Love, in a mortar…

Love, in a mortar…

I don’t believe in marriage. Not really. I like my space, so having one special person for the rest of my life is scary and too close for comfort.

My sister, Hadiza, got married two years ago. I enjoyed watching the women dress her up. The dark purple indigo marks on her palms and feet, the gold bangles and ankle chains, she even got a new nose ring! She looked good, even though I didn’t want her to be married. I guess she was just that sort of person, always running after me to give me a hug. I’m her only brother and she loves me to bits.

I have just returned from a grueling semester in my first year in school, and I’m at Hadiza’s for the weekend. Pounded yam is for dinner, and I’m watching the who-gets-to-pound-the-yam drama unfold before my eyes.

A blend of modern and conservative, Hadiza loves to pound yam and cook assorted soups for dinner, even after a long day at the hospital. Today, she has a different idea.

“Ahmed dear, today I’m delegating responsibility.” she says to her husband, a twinkle in her eyes. She grabs his hand and pulls him off the sofa.

“Delegating? I don’t get it.” he steadies himself, almost knocking over the bowl of kola nuts on the glass table.

“You pound the yam and I cook the soup.” She says, pointing a cute little manicured finger at him.

Ahmed almost bursts into laughter, but catches himself just  in time.

“You’re serious?”

“Yep! This way please.” she sashays into the kitchen. Ahmed follows closely behind, like a sheep to the slaughter.

I follow too, greatly amused.

The well fitted kitchen is spick and span, as Hadiza likes it. I look over his shoulders; the ingredients for the soup are laid out on the kitchen table, the yam cooking on the stove.

He scratches his head, “Huh, we could use a pounding machine, babes, don’t you think?” his voice is weak.

She strikes a masculine pose and says in a near bass voice, “If I have to eat it, it has to be right, mama’s way!”

“Oh! C’mon, forget what I said sweetie, don’t make me, please.” Ahmed looks like he would cry. I stifle the laughter that threatens to bubble up from my throat, so much for being ‘the man’.

Hadiza reaches into the kitchen store and brings out the traditional mortar and pestle. I can’t believe my eyes. Will he do it? I wouldn’t if I were him; I’d find a way around it.

She smiles into his face, such sweet wickedness.

She sets up the contraption and I watch my macho brother-in-law slug it out in the backyard with a mortar and pestle. The yam has to be pounded hot, but he complains so much, the whole thing is near frozen before he starts to hit it hard.

“Oh Ahmed, you don’t have to worry. We’ll it eat it anyway, bad or not.” she is being so overtly dramatic, it’s fun to watch.

The soup is ready in no time and we settle down to eat. Gosh! I have never had a pounded yam meal so horrible, the mound is hard as a rock, and I could actually build a mud house with it! Hadiza eats it all up. Ahmed looks so embarrassed, I’m hurt.

I hear them giggling and laughing into the night as I lay on my bed.  Maybe it isn’t so bad after all, this marriage thing.

My tummy, already assaulted by such a ghastly meal, does a triple summersault as the thought settles in my mind.

I make a mental note to decide for or against it as I hurry to the loo!

83 thoughts on “Love, in a mortar…” by RemiRoy (@RemiRoy)

  1. You always write very well. Well, marriage is a good thing as long as the right person is involved. With the wrong persons, the yam and soup drama would have being a month’s fight. Really enjoyed the story. Keep it up.

    1. I agree Jay. More than a month’s fight!

  2. Fred .C. Nwonwu (@Fredrick-chiagozie-Nwonwu)

    Remi Again! I don’t need to tell you how good you are. You always tell the story your way and it always comes out fine. I however found it hard associating pounded yam with and Ahmed and a Hadiza, but na my stereotype bi dat sha – my brain kept running to Tuwo masara. KUDUS nyarinya.

