Tag Archives: death

It’s Another Saturday… #16

Daddy’s Little Girl


“I didn’t raise you like that, Use.”

“But daddy…”

“Keep quiet.”

I am having a father-daughter moment with my dad. Probably our last. The old man is dying and it is a heart wrenching thing to experience, so I’d rather believe that it’s not happening. To me, he’s seventy again and I’m his young twenty-year old daughter who has come to ask his advice over some boy issue. The boy in question is Jide. I have reported my misdeeds and daddy is giving me his counsel. He is very disappointed in me.

“I think we overindulged you. We gave you everything you asked for. And that is why when you can’t get the things you want the way you want them, you lose control.”

“But daddy, you know I’m not like that. It’s just that I’ve been hurt so many times. I can’t trust again. I just can’t.”

He tries to speak but strenuous breathing takes over. I hold his bony hand; it shakes in mine. The room is warm and smells faintly of my mother’s perfume. Years after her death and daddy still retains her essence. Her clothes remain in the closet, untouched, but dusted by daddy himself every other day. The bathroom slippers she had worn on the night of her death remains on the floor, on her side of the bed. No one had touched them. No one dared to. And now, I lie beside hin, where she used to lie; a place he had not given any other woman even though he had been lonely through the years.

“Buy him a new phone, go back and apologize to him.”

“But he lied to me. And I’m sure he cheated too.”

“And you can’t forgive him?”

I want to explain to daddy that it is not about forgiveness but I know he won’t understand. I just don’t want to continue with Jide. I’m in too deep already. It will tear me apart if he hurts me again; my heart is too fragile. It’s better I leave now that things haven’t gone too far between us.

“Somehow you think that when you eventually get married, it’ll be with a perfect man.”

“Yes. You were perfect for mommy. You always made her happy, despite all that was happening.”

He laughs, in a quiet and muffled way, to avoid going into a coughing spell.

“Erhinyuse,” he calls.


He laughs again. “My Honey.”

“Yes, daddy.”

“You’re still a little girl inside. I’m wondering how you have made it thus far in this world with this mentality. Life is not those romance novels you read.”

“I know.”

“Trust is a two-way street. You have to meet him halfway. And as a woman, try to overlook some things, which would be difficult, but just try. Lastly, no more spying on his phone. Give the young man a break.”

“That’s assuming we get back together.”

“Don’t be as stubborn as your mother, Honey. That’s the part of her you took that I don’t like.”

“We’re sorry.”

He rubs my hand. I give him a glance to see a tired smile on his face. I should probably let him rest but I’m so scared that if I leave, he’ll get worse.

“You can go now, let me sleep.”

“I’m not going anywhere.”

“I’m fine, Erhinyuse.”

“No, I’m staying, daddy.”

“Go.” His hand leaves mine. I dither before I walk out of the room. I stroll to mine and fall on the bed. Jide naturally enters my mind. I hate the way I miss him. I am glad that I have reason to stay back here in Warri or I would have zapped right back to him without a second thought.

∞            ∞            ∞            ∞            ∞            ∞

I have gotten a new phone. I have made down payment for a new car. I have cleaned my house. And I have forgiven Honey.

I kind’a understand where she comes from. She has told me stories about her exes, assholes that screwed her over, so I get her like that. I also like that she’s crazy. Women who aim to please me, who always get it right, who always have their emotions together, tend to bore me. Passion, with a little bit of impulse is what I like in a woman. And Honey has it all.

Bobby agrees with me, that she’s perfect.

“If she doesn’t keep Jide on his toes, she’s not for him.”

Shady doesn’t agree, which is ironic because his wife is extreme, an emasculator.

“So wait, if she see you dey talk to another chick, she go burn down your house be dat.”

I laugh loudly. “No.”

“My own is that she bugged your phone,” Bright says. “Dude! That’s gangstar. Your babe fit dey work for CIA o!”

“I swear!”

“Yeah, that shit scared me. I didn’t even know apps like that existed.”

“Them dey nau,” Bobby answers. “Plenty sef.”

“So you’re going back to her?” Shady asks.

“I never left her. She left. But I’m going to give her time to calm down. She’ll come to her senses soon.” I rise up from where I’m seated. “Who wants extra peppersoup?”

Three Oliver Twists raise their hands. Useless guys. It’s just like old times. They’d always close from work and in the name of avoiding traffic, stop at mine, drink my beer, play my computer games, eat my food and leave my house messy. Luckily for them, my mom sent Oba to me with a huge pot of catfish peppersoup earlier. I let them each have a second serving and we sit to talk about Ibro and his wives. Noka, according to gist, has suddenly developed some backbone and is giving Ibro a hard time. Eno, on the other hand is rumored to have a boyfriend outside. It has not been confirmed but I trust the wives to dig into the matter soon and come up with the true story.

After Ibro, we discuss Reno’s philandering ways. All the wives have spoken to their husbands to beg him to keep it inside his pants. Peace is beginning to lose her mind. They say she can be heard talking to herself even in the midst of people.

“So why did he marry if he knows he can’t stay faithful,” I ask in annoyance.

“I wonder,” Shady replies. He is the only one who holds my values when it comes to men and fidelity. The others, including Bobby believe men cannot be monogamous, so they keep silent and it pisses me off.

“So una go just siddon allow Reno mess Peace up like dat?”

“Wetin you want make we do?” Bright asks.

“Una no fit talk to una guy?”

“Hin be pikin wey no know wetin hin dey do?” Bobby remarks. “The guy no cover his tracks well abeg.”


“Peace is not supposed to know his shit.”

I look at Bobby in disappointment. I have a nice comeback to his bullshit but I tell myself it is not the day for an argument. I will talk to Reno myself. It might not change things but I refuse to be herded into foolishness. Somebody has to sit him down and caution him like a child. Fooling around behind his wife is going to destroy him.

“Abeg make una talk another matter,” I tell them. Shady is only too glad to change the topic. He brings up something about politics. I eye him. It’s going to be a long night. People’s wives are going to start bugging my phone soon.

