Apple

Apple

Lulufa Vongtau

Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The trouble makers. The round pegs in square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the one thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do. Apple Inc. 1997 advert.

 

“Its time to go.” Yemisi said.  It was still dark outside. The city was rousing from its hibernation. In the distance, she could hear bus conductors energetically screaming their lungs out, as if the commuters would patronize the loudest. Several muezzins were already enthusiastically calling the faithful to prayer, their multiple loudspeakers echoing eerily across the city, also competing. Therein was a lesson in the greatest city in the world. Competition was everything. People were always competing, always in a hurry. There was no rest. For the wicked or for the godly.

She stretched out her hand to her daughter. Simi’s face was downcast, fiddling with a rather big locket on a slim gold chain around her neck. She was dressed smartly in jeans and a t-shirt, the winter wear tucked away in the rucksack secured around her shoulders. Yemisi looked over her daughter with pride. At thirteen she already had the face and figure females from her side of the family were renowned for. She would make a deserving man happy one day, Yemisi thought. Simi disengaged a slim hand from around her neck and took her mother’s hand. Her face was inscrutable. The taxi was already, blowing his horn. She did not look at her father, Dare who was sitting at the table. Seemingly relaxed, he was smoking menthols. Simi knew he had been up all night, and he never smoked that much, but yet on the table beside the ashtray  were two empty London White menthol packets.

“Your passport and tickets are in your bag Apple?” His voice was surprisingly soft for such a bear of a big man. He had always called her that, Apple. She had thought at one time that it was here real name. Simi nodded but reached behind and felt one of the rucksacks pockets, just as he had always thought her to confirm and re confirm things.

“We are good to go then. The Lord be with you Simi.” Simi faltered. Her father was not a religious man, but for as long as she remembered, he always took her to church, actually, her earliest memories were of him sitting outside of the church waiting for her to be done with Sunday School. She looked at Yemisi, then with a tightening of her jawline, she walked out of the door, head held high. She did not say goodbye. Yemisi said her formal goodbyes and stepped out of the house into the balmy dawn. How she hated that house. She was never ever unhappy to dust her feet of it. In a few moments, daughter and mother were ensconced at the back of the taxi, and soon it navigated its slow, sure way through Lagos traffic towards the international airport, both of them lost in their thoughts.

 

Yemisi Dada was without a doubt the finest, shapeliest girl when ‘Jambites’ finished registration. She quickly stood out on campus, witty, intelligent, full of energy, always doing something new. She was from a rather well to do home so it came as no surprise when she started using a car on campus, the perks of an over indulgent father. What was a surprise was when she started hanging out with Dare Farotade, a campus activist who sported a Che Guevara beard and talked in esoteric Marxist sounding jargon. She found him refreshingly different, original, unspoiled and unsullied, maybe even arrogantly disgusted at her wealth and that excited her greatly, so she pursued him with all of her heart.  Dare  was a person who  rejected many of the conventional standards and customs of society, one who advocated liberalism in sociopolitical attitudes and lifestyles. And he drew into his world of economics, politics and liberalism. He would talk knowledgeably of Henry David Thoreau, Hillel the Elder, Jesus, Buddha, St. Francis of Assisi, Gandhi, and J.R.R. Tolkien and in the same vein of Awolowo, Sarduana, Azikiwe and a pantheon of lesser known gods. And there were the days, she would scale the fence of the boys hostel,  get high on palm wine and cannabis and they  would make love for hours and hours, locked in his tiny one bed only room. He was larger than life then, a force of nature to whom  lower beings worshipped. Yes even then he was the unspoken leader of his tribe of bushy bearded philosophers.  They were going to change the world or at least Nigeria. There was Peter, now a professor of nuclear physics at Harvard, Maji, owner of several oil blocks and a small telecommunications outfit, there was Nike, who went on to be the only Nigerian on the Forbes 100 list,  there was Hassan who was currently a deputy central bank governor. So many of them in so many successful positions in society.  She looked back at those days with a nostalgic mix of regret and misguided idealism. Dare however, was Dare. Dare never grew up, still haunted by a dangerous mixture of idealism and child like curiosity. Disgusted at his former colleagues for having abandoned the ‘struggle’ he had retreated to a hermit like life. She sighed. She had to grow up. Abruptly, two years after she married him, a year after she gave birth to Simi, she served him divorce papers and moved to the United States. Alone.

