Tag Archive | writing ideas

Tints of Poignant Flavour….

Flavourful life

Flavours come in coloured tints,
Likewise emotions leave imprints,

They leave taste of euphoric dopamine,
Especially then, when you were mine,

They leave a taste of not so bright,
When everything is just not right,

A dash of joy, of peace, of faith, of hope and patience too!
A pinch of pain, of aches, of sorrow, of fear and trouble too!

With a tint of colour, each lives in our minds,
Always willing to leave something behind,

Of love that died or went away; it leaves a flavour mound,
A poignant taste of things all gone and never to be found!

You left our lives with quite a bang!
You left us behind with a lot of pangs!

© Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha

Miss you dad! Happy birthday. Its 2 years on, since you left!

In fulfillment of Writing 201 Poetry – Day 8: Flavor, Elegy, Enumeratio

Hiding…..a Short story

https://flashfictionforaspiringwriters.files.wordpress.com/2015/10/wpid-photo-20151005074310397.jpg

Patting the blonde wig, she stares at her face in the gaudy mirror.

This would be her last night, yet she feels uneasy. Is it the anticipated move? Maybe! She thinks.

She is tired of moving. From one horse-shoe town to the next. One harshly lit stage to the other. How many wigs? How many stages? How many towns? How many names? She had lost count! Sometimes, her days start as Rita and ends as Melinda, or Mirabelle, Belinda, Katerina, Chloe and even Zoe!

Young Luc now asks questions.

“This will be the last time my love, she promises.” Finally, she has enough money to start allover in a sleepy town, with a new identity and new things away from stage lights.

The introductory act wraps up. Her cue is next.

Her crooning voice belts out heartrending tunes of a broken heart. The crowd soaks it in.

Her eyes wander nonchalantly across faces. His sizzling gaze hits her. Her pitch warbles to a halt!

Staring in wide-eyed disbelief, like a deer caught in bright lights, its her Nemesis and his goons.

© Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha

In response to prompt photo from The Storytellers Abode for Flash Fiction For Aspiring Writers. Thank you Etol and Priceless Joy for providing this platform.

Inlinkz code

That Butter Yellow Coloured House….

Grundig

Our old house on Imoke street inside the University of Nigeria Nsukka campus, was a colonial British styled three-bedroom, three bath bungalow with a garage for my dad’s Renault on the left side, a huge open veranda to the right and a detached maid’s room that my brothers turned into their ”man-cave.”

It stood on what was quite a substantial portion of grounds (maybe a plot or more), on which we grew so much crop. There was a big mango tree that had the penchant to hang heavy with fruit right at the back, an avocado and grapefruit tree to the side of the veranda.

We tilled the ground ourselves with a hoe and grew crops ranging from cassava, yam tubers, yellow pepper, bitter leaf, curry leaf, potatoes, amaranthus, okra, corn, melon, lettuce, plantain and more. We grew a lot of the crops that we ate.

Sometimes, when the work was a lot, my dad would engage some labour hands to do the tilling whilst we did the sowing. You had to grow a combination of crops that performed well together, that way they would both do very well and the manure from our chicken coop helped in nourishing those plants. I learnt crop rotation through this process.

The house had a sprawling nature (they built them big back then), with big louvered windows that swung open outwards and mosquito nets installed to keep the pesky things away. Instead of a picket fence running round the house, it had a trimmed hedge of purple hibiscus running around it.

It was painted creamy oil paint colour but time and the elements matured its painted exterior to butter-yellow. Its corrugated zinc roof was reddish in colour. The rooms were coated in dusky blue and the hallway, living and dining room with the kitchen were cream in colour. The flooring was terrazzo and we scrubbed its floors with hard brush and foamy detergent every Saturday mornings.

I recollect my mum or dad apportioning spaces each Saturday morning and you had to scrub, mop and shine these floors to my dad’s satisfaction. Of course, there was no luxury of gadgets to carry out these chores. We performed these tasks manually with our bare hands, including washing our clothes.

Our house was quite a beehive. It was a middle class Nigerian home. My parents had six of us along with several young cousins who spent some part of their lives under our roof. It was in our culture to assist in raising less fortunate relatives and back then, when academicians were still valued, my parents were viewed as comfortable, so I grew up seeing them extend charity to other relatives who grew up and went to school under our roof.

The weekday mornings were filled with noisy and hurried preparation for school after a family devotion in the parlour, usually led by my mom and the evenings with noise of different things. Chattering voices, pounding mortar, squabbling siblings, music from my dad’s Grundig, loud singing from one person or the other.

Our weekends were equally filled with house chores, catechisms and block rosaries, play, social events and all manners of things we got up to.

It was always lively and during harvest season, we would all gather at the veranda to either peel cassava for processing, melon seeds for soup or corn for drying. These chores were performed with my mom or sometimes my grandma keeping our minds entertained with old folktales and songs.

