Tag Archive | Despair

Haunted!…

His wife’s cool hands on his shoulders halted Sanders from further destruction as he took another swing at the sculpture with his club.

He couldn’t count the number of times the sculpture taunted him, taking on fiendish proportions in a nightmare until he smashed it to pieces and then made a new one from scratch, once again resembling his tomboyish, young sister with her sweet looking face.

No matter what everyone said, no matter that his mother never openly expressed her blame, he held himself responsible.

What if he always wondered?

What if he had accompanied her to the cinema that fateful night many years ago as their mother had suggested?

Would she be alive now? Would that have deterred the monster who kidnapped her, that by the time her body was found, she was desecrated in ways beyond words?

Sanders was perpetually haunted by these thoughts and it was worse that the monster was still out there.

Unknown and roaming free.

© Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha

InLinkz

Thank you, Phylor,  for the photo and Priceless Joy for hosting this charming platform where we unleash our stories:-)


Below is my first just published Poetry Book “Out of the silent breath” which is available on Amazon and Smashwords.

When you buy my book, you support me in an invaluable manner.

 

She is amazing at describing love and life in her poems. She creates such beautiful images with her words. Truly, she is a talented writer and I’m so excited to have her poetry book and to continue reading through it.

Out of the silent breath

Midnight Musings and Motivations # 45…

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A lot of times, we have challenges that we face but lack the zeal to take them on.

Once our spirit to take them on is down, we find that the voice of pessimism and all the possible excuses will offer themselves on shiny platters for us to choose from.

However, the downturn to helping ourselves to the platter of excuses is that it’s often accompanied by a cane for self-flagellation and guilt, which will eventually show itself when the consequences of our actions or inactions dawn on us.

Sometimes, we need not have huge amounts of faith or courage.

Indeed,  a peanut-sized one will suffice, but if we can dig in our heels and get started with it, you find that the zeal and courage required to continue surfaces.

© Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha

The Dreaded Phone Call…Friday fiction in five sentences.

She was on her way back to town when the call came in, her fingers slackened and the phone slipped, falling on the cobblestones with a thud, but she just couldn’t bend to pick it up as she stood rooted to the spot, her legs too heavy laden to move forward.

Staring unseeingly into the distance, tears filled Ellen’s eyes and brimmed over with a silent scream that tore through her head and her heart shattered in tiny bits.

She always knew that this day was coming, yet she wasn’t braced for it.

That single dreaded call, that she had prayed never to receive finally came.

……And the man died! Head bowed in deep grief, her knees buckled as she sank into bone-wracking wailing; like a wild animal, Ellen’s cry was not a pretty sight. She cried with all her being, but everyone who knew her understood why.

© Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha

The Bill…Friday Fiction In Five Sentences.

She counts the coins over and over again.

It would barely be enough to purchase meaningful grocery.

‘Dear Lord, where will the next meal for the babies come from?’ She wonders in despair.

Hearing a shuffle of feet and a rap on the door.

She rises wearily to check who it is, but there is no one at the door, just a little note wedged into the space under the door, with a 50 dollar bill nicely folded inside.

© Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha

How Do You Heal A Heartsick Heart?…….HELP me!

sad-black-woman

I know all that I want to say;

There are drafts, lots of them;

The words are not lacking at all;

The ideas are bounteous and overflowing;

Yet I have no words to say anything;

Because I am heartsick!

How do you heal a sick heart?

How do I get my happy again?

I know the words in my treasured Bible;

I know that they comfort me;

I ask for a silver lining in this dark cloud;

But I see nothing; not yet at least;

Is it under my bed?

Maybe I should take a look!

Is it in a bottle?

I have no head for such!

Is it in prayers?

A heavy heart, all I do is sigh!

In the pages of a book?

My drifting mind goes here and there!

Where is it?

But still my heart sickens within me;

I feel empty like a hollow drum;

And I hate to feel this way;

Or to have a pity party;

It is said that time heals;

I think time just covers the sores;

Of oozing wounds;

But the scar tissues are left behind;

To remind us of the battles behind;

I try all the positive pick me ups;

I do hate to be in the doldrums;

I stuff myself with sugary bites;

Hoping to find some delight;

Yet nothing seems to work!

