These are memories you did not beg for. Memories like:
1st April 2019. You are a time bomb. No. Suicide is a time bomb. You are only a figment of things that could not be; the afterlife of a child born still.
22nd June 2019. What did you hear about children born into broken homes? Grandma called you a child of reconciliation. On one of those nights after grandma, aunty and uncle had called a peace meeting; mother and father retreated to the room. You came. You: a piece of rag dipped into fuel, waiting to be set aflame.
31st September 2019. There is something called happiness on everyone’s faces. On Amaka’s breasts, on Nneka’s buttocks, on Ada’s lips, on your hands guiding your crotch straight to heaven. Heaven: a place where shadows are carriers of souls.
4th January 2020. The world is a better place. Neke is a meal of ofada served in a stainless plate. You discover that there are higher heavens: one is the first time she let you hold her hand in front of Eyo-Ita hostel; two is the number of times her I love you swam with her saliva into your stomach and built a home; three is the day she asked you, “Can you look into my eyes and tell what colour it is?” and you looked and saw yourself. Nsukka will teach you that there is no time for anything. You will see a woman making roasted corn early in the morning, another making roasted yam and bole. It will begin to rain when you are about Stadium on your way to lectures and you will run under the rain to the class to realize the lecturer did not come. Tomorrow, it will start to rain again early in the morning and you will decide to stay back and later find out the lecturer came and gave a test. You will complain to Neke that you do not understand anything about the space you occupy and she will tell you that the best way to enjoy a lover is not in the middle of the night and the swinging bed, it is in being the reason they cry or the reason they do not.
5th July 2020. Mother and father have settled for a divorce. They say you were the delay; you had to grow up, enough, to bear the news. You do not run to lectures anymore. Your stomach no longer remembers what it feels like to dance to a person’s laughter.
6th October 2020. Please read 1st April 2019.
Sharon Onyinyechukwu Okey-Onyema is a student of University of Nigeria, Nsukka. She moves from Lagos to Owerri to Port Harcourt to Nsukka and writes wherever she finds herself. She is the author of Hunting Tears, shortlisted for ANA 2017 Short Story of the Year Award. Sharon is currently serving as the associate editor (prose) for the Muse Journal No. 48.
Sharon, this is a nice piece.