

She said it was time for her to leave;

She stood up and told me to look her straight into the eyes whilst bringing something out of her bag;

“Don’t worry dear” Phay said, thinking she wanted to foot the bill.

Still looking at her, she brought out a pistol and pointed it at Phay and asked me 

“Is she the reason you left me?” 

“I was willing to change for you but I guess you wanted someone else.” 

….. Smiling, she pulled the trigger.

By Jummai Umar

“Greetings, Jonathon.” She patted her purse, making sure all her belongings were inside and smiled. Jonathon was surprised to see her—how would she know his business at the port? 

“What a welcome surprise.”, he said in a friendly tone, trying to conceal his nervousness. “What brings you here?” 

“I never thought you would disrespect our mother so openly.”, she said, gesturing to the bodies on the ship, being transported to a life of servitude. 

“You know I have no choice. Business is booming, and you see what types of returns these good provide me.”, Johnathon said in a patient, yet condescending voice. He was the wealthiest man in town.

“Have you forgotten who we are? Those people are our brothers.” she said calmly. She looked into his eyes, searching for any remorse, any excuse for her to delay his fate. She adjusted her purse. 

“It doesn’t matter. Money is money.” He turned and waved as he walked towards his ship. 

“And your money– and life shall come to an end.” She reached into her purse. Her mother always told her that she would have no choices in life, just things she had to do. Smiling, she pulled the trigger.