when my self and soul are fading
cradling each one like diamonds pawned off to God.
remember there’s only been you coming or going,
or any other day
when we are dancing with candles and roses after passion.
From the moment. I stepped on the street, my heart started to beat a little faster. I knew where I was going,I had been there before. After several steps, I realized the taste in my mouth was back. Since I was told of Gwen’s death, the proverbial bitter taste has stuck with me. I remember this road all too well. Now if I could stop sweating and just breathe, I’ll get there sooner… breathe obii, breathe -but I’m just not ready.
The black gate seems heavier then usual as I push to walk in. Vanessa is sitting right in front and she recognizes me. “you’re her friend from RUN” it’s more of a statement than a question,the way she says it. Vanessa… I squeeze her shoulder… How are you doing?
“I’m okay, I’m okay. come- wow, thanks for coming”, what?
I shake my head refusing to accept what she is giving.
“Come, my Dad is here…”
We walk to a group of men and I finally meet him, the man I spoke to mostly during my first year and during my graduation. He had a small smile for me. I touched his leg and went on my knees.
“Daddy I’m so sorry”
He holds my hand, “you have to accept God’s will. It’s God’s will”. The statement does not burn as much has how he says it. Gwen’s dad has accepted God’s will… but I can’t I? Why won’t I?
Just take heart, he says again… It is God’s will.
I look into his eyes and think I am finally going to cry… This is it. However, it doesn’t happen.
Come sign the register. Her sister calls to me, so I get off my knees and Gwen’s headshot is staring at me in a Queen’s College uniform. Full regalia like the day we did back-to-school in year one. I remember the picture we took together and almost lose it.
Obii breathe… So I open my mouth again, my nose is not as keen. I sign the register and leave no comment.
There’s just a handful of people when we walk inside. Vanessa is talking to me but i hear nothing, my ears are ringing. We climb the stairs. Gwen’s mom is sitting in the midst of some women. I greet all of them, again I kneel. I am holding her hand but she is squeezing mine, so I squeeze back because I need to, because i understand.
“Mummy take heart… I-”
“Ah my dear… I’m tired of crying, I’ve been crying from day one” i know she means it because her voice is hoarse, Gwen-has-a-cold hoarse.
“How did you hear? Vanessa says to me.
I got in from Yenagoa on Sunday and Hyelni called me. I let them wonder who Hyelni is.
She started to speak again.. “Sit, sit” -just like Gwen. The same husky tone, the same fragility -might as well have been. Okay, now i would cry. But i didn’t – i couldn’t. not when everyone is calm and accepting.
I find my voice “So it happened on Sunday?”
“Since the 1st” they both respond.
She goes on to tell me how Gwen celebrated her birthday with a lot of people and still struggled with recovery but couldn’t make it through, she was in so much pain. she asked to go.
I almost lose it when she tells me Gwen asked for me. She wanted to ping me. i tell am which hand you wan use?
From the corner of my eye, i notice Suzanna and i go to her.
“Sister Suzy, how are you healing?”
“I’m fine she says, thank God it’s just my legs. God knows why it all happened this way but thank you for coming. Thank you.” I shake my head vigorously and look away.
If everyone in this family could stop thanking me, I just might survive this evening. Can’t they see I didn’t do anything? i wasn’t there.
“I’m here on behalf of my friends, Mummy told me about the arrangements, so I’ll be back here on Thursday and Friday.
“oh really thank you so- i wasn’t listening, i was walking away. not another thank you. ridiculous
Ii go to Mummy and hold her hands again, i have to go now
but you’ll call me abi?
I will. I already took her number from Suzanna.
I walk away from the house a little more than numb. When i get home, i think there is a look on my face because my sister asks, what’s wrong, is it your back?
“i went to Gwen’s… ” a tear rolls down. i walk into my room, sit on my bed and the damn breaks free. For 20mins i keep at it, gasping and breathing hard. I cry for Gwen and how she suffered. my sister comes in and comforts me, she wipes tears off and tells me to stop crying , it’ll be okay. “she asked for me”, i tell her. she rubs my back in response.
I cry for her parents and how they accepted God’s will, how they’re healing and hurting, I cry for myself- finally. “I’m sorry I wasn’t there” I whisper… and the tears stop.
The day i died
They said i should have walked on water
the land was infertile and faith was trying
but it was a year of possibilities
and some “Jesus” did it.
I had no time for stories
and zero interest in testing the impossible
“Jesus!” they exclaimed when i told them so
just before I died
I want to thank you for finding this link always like you always have. I had two thoughts in 2013, and i expressed them as much as i could- ‘Inside this place’ and ‘Mind Over Matter’. However I’m certain there’s much more inside as far as 2014 is concerned… thank you for always reading and finding this link. #NF
I took my love to the back alleys of V.I.
