Closure

In your mind you’ve got a bat and you go around the house, systematically smashing everything they left behind to bits. In reality, you know how much those things cost and maybe you’re cheap a coward, but you just don’t have the heart to do it. So you start to think about other ways, how to rid yourself of the hard lump that has lodged itself in your chest, threatening to stay there forever.

You think packing their stuff in a solitary box, to be left at their door -or to be handed over in a brief clandestine meeting- will do it.
It doesn’t.

Neither does burning.
All you’re left with is the acrid smell of smoke and a dark ring on your balcony…the shape and size of the cardboard box that was there 5 minutes ago.

If there’s no catharsis in tearing up their old notes, then deleting their texts, emails, pictures off your Instagram, their number…does less.

You wonder if there’s truth to the myth that a good scream can let it all out. So you try it. One day when it’s just you and the four walls of the house. You scream yourself hoarse. Then you wait for all the pain to evaporate.
It doesn’t.
When people ask what happened to your voice, you don’t have an answer prepared.

You get a tub of ice cream. You’ve always loved Ben & Jerry’s. You rent a movie. You don’t forget the box of tissues. You’re in your most comfy pyjamas. You dig in. The movie works its magic. You bawl your eyes out.
NOTHING.

Then you start to think. Maybe hearing why will make it better. To know the reason, even if it’s some fundamentally flawed aspect of your character, should be better than nothing.
So you set it up. Steel yourself for what you know is likely to be brutal. You sit through the small talk, willing them to get on with it. When they finally seem ready to, you sit up. Coffee/ tea/ liquor whatever form of dutch courage is your poison in hand. You listen intently, waiting for the one thing you can pinpoint and say “Aha! This is why.” But other than a series of half-truths and patronising lies meant to make you take the blame for their shortcomings and/ or feel like the one that got away, there is resoundingly…
NOTHING.

Now you’re worried, is this how it’s going to be forever? A hard lump stuck in your chest, freezing your insides so you don’t even have the patience to deal with anyone new?
Maybe you’ve just been a fool, buying into the myth of a reason setting you free. Maybe at the end of the day, that’s all closure really is, a myth sold to romantic fools.

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Can We Just Live?

You know how I wrote this post of mums and boyfriends about two years ago and it was a joking sturvs and I thought we were really all just playing? Well! turns out the pressure is real! What! Look, if you’re not in your mid-twenties yet you had better join some of us search for the anti-aging serum oh. Let us just stop the hands of time together.

The pressure is real oh! Notice how I said that twice? Yes, that’s how real the pressure is. I would say it  100 times but I feel like you’re smart, you get it. This pressure is not the light one your mother gives you. Those my in-law bants that she throws in when she feels like you’re pouring too much milk into your coffee or even the jokes about what she’ll be giving out as party favors at your engagement. It is not even the little jokes when male friends come home. Like hehe hehe ‘is he the one?’ type questions.

No oh! This is strangers, who have absolutely no business telling you how to live your life telling you how to live your damn life! Can you tell I’m pained? Okay not really, I mean someone had to write this, I am not angry or anything. I am not even crying. These? These are not tears….It’s just a reaction to the onions my sister is cutting in the kitchen at home. I am not home you say? Is it your eyes? Can a girl not have allergic reaction again? My friend my friend allow me get back to the story.

Aha! So as I was saying.It’s even worse when you look younger than you actually are not that I’m complaining, everyone and their grandmother think it’s okay to give you advice.

“When you meet a man…”

“As for Ghanaian men…”

“As a woman…”

You. will. hear. this. at. every. turn. You cannot even breathe at this point for fear that some auntie will say “all this air you’re breathing you should have been breathing in your husband’s house”. At social events, when people ask what you do, you will now have to start calculating because “as a woman you must not let men know that you have accomplished xyz, let them get to know you and then you can start to reveal your accomplishments.”

“Men don’t like these things.”

“These things scare men.”

Deep down you’re thinking it cannot be true. That the men in your generation know better, that they too want a woman who can bring something to the table. You believe that those weak-livered men who are threatened by an accomplished woman do not exist in your generation. You’re happy in these beliefs, smirking secretly at the aunty who is busy spewing ‘nonsense’ at you in the name of wisdom. Until you meet that one guy, who is your age by the way and is very concerned that your plans do not have a man at the forefront. So…who will make sure the children have been bathed? Who will make sure that there is breakfast on the table when he’s leaving home and dinner is ready by the time he gets home? He’s a big man U no.

