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BN Prose: And Then, One Day by Keside Anosike

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You remember him liking your pictures on Instagram, last year March. You remember him following you and you following back but not liking his pictures. You remember him adding you on Facebook the next day, and texting you. You remember him asking for your iMessage. And you remember wonderful days with him. You do not remember how it went sour.

He lived in Canada. But you talk to him everyday. Talking and texting and FaceTiming. Some days you stay up till 3am Nigerian time because that’s when he’s done with classes. You will later figure out that you had been operating on 4 hours of sleep. It hadn’t seemed to matter then. He started failing in school. And then you started having tutor sessions, trying to help him. Most times he needed to smoke weed to concentrate, and you would always rebuke him. He said he wouldn’t do it again. You knew his lies before they formed.

You had never even met for one day; still you cared deeply about him. You wanted him to be happy. You were crushed if his voice was shaky with fear or worry. And you watched him too closely; you wanted him to do things rightly and to listen to you more than anyone else. But his demons continued. He was not picking up quite well in school. The school wanted him out if he failed an exam. And you struggled with him but failures emerged, because he was always angry. But one day he tells you over the phone “I love you” and then you hang up. You both go on and fight about that. But you don’t tell him “I love you”.

Then one day, he told you he couldn’t anymore. He just couldn’t. After a fight you two had had over something trivial, he couldn’t. And you were devastated. And angry because you felt like a fool that had thought all of that meant something.

The day your mother dies, on a hot day in the middle of August, you message him and tell him. He replies “aww pele”. Just that. And it had, at that moment, cheapened your grief. Made death seem ordinary. You promise not to speak to him again, but when Christmas comes and he messages, you reply. You go on to ask about his school. He keeps it brief and cold and distant.

Your days begin to fly now, and yet each one of them is stretched by a renewed expectation, swollen with his silence and the memories of the private experiences you had imagined with him.

Then he texts you in January, says, “I’m coming home”. That was it. “I’m coming home” and you felt weirdly changed by it. Like it was you he called home. It had seemed it would not be, and there it was. His “I’m coming home”. You gather yourself, try to be cordial. You ask “oh what for?” and he tells you he needs to renew his visa and it can only be done here.

You see him two days after he returns. It is weird again; you start laughing at his house. The entrance of it has God in small blue and white sculptures. There is a red light on the table covered with white cloth that blinks like a warning. It reminds you of danger. He has lost weight. He says, “You’re much taller than I thought”. You make small talk: bad Internet, expensive horrible ice cream, and NEPA situation.

You don’t talk about the big issues, the ones you two are scared of. The ones that will wreck what needed to be preserved. And then you two are kissing on his father’s couch, where you would later see his father watch soccer, subsequently on your Tuesday and Thursday visits every evening. The smell of his skin is like that of wet grass, and resembles only itself.

The sex was weird a month later. You brought out your iPhone, consulted Google on what positions hurt less, armoured by the thirst for a painless love. It resulted that it hadn’t always been about sex; it wasn’t also because of the distance, there was something more intimate than organs hitting against each other. Most evenings you two will rather watch something on his laptop and just talk. Time flew, always.

You fought here too. His visa started taking too long, complications came everywhere. And you tried to fix. You were so sure you could. And then you failed and he hated you for even trying. There were fights but he’d always come around, say he’s sorry, say he loves you.

One time, he sat on that his father’s couch and cried and begged you. You watched him cry. You thought it was beautiful; that he could cry and beg and want you to stay. That it hurt him to not have you. He cried with his eyes open, his eyes closed, his hands in his pockets. He cried as the curtain in the living room swayed with a faint breeze. When he is done crying, you imagine that his throat feels empty and he cannot stop heaving up air as his body quivers. Still you stand there, looking at all he’s said. They are dead soldiers on the floor, and there is sand in your throat. But you are not able to throw it all up. Inside, at the bottom of your belly, unsaid words remain.

And then, one day he got angry. It was because of Snapchat and Aham. You see Aham is his bestfriend on Snapchat. You text him, almost accusatory “oh so you know Aham?” And he says, “yes he’s my friend”, and you reply “how original”. He gets furious, takes your sarcasm and works it till it becomes a war – till his words come out like running waves: brutal, fortuitous, and botherless. He says a couple of other things that you read but do not reply. You say to yourself: he will come around and beg. He cried that day. He will come around, and you will hesitate a little but you will take him back. Because he makes you feel less cold. Your life is spaced out with him in it. But he never did. And you never tried to tell him that without him, you felt too tight. That there was no space; that you were choking.

