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BN Prose: Rita’s Curve by Nkem Awachie

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We were never friends. No, not really. She was a familiar face, with a name to go. I waved at her in the morning, on my way to lectures. When I returned, she would be cooking, in one of those sexy negligees she was known for. She liked to showcase her body; her dark, athletic body with the butt that stood up.

We were never really friends, but my roommate knew her well. She knew Rita was from a poor family that lived in Abia; that when she arrived in her first year, she had only a Ghana-must-go bag with tubers of yam and other local foodstuff, a few okirika clothes and a Bible. Her hair was cut low because she could not afford any other hairdo, her textbooks were borrowed, her handouts were photocopies, she had okpa for breakfast and soaked garri for dinner. Her family called her Uche.

Now, in her third year, her room was next to mine. She visited occasionally to gossip, or to borrow Maggi cubes or nail polish remover. Often, she would get into an argument with my roommate and I would be called to mediate. I didn’t want her around. Arguments tire me. But I understood that she needed my roommates. She was in the one-man room, for big girls, where you had your own space, your own bed. You could lock up and leave and be sure that your belongings wouldn’t be disturbed. But you could get lonely.

She would come to my room, my little room with four beds and eight girls, and if two of the girls weren’t in, she would fight for the free bed with the rest of us. On the rare days that the taps ran, I would yell at her, ‘Rita, I’m behind you!’ Then I would watch her fight her way into the cluster of girls waiting to fetch ‘free’ water. She would knock other girls aside with her gallons and buckets, tongue-lashing anyone who dared question her. When she finally settled, I would add my buckets to hers, then she would tongue lash anybody that dared question me.

But we were not friends. Not really. I knew nothing of her private life, except the things my roommate told me when there was no one else for her to gossip to. Like the fact that her Blackberry Torch was given to her by a man she did not really know, after she had spent a weekend with him in Port-Harcourt. That she bought her first Brazilian hair after some Ministers visited Enugu. That she stole her Baby Phat top while the boutique attendant was on the phone. That the Aldo shoes I had once admired were borrowed and she had successfully evaded the owner for five months. That she still had never bought a textbook.

I don’t think my roommate was really her friend either, or she wouldn’t have sold her out so easily, broadcasting her secrets to the rest of us. Probably adding a fabrication or two. I hadn’t even noticed Rita was getting heavier when my roommate said “She’s pregnant”. I looked at Rita, in her cherry red nightie, cooking and playing Lady Gaga’s ‘Paparazzi’ on her Blackberry. She didn’t look pregnant. I made a mental note to collect the song from her later.

“She thinks she’s a sharp girl. Let’s see what she’ll do now that she’s gotten pregnant. If she aborts it, everyone would know.”

“I wouldn’t know”. I said.

“Because you don’t know anything. Except what is in your book.”

As the weeks went by, even I noticed she was putting on weight. My roommate said, “She has finally admitted that she’s pregnant. She said the man is going to marry her but I haven’t seen a ring on her finger”.

A week later, there was a ring . My roommate said, ‘She bought it herself. The man isn’t coming.’

“Did she tell you that”?

“No, but anybody that knows anything would know”.

Her belly had curved outwards by the time the school year came to an end. On our return, we were reshuffled among the hostels. We were in different hostels.

The next time I saw her, her tummy had lost its bulge, her finger had lost its ring. I didn’t ask what happened, because she wasn’t my friend, and because anyone that knew anything would know.

83 Comments

  1. El Bee

    January 16, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    Oh noo 🙁 Abortion?

  2. tomisin

    January 16, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    kk, dis story sounds confusing and touching at d same tym…….

  3. sade

    January 16, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    That piece was nicely written,I really love it.

  4. shi

    January 16, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    beautiful write up!..:)

  5. cathy

    January 16, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    Awww!!! love this piece

  6. RR

    January 16, 2012 at 3:15 pm

    Is this piece encouraging abortion or wht?

    • Amy.L.N

      January 17, 2012 at 1:17 pm

      ^^^ Are you for real??

  7. fochi

    January 16, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    interesting story, wonderful author. Nkem keep it up !!!