The worst part is, this is just the tip of the iceberg. This does not begin to cover the horrible amount of pressure girls go through because they have reached a certain age and nobody ‘put a ring on it’. This is not even their final form! This does not cover the expiry date jokes that they make for bants or the sermons you will hear that basically tell you “a woman may have a job, but her real place is in the kitchen”.

I said I am not crying!! These? They are not tears oh…something just fell in my eye.

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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.

Tracy

Hello people! I know it’s been a while but I hope this more than makes up for my long silence 🙂 enjoy!

*************

Tracy looked at the filthy probably smelly guy that had suddenly appeared at her car window, wondering where he had appeared from since he hadn’t been there a mere 5 seconds before. Just as she was rolling down she was jolted with the realization that under all the filth, she knew that face. At first she thought it was because she often saw him on that same stretch of road smoking cigarettes, the cigarette stick being the only clean thing about him. Until it hit her how she really knew him. Joojo? She said furtively. The look of shock on his face was enough confirmation for her. It was him. Thankfully the light turned green at that precise moment and she used the opportunity to speed off, so overwhelmed by different emotions the thought of stopping at the nearby bus stop so she could talk to him never occurring to her.

 “I swear it was him!” she said to her friend Enyo some 45 minutes later. After seeing Joojo she couldn’t bring herself to continue her journey and 30 minutes later she found herself parked outside her bestfriend’s gate, now calling to find out if she was actually in. Enyo had barely opened the door when Tracy asked her if she remembered Joojo.

 “Joojo as in Joojo Quansah?” Enyo asked, understandably surprised her friend was dredging up memories from a chapter of their lives both of them had tried hard to forget over the last decade.

“Yes” Tracy replied. “The almighty Joojo Quansah, now clothed in rags and filth.”

“I just can’t wrap my mind around the idea” Enyo said, “who’d have ever imagined”.

Tracy sighed heavily, her mind drawn to the time 10 years ago when she had told Joojo she was ending things with him. Remembering the scorn in his eyes still gave her chills. The way his entourage had laughed with him at her expense when he called her boring.

“Plenty more where you came from” he had said, gesturing towards the scantily clad girls strewn all over the room, most of them hoping to catch his eye.

Of everything he said that day; Tracy remembered that statement had hit the hardest, seeing as he was the one that had relentlessly pursued her, refusing to accept no for an answer.

She felt a tug on her arm that brought her back to the present,

“Earth to Tracy” Enyo said, “don’t tell me you’re imagining what your babies would have looked like”.

Rather than tell her what she had actually been thinking, Tracy laughed off her accusation and discretely steered the issue towards other matters

 

Two days later she was driving down that same stretch beside the 37 military hospital when she spotted him from afar. Without consciously realizing what she was doing she parked at the nearest bus stop, and only when she got out and was locking the car did she acknowledge what she was about to do, her courage nearly deserting her. She stood rooted to the spot for a minute, talking herself into walking towards him.

“What’s the worse that can happen?” she rationalized to herself as she walked towards him.

She waited till she was right behind him and then tapped him. He turned almost aggressively and then stopped short when he saw her. For a fleeting moment she thought he had recognized her and started to smile but her smile immediately dropped when the next thing out of his mouth was “money for cigarette madam, me I no go lie you, ibe cigarette I want buy” he continued in the pidgin English people of his caliber often resorted to.

“Joojo it’s me” she said, “Tracy, don’t you remember me?”

“Tracy who?” was his arrogant reply as he stormed off, muttering about people who wasted time with talk rather than giving the money they were meant to.

Undaunted, she followed him, “we were in university together” she tried to remind him. “We dated in level 100”.

All she got was a “leave me alone” before he crossed to the other side of the road and left her looking at him, mouth agape.