∞            ∞            ∞            ∞            ∞            ∞

I have just finished a conference call with Dele’s wife, Saratu and Kene. They were concerned about daddy’s health. I told them he was fine and promised to send their well wishes to him. They gave me comforting words and hung up.

Now I’m stretched out on my small bed. I can hear my elder sisters in the kitchen. The smell of banga wafts in and leaves me nostalgic in a sad way. My childhood was bittersweet. I had good memories and bad ones too. I have never really shared that part of my life with anyone because of the harrowing experience I went through in the hands of my siblings. They never accepted me because I was their half-sister. Daddy married my mom just a year after their own mother died. They never fully let mommy in as well. Mommy, on the other hand, didn’t make things easier for herself; she was a perfect example of an overbearing stepmother. Not that I blamed her. She was only twenty-six years old when she became a wife, marrying a man twice her age, whose first son was a year younger than she was.

My parents pampered me a lot but each time they were away, my siblings would maltreat me, especially Harry, our firstborn. That one particularly had it in for me. He would beat me over every little mistake and threaten to kill me if I told on him. Ergo, I shut my mouth and my parents never learned about my ordeal. Leaving home at an early age to work as a flight attendant was a way of escape.

I have never shared this part of my life with anyone, apart from Kene and Saratu. They alone knew how much I suffered in the hands of my siblings.

In those days Kene would comfort me by always reminding me about Joseph in the Bible and how his life turned out better than his brothers’ in the end. Well I can’t say my life is better than theirs (for instance, Harry is stinking rich) but I think I have done well for myself. I’m willing to forgive them and put the past behind me but I doubt that we will ever bridge that gap. That is why I don’t want daddy to die. If he does, who will I call family?

I feel so weighed down and want Jide so badly; but again, I don’t want him. I have tried dialing his number more than ten times already but discovered I’m actually a coward, so I always end up terminating the call before it connects. Not that I even have any right to call, considering I destroyed his phone so thoughtlessly. I feel really sorry now, after speaking to daddy. I went too far, I guess. I wouldn’t talk to me too if I was in Jide’s shoes. He probably hates me.

I hear daddy coughing. Maybe he needs someone to help him with a drink of water. I rush to his room and pour some water in a glass cup. He looks at me when I move to the bed with the cup. I help him up and place it in his shaky hand. He holds it for a second, then it slips to the floor, shattering into pieces.

“It’s okay,” I say. “I’ll clean it up. Just lie back while I get the broom.”

I hurry out and return with a broom and dustpan. Daddy is still hunched over, coughing. On the floor, where the glass shards lay scattered, I see blood.

“Daddy?” I look at his face; blood from his mouth has stained his silver-grey beards. I try not to cry.

My eldest sister, Jessica walks in.

“Jessie…” I say helplessly.

“Give him honey when he coughs. It instantly makes him feel better.”

“Honey?” I ask.

“Yes, honey.” She points at a bottle on a stool beside the bed. When she turns away I pick the bottle.

“Give him honey,” I repeat as the irony of the statement hits me. I have been away too long that I have missed out my dad’s healthy years. He used to say, back in the day, “My Honey a day takes the doctor away,” just to tease me. I was always the light of his eyes. He had me shortly after he struck fifty. In my teenage years I jokingly called him grandpa. When my mom died, it took life out of him and he’d often tell me I was the only one who made him smile. When I became a flight attendant, we sort of drew apart. He never did like the job but he never gave me a hard time over it. Now I wished I had quit earlier and spent more time with him.

“Don’t do that.” I feel his thumb under my eyes, cleaning my tears.

“I’m sorry, daddy.”

“I know. But don’t feel bad. You had to live life. I had lived mine.”

I look into his eyes and see life, alongside death. He is ready to leave this world. His tired body can’t hold on any longer but I beg it to stay just a little while. I’m not ready to let go yet.

“My Honey a day,” he starts to say but I don’t let him finish. I bury my head on his bed and weep my heart out.

Daddy passes away later at night after a coughing fit that none of us can stop. The honey I give him only makes it worse, so I sit helplessly on the floor and watch him cough his life away. I weep, holding his hand until it turns cold. I can’t let go.

But they come and take him away. I wail and beg God to bring him back but all I get is the echo of my own cries.

“At least, he’s with mommy now,” my other elder sister, Jane says, wiping wet eyes. She was the only one who liked me and my mom but even then, she couldn’t show how much. It’s not changed now, after so many years. I can see she wants to hug me by her body language but she remains where she is. I stubbornly put my arms around her and we cry together while our brothers and Jessie begin making funeral arrangements. None of us sleep. We stay awake sharing stories of our childhood, of daddy. This is the first time I’m bonding with them and it’s priceless. At a point, we go silent and play music from daddy’s old gramophone. Most of the sounds are broken but we don’t care. It is comforting because it feels like daddy is in his room, head hunched over one of his books, reading under the light of a kerosene lantern, and stopping to hum to the music while tapping his feet.

The days that follow are filled with activity for all of us. My siblings don’t want to include me in the arrangements but I expressly remind them that daddy was my father as well and I would be actively involved in his burial rites. Knowing they can’t stop me, they decide to burden me to the point of exhaustion but I don’t mind. We all want daddy to have a grand exit. He had been a very respected and influential man in Warri, and hence many dignitaries are going to attend his burial. We make sure we put everything in place to give him the honor he deserves.

The day of his funeral comes and I find that I’m bereaved of all strength, having exhausted myself. Not even the surprise visit from Dele’s wife and Saratu uplifts my spirit. I am literally shivering as I sit with my siblings under a canopy and stare at daddy lying peacefully in his casket. I don’t realize that it’s a fever that has taken over my body. I am in bad form, physically and emotionally and God knows I need me some R&R and TLC after this ordeal. If only I hadn’t been a bitch to Jide.

“Who is that?” I hear Saratu whisper. She is seated directly behind me, so I’m guessing, by the way she leans over, she’s talking about the guy that has just walked in through the broken gate of my family home. I look at him through hazy eyes, as I have been looking at things and people for the past few days.

But wait…

“Jide?” I say out loud without meaning to as I sit up and lift my sunglasses to see better.

He came?

“That’s Jide?” Saratu asks.

