Somniloquy

I wrote this https://ajreads.wordpress.com/2013/11/11/somniloquy/ a couple of years ago, and then recently a new and improved version got published in the @KeeleCreativeWriting Society’s anthology of fiction. So I thought I’d share, especially since there’s now a sequel which I’ll put up pretty soon (don’t worry, I won’t flake out, it’s already written lol). There’s many ways this could have gone, and if you’ve got any ideas I’d love to hear them. For the moment, here’s the first part, I hope you enjoy it! :*

“Have I told you how much I love you?” Nathan asked, inching closer. Bree looked up from the book she was reading, one of the many books she kept on her bedside table for sleepless nights. She was surprised to find him still sleeping.

“It’s hard to find the words,” he said and snuggled in.

I should have known Bree thought, taking off her reading glasses and turning off her lamp. Nathan was never this expressive, especially these past few months. She didn’t mind hearing it this way though. When she was falling asleep a few minutes later, she still had a smile on her face and Nathan’s arm around her midsection.

She found him in the kitchen the next morning, already dressed for work. She stood for a moment and studied him as he wolfed down his cereal, taking in his broad shoulders and high cheekbones. He was wearing the blue shirt she bought him for their three-year anniversary. She loved how the shirt fit, the shade of blue complementing his dark skin. They had first met at Suzanne’s birthday dinner and with his rugged good looks and boundless charisma all her friends had thought he was too good to be true. Even she thought so when he wouldn’t stop calling her, until a month later when he finally convinced her to go on a date with him.

“Morning!” she said, still feeling quite chipper from the night before.

“Morning,” he replied. He looked up, and caught her looking at him. As if that was his cue, he dumped his bowl in the sink and grabbed his bag. He gave her a perfunctory peck on the cheek before heading out. Just like that, Bree felt the high spirits she had woken up with deflate. Rather than the leisurely breakfast she had envisioned, she rushed through her bowl of cereal and dressed up for work.

As senior analyst at her firm she could arrive later than everyone else. She liked to wait till the morning rush had died down before heading in. She arrived in time to catch the end of the junior analysts’ morning meeting before entering her cubicle. An hour later and she was still staring at the same page of today’s financial report, too distracted by thoughts of Nathan’s nighttime declarations and his attitude this morning to focus.

“Penny for your thoughts,” she heard behind her, making her jump in her seat. Nelly, one of the junior analysts, smiled at her from the cubicle adjacent to her own. Knowing Nelly would gossip if she told her, she laughed and told a joke instead. For the rest of the day she ploughed through the report, trying her best not to think of Nathan.

Before the clock struck five Bree was up and packing, in a hurry to get home before Nathan. She wanted a luxurious bubble bath and a glass of wine. As she drove home, she reminisced about the early part of their relationship. Nathan would meet her after work and they’d have a few drinks and a meal or, even watch a movie before saying goodnight. She missed those times, when Nathan couldn’t seem to get enough of her. It was his idea to move in together, a year after they became a couple. She wondered if this had been a mistake.

Lapsed catholic though she was, she had had reservations about moving in with a guy before she was married. Moving in with Nathan had caused arguments with her mother, who still had conventional views and disapproved of Bree’s decision. “I need this to work” she thought. She parked her Toyota Yaris in their two car garage, happy to see Nathan’s Nissan Rogue absent. She couldn’t bear the thought of what her mom and her cronies would say if this ended. Especially now that she had just turned thirty. Already there were subtle digs about when she and Nathan would tie the knot. Her mom never missed a chance to make her disapproval clear.

Two hours and a long soak in the bath later, she came downstairs to find Nathan stretched out on the couch watching football. He was no longer in his work clothes; he had clearly been home a while.

“Didn’t hear you come in,” she said to him.

“I didn’t want to disturb you,” he said, studiously avoiding eye contact.

“When is that ever disturbing?” Bree asked him.

“Calm down Bree,” Nathan said.

Without another word she turned and went upstairs.

Halfway up the stairs she turned around again and headed back to the hall.

“I’m tired of this Nathan,” she said. “I don’t know how much longer I can take this.”

“Take what exactly,” Nathan said and looked at her.

“This coldness between us,” she said. “lately things just seem so off”

“They do?” he asked, pulling her into his arms. “Nothing’s off, I still feel the same; or have things changed for you?” he asked, nibbling on her ear.

Bree let out a sigh. It was just her imagination after all.

“You know they haven’t,” she replied, snuggling in closer. She tried to remember the last time they had done something like this.