And many more buried places
I read that a man found God in a woman’s thighs
So I played temple and set the tone and waited
For God to show up,
for him to find me too-, maybe
Played temple till the house that built me became broken
Broken pieces of memories and hard realities
Realities I ignored I prayed with my thighs open
Open Eyes open
And the pounding is louder than the screams of my conscience
-wait, stop, stop
Pleas in my head
Pleas I won’t heed
I must find God
I must find him in my very own thighs
Everybody knew what I didn’t know
Nobody told me what I didn’t know
God. wasn’t. missing
and not apologise
and say they did it for you
because he’s too young plus you can love someone else
someone wiser and by wiser they mean older.
as if the two had much in common
they’ll take your love away and wish you well
if you let them, they’ll put you in a room labelled, “confused”
and keep the key for themselves
and say this is how you must grow
by rules laid out for you, talents peeping through a keyhole
until your age can match your shoe size not before
as if the two had much in common
they’ll crush your will and say you must earn your seat at the table
if you let them, they’ll keep the shade above your eyes
and lead you away from your dreams
and stop you because it’s unheard
no one talks of such things, no one speaks this way
imagination must be with the rules
as if the two had much in common
they’ll watch you grow old without your fire and say you should’ve done it anyway
We are not going to tell our story today
When it’s shining bright
With our sins on full display
They ask who taught us to love
To hide behind innocence
and love wetly and painfully
We were schooled in the redemption
Of never being awake or able to see
At least not long enough to matter
Or be forgiven
So , no stories today
Not for this open-heart surgery
We will wait till it rains
When it’s dark
When you can’t tell who we really are
Only then behind the visor
With beads clenched in our hands
Only then will we confess.
I mourned your loss on an open field of tears and restriction
I mourned the consequences
From the grave of childhood, laughter and love,
If you won’t come back, I’ll mourn you tomorrow
And case sunshine to be the evidence of dried up things
The way I mourned you dead like crisp summer leaves
And raw wounds on my scraped knees
Like 8 years old when I ran from decisions
I mourned your loss in avid temper
With hoarseness of my voice
Hymns hummed to silence
Harp strummed to useless
So I bury you now
In a cave of yesterdays and cascade of dreams before
But will you come back in 3 years- 3 days?
With the stench of who you were yesterday
Clinging to the violence that alters me
To be certain I’ll bury you half-way in
Part of me wishes you’d come out
And allow me to try again
Instead of walking away with my heart under your arm
Crushing what’s left in every step you take
I’m still mourning
No one should know
No one should hear
The sobs clinging to me echo a shroud of loneliness
I let it free and wild even as I remember
That beautiful girls don’t cry pretty.
I don’t want to deal
I never screamed
Only cried, then stopped crying
Full of confessions and replays that
I don’t know how to be without
Blurring the line till I am guilty of being a victim
“Don’t find me”
Somewhere between ripped clothes and shame
I lost myself
Being the broken soul that smiled forever
In layers of skin, humor and clothes
‘Nobody must find me”
How many times did I call you names?
How many times did I ask to be free before I had learned to stop asking?
Before I mindlessly knew not to bother
To be still and know that god could be a man
Finally learning that tears and spilled milk had no relationship
was the basis of my silence
a beginning for the subtle romance between me and shadows
“Keep my head down, nobody will find me”
But you did
A fate I accepted on a faith that is attuned to skeptics alone
yet I can’t stay not knowing
if it’s time
time to find my pieces
time to wake up this catatonic life
I have all too willingly accepted
A name tag for dogs and a mascot for people who hold the applause
I choose you above my pain
I’m ready to tell you how I became
Just before you found me
But first, we must love so I can live
If I said no before…
Touch me now, again
It’s how I looked at you
and the world exploded into diamond pieces
so I heard every sound
buried in this grave adorned in hate and pain
Touch me again
Because I could not
You screamed for me
If you’d touch me this time
I won’t morph or tell a story
I’ll rent the robes that shadow my voice
I’ll scream differently if you touch me right
You see, I give myself to something other than pain
Stronger than love
Stranger than fiction
I recover with you
THE END. Thank you for reading. This is a series; titled “Inside this place”… a girl’s journey through abuse, please refer to Inside This Place: The Penultimate to read how it begins.
Now I find this man
His silence is not quiet at all
I’m counting again, how long before he leaves
his tenderness translates to
Question marks like meat hooks around my heart
Wanting to dissect
And rip out conversation too soon
Always too soon
I’m woman by age
by time I’m still 10 years old
Afraid if he tries to love me
He’ll find the imprints
You. All of you left in my thighs
Tracks that with time have deepened
Touched my core and turned my sweet to bland
The knowledge of me will drive him in two opposing directions
That I love well and cannot love at all
Stained beyond forgiveness and conversation
from confessions and cum
I cannot stand how I hide myself from happy
I want to say how things changed for me
But my shame is crimson
The fibers around my feigned confidence
Not hard enough to keep me
Something much stronger is finding my knees
thawing at my core