“Where?” Dele’s wife joins in. I don’t answer them. My eyes are fixed on him and I begin to feel warm inside as my pulse picks up speed. Swiftly, I spring from my seat. I dash to him with weak legs as he stands by the gate, uncertain if he should continue in or not. My long, white iro sweeps the red earth beneath me with each move. He sees me approaching and stays his stare on me. I’m caught in emotions which can only be expressed through tears that are all dried out. I take off my sunglasses and rub my assaulted eyes with the back of my hand. My strides lose tempo but not urgency when I’m just a couple of steps from him. He extends his hand and takes mine to enclose me in a bear hug. My heart strings pull together painfully; I hold him tighter.

“Sorry for your loss, Honey.”

His voice is like a kiss from heaven. And right now I don’t care if people are watching us or how my brothers and sisters would feel.

“Your temperature is high,” Jide informs me, pulling away. “And you’ve lost so much weight.”

I can’t reply him because I’m on the edge of emotions. I have so much to tell him.

“People are staring,” he says. “We should join the crowd.”

Linking hands, we walk back. He takes a seat away from everyone else and I settle back into my mine to get some eye-lashing from Jessie. I slip back my sunglasses to ignore her.

The ceremony continues for an eternity. Finally, it draws to a close and daddy is taken to his final destination and lowered into his grave. The moment I see the coffin go down, my fever returns. I squeeze Jide’s hand to stay strong.

I am the last to pour earth over the coffin and just as I do so, it smacks me that I am now an orphan. Pain sears my heart but I hold myself and pay daddy his last respect. I feel my knees weakening as I step away from his grave. I haven’t eaten well in days and it’s taking a toll on me. The sun above is not helpful either as it adds to my faintness. Just as I feel my legs giving way beneath me, Jide’s strong arm wraps around me from behind. His mild male cologne invades my nostrils as I pass out.

∞            ∞            ∞            ∞            ∞            ∞

“Baby, open your eyes.”

Jide’s familiar voice wakes me. I blink so many times before I can focus on the faces around me. Jane, Dele’s wife and Saratu are there.

“Are you okay?” they all inquire.

“I fainted?” I ask.

“Yes,” Harry replies. I turn and see him standing at the door of my bedroom. He has an angry look on his face and I’m wondering what I have done this time. I look away and see that it is turning dark outside.

“For how long have I been out?”

“Three or so hours,” Saratu replies. “We tried to wake you but he said we shouldn’t.”

‘He’ is clearly Jide, and I can see her giving him side glances as he reads my pulse.

“You’re exhausted and I think, a little dehydrated,” he tells me.

“Let me get water,” Dele’s wife says and dashes out.

“You’ll take fruits?” Jane offers.

“Yeah, that would be great,” Jide replies. She leaves the room as well.

“I hope you’re not pregnant,” Harry says caustically. I look at him. Even at the age of fifty-eight he is still an asshole. Little wonder none of his two marriages worked. I was told he used to flog his wives as if they were slaves.

“Because I know you. You cannot keep those your two left legs closed.”

My eyes burn and I see Jide’s narrow as he turns to him. I choose to ignore the statement. Harry has always referred to me as a prostitute. It all started when he discovered that Kene had disvirgined me. That day he beat me senseless and chased Kene down the street with the same koboko he decorated my body with.

“She is not pregnant,” Saratu replies. I can see that she’s annoyed too.

“Good,” he adds and walks out.

“What was that all about?” Saratu asks.

“Just forget it.”

“They still treat you like this?”

I beg Saratu with my eyes. I don’t want Jide to know this side of me. But Saratu doesn’t catch on.

“What did you ever do to them for God’s sake?”

Dele’s wife and Jane return with my water and fruits. I finish the water at a go. Jane drops the fruits by the bed and leaves. I reach for an apple; Saratu stops me.

“What if they poisoned it?”

I freeze for a second and then brush off the statement with a smile.

“Jane is good people.”

“I’m just saying. Your dad is gone now. You better be careful around them.”

I bite into the apple stubbornly.

“Sugar lips, what is going on?” Jide deepens his brows. I look away.


“It’s not nothing,” Saratu responds. “Sit down let me gist you how your babe has been maltreated in this house.”

As she begins to speak, Dele’s wife shuts my door. I eat my apple in silence, trying hard not to cry as Saratu recounts the painful history that is my life.

“Honey, why did you paint this entirely different picture of your family?” he asks after she is done. I can see that he’s not happy with me.

I look at my friends. “Can you give us some time alone?”

They walk out of the room and I sit up, inviting him to sit beside me.

“First of all, I’m sorry, Jide. For our fight and for your phone and for hacking into all your accounts. Stupidest thing I ever did. Please, forgive me and take me back?”

“I’ve forgiven you but that is not my problem now. I want to know why you lied to me about your family. You always used to say ‘our mother’ so I thought…”

“I’m sorry. I tried to tell you but your family is so perfect…”

“And so you give the impression that yours is the same?”

“They’re just my siblings, Jide; they never really mattered.”

“But they still hurt you. Just look at the way your brother was talking to you. It’s unacceptable.”

I don’t want to be burdened by family drama. I just want to curl up in Jide’s arms and talk. I have missed him terribly. I’m dying for a kiss, one of those silent ones he gives me when we both used to sit to watch TV in his house. I can’t believe I wanted to let him go just like that. I guess losing daddy and the hassle of the past few days have set my thinking right.

“We need to get you out of here, jare.” Jide rests his hand on mine. “The air is too toxic.”

“I have to stay and mourn daddy.”

“He’s already resting, Honey, and you paid him his last respect. What else again?”

“I just have to stay.”

Jide discards my argument. “You have family waiting for you. Nne was so upset at the news of your dad’s death. She says to tell you that you have new parents now, that you’re not an orphan.”

A rush of tears attacks my eyes. Jide pulls me close and rests my head on his chest.

“But how did you people even know what happened?”

“Your sister, Jane tagged you in a Facebook post. It had an invitation to the funeral, so I looked up the address and told Nne I was coming.”

“Really?” I smile. “Thanks.”

“Don’t be silly jor.”

