SHORT STORIES: A WORD FOR EVERY SITUATION
I SEE the tears on Mama Nkechi’s face late at night as she begs from her neighbors just to make sure her children could eat, abandoned by her husband after the birth of the last child, another girl, the fourth female child despite the desperate prayers for a boy. He had left the morning after, left them all in her hands with no job except a petty trade and maybe in the hands of God, if he is truly out there…
Word: Yes, There is a tendency when in pain to react towards the negative than positive but in him lies a hope so strong that it illuminates a dark path.
I ALSO SEE Bayo submitting CVs at every office in Lekki Phase I, he has become friends with the gatemen, his file has become a distinct feature, 5years after graduating with a first class, no job, no money, first son of the family, responsibilities already beckoning. Menial opportunities have come by, yes the usual teaching of Nursery school students, the occasional factory work but none yet tallying with his dreams and visions, so he continues to search…
Word: A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation, I, the Lord will hasten it in his time (Isa 60: 22)
I SEE Caro on the streets late at night as we drove out of the club, she waves at us, pushes her bra further up as she leans on the driver’s side of the car, I used to know her, yes ‘used to’, mother died at birth, father married to another, she and her younger brother left to wander the streets, searching for what to eat, sleeps under the bridge, rumors of her dating the No 1 agbero in the hood, tried her hands on several things but got burned on every occasion, she now smokes and drinks heavily and is known as one of the islands ‘runs girls’, with no one to turn to and a brother to support through school, how do I hate on this new hustle of hers even if I’m surely not patronizing it?
Word: He forgiveth all our sins and healeth all our diseases. Don’t give up on God for he won’t give up on you.
I SEE Rachel, I see the hurt in her eyes, the betrayal it holds, the demons fighting in her head and the ghost she has become, raped by her Uncle, not once, not twice, can’t even be counted on both hands, it all started when she was 8, continued till she was 15, she was warned not to talk, then threatened as years passed and he demanded it more until she began to believe her own story of being the cause of her problems, ‘why did I have a full body at a young age’, She cries, ‘Why did I never reject the candies he brought’, ‘why did I keep silent the first time’… 3 abortions later and a damage to her womb, why am I even alive, she asks?
Word: Even whilst we were yet unborn, he knew us… I’ve seen pain so deep that it pierces the very soul, yet I’ve also seen the healing power of time, love and God’s word.
I SEE the hardworking James, childhood friend of David and Usman, they did it all together, disturbed the neighborhood with their exuberance, shared similar dreams and worked towards it. Years later, David got a good job, lives in a good house and married to a good wife, Usman rides a fly car, appointed manager of a top firm in the country and officially arrived as one of the newest big boys in town, but James seems stuck, his 40k paying job can barely meet his needs, still lives with his parents in their one room apartment even though he would be 40 next year, can’t even hold down a relationship, GT the guitar man’s ‘When I’m I gonna be what I wanna be…… time is ticking, I can’t wait no more, do dreams ever come true in this part of the world’ is his favorite musical line, ‘am I cursed?, do my friends have two heads?, how come I am the one always begging them for money? Some of the questions he asks on a daily as peer pressure got the better of him.
Word: I returned and saw under the sun, that the race is not for the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill but time and chance happeneth to them all.
I SEE Ifeanyi the upcoming rapper, used to freestyle with his group every evening at that corner in Surulere, close to the Mallam’s kiosk, listened to him a few times, he is actually good at it, won many freestyle battles also, the sky seems to surely be his limit, so he begins to save, uses his tuition fees and pays for a 8hr studio session at 80k, records two songs, ‘surely a hit’, he says; art cover and packaging plus CD copies for additional 50k, now he is ready, the radio needs to feel this, 1st deejay he meets asks for 120k payola, promises a month of repeated rotation and even shows along the line, the other one in the sister station with a pot belly opens a box filled with abandoned CDs, says its 150k non negotiable, the video director called earlier that a mini budget of 400k will get the shoot covered, so he trades off his few assets, even signs a slave contract, he has to make this work but now the label says rap music will never sell, he has to learn how to sing like Wizkid, he has today abandoned that dream and like that parable in the bible gotten his talent buried.
Word: Whose report will you believe? I’ve seen creativity and genius sacrificed on the altar of ‘MARKET DEMANDS’, but I’ve also seen determination so dogged that it forges its own path through the thick forest of public opinions and vision so clear that it blazed its own trail when no one was willing to give it a chance.
I SAW Temi during my service year far away in a strange land, one of the most amazing lady I had ever met, strong (at least on the outside), homely and surely a blessing to any lucky man. I saw her laugh, saw her dance, saw her speak in tongues, then I also saw her cry, saw her go pale, saw her strength fade away and then saw her lying on the floor after attempting to take her own life. She had been with him for 11yrs, immediately after completing her secondary school, she is Muslim, he is a Christian, but she loved him and disowned her father’s religion. He was her first just a year after and he was the only one eleven years after. During her university days, she was ready for marriage, he said they should wait till she completed her education. Strikes came, years were elongated but finally she graduated, again she was ready but he said to wait till after the service year, now just three months to the end of her service year, he called to say ‘you are not the girl I used to know, you are now fat, I can’t do this any longer’… after the call, she had stormed into her room in the Corper’s lodge, only to be found minutes later barely alive.
Word: And God remembered Sarah…….. I’ve seen broken hearts and the broken hearted, but I’ve also seen hearts that even when hurt, could not be broken because they had found peace in him.
I SEE Vivian at 28, her dreams already fading away, she had a picture of what she wanted growing up, a successful businesswoman, married with three kids and enjoying life ever more. It was all looking good till that fateful day in college 9years ago, when she slumped on her way back from the library. The doctors could not diagnose her aliment, they assured her that all was well but she kept forgetting things and she kept losing her strength easily, barely could she walk for 5minutes anymore, barely could she read and remember again, depends solely on her soon retiring widowed mother for her needs, living in perpetual fear that she may never live the life of her dreams or even like every other normal lady, the more she ate, the more her flesh dried up, she contemplated suicide but couldn’t bear the pain the mother would feel, so she stays hoping, hoping for a miracle, hoping against hope…I see it all
Word: For I know the thoughts that I think towards you, thoughts of good and not of evil, thoughts of life and not of death, to give you an expected end….. I have seen the power of faith and yes I have seen God, our ever present help in times of need.