*coughs* “Is it working? Okay..my name is..*Nokia phone rings*..and I play Rebecca in Janusaneni’s Tangles! Uhm..my character is ultra-emotional, clumsy and a bit of a confused being. But I guess that’s why it’s Tangles! *backstage voice..’Who asked you?’..* Anyway, my character is a Banking and Finance student in MAU..I mean, the Federal University of Lagos. She is pregnant, about 20 years and has suicidal tendencies. Stay tuned, and keep reading Tangles! Bye ya!”
Tangles! – a tale of twisted emotions.
She ran into his big wide arms. “He hurt me, Paul,” she sobbed, her tears running down her cheeks to soak his grey sweatshirt.
“It’s alright,” he drawled in his deep voice. “I’m here now. I’m always here for you okay?” Then he wiped away the tears and pecked her forehead.
Sharon woke with a start. She was in her room, in her apartment. The alarm clock by her bed shrilled. It was 5:30am. She had been asleep for close to six hours.
The girl stepped out of bed and walked towards the window. Outside, the streets were stirring, hawkers were packaging their wares and in a nearby mosque the muezzin wailed the call to prayer. The sensation of the kiss lingered on her forehead and the memory of the dream hung in the air like a scent of a long forgotten fragrance.
Paul had been her big brother. The one to whom she had always run to whenever anyone hurt her. He had always taken care of her. Her big bear, with his easy smile and fierce hugs. It was as she grew older that she realised, he too relied on her. An only child, orphaned at an early age, Sharon’s had proven to be the closest thing to family that he had. The Bishop, Sharon’s father, had adopted Paul when she was born and he was still a kid. Both had grown together as sibling, but with the knowledge that they were not related. No one could come between them. No one. Until last year… Sharon shut the curtains.
The bugle rang, shrill and loud.
On the parade ground, the cadets stood in white shorts, shivering as the cold wind whipped about exposed ankles and up the flaps of baggy shorts. Men shrivelled and the ladies broke out in goosebumps, and all the while, the breeze blew through the ranks as unrelenting as a cold blade in the hands of an expert labourer.
The flag was stiff in the breeze, the green, white, green colours rippling with a certain intensity as the Camp Commandant gave a short speech. It was Independence morning, and the weather seemed to know that.
Tony glanced at the flag again, there was something about the way she twisted and turned in the breeze that seemed to ignite some form of national pride in him.
Last year, on Independence day, he and his ex-girlfriend had worn matching green and white outfits and joined a carnival painting the country in green and white. It had been fun and warm. Today was just cold. He shivered involuntarily. That night last year had been cold though. They had cuddled beneath a heavy quilt, her fingers tracing his nipples while he kissed her hair.
Tony smiled. Funny that he should be thinking about his ex-girlfriend right now, in the middle of a parade, with… “What are u smiling about?” She asked.
Tony smiled at the pretty girl. “Nothing.”
She shook her hair out of the shower cap and looked at her reflection again. Her eyes were dark-rimmed and sunken, but then she had not slept well last night. Her dreams had been dark and full of blood and smoke. In each one, Paul died. In the last one, as he died, his face turned into Tony’s and he looked at her with such contempt. “It’s all your fault,” he hissed.
Tony had been the love of her life. But aren’t they all? She had told her friends that Tony was different. He was unlike anyone else. When she was with him, she actually, literally, did feel butterflies in his stomach. She was jittery, jumpy and all smiles whenever he was around. And then, he was her first.
The MAULAG student pulled on a pair of jergins and buckled on a tiny belt. Outside the window, a stiff breeze blew, rustling the leaves of the avocado tree. On the bedside, a piece of paper blew to the floor. On it was written simply; ‘Silver Cross Hospital’.
Somewhere in Lagos…
Abdul was up very early, before the muezzins and the call to prayer. Snatching up his prayer cap, he grabbed a plastic kettle and walked out into the compound. The yard was still empty, most of the other tenants at the face-me-I-face-you were still indoors. It was the will of Allah, better he went about unseen. Filling the kettle from a tap, he crossed the road to the small mosque.
As he performed his ablutions, the wind blew, the cold breeze cooling his wet hands and feet and sending a chill across his body and up his spine. Allahu akhbar! It will be done.
*No pun was intended in the phrase; “The flag was stiff in the breeze..”
*I mean no offense to anyone either of Islamic disposition or belonging to ambassadorial-style churches *And uhm..’Jergins’ is the right spelling right?
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Peace…and Happy Independence!