  8. pp

    January 16, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    THIS IS A LESSON TO ALL

  9. nita

    January 16, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    yay… am first nice one

  10. knipheceemee

    January 16, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    Nicely written

  11. Umo

    January 16, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    Very well written piece….if she knew she was goina av an abortion,y ddn’t she do it earlier on, y did she av2wait dat long?…buh wat diff does it make anywayz?…..

  12. IVORY TYGERS

    January 16, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    Well,that’s a kind. Lots of twists and repetitive,”I don’t know her”. Really sounds snobbish on the writer’s part,really.What’s wrong with getting to know her really? ASUU strike just must have created some ingenuity. Kudos writer!!!!

    • Eniola

      January 18, 2012 at 9:43 am

      Well my dear, the repetitive words were not mistakes neither was the writer lost for other words to use in replacement. It is called ‘aliteration’, used on purpose in this style of writing (creative writing). Beautifully written

  13. OlannaBabyCakes

    January 16, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    interesting write-up

  14. ama

    January 16, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    I dont think she had an abortion….she may have had the child…but no marriage
    I think the writer was trying to talk about the many people we see around and hear stuff about but we never actualy get to know them personally….and these kind of people are all around us

    • Aibee

      January 18, 2012 at 2:53 pm

      I was wondering whether I was the only one who got the point of the story. all the abortion comments?! Haba people. Stop being so judgmental.

  15. Cutie Toxie

    January 16, 2012 at 5:43 pm

    I’m confused :s

  16. Dr Peperempe

    January 16, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    y is abortion the first thought? cant it have been a miscrriage? abortions are rarely performed after the 12th week depending on your country of residence, but then, anyone who knows anything would know that.:)

    • annie

      January 17, 2012 at 1:00 pm

      LIKE!

    • onyx

      January 17, 2012 at 2:12 pm

      Hahaha!!! Funny and true…

    • camo

      June 14, 2012 at 1:32 pm

      Thank you Dr peperempe. u made my day. I can hardly understand d ppl that come to read here.

  17. UcheAnne

    January 16, 2012 at 6:41 pm

    Nice work, Nkem. I like how everything isn’t spelled out.

  18. Iwalewa

    January 16, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    that’s how rumors start. No one bothered to ask what happened. Everyone just assumes she must have had an abortion. **Yes, I know it’s fiction.

    • Purpleicious Babe

      January 17, 2012 at 2:05 pm

      I was just about to say the same thing reading thru the comments…..

      The conclusion is left to our imagination.. it could have been anything…

  19. cherry

    January 16, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    i see u draw a lot of inspiration from Ibiamites. I enjoyed every bit of it more ink to ur pen!!

    • lizzie

      January 26, 2012 at 6:33 pm

      Sooooo true…..at the mention of free water i just knew it had to be Unec and ibiam hall to be precise……..lol, nice story though.

  20. Iwalewa

    January 16, 2012 at 7:04 pm

    any number of things could have happened such as she lost the pregnancy and the guy dumped her but cos they assume she’s a bad girl(based on rumours) they assume she had an abortion. Don’t arrive at conclusions without knowing all the facts or having being in the person’s shoes.

    • annie

      January 17, 2012 at 1:03 pm

      like!!!

  21. rita

    January 16, 2012 at 7:37 pm

    story though we share d same name bt d lesson learnt is stil kinda fussy nice one

  22. nnedi

    January 16, 2012 at 7:45 pm

    kemmy the great. kudos!!

  23. Gbeborun

    January 16, 2012 at 8:02 pm

    And the moral of the story is?? thousands of “Rita” are in every Uni in Nigeria and she wont be last,

  24. temmy

    January 16, 2012 at 8:08 pm

    Nice write up, but what If she didnt do an abortion? What if she miscarried?What if the man didnt want anything to do with her after that? There are so many what ifs…but still nice write up..

  25. ngozi nosike

    January 16, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    its good nkem. very good. i can say you are there

  26. pizzazz

    January 16, 2012 at 8:50 pm

    This is a typical university story. some girl that rises up to fame from nothing and leaves with nothing,not even a friend. typical. good one

  27. anayo

    January 16, 2012 at 9:27 pm

    nice work nkem. i like the setting. more more more…………….e gt

  28. baby dee

    January 16, 2012 at 9:38 pm

    Why is everyone thinking she aborted the baby? she could have delivered the baby while on holiday now. Her belly was well rounded and obvious before they went on holiday so she had to have been past 2nd trimester and close to having the baby.

