You will not believe how incredibly hard it was to get these top 5 entries. But, Yes! We have them. A very huge big humongous thank you to all the judges, you guys were incredible.
Please ensure you read all 5 entries before voting for the one you think is best. May the best writer win. VOTING IS OPEN UNTIL FRIDAY APRIL 12 AND THE PRIZE PRESENTATION IS AT LITCAF, 1ST FLOOR, E-CENTER, ON SATURDAY APRIL 13TH FROM 4PM TO 5:30PM. The five finalists are below. Congrats, and for those who didn’t make the final cut, keep writing. That would be the most important thing this competition achieved, unearthing the writer in you. You guys were great!
1). AZEEZ FASHINA
2). FRANCA ACHIMUGU
3). OLANIYI AFOLABI
4). UNEN AMEJI
5). VIVIEN EZETENDU.
One of these guys will win the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 Read about Write Right here, in case you don’t know http://tlsplace.wordpress.com/2013/03/11/write-right/
READ THE ENTRIES BELOW AND THEN VOTE. REMEMBER, THE FINALIST WITH THE HIGHEST NUMBER OF VOTES WHEN VOTING CLOSES WINS. SO VOTE O!
AZEEZ FASHINA’S ENTRY
Toke slumped into the chaise lounge.
The ups and downs were beginning to get to her.
Initially it was about all the ish she and hawt pastor got from his church members en route their small coded wedding because of her pregnancy. Then it was the weight of the pregnancy starting to take its toll. But Oyin came to the rescue 2 months ago when she came up with the idea of this trip to Zanzibar for Easter. Biola had jumped at the idea of this much needed break. So Toke, Biola, Oyin and Femi Tosh made the trip the Thursday before Easter and Gloria flew in to join them from the UK with her new found half caste bobo (gist for another day ;)
Those five days at Zanzibar were bliss! Toke had never seen her husband so happy. He even got quite high one night when they downed several bottles of red wine while playing board games. Of course Toke had to excuse herself that night cause of her preggers state and left them chatting away like kids.
Oyin’s motto for the trip had been ‘get pregnant or die trying’ and get pregnant she did! Oyin had called her to lackadaisically inform her about this a few minutes ago while she was driving home. And just as she was about to start doing some mental flip-flops in response to the good news, she got another call which put her in her present depressed mood.
The call was from sister Boma. At least that’s what most people call her. Sister Boma is the next in line to her husband in church. She is one of those women whose dress sense is so 2013 yet she took church work so seriously thus leaving you with the impression that she’s getting good sex somewhere.
Toke answered the call and got a reply which was actually made up of about four sentences though it sounded like one. ‘Hello Toke. How are you doing? Please I need to discuss something with you urgently and your husband need not know about this please.’
Urgent and husband were the two words Toke needed so few minutes later she was sitting opposite sister Boma.
‘Your husband has been acting strangely lately and we fear it is beginning to affect his work here in church’. The serious look on sister Boma’s face was exactly like the blackberry smiley.
‘I sort of compiled the symptoms he’s exhibiting e.g. short attention span, blanking etc and looked it up on the internet and what I came up with is the reason why I invited you here today’. Ok, now, Toke was furious. Not with this woman for knowing so much about her husband but with herself for not noticing anything close to these in her hubby if they were truly there. She made a mental note of the former though. When all these clear, she will have to focus more on the relationship between her husband and this woman. Sister Boma must be checking him out to have noticed all these that she’s missed.
‘So everything might be pointing towards drug use’ she concluded and Toke’s heart did a cirque du soliel kind of back flip.
Sister Boma continued, ‘we in church find it hard to believe and we thought to discuss it with you in case you’ve noticed too’. ‘So, have you?’
It was either the shock or her inferred incompetence that drove Toke to speechlessness. ‘Thank you’ was all she could utter. Then she got up and left.
So here she was. In a trance on the chaise lounge till Biola arrived from work. Toke started monitoring him like a hunter studying a bushmeat. The signs were there! Not very obvious but there still. He was fidgeting! Then she asked him a question and after about 10seconds of staring into space, he looks up and says ‘uhn?’