“After what I did…”

“Let’s put that behind us, shall we? What is paining me is that you didn’t eat the cake after I painstakingly wrote out that apology by myself.”

“I’m sorry.” I pull back and laugh.

The door barges in, interrupting me. I sit straight at the sight of Jessie.

“Erhinyuse, so you’re here playing love when guests need to be fed,” she says in Urhobo and then focuses on Jide. “Please, can you excuse her and join the other guests outside?”

I feel so embarrassed but I don’t want any type of incidence, so I get to my feet the moment she disappears.

“Jide, I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay.” He wraps his arms around me and gives me a full but short kiss that makes me feel a little better.

“I’m in a hotel not far away. I’ll check back later?”

I nod. He pushes his hands into his pockets, a sign that he is in a bad mood.

“Let me escort you?”

“No. I’m good.”

He bends and gives me another kiss just as Harry passes by my door. I watch him walk away. I am so embarrassed over all that has just happened.

∞            ∞            ∞            ∞            ∞            ∞

I sit in my car, listening to Jill Scott. Honey has introduced me to the woman and I’m hooked to her music. Where was I when she sang all these amazing songs? I am so going to buy every single one of her albums. She’s too deep abeg.

I open my door to let air in. The car still smells of new leather and my nose is not taking it well. I think I have a cold on the way.

Honey has no idea that I bought this car. She’ll be delighted because she has been urging me to overcome my fear of being behind the wheel again. Well, I drove all the way just to kill that fear and it felt good, to be honest. My speed demon that had been waiting for me to return, showed its rage the instant my foot pressed the pedal and I hit the highway. But the best part is that the car was bought in Honey’s name. Her birthday is just a couple of weeks away and I know it’s a huge investment but I’m known to take risks like that.

“What if as you’re paying for this car, she’s there screwing some other dude in Warri,” Ibro had asked when I was making the final payment for the car. I looked at him; I didn’t appreciate his words.

“Just saying,” he added.

“Not the woman I love.”


I paused. The word had actually slipped out of my mouth.

“Yeah, love. I love the woman,” I emphasize. “Now, write my receipt make I dey go abeg.”

Ibro had shaken his head and signed a receipt for me, then asked one of his boys to get the car out of the garage.

I can’t wait to hand it to her, even more so now that I know that I’m all she has in this world. I will do everything to erase her painful years—gifts, trips to colorful places and quiet nights alone with each other. I’m not in a hurry to put a ring on her finger. When I eventually do, it will be only because people will beg us to just make things official.

I check the time; it’s 11pm. I have been in my car for five hours, browsing the net and listening to Jill Scott on replay. I avoided my hotel room because it stank of local air freshener that my nose found offensive. I sneeze now, just thinking about it. I think I should search for a pharmacy around tomorrow to get something to stop this cold before it takes me.

I start the car and drive to Honey’s family home, parking outside. I walk into the huge compound which is now empty, save for some teenagers under a water tank, discussing loudly. I aim for the entrance door to the house and knock, even though I find it wide open. Honey, who is carrying some toddler in her arms, spots me and smiles. She drops the child on a couch and hurries to me. She looks exhausted. I’m guessing she hasn’t had time to rest since I left.

“Hi,” I greet.

“Come in.”

I shake my head.

“Okay. Let me wear my slippers. I’m coming.”

She disappears and returns in not just her slippers but a change of clothes, some short dress that reveals smooth thighs I’ve missed.

“Where are your friends?” I ask.

“They’re staying in a hotel. I didn’t even properly introduce you guys.”

“Saratu did a great job of that. She was like, ‘so you’re the Jide. Nice to meet you. But I’m not a fan, just so you know.’”

Honey laughs.

“The other one was friendlier.”

“She always is. Let’s go this way.” Honey points towards the water tank and takes my hand. We stroll there. The moment the teenagers see us, they respectfully leave.

“Harry and Jessie’s kids,” Honey explains. I don’t care to know. I just want to kiss her. And I do so, not giving a damn who might be watching.

“Jide, stop,” she says in a blush when our lips pull apart. I let her finish speaking and then go for her mouth again. I don’t even know why she’s complaining when she is kissing me back. Little pretender.

“What is going on here?”

I stop and turn to the person who has just spoken. It’s the man of the house, Harry. He’s standing outside a door that I guess is the kitchen backdoor. Honey moves a step from me.

“Good evening,” I greet.

“Good night, you mean?” he retorts. “Erhinyuse!”

“Yes, brother?”

“I want to see you now! And you, young man, this is an ungodly hour! You may leave!”

What in the world! Does he realize Honey is a grown woman? I look at her. Does she know this herself?

“Jide, please go. I’ll come and see you first thing tomorrow morning.”



She wheels away and hastens towards him. Two of them walk into the house and I hear him yelling at her in their dialect. The only thing I pick out is, “and look at what you’re wearing!”

I am incensed. I want to storm in there and give that old fool a piece of my mind.

I hear Honey reply him but her voice is laced with a sob. No, Honey, don’t let him get to you. He doesn’t have that power anymore.

“You must be an idiot!” He rages. “Bastard!”

Honey dares to reply and the next thing I hear is a slap. Shockwaves course through me.

Another slap.

My feet spring alive as I storm into the house uninvited and find Honey holding her cheeks and staring at her brother like he had just raped her. I lose my mind instantly.

“Did you just hit her?!” I charge at him. Honey immediately steps in my way. “I’m asking you like a man! Did you just hit her?!”

He is taken aback by my unexpected appearance and action.

“Jide, it’s okay, please,” Honey begs.

“No, Honey. It is not okay!” I free my hand off hers and face the coward squarely. “You do not hit a woman, younger sister or not!”

Other family members begin to gather. At the sight of them, he regains his foulness.

“Imagine this small boy o! You come to my house to fight me?” He claps his hands like a woman. “Erhinyuse, see what you have caused? See the insult and disrespect you have brought upon your family?”

“She has done nothing!”

“Young man, please leave,” the eldest sister says firmly as the others watch in silence.

I have a lot more of my mind to give them but Honey’s arm on mine reminds me that I might be going overboard.

“Treating your own sister like a nonentity when your father’s body is still warm in his grave?” My voice is laden with the same pain Honey must be feeling. “Disgusting!”

