Commingling

Quietly, I spring to my feet, fasten the saggy towel on my naked waist and head for the door on tiptoes, the sound of my footsteps unheard. First, I turn the key three times. Then, I unbolt the door; it opens. Two young men walk in: the electrician and the gangly, effeminate waiter whose fragile body wriggles and wavers as he walks. The electrical fault isn’t from the room; they walk away. I latch the door.

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Reminiscence

At Corper’s Lodge, Barrister was sunk in an armchair at one corner of the parlour, eating beans and pap. Corper Dami, the girl rumoured to be his fiancé, was seated next to him, reading ‘Sizwe Banzi Is Dead.’ A pack of cabin biscuit was placed on a small wooden table at the center of the living room. Four other corps members – two boys and two girls – emerged from their rooms, their curious eyes hovering at me.

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Different

During your school days at Enugu State University of Science and Technology, you lived in Umueze-Awkunanaw, just a stone’s throw from the university premises, not very far from that small, not-steady-flowing stream you’d always cross and proceed to the school’s Faculty of Natural Sciences.

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THIS IS LAGOS

You don’t always have feelings like this, but once you do, something definitely happens. As you usually do, you should have said your prayers as you woke up from sleep, to bind and cast the evil spirits, to prevent whatever that could possibly happen, but you didn’t. These days, you no longer pray. You’re tired of praying. You just sleep and wake up, go out and come back; anything you see, you take. No, it’s not as if you no longer believe in God. You still do, of course. But you think you had said too many prayers in the past, prayers you had patiently waited for their answers but nothing happened. Could it be that those prayers were not well said, well presented to God? Maybe it’s because you’re a sinner. You don’t know. Perhaps they’re yet to be answered at God’s appointed time? Perhaps. But how long will it take kwanụ? Sọ chi ma! Only God knows! Maybe if you had prayed, if you hadn’t ignored your spirit when it gave you a signal, you wouldn’t have had anything to do with KAI people.

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Kamdili

Dejected, I was thinking about the tragic ending of Chimamanda’s ‘Americanah’ that I had just finished reading, of how Obinze abandoned his wedded wife, Kosi, and reconciled with his ex, Ifemelu, who had been away in America for years. The way the novel ended got me so miffed I wished it had a sequel.

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I am Igbo, Not Ibo

The first letter I wrote, which was addressed to my elder brother who resided in Kaduna, was written in Igbo. I still remember. During my primary school days, I had always excelled in Igbo Language. Those days—in Primary 6, I still remember—whenever our class teacher, Mr Mba, wrote ‘Asụsụ Igbo’ on the blackboard, my friend and classmate, Obidimma, whom I shared the same desk with, would turn to me and say, “Your subject!” To Obidimma (and even a good number of others, like late Georgiana Iloanyionwu), so far Igbo Language was concerned, I had continued to remain undefeated. (This rating, perhaps, could be a fallacy.)

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Nnamabia

“Outside, that talkative, elderly man, Atụegwu, was making the men of your kindred laugh with his njakịlị—jokes. While they were all laughing boisterously, your brother shushed them immediately he started telling them what Nnamabia had said, the strange thing that had happened to the poor child. It marveled them.”

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Ghost

Nnabuchi, my late sanguine friend, was very comical—a trait that had always trapped many girls for him. But he could be boastful, too. Especially to girls. He was the type that would tell a new girlfriend that his father owned mansions at Festac, Lagos, or at Aso Villa, Abuja.

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I AM SAD

“Seated by my left were a girl and a boy, both of them teenagers, both of them with big Samsung Galaxy phones. The boy was ‘chiking’ the girl, his accent totally transformed as he voiced his carefully selected words, like someone born and brought up in America. An Americanah. I was watching them with the side of my left eye, my ears waxed, like that of a bad child eavesdropping on the sensual conversation between the parents. The girl’s ‘phonetic’ voice was angelic. Listening to her speak in a soft tone made me remember my secondary school days. It reminded me of Onyinye, a fellow student I loved very much those days. Onyinye. I wanted to start thinking about her, but the picture of the molested Hausa boy in the market came and blocked that thought. My face tightened. I became moody. I couldn’t hear the teenagers speak again, even though they were seated right beside me, still talking.”

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