Toke couldn’t sleep that night. And while she was keeping vigil, Biola suddenly got up from beside her and made for the toilet. A red light was flickering in her brain now. ‘Does he use at home??’ ‘Does he inject himself?’ ‘Where does he hide his stash?’
As she tiptoed towards the toilet door, she somehow suddenly noticed it. Biola’s phone wasn’t on the bedside table!! ‘So he was talking to someone in the loo’, she thought. She pressed her ear against the door and heard….
‘I’m the pastor of the church for goodness sake so we can’t let this get out’…..
‘I don’t subscribe to abortion either so please you will have to give birth to this child without anyone knowing that I am responsible’…
‘Yes I’m asking you to lie to your husband’. ‘Do we have a choice?’ ‘Remember my wife is…’
Enough heard! Toke slammed and opened the door like a robber and screamed, ‘do not cut that line!’ She was too late. Biola’s thumb was on the red button already.
‘Owkayyy! Man of God! You have impregnated another woman abi? I bet it’s someone in church abi? Church, church, church everyday. I should have known!’
‘It’s more complicated than you think my dear’. Let’s sit down and discuss this please’, Biola says.
‘Complicated my left bum! By the time I first find out who that bitch is, then me and my girls rain terror on her, and your name is all over every gossip blog, you will know how complicated this can be’. ‘Give me that phone!’
She snatched the phone out of his hand, hit the dial button twice, saw the caller ID that was dialing and let out a low chuckle.
That kind of chuckle that signifies confusion, rage and some more rage.
Rage because she knew this name. In fact, she talked with this person today.
More rage not just because her husband has impregnated this woman…..but because he most likely did it right under her nose…….
2 months ago………………. At Zanzibar!
‘Oyin has killed me’, she muttered…..and slumped.
FRANCA ACHIMUGU’S ENTRY
As I sat at the back seat of my car just outside the church waiting for the wedding procession to begin, I took a trip down memory lane through the journey that landed me here. From Oyin’s beautiful wedding that left me wishing, to Gloria’s departure two weeks after that left me in tears, to my fast friendship with loneliness, sadness and boredom that got even Adamu, my gateman concerned until I was rescued by that life changing call I winced as I remembered I didn’t want to answer the call because the number was unregistered. The call that paved way for our first date.
Shame on you, I told myself as I remembered how I couldn’t concentrate at the movies because of the fine stock beside me and his unfamiliar sense infiltrating perfume. How I couldn’t stop listening to him talk while at Michaels’…at dinner right after the movies where he wowed me with his wealth of knowledge. Table manners my Yoruba ass, we talked while eating and by the end of the evening I was jealous of his wife. As a good pastor, he still remembered to invite me for their Wednesday midweek service which was the next day, thank God I went. Thinking back now, I’m sure God appointed some angels to keep my feet glued to the church floor. I remained after the service and watched him consult briefly with some members that had milled to the front to greet him. When he was done, he saw me and beckoned me to follow him to his office. There, we talked at great length again and somehow we ended up talking about him and how he became a pastor in his church.
That was when he revealed to me that he had once been married. How she had come in his third year, how virtuous she had been in her contributions in the fellowship where he was president. He went on to tell me how he had married her after he had gotten a good job in Abuja and she had graduated from the university. How they had started a family almost immediately until that fateful Saturday when they were out to visit her sister. How he had been driving on the express lane and an impatient and careless ‘araba’ driver connecting the express lane from the service lane at top speed had hit them hard from behind. How she had flown right out the windscreen because she had taken off her seatbelt to reach for a bottle of water behind her and how he watched an oncoming Julius Berger truck run over her. Tears blurred my vision as I imagined yet again the pain of watching a loved one die.
He told me how he had quit his job and relocated to Lagos because everything reminded him of her. How he had gotten angry and stayed angry at God for six years until one evening when he was lazing at home, watching TV when a televised message, ‘the burden called anger’ by T.D. Jakes had saved him and helped him find his way back to God. How he had joined this church and was made the youth president because of his devotion. How not long after that, he answered the ultimate call and was ordained a part time pastor in his church and finally, how two years later, he gave up his job for full time service to God. After his story, I felt the need to console him but he assured me that he was now at peace with it all. Then I decided to tell him my story too and how I ended up with my now visible bump. He let me finish then told me he already knew, in sketches though. Turned out Femi had told him what happened when he came to propose to Oyin. At this point, too much had been said so I didn’t have the energy to be angry at Femi…that day, a bond was formed. Visit after visit confirmed this.