    1. Lol, Fred. I knew that would come up.
      Hmmm, lets just say Hadiza is a very open minded wife. :)
      Na gode!



  4. Lol! Just another day in married life.
    Remi, you always deliver.

    1. Yeah, one of many. Hmmm, You sound like you can really relate. lol :)
      Thanks dear.

  5. This a piece…me like…though an Hausa name for the pounding of yam…well….

    1. Thanks Treasured1.
      Hmmm, well… :)

  6. Nice one Remi; plenty to learn from this!

  7. Wow, this is very good. It packs a good punch in spite of – or maybe because of – the short length. Well done. Kudos to you. This makes me want to get married tomorrow – well, almost. Lol.

    1. Makes you wanna get married? By all means do. Lol :)
      Thanks. Glad you like.

  8. Very beautifully written.Well done!

    1. Thanks Berry. Glad you think so!

  9. Although I think you may need to watch the cliche use.

    1. Oh, ok. Cliche? Which Pls?

      1. …like a sheep to the slaughter
        …spick and span.

  10. Well written as usual, @RemiRoy, but I can’t help feeling that there’s something missing… there’s no single event that would happen that make Hadiza’s brother feel that marriage was a good thing, given his views on traditional roles of men and women.

    1. Thanks TolaO. I get your point. The MC is kinda undecided about Marriage. he doesn’t feel comfortable with the idea, surely, but he’s not a total Hater(with a capital H) you get my point? The first line explains that a tiny little bit, if you notice.
      As per wanting to ‘probably’ change his mind about marriage generally, I guess those giggles in the middle of the night, when he actually expected a row, did get to him a little. :)

  11. ROY! Reading you is always a pleasure… the way you put your thing together, I don’t know o… I’m hooked anyhow!

    1. Thanks Tee! You know the feeling is mutual, don’t you? ;) :)

  12. What can I say again? This is the kind os story that I like, simple mundane everyday occurences told beautifully.

    Well done!!!

    1. Thanks Ope. Thanks.

  13. Yep, yep and yep… Beautiful language…

  14. you this girl,you never cease to amaze me,love reading ur stuff,it’s always too fine and creative and this is one of it,good romance..
    I’m hooked.

    1. Thanks Gretel. I’m glad you’re always along for the ride. :)

  15. Always a pleasure, RemiRoy, to read your stuff. It’s told with a touch of youthful humor, such that you actually believe they were the words of a true-life young girl indecisive about marital issues! Ok, enough big grammar, me I like! Didn’t get the comment about cliches, absolutely thought you write very fresh and clean, so don’t think of changing babes!

      1. Semantics, berry, semantics :P. Never heard of “old girl” either, have you?? Lol, sorry to use a “cliche”, but you seem to like splitting hairs a lot. Okay seriously, you know what I meant: would have used “young lady” or “young woman”, but that I’d felt that would still be too oldish for the “narrator” who really sounds very youthful. Geez, u do know how to cause a good wind-up :P. Roflol.

        1. Marya, I think that what Berry means is that the narrator is male.

          1. Thank you,TolaO…for helping me out of this one because that’s exactly what I meant.
            …and Marya’s now obvious that “young woman”,”young lady” ,”good windup”, “roflol” and “splitting hairs” do not apply because I simply do not know what you’re talking about!

            1. It’s all good y’all. It happens.
              Thanks :)

              1. RemiRoy, pls do clarify once and for all ooo (bc me I no too like wahala :P) I really thot the person telling us the story was a female, as in the younger sister of the bride. I mean if he was her brother, wouldn’t he have helped her with the pounding??

                @ berry f.
                “Thank you,TolaO…for helping me out of this one because that’s exactly what I meant.
                …and Marya’s now obvious that “young woman”,”young lady” ,”good windup”, “roflol” and “splitting hairs” do not apply because I simply do not know what you’re talking about!”

                Woah, relax. First off I was picking out your comment about cliches, and was reassuring RR that I thot it fresh as a matter of fact. Then you went “young girl” on me, and I automatically thought you were doing the “correct grammar” thing again. Take it easy babes, we’re all here to learn. I try not to say anything negative unless I truly have to or if it’ll help the writer. In short, if I have nothing good to say, I say nothing. Anyway, cheers.

