An Ibadan Girl’s Guide to Fireworks

Hola!

I’m back with a new story. I had originally written this story sometime in 2020, right before Nigeria’s Independence Day celebrations. I never got round to publishing it then but here you go!

FIREWORKS

I love fireworks. I love the way they light up the sky like it’s the 1st of October. The bright, bright luminescence.

Mama hates them. She hates the crackle and swoosh as the fireworks charge into the night sky. She hates the suddenness. The sudden transition from peaceful darkness to bright light.


I wish Mama could love them like I do.

Today is the 60th anniversary of our country’s independence from Britain. I can hardly sit still. Today, I will make Mama love fireworks.

I have lit up my favourite crackers. Mama lies reclining on the garden chair. I am creeping, inch by inch, to where Mama lies. “Happy Independence Day, Mama” I yell from the shadows as the lights take over the sky with that crackle and swoosh. I watch the lights till they burn out but Mama does not. She glares at the sky with unseeing eyes.

“ … a garden snake” …. “a rare poisonous specie” “ …. not known to be native to Nigeria” Snippets of the doctor’s whispers filter to my ears. “Was it swift and painless?” Baba whimpers back.

I killed Mama. I hate Fireworks.

Thank you for reading!

An Ibadan Girl’s Guide to Blooming

Hiya!

This is a simple, sweet story of blooming written with Spring in mind. It’s a new year (technically, lol) and there’s always time to start again. Take a chance on yourself!

RED BLOSSOMS

It rained cats and dogs that Winter night.

I remember because each raindrop felt like a mocking pelt of ice slamming against my skin like a rebuke. The earth was red with fury and each hit of the shovel took a bit of my joy with it.  I gazed at her cold, glassy eyes every minute or so as if willing them to open up. But her little mouth stayed firmly shut, frozen forever in death.

It has been one month now, I think to myself, cradling my cup of coffee in my arms. I know it will take more than coffee to warm up the parts of my soul that have gone cold since losing her but it never hurts to try. I gaze at the bay window, mad at the bit of sun trying to get past a stubborn cloud to brighten up this sad day.

It has been two months now. I have been to every flower shop in the area to ask for red blossoms. Like cruel fate, no shop has the flowers. I sigh, cradling my head in my hands as her glassy eyes taunt my mind.

Its three months today. The throbbing pain in my chest is now a dull ache in my heart. But still no red blossoms. I have settled for white peonies and they hang around the frame of my favourite picture of hers. I reach up to open the bay windows that have remained closed since she passed. But something catches my eyes.

Its red blossoms. Beneath the window, in that strange crack of cement where nothing grows. But somehow, against the odds, the blossoms thrive. I gulp in the warm Spring air as I feel my soul warm up again. And I know in that moment that she’s here with me, in the form of her favourite flowers.

Thank you for reading!

AN IBADAN GIRL’S GUIDE TO HORROR FICTION (3)

Hiya!

I’ve got another exciting piece. I’ve got a postscript at the end of the story. Be sure to let me know what you think of it!

SWIMMING LESSONS

I am five years old and Mama dropped me off at the pool for my swimming lessons. I am surrounded by water and I sink deeper as the bubbles rise to cover my ears. Above the water, I can hear the muffled sounds of the world around the pool. There’s a lot of screaming going on but it does not faze me. Children can be noisy.

I settle into the warm coziness of the pool. I try to flap my arms and legs but they refuse to move so I stop. I keep my eyes shut and try to recall my alphabets. They keep slipping away when I get to ‘J’ but I don’t stop. I can hear the loud whine of the ambulance going by outside but I don’t care. Today is about swimming and I am here for the enjoyment.

Suddenly, I start to drown. The water rushes into my throat and fills my lungs. I panic and shout ‘Mama’ but I know she can’t hear me under the water.  I try to open my eyes but my eyelids are heavy, as if weighed down by some unseen force. The water swirls around my mouth but its metallic and thick. Then I know.

