dream_a_z.jpgMy friend Harry sat in the parlour watching Soccer. The English premiership has always been his Saturday ritual. I knew as usual his red and white team would disappoint him, they always do. He kept screaming swear words and banging his hands on the centre table.

“Foolish manager, this old man is bereft of ideas, he should resign”

“But I think it’s still an even game, considering its still goalless” I said, as I watched Harry throw an empty can of beer towards the television set.

“This should be an easy game; this French retard is just wasting these boys”

I knew Harry would go on and on, we’ve lived together for three years and I know exactly how he takes these games. He would blame the manager, the players, the officials and even the supporters for not encouraging the team enough.

I decided to cook myself some noodles. So I put on my apron and gloves. I always feel like a master chef when it comes to preparing noodles. Harry kept screaming, so I decided to block my ears with some music. I wore my headphones and let Fela flood my head. The high life beat synchronised with my cooking. The garlic, onions, pepper, curry made my noodles look like something you will see on cable television. I could still hear Harry’s voice. I decided to ignore him till I heard a loud thud. I rushed to the parlour

“What just happened?” I asked

“This is crap, what is wrong with this team, d***m”

I saw that he had flung the centre piece on the wall. Then I looked at the television screen. His red and white team were down by four goals.

“Come on man, take it easy. It’s just a game. Don’t get yourself too worked up”

But Harry wasn’t paying any attention

“See…muguoya pass, ewo, yes…yes oooooo, kai. This boy is a big fool”

I knew how to calm Harry down. His antidote wasn’t far away. So I went into the kitchen, opened a cabinet and brought some vegetables out. I knew that once the aroma got to the parlour, soccer time would officially be over. First, I had to chop the vegetables into little bits and then wrap them up. I picked up my knife and got hard at work. I abandoned my noodles, as beautiful as it looked; after all, what are friends for.

I was almost done when the knife cut into my flesh, I screamed so loud that you would have thought I was an opera singer warming up for a show. Harry rushed into the kitchen. Blood was all over the cabinet, I wasn’t far away from tears .

“Sh**t, looks serious man” Harry screamed.

“I’ve got eyes; please go get the first aid box”

Harry dashed off. In few seconds he was back with the box.

“Cut some cotton wool and get the bottle of spirit out”

“I have done that, o my see blood everywhere” Harry looked quite frightened

“Now clean it up for me”

“I can’t, I am very sorry”

“Why?” I asked. I was obviously puzzled

“It’s just the blood, just can’t stand it”

“This is crazy, I’m bleeding and you’re here talking about what you can stand and what you can’t”

“Sorry bro, let’s just go to a hospital or something”

“Okay, just picture that it’s Alicia and she’s on”

“That’s so different”

“You told me last week that you could even use your mouth”

“This is an injury, hers isn’t”

“It bleeds too; hers is a big wound man”

“Well I never thought of it that way, it’s an acceptable wound then, come let’s go to the clinic ”

So we went to the clinic. I got the wound stitched. We still had a lot of vegetables that day, till everywhere was cloudy and images were blurry. I forgot about the incident till last night. I was already approaching what scientists call paradox sleep, when I heard Harry’s phone ring. I figured he was already asleep, but the phone kept ringing till Harry eventually woke up.

“Alicia, how are you. It’s really late now…ok, but you’re on…ok, urgghhhh…yes, I can be there in twenty minutes…Please stay that way….That’s my girl..I’m coming”

I have always been fascinated at Marvel characters like The Flash, I love how fast he moves, but that night Harry was faster. In just seconds I heard his car come on, and then he was off into the night.

So much for wounds…..

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“Bend down”

“Bend down” he screams once again.

You will think I am a soldier being warned of an incoming bullet. You might picture me in a camouflage trouser, a sweaty ash top, with my face covered in dust and an assault rifle in my hands. The screaming has no emotions in it. It’s the kind a commander gives to his soldier, a king to his servants. But you see, I’m no soldier and I’m in no battle field, I am just a woman in her house in Lagos. The yelling is from the man of the house, I must obey, I have no choice. So I go on my knees. His clothes will be off a few seconds from now, he will slap and hit me hard, Like its a one night stand and I’m a stripper he picked up from a club. Mind you, I am no stripper, just a loving wife, and a mother to my son Tunde. I said it, it’s been approximately thirty seconds, he is done with me now. He pushes me so hard that I fall on the pile of books at a corner in the room.

“Are you done Wole?”

“Enough with the stupid questions” he says, as he meticulously inspects what lies between his legs

“I just want to know for sure”

“If I hear another word, you won’t like what I’d do to you”

The oga of the house means every word he says. He is my general, I am to obey without questions. I must be subservient at all times. Unless I want to see his wrath. How can a fragile woman like me fight with a Titan?

“I’m sorry” I say

I’m forever indebted to the word sorry, it has become my get away ticket. It takes me away from Wole’s fists, sometimes the ticket is not paid in full and I still get a slap.

I mentioned camouflage trousers earlier; I have worn them for a long time now, not as clothes, but on my skin. The scars. Some are dry like kernels, others are fresh like ogiri. It wasn’t always like this you see, ten years ago when I met Wole at a church conference in Oshodi, he was so different and sweet.