The aromas/fragrance that floated through the butter-yellow house were of different blends. On Saturday mornings, the whiff of Omo Blue detergent and drops of dettol disinfectant which was used in scrubbing the floors dominated the air until the evening hours when it gets replaced by aromas emanating from one native pot or the other. This could be yam pottage, vegetable soup, goat-meat and bitter-leaf soup (which is one of my favorite native soups 🙂 etc. but there was an aroma that came to stay for a very long time.

Two particular aromas that linger most in my mind, maybe because they persisted for quite a long while, is the yeasty aroma of home made bread that my mom baked weekly. Slices of her bread slathered with Planta margarine, jam, marmite or peanut butter and a cup of Horlicks would fill and sit in your tummy for a better part of the day. The bread smell was soon joined with that of cake.

She ventured into baking cakes every other day and supplying shops in the neighbourhood as well as students hostels on campus, when the Federal Government started their incessant delays in paying staff salary which led to a lot of financial hardship in some homes.

My mom became quite resourceful with baking and crafting to augment their insufficient and epileptic salary payments.

We would cream the cake batter in a huge local mortar that she bought for that purpose, until she was able to save up to buy a Kenwood mixer.

I remember the flavour of vanilla essence and nutmeg added to the cake batter, the Topper butter that she used for so many years and the licking of the sugary creamy cake batter.

© Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha

In response to The Daily Post Our House

What are the earliest memories of the place you lived in as a child? Describe your house. What did it look like? How did it smell? What did it sound like? Was it quiet like a library, or full of the noise of life? Tell us all about it, in as much detail as you can recall.

His Flanges Got Propped!…. A short story

Defeat

It’s been quite a grueling competition! Sebastian is determined to win the championship even if is by the skin of his teeth!

He has come far and this is it! The moment of his life and his dreams!

He could almost taste the victory and the fame at the end of it all.

His face would be splashed all over the papers and television. Instant celebrity status stamped on him as he turns into the toast of the town.

Endorsements would fly in from here and there. He could imagine his preening and the ladies cooing after him; his companionship sought by all. He could see it all! The pause to pose for silent brooding pictures for the paparazzi. The constant request for interviews. The frenetic social calendar. What a success it would be!

For just a split second, his wandering mind drifts off from the game at hand. In that split second, the ball comes sailing through the air and his delayed reaction causes him to over-reach. His legs fly out under him! He sails into the air, landing with such a heavy thud at an odd angle.

Pain pierces and radiates through his entire body. He struggles to rise but this legs crumble under him as the excruciating pain keeps him down.

The medics rush to attend to him and a quick examination is carried out.

Through the haze of the pain, a sober voice filters through;

“Well my young man, it appears you have popped a rib or two!” Said the Voice.

”You will be needing a FLANGIPROP  for support for several months or more.” ”Unfortunately you cannot continue with the game.” The droning voice continued as he administers on-site first aid.

He is quickly holstered on a stretcher whilst he writhes in pain and anger. This is not the way it is meant to end he argues in his mind.

The flashes of the camera keeps popping in his face as the paparazzi catch every wince of pain and misery that is etched on it.

Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha.

In response to The Daily Post – Invent a definition for the word “Flangiprop,” then use the word in a post. 

The actual definition of Flange: An external or internal rib or rim which is used to add strength or to hold something in place.

The actual definition of Prop: An object placed against or under another to support it: anything that supports.

Fare Thee Well my Dear Polo Park…

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Ode to a Playground.”

New face of Polo park.

New face of Polo park.

When the news of your demise filtered through,

That the bigwigs had finally purchased you,

To plant their mega buck superstores and install new, expensive play toys,

To charge and enrich greedy pockets so much more,

I was dismayed, I was disheartened, through and through,

How dare they do such a thing to you!

Such appalling steps taken to deface,

Attempts to erase decades of a joyful place!

Of laughter of children that echoes in the heart,

Of scrapes and bruises,

Of hides and seek,

Of swings and slides to your utmost delight.

The birds squawk in harsh protest,

 No more crumbs from the little ones,

Even the trees weep in anguish from such assault,

The glee and joy of young scrambling ones,

Would they know no more!

Yet you live on in this grown child’s heart,

Always fond will your memories be,

My Polo Park, you were a treat to me,

Where friends were found,

Fostered and Flourished.

Maybe you have gone somewhere else to be,

Where you will gladden the hearts of other young ones.

© Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha

A Step back into Childhood….

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Life’s a Candy Store.”

BookstoreWhat a delightful day this would be! I am six years old again and I get to spend it as I please and with whom I choose.

Well! Well! Whoever says that life doesn’t have it’s pleasant sweet spots and that the lines don’t fall in the right places is a big, fat lying Pinocchio! Just watch me 🙂

It’s a beautiful Saturday morning. Of course, I am still young enough to get excused from doing serious chores, apart from brushing my teeth properly, taking my shower and eating sumptuous helpings of mummy’s homemade pancakes with dripping drizzles of maple syrup, nicely done omelets (no vegetables please), sausages, baked beans and a nice warm cup of cocoa.

We all pile into my daddy’s lovely blue Renault Saloon car. It has seen a lot of good mileage and made lots of beautiful memories.

