BN Prose: Silence by Wole Talabi

Silence is how you respond when she tells you, her usually lilting voice that always reminds you of the seaside at dawn now trembling with pain, that her boyfriend is cheating on her. Silence. Because the truth in that moment is too ugly to put on display and because it’s not a complete truth. Yes, some part of you is glad that it is over, that you now have a chance to finally make her see just how much you want to be with her. And yet, for now, you are just friends – liars and friends, denying the spark that has existed between you since you first met, since your first kiss, since you first looked into each other’s eyes and got hopelessly lost, two years ago and two continents away. Eventually, you remember how much she said she loved him and how badly she must be hurting in this moment and because you love her, you finally gather enough sheaves of empathy to say “I’m so sorry, B” and mean it. She is racked by another wave of sobs and you respond with another awkward…


That is what follows after you tell her you love her, sitting in the brown wood and gunmetal embrace of the Oriental hotel lounge. Its Christmas and enthusiastic lights are blinking all around you like fireflies filtered through a rainbow. Your heart is beating wildly in your chest and the edges of your vision are becoming blurry. She is staring at your face intently – perhaps looking for some visual confirmation of what you just said or perhaps just because she cannot bear not to look at you in this moment. This moment you have chosen to cross a bridge you both knew existed but did not dare set foot upon for reasons none of you can or ever will be able to accurately articulate. But now, in this seemingly infinite moment, everything is changing, initiated, as was all creation, by four simple words. Something slithers slowly down your spine sending a sudden, subdued shiver surging through you. You wonder if she notices the onset of your tremulousness. The silence is starting to burn your ears. You want to say something, follow up your declaration of love with the perfect words to convince her of its validity but you can barely breathe. It feels like you have been inflated with liquid lightning. Then, just when you cannot endure it any more, she opens her mouth and finally breaks that horrible, excruciating…


There have been four months of it for your sanity’s sake.  Not because she said ‘No’. That would have been easy to deal with in comparison. But because she said ‘I don’t know’ which was probably the truth but as anyone who has ever lied to someone they love before knows, sometimes the truth hurts more than any lie ever could. After you told her you loved her, she said she loved you too and you felt a million shackles fall from your heart, cluttering to the floor in great big coils, clanging and clashing and making your soul sigh with relief. And then you asked her if she wanted to be with you and that was when she said ‘I don’t know’ and you died a little death. You’d asked for an explanation and you got one but it didn’t make sense to you because you loved her and she loved you and you both knew and so nothing else but your dream of love could have possibly made sense in that  moment. Not really. So you gave her three weeks to make up her mind; three weeks of hardly eating and barely breathing and constantly waiting for her to say yes. But when the time came and she still said she didn’t know, that she was dealing with her own personal issues and needed time to work her way through, you did what you thought you had to do. You let your love burn and turn into anger and because you couldn’t stand to see her with your soul still on fire, you cut her off, for your sanity’s sake. You built sturdy walls out of deleted numbers, tears, ignored emails, unreplied text messages, copious amounts of alcohol and avoided friends between the both of you. But it is the nature of walls to eventually fall and your wall has all come crumbling down now that she is standing in front of you, her hair wet and matted to her skin from the rain, her overexposed chest heaving rhythmically, her make-up running along the edges of her face in localized ochre rivulets. You say ‘hi’ and she says ‘I’ve missed you’ and then you take her in your arms and press her to your skin desperately, wondering how you ever shut her out and let her go, feverishly telling her so and once all your walls are rubble around your feet, there is an extended…


It has become comfortable. As she lies in your arms, her head snug in the crook between your neck and your shoulder. Silent and comfortable, you realize with the clarity of a sunrise that this is how you now spend most of your time together – holding each other in silence. The explanations have been made: she needed time to be sure it wasn’t a rebound; that she wouldn’t use you to work through a recently failed relationship, you couldn’t bear to be around her or hear her name without having her to hold and cherish and love in all the ways one human being could love another. The mechanics of the separation were  unfortunate but the time apart and the silence were needed. She is sure, you are whole. All is well. You realize now with an overwhelming, ineffable certainty that in that moment, under the vaguely eldritch fluorescent glow of the solitary light bulb in her apartment and a million more moments like it, you are both home, with nothing to say and everything to be.

