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BN Prose: She Wasn’t Weak by Feyisayo Anjorin

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Yesterday you got really tired of your role in this life drama. Who would have thought Tunji Fajoo would become this? Fajoo! They would hail your name; you would smile like a bored billionaire trying to be nice. That was then; that was secondary school.

You are usually through with your day’s work by noon. You are called supervisor, and the ones you supervise daily would say it as something close to adulation. In a gathering of the blind a one-eyed man would easily reign as king. You are the only one who could speak English fairly well, even though yours was the Yoruba accented English of Ondo indigenes who would call man mon, call mango mongo, and say Monday as manday.

By noon you would be at the newspaper stand opposite First Bank, beside the biggest roundabout in the city. You are well known at the newspaper stand; at your appearance someone would be waiting to argue with you about the headlines and their implications. You had superstar politicians that could do no wrong, the ones you would defend like a true zealot; and you could lie like that national figure known for his confidently spewed legendary lies. In fact, you would do better if you had the opportunity. You would just need one mic as Nas says; you would do so much with half a dozen that typically gives that man his voice.

You would shout your arguments, your opponents would shout back, you would win some, you would lose some; but you had your fans, those who would nod their approval, they could see your point; this guy knows so much.

After the election things changed as you wanted. Gradual change, as it was promised; from better to good, from good to bad, bad grew worse and it goes on. Luckily you are still the supervisor, but the state government is broke and you’ve not been paid for six months.

You had to pack out of your former place, you had to get a room in a mud house without a toilet. The place was in the outskirts of the city, you had to trek the entire stretch of Oba Adesida to get to work; you called it exercise.

You avoided the newspaper stand. No money. No morale, no energy, you no fit shout, no interest in analysing the state of things. Too many analysts, that is the problem of this nation. Problems don’t understand English, do they?

In your secondary school days, you were one of the big boys.

Big boys would have the latest cassettes of Bone Thugs, Naughty by Nature, Tupac, Mack Morrison and Jodeci. They’d sing along or rap along when the songs plays, filling parts they don’t know with grunts and nods. They would experiment with their hairstyles; they wouldn’t mind being caned by the principal during morning assembly because they would take the strokes without flinching. They used perfumes, they could talk to any girl; they never miss any issue of Tickles.

You saw some of your classmates as beneath you. You were one of the first to grow a moustache, you were shaving when some of them seemed like wimps and sissies, still crying Mummy Mummy!

You saw some girls as beneath you. You took in so much of Tickles, you knew what you were looking for in these fishes.

Things are now so bad that you’ve been living like a beggar because of the salary arrears; so yesterday when you were through with your role as a glorified boss you decided to go the mall to see if you could get anything to do that would earn addition income. You would work from midday till midnight if necessary.

Just as you walked into the mall, just as the cool air got to you, you saw a beautiful woman walking towards you. She was not the only beautiful woman walking towards the door you had walked through; she was just the one woman who should not see your gaunt face. You had examined yourself in the mirror a couple of times in the past weeks, you looked like a man who had been fasting for weeks, not for the love of God, but for the lack of food. Your faded blue shirt, your oversized khaki trouser, your feet covered with a brown film of dust, your smell, of sweat. Rolake should never see you like this.

You saw the look on her face from a distance before your hasty retreat.

Rolake was one of the girls beneath you in your secondary school days. She was not endowed like the girls in Tickles, so you had tolerated her like a neighbour’s goat, you would shush when she speaks near you, or tell her to get out of your sight.

She was a mumu to you. One day, your chair got broken, so you took hers’ even though her name was boldly written on it: ROLAKE ADESUYI.

She came to you after the break (You took the chair during the midday break) to ask you to give it back. You slapped her twice and got the whole class laughing. You were a big boy; she was not attractive.

When you saw her one bright morning during your second year at UI – she was a Jambite – you were stunned by the transformation. She had become this tall, shapely-legged, silky smooth-skinned, bosomy woman. Whao! You hugged her, she was very nice.

She was an aspiring medical student, you were studying Adult Education, you got her number, you needed some time to talk about the past years, she was in a hurry to Chemistry 157 class. I will call you, Rolake.

You turned to look as she walked away; you swallowed saliva and licked your lips. Is this not Rolake?

You wanted to start something with her but she would not listen. She had her eyes on medical school; she had no time whatsoever for what you were proposing, in fact she would not even think about it. You thought you were still the big boy able to take whatever you wanted.

You invited her to your room one evening during the Awo Hall week, you told your roommate to stay away, you were at Kara near Bodija early in the day to buy some good stuff. You smoked the thing in a bush near Abadina. You were ready.