I am not five years old. I am twenty and in a pool of my blood. I did not see Tade but I felt his knife jab into my belly. The screaming is my voice and the ambulance is for me. I settle deeper into the pool. There is a time to die and that time is now.

POSTSCRIPT: In this story, I tried to get into the head of the victim. There are quite a number of interesting first-hand reports from survivors of near-death experiences and writing this was insightful for a number of reasons. Perhaps the most intriguing reason is the fact that no one ever lives, literally, to tell this story. And we are left to ponder and imagine what goes through people’s heads in their last moments.

AN IBADAN GIRL’S GUIDE TO HORROR FICTION (2)

Hi hi!

I’m taking out the time to explore some more parts of horror fiction. In this story, I take a quick jab at the innate injustice of murder which is that nothing ever really can bring back the murdered. In addition, the lives of their families are permanently altered. To some it is some sort of comfort that the murderer does not walk freely and cannot sleep without tossing with guilt. But in reality, a lot of people who commit murders get released right back into society (after having served time, of course) and go on to have ‘normal’ lives.

Love Me

Love me… love me not” …”love me… love me not” he whispered under his breath, repeating the words in a mindless incantation as he wringed his hands in his wretched black cloth. The steady hum of the freezer behind him accompanied his crazed incantation and together they created a strange sad song that fit the occasion.

The occasion was a murder. She was an unremarkable woman. Older and with a child. Her body was soft, round with that fleshiness attributed to motherliness. They had met at the local shop where he had gone to purchase pliers to pry out the teeth from the skull of his last occasion. She had smiled innocently at him from the next aisle. That was how she came to be his next occasion.

He would swear, five months later in front of a jury made up of men his peers, about how she had flirted with him, touched his arm, with her pinkie flicking his flesh. He would rage about how she looked just like his mother and sob about how for once in her life, his mother wanted something to do with him.

When the sentencing was over and the press had died down, he would settle into bed at the asylum, gingerly laying his covers over his head. There in the darkness of the room, their faces would flit before his eyes. Each of his occasions. Sentenced to the darkness of the grave as he was to the darkness of his room. Before long, he would be asleep, snoring peacefully with the rest reserved for the wicked.  

Feel free to send me feedback using the ‘contact’ button. I would love to hear from you!

AN IBADAN GIRL’S GUIDE TO HORROR FICTION

Hi there!

I’ve got the next story in my flash fiction series. I had fun writing this story because it required me stepping into the mind of my younger self. For context, I read a lot of horror fiction as a child and in my teenage years. My favorite author for a long time was (and still is) Stephen King. His work has always fascinated me which you can see in this story.

As usual, do let me know if you enjoy the story!

FORGIVE ME NOT

Forgive me not, for I do know what I do.

I do know that I methodically study his life on Twitter. His likes, his tweets and his retweets. When he interests me sufficiently, I do know that I proceed to his Instagram. That is, of course, the fastest way to find out where he lives. I do know that thereafter I proceed to Facebook. I need to know, of course, his friends and family.

Then, I do know that I will pay him a visit. Well, you see, not him really. His apartment. I want to know what he lives like. Is his existence as much a mess as his online presence? I need to know, don’t you think? I do know that I will follow him around for a few days. Not visibly of course, I am not stupid. Not that a man like him would mind a young, pretty woman like myself following him. Men like that would love that. But you see, my work requires that I remain invisible.

I do know by now that he has a routine. This comes in very handy, you’ll see. I do know that I’ll follow him out one of these days. Preferably on a jog. I do know that I’ll wait till it gets dark and lonely while he jogs on the road. An ‘alpha male’ like him cannot be scared of a simple matter like a dark, lonely road, haba*. I do know that I’ll stealthily draw closer as he jogs slower, waiting till the time is right to strike, armed with my mai-suya* knife. I do know exactly how his legs will buckle beneath him, unable to hold up the ‘alpha male’ anymore as his blood pools around both of us. I do know how I’ll watch, gleefully, as his blood seeps out while I listen to my recording of his incel tweets. I do know how I will wipe his blood off the blade of my knife, grinning satisfactorily from ear to ear.

