Family Secrets II

You were the child that saved your mother’s marriage.

That family picture hanged on the wall, above the television in the sitting room was taken on your christening. Your sisters are standing beside your parents , two by your mother’s left, one by your father’s right. Your mother is seated with you on her lap, your father next to her. He has one arm draped across her shoulder and the other placed gently on your leg. Everyone is dressed in the same lace material. Your mother’s headgear was so big the photographer had asked her to adjust it a few times. One of your sisters had cried prior to the picture being taken because the bow that held her hair in a bun was too tight. In the photo, everyone had a big smile.

Our son is here.

It was said that after your birth , your father was so excited he started keeping a beard. Because he was now a father to a boy. Now your father was his mother’s only son and only child. The 3 children his mother bore had all died before the age of 2. His father took another wife who ended up having three girls. So you see it was up to him to keep his father’s name alive.

The first child born to your parents was a girl. They named her Ifeoma, something good. A child is a good thing, be it boy or girl right?

The second, a girl they named Ngozichukwuka , God’s blessings are better. They are always better aren’t they?

The third, another girl they named Chinweokike , God owns creation. Everything, he created isn’t it?

Things started to change. Your father’s uncles would come and hold meetings behind closed doors. Your mother’s greetings were replied with mumblings. The meetings they called your mother into, she came out crying . This part Ify told you because she was older, she understood what the others did not.

It’s around this time Nne Ifeoma would call her younger sister to come and look after her children that she was going away for three days. The child she wanted, that would save her marriage, she was going to ask God for directly.

Your mother was away , praying at the mountain or water side or somewhere. She prayed, she rolled, she cried, she screamed. With Prophet.

Few weeks later she was pregnant with you. Her greetings were still met with mumblings, this time a bit more audible. During this pregnancy your mother was unsettled. If she had another girl what would happen to her and your sisters.

It is at this time that her friend Abigail visited.

“Abigail, m mwuo nwanyi ozo… hmm. If I have another girl it is finished”

“What will I do”

During her 7th month of carrying you, she packed a few things and said she was going to deliver you at her mother’s place , na nukwu nne ya.

Your mother carried you for 8 months and three weeks before she bore you. Your sisters said your father came home dancing that day with so much joy. A few weeks passed before she came back with you in her arms. Vistors trooping in and out of the house.

Your mother’s greetings were replied with “Ehen our wife kedu. Kedu maka baby. How are you. How is baby”. Your mother went from being called Nne Ifeoma to Nne Chidera.

On your christening you were called Chidera, maka, chi dera o de si go , when God writes, it is written

Ifeanyichukwu, what we asked from God

Osinachukwu , it came from God

It was on that day, the picture was taken. Everyone dressed in the same lace material. Everyone with the big smile. Everyone dark skinned, you light skinned.

Prophet was fair in complexion.

The pregnant woman at Aunty Abigail’s hospital was fair in complexion.

Your father’s father, your grandfather was fair in complexion.

It’s the joy on your father’s face when he throws you up in the air. When he looks at you and says “My son”

Who gave you life does not matter. You saved your mother’s marriage.

You are your father’s son.


Family Secrets

You were the child that came unannounced.

Not a mistake but a mistake. It was all hush hush until your mother realized she had missed her period twice and she was feeling a bit sick. One visit to the doctor’s confirmed that she was 6 weeks gone. She waited three days before telling your father. She was pregnant, he would be a father whether he liked it or not because as Christians we do not destroy what man cannot create.

“Anyi ga-eme ego ya“

That was the first thing his mother, your grandmother said when she was told. God forbid you be a child born out of wedlock, from such a well known family. Even though a few protests came from his sisters

“Idikwa sure o nke nwanne anyi? Are you sure it’s our brother’s”

Just as quickly as you were convinced, his parents took the necessary items to your mother’s parents. This gathering had no three appearances , no maidens escorting your mother to look for your father. No akwa uniform was sold. Your mother did not dance with your father while naira notes were sprayed. This joining had just her parents, his parents and ndi umunna in attendance. As your mother walked to your father with that cup of palmwine , in that small parlor of your grandparents house at Abagana.

Was she sure she loved this man? Probably not.

Could forever be promised?

Did she feel completely at home in his arms?

She knelt down when she got to him. Took a sip of the palmwine and gave him to drink. Your father took the cup and drank. Him drinking signified that he had accepted your mother. That you were accepted. According to tradition they are husband and wife. Any child brought into this union is a legitimate child.

As he drank, there was a quiet applaud. An applaud of relief from the shame that had been averted. From here everyone would continue like all this had happened under normal circumstances. This part of the story would be told in hush tones. Later when you are grown , the small slips that fall from discussions on the family table is what you would gather to put together . One line from this aunty, one line from that aunty. You would begin to understand those days your mother was sad and took out her anger on you. The other days your mother told you you were her comfort in this marriage. You would understand why many times, your father was gone for so long. You would begin to remember and understand all the parables your mother spoke.