At least I can try to write the pain away!

How do you heal a heartsick heart?

Does anyone know?

Because this struggle is real!

I am human not machine;

I feel things like every other like me;

Despite the upbeat state of mind;

That I choose to maintain;

Sometimes, the pain is so real

It consumes your entire being;

You cannot seem to think of anything else;

The laughter is forced;

The companionship is wanted and not wanted;

The placation placates and annoys;

Your feelings are all twisted and upside down;

Sometimes, I wish that it is easy to stop feeling;

To become an Island and create a buffer around your heart;

That way you loose no one and you feel nothing;

But that would be a sad waste wouldn’t it?

The struggle is real!

Some may think it is a show of weakness;

To wail and to seek for help;

But I know that I don’t have all the answers;

Neither do I care for toughies who know it all!

Tell me; how do you heal a heartsick heart?

P.S. When the grim reaper deals a blow; Someone must be left grappling with the wicked show!

Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha

Tormented Heart….

Grieving

In the doldrums lies my Soul;
Cast in the deep shadows of melancholic sadness;
Adrift with the lack of sense of it all;

I remember your fair sparkle;
Your gentle modulated tones of speech;
Your laughter that tinkles like little bells;
and your eyes that dance in merriment.

No preceding warning;
Not anything at all!
You were here;
Now you are gone;

Like a wisp of wind, floating…floating away;
You have sailed away;
Never to be seen again.

Your dancing eyes sleep, dimmed in forever;
Your gentle ways a resounding loss;
Your sense of humanity gone…so gone…

Oh! My Soul grieves at the pain of it all;
For the young ones that you have left behind;
Their shocked bewilderment and despair;
Staggering at the blow that fate just dealt;

My eyes are dry and tear ducts sealed;
I am in open-mouthed disbelief;
Yet, I remind myself of the transience of life;
That it shouldn’t come as a surprise;
That Souls journey often to another realm;

Yet, it does surprise and it hurts;
I am as sore as an angry bear!
Shall I say goodbye?
I have no idea how…….

Best friendJacqueline Oby-Ikocha

Let us PRAY…

Prayer

We thank you Lord for days and times such as these ones;

For your constant shield through life’s challenges.

You raise us, from deep places of despair, doubt and regret;

To higher grounds of Faith, Grace and Hope.

From places of discontentment;

To the overflow of fulfillment.

May our tedious tests become uplifting testimonies.

May the meditation of our hearts and mouths;

Be acceptable before you Lord.

May your blessings that come from the Deep and the Four winds;

Be ours today and always.

Amen.

Prayer 2

Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha

Where’s happy?…..

Happiness

”Where’s happy?” she asked the Four Winds,

Digging in the rubble of hurt, lonesomeness, misguided thoughts,

hopelessness and more hurt,

Her fingers bloodied from sharp pricks of the jagged rocks of pain,

despair, mistreatment and more.

The Four Winds kept still in its gentle sway,

And not a peep, did it utter at all.

She hurried left and she scurried right, In a frantic search for happy;

Under plumped pillows and beneath feathered billets;

She languished, seeking happy with anguish.

Across the gin counter and inside many bottles,

”Where’s happy?” She asked, but bottle wouldn’t share its model.

Under the lights, she took to flight;

Strange lips kissed, but happy still missed;

”Where’s happy, Strange lips?” she asked;

Strange lips mumbles and fumbles;

Humbly admits, ”I don’t know and I need happy too!”

Dejected and weary, bloodied to the bone;

A moment of stillness, she maintained in her soul;

“Where’s happy?” She whispered to her soul;

”Right here with you,” little Happy said.

”Right here, where I have always been, my dear.”

”How come you are right here?” She asked in surprise,

”Whilst I ran helter, skelter, looking far and wide,”

”But you were no where to be found!!”

”You looked in the wrong places!” Happy declared.