I do know that I will be back to find another one like him. What I do not know is when.

*Nigerian exclamation, usually used to express surprise or shock.

*Type of knife with a curved, tapered blade, typically used by sellers of spicy meat kebab (suya) in Nigeria

Thanks for reading. See you next time!

An Ibadan Girl’s Guide to Bouncing Back

Happy New Year 2022!

I took a break from writing to focus on other things and I had no idea how much I had missed writing until I started again.

Anyway, I am back and I am adding a nice twist to this space….Drumrolls…’tis fiction! Fear not, it is flash fiction but pretty enjoyable. Here you go –

A lifetime of You

I only remember that it was rainy the day I first met you.

I remember because the rain fell incessantly as though attempting, unsuccessfully, to obscure my view of your imperfect face. I recall how comically narrow your nose appeared. Like it had been stuck awkwardly by an impatient potter on your skinny face. How full your small lips seemed, because you had been biting at them like you always do. But it was your eyes for me. Your big beautiful eyes full of hurt. I felt a tightening in my tummy as I gazed into them and I knew I would spend the rest of my life attempting to undo that hurt.

I spent the evening talking to Efen but gazing at you. Ohh, but he understood when he saw the way I gazed at you. And I know you know as much because you spent the evening with a beautiful, little thing in your arms but with your eyes firmly locked on mine. When we each slipped our contact cards into the other’s coats in the cloakroom, we knew we had found what we had spent a lifetime searching for.

I hope you enjoyed this read! I am happy to hear from you if you did

An Ibadan Girl’s Guide to Being a Tech Bae (Part 2)

And so our story continues, the captivating tale of my foray into the world of technology.

After the years of on-and-off attempts to learn Python, I have restarted learning programming. I am studying to become a front-end developer and my learning journey began with HyperText Markup Language (HTML). Having gained some level of mastery of HTML, I have gone on to start learning Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) and Bootstrap. I have also begun to pick up Javascript.

It is important to let you know that this is not a story about a final destination. It really is a tale of my journey. I hope to share my tale with you as it unfolds.

The simple, yet profound advice I got from the near-stranger remains with me. And I would like to pass it on to you. It is to carefully select what you want to learn and to understand what you intend to do with the knowledge you are about to expend time and resources gaining.

I spent all those years wandering in the maze of tech, near-blind. Technology is not a one-size-fits-all and learning Python did not have to be my only way of entering tech even though it was my first exposure to tech. I needed to understand that front-end development was where I wanted to be and Python did not need to be the way to get there.

I hope this helps if you, like me, would love a foray into tech and you are unsure how to get in. Know your ‘Why’.

PS: I would love to learn about your tech journey. Share it with me via the contact button below or in the comments!

AN IBADAN GIRL’S GUIDE TO BEING FEMINIST

We should all be feminist | Free download Printable Funny Quotes T- Shirt  Design in Png

I knew what it meant to be feminist.

Or I thought I knew. 

It meant to be a man-hating, God-hating rabble-rousing shrew who will never find a man willing to marry her because no man will ever want to put up with ‘that’. ‘That’ being a word spat out disdainfully at the folly of the unfortunate woman.


I knew who I was and my stand on gender and women’s rights.

Or I thought I knew.

My stand was to support women and girls whoever they were. To ensure that no woman who came in contact with me lost her voice. To let every girl I met know that she’s a strong capable person who deserves to be treated as an individual not lumped into a category – woman- by which her every action will be judged and weighted. But when it came to being called feminist, naaaah. “I’m not feminist!” I would vehemently retort whenever anyone asked or attempted to label me. Every time I heard the word ‘feminist’, the image of the shrew would come, unbidden, to mind.