  29. t

    January 16, 2012 at 9:56 pm

    COmments here show people really do not understand literary writings. PSCHEW!!! This peice isn’t a motivational/ moral talk whether it encourages abortion or nt isn’t the crux….
    Moving on, I totally enjoyed this writing and the style employed!

    • annie

      January 17, 2012 at 1:07 pm

      like!!! again…

  30. Ashani

    January 16, 2012 at 10:29 pm

    Hmnnn..? Not particularly impressed..

  31. Adenike

    January 16, 2012 at 10:40 pm

    I dont understand the prose.

  32. K-Wears

    January 17, 2012 at 12:32 am

    haba, why do you think that far? this girl they said in the story is from abia, of course she gave birth to the child and luckily left it with her mum in the villa and able to come back to school, one of the lucky few.

    lesson learnt the hard way

  33. Cinobabie

    January 17, 2012 at 12:51 am

    Hmmmm. Interesting as usual Nkem… I pity Rita… She has no friend. And she doesnt knw…:-)

  34. Temiloluwa

    January 17, 2012 at 12:56 am

    Erm, I’m really lost. Did she abort the pregnancy despite being being so far along or did she go home (village) over the 3.5 month summer vacation and have her baby there, leaving the baby back home too? Really confused :S

    Interesting piece.

    http://temiville.wordpress.com/

    • onyx

      January 17, 2012 at 2:17 pm

      Temi, I think it’s the second one… like someone else noted above, you can’t have an abortion past a certain stage, even quack doctors know that’s just asking for a man-slaughter conviction…

      The funny thing is, I used to know a lot of “Ritas” when I went to uni in Nigeria. They come and go, the cycle staying the same with varied endings.

  35. me

    January 17, 2012 at 12:56 am

    @pp, really? Just enjoy d darn thing and don’t rain on our parade.
    I love short stories because they usually have this open-ended (in)conclusion, and I can determine how it ends (in my mind)
    This is exactly the way a short story is supposed to be written, leaving you “panting” for more and wondering how it ended. Great writing! And I’ve done some reading in my life you know;)

  36. me

    January 17, 2012 at 1:00 am

    Btw, she didn’t say anything about an abortion o, she coulda had d baby, its for the writer to know, and for us to wonder 😀

  37. eloho

    January 17, 2012 at 1:57 am

    I love this piece! I didn’t want it to end! thumps up Nkem!

  38. cdot

    January 17, 2012 at 2:12 am

    Excellent! Very well written! It grabbed my attention and didn’t let go. And I looooove how open-ended the climax is

  39. rogotigi

    January 17, 2012 at 3:34 am

    Maybe she gave birth to the child….if the writer said her tummy was already bulgy, .
    there’s a high probability tws overdue for abortion! #justthinking :p
    Nice write-up though 😉

  40. Jlo

    January 17, 2012 at 8:03 am

    Its amazing how many people are clueless about this story. News flash!!! Abortion is not the only way to get rid of a baby!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hope that helps.

    Beautiful piece, I particularly love the way it ends “I didn’t ask what happened, because she wasn’t my friend, and because anyone that knew anything would know” how myopic we ca be as human beings!!!!!!!!

  41. Kiki

    January 17, 2012 at 9:18 am

    I like the suspense at the end of the story. Nice one…

  42. Omonigho

    January 17, 2012 at 10:32 am

    nice..I like the ending…good work…

  43. Ns

    January 17, 2012 at 10:51 am

    Amazing work, u are really talented.

