Dreaming My Life Away

Salifou professed his love on a Tuesday morning. By Tuesday afternoon, Lisa had told him she was going to think about it. By next month Friday, Salifou had decided to forget about Lisa and focus on his books. Tomorrow is Saturday. Salifou has an Interim Assessment (IA) at 7:30am tomorrow and he was very determined to make at least a ‘B’ in the paper.
When it was 10am, he picked some books and made his way to the reading room. University life had proven to be more complex and difficult than Salifou had imagined. His elder brother and sister had told him about how the university was full of fun and how you didn’t need too much hard work to be successful in your academics. This was not the case when Salifou got to the University of Ghana.  The Grade Point Average (GPA) among other things had been raised, making life in the university close to impossible.
For the next fifteen minutes, Salifou was studying his notes, bent on passing his exams the next day. Suddenly his phone made a beeping sound. Lisa had posted a message on their group page on WhatsApp; wishing everybody the very best in the exams the next day. All of a sudden, thoughts about her flooded Salifou’s mind; making it impossible for him to learn.
“What do you want as birthday present?” Salifou asked excited. “All I want this year is your company throughout the day,” Lisa replied. Good! Salifou knew then that he had made a good choice for a girlfriend. That day, they went to the mall and got some ice cream. Then they watched a movie in the cinema. The happy couple walked hand-in-hand to ‘Shoprite’ and bought some cake.
Lisa nearly run out of her room when a group of her friends hiding in the shadows jumped towards her and shouted “HAPPY BIRTHDAY!” Salifou had put together a surprise birthday party for her. Lisa run into her boyfriend’s arms and kissed him. Salifou couldn’t be any happier than he was then.
Abruptly, it seemed like a dark shadow had been cast on Salifou. His vision became dark and people started grunting and directing insults at the government. The blackout had shaken him from fantasy land. The reading room was very dark and people were moving out…

*****
…and then she walked away, leaving me to my fantasies. But unknown to her, all I have to do is close my eyes and dream; then we are the happiest couple in the world. The only problem is that I am dreaming my life away.
So you are in love with this girl who is very indifferent towards you. You try as much as possible to get over her and find out too late that she is going to be the cause of you failing your exams. Even though they say love is blind, you can see your failure very clearly and there is nothing you can do about it. Maybe yours isn’t love. Maybe it is a phenomenon yet to be named. You are in love with somebody that you are not so sure will return your love and you are already failing examinations for her.

photo source: aliceofwinterland.tumblr.com

STORY UNTOLD

I see a manwandering the earth from one corner to the other. 
He is drenched in abject misery with eyes as red as a wench’s blood

He wears no sandals
and flies are feasting on his leg wounds.
His ankle is cracked;
and within those cracks, a story begs to be told.

I see a man
Baptized in pure agony
Petrified by the sight of all other men.
He says nothing to any man;
His eyes blink more than the flapping of a tsetse fly’s wings
and his lips are drier than bread.
His clothes are tattered and torn;
but they contained a story yet to be told.

I see a man,
made ugly and sinister by experience and life.
A man with nothing in his heart;
I doubt he has any at all.
He moves from one location to another
Searching for something; something important.
As to what it is, I can’t tell.
‘Hello sir, how do you do?’ I asked.
He looked at me surprised, and replied, ‘how do you do son?’
That said he smiled his way into death
taking with him the story untold.

 

EUTHANASIA


Look at him. He is a sore sight to behold. The once promising eaglet has become something lesser than a chick. Who knew that his life could turn out this bad? Fifteen years. That is all it took. Fifteen years was all it took for life to grind Ekow in its treacherous mill of misfortune and hardship; spewing him out as a polished blend of disgrace and disappointment.
When his life blossomed over a decade ago, he SOAKED his dreams in a calabash of goodwill and hard work. Hoping that his hard work would pay off, he tilled the land of his success and irrigated it with confidence and determination as he waited for the fertile seeds of prosperity to impregnate his lands with a bumper harvest. But far from his expectations, life had something else in store for him.
Several years later, he WASHED his regrets and mistakes in a pool of hopefulness. His mistakes are his alone and nobody else’s. His mistake of believing in life and thinking his goodness and hard work would be joined together in holy matrimony; leading to the birth of his gates of success. It is his mistake for putting his faith in a god he had never seen, but believed in his heart was alive – a god he thought would fight on his behalf. But he was done feeling sorry for himself. All his mistakes and regrets, he had thrown into a pool of hopefulness.
So he DRIED his embarrassment on a line of solitude. Confining himself in the shadows; cooking up plans on how to get back on life’s better side. He abandoned his embarrassment in the scorching heat of the sun; so as to drain it of all its potency.
He IRONED what was left of his crumpled pride and set out to fertilize that which was once known as an eaglet; with the hopes of turning it into an eagle. He worked hard. He left no stone unturned and beckoned on success with his vigor. Months turned to years; and years birthed out depression.
Yesterday, he FOLDED his ambitions and dumped them in a rusted box; never to be opened again. Soon, the final product from life’s mill was there for all to see in its full glory and wretched regalia.
Today, he HANGED his shame on life’s line. He hoists it up high like a warlord’s banner. His shame has been substituted for his name….
Now, see him bending to pick up a loaf of bread from the floor. Pity! He needs help. He needs to be delivered from this torture of a life he has been living. He needs to be saved. But his misery is not one that could be managed. He needs to be plucked out of his misery. What he needs is the merciful kindness of EUTHANASIA.