It all ground to a halt the day I asked myself “What then am I?” I do not believe that I should be limited in academics, sports, adventure or anything by my gender and I do not believe anyone else, regardless of their gender, should be either. I do not believe that anyone or their capabilities and abilities should be limited or shunned based solely on their gender. 


Like the dawning of day, slowly but surely, when even the deep crevices come illuminated. Slowly but surely, it dawned on me that I am, indeed, feminist.


I AM FEMINIST!

AN IBADAN GIRLS GUIDE TO BEING RACIST


I cried all through the movie ‘The Hate U Give’. I did not when I read the book. But as I watched the movie, as I felt the pains become palpable, a huge lump formed in my throat that just wouldn’t go down because I knew what it felt like to be black. I knew what it felt like to keep my hands visible whenever the blue and white cars drove by. I knew what it felt like for white people to clutch their bags tighter when I passed by them. I knew what it felt like to be stared at warily whenever I was in a predominantly white neighborhood. I knew what it felt like to avoid hoodies and burly jackets that could ‘conceal’ weapons. I knew what it felt like to be black.


But what I didn’t know was what it felt like to be black everyday of my life. I grew up and still live in the most populous black nation on earth. In Nigeria, I’m just Oyinkan. Dark skinned, Christian , Yoruba Oyinkan. Never Black Oyinkan or African Oyinkan. Just plain boring Oyinkan. The first time I ever stepped out of my country was when I was twenty years old and it was on a visit to the US. That was the first time I knew what it felt like to be black. What it felt like to be treated differently, to be looked at differently. To be regarded differently.


I said earlier that I didn’t know what it felt like to be black everyday of my life. The truth is I still don’t know. I experience being black for a couple of months a year and then I have my Nigeria to come back to. I have the option of coming back home where I am judged for a lot of things and for being a lot of things but none, the color of my beautiful brown skin. 
My heart breaks for those who share my color and whose home is that place of judgement. It breaks for everyone who is judged for something they didn’t choose and can’t change. For everyone who ever has to meet stumbling blocks because they’re black, because they’re female, because they’re differently abled, physically or mentally or because their sexual orientation is different. For everyone who has a privilege… class privilege, white privilege, choice privilege, gender privilege… I want you to know that you are not made less by speaking out more for those without that privilege. 


You are not less of a man if you speak out for feminism. You are not less white if you speak out against racism. You are not less straight if you speak out homophobia. You are not less of an able bodied person if you speak out for inclusive infrastructure for differently abled persons. You are still you, with a serving of humanity on top.


POSTSCRIPT: I chose that title because I want you to be outraged. Not at me or at my post. But at all those things you can change. All those things that continue to exist because you keep quiet. Nobody can make you quiet unless you choose to remain silent. 

POST POSTSCRIPT: Post originally written in October, 2018.

AN IBADAN GIRL’S GUIDE TO BEING A WRITER

To be a writer, you must write.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Tsk, Tsk, Tsk, before you say a word, just wait a minute. Yes, I know it seems to you as though I’m simply begging the question. But hear me out. I am a writer. I know I am. But I have more works in my head than I have on paper. Are you asking why? Great ‘cuz here’s why.


For a long time after my first couple of literary disappointments, I stopped writing. I stopped putting pen to paper, words to MS-Word (I have a real cheeky grin right now, you just can’t see me). I never wanted to put my words down again. I never wanted them to be in a palpable form again because I felt too vulnerable. They were my words, my thoughts, my creation, myself. And it hurt too much to lay myself bare, just lying there in black ink waiting for someone to destroy ‘I’. So I kept ‘I’ locked up in my head. In my head where only I could see ‘I’, only I can read ‘I’, only I can love ‘I’. 


Now here comes the irony. Beautiful as it was for only I to love ‘I’, ‘I’ would never be realized, fully and truly as I deserved if only I loved ‘I’.