A few hours later; with Nathan by her side, she was just about to turn off her night-light when she heard Nathan mumble something. Eager to hear what he would say this time, she inched closer her book and night-light all but forgotten.

“I’ve never felt this way about anyone before,” he said. Bree smiled. Take that mom! She thought. Perhaps she would always wait for Nathan to fall asleep first. Then she could hear all the lovely things he would never say to her when he was awake.

“I love you Megan,” he said.

Feeling as if she had just taken a bullet to the heart, Bree shot out of bed, knocking down her lamp and waking Nathan. For a moment she looked at him without speaking, her mom had won after all.

Advertisements

Why I Love……………….ZUMBA!

If you read One Month In! you may recall my mentioning joining a number of exercise classes in order to achieve my long time dream of not having to be rolled off of the plane when I eventually get back home. Not like I ever have been mind you;but whereas people have nightmares about normal things like being chased by monsters or featuring unwillingly in a family member’s pot of soup, I find that mine tend to be more about pounds that reflect on the weighing scale rather than their rightful place (my account) which brings me to the reason for today’s post: my love for zumba.

Prior to coming here, I had never really used the gym although like a lot of girls I know I had resolved several times that I would etc; and had actually made inquiries here and there but never actually got round to doing it. Which is why when I started eating all those desserts and realized that those pounds need to go somewhere other than my cheeks I had no idea which of the fitness regimes available at my gym to try. My flatmate (also Ghanaian) tried to persuade me to try zumba but- and this is something my friends know- I have this small issue with dancing in public. I am perfectly happy dancing away in a chair in public, or even dancing to a song in my room. However, get me off that chair in public and suddenly I am a pair of left feet, unable to bust a move to save my life. Of course under certain circumstances I forget that I supposedly have two left feet and dance like nobody’s watching but that’s a story for another day.

I had a feeling the treadmill wasn’t for me if I wanted this to be something that eventually became a habit (no, I’m not crazy…yes, I have heard that people meet cute boys at the gym but you’ll have to see how I look when I’m going to the gym to understand that this cute boy thing is probably not going to happen).

Anyway after reviewing all the facts, we decided to try a couple of classes before choosing which ones we would actually stick to. She was still for zumba but being the independent 21 year old woman I am, I decided I was going to try spinning first. Maybe I just overdid it that day (or not); whatever the case may be, let’s just say 3 days of an aching behind later, I realized that perhaps my behind did not quite provide the kind of cushioning one needs for such pursuits. Now, I quite love the behind I’ve got but I could not imagine continuing with spinning unless I somehow miraculously bulked up in that department before the next class.

So I decided to just suck it up and try this Zumba I had heard so much about. I must admit my first day was almost the disaster I imagined it would be, having sworn off of dancing for so many years as I had, I often found that while the class was doing one action I was still busily doing the previous one and when everyone was moving in/ facing one direction I was doing the opposite because I hadn’t grasped the most basic rule of Zumba i.e. keep your eye on the instructor, always.

But it was fun! Which was ultimately what I was looking for, a way to keep in shape while having fun. It does help that (especially in the Monday class) most of the music is upbeat and contemporary stuff I already like. Also, there’s a lot of shimmying and winding which I (and presumably the guys that come peeking to see what’s going on) quite enjoy. When songs like uptown funk come on, I can’t wipe the grin off my face; and the once or twice we’ve done Fuse ODG’s antenna, you’d think I’ve been pumped full of adrenaline with the sudden spring that comes into my step. I have since then tried yoga and aerobics which I quite like as well but Zumba! that’s what has my heart. If you’re trying to lose weight and you’re looking for something that combines fun and weight loss, I suggest you give it a whirl. Especially if like me you’ve got a behind to protect 😉

It doesn’t matter if you’re a bad dancer either, everyone is too busy trying to keep up to care how you’re doing. You can stand in the back till you are confident in your moves but the more you keep going, the better you get so don’t get discouraged if your first class is a bit of a disaster. So go ahead, try it! Your behind will thank you, and even if those pounds don’t end up in your account, at least you know you won’t be seeing them on the scale either!

of moms and boyfriends

Of mums and boyfriends….and why single girls over 21 should join the kpa kpa kpa movement.

clock

Rather than write the paper which is due in 2 days that I’m nowhere near through with, I decided to write this post which I promised on twitter on the 29th of November. Why? Well inspiration for me to write is often hard to come by although when I do I enjoy it tremendously. I often find myself writing elaborate stories in my head and never actually putting them down on paper.