I chuckled within as I remembered a latter incident. I had gone in to see him one afternoon to complain about the funny way his secretary had been behaving towards me. He confirmed my suspicion when he told me how he had been summoned by the church committee on unethical behavior for having close relations with an unwed mother to be. He had answered by asking them if my sin was the pregnancy and if it was up to them to judge…that had settled the case. I was worried nonetheless but he assured me he was with me to stay. There, he professed his love to me for the first of the many times that followed.
Other challenges have come but together we have weathered them all. He’s been there, with me and for me through my ante natal and birthing classes, baby shopping and much more. And when I feel I can’t love him any more than I already do, he shows me more ways and gives me new reasons. My hawt pastor showed me that there is more to intimacy than a tumble in the sheets. A knock on my window brought me back to the present. It was my bridesmaids- Gloria and Oyin, all dressed up and ready to usher me in. Oyin had returned from her 3 months honeymoon/world tour glowing and pregnant…married life totally agreed with her. Gloria had relocated back to Nigeria, she believes in love again because of my story.
As we marched in, my girls did not hesitate to tease me about every man I had thought was ‘the one’. I couldn’t blame them. As I approached the altar, nothing, not my pink wedding dress, not my now shapeless form, not the prying eyes of the church members that showed up despite all to honor their pastor, not my mother’s loud scream of ‘praise the lord’, nothing mattered. All I could see was the face of my beautiful husband, with that ‘one million watt you require a license to carry smile’ plastered on his face. I said a prayer of thanks towards heaven for delivering to me a husband and a father all wrapped in one with a ribbon on it. I couldn’t wait to be Mrs. hawt pastor Biola Akintola. I wasn’t lucky, I was blessed.
OLANIYI AFOLABI’S ENTRY
The Murtala Muhammed airport was filled with people, heat, sweat, anger at delayed flights, joyful reunions etc rent the air. He hurried out of the halls. When out, he breathed in, hard and deep and reveled in the beauty and purity that was the morning.
Pastor Biola arrived in Nigeria 5:45am, the first thought that crossed his mind was Toke.
He seriously had missed her as he had to leave for a retreat in the UK for two weeks. It was great meeting ministers from all over the world, and to hear the famed “hillsongs” in person was just out of this world. But nothing beats listening to Toke rattling away. He had the night all planned out for them both. He confirmed his reservations for the night as he absent mindedly fiddled with a little black box with his thumb and index fingers.
Toke was up for her morning devotion, a habit Biola had helped cultivate. Immediately she was done, a call from Biola came in, she hurriedly picked call “you are back!!”, he laughed heartily, his voice smooth like slow moving water “yes I am dear, as promised, hope you didn’t forget, dinner tonight. I would pick you up by 7pm o”
They spoke for a bit more, with the usual “I missed yous”.
Conversation done, she went to her wardrobe to decide what to wear.
The dinner and desert was superb, at a fancy Chinese restaurant on the Island Toke could not pronounce. Seemed Biola would not run out of jokes, he had cracked her up all through the night. She excused herself briefly to freshen up in the ladies. Biola stood up as she left her seat, this never ceased to amaze Toke “Mr. gentlemen” she playfully whispered before gliding to the ladies room. They both did not take cognizance of the grey suited individual who headed to the utilities right behind her.
Biola had been nervous through the night, he had kept reaching for the little box in his breast pocket, “I hope she didn’t notice sha” he mumbled with a smile. He checked his watch. “What’s keeping her?”
Someone walked into the ladies, Toke paid the door’s creaking no mind. Not until she heard his voice, like it was some surreal occurrence, Toke slowly looked towards him, as he glared at her with un-hidden ill intent. “I see you are already with someone else, I always believed you were a whore tho, this only confirms it” he said coolly while he washed his hands.
