This piece of fiction, penned by acclaimed writer, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, was originally published on The New Yorker. A friend of mine read it and passed me the link with a scoffing “The main character, that Okenwa person, as a kid – he was so gay.” So, I read it. But I quite disagreed with my friend. In my opinion, the choices Okenwa made as a child may or may not have been driven by an unrecognized homosexuality.
But hey, if you haven’t already read it, here it is. Read and let us know your thoughts.
Twice a month, like a dutiful son, I visited my parents in Enugu, in their small over-furnished flat that grew dark in the afternoon. Retirement had changed them, shrunk them. They were in their late eighties, both small and mahogany-skinned, with a tendency to stoop. They seemed to look more and more alike, as though all the years together had made their features blend and bleed into one another. They even smelled alike—a menthol scent, from the green vial of Vicks VapoRub they passed to each other, carefully rubbing a little in their nostrils and on aching joints. When I arrived, I would find them either sitting out on the veranda overlooking the road or sunk into the living-room sofa, watching Animal Planet. They had a new, simple sense of wonder. They marveled at the wiliness of wolves, laughed at the cleverness of apes, and asked each other, “Ifukwa? Did you see that?” Continue reading
This is a voice I was so familiar with. It’s one of the many voices that always reminded me of what an abomination I was and how I should be ashamed of even waking up from sleep, a voice that reminded me of how damaged and how useless I was.
That phrase began as a whisper and then grew into a wind, a wind of torment, a wind of despair, a wind of agony, served daily in multiple doses. A wind which I had no control over and no shelter to weather from. I started dying before I could live. Anywhere I went to, whenever people looked at me, I already knew why. I’ve never liked being the center of attention, but I always managed to get everyone’s attention by just existing in the same time and place with them.
At night, I’d cry myself to sleep after saying a prayer to God, begging him to change me, to make me more like Emeka, the well built classmate of mine whose unofficial duty was ‘protecting the weak’ from bullies. I always felt safe around Emeka; he was one of those guys that you could count on. Whenever he was around, ain’t no bully gon come your way. Continue reading
This is a work of fiction by a latest contributor to Kito Diaries. Read and enjoy.
WHEN WE WERE children, Kosi and I, we drew stick figures on old papers; figures dancing in the rain, with triangles for eyes. We grew up watching the stars. We would sit side-by side on cold nights and stare at the stars, and Kosi would always observe how beautiful they were, the stars. So beautiful. We grew up in the midst of colours and flowers: yellow ixora, red hibiscuses, purple bougainvilleas, red bougainvilleas. Maybe that was why Kosi stopped drawing stick figures and started painting flowers that did not look like flowers at all.
It was one misty Harmattan morning. I woke up with the sun in my face and soft birdsong on the dogonyaro tree outside my window. I climbed out of the window after taking my bath. We were neighbours then, Kosi and I. Their house was a small bungalow. The corridors were dotted with aloe vera in clay pots. Inside the house, an aquarium, milk-coloured sofas, a fluffy rug, mirror-like tiles, ready laughter. His sister Kasarachi was cleaning the furniture with a damp rag. She was small like Kosi, but her skin was not a burnished black, but a glowing caramel. ‘Ah, Idris,’ she said.
‘Good morning,’ I said. Continue reading