Lonely Hearts…

Lonely Hearts…

As usual, Laja is going on his evening run. She is drinking again. The woman who used to be his mother is now an empty shell; her vivacity having been devoured by the bottle she now values above all else. He has to escape. Slamming the door behind him, Laja begins to run, as if for his life. He runs faster and faster, suppressing the rage that is threatening to engulf him. All the energy he can muster was now in his legs. And they are taking him away from his sorrow.

***

Naima is walking aimlessly through a part of Lagos she does not recognise. A cacophony of Yoruba, Ibo and Pidgin surrounds her; yet she hears nothing except those words. They flash in her mind like strokes of lightning.

“I’m sorry. There’s nothing more we can do.”

The doctor’s voice reverberates in her mind as she takes one step, and another, and another. She is drifting. Her core, her anchor, her heart… He is gone. Numb and confused, she had walked out of the hospital she had called home for most of the eleventh year of her son‘s life. Now, she has no one.

***

A sudden pain seizes Laja’s left leg. His contracting calf muscles can no longer support him and he falls to the ground. He is blinded by pain, gripping the source of his agony tightly. Then he realises that he knocked somebody over. As he composes himself, he catches sight of his unlucky victim. She is more beautiful than any woman he has ever seen. Skin like caramel, hair like silk- Laja is lost for words. Then his eyes fall to her legs, exposed from the fall. They are long and graceful; lust begins to course through his veins. He catches himself staring and begins to stumble through an apology. Yet, she says nothing. He moves to help her up and pull down the boubou which exposes her flesh. Still, she says nothing. The beautiful stranger stares into space, unresponsive to the man trying so awkwardly to help her.

Some young boys are playing by the roadside, waving a Nigerian flag. They notice the spectacle and their curiosity is aroused. They look at one another with puzzled expressions on their faces, whispering and gesturing to one another before walking over to the odd couple. One of them cocks his head, and speaks.

“Ahn ahn, aunty… Why so sad now? Today is Independence Day…We dey celebrate!” He is no more than  ten years old.

Naima bursts into tears. Seeing her weep so terribly breaks Laja’s heart. He has never met this woman but feels a sense of responsibility towards her; a common sense of pain and loss. He holds her as she sobs violently while the confused kids look on. This day is one neither of them will ever forget.



11 thoughts on “Lonely Hearts…” by Funmi-F (@Funmi-F)

  1. Two people experiencing some kind of loss meet, presumably by coincidence. I like this.

    1. Yep… That basically sums it up. Thanks. :)

  2. Funmi, I can tell you are a natural. I am moved to vote for you but my selfish hands will only do that if you vote for me too..lol. Nice piece. You are a writer. Keep it up.

  3. Very deep story. Amidst the celebrations, individual lives everywhere are going on. Sadness, joy, frustrations, escapes, etc. Life doesn’t stop because Nigeria is 50.
    Very nice, Funmi.

  4. I echo Uche’s sentiments…bittersweet…how fate throws two people together…who knows where it will go???

    LOVELY.

  5. I like this, very much. I like the fact that you went beyond the ‘Independence day’ thingy and got down to the lives of the people in the ‘independent’ country. I really really like that. Good job!

  6. Thanks a lot, guys… I would appreciate some constructive criticism as well. I feel like it needs some work, can’t quite put my finger on it sha…

    1. Only you can tell that…because you saw/see the story you want to tell…maybe you did not tell it all…we can only see what you show us…and it’s lucid enough for us to get the gist…get it…?

      1. Hmmm… Good point… **Hand on chin in deep thought**

  7. I echo Lade and Yetitweets; life definitely doesn’t end because Nigeria’s 50.

    I’m wondering though at Laja’s reaction to Naima; why lust, onsidering he’s running as a sort of recourse to his pain?

    1. I was thinking of that part as a gut reaction… The first thing he felt when he saw her- like something that shocked him out of his reverie… A contrast to the emotions she stirred in him when she broke down…

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