This is the story you would remember when your boyfriend tells you he wants you to have his baby. You would laugh and playful ask

“Gi na onye? You and who biko”

Are you sure you love this man?

Could forever be promised ?

Do you feel completely at home, at peace with this man?

Would you become your mother all over again?

God forbade you were born a bastard

God forbid you bore a bastard



The peace bearer is who you are

You are the gift of serenity

God made you just like the heavenlies

The volcanoes have found a Queen

Your beauty is the kind eyes

Have never seen

It is preposterous to see you

Float in the river of my subconscious

But I do because I’m floating there too

You are a tree connected to the Earth’s core

So strong and not unsure

With a pure heart,

You bring souls torn apart

The doves unite with you

For the first time, I heard this truth

“You are one of the people I’m grateful for”

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Single Igbo Girl: Overrated L.O.V.E

Do we really accept the love we think we deserve or we just take what we can get

So here I am trying to multitask, mentally of course and my body wants to sleep. But does it? Mba . I’m thinking of the assignment at work and the deadline, somebody cannot sha kill them selves in this cooperate world. To while away time, I pick up my phone and decide to shuffle between Twitter to Instagram and Whatsapp. On Twitter it’s a thread about what men do that turn women off. Okay. On Instagram it’s a DIY Princess’s wedding. Beautiful ceremony. Check the dms and somebody’s trying to escape from dms to phone number levels. Just wait there first. Back on Whatsapp, I get a message from a friend

My sister’s getting married next month. Are you home tomorrow so I can drop the iv?”

Okay Universe, I see you

And just last week , I saw the most beautiful traditional dance choreography by an interracial couple. They called their love ‘sacred’. I watched that video over and over and over. I ended up sending that video to my friend telling her that was how I would storm Anambra State with my Italian husband-that-looked-like-he-stepped-out-of-a-GQ-magazine.

So this is me taking the universe’s sub but still looking for something to eat when I see my girlfriend’s status on Whatsapp. It said

Love is just overrated

Fuck love , I’m done trying

It is at this point that my heart breaks, my feet can’t keep me standing, I don’t have the appetite anymore. Not you Folashade. Now I’ve watched my friend move from one relationship to another. From one idiot to another. Back in school, I remember waking up to a message that was sent by 1:00am that said “Adanna are you awake?” . Only to get to her room to see crumbled up tissue paper everywhere and her swollen red eyes. We had just had another break up.

Seeing this really shook me because over time I’ve come to admire her ‘if we don’t get it right this time we’ll get it right next time’ attitude. I never told her but I always thought whoever was wise enough to treat her right would never regret it. Now see , she was the ‘I’m willing to try with you’ while I was the over calculative type , with always a bit of doubt at the back of my mind.

I’m sitting here thinking if we accept the love we think we deserve or we just take whatever we can get. Do we make do with what we have currently only because we’re scared to start all over again . I don’t come with a manual obviously so everything has to be repeated. Jokes have to be retold with the same facial expression. Your favourite things have to be repeated. We start rebuilding trust in someone new hoping that it works this time. Half scared that we’re in too deep, half delighted to feel something deep again for someone.

The type of smile that comes from within soul

That lightens up your entire body

I pray that in between a happy twirl , you don’t question if it is real or not

I wish you eyes that see the best in you

Lips that will never lie

Hands that will hold you steady

And with all this, I pray your heart never doubts the authenticity of this love

Especially while you sleep at night or enveloped in a hug

I wish you love

In its truest and purest of forms

The prayer I pray for my loved ones but I cannot bring myself to pray the same for me

Single Igbo Girl : Ofe Nsala

This one that I am… anyways it’s once in a while. It’s not like I do it all the time. In fact it has never been done but…

Now this was the conversation before the above thought

Hey babe. How are you?

I feel like ColdStone.

You can’t what? I’m coming to your house, get ready. I’ll tell you when I’m there”

After I moved out of my parent’s house, my mother and I do this thing where we bring each other soup or stew on some days. Today I had decided to bring my mother ofe nsala because daughter of the year na. I was just about done when I heard my phone ring. If you see the race I ran with half of my heart hoping it was the one person I wanted to call only to get there and see a different caller id

It’s the ones that you don’t want that will now be calling you up and down. Mstchewww

Just as I had poured the soup into the bowl, my phone rang again. Reluctantly , I picked it up behold that one person


You should have seen my face after that conversation. I started praying that he would be an hour or two late. My parents live few streets away, I could drop it and come back just in time abi? Or should I wait and tell mummy to send her driver? After considering it for a while I decided I’ll drop the food off myself and be quick. Just as I was about to change I thought to myself, “bring out some soup for him now”. Aha! Me? Now my friends and past ‘brothers’ know one thing about me. I don’t cook for just anybody. I’m not the “do you want me to make you something?”