 

She had kept touch over the years, the printed pictures Dare posted in big manila envelops of Simi, graduating becoming digital ones he emailed, chronicling the seasons of Simi’s life.  Her first walk, drinking from a cup with both hands, her small head almost obscured by the giant cup, feeding herself with a plastic spoon staring defiantly into the camera. In a way, those were the watersheds in her life too Yemisi thought. It was hard not being there to mother Simi, but she had lost so much time playing at life that she gulped it in, taking huge breaths of it like oxygen. Information Communication Technology was new and she grabbed it like Simi grabbed the cup with two hands demanding sustenance from what was in it. And Yemisi grew. And grew. And grew.

She met Grant, a shy  fiercely smart Greater Boston boy who was half Native American and  who seemed to be genuinely interested in her mind and she married him. Three years after with no kids, her mind began transversing the thousands of miles back home to Simi. The third time she woke up sweating from a nightmare, Grant thoughtfully, quietly bought her a return plane ticket to Lagos.

The times passed, a blurr, she remembered the first time she saw Simi after a decade had passed, she remembered thier first ‘date’ together, watching a movie at a huge new multiplex in Lagos, filled with long uncomfortable silences. Yemisi remembered Simi’s almost ethereal dissociation with the trappings of wealth. Cars, jewellry, overseas trips, big screen TVs, even the gadgets of the now generation: iPads, cellphones, laptops and the like. She was in many ways the superhuman thing that Dare had concocted to change the world. Yemisi tried to explain to the young girl that life was not like that, that one could change the world only in little bits. But she was her fathers daughter. The years passed.

 

Ω

            Yemisi knocked at her daughters door.

“Dinner is ready sweetheart.”

Seconds later the door opened as if she had been waiting for the call. Yemisi looked over her daughter once again. It was as if five years had not passed. She was devastatingly beautiful and had fleshed out in all the right African faces, but her face was like it had been from the very first day she landed in Massachusetts. She had adapted well, spoke ‘Americanese’ with a soft almost nostalgic lilt, and was one of the top three academically at school. But she floundered socially. And she never once took off the gold chain. Yemisi looked down. She couldnt bring herself to stare at those honest eyes, eyes that were older that the world. eyes thta belonged to a creature, a specie not of this world. And she knew she had lost. Not that she ever competed with Dare. No it was not Dare. It was the everlasting battle between accepting the status quo and the crazy ones who pushed the world. This one, her daughter was one of the crazy ones, destined to change things. America was the land of opportunity, and God knows she had tried to give her daughter all she wanted. Love, a home, material things…she was too much like her father.

 

“I made a mistake baby, your place isn’t with me. I loved him once and perhaps inside of me there is still a little left of that love. I see how you long for him and God knows I know he loves you to bits. I think it is time for you to go home.”

For the first time in almost five years Simi Farotade smiled. A genuine smile. The apple was on her way home.apple



22 thoughts on “Apple” by Lulu (@Lulu)

  1. Wow. this is a very lovely piece but i cant shake the feeling that this was too much telling. This definitely needed to be drawn out. A novella at least. You can hardly do justice to yen characters in such little space. Was well written though and different. Well done. (please do this more often, writng once a semester is unpardonable!)

