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BN Prose: This Is How You Get Her Back by Pemi Aguda



This is how you get her back:

– Get into your car on Saturday morning, wearing the slim Gap jeans and a plain white tee shirt. Slide on the gold bracelet she got you last year that you keep in your glove compartment. Discard your reservations about it being too feminine. Its glint in the sunlight will come in handy.

– Take a deep breath then turn the key. Head towards Ojodu. Don’t pass Alausa, there is a protest causing slow traffic. Something about librarians’ not being appreciated by the government. Do not remember her love for books. Do not remember the pile of books she has bought you that stand on your shelf, propped up against each other as if seeking warmth to get over your lack of attention.

– Take the other road opposite Zenith Bank. Slow down at the junction- there is a woman selling puff-puff whose stand juts into the road. The locals’ are under her spell, you could get stoned if you disrupt the solemn proceedings. Do not remember that she is a small chops aficionado, because buying her a few morsels of the oily goodness will earn your white tee, premium stains when she flings them at you.

– Stop for the couple at the Zebra’s Crossing. Even when they giggle and cuddle and make googly faces at each other instead of walking smartly across, keep your foot on that brake pedal. You are working at being a more sensitive man. Remember the speech she gave you that day at the hospital. When she walked away.

When she called you an irresponsible, kamikaze, reckless man.
When she called you an insensitive agbaya who put his hedonistic pursuits before any humane considerations.

When she had pressed the base of her hand, where it meets the pulse of her wrist into her bleeding eyes, smudging eyeliner and turning her into a hurting Panda.

You had stared at her because the drugs turned you into a zombie: an unfeeling catatonic zombie who watched the black tears make tyre tracks on her powdered face but didn’t- couldn’t- move a hand to wipe them. Or raise an eyebrow to acknowledge them.

That was the only thing that wasn’t your fault.

– Shake your head to dispel your thoughts.
– Turn into her street.
– Don’t park in front of the white edifice that is her father’s house.
– Drive past it. Keep going.
– Keep going down her street till you get to the abandoned incinerator piled with rubbish that reminds you of the state of your relationship, your heart. File this away to say to her. It sounds like an analogy she would appreciate.
– There, you wait.

– While you wait, practice a speech while staring at your reflection.

“I’m so sorry. I was young and stupid…” Toss that. You are neither young nor stupid.

“Things just got overwhelming. I know now that I want to be better.” You ditch the first sentence and keep the latter.

It is now she will show up, before you are ready. She will head toward you, hands laden with the house’s trash to be dumped. You notice that she is wearing your Arctic Monkeys shirt, you are pleased. Then you reconsider, because she is wearing your favourite shirt to dump trash.

You will notice the droop in her shoulders, seemingly from the weight of the shiny bin bags; but you know why they are achieving such an angle. It is you.

Watch as she approaches; the possibility of a second? third? fourth? ..another chance making your heart beat double-time.

You will notice when she notices you. Her steps will falter and she will raise one of the bags higher to restore equilibrium.

By the time it occurs to you to help her out, she will be by your side, ignoring you and deftly flexing her arms to send the bags swinging.

A whiff gets to you when you open the door. It smells like a bad omen.

– Block her path. Hold her arms. All while repeating, “I’m so sorry.” She will try to get past you. You must not let her. Follow her left, then right. Then right, then left- as she tries to escape your words. Left. Right. Right. Right. Left. Like an awkward dance you saw on TV, all arms and knees and angles.

– When she stands still in exasperation, launch into your speech. Forget the one you have just semi-prepared. You won’t be able to help the speech deteriorating into gibberish.

Tell her it’s the devil.
Tell her it’s the devil’s demons.
Tell her you will start going to church with her.
Stop smoking weed.
Stop hanging out with Gbenga and Osi.
Stop masturbating.

Promise her the sun, the stars and Obasanjo’s farm.

– Raise your hand to frame her face. Make sure the sun glints off the bracelet. To catch her attention. To tell her you mean business.

But you will not be ready for her recoiling instead of unfurling. You will stand, confused, as she takes a step back from your reaching hands. You will feel bereft. You will shrink inside as she goes around you – silent as you were the night she said goodbye.

– Turn to watch her walk away. Steadily, now. One foot in front of the other, going farther and farther away.

– Remember a silly song she always sang during karaoke. Those karaoke nights where she competed with your phone and bottles of Guinness and friends for your attention, for your smile, for your acknowledgment.

– It is now you will understand the song.

It’s just too little too late.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime| Vadymvdrobot

'Pemi Aguda is an architect during the day; and a writer always. When she has finished a good book, she holds it to her chest and weeps. She writes a fiction column called Betty Tuesdays at



    July 8, 2014 at 8:40 am

    Very lovely prose. I admire the creativity of the writer.

  2. ekalor

    July 8, 2014 at 8:44 am


  3. beht why

    July 8, 2014 at 9:10 am


  4. 1 + The One

    July 8, 2014 at 9:29 am

    Loved it! Very interesting read

  5. Bobosteke & Lara Bian

    July 8, 2014 at 9:35 am

    Oh my

  6. Serendipity

    July 8, 2014 at 9:47 am

    Very creative. Very different. Love it.

