Love and Home

in fiction •  15 days ago

Hello, everyone. So I decided to do a little prose and poetry combo today. Three stories with similar story line, plus two poems. Enjoy!

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Her fingers slid gently up and down the strings of the lyre. Head bowed, eyes closed in concentration; tiny strands of dreadlocks fell softly across her face. Her toes dug into the wet soil as she played and sang , a folksong she learned from her mother. She missed her home and the life she had, before the abduction that stripped her naked and forced her to work with her bare hands.

Thoughts of home and her mother’s warm stew made her cry the first few days. However, when the days began to turn into weeks, and the weeks stretched into months, she embraced her life as a slave and vowed to make the best out of it.

The five long years buried the frightened teenager, and left a beautiful young woman behind. A passionate soul, who found love in her master’s eldest son.

Their affair felt like nothing she had ever experienced. His slow thrusts on the floor of the farm where she worked, always left her aching for more.

The lyre became their mouthpiece. Only the two of them understood the language.

In between passions one night, he begged her to come with him. His father sent him on a journey that would take years before he returned. He made her understand that he would see her safe passage home, should she decline.

Still confused, she played the lyre and waited.

“It’s time, Eberechi. Please come with me.”

Her eyes flew open. She stared at his outstretched arms and thought of her father’s big barn, many wives and siblings. She thought of her mother who had survived years without her.

She went into his warm embrace.

This was home.

This was where her heart belonged.

INTERLUDE
I want to dream
Of places and beauty
People and smiles
I want to see
The warmth of happiness
Seep deep within me
Like cool water over a dry throat
And fresh breeze over a flushed face
I remember your strong hands
Moving in gentle purses
Over my warm skin
Your quiet whispers
Washing over my ears
Making me smile
I want to feel
But I’m only a girl
Pining after a lost love
Basking in her aloneness


The first time he came to me was on the night of my twenty-second birthday. I had refused to have a party earlier. I couldn't bear to celebrate without him. That night, I climbed into bed quietly, my eyes gleaming with unshed tears. I was almost asleep when I heard brisk footsteps, followed by a silent opening and closing of my bedroom door.

"Frank," he whispered my name.

"Joseph, is that you?" a single tear slipped into my ear.

"Shh... I'm here as promised. Sleep now," he kissed my forehead.

At first. He visited once every week. But as the weeks stretched into months, he began to visit every night.

Joseph had to die so we could be together. I remembered his muffled screams the day I covered his face with a pillow.

"This is the only way. I'll come back for you," he had cried and begged me to do it.

I didn't understand how he would come back. I would never say no to Joseph, so I dropped the pills he told me to bring with a half empty glass of water beside him and left when he stopped breathing.

His parents told me he took his life.

Days passed. His funeral came. I waited. I feared that I would never see him again. But his whispers and soft fingers the first night reassured me.

Whenever he pulled my boxers in the dark, I smiled knowing that his death was the reason for our happiness.

INTERLUDE
You hear them talking
That’s how it began
Like little voices in your head
Whispering fervently
As if saying a prayer
You try to grasp
But fail to reach it
No matter how hard you try
So you learn to accept it
The you that isn’t you
Staring at you in the mirror
With so much sadness


“Get your hands off me!”

Bony fists swung in the air. Bolaji ducked before the blow could connect with his jaw. He shook the boy a little and let his hands fell. Standing, he watched the boy open his eyes slowly.

“It was just a dream,” Bolaji said. He removed his stethoscope and placed it on his desk.

“You fell asleep.”

The boy nodded and fought the tears threatening to spill.

Bolaji had recognized the signs the day the boy was brought in; quick steps, sad face, hunted eyes too large for his twelve-year-old narrow face. He had been looking over his shoulder and had stiffened when Bolaji tried to touch him. Two weeks and he still wouldn’t say his name.

Bolaji watched him now and waited. Personal experience and eight years as a psychotherapist had taught him patience and pain, two things he had learned to live with. He was a little older than the boy when he ran away from home. Away from his mother’s drunk laughter, putrid smells and groping hands of her customers in the dark.

One look at the boy had reminded him, and he had known that the scars on the boy’s arms and neck weren’t only from his stepfather’s belts like his file said.

“I was back in that room again,” the boy sniffed, “I was sitting on the chair and I was back in the room.”

“What happened in the room?”

He wiped at a single tear with the back of his hands and turned his head.

Bolaji took his right hand. He jerked but didn’t pull away.

“Tell me.”

“What do you care?”

“I want to help.”

“I don’t need your help.”

“Talking about it makes you feel better. I understand…”

“No you don’t. You don’t understand what it feels like knowing that everyone hates you. Knowing you can never do anything right, that no matter how hard you try, you still get the whip,” the boy sobbed.” And the fingers at night…”

Bolaji stared at a child who had lost his childhood and grown up too quickly. Where would he start explaining that he went through the same and had survived the pain by detaching his mind from his body till he couldn’t take it anymore? How would he tell the boy that his mother sold him to men who prefer young boys whenever she ran out of cash? Or that he still had flashes when he did something as simple as rubbing a lotion on his body? How would a boy of twelve understand the fact that one may never really get over the nightmares?

He gave the boy a piece of tissue and sat directly across from him.

“The people who adopted me were good people. They took care of me and sent me to school. They treated me like their own son and still do.”

He paused.

The boy said nothing.

“But that was only possible because I let them help me. When I said I understand, I meant it. I still remember the sticky floor and stinky smell.”

The boy stared at his feet.

“How did you know?”

“I’ve known since the first day you walked through that door.”

“It doesn’t matter. They’ll come and take me and it’ll get worse.”

“No one will lay a finger on you again.”

“Can you really help me?” the boy stared at him with eyes full of hope.

“Let’s start from the beginning. I’m Dr. Bolaji.”

“Jide,” he murmured.

“I can help you Jide, but you’ll have to tell me everything. All of it.”

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