”And asked the wrong faces,” Happy shook her head.

”I am always here, right within you,”

”If only you will keep still for a moment or two.”

© Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha

Mama Put… A short story

mamaput1

An assortment of okada, keke, and several kabu’kabu/taxi’s, park lackadaisically on the hard-packed earthen kerb, beside the gutter that Mama Put used as her frontage. This is a busy corner of the road side, which teems with human traffic.

Mama Put’s shack is brimming with customers going in and coming out. Some still have their toothpicks in-between their teeth, sucking in air, in an attempt to dislodge a tiny morsel that had stolen into a gap, whilst some insert a finger in their mouths, using it as a wrench to pluck out remnants of chewed meat.

Lunch time is one of Mama’s busiest period. These rushed gathering of men jostle each other for space on the worn wooden benches and the few mismatched plastic chairs inside the crowded shambolic tent of the popular buka.

The men are taking a proper break from the morning rush. Most times they leave their homes on empty stomach as early as 5:00am for the quick business turnaround of taking passengers to their places of work and trade. Leaving early not only helps to put more money in their pockets, but it is also a means of beating the unbelievable go-slow which builds up as early as 6:30 in the morning.

Hasty gobbles of soft  Agege bread, slathered with blue band butter chased down with hot tea from the local Mai shayi, serves as a respite till lunch time. On days when there is a lag between passengers, then it could be a quick meal of hot fried akara balls and ogi or kunu.

Hot Akara Balls

Hot Akara Balls

From 6.00am in the morning till she closes shop in the evening, Mama Put’s domain is a place of systematic chaos. She endeavors to start early to cater to her early bird customers and it was not a strange sight to see a flashy car or two with a customer carrying a food warmer to make purchase and eat in the comfort of their office, shop or home.

Her rivals spread snippets of malicious gossip that mama uses spiritual powers to keep her customers enraptured, but these back talks neither stopped her nor did it deter her customers. Nkoyo – Mama Put’s real name – could cook. Her food is always tasty, fresh and her demeanor pleasant.

The men look forward to their lunch. It is a place of camaraderie; a place you need to be, to keep abreast with the goings on in the vicinity. Heads crowd the steaming pots of jollof and dodo, white rice and stew, porridge beans and yam; each customer making their request and pointing out their particular choice of a piece of assorted meat or fish, whilst those who waited on the next round of pounded yam straddled their benches and engaged in idle chatter.

As they crowd the eating arena, an overpowering smell of dried human perspiration clings to the air, mingling with the divergent aroma wafting from pots of food and this creates a unique smell in itself.

The deep hums of their voices rhyme with the kpom, kpom, kpom beat of the pestle and the mortar at the back of the tent where a young lad mashes the boiled yam – which occasionally mingles with beads of his sweat – into softer lumps for swallowing with native soup. Pounded yam is a heavy meal appreciated by the hardworking men. It kept the hunger pangs at bay for hours on end.

Pounded Yam

Pounded Yam

Over their hot plates of food, their loud voices compete to regale each other with anecdotes of the days events. Of cantankerous, corrupt officials who dot every few meters of the road, casing the riders and extorting money from them. Sometimes, it would be the story of an irksome passenger or a tussle with another rider. They argue over football, a division of thoughts depending on the persons Premier League of support and their gist’s are often interspersed with ribald jokes. They talk politics, share their opinionated advise about women, touching on this and that.

“Ha!” “Mama, na wa o!” exclaims a stocky regular. This poundo fit belleful person so? E small o, he carries on talking as he receives his plate of pounded yam and afang soup.

Mama generously cuts a little extra portion and adds to the lumpy mound on his plate.

A beg give me pure water, another customer known as Sadiq requests.

Mercy, one of Mama’s kitchen girl heeds his request and ambles over with a cold sachet of pure water, which is kept cool with the ice blocks purchased from the ice block supplier.

Sadiq, calls her “my wife, my wife”, pats her ample waist and Mercy giggles as she steps away to answer another customer.

