Mother, I fear I have lost a whole lot of contacts and relationships as a mango tree loses its leaves. Our street looks smaller now. It is now a strange place even to people like me who once had only its scent inflected in their nostrils.
Somma is on the line. You are so glad someone is calling you at least. You would have preferred someone else to call, a man maybe? One of those you wanted to be with.
There was a time when she would cook only once and have leftovers to spare at the end of the day. In those days, Timbir would go in and chat with her. They would talk about anything and everything.
Somehow, I’m tired. I don’t even want to prove anyone right or wrong anymore. A simple step in front of another took me out of the chair of boredom and desperation, and straight through the doors onto the sunny passage.
Ehimhen caught himself warming to Oche, even as part of him disliked the man for having dropped what he, Ehimhen, considered Oche’s proper Nigerian identity.
My uncle writes my name on my forehead with white chalk. Beneath it, he writes my father’s name but crosses it with a single line. I stare at my face in the mirror and release a held breath.
You don’t answer. Either way, you were going to get hit again in the face. You look at your father with a plea on your face. He looks more scared than you. The man in the huge garment is in control now.
And so I say, “Pilkhan”. It is not a lie, I promise. Not completely at least. There was a tree once. There were other things too, of course. A house that rested in its shade. A bunch of people who lived in it.
Today, Monday, he packs up his belongings and places them on top of a bench in the middle of their compound. Nwanyimma hands him a polythene bag that contains a bottle of red oil, unripe avocadoes, and other perishable goods.
So, on and on it reels, the wheel of time, churning out plot twists of a beautiful mosaic of everything good, bad, ugly – Aba!