Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Starting Over (Rattle My Window 1)

Another year, another resolution eh? Well, I hope (fingers crossed) to keep this one going. I have been inspired by people like Kola Tubosun, Jumoke Verissimo, Tolu Ogunlesi, Lookman Sanusi, Lola Soneyin etc to wake up and start again, even if it seems like its impossible. (And it does!)
However, I'm doing it again. First, I'm uploading some old posts just to keep things going, then I'll start putting up new ones, so here goes; one of my favourite stories.

This story called 'Rattle My Window' was the very first story I got published in a newspaper in Nigeria and it is so dear to my heart. So I share a few paragraghs of it with you, if una like am very much, send me a few quid so I can get published!!!!

Joko stood in the room, standing close to the window and quietly whispered 'Denrele, rattle my window' She listened quietly for a minute, then she whispered it again, 'Rattle my window, you promised'. After minutes of silence, she said it aloud, and then shouted it, as she got more and more frustrated.

It had been said that the longer, time went by, the easier things would become but Joko knew it was all a big lie and as the realization hit anew, she fell down on the floor and started weeping. Denrele and Joko were returning from Iya Agba, Denrele's mother's place where they had gone to bury Baba Agba, Denrele's father. It had been a splendid occasion and according to the Yoruba custom, Denrele's father had been buried well. Yet on their way home after the festivities, it was obvious that Joko was visibly disturbed with Iya Agba's ranting about Baba not dying but being with her in the house.

She had gone on and on about it in front of everyone and Joko had had to take her to her bedroom, away from sight. 'Rele, I really think we should get someone to stay with Mama in the house, staying alone will only encourage morbid thoughts, she's insisting that Baba is still in the house and I know that she's just wishing things. People were starting to look worriedly around the house, you know.'
'But she speaks with such conviction you know, I actually found myself looking out to catch a glimpse of him.' 'You see, you're already getting affected just like everyone else, I actually heard aunt Titi say she thought she saw Baba walk past in the dinning room, but of course, she saw nothing' 'When people live together for as long as they have and there has been companionship and love, they get tight like this.' Rele gestured, clasping his hands together tightly 'I guess so tight they don't ever want to let go.'

Joko shivered involuntarily and stared straight ahead. Rele turned to her suddenly with a bright gleam in his eyes 'You know, if I die, and that is after I'm old, crooked and gray, I'd like to come back and haunt you.' He raised his arms like that of a spooky ghost and lunged for her. Joko squealed in mock horror and smacked his hands 'be careful! I'm driving and don't be silly, you're not dying on me.' 'I said when I'm old, crooked and gray.' 'Well I still want you around, I'd like it if we died together, you know something like in our sleep…I couldn't bear to be left alone.' Her eyes moistened. 'Now, now, don't go all weepy on me but if we didn't' and Rele smiled, 'I'd come back and rattle your window every night to tell you, I'm still around a-n-d chase whoever would want to have lustful designs on you.' He couldn't stop himself stop this point and he bursted out laughing. 'Jealous, jealous. But enough of this dying nonsense. You're not dying on me and that's final.' Her shoulders were set in determination. 'Yes mam!' Rele laughed as Joko stopped the car in front of their house and got out and ran inside.

Theirs was a life of bliss, having just gotten married almost a year before. They had dated for a year before tying the knot. Rele was a dedicated man who loved life and lived it. They were the perfect couple and people loved to watch them as they teased and laughed with each other. Joko on the other hand took life more seriously and she was more level headed, but Rele brought out the joker in her and she willingly threw herself into some of his new fangled, hare brained projects. He did these things with passion and Joko loved him for it. They were so much in love and life had gone surprisingly well for them. They had minimal tiffs and lived in good-natured companionship.

A week to their wedding anniversary, a wedding which had been unconventional as they couldn't wait to get married . They had quietly gone to the registry with a few friends on a week day and done the deed. Naturally, their parents were upset that they hadn't been party to the beautiful couple's day, so they had planned to have an elaborate party for their anniversary to make up for it. Joko had just returned from the market where she had gone to do some shopping for the party. She had put the chicken in the freezer and was about packing the pepper into containers when her neighbour came into her house, looking tattered, her head tie was askew and she wore different slippers on her feet and she asked Joko to come home with her. 'Maybe she has fought with her husband again, this woman! When will she learn to live in peace?' Joko grumbled within herself as she reluctantly left the kitchen and followed her neighbour out.

Her neighbour had been known to have such fights with her husband before, where on several occasions Joko and Rele had had to intervene. Their relationship could be termed crazy because they fought like cats but they refused to leave each other It seemed another fight had ensued. They got to the house and Joko noticed several shoes outside the door 'hum, there's even a crowd here already, then I'm not needed.' She was about to voice her thoughts out when the woman's husband opened the door. His eyes were red-rimmed and he ushered them into the house.

For the rest of this story, you'll have to wait for my book of short stories- The Melon Mile which comes out later this year-sorry!

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