Today’s Reader’s Corner was sent in by Olaniyi. Check out his blog here http://olaneeyiwrites.wordpress.com/
Oh, and here are the pictures from the Lagos Book Signing https://tlsplace.wordpress.com/2012/11/01/golden-sand-launch-all-the-pictures/
This is a life story with true events. The names of the individuals and places have been modified to keep the identities of the victims secret.
To “Sandra” this is for you.
It was a school day, Sandra loved school. She loved her teachers, She loved to have friends. The problem was, no one seems to understand her, she had too many mood swings, she hated hugs, didn’t like anyone’s arm slung over her shoulder.. Sandra was considered weird…..
She loved school, but sometimes it felt like school had no love for her. Most times it felt like nothing or no one loved her or could bring themselves to. She was 13 in SS1 [senior class], young but behaved like a mature woman, not the brightest of students, but she kept her grades up, gave correct replies to questions almost all the time.
She had lunch at the cafeteria alone, barely had any friends. Wore her sweater everyday till holes poked through, which aroused jests, insults, jabs from classmates. She laughed to jokes made at her expense, she smiled at the jabs, which only earned her being considered “weirdest of all”.
Rising Sun College is a very beautiful school, Located at Gbagada Estate Phase two. The school was painted green and yellow, well ventilated air-conditioned classrooms, trees, flowers, and a variety of greens filled the school compound.
There was a tent at the back of the school, right by the largest tree in the compound close to the cafeteria. It was a place where students could relax with a drink or gist with friends during the break periods.
Sandra wished her life was as beautiful as the trees, graceful as a Ballerina. She wished she was like that huge tree in her school, and take as many children as she could to her bosom, protecting them from the shadows that lurk in the dark.
At Four O’clock, Sandra would walk home with her little brother in hand, she loved him, he was a timid little boy, her very own egg, who had very little to say, even when spoken to. She loved him. Home was a short distance from school. She would get the keys to the apartment from their next door neighbour, cook dinner, bathe herself and her brother and wait for her mum or dad to be back from work. Mum would be back by 8-8:30pm, but dad, she was not sure, a scheduled life she lived.
“Good evening ma, how was work?” She welcomed her mum, who looked exhausted with dark circles under her eyes, her lips were tight and un-smiling bereft of colour, her once radiant skin was now dull, dark, tired, a pale reflection of her old self. Mum had been a full figured and very beautiful woman, with a bright smile, adored by her neighbours. Until “the bad” had come. Sandra squeezed her eyes shut to block out the images and the tears.
She gave mum a glass of lemonade and took mums bags to her room while mum relaxed on the couch. She prepared a bath, and served mums food. When her mum was done, they spoke for a while, herself her mum and her kid brother. They spoke, watched numerous dull programs on television till they were tired and slept off in each others arms. Sandra slept with her head on her mums left shoulder, her brother on her mums lap. In that position, they faded into sweet oblivion.
Sandra was running, running from a darkness, a darkness which blotted out the sunlight, and could cast dark shadows on man’s very soul. [Boom! BOOM!! BOOM!!!]. Sparks, the rubble of thunder, heavy, depressing… She flew awake.
BANG! BANG!! BANG!!!, someone was at the door. And she knew who. So did her mother. She woke Junior up, “Junior, go with your sister right now” “Sandra, make sure you lock yourself in my room, GO NOW!!” She spoke in a strained hushed tone. Sandra Ran-dragged her brother to her mums room, and bolted the door behind them.
“Woman #hic, open this door before I break it down, are you FOO-*hic*-LISH”. It was her dad, and he was drunk again. Mum replied “hold on, I’m coming”. She knew better than to delay, her husbands temper, was just a little short of a lunatic’s when he was drunk.
She got the door open, and “TWARK!!” The slap came in hard, and fast. Sandra heard her mum stumble around the living room settee. “Are you stupid? Are you mad? You left me banging that door for *hic* *hic* for *hic” in frustration over his loss of words he switched obscenities and torrents of blows and slaps as his medium of communication. Then something unimaginable happened, there was a faint, but firm *crack*, and silence ensued.
It was short lived, her dad Bellowed like a wounded beast “I WILL KILL YOU!!”. Apparently her mother had “manned-up” and dealt a faint but confident blow on her father. It took only one retort, a punch or a slap Sandra could not tell, her mother fell silent. The silence returned, this time thick enough it could be sliced by an knife. It was frightful, ominous.
There was a knock on the door. Her father was here, in front of her mums room, she could hear his heavy breaths from the other side of the door. “Sandra”… *saaandra”.. He whispered in a ghost-like manner, Sandra held her brother close to her chest, he was whimpering, confused, shaking, afraid. She tried to be strong 4 him, hugged him tight, told him everything will be fine.
The apartment went quiet again, a recourse she knew would be short lived, and then…. There was a loud crash, the door had been knocked clean off its hinges flat on the floor, her father on it stumbling to his feet, the lights fizzled out, adding to the already fever pitch crescendo of fear in Sandra and her brother. The PHCN really had an insane sense of humour, she could feel Juniors heart leap wildly, he was whimpering now, her heart picked up pace but compared to junior’s, it was calm.
He stumbled gradually to his feet, a dark shadow barely seen in the dark, the air reeked of filth, the arid aroma of vomit, and beer coupled with sweat. The “bad” had taken over daddy again, at least that was what mummy called it, “the bad” it goes away, daddy was a good man.
The shadow walked slowly towards them, hard laboured breaths, soiling the air with foul odours. “Sandra, you know better than to keep your father waiting”. The shadow was close to them now, eyes a crimson-red glimmer in contrast to the darkness which surrounded and pressed its presence on already heavy hearts. She shut her eyes close, kissed her brothers forehead, as the shadow made one last grunt, then fell on them.
I will not be-labour the over stressed topic of domestic abuse. If you are in such a relationship, please get help. There are many NGO’s right now focused on eradicating the menace of domestic violence. Get help, for your sake and the sake of your children, their mental as well as physical growth and well being. And if you know of any such relationships, be it with your friend, family, co-worker, get them help. God bless you. God bless women.
”Sandra” is alive and well today, her mother finally got help