She looked at Lumi like a phantom from one of her nightmares, she tried to comprehend the fear which pricked her, but like a rabbit has uncontrolled fear at the sight of a predator, the hairs on her neck stood straight. Maybe it was because Lumi exuded sheer malice from the very pores of his skin.
Toke gathered herself, “What do you want?” Her shaky voice gave her away. Lumi just smiled a senile smile. He looked a bit disheveled, rough beards, and his eyes were glazed. He looked dangerous. Toke kept looking for a way out. But she didn’t expect the next thing he did.
Biola was becoming restless; Toke had been gone for more than 8minutes. He turned his options over in his mind, and he finally decided.
She asked again “what do you want Lumi” she looked at the door in hopes that someone would walk in right now. As she looked back towards Lumi his hands were already closing on her face, her reflexes were slow, and thus had no time to evade the assault, she hit the stall behind her, fell to the ground.
Lumi stood over her speaking obscenities, she was dazed, but in it all she heard “I love you, I won’t let you go”, he began clawing at her clothes, trying to kiss her at the same time.
In her dazed state, Toke saw a foot connect with Lumi’s shoulder, she was certain she heard something crack, he “oofed” fell back in pain. Hands helped her up, and she saw it was Biola, relief washed over her, as she melted into his arms. Biola glared at Lumi, and without a word led her out, leaving Lumi behind, screaming curses and making professions of love at the same time, she was sure she heard him crying.
Oyin was tapping her foot viciously as Toke recounted the events of the night to her. Biola was in the kitchen rustling up something for the surprise guests. An obviously tired Femi sad beside her dozing off and on working on his Ipad. She had rushed to Toke’s apartment, husby in hand when Toke had called her. She seethed when Toke was done, “haba! That guy should be arrested, in fact he must be charged to court, what rubbish”, as she was saying this Biola walked in calming her down. “Oyin, remember it’s his child. I would not want a media frenzy made of this, and thus drawing attention to Toke. This being said, there is something very important I have not been chanced to do”
With that Biola went on one knee, Oyin squealed jolting Femi from his half-sleep state. “Toke will you do me the honour of being my wife?” He brought out the black box he had been fiddling with all day.
“Biola, you know I’m pregnant with another man’s child?”
“You know many will give you grief for this?”
“Yes, he whom is without sin, cast the 1st stone”
“Are you sure this is what you want?”
“It will be an honor to be your wife” she beamed
Oyin snatched Femi’s Ipad, took pictures, as Biola inserted the ring. The mood had gone full swing from sour, to celebratory. Oyin sent the pictures to Gloria who was still in the U.k. Gloria called almost immediately, showering prayers on them. It really was a good end, to a pretty nasty day
UNEN AMEJI’S ENTRY
It has been 3 months since mine truly became Mrs Tosh (that babe like that name die sha) and still touring the Islands in the name of Honeymoon. Gloria relocated to the UK making good on her threat of not coming back anytime soon and adopting an “Oyinbo” pikin. All attempts to get the duo back did not work. Even when I “cried” the last time we skyped; they saw through the fake tears and we all laughed silly. Sitting down to a bowl of ice cream to watch the latest episode of Single Ladies I had downloaded earlier in the office, I re-played the conversation in my head.
“So when you dey come back na? Till this Lumi turned Biola’s baby drop like is hot ba?” I joked to which we all laughed.
“You still get mouth dey talk” it was Gloria.
“When you hear say Belle reach mouth? Abegi” I replied in another round of laughed.
“No coming back till this exotic and erotic honeymoon wey Femi subject me to produce baby Tosh o!” it was Oyin wearing cashmere that had Femi’s gift written over it. She looked lovely and glowed.
“You sure say na Femi subject you abi na you hold remote” I teased. Knowing Oyin and her promises on what her would be husband will face in the bedroom, we sure knew who was subjecting who.
“You unkor” Gloria defended in a laugh.