  2. @nicolebassey i honestly did not think of that! I was watching the 2500 word count, but as usual, you make sense and that is good! Maybe one day i will write a book of short stories and expand on this! Thanks dear, you are a gem! Ok onother one on its way this ‘semester’ lol

  3. This is a well written story @lulu. It’s tight bar some typo. Please keep them coming. More power to you,man.

  4. Lulu, it’s been ages. Guess you are doing good.
    You sure told a fresh story. Nicole talked about the main thing; felt like there were missing parts, maybe cos we didn’t get to really feel or get into the lives of your characters properly.
    It had typos that don’t belong in a Vongtau piece, so check out the manuscript once again.
    Well done, Lulu. $ß.

  5. @sibbylwhyte Yesso Im good. Caught up in looking foe daily bread. Thanks for asking and for the kind coments. As for the typos, too late, so Im going to watch out for the future. @leroy thanks.

  6. Daireen (@daireenonline)

    Really good story telling. Watch the typos though, too many of ’em in the writ.

    Kudos.

    1. @daireenonline that was most kind of you. You’re a better person than me lol. Any ways I appreciate your stopping my. You and Dairy of a Lagos Playboy guy, inspired me to write something called “Fools Die”, and hopefully in a couple of days when @admin gets through to it, he will publish it. Be well.

  7. Lovely story n wuld have wished 4 more.

    1. @jade69, thank you, I think its a lovely story too, ha ha ha. Infact for a 2500 word count its a very lovely story. my head dey swell like gari wey dem put water. Thnks again.

  8. i didnt really feel this…maybe because we weren’t allowed to get a feel of the characters…so many questions hanging.. why was she different? in what ways? what about Dare? did he not do well? why did yemisi divorce her? simi did not say goodbye to the dad, why? was she angry at him or just sad? so many things that would have made the story richer….i was looking forward to something more..like ”jesus of sports hall” standard…

    also there were typos, and wrong punctuations… hope you are not losing your touch?

    1. @topazo Im sad you didn’t feel it, but happy you told me your mind. Like I said, I was looking at the 2500 word count, but again that’s no excuse. As for loosing it, nah, I know exactly what I’m doing. I travel a lot and write on a variety of mediums an iPad, a Playbook, a laptop and sometimes believe it or not, on an iPhone. Then I usually deposit it in Dropbox or Springpad and go back to it when the muse calls.As you can guess, keeping track of edits can be crazy. I was challenged to put out new product hence my carelessness. But thanks still, but really i thought I addressed why Yemisi divorced Dare? He refused to grow up. Dare never ‘did well’ because he felt pursuing a capitalism route to success was a betrayal of his beliefs n ideals. Thanks for visiting though, you gave me some food for thought.

  9. @Lulu, welldone. I think you did really well putting all these in without going over the word count. I was hoping for more though, I thought there was another part to it somewhere.
    All the same, good work. I hope to read more of your work.

    1. Thank you much! I kinda like details but realise that i can be sperflous! So keeping to a word count keeps me grounded! For future work maybe I can let loose and serialise but Im also a bit impatient and think people dont like serials a lot,

      1. @Lulu, people love series here on NS and that is what seems to get readers buying the latest issues of fiction magazines (overhere). I was against series as well before I started one. It is doing well in terms of views. Check out writers like @Mimiadebayo, @Ayoks, Daireenonline and Sanjules.
        Their series pull in people because the site is full of readers who love to read.
        I think you will make a good serial writer. From what I have seen from this, you know how to create rich characters and engaging themes.
        Anyway, if we can’t tempt you, whatever you write next, I will still be reading. Welldone again.

  10. Your reputation precedes your Sir. I enjoyed reading this piece and whatever errors I noticed, have been pointed out.
    Hope your muse calls you more often.
    Kudos!

    1. Reputation ke? Lol! I appreciate your kind words! And I just went through some of your stuff! Excellente! ns just got exciting to me again

  11. And hey, people don’t like serials because of the suspense.But give them a very great and captivating story and they’ll follow like dogs to bone.

  12. err, am I seeing this correctly? some 2030 views? must be some glitch

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