Anyways, in this coming month – being my birth month and all- (yes, I turn 21 again!) I will be putting out more than my usual 1 post every 3 or so months. Which means I will post no less than 3 posts this month. I know people tend to do the whole 1 post a day thing and I would have loved to. However, I know myself, and I know how laziness aka writer’s block can catch me for long stretches of time. Which is why in order not set you (my lovely readers) up for disappointment I am making the modest estimate of 3. If it is more, glory hallelujah. If not, well I only promised 3… 😀

On to today’s post!

Before I go into all of that though, I just thought I should mention this. Just so you know, there is no grand sale of guys where I can just look through a great selection of boys at a discount and pick the one I fancy, with the option of returning him to the store within 30 days if I find he’s not to my satisfaction. Believe me I would know. So to all my loving friends out there, there’s no one. I’ll tell you when there is.

You know how they tell you when you are growing up all the pressure that comes with growing up? Well they weren’t lying. In the past few months, conversations with my friends back home have been nothing short of hilarious with all the mounting pressure for them to ‘produce’ a boyfriend. Not like they have a gun to their head……yet…but I believe it’s getting there.

Thankfully I have the greatest-mum-ever™ who will never give me pressure be it direct or indirect (yes this is a directed message to my mum who’s going to read this at some point) but some of my friends have already started to feel the heat.

Imagine my friend’s surprise when she told her mum she was going for a wedding and her mum’s response was “you’re always going for weddings when will you do yours?” You see what had happened was…she doesn’t even have a boyfriend!! Oh and best part is the question was NOT rhetorical, she had to give an estimate.

Another friend got sent the picture of a huge cooker. When she ventured to mention how huge the cooker was, the straight faced reply was “yes, big enough to cook for my in-laws and grandchildren”. In-laws and grandchildren who are merely theoretical at this point because my friend really does not have a boyfriend at this point.

Did I mention that there are boxes full of magic mugs in my garage? Imported by my mom (who I love with all my heart)? And did I also mention that the mugs are apparently for my engagement and my sisters’ engagements regardless of the fact that none of us at this point have a boyfriend (unless my sisters do and I don’t know)? Let’s just say my mum could probably host an engagement party for any of us tomorrow if we told her about it tonight.

Also, a friend of mine recently came into possession of a book titled “How to prepare for the wedding”, kindly gifted to her by her mother. I would think step 1 would be to find the groom and then buy the book but what do I know?

These are merely a handful of the things that are going on behind the scenes in the homes of those single girls that have turned 21 a few too many times. Weirdly though, the pressure doesn’t only come from the mums. If I were prone to feeling pressured, all the times my friends have asked me if I’ve found someone yet in the two short months I’ve been here would surely have done me in by now.

In closing, I would like to leave you with this totally random but hilarious conversation.

 

1

2

A.T.N.A = All Talk No Action

PS: Apart from the magic mugs scenario, one other is mine but I won’t say which. Take a shot at guessing why don’t you? Oh and if I’ve told you this story before you’re out of the race please, no telling!

Have a great month everyone!

 

 

 

One Month In!


Disclaimer: This is not a sequel to Tracy yes there’s a sequel or there will be….one day…when I get around to it :D.

apple crumble

sponge cake

So, it’s been a mighty fun month! To be honest when I boarded my flight a month ago, I was more excited than scared but there was Still some fear. Fear of the unknown I guess. Since I got here though, I’ve had more than enough reason to let go of that fear.

For one thing everyone here is so friendly it’s incredible. Part of my anxiety when I was leaving home was from all the things I had read or heard about how unfriendly people are in the UK. Not like I was expecting a rolled out welcome mat at Heathrow but I wasn’t exactly looking forward to having my head chewed off for asking directions some place.

And then there’s the free food! There was so much of it in the first two weeks I literally felt myself packing on the pounds and not in any of the good places if you know what I mean ;). Since I prefer my pounds in cash and not body mass I promptly joined the gym and although I wake up most days with aches in all sorts of places I figure it’s a fair price to pay for all the delicious food I’ve been consuming. So it’s been zumba three times a week and aerobics once a week just so I can eat all those glorious desserts without having to see visions of myself having to be rolled off the plane when I eventually return.

There was the dinner for international students the first night we got in aand the breakfast the next morning then the buffet dinner that evening buffet breakfast the morning after and then the International Student ball that night which was really marvelous. I did nearly go blind from some of the outfits but that’s par for the course really with these types of events isn’t it?