“I said get out!”

I turn to Honey. She begs me with her eyes to leave. I pretend I don’t understand her.

“Let’s go,” I say.

“Jide, I can’t. I’ll see you tomorrow.”


“Please. Just go.”

I walk away, scared for her. Scared that they might want to hurt her after I leave. I drive to the hotel and stay awake for a long time until I get a text from her.

Worst night of my life. They just told me that my dad left everything to me and it’s in their care but they won’t give me because I was not his legitimate daughter. I’m so confused Jide.


I pick my car key and leave my hotel room. I’m getting her out of that house for her own good. They can eat the inheritance. Honey won’t need to worry about money in her life again.

Awon oloshi. 


In Loving Memory of Daniel Emmanuel Nyako

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This is a heartbreaking story of a Nigerian soldier who lost his life fighting for this country. Lance Corporal Daniel Emmanuel Nyako was part of the special forces at the forefront of the Boko Haram menace in Borno State. I got to know about him from Debbie. She is a fan of this blog and a friend. She uses the alias Double Dee and you might have come across her comments in some posts. Daniel Emmanuel Nyako was her elder brother and she is shattered by his painful departure.

Many soldiers have gone and no one really commemorates them or remembers them. They fight to make sure we live and they die while giving us our peace. There’s a lot of politics involved and sadly, these men and women are often times caught up in the fire by giving up their lives for us. I have friends in the army, even those serving in Afghanistan right now and all I have is deep respect for what they do. To leave one’s family and the pleasures of life and take up weapons and face death daily is not something the faint-hearted can do.

Soldiers know at the back of their minds that their lives are at stake when they go to war but they do not go there to lose, especially if what they’re fighting for guarantees peace and freedom for the innocent and helpless.  They are there to be victorious and are willing to lay down their lives for the sake of peace.

Daniel Emmanuel Nyako was one of such brave men. And his sister, Debbie wanted me to do this in memory of him.

Here are her own words:

“Daniel was killed while serving his nation and protecting the citizens. All the soldiers said he was good at his job as a ranger. Am glad that he was so good he was a threat to boko haram that they had to plan to kill him with the help of the saboteurs in the Nigerian army. They knew the vehicle he was in and sent shots at his exact location. Even when he managed to jump out and roll to a hiding place they kept on firing at that location directly with an AA.

I remember, during the attack that led to so many soldiers dying and the subsequent removal of the GOC, he was part of the soldiers attacked and when we didn’t hear from him for days we got so worried that he might have been killed, one officer told my sister he said, “Daniel knows his job so well that a bullet would not kill him so don’t worry. He later contacted us and said he was fine. Then again he was part of the people attacked near Damboa, and true to that officer’s words a bullet did not kill my brother. The fragment from an AA hit him in the rib cage, there was no open wound but he bled internally and died afterwards. Am sure it was time that was why he died. I know how he loved been a soldier and he was very good at it. So many of his colleagues have told us they envied the way he knew his work so well and wished they could be like him. If he was an American soldier maybe he would have been celebrated, or his name mentioned as one of the gallant commandos that lived but as a Nigerian soldier all u get is a pre-planned killing and a silent burial with some people at the top getting their pockets filled with blood money. God help us.”


_3 Marie Dan  _3(1)






May he rest in peace and may the valiant men and women who have died in this senseless and brutal war against terrorism find eternal solace. May their lives not go in vain.

Afghanistan Memoirs 1

Afghanistan Memoirs 2

No Heart Feelings #6

This post is dedicated to Goodnews and Amelia and Godiya and Chux and Toyinfab… HML! God bless your unions!

Read Previous Episodes HERE

Nandir had an oval face with high cheekbones and a narrow chin. Her doll-like eyes were always accentuated by long eyelashes and thinly plucked eyebrows. A long nose rested above constantly pursed lips and she possessed dark, glowing skin that was almost without blemish. She wasn’t particularly beautiful facially but her appearance drawn out by eye-catching clothes and a relentlessly spilling cleavage always turned heads wherever she went.

Nandir adored the attention. In fact, she thrived on it. She could never be seen out of her house without makeup and some revealing outfit, even under the chilly conditions of Jos weather. There was no such thing as casual appearance with her. But for sad reasons, she had stumbled out of her one-room apartment in nothing but a pair of jeans and a rumpled, shapeless tee which was faded and frayed at the edges, and had hired a taxi all the way to the Yakubu Gowon Airport to pick Jimi. Her hair was in its state of natural mess and the strip of fake eyelashes on her left eye was hanging loose, giving the eye a droopy look. A zit on her chin glistened under parched lips that were void of lipstick or gloss.

It was a rare sighting and Jimi could hardly recognize the mess that waved at him from the backseat of a taxi that was waiting at the parking lot. He lifted his Ray-Ban’s a tad to have a proper look and sure enough it was Nandir, his ex. Dodging a couple of ladies that walked by him, he walked to the taxi.

“Hi,” Nandir said. She spared no smile.

“Hi.” Jimi dug his hands into his pockets to warm himself. The change of weather was getting to him. “Where’s Nanle?” He asked, getting into the taxi hurriedly.

“He asked me to come pick you. His boss won’t let him out of the office.”


The taxi driver started the car and put it into motion.

“Sorry about your wife,” Nandir uttered, searching Jimi’s face. “You got all my texts and pings?”


“I heard she was beautiful…”

Jimi released a tolerant smile.

“Well, God knows best. I’m glad you’re okay.”

To read the concluding story, click–> HERE

No Heart Feelings #1

Her smile was blinding…

but maybe it was the morning sun in his face.

He blinked to adjust his eyesight away from the brightness and back into the beautiful gap-toothed smile that was before him. She who had the blinding smile laughed at his dilemma and stretched up like a kitten to pull the curtains close. She returned to the bed and he had her in his arms.

“Don’t go,” he pleaded. She giggled and kissed him. It was just one of her tease-kisses.

“And Udo will kill me. I didn’t go for her Igbanku. I have to go for this white wedding. And if it wasn’t because of how tied you are at the office, I would have asked you to come along.”