“Go away two of you. Femi just texted me. He on his way from a meet and greet…all this oyinbo tins. Miss you loads! Pings update. Bye’
“Mwah” and they were gone. Somehow Gloria didn’t like the spotlight. Considering the adoption and being a single mom, she said very little. I made a mental note to grill her on our next chat. I chuckled silently to myself as I remembered Oyin’s mother giving out dusty old dance steps from the 30’s and was about playing the clip when my doorbell rang.
About time too…
Biola alias Hawt Pastor was supposed to be here an hour ago to spend the night, keep me company and feed me. Yes, I said it. Feed me! You should try feeding your babe too all this macho men….lol.
“So what kept you so long?” I said the same time I opened the door to Lumi standing self-assuredly with a look that obviously has an adjective that was far from me at the time. On reflex I slammed the door on his face and had my heart beating so fast, I was shaking. Moving from the door, I picked my phone and dialled Biola’s number. These months, I have come to rely on him so much it scares me how much grieve it will cost me to lose him. I was in love and was careful to admit it to him. But he was so outspoken about his feelings and plans that I couldn’t help but fall more deeply for him. And then there was the pastor’s wife status I wasn’t sure of. Till Biola, I only murmured “thank you Jesus” when I woke up. Now prayer don change. More on my new praying style later. For now Lumi was standing behind that door and I needed him gone.
What could he possibly want now? We were done with. I wish my girls were here. As usual, network congestion on first dial. I tried it again.
“Toke” it was Lumi. I didn’t make a move. Tried Biola’s number again. “Busy”.
“What do you want?” I asked through the door. Holding the phone to my ear and unconsciously rubbing my bump. He kicked.
“I want to talk to you. Please open the door” he said in his cute sweet voice I fell in love with.
“Well, I do not Lumi. Just go away” I said as finally Biola voice came through.
“Sweetness, Kiss in 5minutes’’ he said jokingly.
“Lumi is here” I replied. Somehow, the pregnant me wasn’t as fired up as the one that told Lumi to go burn in hell. Biola was aware of who Lumi was.
“I will be there shortly” and he was gone. I quickly updated my girls on the story so far. Undelivered pings. Gosh!!!
Few minutes later, a knock to which I didn’t reply to. Then my phone rang, it was Biola.
“I am at your door”
Rushing to open the door, I almost fell under the weight of Biola’s unconscious body as Lumi entered the apartment and closed the door behind him.
“What have you done?” I asked panicking and kneeling beside Biola’s body. Was he breathing? He seems so. But he was totally out.
“What did you do to him”? I asked again holding him and shaking him for a response. My eyes watered.
“Please God, Let nothing be wrong with him” I silently prayed.
“I miss you. You didn’t give a chance with you. For the love we shared and our baby. I want you Toke. I need you now” Lumi finally said after my futile attempt at reviving Biola. Kneeling down to my face level, he gently took my chin to have me look at him.
“Get your filthy hands off me” I screamed with tears running down my cheeks.
“I need to get him to the hospital” I said under my breath. Struggling to get up, He pushed me down.
“You swine” I said as a blob of fresh spit landed on his face. I shouldn’t have. He turned violent.
Jerking me up, he roughly pushed me to my favourite pink couc……where we almost always had sex….an irony I thought.
“What do you want?” I shouted
He looked fearful. Biola was still out cold.
“Will he be okay?” worried that I might be losing Biola.
“He will be, but you won’t be” it was a voice so familiar. In my fear and worry, I didn’t realize that there was another occupant in the room.
“Hello Toke, Payback time”
It was Ossy.
VIVIEN EZETENDU’S ENTRY
I woke up with a start. My phone was ringing and it was Biola’s ringtone. I groped for my phone with a sinking feeling as I remembered it was Sunday.
‘Toke mi’, he said. His voice was painfully cheerful for this ungodly hour and I knew it was his way of trying to hype me up to face service today.
It was becoming normal for me to wake up feeling this way on Sunday mornings since I started worshipping at Life’s Rock Ministries where Biola was the head pastor. The animosity from several church members and elders was so thick you needed an axe to hack through it.
The single ladies who had had eyes for Biola would look daggers at me while hiding behind false saccharine smiles. Some of the elders held me in quiet disdain. All because of my two mortal crimes; Firstly, I was pregnant and unmarried, thus tainted in their self-righteous eyes. Secondly, I was engaged to their Head Pastor.