  16. Ah, thanks Marya. I truly appreciate the kind words.
    And no, ain’t thinking of changing. :)

  17. hmmm. Bad pounded yam or not, my husband is my husband. I think our narrator ought to be sold with that. Nice, remi, nice.

    1. Lol, nice way of putting it. thanks Fab!

  18. @marya kudos – There’s this saying that ‘laughter can’t make a man fall, man intentionally falls for laughter (possibly to impress the guy who told the joke)’. First of all it was mentioned that it was a ‘brother’. The way the story was told also read like it was a guy telling the story. Possibly by a female writer (remiroy). Now, it’s either the couple really love each other or were made for each other or the marriage’s still ‘shacking’ them. Back to the saying, the wife just wanted to spend some time with the husband in the kitchen. Possibly, like one of my female pals’ll say, there was too much ‘mother in the kitchen cooking rice, father in the parlour watching film’. So, see it like the wife merely wanted more time with the husband. That was the way me saw it. New wrapper, as they say, makes you urinate a lot in church. So, the character is male. My opinion though.

  19. Jaywriter, don’t know if you’re being funny or not?? Or rude?? RemiRoy being the courteous and intelligent individual that she is, pointed out in her reply that “it’s all good and these things happen” I’m a fast reader and I skim a lot, comes from reading a highly theoretical course where you need to pick the “gist” of things without reading line by line. More careful study of the post showed that indeed, the reader said he was her only brother. Without that, I would have been hell-bent on saying it was a girl speaking because it felt very effeminate, maybe because, I knew it was a female that wrote it.

    That said, you can spare me the veiled insults, I’d have thought you were smarter than all that “laughter and falling” or the “new wrapper, urinating in church” crap. There was no harm meant in any of my posts, simple good natured repartee – well, until your last post. You’ve really fallen in my estimation, I gave you more credit than that.

  20. Guys, easy! Cannot have two of my favorite NS people at odds with each other.
    @Marya, Jay is never rude. That much i know. He can be tongue-in-the-cheek sarcastic but not insultive.
    @Jaywriter – please explain what you meant and apologise for expressing yourself the wrong way to Marya.
    Now both of you hug, kiss and make up! And then go back to writing more poems and romance stories for me!

    1. Thanks Lade! I’m usually never hot-headed myself, no matter the provocation – however I guess some things were lost in translation here! And as you know, I’m a lover, not a fighter :P. Peace it is then ;)!

  21. funny,very funny,well I know Jay too well and ???.
    Marya,pls,you’re goin o’er the top and seeing Jay wrongly,just take it easy ok.
    Like you

  22. Think marya really misunderstood me so much oh. The two proverbs were proverbs intended to explain why the wife wanted the husband to do the yam. Marya, na your numero uno fan you just mouth-lash like this oh. Forget me ever wrote that comment please. Sorry oh. Me aint rude oh. Just a nerd who clearly has more internet than he’s supposed to. So ends up writing crap that doesn’t make sense. Marya, hope we’re okay? Marya marya, think of zed oh. And abby, sorry gabby. Please tell me you’ve forgiven?

    1. Lol, now why did you have to bring Zed/Gabby/abby into this :D. Hmm, you apologize very sweetly, so. . .I should say sorry too, there was obviously a mix-up somewhere! And about the mouth-lashing, gosh, I’m usually never like that!! I’m never ever vexed, so when I do get angry – uh oh. Anyway, water under the bridge, Jaywriter. Now we can get back to being pals **wink**.

      1. Thanks marya. Wink wink accepted. Back to being pals and your numero uno fan as well. Lade and gretel, thanks too. Now admin oughtu to consider suspending me from the site for two weeks.

        1. Awww, tnx guys for ‘peaceing’ it out, I’ll hate to think this happened on my account :(
          Thanks everyone, I really love NS peeps!
          blessed are the peacemakers for they shall inherit the earth! :) lol

  23. Now the lady in remi’s story wanted his skinny or chubby hubby to build some muscles. So she used that particular exercise to get things done. Somebody mentioned if there was enough to make someone wanna marry, not exactly that but something like that, think it was sweet for both of them to do kitchen together. Later no do bedroom together too. They act a lot like kids with each other and think that’s what some people need in a marriage.