  44. EYEBALLS

    January 17, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    I REALLY LOVE THE SEEMING INNOCENCE AND NAIVETY OF THE STORY TELLER AND THE FACT TAHT SHE TOLD THE STORY FROM BEGINNING TO END WITHOUT REVEALING HER NAME OR HER IDENTITY. AND I ALSO LOVE THE WAY THE STORY ENDS… IN SUSPENSE. MAKES EVERYONE DRAW THEIR OWN CONCLUSIONS AND I THINK THAT’S REALLY GOOD. GOOD, AMUSING STORY

  45. haddy

    January 17, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    Good writer…lovely piece 🙂

  46. annie

    January 17, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    Now, BN, if I decide I wanna say the exact same thing 20 times I believe that should be MY problem. Sort out that ‘duplicate’ notification. Thanx

  47. Purpleicious Babe

    January 17, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    My take: twisted story but really interesting.. i like the twisted part.. she was not her friend lol… I guess there are some pple in life we are not friends with but just know them and they know us…

    Conclusion: it could have been anything…………… but who cares??? lol..

  48. titolicious

    January 17, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    very niceeee

  49. mo

    January 17, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    the ignorance of youth…

  50. Moyo

    January 17, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    lovely piece

  51. Bola Modupe

    January 17, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    I really really really enjoyed reading this story, caught ♍γ̲̣̣̥ attention form the beginning n loved it to the end, esp the end it keeps M̶̲̥̅ε̲̣̣̣̥ wanting for more,
    I’ve heard of a similiar story too from a friend about a school mate, bt at d end the baby was born
    PS; dumb pips use your imagination!

  52. nita

    January 17, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    see u pple rushing to conclude on abortion what if it was a still birth, what if she wasnt pregnat and tot she could get the man to commit by faking pregnancy the possible scenario is wide , nice piece

  53. Chukwu-dee

    January 17, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    Nice write up Nkem.. keep flying, really proud of your writing powers! happens in Uni’s.. only the strong willed survive..

  54. Vanessa K

    January 17, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    Yezzir!!! Awesome piece!!! Runz in za family… #shamelessfamzing

  55. qhaycee

    January 17, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    @cherry.unec too.mariere hall.graduate of coscharis high school. Wonderful story,sad truth is dat much more intriguing things happen in our uni. 4gv my naivety,i think to tie ones’ tube is cheaper than abortion.

  56. signature

    January 17, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    hm! danger, rita no try o…love dis story…interestin from beginning to end! nicely written author!

  57. u-jay

    January 18, 2012 at 12:51 am

    great IBIAMITE,once i heard one-man room,eight in a room,tap running………..my mind raced back 2 those good/bitter old dayz.i miss IBIAM. there where many ritas back in skool,guess this wz the 1 you encountered……..anything could hv happened

  58. Bella

    January 18, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    see all the conflicting stories here, id say the writer definitely made a good piece and achieved the response required.. interesting thoughts and opinions. that is a good read and an equally good writer, well done! conclusions are for the individual reader, let your mind do wild!

  59. nenye

    January 18, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    see how humans are..she fights for your well being at her own risk,yet she’s not your friend and it didnt matter to you.TOOO BAD

  60. fatima

    January 18, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    it’s an intresting piece, and love the style of writing… d suspense @ d end lol…..

  61. Nomy

    January 18, 2012 at 6:09 pm

    Nkem, writing was made for people like you. Good write up. Story well told.

  62. sarah

    January 19, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    Luvly piece wit so many lessons learnt

  63. chuchusweets

    January 19, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    I really really like this. Well done 🙂

  64. Candor

    January 20, 2012 at 10:39 pm

    ABSU Thingy.
    Four beds: eight in a room!

    Nice write-up

  65. Melissa

    January 21, 2012 at 7:48 am

    Perfect Cliffhanger…. Love Love Love!

  66. Jinx

    January 23, 2012 at 10:01 am

    Simplicity and style, check. Portrayal of stark reality, check. Heavy dose of suspense leaving readers guessing, check and mate! Nkem we have a winner-now this is what i call a STORY!

  67. Pingback: BN Prose: Rita’s Curve by Nkem Awachie | Bella Naija « Scribbles

  68. Free Zumba Online

    January 26, 2012 at 5:29 am

    Wammy, am I ever happy I arrived to your website. Good details!

  69. Babe

    February 1, 2012 at 1:37 am

    To Nkem: bew sure to let us know when you write your book 🙂

  70. Babe

    February 1, 2012 at 1:37 am

    sorry!!! BE*

  71. Nonso

    August 17, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    This is real art. Good piece!

  72. Obuteaku

    January 16, 2018 at 7:06 pm

    Short and interesting.

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