Asi. That’s a lie

Not me. Now if I kinda liked you maybe indomie and egg or jollof rice. Even fried plantain sef. But ofe nsala was sacred. Food for the one who had put a ring on it and about to wife it. But here I was scooping out of the soup specially prepared for my mother to give someone who forgets to return phone calls for days.

Anyways I drive into my parents house and Ijeoma, my mother’s help/PA/amebo partner/in house hair stylist came out to carry the bowl.

“Aha Aunty nno. Anyi no na-azu uno”

I make my way to the back of the house to see my mum with her half braided hair, cracking and eating walnuts. Typical Saturday evening.

“Mummy I brought you nsala “

“Daalu nne “

For the next 30 to 40 minutes I listen to my mother talk about different things , with Ijeoma who had continued braiding her hair adding a silent laughter now and then whenever mummy said something funny. These ones are relaxed and I’m checking my phone to see if it rang and I didn’t hear it. Let me come and be going biko. I get up to leave

Mummy I’m going o”

“But you just got here now “

“Ehen tomorrow’s church. I’ll see you there ehn”

As I leave I can still hear my mother complaining but I’m expecting a phone call and I’ve a special presentation.

I get home and with my ofe nsala in one of my precious glass bowls, I’m waiting for him.

8:07 … he’ll call anytime from now… 8:55 . I get a message on my phone, it’s Jumoke. The message read “Babes *smiley face* . I go ahead to pour out my frustration to her. It takes her a while to understand it but when she does , SHE STARTS TO LAUGH HER HEART OUT

“Lol sorry, no vex abeg”

Is this not stupidity? If they’re calling women that have sense now, I’ll carry my ‘feminist’ self and be going. Because I wanted to do ‘surprise surprise’ that OGs can be sensitive too. I broke one rule that I never break.

9:30 … I’ll eat this soup with chilled Fanta o… 10:05. At this point I had started imagining the kind of speech I will give when I eventually talk to him. But come o, muwa bu Adanna , a whole me. I got stoop up when I had food to give! Which mouth will I use to tell people this one biko nu.

10:41… The food is not even doing me to eat again. Here I am. Sitting with bowl of nsala in front of me and I can’t bring myself to eat it. Mmmh. I slowly walk into the kitchen and place the bowl in the fridge gently. Some part of my mind knows after they beg and apologize I’ll bring it out and warm it up for him

11:05 … Kitchen lights are switched off. With a bottle of Fanta, I’m carrying myself to the room .

This single life sef.

P:S – I’m thinking of making this a series. What do you think 🤔 If you have any possible titles for the series too kindly drop them in the comments 😘

Sisters Who Walk This Path

We have walked this path before, this very road

We know when to stop,

where to turn

We have walked it so often we know it by heart

At the end , we pick our things and go back to the very beginning

Not for you, for somebody else

For every journey we embark on, there’s a silent prayer that goes with it

A prayer of hope, a prayer of ‘maybe’

A prayer of ‘just this one time’

Still at the end , we pick our things,

whatever’s left of us

And we go back to the very beginning

For somebody else

We have walked this path too often just as we have loved wrongly too often

Image: Pinterest

Sisi Eko

Gold and blonde highlights

Sitting in a chair in a barber’s shop along a busy road

Today’s the day I become a new person. I become my own person she thinks to herself

Staring at the mirror, watching him massage the mix into her hair

Nervous and excited at the same time

Make we wash am” , her black is all gone leaving a gold colour behind

From tip to root

Sisi mi is a new person

She would walk in between market stalls and feel the eyes following her

She would feel them and hear the words

She would demand attention, ‘such hair colour on such black skin’

She flags down a keke napep



She sits in front and holds for support

I would end up staring at the back of her head half of the time

Intrigued by such hair colour on such black skin

I don’t know her name so I call her Sisi mi

Sisi mi be daring , be unapologetically you

Sisi Eko, This is Lagos

If You’re Reading This …


I just want to be happy in this life

We should all be happy in this life

It’s easy to die Pam

I always wonder how people walk into the ocean just to die

It’s easy

You stand far from shore, you see the clapping waves that remind you of your mind’s current state

It’s scary,  but after a while it looks peacefully. Just peaceful, like it’s calling you to be at peace.

We should all be happy in this life Pam

We go to ocean to find peace, but not everyone comes back alive

Death comes in different forms and so does peace

May our peace not be in the bosom of death

– beach thoughts that turned into texts and became a poem (August 2017)