Amanda is a biracial Nigerian teenager who's still struggling to come to terms with her new life mother's death years prior after a traumatic accident that almost claimed both their lives. Upon relocation to Port-harcourt she meets Chideziri, another teen who helps her make peace with her life. Chideziri is an unlikely teen from a dysfunctional family and an abusive father. He is constantly on the run from reality, but when he meets Amanda he begins find reasons to pick the fragments even if it means facing off his demons. She belongs to the sky is a brutally honest coming of age story set in contemporary Nigerian society. It trails two teens who in trying to find themselves find each other, and discover that their spark may not be fate's design alone.View More
Calling Ma to tell her the exam is over will only make her rush me, I think.Today is the one day I don't want to rush things. So when others pull out their phones and gather round for selfies and corny posts such as GRADUATE IN A BIT or BEEN HERE, DONE THAT, I push my phone deeper into the slash pocket of my overall."And we good to go!" my best friend appears just as she disappeared: when I wasn't looking, and all of a sudden.She stretches her arms out for a hug."Ewwww." I dodge her. My best friend, Amanda, only seems to want hugs after one of her many visits to the toilets. There's enough bacteria on the doors alone to kickstart an epidemic."You know you want this hug," Amanda grins, inching closer.The periodic toilet frolicking is normal, the usual. The grinning is new. Whatever Port-Harcourt did to her was good. She even let me read her journal for like six seconds—which is a record. She n
I slump onto the grass next to Chideziri. He keeps staring up ahead into the tree, as if he's looking for something in particular, not paying me any mind. "G." Nothing. I shove his shoulder. Still nothing. "Are you going to sit here sulking all day?" Finally, he looks at me. "I can try, can't I?" "It's passing out day, you fool. We had plans, remember?" "Frankly, I don't." He says. I raise a brow at him; he only shrugs. I adjust myself till I am lying on my back in the untrimmed grass. "Well, since you don't remember, I'll wait here until your mermory starts to come back." "You'll be waiting for a long time" "I have enough time." I fire back. "Jesus Christ." Chideziri mutters. "Don't use the name of the Lord in vain, bro." "Guy, g
After four months of complete drought, March releases the first rains.Rooftops turn red with dust filled water, dust that accumulated over the dry season. Children play around under the rain, splashing in puddles.I spend half of most days in second term numb and staring. Staring at the teacher, at the writing on the board that makes no sense to me whatsoever, at the wall clock hung above the marker board. Then I spend the other half of the day noticing I'm numb and staring.In church, I no longer swing my shoulders to the music. I don't listen to J.Cole anymore.She is too everywhere. Too present to be so absent. My clothes smell of rain-beaten leaves, of abandonment, of freshly written poems. How hard I scrub makes no noticeable difference. Weeks after January the sixth, my knuckles are red and raw from trying to scrub her away, and failing to.She is too everywhere.I learn to stay in my room, curtains drawn
Queen's is as quiet and sprawling as I remember. Almost too quiet. The pinafores are also as I remember, shining from excessive ironing. But now the shirts are cardboard paper and the weather is always so dry that I have to keep lipbalm in my bag, just in case my lips crack. Again.Lorita's here, and she definitely missed me. I get cupcakes literally every day of the week, and a lot of guilt trip for that one time I abandoned her, went to Port-Harcourt, and while there, lived my best life.The absolute best thing about being back is that Queen's installed a new track. I'm feeling it.Now, I can run.As far as I want, as far as my legs will carry me. So fast that I fly. I close my eyes and there I'm in PH city, with Chideziri, sprinting, the rain right behind us.When I open my eyes, he isn't there.~
CHIDEZIRI I kiss her now, because when she's gone, I want to remember how her smile tastes mixed with tears. I want to remember the flayed pink that the sky took on, how rays peered down through clouds. I want to remember the mangroves, their dying leaves forming a glade of rusted confetti. I want to remember the sun, before it was eclipsed. ~ AMANDALeft to Aunty Seedy, suffocation by embracing is how I'd die."Nne, I'll miss you sorely." She says, smothering me. I lose count after the seventh hug. All our stuff will be moved to her house. Sofas,
The trees outside my window are almost naked now, burnt to figs by the ever angry sun. In the darkness of dawn, their branches resemble bones. I can't sleep, and being awake staring at the skeleton branches isn't helping, so I take Tobi's hoodie and leave the house. Outside is silent, much like everything else. So silent that when I pass the playround, I can hear the grass whistle. I walk. I walk by the tailors shop, to Close 4 and past. Past the hulking buildings and lonely trees. I walk till I get to the river. Elimgbu river has sunken so low that the stones underneath break its glassy surface. The first time we were here, it was full to its brim. Leaves floated on its surface. Pebbles lived under. It was beautiful. That is the thing about faded glory. It always starts out beautiful.
January, the sixth arrives quickly, quietly. January, the sixth steals our time. I wake up not remembering what the day means, at first. It comes to me slowly. The night before we leave, the night before January the sixth, I learn two things: there are two kinds of hunger, and one can keep you up all night, staring at the ceiling and missing a place and people you are yet to leave. It is two O'Clock in the morning and disconcertingly quiet when I decide that I can't endure the trashing and turning. I take a book from the shelf that will no longer be mine by evening, purple hibiscus, with the cracks on its cover and Adichie's delighted face above its blurb, and I go to the sitting room that will not be ours by evening. There, I turn on the light and cozy up on the couch. Halfway through the first chapter, feet shuffle in the hallway and Dad emerges from
Ahmed is stuck at his mother's shop. But as always, he finds a way to vanish. Abe's on his way already. Pacal posted pictures of the places his family had been to today: cinema, swimming at a pool and Ferris wheeling. The mere sight of the Ferris wheel gave me vertigo.By the tone of his last text, he's down for a reunion. Although he's never been as good as Ahmed at vanishing, I know he'll be there. Chantelle gets there first, to our spot at the river. Her sister's nurse friends visited, and in her words, turned the house into a marketplace. Amanda arrives last. The sun has sunk below the horizon by then and mosquitoes are biting. "I come bearing gifts!" she bellows, stomping down the planks, her footsteps heavy with the weight of five paperbags she's clutching. "Since when did Amanda become Santa?" Abe says. Yet he grabs his gift bag when it's offered.&nbs
Christmas is explosive. Literally so. The number of fireworks produced in a single annum is alarming. But what is even more alarming is the fact that the effing hoodlums that deadbeat parents in my neighbourhood call their children seem to think that detonating all those fireworks in the street just beyond our gate is cool. On Christmas eve, after one "knock-out" landed on our roof, I reached the end of my thoroughly stretched patience. I stormed out to yelled at a couple of them loitering in the street. All of which I did barefooted.Don't blame me, I was spectacularly pissed.The twenty fifth—Christmas day itself—is spent out of our house and in Aunty Seedy's, with her and Ozo. Dad wanted us to go to Chicken Republic, or one of the many fancy restuarants he made it his business to locate in the area once we arrived, since neither of us can boil an egg.
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