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79 Comments on BN Prose: Silence by Wole Talabi
  • Teni November 19, 2013 at 9:29 am

    Silence… the feeling that you have read something beautiful,that words cannot describe. Welldone!

  • Teni November 19, 2013 at 9:30 am

    Silence… the feeling that you have read something beautiful,that words cannot describe. Kudos!

    • Bella November 19, 2013 at 12:03 pm

      I feel your response. Very nice article..

  • Mist November 19, 2013 at 9:34 am


  • Femi November 19, 2013 at 9:36 am

    LOVE IT – true example of when silence speaks volumes and the need to speak is overwhelmed and effectively countered by the simple knowledge of what is.

  • zeenie November 19, 2013 at 9:52 am

    beautifully written… there is always a reason for the SILENCE and whatever will be will be..

    • Oludara November 19, 2013 at 10:46 am

      This is a practical piece o..SILENCE …when words are not enough to convey those feelings..No matter what you say…Looks like silence tells it all..This is for real..The author is creative in his use of Imageries ..luv this..GRACIAS

    • Fifi November 19, 2013 at 10:57 am

      So stealing this line,relates to wot im going thru rite now in my love life,whateva will be will be

  • Nne Somebody November 19, 2013 at 10:01 am


  • Nomy November 19, 2013 at 10:08 am

    Wishful Silence, when you totally feel good about what you’ve just read and you wish it would become reality. Please visit

  • Meee November 19, 2013 at 10:13 am

    awwwwwwwww!! 🙂 🙂

  • Anon November 19, 2013 at 10:22 am

    This was such a beautifully written piece! Silence… Love it.

  • PP November 19, 2013 at 10:26 am

    silence.. my heart beats ……. thump thump thump….. darling u drew me into the beautiful world of your prose.. i miss love. Damn where is the man who is suppose to make me love silence and listen to his heartbeat where are u ??????

    • lila November 19, 2013 at 12:14 pm

      he is on his way..dont give shall soon write your own love story

  • Soum November 19, 2013 at 10:30 am

    This brought tears to my eyes….1 ZILLION likes

  • Abiola November 19, 2013 at 10:38 am

    hmmmmm…so sweet

  • Oludara November 19, 2013 at 10:45 am

    This is a practical piece o..SILENCE …when words are not enough to convey those feelings..No matter what you say…Looks like silence tells it all..This is for real..The author is creative in his use of Imageries ..luv this..GRACIAS

  • Hilda November 19, 2013 at 10:45 am

    I don’t do very well with poems

  • pops November 19, 2013 at 10:52 am

    Kudos to the writer. Waiting for comments to roll in..

  • lila November 19, 2013 at 11:00 am

    singing ***its sooo goood loving somebody and somebody loves you back***

  • Owgee November 19, 2013 at 11:05 am

    …Said the ex-friend-zone prefect. I enjoyed reading it!

  • rubies November 19, 2013 at 11:26 am

    Beautifully said! Silence sometimes does have more meaning than words ever can

  • nwanyi na aga aga November 19, 2013 at 11:36 am

    ” you are both home, with nothing to say and everything to be”…… my best line

    • K.Dot.K November 19, 2013 at 3:19 pm

      loooove that line the best too! sigh. Daddy be a soul mate provider!

      • Lizzie November 21, 2013 at 10:49 pm

        Amen boo… be sure to have the testimony session here on
        BN 🙂

  • Miz Addie November 19, 2013 at 11:43 am


  • C*Witty November 19, 2013 at 11:46 am

    WOW!!! interestingly and wonderfully written. i luv

  • neny chy November 19, 2013 at 11:52 am

    True happened to moment u found each other after being in wrong relationships and finally u came back togeda into each odas arms and SILENCE explains everything to u two for dat golden moment.

  • Keezy November 19, 2013 at 11:54 am

    Love love love this!

  • Mz Socially Awkward… November 19, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    I like. Very much, especially since I was half-expecting the first declaration of “Silence” (massive SPOILER alert if you’re one of those weirdos who read comments before reading the article 😀 ) to be followed by his justification for not feeling the same about her anymore

    “Perzonally”, I don’t think I’m wired for all that comfortable silences in relationships which people keep going on about. I like to natter, A LOT, especially if I feel really comfortable with the lad in question. He must be capable of listening to all my randomly voiced-out thoughts, et al and it’s fine if he wants to sit quietly while i chat. Das alright… although, i have to say nothing gets me hot and bothered like a man who has something intelligent to say when he does say it, so quietness does not mean you, the man, should be dense…

    And speaking of elements of attraction, BN, there’s been a trend with you lot these days publishing all these articles and Toke-generated Vlogs with a spotlight on when-friends-become-lovers. Maybe I should revisit my catalog of male friendships and see if there’s anything I’ve been overlooking all these years…

    • whocares November 19, 2013 at 1:46 pm

      loool. amen to the nattering. I not only natter but I can have a one sided conversation of the bizarre all by myself. it usually starts with “what if” and it progressively gets weirder, and random. nowadays my friends stand aside and don’t try to intrude in the conversation anymore.

    • Teris November 19, 2013 at 1:54 pm


    • Mariaah November 19, 2013 at 2:02 pm

      Plus includuing me MSA. I am not much of a talker but if we “together” I should say whatever I want to say sans hurtful words of course. Personally, I feel that is one essence of our relationship so SILENCE is not for me. Awesome piece nonetheless!

    • Hides face November 19, 2013 at 4:06 pm

      I was going to ask too about friends to lovers thingy for sometime now. BN wants to put me in wahala as I am beginning to look at my work bestie is a different light. *Hides face*

      • Mrs Dangote (nee Anonymous) November 19, 2013 at 4:32 pm

        Hmm…please proceed with caution if you must date someone
        from work. It would be nice if it blossomed into something bigger,
        but on the downside if it doesn’t work out things could be quite
        awkward. Dated someone from work a while back and while it was fun
        while it lasted, whenever we had a fight I found it extremely hard
        concentrating at work. To make things worse, we sat in the same
        space! We eventually parted ways but when he announced he was
        resigning i felt a part of me had gone. Think very hard before you
        start to look at your work bestie in a different light o!

    • Salt Fyfi November 20, 2013 at 2:27 pm

      Lol… 🙂 🙂

  • TA November 19, 2013 at 12:15 pm


  • Lovemyfriend November 19, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    SILENCE, when I wish my own love story with my best friend who I still love ended in such a nice way. SILENCE. When he told me ‘I love you too but I am not sure you are the one for me’ That is still resounding in my heart and I am at the stage where I have shut him out cos I cannot bear the pain of loving, hurting and losing a friend.

  • princess November 19, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    Wow! Beautiful!!! So articulate, I drifted into the writer’s scenario and came back after I was done reading! Didn’t want it to end!! I miss the ‘good’ silences I used to have in my life. *sigh*

  • Grown Woman November 19, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    wow this is what im goin through now lol my ex wants me back ASAP and im busy frontin lol

  • whocares November 19, 2013 at 1:49 pm

    oh my goodness! im going to read this again at home in the privacy of my bedroom. all these public eyes watching me as I devour these words are taking away the pleasure. “you are both home with nothing to say and everything to be”.. gods! those words. I am going to look for a man now, fall in love, and work that into our relationship vows.. what comes next I don’t care, so long as I got to say the words. lol

    • jcsgrl November 19, 2013 at 2:32 pm

      bwuahahahahaha…you will find him love. Someone to love, someone to share, to be loved to be loved oh what a feeling it is to be loved

      • whocares November 19, 2013 at 3:13 pm

        ahhh and people wonder why I love BN? its the people. thank you :). Your words brought Nat King Cole’s – Nature Boy to my mind. im going to listen to it now.

    • culturebedamned November 19, 2013 at 4:24 pm

      Lmao. You and me both luv

  • Meet9jasinglesHERE November 19, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    wholesome write up. Silence, at times it kills more than words.

  • Ready November 19, 2013 at 4:26 pm

    In the words of one great philosopher, “one should not read
    soul (insert a body part here) stirring articles when the beau is
    far away”. Distance is a bitch. *sigh*

    • hot mama November 19, 2013 at 8:50 pm

      lool…I feel you on ” distance is a bitch”…and also
      sighing with you too*sigh*..

  • CHIKA November 19, 2013 at 4:34 pm

    Awesome silence.

  • Flore Simo November 19, 2013 at 4:41 pm


  • Bobosteke & Lara Bian November 19, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    Please who changed @whocares avatar?

    • whocares November 19, 2013 at 5:17 pm

      OMG IT CHANGED!!!!!!!!!!I didn’t even notice it till it
      happened. YES. I hated that green (or was it lemon?) with a serious
      passion. ooh be still my heart, we have a new avatar 🙂

      • Salt Fyfi November 20, 2013 at 2:31 pm


  • Bobosteke & Lara Bian November 19, 2013 at 6:09 pm

    BN, since you are in a magnanimous mode.
    Pls can i have a new avatar, preferably a black one.

    • whocares November 20, 2013 at 10:51 am

      premature jubilation.. the avatar hasn’t changed. I think it only changes depending on the computer I use. I am in the library so whenever I change computer I think my avatar changes too.

    • Ready November 20, 2013 at 12:09 pm

      Ooohh!! I want a new avatar too. Mine is a dull color. It’s not red, it’s not pink…it’s sha there. I want one like the plush red curtain-y/sofa-y look of BN’s background. Or I shall cry discrimination. -_-

  • Bobosteke & Lara Bian November 19, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    Silence is when you ask him to help you buy sanitary towel from the supermarket across the road..

    • Dunni Obata November 19, 2013 at 6:25 pm

      i think i love you already. No homo. You are like the weird
      twin sister I absorbed in pregnancy (there is an actual medical
      term for that) who now found a way of reincarnating in someone
      else’s body. No homo. Oh, I have said that before.

    • Ada Nnewi November 21, 2013 at 3:52 pm


  • Bobosteke & Lara Bian November 19, 2013 at 8:04 pm

    No homo taken (winks!). Thanks.

  • hot mama November 19, 2013 at 8:52 pm

    Reaaallly lovely!!!

  • frances November 19, 2013 at 10:40 pm

    Heart thumping…
    Too beautiful…
    No words to express how I feel…
    Nice,lovely,beautiful writing…

  • ‘Vana November 20, 2013 at 3:26 pm


  • Endo November 20, 2013 at 4:36 pm

    Beautifully written. Really lovely

    Pls share your endometriosis stories

  • Cynthia November 20, 2013 at 6:23 pm

    That’s what something this beautiful deserves.
    The words are replayed in my mind even….Bravo!!!

  • DJ November 21, 2013 at 5:16 am

    An ex broke up with me. I was torn, angry and confused. I told a male friend of mine and he replied and said, ‘you dont expect me to be sad with you…’ He told me it was good news to him cos he actually liked me and the way had been paved for him to come in. How cute is that? I’m with him now.

  • Tweeny Tee November 21, 2013 at 11:35 am

    *Sigh* SILENCE…….. 🙂

  • jinkelele November 21, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    nice read

  • daiva November 21, 2013 at 10:01 pm

    lovely piece, interesting story of Love and friendship. Am just venturing into dat but av gotten my heart broken by d first, hope the next wud be way better Sha.good work

  • Isha November 21, 2013 at 10:03 pm

    Nice piece

  • Lizzie November 21, 2013 at 10:58 pm

    I like…. no, I love this.

  • Rhecks November 22, 2013 at 2:07 pm

    Great piece….indeed silence holds the answers to every question nagging in your heart…hmmm

  • fade November 24, 2013 at 11:17 am

    Beautiful, wish I would find that one to share the awesome silence with, soon.

  • k2 November 24, 2013 at 10:34 pm

    Beautifully written!!!

  • Moi November 25, 2013 at 1:01 pm

    I love love love love this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Words have no use
    when there’s clarity, no?

  • Dee November 27, 2013 at 2:06 am

    Silence… when ‘exquisite’ is not a good enough word to describe the prose

  • millionairess December 1, 2013 at 10:49 pm

    Biko I sooooo loveeeeeeee thisssssssss……….i miss being in love. Love pls find me

  • happychick December 2, 2013 at 4:59 pm

    wow! @msa I love to talk too mehn #naughtygrin#, buh after reading this heartfelt piece! dat got me at the edge of my sit and smiling sheepishly all thru I think am ready for a bit of Silence…yes I want to be silent one this time, am ready for the sitting at home wiv nothing to say buh everything to be experience, oh I so wanna love the right way wiv the right person this time ….love can be so dope when its right.

  • Alex December 21, 2013 at 1:15 am

    A moment of silence for our brother who broke down the
    walls off ‘friend zone’. Your achievement is an encouragement

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