“No, the real reason I’m not invited for that wedding is because Udoka hates me.”

“Only because you hate her back and hate every other woman on the planet.”

He squeezed her bum underneath the covers. “Hate is a bad word, Marie. How about love? Let’s try love now.”

She giggled as he kissed her lips down to the side of her left arm, the most sensitive spot on her body. She used to tell him that if that part of her was stroked lightly non-stop, it could make her lose her mind. She said it touched somewhere in her brain that couldn’t be controlled.

And so he made her squirm in his arms uncontrollably. Marie wiggled and giggled and stopped only when he tasted her skin as he lightly nibbled a love-handle in her side. She tasted of clean sweat and sheer womanliness. He buried his face into the soft fluff of her belly which was intricately tattooed with stretchmarks. She hated the stretchmarks but they were part of her and of him as well. He loved her like that.

“Jimi?” she lifted his head to look up at her face.

“What?” Jimi put his head down again and rested his ear on her belly. He could hear her innards churning. Funny sounds.

“Have I told you how much I love you?”


He kissed the little knob that was her belly button and lifted himself up. “I would like to hear that now but not in words, Marie.”

He got to her breasts and just as he was about to make his famous move on them, a baby’s scream from the next room interrupted him.

“And she’s up,” Marie murmured. “Baby of life!” she complained and shimmied out of Jimi’s arms. “Be right back.”

She rolled off the bed, walked to the baby nursery and seconds later Jimi heard their six month old daughter giggling in response to her. Despite the fact that his morning sex was cut off, he was glad to hear such happy sounds. Marie was singing now. She had the most amazing voice; it made him feel like the luckiest man.

Everyone knew about his bizarre dislike for women. His friends had concluded he was going to end up gay, a priest or marrying the ugliest woman in the world but Marie came and changed all that. At first, he treated her like he did the rest, shying away from her as if she was the Bubonic plague. But his phobia for her died the first day she held his hand. He was scared that we were going to be stuck together, his hand glued to hers. Yet when she tried to pull away, he held her tight.

Marie was enchanting.

She had a noticeable gap-tooth and there was that tiny mole on her nose like a stud earring. It was another thing she didn’t like about herself because she felt her nose was big enough and didn’t need any more attention but to Jimi she was all allure without the nastiness beautiful women were known by. Their love was cocooned and untouchable even by his hatred for her species. While he stayed away as much as he could from every other woman, his love for her grew each day. She was the only woman in his life – well, apart from his mother and sisters.

Jimi got off the bed. He still wanted Marie but she was taking longer than usual with her breastfeeding. He walked out of the room to the nursery to peep on mother and daughter and saw Marie in a conversation with someone on the phone. She looked stressed to the point of crying. Only Udoka could put her in that state. Jimi disliked Udoka. To him, she was another daughter of Eve who thought using men the way she felt like was her God-given right on earth. She and Jimi never hit it off (not that he had ever hit it off with any of them); especially since she found out that she couldn’t push him around as she did her fiancé. Jimi endured her because of Marie.

“I will be there na. I gave my promise, sweetie.”

Marie looked at Jimi and smiled as she tried to end her call. “I’ll be on my way. Akure is just four hours away na. Okay, see ya!”

She rolled her eyes and dropped her phone. “Udoka and her stress.”

Jimi strolled to his daughter’s cot. She was playing with a rattle but her eyes lit up when she saw him.

“You think she recognizes me?” he asked Marie.

“Yes Jimi, she does.” Marie was taking off the spaghetti top she had on which was stained with breastmilk. She peeped into the cot. “Kiki knows and loves her daddy.”

“I’m hardly home on time.” Jimi said in apology to Marie.

“It’s okay, baby.” She rubbed his back gently as she hurried out. “Terdoo!” She called the housemaid. “Come baf dis pikin o!”

“I’m sorry for being away so much, Ki.” Jimi tickled his daughter’s cheek. “But I’ll try to make it up to you, soon. I promise, okay?”

Kiki gurgled and continued with her rattle. Terdoo, the housemaid, almost bumped into him on her way in. She curtsied in apology and moved away. Jimi kept his eyes away from her. Looking at females other than the ones in his family was still a big issue for him, despite the fact that he was seeing a therapist for his predicament…or phobia, as he was told.

Gynophobia was the general term used for people like him but his was beyond the general type. He found the company of beautiful women, in particular, nauseating. Caligynephobia it was called.

Getting hitched to Marie seemed to have helped his situation a little in the initial stages but after a while he relapsed. At work, he stayed in his office the whole nine to five, every single day. He usually took a back entrance in, created for that specific reason, and he left work after everyone was gone, which was the major explanation for why Kiki hardly saw him. At the office they dubbed him The Phantom but it was a good sub for him. He was the boss and it was important that he was a specter to them. On the rare occasion when he came out for board meetings, the whole office slowed down as females stopped whatever they were doing to gawk at him as he walked by.

At home, he stayed in all day. His social life was dead and his friends had given up on him entirely. When he had gotten married to Marie two years ago, they found it hard to believe that he had ended up with a drop-dead gorgeous woman. They were certain he was playing a fast one. They waited for the curtain to fall and reveal the sham they were certain was his marriage but when they saw them moving past the first year and into the second and even with the birth of Kikelomo, they gave up and accepted that Jimi had been finally broken. From that time, Marie was awarded a high level of respect in their midst, mostly because they held that she was jazzing him. He didn’t mind. Marie had a special magic on him that locked him in her forever.


Marie was calling him in that exceptional voice that only meant one thing. He felt his heart race. It wasn’t excitement; it was fear. The same fear that always held him whenever an attractive woman looked his way or called his attention. Even with all the time he had spent with Marie, it was still a struggle for him. He took a deep breath and counted one to ten as his therapist taught him. After the count, he walked into the bedroom. Marie was kneeling on the bed, nude. She called him forward with her forefinger and he felt the racing heart again. This happened on a daily and his breathing exercises plus other therapeutic tricks to help up his confidence always worked.

Marie leaped into his arms and pushed him to the bed.

“My treat,” she said and sat on him. He wore his sunshades. He couldn’t look into her eyes for long.