  7. Love

    July 8, 2014 at 9:48 am


  8. Gistyinka Blog

    July 8, 2014 at 9:51 am

    Very interesting..

  9. tools

    July 8, 2014 at 9:52 am

    beautiful! creativity on point

  10. memiee

    July 8, 2014 at 9:54 am

    I laughed hard on…”Tell her you will start going to church with her.
    Stop smoking weed.
    Stop hanging out with Gbenga and Osi.
    Stop masturbating.

    Promise her the sun, the stars and Obasanjo’s farm.”

    A good laugh to start up my day.

  11. arome

    July 8, 2014 at 9:59 am


  12. sam

    July 8, 2014 at 10:06 am


  13. chizzy

    July 8, 2014 at 10:24 am

    Nice write up…

  14. Nino

    July 8, 2014 at 10:42 am

    Gave me life…very very good prose…well done…
    funny yet very deep

  15. sumbo

    July 8, 2014 at 11:15 am

    lool @ obasanjo”s farm.

  16. Gun-Shy

    July 8, 2014 at 11:20 am

    Ameazing!!!!!!! A full book!!!!!!!

  17. Adesola

    July 8, 2014 at 11:54 am


  18. Anonymous

    July 8, 2014 at 12:41 pm

    Trolling by . .

  19. fokasibe

    July 8, 2014 at 12:44 pm

    Love this. Totally.

  20. opemipo

    July 8, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    Wow, feels so real too. Fave line: the sun, the stars and Obasanjo’s farm…

  21. oyaga

    July 8, 2014 at 3:27 pm

    It was ok.

  22. @edDREAMZ

    July 8, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    Dope prose i must say….. Clap for urself, yu try wella….

  23. yeancah

    July 8, 2014 at 4:52 pm

    nice write up.. meanwhile dear poster you know ojodu so well as i used to be a regular customer at that puff puff joint.. till i gave up fry fry thing.. well not totally sha

  24. $hadollar$

    July 8, 2014 at 4:58 pm

    Lmao… tell her its the devil’s demons??

  25. tobitowbs

    July 8, 2014 at 5:09 pm

    Explosively entertaining read

  26. dunnid

    July 8, 2014 at 5:19 pm

    lol @ “Tell her it’s the devil…”
    interesting always

  27. Loulou

    July 8, 2014 at 6:07 pm


  28. Mz Socially Awkward...

    July 8, 2014 at 6:16 pm

    Yes! More, please!!!

  29. Romy

    July 8, 2014 at 6:49 pm

    Beautiful write up. Gotta love it.

  30. Tru

    July 8, 2014 at 7:30 pm

    “Obsanjo’s farm” 😀 😀 😀
    Deep, poignant and hilarious!!!!

  31. Olu

    July 8, 2014 at 8:36 pm


  32. laila

    July 8, 2014 at 8:50 pm

    Best BN Prose in a while. This was fun! So many people try to be over deep. You aint Shakespeare

  33. sum1special

    July 9, 2014 at 4:50 pm

    Hahahaha. Nice write up…That will work

  34. shenugs

    July 10, 2014 at 12:20 pm


  35. Damisola Akolade

    July 12, 2014 at 10:05 am

    Pemi, you need to hurry up and write a book so that I can review it. Whoop

  36. lk6

    July 12, 2014 at 10:30 am

    Our very own Betty!! (yes I’m a tnc famzer)
    Amazingness just spews forth from u girl!

  37. A Bili

    July 13, 2014 at 9:22 pm

    Nice and hilarious the “Promise her the sun, the stars and Obasanjo’s farm” is just too funny

  38. Noksis

    July 14, 2014 at 3:51 pm

    very creative and deep

  39. Fisayo

    July 15, 2014 at 4:29 pm

    Wwowwww! I love this!

  40. zeeine

    July 19, 2014 at 8:28 am

    i really enjoyed and i must say “this is the best Bellanaija prose i have read in a while”. i was kind of skeptical when i saw it but decided to give it a try and trust me … it was worth it!!!. the writer did an excellent job captured my attention from the beginning to the end. it was fun and very contemporary too.

  41. Jemima

    July 22, 2014 at 10:14 am

    This is worthy of a standing ovation.
    I like the flow. Brilliant use of the third person POV.
    Betty doesn’t disappoint.

  42. jaguarnana

    July 22, 2014 at 8:54 pm

    beautifully written i literally just watched this prose

  43. Shadylaj

    July 24, 2014 at 12:21 pm

    Good write-up. Could picture the scenerio……

  44. Tomifeoluwa

    July 25, 2014 at 10:29 pm

    very interesting read
    “Obasanjo’s farm” got me laughing!

  45. Toluwalope

    July 27, 2014 at 11:14 pm

    lol…nice one

  46. IM

    August 21, 2014 at 7:39 am

    Simply great! Wonderful writer….karaoke nights part is sooo true! sigh#

  47. Bees

    August 28, 2014 at 11:56 pm

    Sounds like the cheater’s guide to love…just saying.

  48. cryz

    August 29, 2014 at 9:47 pm

    Wot if she dint get u any gold bracelet??…liked d part of obj’s farm dough…

  49. yettyclassy

    September 2, 2014 at 11:23 pm

    Wonderful write up!

  50. titi

    September 6, 2014 at 10:46 pm

    Very brilliant!

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