Jollof Rice and Dodo

Jollof Rice and Dodo

It’s a typical selling day and nothing is amiss until a customer rushes in, breathless with news of calamity. A demolition order from the new local government chairman is taking place. Makeshift stalls, shacks and all are being callously pulled down. They say it is to make way for modern stalls that Mr. Chairman wants to construct and sell or rent to the highest bidders.

Grumbling of mistreatment of poor masses in the hands of elected officials ensues. The men disperse quickly in order not to be caught in the backlash and have their properties impounded, as the rumble of the crushing Bulldozer is heard chugging it’s way slowly and surely, leaving destruction, tears and anguish in its wake.

Mama flounders as they hasten to gather crockery, aluminum pots, pans and other items that they can move quickly. Her thoughts are scattered to the four winds as she glumly watches her modest enterprise bulldozed to the ground. Tears leak out of her gritty eyes, rolling down her face unashamedly. She is caught in a wave of abject despondency.

Her sweat and efforts of many hard months fast turn into a crumpled heap of rubbish. It has taken so much to get to this point. To get to a point where she had a steady stream of customers and feasible income. Her family existed from hand to mouth; from the sweat of her brows and thoughts of her children, Uduak and Kufre’s school fees which is due in a couple of weeks cause more tears to well and brim over.

The bitterness of her situation pools and curdles her spirit. She rails and rants in anger, her vitriolic emotions overflowing its bounds. Her life has been a deep struggle; from one point to the other, that it sometimes feels as if the current sweeping her is too strong for her to keep her head up.

“Where will I start from?” Nkoyo mutters to no one in particular.

“How will I now catch up with my book me down customers?” She ponders fleetingly?

The vote she that she cast for the imbecilic Chairman a thought to regret and hiss over.

For as long as she can remember, she pays the local government touts protection money in cash and with free plates of food too. They extorted sums of pin money with promises that her space will always be maintained. She even contributed when all the vendors were approached to add their meager support to the Chairman’s campaign kitty.

Now that trouble had come calling, where were they to flex their lying muscles? Where were the thieving local government officials and their area boys? The Area fathers have slunk away like sly foxes with their tails tucked in-between their legs.

Nkoyo sits on an overturned mortar beside the rubble in weariness, her ambitions of expanding her business callously truncated. Her leaden legs are too tired to carry her home.

Glossary for words in italics that you may not know:

Afang soup: A vegetable soup originating from the South Eastern part of Nigeria – Cross River states.

Agege bread: A very popular low class bread baked in Lagos and favored by laborers. Usually very soft and eaten with so many variations of items e.g eggs, beans, bean cakes, etc

Akara: Bean cakes made from peeled black eyed peas and fried in hot oil.

Area boys/fathers:  These are loosely organized gangs of young men, who roam the streets of Lagos. They extort money from passers-by, act as informal security guards, and perform other “odd jobs” in return for compensation.

Book me down: Customers who purchase food on credit and keep an account with the food vendor.

Buka: Local food canteen a step below restaurants. Food cheaper than the restaurants.

Dodo: Fried ripe plantain

Go slow: Slow crawling traffic

Jollof: A popular meal eaten in most West African homes, a one-pot meal made with fried tomato and pepper stew, rice, meat and spices

Keke: Tricycles

Kabu’kabu: Shared taxi

Kpom, kpom: Typical sound made from pounding.

Kunu: Popular drink consumed throughout Nigeria but mostly in the North. Made out of millet or sorghum

Mama Put: Road side food seller so called because her customers are known to beg for extra food for their plates ”mama abeg put more now”

Mai Shayi: Road side hot tea sellers

Na wa o: Exclamation which expresses so many things such as surprise, woe, you don’t say etc

Ogi: Liquefied maize meal which is thickened with hot water and sweetened with sugar and/or milk.

Okada: Commercial motorcycle used as vehicle for hire in Nigeria.

Pure Water: Water bagged in disposable sachets.

This poundo fit belleful person so?: Will this pounded yam fill me up?

© Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha

Image credits: Nairaland.com