She was in control. He was her slave and he let her do as she pleased. But halfway, she stopped and began to cry. He took off his shades. She had never cried during sex before. He was worried.

“What’s wrong, Marie?”

“I love you,” she said. “I want you to always know that.”

“Okay. I’ll try not to forget.” He laughed lightly. “Is that why you’re crying?”

She nodded. “Just…love me like this was your last day on earth.”

“With all pleasure.” He sat up and without break, switched places.

“Mmmm…smooth,” she smiled but a tear slid to the side of her face. She shut her eyes and cried some more as he complied with her wish.

He went to work late that day, right after he made sure she was safely tucked behind her seatbelt, ready for her journey to Akure.

“I still don’t think you should drive alone,” he had reiterated to her.

“Bukky is coming with me.”

“Okay. Ehm…no overtaking without making sure a car is not coming on the opposite lane.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Your limit should be eighty kilometers.”

She laughed. “Haba. You want me to reach there next year?”

“If any tire bursts, don’t step on the brakes.”

“I won’t.”

“And don’t ignore anything your dashboard is telling you, okay? Read all the regulators and meters.”

“Okay, sir. May I go now?”

“I already prayed but you’ll get there safely Insha’Allah.”


She beamed into his eyes and he looked away shyly. It still didn’t stop him from kissing her.

“I have given Terdoo all the instructions for Kiki. But I left a copy on the dresser. I love you, baby daddy!”

“Come back first thing Sunday morning o.”

“Lord willing.”

He blew her a kiss. She keyed the engine and drove away from the house. Jimi stood until her car disappeared from his view. He didn’t feel right about her journey.

*             *             *             *             *             *             *             *

Jimi was restless at work, unable to concentrate for most of the morning. When he was sure Marie had arrived Akure, he called her phone and she answered.

“I’m here, alive and safe, so you better stop worrying.”

He was a bit relieved. “Okay, have fun and ping me with enough pictures o.”

“Alright baby…”

“Marie?” his voice waned a little.

“Yes, Jimi?”

“Missing you already.”

“Me too but it’s just two days na.”

He was silent.

“Marie, you there?”

“Yeah, yeah, I’m here.”

“I just have this bad feeling…”

He wanted to explain what he meant but his secretary walked in. She was an old woman, almost as old as his mother and she fumbled and frowned a lot. Jimi was planning to fire her and hire a young guy instead.

“Everything’s fine,” Marie whispered in his ear. “I have to go. Talk to you later.”

She hung up and he faced his secretary who dropped in to tell him he had guests waiting.

His day went by in a slow, busy wind and he didn’t have time to call Marie back, though he constantly expected to see the blinking, red light on his phone indicating she was pinging him. But he saw nothing all day. Finally, work came to a close and he left quite early to spend the time with Kiki. He was glad when he got home and found her awake. They had a good father and daughter time until she fell asleep in his arms and he passed her on to Terdoo. He put off calling Marie till later in the night when he was sure she would be resting from all the excitement of Udoka’s bachelorette party. He had a shower and settled in to watch the news while having dinner and that was when he heard his phone come alive with Marie’s ringtone.

He went for it.


There was a short pause.

“Marie? Hello?”

“Hello? Good evening.” The voice belonged to a male.

“Good evening…”

“Are you the husband to the woman who owns this phone?”

“Yes? Where is she?”

“I am sorry sir. She was involved in an accident and has been rushed to the hospital. We would like you to come immediately…”

Jimi didn’t hear anything that was said after that. He merely kept nodding in a daze. The caller was smart enough to text the address to him. Jimi called his best friend, Kaseem, who drove him to Akure. He was still not lucid when they got out of the car and walked into the hospital. Kaseem got all the information they needed and Jimi saw himself being led out of the emergency entrance to another part of the hospital. He didn’t mind the distance as long as he was going to be with Marie again. He was so lost in his haze that he didn’t see the huge sign above the large double doors they came to that read MORTUARY.

He walked in blindly and then it felt as if someone slapped him back to life and he became aware of his milieu. The temperature of the room they were in was cold. It was a small, empty room with a sleeping attendant at his desk who sprang up when they walked in. Kaseem talked to him and he led them to an inner room. It was larger and had stainless steel tables, refrigerators and floor coverings that extended up to half the walls.

“Wh-what are we doing here, Kas?” Jimi turned to Kaseem but Kaseem just followed the attendant further in. On one of the tables at the end lay something covered in a white cloth stained with blood. It didn’t look like a human corpse even though Jimi suspected it was. The attendant stopped and urged them forward.

Jimi couldn’t move.

“Tha’s not…that’s… That’s not Marie…”

Kaseem looked at him. “Jimi…”

He shook his head. “It’s not my wife. No. Let’s go.”

Kaseem came back to him and held his shoulders, looking straight into his eyes.

“Jimi, Marie was crushed by a trailer as she was crossing a street. I’m sorry, man. She didn’t make it. She’s gone. I am so sorry.”

Jimi pushed Kaseem’s hands away and moved towards the table, one unhurried step at a time. He could feel every part of his body coming to a convulsion but he pressed on until his hands were resting on the cold, steel edge of the table.

He couldn’t lift the cloth. He nodded at the attendant to do so and he did, very fast.

And what Jimi saw…or did not see of Marie’s remains sent a poisoned arrow to his heart. He heard someone scream in agony and didn’t realize the sound came from him until he was taken over by uncontainable sobs. He backed away from the jumble of bones and flesh on the table and was almost toppling medical apparatus on a counter behind him.

Kaseem put a hand on him. In his tears Jimi managed to tell him to take out Marie’s wedding ring to see if it had a certain engraving. Kaseem did, with the help of the attendant, and confirmed the engraving. It was Marie. She was really dead.

That day Jimi’s world collapsed.

*             *             *             *             *             *             *             *

He was dead. He walked around like a zombie. Life around him also departed, floating by in hues of grey and rust-brown, during which time he evaluated his mortality and came to the conclusion that he also did not deserve to live. The only reason he remained was because he was too much of a coward to kill himself. He went through irrepressible grief as months dragged by and when he finally came to the point of acceptance where he knew he had to close the door and at last recognize that Marie was gone forever, six months had passed. He was in isolation in his father’s old house in Jos and had not seen Kiki during the time. The room he slept in was a shrine dedicated to Marie that had most of her belongings and pictures. He was going insane and he knew it but felt it was his right to be allowed his madness no matter how long it lasted. It didn’t last forever, though. His mom visited and had a serious talk with him.

