SHE BELONGS TO THE SKY
To my father,
Oliver Obiezu Eze,
You said I was a genius when I thought I was a nobody, but a passenger boarding a lonely train.
To my elder brother and loyal companion,
for always believing in me, when I could not hold the pen and trust the words I was about to write.
And to my editor and trusted friend,
Chibuzor Victor Obih,
for encouraging me with kind words even when the storm was too large for me to calm.
The whole sky was the colour of her skin.
Eleanor and park.
The rain is a battering ram. I left it batter me. Besides I'm already in bits. The sky's tossing huge balls of water, the size of oranges. They hit with an icy chill that is almost soothing, like a distorted massage from an angry masseuse. I'll probably be down with a fierce cold come dawn, but that is as insignificant as polishing the shiny bronze plaque in the living room. Being in the rain is like holding a butterfly, the flutter of its wings like a small tempest–smaller and safer than the tsunami that hit me when Chimamanda came, and the swirl of crudely formed emotions that raged when she left me. Far more safe. I don't run from the rain when it accosts me in the middle of the street. It has long become an old friend, a balm that soothes the monsters in my head. An outlet. A rare chance to escape. It is also because the rain is like her. Wild, vivacious and kind. I like to think that if i just closed my eyes long enough i would see her,
CHIDEZIRI I know Daddy is angry before he comes out of the car. I knew he will be angry before he went out of the house with Tobi. Tobi had already seen his JAMB result before they left for the cyber cafe. His eyes grew wide for a second, then frantic, his thumb hurriedly swiping across his Samsung's screen. I knew then, that Tobi failed jamb. I can hear the sound of the front door as it is flung open. I can hear it slam against the wall and rebound, creaking shut, whining in disapproval. Another sound follows, swift and easily recognizable, sharp, precise and wind-cutting–a slap. It is discipled by a thud and a hollow echo. I imagine Tobi reeling from the blow, then catch himself–a palm pressed to his smarting cheek. "Chideziri!" I shrink back into the wall at the coolest corner of the room. My heart is pounding in my chest like a war drum; so violently it hurts. "Chideziri!" I grasp at the small hope that he will stopping calling and f
I have a small voice in my head.I don't remember when it came, i don't even remember when it wasn't there.I call it—him: Deziri. I think he's a braver version of me. Stronger, reckless, free-r, more daring.And right now, Deziri is telling me, very brazenly–in the house of the Lord, to smack this lady.I almost oblige him, and her.One more.One more nudge, and i will smack this paparika-faced woman into the heavens.She has small chinese-y eyes inlaid on skin the colour of icheku fruit pods. Her gown, a blue-black stripped bodice is cinched at its waist in smooth ripples of three's. The bald man beside her could be her husband.She started it when the church rose for ' high praise', it being intentionally quacking and nudging me, probably to force me to dance."Because you won't dance." a small thought says in my head.I ignore him and hold my ground.She quacks me again, th
The boy near the window is eye-balling me.Not in an alley-stalker way, or that cute playboy kind of way. It is as if i am the sun, and he's been blind his whole life. I would have been flattered if not that i am here, in CHURCH.Yes, i finally said it. IN CHURCHIt started this morning, between 5:30 AM and 6 when Dad woke me up, when he told me that we are going to church in that pacifying tone he uses when you have no choice in the matter. It's not like we didn't go to church in Lagos. We did, but not with this crazed early morning jerking people up frenzy, not in this size of church.The denim jacket and leggings i hastily pulled on are a sharp contrast to the beautiful ankara print gowns that seem to swallow the place up. There are suits of many colours grey, blue, blacks, senator kaftans and geles.The sun's rays filters through the large glass window in spears of golden light that twirl and dance on those numerous colours. M
The place is huge, like a colloseum or a battle field enclosed in a wall of brick. It is bursting with trees and plants. Two guavas stand guard at its entrance like gnarled sentinels of bark and green, pink hibiscuses and purple heart plants line the hedges at the wall of each block in a carefully tended array. There is an unending field of trimmed grass and two building stand adjacent to each other; both are stories high, almost blocking out the rays of the sun. It is a world of its own, completely divergent from the one beyond its walls.The school co-ordinator is a short plump woman,with conspicuous strands of grey in her bun and a face with more edges than a decagon. She looks like the kind of person that will switch into her language the moment a phone call comes, the type that will make exaggerated expressions and funny sounds egging the speaker on the other side of the line to go on with the story. I like her, instinctively, because she does not give Dad one of t
Mumsi is back from work.The house smells of soup, stockfish, and something i can't place–thyme, curry....or whatever.FYI, I am not big on cooking. I do much better wolfing down what has been cooked.Still, there's nothing like the aroma of food welcoming a man home after a long day at the battlefield. Yes, i am a warlock, come from the northern pass, great war axe in hand, gore dripping from my steel gauntlet.Sorry, i'm with you again, but you get the idea.I have a pro-active imagination. It gets the better of me sometimes. Did i ever tell you i have been a huntsman, a dragon rider, a Casanova on miami beach, Aragon from lord of the rings before?...i guess i didn't.I shrug off my school bag from my shoulders and fling it by its strap into my room and onto my bed on my way past. Correction there–my and Tobi's room.Yes, you heard me right. I share a room with my maniac of a brother
When Ernest hemingway said: There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed. He was right. He was absolutely right.My music box is up to its highest volume, blasting J.cole, the soft tune of his for your eyes only caresses my eardrums. It shuts out the real noise—silence that is so silent it's loud and eerie.I write better like this, with songs in my ear and bass pulsing through my room. But today not even J.cole can save me.My jotter lies in front of me, its pages are a stark alabaster under the fluorescent practically begging me to tattoo poetic genius on its skin.Trust me, I would love to. There is only one tiny-pinky sized problem.I can't think of anything. Not a single word.I pull myself back into my body and start the hunt for inspiration. My room smells like tea and perfume. A heady aromatic fragrance that fits perfectly to the cool beige paint, i'm still tr
Her name is Chimamanda Yara Ezeocha.Yes, i got the full name.No, i am not a stalker.The first time she talks to me is in an Economics class, after Mr Uzoukwu had succeeded in ruining the class' mood for the umpteenth time with his ingenuity—Dictation.She said "Please, can you lend me your note, i didn't get the last paragraph."My ears were too busy doing cartwheels while the men in my stomach opened bottles of champagne and made toasts to my heart.It's funny how your wits leave you when you need them the most. How it can feel like your insides are squishy and your heart is playing a guitar."Um yeah" i said, stalling so my brain can reboot. It doesn't.It doesn't, even when she asks if she can take the note home. It doesn't, even when Deziri cheerly starts singing Mj's Billie Jean in my ears.All i can think of is the sound of her voice, a husky song that should belong to someone else.It's nothi