‘Hey!’ I said weakly. ‘Good morning’
This only made Biola chuckle. ‘This is your Sunday morning wake up call. Looking forward to seeing your beautiful self in church.’
‘Me too’ I replied. He blew me a kiss and ended the call. Then I got up and headed for the bathroom.
Service had ended and I was standing by the entrance, waiting to corner Oyin whom I had sighted during service. She was positively glowing these days. Femi was trying as hard as she was to make up for the lost years, and typically, she couldn’t resist showing off. The little braggart, I thought with a smile.
Soon, she swayed up to me in one of those outrageous shoes she was so stuck on. She caught my eye and grinned impishly. ‘No dey eye my shoe, abeg’.
I laughed as we exchanged a quick hug. ‘You know I always look harmlessly’ I shot back. ‘I no be Gloria. I don’t covet my friend’s shoes.’ ‘Shey?’ she said, drawing it out. We both laughed and I exchanged a quick hello with Femi as we walked towards the car park. These were two of the few friendly faces around here and I couldn’t let them go just yet.
We stood there chatting for a while and then my phone pinged. I checked and saw a chat from Biola. ‘Please come to my office now.’ I frowned. The tone was quite unusual for Biola. Oyin saw my frown and asked what the matter was. I jokingly told her that it was summons from Biola. She laughed and winked conspiratorially. Then she ushered Femi off and I waved as they drove away.
I soon found my way to Biola’s office and my unease heightened as soon as I saw his face. ‘B, what’s the matter?’ I asked in alarm. He sat staring at me for endless seconds and I grew more anxious with every passing moment.
‘Aunt Funlola just called me.’ He sounded lost. Aunty Funlola is Biola’s aunt – his father’s sister who lives in the UK. Gloria had needed some help settling in after she got to the UK and I could vaguely recall that Biola had asked her to help Gloria out.
‘Aunty Funlola?’ I repeated. ‘Is she fine? Is there a problem?’
‘She said some things about you and your Aunt Mo’. ‘My Aunt Mo?’ I echoed again. ‘Me?’ I was getting a bit bewildered and was suddenly sure that this was going to be bad news.
Biola had tears in his eyes as he began to speak. I listened muted and in shock. I didn’t realise I had sat down. I also didn’t realise when I started crying. When he was done, we both had tears rolling down our cheeks. We sat there looking at each other and suddenly feeling like strangers or worse.
‘I think I need some time to…’ I couldn’t go on. I just had to get out of his office. The only thing I could think of was getting home. I couldn’t face my aunt just yet. Selfishly, I wanted some time and hoped by some miracle that this wasn’t true. I couldn’t yet face a confirmation from Aunt Mo so going to her was out of the question.
I drove off in a daze, struggling not to fall completely apart. Soon I was home and Oyin was standing at my door with Femi. As soon as I saw her face, I knew that she knew. She was on the phone with Gloria even as I got there and opened the door. ‘Glo, let me call you back. Toke is here now.’ She listened for a few seconds and then offered the phone to me. ‘Gloria wants to speak with you’. I took the phone and held it to my ear but I couldn’t speak. I could barely make out what Gloria was saying. It was too much effort and I gave the phone back to Oyin. She immediately put the phone away and hugged me.
Then I fell apart.
Biola is my cousin. Aunty Funlola had only to see my picture with Gloria to realise it was me. ‘Ah ah! Is this not Toke?’ she had asked as she peered at the pictures. ‘She looks so much like her mother!’Funlola had gone on to explain to Gloria’s growing horror that she had been fast friends with Stella when they were studying in the UK and that Stella had been in love with Dele, her first cousin.
The relationship had ended acrimoniously but Stella was already pregnant. She had died having me, and her sister, Morenike had brought me back to Nigeria since Dele wouldn’t acknowledge or raise me. It had been hush-hush at the time and everyone thought it was better to forget.
‘I have to ask…’ began Oyin. ‘Have you and Biola…’ she couldn’t finish the question and I couldn’t answer. Both Femi and Oyin watched helplessly as I got up wordlessly, went into my room and shut the door.
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