“Your blessings have arrived”

He screamed from the pulpit, with his jump up trousers and dusty shoes. We all chorused the hallelujah. Wole was our prayer leader, always with the wine coloured bible,always having encouraging words to say. He asked me to be his wife on a rainy evening. I remember he knelt in front of the pulpit with a ring in his hands.

“Be my wife Angela, I promise to love you as long as I breathe”

I was excited, I jumped and screamed, he knew the answer before I could even say a word .

Now as I sit in this big house with the swinging chandeliers, polished floor and leather cushions, I’m not sure I understand what love is.

“Do you love me?” I asked him sometime last year, he had just come back from ą camp meeting. Wole is one of the biggest pastors in the country; I’m proud of him, trust me I am. I wasn’t quite sure he heard me, so I asked again

“Wole do you still love me?”

“You have me, that’s what is important”

I knew his answer came with ribbons and knots, he had sealed the question. All of a sudden love was now Wole. So long as I have Wole I have love. His presence is supposed to make me happy, I’m meant to scream and bend my head for him to pat, like his members do. I signed off for love not for this. I loved everything he was in Oshodi, and will gladly trade Lekki to go back to the Oshodi version of Wole. The Wole that wore faded shirts and jump up trousers. His Lekki version is killing me, eating me up like Termites would eat wood.

Tomorrow is a Sunday. I will wear my hat with the golden embroidery, and the gown I bought from my trip to England last month, with the brown shoes that can feed a family in Makoko for one week. I will wear a smile for several hours, nod my head and raise my hands up when Wole drops another rhema. His members would be shell shocked if they got to learn just a bit of their spiritual father. A man that screams “Bend down” before sex and tears my undies if I refuse, a man that dipped my face into the hot Eba I served him because there was no periwinkle in the soup. They will call me a liar; these people will jump from third mainland bridge if Wole tells them to.

Three years back, when I was still pregnant, Wole came back from the office very late one night

“Where is my food” he asked

“My love, I have been weak all day, I tried to go into the kitchen but just couldn’t”

“So what do you want me to eat? You expect me to stay hungry because you’re pregnant?”

“No honey, there is some food in the freezer, all you have to do is heat it up”


Few minutes later I felt an all too familiar kind of pain, I screamed. I didn’t have to turn around to know that he was using his belt on me, fast and hard strokes on my butt

“Wole, the baby, please the baby, please”

Those were the exact words I muttered. I slept sideways that night, If you have been pregnant before then I’m sure you know how uncomfortable that is. My stomach was heavy and sore, my butt was bleeding. When I gave birth to Tunde, Wole climbed the pulpit on the day of his dedication, he spoke about love and urged his members to make our marriage their mirror. I smiled and nodded my head, I did not want him to give me another face therapy at home, I was still nursing my bruised gum from the last slap.

I hear and read things about feminists,that women should be equal to men. But I also believe that the terrain matters a lot, if I was a single lady on the street with a placard in my hands that would be different. From where I come from these things are seen as an abomination. Even certain women disagree “why woman wan follow man hold ten” is what they say.

Physically Wole is stronger, financially he is too. If I leave my home people will mock me, and what will happen to my son. Its easier to criticise from outside, believe me its different once you are directly involved. Today I got a first aid kit, better late than never. Reality is an unscrupulous fellow. But I believe in it, and it says I must stick with Wole. For better for worse


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Hi fam! Sorry for the long absence, was quite busy at the Port Harcourt World Book Capital Writers in Residence program. I’m here now, let’s get it rolling!


The lady says “you stink of cigarettes!”

The dude says “seems you’ve got cow dung in your bag, you stink!”

Ehm….. Not what I mean.

My number one turn off is body odour! That’s just a NO for me. There’s no excuse for smelling so bad as early as 8 am! That’s appalling!

Yes, that’s just nasty… but still not what I mean

I don’t mean the Ralph Lauren or Givenchy perfumes! That’s all superficial; it doesn’t go deeper than your skin. I’m referring to something deeper, and stronger. It’s the kind of smell that is perceived with the nose and then the eyes, legs, hands. The stink comes from your aura.

Every individual smells of something. Our five senses are interrelated in every way, I taste the soup with my tongue because my eyes have seen that it looks good, my nose has smelt it and it smells good, my ears have heard that there aren’t fights happening around; so I can pounce on the food.

Almost there now…….

Let’s shift the soup aside now. Will I be sounding ridiculous if I say happiness has its smell? The same for bitterness, malice, anger, depression, envy… they take control of your other senses anyway. You see the way an angry person behaves? Screaming, fighting, kicking things, breaking stuff……that’s just the five senses reacting to the smell.

Now if you say you don’t stink, then that means you stink of nothing! That’s really not good, it means you’re empty and you’re really not living life to its fullest. The stink just shows that you’re human.
When you stink of bad stuff, how do you think people around you feel? Here’s a practical example you can try out. Buy some garlic, get a friend to chew some, and let the friend stick with you for the rest of the day. Try to interact, you can reminisce on stuff…. By the end of the day you’ll get the scope.

Now we decide the perfume we wear, I decide mine. I’m a Calvin Klein dude, I’m sure you have your brand. You don’t feel the same way if you wear something else. You love your stuff and your stuff loves you, so you deliberately use it.


The same way you can decide your character stink for the day. You can choose to stink of love, kindness, happiness. You are the pilot of your stink. Believe me, when you smell good you attract the right things and people to you.


You can read about my experience at the residency here


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