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BN Prose: The Ceramic Tub By Atoke



Lying on the soft bed with the lights out did nothing to calm her down. The only source of illumination was the thin sheet of light streaming in from the corridor and if she could stuff something under the door to keep the darkness she wanted and needed around her she would. Her eyes were tired from crying. Talking was impossible as her voice was long gone from days of howling uncontrollably. Delirious from the medication, her lips parted intermittently to let out a sound that choked her over and over again. Her night gown, a shift that once belonged to her mother draped her body. Old, tattered and threadbare, it was reminiscent of her present state of mind. Her hands grasped the abominable rattle with silver bells on it. She twirled it round her hands muttering incomprehensible words as the bells jingled on. The sound of her deep breaths along the sound of the rattle were her only ties to sanity. Trying to make sense of it all since she had regained consciousness on the way to the hospital. It seemed like a lifetime ago since that Friday when their entire world had shifted.

She had hauled her tired self through the door that evening, stopping briefly by the kitchen door to say hello to her sister, and give her niece a kiss before she went to her room. She heard Mnena telling Sarah that “Aunty Mimi” was tired and wanted to be left alone. She smiled because she knew that the child would pay her mother no mind because immediately she got home the child was permanently plastered by her side.  She took off her clothes, ran a warmed bath and plunked her body lazily into the tub.  Her eyes were closed but she felt a presence in the bathroom. She must have been completely immersed in her thoughts because she hadn’t heard any footsteps but she knew who it was even before she heard bells from the rattle.

She ignored her niece for all of two minutes and when she opened her eyes Sarah had taken off her clothes and managed to even take off her pull-ups.  It was the funniest thing she had seen all day and her laughter rang out. She picked up the child and settled her inside the tub. She closed her eyes again and for another ten minutes they sat together enjoying the warmth of the water. It was pure bliss till she realized the warmth was replaced by the coolness from the evening breeze.

The minutes that followed now seemed blurry as she tried to recall them. One minute she was draining the bath and trying to get out and the next minute she was tripping over the rattle Sarah had been holding.  They had come crashing down and the last thing Mimi remembered before she blacked out was her trying to support Sarah’s head to prevent the impact with the ceramic tub.

As she held the toy in her hand she thought of the life Sarah would have had. She thought of her musical laughter. Thoughts of her babbles and warm hugs swarmed through Mimi. She thought of how Sarah would never see the little tricycle she had saved up her youth corper salary to buy for her third birthday. Her hands tightened on the rattle again as a cold wave passed over her. It was all her fault; her fault that Sarah was no longer here. It was her fault that her sister who had tried for four years before she had that little girl was now childless again. It was her fault. She rubbed her head absentmindedly. The headaches had not stopped since she got back home but she didn’t care. She deserved to be in pain. She didn’t deserve to live. She should have died with little Sarah.  She closed her eyes and let the darkness within her soul take her as she muttered the words over and over again

“I do not deserve to live”

 Photo credit:

You probably wanna read a fancy bio? But first things first! Atoke published a book titled, +234 - An Awkward Guide to Being Nigerian. It's available on Amazon. ;)  Also available at Roving Heights bookstore. Okay, let's go on to the bio: With a Masters degree in Creative Writing from Swansea University, Atoke hopes to be known as more than just a retired foodie and a FitFam adherent. She can be reached for speechwriting, copywriting, letter writing, script writing, ghost writing  and book reviews by email – [email protected]. She tweets with the handle @atoke_ | Check out her Instagram page @atoke_ and visit her website for more information.


  1. teebee

    August 21, 2012 at 9:59 am

    oh my goodness! a mother’s loss…deep wounds that will never heal

  2. nicky minaj

    August 21, 2012 at 10:00 am

    Wat a huge burden to carry about. So so sad

  3. Chattyzee

    August 21, 2012 at 10:02 am

    Atoke and BN na wa ooo. Haaaa, which kind saddening story be this naa? On a beautiful Tuesday morning? But really, well written post. Good job. I just don’t do sad. There’s too much sadness in the world already. Why add a little extra?