  24. this story was properly written and had me smiling at the end of it…nice work :)

    1. Thanks dear. Glad :)

  25. Clearly too much internet @Jay
    @Marya…sorry chick,I shouldn’t have been so ….accept my sincerest apologies.

    1. @berry, no biggie :). Nothing like a little controversy to spice things up on NS :P! Ok seriously, thanks babes.

  26. Wow!! I can see a lot of drama here and I like it a lot! lol…what’s life without some good old drama eh?
    @remiroy..babe…short and sweet…that’s my take..i always look forward to reading your work…

    1. Lol, Estrella, the spice of life huh? ;)
      Thanks for liking and the kind words :)

  27. wow…’triple summersault’. i get that sometimes. well told story. iLike!

    1. Thanks Clinton make that ‘double-triple-summersault’ Lol.
      Thanks a lot!

  28. @RemiRoy, em, I fear that there IS something amiss in this short piece… can’t lay a finger on it. Damn this critic streak that I don’t have, darnnn!!! :(

    Well, this story is too simple, too ordinary for me. I believe you just mentioned the early stages of marriage, how ‘giddy’ that can be, even though your narrator’s first lines told me that he isn’t a believer of marriage. Maybe you wanted to refute those first lines in your narrative.

    Though this piece was well told and well written, it is a piece that I would read only once and never again. That ‘twist’ isn’t there for me, sorry. Good work, though, and good storytelling. Impressive! :)

  29. Thanks Emmanuella!

    1. Hey, don’t thank me just yet, @RemiRoy. I don’t think I’ve done enough critcising here. My bad! *duh*

      1. Is it only me that is thinking what I’m thiniking?

        1. Berry, berry. What thinkest thou o?

          1. Hmmmn, Remi, make we talk that one for camera!!!

  30. Nah! I’ll say thank you. Not just for saying it’s well written but for the whole critique, the little you’ve done.
    The intention is to make me better init? Then why not? I’m a good sport, really. So please feel free to come back anytime.
    Thanks again.

  31. @Remi…I dont think you should bother, really!!

  32. I like the story especially becos i can relate to it. Gud one Remi, ur grammar as usual is flawless and as someone noted about cliches, a short story is a small space to have more than one, i used to do it and i’m learning to drop them too.

  33. Thanks-a-plenty Elly.
    I’ll sure watch that.

  34. Short and sweet. Good psychological buidup: Hadiza’s brother would find a way around pounding the yam, therefore, he should not be asked if the couple would still get to giggling in bed at night. This makes Hadiza sensitive and calculating. After all, she loves her brother to bits, so he is reduced to a non-participant observer. Hmmm. Keep it up, Remy.

  35. @jeff, thanks! Glad you like this.

  36. i dih this big time..big up to u!

  37. hey have u guys tasted yam balls? u boil the yam and partially pound it (the result will look like what Remi et al ate for dinner)then u mould them into balls with yr hands and fry like you would plantain. my dad prepared it for dinner one day. nice piece Remi, tastes like fried yam balls:sweet.

  38. this is a very good story and i personally love it. nice build up. i noted however that you struggled with maintaining the present continuous tense, i would have suggested you re-write with the past tense and end with the present tense…its just an opinion though.

    this line;..Hadiza reaches into the kitchen store..
    reaches-suggests just stretching the hand across a short distance but… into the kitchen store?…. well i don’t know

  39. @matthew i hope you are kidding?

  40. lol@ matthew. i’m not surprised. :)

  41. this made me laugh alot, funny stuff… giving him a taste of wot she goes thru makes an amusing read..well done Remi

    1. Hey Meena. Long time. Thanks!

  42. Great story. Sounds real and convincing too. Just one problem: is this story supposed to be the premise for the narrator’s choice to be married or not? I didn’t get that.

  43. I loved the tail all the way. Its one side of the “Marriage thing”…which of course has other sides.
    Thumbs up

  44. RemiRoy thanks i’ve laughed to tears… well done

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