“You have to move on, Olujimi. Kiki cannot grow up without you. Her mother is gone but you’re still here and she needs to know that she’s not alone.”

“I am not ready, mom. Besides, Kiki is the exact replica of Marie. How do I look into her face every day knowing I’m looking back into Marie’s?”

“It’s Allah’s blessing to you. It means Marie is not gone forever. Son, you have no choice but to go back.” She picked out the words in slow bits to emphasize every point. “Pack your bag. We leave tomorrow morning.”

Her voice carried that final note Jimi couldn’t go against but the love in her eyes was unmistakable. For her sake and Kiki’s he was going back to the place where he was certain he would feel Marie’s loss more. He was not so scared, though. He wanted to hold on to her for as long as he could.

There was a quiet dinner organized by his sisters for him when he arrived home. It was bittersweet as he sat at the table Marie always insisted that they have their meals. It felt somewhat calming to be back and good to be accepted by Kiki who opened up her arms for him with an endearing hug. She didn’t remember him but she let him hold her. She was Marie personified in character with all the love and cuddliness. He was also relieved to find that Terdoo was still there. For the first time, he dared look into her face and saw that she was a withdrawn, beautiful lady with wise eyes. She loved his family as much as she loved hers and he knew he owed her a lot for all the sacrifice she put in to care for Kiki.

After the dinner, he retired to his bedroom which he had not seen in six months. In keeping with his instructions, no one moved a thing out of it. When he walked in, he half-expected the overbearing presence of grief to engulf him but what he felt was strange peace and the fruity smell of Marie’s perfume. It still hung in the air, her essence confined. He went to sleep that night without pain. Marie was finally resting in peace and so was his heart. The aching, he knew, would always be there but for the moment, he was not burdened by sorrow.

He used the subsequent days to accommodate his new life outside Marie, spending most mornings making important phone calls to get him the job of his dreams. He still had the position of his old job waiting for him since it was a family business but he wanted to do away with everything that would put him back into the life he used to know. A couple of evenings had him driving into town to places cursed with traffic so that he could get stuck on the streets just to enjoy the feeling of being lost and to cry alone; other times, he would just sit in and watch some boring football match or foreign news.

On one of those evenings when he picked the news, fate came visiting without warning just as it did on the day Marie died. Jimi was watching a sponsored piece on tourism in Cyprus. The location was Nissi Beach, one of their famous spots. He felt bad watching the report because Marie had always wanted to holiday there but his work had not allowed them.

As the reporter walked the length of the beach, asking a tour guide questions, Jimi followed their conversation out of boredom. They stopped at some point where a group of people, couples mostly, were relaxing on loungers under canopies. Jimi was marveling at the clear blue of the sea when the silhouette of a woman caught his eyes. She was dressed in a turquoise blue, short-sleeved dashiki and a pair of shorts and she was staring into the sea as gentle breeze blew into her springy Bohemian hair. There was scar on her left elbow that drew him closer to the screen and he leaned all out to have a clearer look at her.

Jimi’s heart began to beat really fast and he felt his head pulsing in apprehension as the woman in a slowed motion turned to her side and smiled at someone he couldn’t see. The world stopped moving for him at that instant because the woman smiling was none other than his Marie.

She did a full turn and stretched out her hand to the person she was smiling at – a young guy about his age with the body of a runway model. But it wasn’t the presence of the man that unnerved him. It was the bulge Marie was carrying. She was pregnant. And to add to his pain, he saw a gold ring on her wedding finger.

Jimi shot up from his bed. He suspected he was seeing things. It couldn’t be Marie. Marie was dead and buried! Who was this woman impersonating her?

Thank God for a PVR decoder. He got the remote control and rewound back to the moment she turned her face to smile at the guy. The mole on her nose was there and the gap-tooth was clearly identifiable. Unless she had a twin with the exact features, that was certainly Marie. Jimi pressed the rewind button over and over and over again until the screen froze at the point where she stretched out her hand to the guy.

There was a riot of emotions in him—anger, pain, confusion, denial, sadness, dejectedness—and he could hardly breathe.

A knock came to his bedroom door and Terdoo walked in. She curtsied.

“Uncle, good evening.” She stared at the TV screen. “Uncle I have something to tell you.”

Jimi threw a frosty look at her from her head to her toes as if she was a stranger. He took note of the delicate curve of her form and the dark, introverted beauty on her face and all of that combined together gave him an immediate feeling of nausea and edginess upon his already teed off mood. Without thought, he let out the first words he found on his lips.

“Get the hell out of my room and my house right now! You’re fired!”

He didn’t care what Terdoo’s reaction was, he just wanted her out of his sight, but when he realized she was still standing there, he shouted the more.

“Are you deaf?! GET THE HELL OUT!”

Terdoo retreated calmly and Jimi slammed the door after her. When he turned back to the TV screen, he found it had unfrozen and Marie was gone.

At this point, He was enraged and out of control. With one full force, he grabbed the television, wrenched it off the wall and hurled it to the ground.

He picked his car key. He had no destination. He only wanted to be away from everything that reminded him of Marie. He had been a fool to trust in a woman and have her fail him. His hands trembled as he grabbed the door handle and pulled the door open. He stopped when he saw Terdoo standing before him. His head immediately went down.

“I thought I told you to leave.”

“I was watching the report on Cyprus on CNN just as you were…”

Jimi couldn’t believe he was hearing the same Terdoo that had worked for him for almost three years speak articulate English. She had always conversed with Marie in pidjin.

“I can help you find your wife. Just…don’t send me away, please. I have a son who relies on me. Without this job he won’t go to school.”

Jimi’s anger made an immediate withdrawal from the exterior and into his insides, simmering in his heart in silence.

“Get out of my way,” he said as he walked past her. “And pack your things tonight.”

©Sally @moskedapages