Off we go to Leventis super stores in Enugu; a forty-five minutes drive from our abode in Nsukka, through the old road and past the Milken hill.

Milken hill is a verdant wilderness and as I peer through the wound up windows of our beloved Renault with plate number ”ECH 480” winding, its way through the snaky, precarious, hilly road with its scary drop, my child eyes imagine the trumpeting Elephants, the roaring Lions and the curious monkeys that inhabit that wilderness.

The scary drop seems like a bottom less pit and one must negotiate it with care. Many cars have been known to meet a fatal stop on this part of the road.

We make it safely to Leventis. It is a store of a child’s dream and every book and toy that my mind can conjure is stocked here.

Chinny, you and your siblings can go and select three items each for yourselves.” ”Two books and one toy each.” ”We have two hours to spend before we go to visit your cousins, daddy says to me.”

Daddy is such a wonderful man. He knows I love books and he stokes it rather nicely by buying lots of them for me 🙂

I make a beeline for the huge outlay of more books than I have ever seen.

Rows and rows of beautiful, vibrantly coloured story books fill my eyes. A browse and a selection of the two books that I want to go home with are made. I then settle down at the children’s corner where I quickly digest  another one whilst waiting for mummy to finish making her purchases.

I debate in my mind whether to exchange my toy option for a third book. I know that on a good day when we are not squabbling, my sister will allow me to play with her new doll and I want all the books in the book store to belong to me.

I negotiate very nicely with daddy and I end up with four books instead of two. I have diligently checked the prices on all the girly toys and they far outweigh the price of two extra books; somehow, I feel sensible and smart. I think daddy appreciates my consideration.carousel

Don’t be mistaken, I love toys like all children, but my love for books far outweighs my love for toys. Besides, I already saw my parents looking at Raleigh bicycles. I know that they would be purchasing one for each of us.

Our shopping is done! We make a quick stop at No 1. Chief Alex Ekwueme street, the home of my favorite cousins. They don’t need too much coaxing to join us for a picnic party at Polo park.

At the expansive Polo park grounds, we take turns on the rides, on the swings and slides. We play ”Swe” and ‘‘Uga” until hunger pangs kick in and it is time to tuck into the goodies that mummy has dutifully packed.

The picnic basket  bulges with all sorts of goodies – enough to feed an army.  Fizzy pops, cake, cookies, sandwiches, jollof rice with chicken, etc are generously marshaled out on paper plates by mum. picnic at the park

Daddy has a sweet tooth (I think the sweet tooth thing is genetic) and never fails to get those lovely ice lollies on cones for us for dessert.

Our palates are sated and our tummies nicely rounded from food.

Evening is fast approaching. A quick decision on whether to drive back home through the Milken hill or to spend the night at the cousins is made. Auntie Christie always graciously opens the door to her home.

She would always say “Jay-Jay, Alberta (shortened for my dad’s name: James Joseph and my mum’s name Alberta-Bianca), it is too late to go driving back to Nsukka o, you guys must stay over till tomorrow o.”

With delight we turn the house upside down with our horse-play until we were tuckered out.

They had a very big house, with lots of room.

Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha

P.S. This article is based on ”my real life story” as recalled from my minds eye as a child.

Quick Glossary

Milken Hill: These hills are found at Ngwo in Enugu North LGA, they are 100 meter above sea level, offering beautiful standpoint for a panoramic view of Enugu metropolis, especially at dawn and dusk. The hill was named after one of the earliest colonial administrator in Enugu. The first road into Enugu city winds through the foot of the hill bounded by a deep gully. Underneath the hills are relics of coal mines and its beautiful tunnels. Beneath the Milken hills is the Iva valley. The hills are good for mountaineering. However, drivers are advised to drive slowly with caution through the meandering roads.

Enugu – One of the State’s in the Eastern part of Nigeria.

Nsukka – A town and Local Government Area in South-East Nigeria in Enugu State

Chief Alex Ekwueme: Former Vice President Alex Ekwueme is one of Nigeria’s most respected statesmen alive today.

Swe – I think this is what is called hopscotch.

Uga – synchronized clapping rhythm of hands followed with feet competition to outwit the other.

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

Its a Hardworking Love….

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Yin to My Yang.”

Good relationships

There are no perfect relationships! They all require some modicum of work!

Some relationships are fantastic, some are marginally okay whilst some are an absolute lesson in “who not to be with” and probably meant to be tossed into the garbage can.

The term soul mate is a misleading concept that hints at perfectionism, which is not a word that can be ascribed to any human.

We all are works-in-progress, who spend a better part of our lives trying to figure out who we are and this process cascades down to everything that concerns our lives. ”There is always room for improvement.”

That said, The Yin and The Yang of soul-mating, are those parts in our relationships that keep chipping at each other, until their rough surfaces are smooth enough for the jigsaw puzzle of our characters to blend in seamlessly, or, alternatively, they chaff at each others bits until the edges are so jagged and worn out that ”would be” Soul mates become Stab mates.

It’s a reciprocated effort.

Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha