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BN Prose: Catching a Break by Georgette Monnou

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‘Chi Chi is there a problem?’
‘No mama,’ Chinyere replied.
‘You seem sad?’ her mother insisted.
‘Mama…Emeka and I just broke up.’ Chinyere confessed.
‘What happened?’ her mother said calmly.
‘Mama, it just did not work out. It’s just…’
She was cut off by her mother who said what she always says, ‘You know, you are not getting any younger?’
She just looked at her mother, her heart pounding; her eyes wanting to tear up, but they relented, and a blank expression was put in its place. She decided to stay silent because she knew that more was coming.

‘When I was your age, I was already pregnant with my first child, you. How is it that your younger sister Dumebi is married and you are still trying to find the one? The one does not exist my dear; he only lives in your dreams. You need to focus on managing…’

At this point she could not hold it in any longer.

‘Mama, I have heard you. I have heard you! I am not living in a fantasy world where my perfect man exists, but neither am I going to settle for less. I am simply looking for a decent man who has his head on his shoulders.’

‘Yes, but so far that man has not found you. Didn’t you tell me that Emeka was that man?’

She did not want to tell her mother that she lied; she only said that Emeka was ‘great’ because she thought that she could manage him and it stopped her mother from having this conversation with her.

‘Emeka was great mama, just not great for me.’

She lied again. She didn’t feel comfortable telling her now. This was the same conversation her mother had with her every time she said she was single. She was just twenty-six, she wasn’t thirty –yet, she didn’t deserve this.

‘You see your high standards are unattainable. Don’t you know that all your Aunties and Uncles are asking questions? Some have even gone as far as to ask if you were gay.’

A shiver ran down her spine, on Chinyere’s face was a mix of emotions: anger, pain, frustration. Her hands clenched, she was hurt.

‘What!’ Chinyere exclaimed.
‘Yes,’ her mother continued.
‘Luckily, they respected themselves and begged forgiveness from me. I mean who says that!’
‘Exactly!’ Chinyere agreed. She breathed a sigh of relief, at least for that second, her mother and her were on the same side.
‘But Chinyere…’ Her mother started. She paused for a moment, obviously for dramatic effect.
‘Are you…’
‘Am I what?’ Chinyere asked annoyed.
‘Gay…’
‘Mama, what is that supposed to mean. So because I don’t have a steady man in my life I am gay. I said man mama, not woman!’
‘I am your mother; I have to ask these questions.’
‘I am not gay, mother.’
‘No need to be rude Chinyere, I might be your friend, but I am still your mother.’

Chinyere fell silent. So this is what her life had come to. Her family had to ask her whether she was gay. At that moment, she wished she was a man, a man that didn’t have to deal with all this. Was it so hard, was it so hard for people to just stay out of her life.

‘So what happened with Emeka?’
‘Mama, nothing, don’t worry. I will get married by God’s grace; I will give you grandchildren. But mama I am a woman, and I am more than a future wife. I am brilliant, I am great at what I do, and I patiently wait for my future husband. But until then, I am me.’

Her mother was lost for words, not exactly sure what to say after that. So she ended the conversation the same way she always did.

‘Okay Chi Chi, if you say so.’

***
‘Emeka, what is wrong with you, let go of me!’ Chinyere screamed.

‘Is it true?’ He asked angrily, taking hold of her arm. She couldn’t relive herself from his grip. He had the strength of two elephants.

‘No, I told you No!’ she exclaimed.

‘But why is it that Femi and Martin seem to think it was you that was with him in the club?’

‘I was not in the club with Luke. I told you before, we are just friends and that night I was with my mother. Emeka you are hurting me!’

‘Shut up! Tell me the truth!’ He squeezed her arm even harder; she could feel his hot breath on her face. She moved her face away from his and he turned it to face him. He stared her down, revelling in the depths of her pupil and saw what he instilled in her – fear. She couldn’t say anything anymore, the more she tried to pull away from him, the more the he held on to her. She felt like her arm was going to snap in two.

‘Please Emeka, let me go.’ She whimpered.
He realised what he had done, he realised that he had hurt her and released the tension in his arm.
‘Oh, Chi, I am so sorry. I don’t even know what came over me, please forgive me. It won’t happen again.’

The number of stories she had heard from friends, family and the movies about abuse, she knew it was going to happen again. She went to her house, changed into a long sleeve shirt and drove to her mother’s house. All she wanted to do was to tell her everything, but before she could, her mother started, ‘You know you are not getting any younger…’ If only her mother remained silent for a few more seconds.

Photo Credit: madamenoire.com

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Georgette Monnou was born in Lagos, Nigeria and has lived in various countries since then. She is in the final year of her Law degree in the UK. She updates her two blogs regularly, which are inspired by her passion for Nigeria and life itself.http://theunspokenwords93.blogspot.co.uk/ and http://wordsanddesigns.wordpress.com/.

Georgie is a Creative Enthusiast who spends a lot of her time involved in various creative projects. To see more of her work, check out her new blogisite – www.realtalkwithgeorgie.com Once you click on the link, you will join the league of stars that have exclusive access to Georgie through her articles, photos, poems and more.

21 Comments

  1. Thelma

    January 7, 2014 at 11:24 am

    A very nice read. Unfortunately so many young women go through this, these days it’s getting worse, even girls in their early 20s are already being pressured. I continue to thank God for my parents. I keep on saying that the best you can do for your child regarding marriage is prayers.

    Funny enough I posted a short story on my blog just a minute ago and it also has the DV theme. I hope you guys check it out. I don’t think there’s such a thing as too much awareness where domestic violence is concerned, so let’s keep the stories coming till people realize that it’s just plain wrong.

    Please visit thelmathinks.blogspot.com

  2. billionaire in grace

    January 7, 2014 at 12:03 pm

    Nice story

  3. Iyke

    January 7, 2014 at 12:21 pm

    Hmmm, beautiful prose … ‘Abuse’……Nothing left to ponder when want and desire fail to conspire… Need disheartened, decides to comply…accepting the ire of lost…while the flame of fire retires… Truth stumbles towards home…left with an afterthought of lies…
    Mates, if you are going through this, standing in the creases of your reality, I implore you, don’t let your life live outside of you…frightens and angers “the hell out of you…” and never be held hostage by a hateful and abusive heart……for it is disastrous living for your pain…instead of your dreams.
    Say NO to ABUSE in any form!

  4. Nabz

    January 7, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    Sigh
    I wonder what our culture’s obsession with marriage is. It’s like they have no idea what this does to women’s esteem, both the married and single. These days, the ages of the ones getting hitched keep getting lower, on both sides. Just last week, I attended the wedding of a 22 year old girl and a 23 year old guy…the thought on my mind was ‘what is the rush’?

    I am 26, 27 in a couple of months and more than ever, I’ve been hearing the words ‘so who is he?’ or ‘when are you bringing him to meet us’ even more. I realised that in the past 6 months, just because I found the pressure insurmountable, I stayed with a guy whose idea of romance and intimacy was insulting me and belittling my decisions. I stayed with him because I feared not meeting someone else. After I let him go, I found myself relaxing my standards just so I could have someone to show others that look, I have someone too. But mehn, I had to give myself sense. Let’s be honest, lowering your standards or ridiculously lowering your expectations won’t guarantee you that marriage that everyone goes on like it instantly provides fulfilment in your life, you will only get the ones who can smell your desperation and treat you likewise because they know you are so bent on getting married you’ll take anything they throw at you.

    I have an excellent job, I’m very educated, a good muslim with an excellent personality to boot and yet even I struggled to stand upright when the punches of being a single lady in this marriage-obsessed culture started raining down on me. These punches haven’t stopped but I’ve decided rather than sell my self short for a piece of silver/gold around on my finger, which judging by the antics of Nigerian men these days, one would be right if one tagged it a worthless symbol, I’m going to concentrate on my career since that’s the only thing I can control. If Almighty Allah wants to marry, he’ll send a good guy my way. Until then, may He give me the patience to be deaf to the ridiculousness that is ‘when are you getting married’?

    • ozyy

      January 7, 2014 at 2:05 pm

      GOD bless you my dear…GOD will make everything beautiful in HIS time in our lives.

    • Onyi

      January 7, 2014 at 6:02 pm

      Double thumbs up , you are so apt

    • AJOKE

      March 6, 2014 at 7:01 pm

      God bless you for this. im also facing same and I tell you mehn, I dnt think im ready mentally for a guy that’s not ready to be submissive. God will lead us right. for now, im facing my God, career and aiming for high places…

  5. Nabz

    January 7, 2014 at 12:52 pm

    As for the domestic violence theme, like I said, when you are desperate, you will accept anything. Our culture too doesn’t help. A woman strong enough to walk away from an abusive man is always told to go back to him and observe patience, the ones that refuse are tagged modalemosu – spelling not right but you get the idea – which roughly translates to a runaway from marital home. This topic has become an over-flogged horse because mentalities are not changing, at least not within the older generation. Accepting it has become a pre-condition to a happy marriage and as much as it’s heart breaking, sadly, it’s not going away anytime soon. But I pray I’m wrong!

  6. Grown Woman

    January 7, 2014 at 1:29 pm

    As long as we are in Africa, the” When are you getting married” question will never dissapear in some people’s mouths….. i wonder if its a sin to be single*bbm side eye*My fellow single ladies out there, there is no rush in getting married, let God determine the time for you.Life is too short to stress about marriage while people are suffering because of lack of patience and wanting to please people.

  7. Kay said so

    January 7, 2014 at 2:11 pm

    Nice writeup. African moms are almost same. I just wanna be a berra mom. So help me God.

  8. daiva

    January 7, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    i loved reading this and I can relate as well.I have 2 unmarried elder sis 3 unmarried aunt so my family believes it’s hard to get married and we shud just marry anybody.I was just proposed to by a stranger and d whole house is on my head like I shud accept.well am not going to coz am very ambitious and am not going to marry rite now without meeting my academic standards PhD and stuff, I wud try and know d Guy but O GEH no be so ooo. I have accepted my family the way they are and am going to do me.

  9. Onye

    January 7, 2014 at 5:57 pm

    Why didn’t she tell her mom what happened? To be honest that won’t make any difference. I told my mom that she should not rush me because what if I marry the man without knowing him and he turns out to be a wife-beater? And she said, “don’t you have hands to beat him back?” Can you imagine? And we have a relative that is in an abusive relationship.

  10. X-Factor

    January 7, 2014 at 8:13 pm

    ‘she wished she was a man, a man that didn’t have to deal with all this’…….NOT EXACTLY TRUE, MEN DEAL WITH ‘ALL THESE’ too
    My aunty once asked if I was gay, My Dad asked me a few weeks back if I was a Misogynist….. I just tire

    • whocares

      January 7, 2014 at 9:17 pm

      lmaooooooooooooo misogynist. loool. im sorry for laughing, but that’s deep.. *cyber hug*

  11. oj

    January 7, 2014 at 9:06 pm

    it’s sad that in our culture, being single is seen as a disease. and this myth is carried along by some married women, even those who are in unhappy homes. i have seen situations where a lady gets married and from her wedding day, suddenly all her single friends become bad persons in her eyes.

  12. memebaby

    January 8, 2014 at 12:33 am

    Well that’s sad. Being 22 (turning 23 this year) and still single, my mom knows better than to ask me why I’m not dating. After what we’ve been through with her husband (my dad), I just want to focus on me (grad school, career etc) and pray for a nice God fearing man to come sweep me off my damn feet lol. Because of my family drama, marriage scares me and I do not plan to rush into anything. I rather stay single and adopt a child than have the devil’s advocate as a boy friend or worse husband just to make my family/society happy.

  13. Chika

    January 8, 2014 at 12:07 pm

    mmhhhh? Nawa ooo…! God please have mercy on the daughters of men! Such pathetic crinkum-crankum,… such higgy-hagga!!! LOL!

  14. tracy tracy

    January 8, 2014 at 10:51 pm

    x-factor, let’s hook up jaree….. lmao!!

  15. Fisayo Talabi

    Fisayo Talabi

    January 10, 2014 at 9:58 am

    thumbs up

  16. Angel Deco

    January 11, 2014 at 9:56 pm

    Like seriously??? @Mysoginist. Its everywhere actually. Ur
    frnds ping 2knw”what’s up?” Ur siblings keep spyin on ur every call
    2see hw long it lasts n hw U ans. Ur mom (especially) keeps sayin
    tins like “am reservin d name lagbaja 4ur son”. Its a trad dat wnt
    b dying anytym soon. #Very Sad#

  17. Barbie

    March 11, 2015 at 1:25 pm

    Being single is really crazy, especially when you are 28 and you are from a yoruba family and still cannot boast of a responsible man in your life. The truth is only YOU know what you want in a man. This is a feeling only you can explained but nobody cares, All they want you to do is just to get married. I am still fighting this battle hoping that very soon, I shall have a breakthrough.

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