  4. Alberta Sagoe

    August 21, 2012 at 10:24 am

    Hmmmmm* creative

  5. bottom belle

    August 21, 2012 at 10:36 am

    ouch! such a piercing story…she would have to live with the guilt for a long time….. heard of a best man who was driving the newly wed couple in the back seat from the reception. They had an accident and he was the only one that survived….Every one accused him of being a murderer….

  6. Lucy

    August 21, 2012 at 11:10 am

    Hmmmn. This was almost my mother’s story o. Anytime she remembers, she is visibly shaken. She was with me in a bath, a new mum. She said I almost slipped from her hands, just as she was getting out. You know all this baby soaps, never rinse of completely. The baby’s skin still feels a little slippery. She said she didn’t know where the reflex came from and she gripped me tightly. So tightly, that I had a mini fracture in my arm. Better than falling and hitting my head on the ceramic. This may be a prose, but such accidents happen in real life. Mothers please, never take a baby or even a toddler into a bathtub, if you can help it, because you will never forgive yourself if such an accident happens. If all there is, in your home is a bathtub, please buy those baby bath you can fit into a bathtub. Not the cheap ones, that don’t grip o. You have many different versions now, that are safe. Even at that, when it is bath time, remove any objects, from the floor before you put a child in the bath. Always dry of the child, before you take him/her out. Never attempt to lift a wet child in a bath. My sister in law always has two towels handy. One to dry of my niece, and the other to carry her out of the bath with. Safety mummies, and aunties. Safety please

  7. Audrey

    August 21, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    These bathtubs eh? I know a young who has been confined to a wheel chair for life(paralysed waist down) because he slipped and fell in a bathtub. Dangers of modernity,eish.

  8. faith

    August 21, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    So sad…ceramic bath accidents r so common….

  9. brandigest

    August 21, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    The ugliness that envelop the world. Sad.

  10. agreement

    August 21, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    very creative

  11. debbie egwuogu

    August 21, 2012 at 5:06 pm


  12. Ron

    August 21, 2012 at 6:00 pm

    This is too sad. Too dark for me*shudder* Wish I listened to myself when I I initially thought not to read it. Ah well. Well written though.

  13. konnie

    August 21, 2012 at 6:53 pm


  14. lilly

    August 21, 2012 at 9:54 pm

    wow!!! so deep *sighs……well written!

  15. Cesc

    August 21, 2012 at 10:39 pm

    Such a sad story.. No one shud have to live with such guilt.. its too heavy….
    I once slipped and fell in a bath tub some years back and almost tore my butt hole… I had a deeep gash on my lower back just above my butt… Tub accidents are very real and can be fatal…

  16. lol

    August 22, 2012 at 5:07 am

    wonderfully dis is a prose,thoughtfully written and it gets to the soul!!

  17. Toyosi

    August 22, 2012 at 10:11 am

    Please may we have feel-good stories? They would be very much appreciated.

  18. princesszee

    August 22, 2012 at 10:12 am

    Such a sad story, terrible guilt to live with


    August 22, 2012 at 12:02 pm


  20. cathy

    August 22, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    what a big load to carry

  21. i stand, u stand

    August 22, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    Reminds me of a poem that starts thus: ” Lend me your hope, I seem to have lost mine”. Grieve my dear, but please don’t stay grieving. Your sister already lost one, she shouldn’t lose you too. Pick up your self, and God will give you strength.

  22. Olori

    August 23, 2012 at 9:40 am

    OMG! Such a sad story. May God heal every heart that carries such a grief.
    Welldone Atoke. I like your writing style.

  23. notaplayerhater

    August 24, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    we had a bad story like this once. a relative invited his mum to his house to watch his kids so he could travel with his wife for her mom’s funeral. His mom slipped and hit her head in the tub so they came back and met another funeral. 🙁

  24. Busayo

    September 16, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    Lesso learnt: never ever pick a child from a tub with bare hands. Always use a towel for grips. Sad story. Well written.

  25. Aramide

    September 20, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    sad sad sad and well written.

  26. MrsAmazing

    October 11, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    I love, sad, but lovely.

    I’d like to know though, how does one submit pieces to BN?

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