There was also a BBQ organized by one of the chaplains and where there’s chicken….. 😀 Anyways I literally attended so many events with free food in this first month I had friends from home asking me if I was sure I was away at school and not on holiday. Although the flow of food has since trickled down to the barest minimum now there’s of course the cottage lunch organized every Sunday which I wouldn’t miss for the world. Imagine that for a donation of £2 you get to eat a very filling home cooked meal and have the most amazing of desserts like chocolate mudpies, chocolate sponge cakes covered in chocolate sauce and ice cream, apple crumbles etc and best of all seconds are available! Best believe I’m in there every single Sunday rain or shine, £2 in hand.

With all that’s been going on I haven’t even had the time to be homesick. I do miss being able to just drive anywhere I want and being able to have dinner with friends (you know yourselves :*) whenever I wanted to see them and Starbites! Oh how I miss that spicy avocado chicken wrap and the jerk chicken. Other than that though it’s been a good month. I also miss my gentleman of a brother opening doors for me and holding my bag (when there was something in the bag for him of course).

I have made tons of friends of various nationalities and there’s been nights at the KPA (the Postgraduates bar), lunch in town, a few shopping trips, etc. I’m certainly looking forward to seeing the fireworks and hopefully a trip with some of my course mates if that does work out. If this month is anything to go by though, I can’t wait to see what the other months hold!

PS: If this post didn’t tell you anything at all, the morale of the story is FOOD, FOOD, and more FOOD please and thank you 😀

Lots of love,

AJ :*

Trotro Blues

If there’s one thing I didn’t count on when I was entering the world of work, it’s probably how much time I was going to have to spend in public transport, especially trotros on my way to and from work.

Have you ever sat in a trotro that has only 2 functioning windows? Who am I kidding; I’ve probably just described almost every 207 trotro that plies our road these days. Woe betide you if you somehow find yourself seated next to that girl who has conveniently forgotten her weave has been sitting atop her head for over two months and needs to come off. I believe I don’t need to continue. You catch my drift abi?

And it’s not just the windows too. With these two eyes, I have seen a trotro with a gaping round hole between the two middle rows, right where passengers are supposed to put their feet. Oh well, I suppose the driver thought with only two functioning windows, the passengers will need a bit of a breeze around their legs to cool them down, what do I know?

There was this one time too I rushed into a trotro, heaving a sigh of relief to be finally out of the rain because I didn’t have an umbrella that day only to  realize the roof of the trotro was leaking -_-. What made the whole thing even more ridiculous was the mate did not understand why passengers wouldn’t just sit on the soaked seats and kept stopping to try and load more passengers. He was very cross when the passengers on board wouldn’t budge for the new passengers to sit but like the Akans say “Give it to me and I don’t have, who’s stronger?” so he just had to stop, accept his lot and stop trying to load the passengers.

Then there’s the livestock. I kid you not. It’s bad enough to be sharing your seat with all manner and size of roaches like I had to sometime back. Or even a real live chicken, clucking and turning away the whole journey, leaving you with your heart in your mouth throughout, especially when you find out your stop is before the chicken owner’s. For this one girl though the last straw was when she had to share her seat with a goat of all things. Suffice to say she has never taken trotro again.

Did I mention the girl with the smelly weave already? Oh wait, seems I did. Okay, what is it with the mates who seem to only take a bath once a leap year? For some reason they don’t realize that their BO status has moved from a slightly funky to poisonous gas levels and if you are unfortunate enough to share the same seat you’ll probably reach your  destination feeling slightly  nauseous and disoriented with a side of migraine. It’s like for the love of God keep your arms down!!

Then there’s the sticky bodies of the other passengers, the guy in the suit who coughs so hard you’re wondering if you shouldn’t head straight to the hospital to check your T.B status when your ride, however long/short is over, the drama never ends!

Oh and is it just me or these trotros seem to break down at the most inconvenient times and at the most inconvenient of places? Like on the day when you leave home with barely enough time to get to work on time or just in time for that cute boy in your area to spot you standing by the side while the other passengers are in the process of ‘wonsi mpia’ . Now If you’re anything like me you probably move as far away as possible with immediate alacrity, hoping to quickly remove any trace of an association with the situation behind you. Unfortunately the other passengers hardly ever get the message and they will hunt.you.down! just to tell you to go back for your money from the mate. At this point I usually find myself wishing that the ground will just open up and swallow me but if wishes were horses and all that right?

Anyways have you ever had a trotro experience that left you cringing or wishing you could buy a car the very next day, or maybe was just plain hilarious? Leave a comment 🙂