Reunion

They drifted into the park by ones and twos- a few in wheelchairs, some with walkers but most walking straight and tall. The cats sported long sideburns, beards and moustaches. Chicks had their long grey hair in braids and pony tails tied with flower garlands. Tie-dye shirts, bell bottom jeans and Birkenstock sandals completed the outfits for both sexes.
Some brought beanbag chairs and others toted blankets. Getting down onto the blankets was one thing for the oldsters. Getting up again would be something else. It hadn’t been a problem back then. They’d been young and giddy with their new found freedom and loosening of social mores. Nothing seemed impossible.

More and more dudes and their ladies made the scene, and the lawn disappeared under the sea of aging hippies. Arthritic fingers struggled to roll joints. Somehow they managed, and soon the field was enveloped in an acrid haze. Words unspoken for decades were heard again– far out, groovy, cool, roach clip.
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(10)

They had a Cat

“We had a cat.” It’s not what I was expecting, his reason for not wanting me to meet his ex-girlfriend. He admits it was a contentious breakup, a custody battle over an overweight Tabby named Snickers who occasionally got her head stuck in railing and once puked in his computer monitor.
“I think it’ll be okay if she’s there,” I say. “It’s been several months now.” She’s just his crazy ex-girlfriend, the one who took all of his nonstick pots with none of their intended lids and recently threatened him with unspeakable harm over something to do with a vacuum cleaner mistakenly shipped to him. Continue reading »

(11)

And I’m Pretty Sure You Took It

There is a piece missing from my life, and I don’t quite know how to put it back. Really, it’s a terrible hole: a chunk torn out of the person I thought I was. I feel desperate, I feel empty; I feel a yearning want and need. In (rather more than) a word, there’s a very specific part of me that is lacking. Seriously, I’m falling apart. And the reason I’m telling you this, [insert your own secret delicious name here], is because I think you might just have it within your power to put me back together. In fact, I think you can complete me.
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(8)

Moth Balls

Smoke escaped from the basement window. She knew her mother would be out in the garden, so Sue stretched upwards and creaked the window shut. Sweet velvet wisped and circled.
Tom coughed.
“You like it?” she asked.
He caught her leg and she tumbled onto the purple picnic blanket, their island on cold concrete ground. Surrounded by home-made conserves and cans of tomatoes, they giggled and drew on the weed, exhaling into each other’s open mouths. His fingers grew longer and longer, slimmer and slimmer; her body turned translucent, and their whispered words of love wound around their limbs and carried them into smoky dreams of each other.
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(7)

On Returning Home

On returning home, May felt the solace of quiet; a welcome absence of other; a vault, cool and secure from intrusion. Stepping inside, her hand grasping the doorknob with automatic precision, latching it with that click, the one that insured diversion was locked out. Distractions fill the space beyond the door, beyond the porch, the drive, the curb where cyclones of individual creation demand attention to insurmountable detail, minutia, shards of broken dreams, expectations stripped barkless by disappointment; or revelry of dreams accomplished, before truth and life intervene as they surely will. On her side of the door, silence; enthralling in its power. Yesterday she returned to sanctuary through the garden, stepping from stone to stone each one consuming debris that earlier clung to her clothes; Irene’s anxiety over matters she cannot control so profound she shook, her words breaking as they escaped through constricted windpipe, so thin, forced out through cracks in her heart. Continue reading »

(7)

Miss Tinko

She had my attention and everybody’s attention when she walked into the classroom on the first day of school. I don’t know her first name. But I know everybody calls her last name Tinko, as her first name. I heard she’s from Samoa. She only wears black like me. Her Bohemian earrings are the only accessories that I see on her body. She’s tall and skinny. She has no makeup on. Her messy long hair is my favorite part of her body. I remember I have tried a thousand times in my mind to describe her magical smell from her body. I found the answer at the end. She has the fresh pink cupcake smell. I’m sure she knows why she doesn’t need to wear perfume. Continue reading »

(6)

I Didn’t Do It

I had been working for Mr Graham for over a year, from his first day in Akure I had been driving him around on pothole-riddled roads, preparing his tea, running errands, typing his letters; he had been using me like a slave from our first day in this new office complex and I had not been complaining. Then he comes with this bullshit that I had stolen his money.
I was not even aware that money is kept in the office. In our former office – that three storey building opposite GT bank- we would take each day’s profit to the bank before we close for the day.
That is the thing about these white people that pisses me off! They come to our country and treat us like shit, as if they own the land; they make tons of money and still act as if they are doing us a favour.
He did not even consult any of the staff before relocating us to this dead end surrounded by tall trees, linked to the rest of the world by a narrow dusty road; which he said was best for the farmers because they would get their produce to us easily.
Since when did Graham care about the farmers? He buys their goods cheap and exports it and makes profit! Isn’t that simple enough? What is this patronising nonsense about bringing his service closer to home? Is this his home?
Does he think a green passport and a few Yoruba words and a few pidgin words and a love for our wood carvings would make him a Nigerian?
I gave him a piece of my mind! That blue-eyed devil, the idiot, did he think I would accept his condescending disposition? Continue reading »

(14)

My Black and White Dad

I am at the 80th birthday party of my dad’s best friend. On a table are photos. I see one of my father, one I have never seen before. I would like to ask my dad about this. But I can’t.

He died 12 years ago.

The photo is black and white. Taken in the 1950s. In a world untouched by the pain of terrorists and Ebola – a black and white Beaver Cleaver world where no one gets sick, or has an eating disorder and commits suicide, or is homeless.

I see my dad. He is slightly slumped over, sitting at a dining room table amidst a flurry of young, fresh-scrubbed, happy folks. Virgins, they probably are, living in bliss without any venereal diseases or bullying. My dad is turning shyly, wryly to the camera, frozen in a position of wonder and sadness, something that he held deep within his heart all his life. His grey eyes, those I always looked to for courage, are just black pen dots in the small photo. I see his soul here. I see him looking into eternity with hope.
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(15)

When He Gets Home

He was never the same when he returned from Vietnam. The war made him distant and she was afraid of him at times. His mood was always fluctuating, it was never consistent, it could change in a split instant.
He had been gone all day and she cleaned the house and the laundry was all caught up. The silence in the house consumed her as she entered the kitchen. A vase of flowers he brought home as an apology was sitting alone on the counter. The petals were welting and they looked sad with regret and beaten down to nothing, a reflection of her own inner feelings.
She opened the fridge and grabbed the chicken that she had been marinating since last night. He didn’t like chicken so she was nervous for how this would affect his mood. She imagined he would be angry so she stocked the fridge full with his favorite beer. Continue reading »

(9)

Painting

I felt suffocated by the jealousy, my jealousy of my sister’s art. Her name was Beth. She had drawn six doppelgangers of members of congress. Why did my gorgeous blonde sister have to be so good at everything- including art? Art was my thing and now she had to ruin that too. ‘’Well, I’ll show her,’’ I thought.
I wore black gloves and dressed in all black. I even wore a ski mask. I tiptoed, inch by inch, from my room to my sister’s room. Stupid Miss- Popularity was off at some hot shot party. She thought she was so cool because she got to hang out with the eighth graders. We were a year apart. I was in sixth and my sister was in seventh grade.
My breathing felt kind of weird. I thought I sounded like a bulldog.
I was nervous, I suppose. Continue reading »

(5)