PURPLE HIBISCUS

Editphoto source: mybookaffair.net

BOOK REVIEW

TITLE: PURPLE HIBISCUS
AUTHOR: CHIMAMANDA NGOZI ADICHIE
PUBLISHER: ALGONQUIN BOOKS
PLACE OF PUBLICATION: CHAPEL HILL, US
YEAR OF PUBLICATION: OCTOBER 2003
NUMBER OF PAGES: 307
ISBN: 978-1-56512-387-8
NAME OF REVIEWER: KOFI DZOGBEWU

Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is an exceptional piece of literature that evokes unexpected emotions as the reader travels with a Nigerian family from a stable life to a very unsettling one. The novel talks about how Kambili’s father, Papa, uses verbal, mental and physical abuse on his family in the name of being a devout Catholic.

The story made me feel oppressed when I was reading, but then I realized that was Adichie’s genius. She did not mention the word ‘oppression’, nor did she describe ‘pain’ in the beginning of the story, yet  all the details she outlined made me feel like something was terribly wrong, not just in Kambili’s family, but in the country too.
The title of the novel ‘Purple Hibiscus’ is very significant and relevant to the story. The purple hibiscus in Aunty Ifeoma’s garden represents not only the clash of cultures experienced by the characters in the novel, but likewise a hope for a better future. In contrast to the startling red hibiscuses in Enugu which symbolizes a violent past, the purple hibiscuses in Nsukka represent the future. Nigeria has gained independence from the British Empire but is challenged by new conflicts in the post-colonial era. The colour red is often associated with Achike and their home in Enugu. There we find the red hibiscuses, ‘the blood on the stairs’, and Father Benedict’s robes- all red. Red often suggests anger and passion and so is perfect in keeping with the plot. In contrast, the colour purple, as in the purple hibiscuses found in Aunty Ifeoma’s house, is often associated with feelings of calmness and solitude, which is repeatedly connected to the characters of Father Amadi, Aunty Ifeoma and other positive figures in the novel.

The framework of the novel keeps the story fresh and compelling all the way through. Purple Hibiscus for me in some ways is better than Adichie’s other novel Half of a Yellow Sun in terms of personal enjoyment and the narrative style. However, some of the themes may be too strong or heavy for young children, about twelve years old and under, depending on their social maturity and reading experience. The novel is therefore recommended for adults and young adults.

I realized that in some parts of the story, Adichie’s personal ideology influenced her writing. She made some political statements in the lines ‘these are all the people (westerners in general) who think that we cannot rule ourselves because the few times we tried, we failed, as if all the others who rule themselves today got it right the first time.’ The political statements might be lost on the reader, only because Kambili’s own personal tragedy seems much more serious, urgent and dangerous.

One problem I found with the story is that even though it is about Kambili’s account on her family’s experiences, Adichie to me made it seem like the central character was Achike, Kambili’s father; whose presence loomed menacingly over almost every page even when he wasn’t featured in the scene.

Another problem I found with the novel is the absence of a glossary. Adichie failed to include a glossary for the Igbo expressions in the story. She did a good job of placing most Igbo expressions in a comprehensive context, but the reader would be frustrated when he or she wants to find the meaning of a term; the meaning of which at best is ambiguous in the context of the expression. Take for instance, the line ‘this girl is a ripe agbogho!’ on page ninety-one of the novel.

In the unfolding of her story, she introduced the reader to the customs, foods and many aspects of Nigerian life without deviating from the subject matter. This is a unique skill in creative writing which many writers fail to achieve. Adichie creates a perfect balance of being sufficiently descriptive while never allowing the descriptions to become tedious. She describes the downfall of the family both in Enugu and in Nsukka, drawing the reader gradually towards an extraordinary tragic ending.

Purple Hibiscus is a constructively judged account of the private and intimate stirrings of a young girl faced with the challenges of tyrannical power, and Adichie voices out the subject matter creatively.