Darkness’ Absence Wrecks Nightmares

“There was a time when the sun used to shine,” he said, chin tipped skyward; the struggling straggles of hair that line his chin kiss the missing horizon.

“There was a time when we threw our curtains open and invited her rays to bathe our homes. We were warm then. Even when it was cold, we still felt warm.” He pulled me from my side of our battered sofa and held my hands in both of his.

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Five Minute Freewrite: Temi’s Wrath

This was a freewrite where I had to write a piece in five minutes using five of the following ten words: enemy, magenta, bark, tile, thirty, grate, leave, mint, fly, shift. – LY.

“Owolabi! Owolabi!” Farida tightened her grip on the handful of material already scrunched in her fist. “Do you even know what your name means? Do you know how valuable your title is? Ehn? Do you?” The head above the collar she was close to strangling shook with each syllable as she barked the words.

“After all the struggling. All the work I do, this is what you leave me with, ehn? This is my reward after thirty years? This is my reward. Lord, God, help me. Help me with this man.”

She thrust her husband away from her and slumped into the mint green sofa that had more lumps than comfortable.

“The devil is a liar. My enemy. And I shall rebuke him from this house. I cannot allow him to stay in this house!”

She was back on her feet now, pacing the eight steps from one end of the living room to the other, her leg bumping into the scratched centre table. Owolabi shifted in the spot he’d been planted in, rubbing the red rings around his neck.

“Temitope…” He fumbled for the words. Anything that would make her stop shouting and still his hands from shaking. “Temi…” A whisper of her Yoruba name was all he could muster as he crumbled in fear of what she might throw at him this time.

© LaYinka Sanni, July 2014

Constrained

A morning of free writing that’s left me wondering who she is. ~ LY.

There were four of them. Four men grasping what part of me they could. Fingers clasping my arms, my legs, holding my head still. I squeezed my lungs free of 18 years of inhales and shot them out to the heavens.

‘Get them off me, Lord, get them off!’

My legs wooden in their pulls, arms lead within their shoves – why couldn’t they see her? Why couldn’t they see her etching through her wrist as she sang my name? Why couldn’t they hear the lullaby as the blood dripped? Why couldn’t they see the sneer of a smile; her red stained teeth that oozed a melody that scratched every inch of me.

They held on even as my body surrendered. Even as my eyelids gave way and my head flopped to the side. They didn’t stop. Unrelenting in their mission to violate my freedoms. Stripping me bare of my right to be called a person; of my right to just be.

I let go. Let them do as they will. I’ve always been a prisoner, anyway. To be locked up another night, or a week, or a decade – I don’t care. I let go and drifted to the recess of safety. Their drugs can’t reach me here. They’ll think they’ve tamed me, but their drugs can’t reach me here.

© LaYinka Sanni, March 2014.

Keep Life Moving

“You’re going to face much more than a ripped test paper,”  Akeela said, rummaging through her heavy bag to find her purse as they stood in line to use the ATM. “Some things will literally bring you to your knees, but it doesn’t mean you can’t get up.”

Ikram stood stone-still as she blinked hard, her eyes skimming over the words.

“Can you un-rip the paper?”
“No,” Ikram said, a little louder than a whisper.
“Can a new test be printed?”
“Yeah, but―”
“Uh-uh. Can a new test be printed?”
“Yes.” She sighed.
“And can you find another one to do tonight?”
“Yes.”
“You see?” Akeela said looking up from her purse search mission. Ikram’s fists were stuffed in her loose jogging bottoms, head bent low as she concentrated on not blinking a tear. Mustn’t blink a tear. Mustn’t blink a tear.

“Sometimes life dishes out things we don’t like, and many things we can’t change. But what can we do?”

Silence. She lifted Ikram’s chin with an index finger so she looked past her at the parting grey clouds.

“We can keep things moving, darling,” she said, lowering herself until her lips were at the level of her daughter’s ears. “We have to keep life moving.”

Akeela planted a kiss on Ikram’s cheek. She blinked. And tiny droplets joined her single stream.

‘Keep life moving’, she thought.

© LaYinka Sanni, March 2014.