 

********

Tracy got out of her brand new Kia Optima. If any of her achievements in the past 6 years filled her with pride, this was it. It had almost cleaned out her account but it was totally worth it. She loved the sleek lines of the car and the silver colour she had chosen. She checked her reflection one last time, making sure every hair was in place and her lipstick was still sharp. This was her first meeting with these people and she’d be damned if she didn’t leave them with a good first impression. She considered it a great compliment that they had requested her specifically to be the primary consultant on this case. Her boss had been very mysterious about who she was meeting and the nature of the job. Once her boss had agreed however, she had no fears about the meeting as he was fiercely protective of her. She walked briskly to the entrance, checking her reflection once again when she got to the glass door. With a flip of her hair, she pushed the door open- using as it turned out much more force than required so that rather than the elegant walk she had intended entering the room with, she found herself stumbling into the room. As if that wasn’t enough, she righted herself and lifted her head only to find herself face to face with Joojo Quansah.

Somniloquy

Hey! So I know it’s been ages since I put anything up but I hope you’ll find this worth the wait. It was inspired by Pink’s just give me a reason. Enjoy.

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“Have I told you how much I love you?” Nathan said, inching in closer. Bree looked up from the book she was reading, a little surprised ‘cos she thought he was sleeping and then more surprised cos he was still sleeping.

“I try to find the words to describe it but then I find myself at a loss for words. I love you babe” he continued and snuggled in further.
I should have known he was still sleeping Bree thought, putting her book aside and turning off her lamp. Nathan was never this expressive with her, especially in the last few months when their relationship had fallen into a boring lull. She didn’t mind hearing it this way though, made it all the more real.
When she was falling asleep a few minutes later, she still had a smile on her face, and now Nathan’s arm round her mid-section.

She found him in the kitchen the next morning, already dressed for work. She stood at the door for a moment, unnoticed and studied him as he wolfed down his cereal before going in.
“Morning love” she said, still feeling quite chipper from his declaration the previous night.
“Morning” he replied shortly, no hint of the love from the previous night.
Taken a bit aback she turned to look at him, pausing for a moment from grabbing the milk from the fridge. He looked up just in time to catch her looking at him and as if that was a cue he grabbed his bowl and bag, dumped the bowl in the sink and and 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 and rather than the leisurely breakfast she had envisioned she quickly finished a bowl of of cereal and then dressed up for work.

At work she found herself restless, thinking about the sharp contrast between Nathan’s love declarations the night before and his attitude that morning.
“Penny for your thoughts” she heard behind her, making her jump in her seat. She looked behind her to see Nelly looking at her from her cubicle which was adjacent to her own.
“You seem to be a million miles away” Nelly said.Knowing how fast her life’s story would spread if she let out a word of it to Nelly, she laughed and told a mundane joke, more to get her mind off her woes than for Nelly’s sake even. For the rest of the day she ploughed through her work, trying her best not to think of Nathan and his recent coldness.

Before the clock struck five Bree was up and packing, in a hurry to get home before Nathan and luxuriate in a bubble bath with a glass of wine. As she packed, she reminisced about the early part of their relationship when Nathan would meet her up after work and they’d have a few drinks and then a meal before or even watch a movie before they each went home. Sometimes she wondered if she hadn’t made a big mistake agreeing to move in with him.

Two hours and a long soak in the bath later, she got downstairs to find Nathan was already stretched on the couch, no longer in his workclothes meaning he’d been home for a while.
“Didn’t hear you come in” she said to him, surprised he hadn’t even come upstairs to say hi.
“Didn’t want to disturb you” he replied, looking a little sheepish.
“When is that ever disturbing?!” Bree asked him, her voice rising a little higher than she would have liked.
It didn’t help either that Nathan’s next reply was to tell her to calm down.
Without another word, she turned and went upstairs, trying to break away from her tag of being the confrontational one. Halfway up the stairs she found herself doing a 360, almost against her will 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?” was Nathan’s reply.
“This…this..coldness between us” she sputtered. “I know we’ve never been an expressive couple but lately things seem so off” she continued.
“They do? it’s all in your mind babe” he said, pulling her into his arms.
“Nothing’s off, I still feel the same; or have they changed for you?” he asked, nibbling on her ear.
Bree just let out a sigh
“You know they haven’t” she replied, snuggling in closer. She tried to remember the last time they had done something like this and she couldn’t even remember.

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

“I’ve never felt this way about anyone before” he said, making Bree smile. She was just thinking about how she would always wait for Nathan to sleep first so she could hear him say all the things he wouldn’t say when he was wide awake when she heard him say

“I love you..Maame Esi”.

Feeling as if she had just taken a bullet to the heart, Bree shot out of the bed and landed him a hot slap.