She was a fighter. You could not take her jeans off, could not rip her blouse apart, you could not even keep her down, you got a vicious kick in the groin; her voice seemed to ring through Awo Hall. She got help.

That got you an expulsion; your reputation went ahead of you for a few years when you tried to start again. Are you the guy on the front page of Alaroye who tried to rape a girl? No admission! Your groin pained you for months after it.

Now all you’ve got is the residual feeling of power, all you’ve been trying to do is keep up appearances.

She wasn’t weak and she knows it and you know it. Yesterday when you had to run, even when Folake was not particularly after you, you knew, as Yorubas would say: “Iku ya ju sin lo”.

Photo Credit: David Smith | Dreamstime.com

Feyisayo Anjorin was born in Akure; he trained as a filmmaker at AFDA Johannesburg. His writing has appeared in Litro, Brittle Paper, Flash Fiction Magazine, Fiction On the Web, and 365 Tomorrows. His has also worked on film and TV productions in Nigeria and South Africa. He is the author of novel "Kasali's Africa" and novella "The Night My Dead Girlfriend Called" @FeyisayoAnjorin on Twitter

18 Comments

  1. Icey

    February 21, 2017 at 11:22 am

    Feyi has done it again, very nicely written. The message is deep too.

  2. fan

    February 21, 2017 at 11:30 am

    Brilliant.

  3. funmilola

    February 21, 2017 at 11:45 am

    oh boy!
    weren’t my eyes glued to the en

    • funmilola

      February 21, 2017 at 11:48 am

      end*

  4. jinkelele

    February 21, 2017 at 12:52 pm

    The tenses were all over the places. This needed some proofreading

    • jinkelele

      February 21, 2017 at 12:53 pm

      *place*

    • Tola

      February 25, 2017 at 3:59 pm

      I agree. The tenses were all over the place. He mixed the simple present with the past all in single sentences. The simple present tense was used where the past tense should have been used and vice-versa. Please, read again, Feyi, and note your mistakes. I’m not being overly critical. Just giving some constructive criticism. Other than that, it was an interesting read.

    • Ebere Njoku

      February 22, 2017 at 2:49 pm

      Bros, no “tenses” all over the place, na you no sabi read literature. The writer used “were” for secondary school days and the past, and “are” for his present condition as a govt worker.

  5. Matilda

    February 21, 2017 at 1:24 pm

    Hi Feyi,
    First off, I love your stories and always get excited when I see “BN Prose: xxx by Feyi”.. so this is not coming from a place of ‘hate’ or whatever people say these days

    So… I think this style of writing is getting old and tiresome, you know, your first story in this style (I don’t know what it’s called in the literary world but the style of writing like you’re addressing the subject of the story) was captivating and different, and then the second was like blah ok.. but then all your stories are just the same and sometimes the beginning doesn’t flow with the end and it just ends up a somewhat letdown.

    I get that (and I may be wrong) but I get that this style may be intended to put the reader in the mindset of the subject but somehow it just has me rolling my eyes and hoping it gets better.

    I thoroughly enjoy your pieces when written in normal prose style (lol forgive me, I don’t know what else to call it) but this “you were young when it happened, you didn’t know what you were doing…” style is not doing it (for me anyway)

    You, or your fans (or just the general Voltrons, defenders of the universe we have online these days who call everybody ‘hater’) may say I am literary immature, but I believe you write so that readers, irrespective of literary class, can enjoy

    Peace and Love, Feyi!

    • Yejide Salami

      February 22, 2017 at 2:45 pm

      Analyzer of Africa! So when will you write your own story so that we can learn “style”?

  6. Slow claps

    February 21, 2017 at 4:03 pm

    This guy, you have serious star quality. Your writing is so captivating. Please write books, I’ll buy them.

  7. nammy

    February 21, 2017 at 5:57 pm

    The ones who calls “motor” “mutor”
    Nice one Feyi

  8. Bussy

    February 23, 2017 at 11:43 am

    Well done Feyi.
    Stick to your style. You don’t have to play your game using another person’s style.

  9. Iya

    February 25, 2017 at 2:00 am

    Hi BN. Please how do I send in my work to be featured on your site? Thank you.

  10. Samuel

    March 4, 2017 at 6:56 pm

    “and you could lie like that national figure known for his confidently spewed legendary lies”….. only one name came to my mind when I read that, Lol

  11. Y. Gold

    March 11, 2017 at 4:43 am

    Very interesting piece, Feyi. Keep ’em rolling in.

  12. Gwendolyn

    March 14, 2017 at 12:44 pm

    would love to send my work to BN but don’t know how to please BN help me out

    • Tola

      April 1, 2017 at 10:14 pm

      Send to features(at)bellanaija(dot)com

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