Three weeks go by, and you two don’t speak. Everything seems so weird to you. You go to his house one evening, and he’s angry and he is not looking at you in the eye. You two stand in his mother’s kitchen. It’s so airy but he’s sweating as he tells you that you have hurt him. That he has mourned you and now he’s over. That he is done.

You start to beg him. You cry, you cry some more. Your tears stun you with a desperate, foreign element. You tell him: please, let us not do this. We have a couple of weeks till you go back, let us hold it and own it and make it ours. Let us love it together. He refuses. He tells you that it is best to be apart. Now that he’s angry, his chin looks hard, and his mouth is a straight line. You hold him so close; you are taller, your tears are on his neck. He promises to think about it, that there is need for space. You believe his word. But the space will expand and he will become too distant, like he was on the other side of a room and your hands belonged to a toddler. You wouldn’t be able to reach out and touch him. It will be air and noise you touched, when you tried. He removes his hand from your grip and tells you to leave now. You spend a minute waiting for the next thing to do. Mary is dressed in a soft blue on the wall as you walkout; her hands are opened to air and dust. She looks helpless and idle.

You go for summer camp. You don’t even tell him about it, because you two don’t talk much anymore. He likes the idea of summer camps. You should have told him. You go to his house on Tuesday after the Sunday you return. You meet a new gateman. Tell him you are looking for Dayo and he doesn’t know you. Everything is strange when he tells you that he’s gone. “Dayo don go back, he go on Friday”. Briefly, you remember his smile, how his lips divide. He would have smiled at this new gateman, the way his gums stared back black at everything. He would have smiled when his visa came too.

Above your head there is a sword of a shocking yellow, dividing blades of skies that will form water in a couple of minutes. You enter your car and feel disbanded by loud noises. You feel it inside you too – something moves, like engines forming tears. Everything looks blurry. You realize you are crying.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Flashon Studio

Keside Anosike is first human, then brother, then friend. He is also a feminist and an avid lover of red wine, indie music and art. He finds himself constantly searching for beauty, and often times paralysed from the terror of it. While he harbours a shy excitement at the thought of a freer world, Keside spends his days on the coast of an Island in the middle of the indian ocean, studying and writing. He’s a story teller; a little reluctant to call himself a ‘writer’ because he feels it’s a bit disingenuous to hang his entire identity on an activity he does only 5% of the time.He spends 33.3% of his time sleeping (or trying to sleep) and he doesn’t go around calling himself a Sleeper. Or even (more accurately) an aspiring sleeper.

49 Comments

  1. beautifulonyinye

    December 2, 2014 at 8:51 am

    Nice article.I enjoyed reading it.

  2. dame

    December 2, 2014 at 9:00 am

    something very very very similar happened to me. i am getting over it…slowly and surely

    • Metrogypsie

      December 2, 2014 at 7:35 pm

      Same here.. In due time. I can’t wait.

  3. Dr.N

    December 2, 2014 at 9:03 am

    Wow!

  4. www.eniwealth79.blogspot.com

    December 2, 2014 at 9:12 am

    Very nice article. My eyes were glued to the screen to the last word.

  5. omo

    December 2, 2014 at 9:17 am

    This is what I am going through right now.

  6. Dibby Dibby

    December 2, 2014 at 9:20 am

    Beautifully written!!! I have never posted a comment on bella before but this was so good to ignore…

  7. Onyinye

    December 2, 2014 at 9:32 am

    I really enjoyed reading this. Nice work, felt very familiar even though this has never happened to me.

    • Bleed Blue

      December 2, 2014 at 1:19 pm

      Felt familiar to me too!!!

      I think it’s the way the writer described the emotions so thoroughly. The sequence of events may not have happened to us but those feelings of heartbreak and emotional restlessness…..

  8. JEWELS

    December 2, 2014 at 9:35 am

    Beautifully written…I can relate. Sigh

  9. miriam

    December 2, 2014 at 9:38 am

    Very touching nd nice

  10. Afoma

    December 2, 2014 at 9:39 am

    There’s something so achingly beautiful about this. Love.

  11. Greydays

    December 2, 2014 at 9:40 am

    Keside, how do you know so well? First, a perfect charmer.. no one you have ever met before.. you’re disinterested at first, laughing at his little attempts to catch your attention. You tell your friend about him that’s he the one who’s going to get played not you. But then it changes, your more addicted to his calls & sms, you smile when he calls and you think you love him cos he’s so caring, warm & nice. You can’t believe this is love, your heart is so full of emotions that it will burst sooner or now. Then you kiss & don’t tell. Lies start coming in, disinterest about your welfare, ‘I have changed’ becomes a constant battle, calls are less frequent now, he flirts before you & you act cool, wet pillowcase changes, you realise you had God all along, heart breaking at the slightest memory & last week, you guys were playing but now cold silence.
    And then you realise sometimes love is not just enough.

    I love your ending.. that’s how you end a story in the middle of sentence. It made me weak cos I see myself written in a line or two..

  12. RichesB

    December 2, 2014 at 9:43 am

    Heartbreak sucks! and that you don’t choose who you fall in love with sucks more!

  13. Jo!

    December 2, 2014 at 9:58 am

    It’s your fault. You fell in love with a short boy, you’re even taller than him *sniggers* and you’re begging? Need to give you a manual override right now

  14. Ty

    December 2, 2014 at 10:34 am

    I love this man’s writing, so true and captivating

  15. Temilola

    December 2, 2014 at 11:06 am

    Nice piece

  16. laury

    December 2, 2014 at 11:22 am

    I cant deal with boys with drama, i just cant

  17. MOI

    December 2, 2014 at 11:39 am

    I can so relate,in my case I haven’t even met him yet and December is here already and I know he will come home. This prose has just opened my eyes to the possibility of a fatal heart break and I know when he comes home he will let me know even though we haven’t said anything other than ‘HELLO and HI” on whatsapp to each other since October. i guess i know better now. no holiday fling biko…. i cant just deal ……

  18. Zara

    December 2, 2014 at 11:41 am

    One word…… Beautiful

  19. Bimbo

    December 2, 2014 at 11:52 am

    what a piece. Enjoyed every word. Keside is a word finer. funny how these heartbreak works. youneverexperedit.

  20. Abena

    December 2, 2014 at 12:17 pm

    Maybe i am too jaded..Maybe i got my head screwed on properly..Maybe i dont love without sense… Because i dont see the awww over this nonsense kind of love.Guy didnt deserve you from day one!
    Your enemy would not even murmur just kp3l3 when you tell them about the death of your mother!
    Hope you have grown..this aint love darling

    • Dee

      December 2, 2014 at 1:23 pm

      Or maybe you’re just Lil’ Miss Perfect.

      And by the way who is “awww-ing” over this kind of love. Abeg Abena free us with your Ice Maiden speech. We all know this kind of love is damaging, you didn’t need to first try to establish your self-perceived superiority before stating the same.

    • Ross

      December 2, 2014 at 10:36 pm

      Thank you oh. Such a beautiful piece and every other woman goes through this, so its lovely to have it written down and to see youre not alone. Others may learn and not have to go through the this heartbreak

  21. God's favorite

    December 2, 2014 at 2:04 pm

    wow!!!!!!!!!!! really interesting. I actually thot it wud end as a dream. thumps up keside

  22. SEEN ALL

    December 2, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    One word Wow! When you love someone more than they deserve, surely they will hurt you more than you deserve.

  23. Nefertiti

    December 2, 2014 at 3:36 pm

    This write up is exactly what a certain – does around Lagos. He is jobless and goes around saying he has come to renew his Visa….He would change abode and say he has travelled. He actually duped me quite a sum, not that I’m stupid but because I didn’t identify on time people could lie about everything and anything including who their father is. I’m stronger and wiser now!

  24. k

    December 2, 2014 at 5:09 pm

    As i read it.. it felt like my first boyfriend and I. The boy cried when I didn’t want him to do the do.
    I was the one way and finally returned. It lasted 5month and after that i thought my whole world will crumb. Here I am today, 4 years later and am about to be promoted to senior manager and careless about him. ..

  25. viiic

    December 2, 2014 at 6:49 pm

    But how is it that no one can tell this story is about two guys who fell in love? It’s so beautiful, well done keside! I’m a fan! You’re great with words.

    • Agaoma

      December 2, 2014 at 7:31 pm

      THANK YOU O!!! I read all the comments & not one person(except you) noticed it’s a love story about 2 men. You’d think the part about ‘Aham’ will alert them. Or how tall the narrator is. It was a good story. Filled with raw emotions. Anyone who has ever fallen inlove with a douche bag can relate. It’s hard to stop loving them.

    • Trina

      December 2, 2014 at 8:50 pm

      Viic and Agaoma. The Award for being the most intuitive and intelligent above all of the other peasant and simpleton BN commenters goes to you!

      Pscheeeeeeew! Who cares about their sexual orientation? The story is well told and the story moves the reader. And that’s what matters.

      Now that we know (through your royal cleverness-es) that it’s a gay relationship…ehen?

      Park well jor.

    • Ready

      December 3, 2014 at 5:31 pm

      @Trina, *singing*Why you gotta be so ru-ude?’ You just had to call people names, didn’t you? The irony when pot calls kettle black. Simpleton sha.

      There are tall women…and not everybody knows what gender to attribute the name Aham to.

    • Sara

      December 2, 2014 at 8:43 pm

      I thought the same!

    • Insolar

      December 2, 2014 at 9:11 pm

      Yesss! The part about Aham clued me in.

  26. chi-e-z

    December 2, 2014 at 8:45 pm

    So it’s official BN prose is my favorite section… Now the Ahem part makes sense…. either way even in friendships or family heartbreak sucks.

  27. yommy-yum

    December 2, 2014 at 8:57 pm

    Very beautiful piece. I admire your writing style Keside. Very superb!

  28. Onyourown

    December 2, 2014 at 9:42 pm

    It is is a love story between two men. Isn’t the writer into dudes? Beautiful story all the same.

    • thrister

      December 3, 2014 at 2:03 pm

      is he? I think he is heavily metrosexual (from his Instagram) and isn’t ashamed of it but do tell, make a sister not be wasting her time thirsting LOOOL.

  29. Abi

    December 3, 2014 at 4:05 pm

    I JUST realised that this story could be two guys or a guy and a girl. The narrator is not gender specific!
    Hmm, very smart of the writer, I like that.

    • Jibril

      December 3, 2014 at 11:21 pm

      It is specific,read between the lines…Its about two guys.

  30. molarah

    December 3, 2014 at 9:23 pm

    Yep, smelt it from the Aham reference. Its the second story of its kind on BN Prose – at least that I’ve read. And its never going to be cute to some of us, no matter how prettily you paint it.

  31. Somebody

    December 3, 2014 at 9:46 pm

    Mmmh. I really didn’t think the story was properly written. I’m not an expert but the tenses didn’t always read well. It sounds more like gist over the phone than published prose. If the aim of the prose here is for the public to give feedback that would help the writer improve I think the aaaaahs and ooooohs are undeserved. My own opinion.

    • thrister

      December 4, 2014 at 11:01 am

      pretty sure the writer does not require your feedback, check him out on his instagram, he is a word smith. whatever tense you think was mixed up or wrong i can swear was done on purpose. this story is fantastic and unique, don’t do your bad belle here madam critic.

    • Beauty

      December 4, 2014 at 1:56 pm

      Oh please Shut up, what have you written? This piece is beautiful and so many relate to it So FO.

  32. Jibril

    December 3, 2014 at 11:19 pm

    This ‘reeks’ of Chimamanda though…Its beautiful,nonetheless!

  33. Semira

    December 4, 2014 at 4:48 pm

    Well written article, was drawn in from the first word. Nice one.

  34. anon

    December 7, 2014 at 8:36 am

    You are my favorite writer!

  35. Cynthia

    December 9, 2014 at 9:25 pm

    It was spellbinding to read this. I felt like I was reliving my past through your words. And it hurt all over again but I guess that’s why you’re such a brilliant writer…the ability to make the reader feel what they once felt and for those who have never felt it, the ability to empathize. Thanks for sharing this

  36. Audrey

    December 20, 2014 at 10:04 pm

    “The sex was weird a month later. You brought out your
    iPhone, consulted Google on what positions hurt less,
    armoured by the thirst for a painless love. It resulted
    that it hadn’t always been about sex;”

    this part is what gives it away as a gay relationship. hetero sex doesn’t ‘ always’ hurt, if it does, there’s usually a reason which would have been relevant to this prose and so the writer would have stated it. gay sex on the other hand, because of its unusual nature hurts and the only person who would most likely be bothered about it is the bottoms guy a.k.a the female who this prose is centered on. I guess the writer’s orientation had some bearing on the write up.

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