Staying Put

Staying Put

STAYING PUT

It sounded like someone was crying.

Omololu listened quietly for a moment and was sure someone was crying. And the sounds were coming from the couple next door. Maybe the man had been beating his wife again.

He clenched his twelve year old fists as he felt a small spurt of anger. Maybe the man was as blind as his mother had suggested when he mentioned it to her and father over dinner. She had explained to him what she had meant by ‘blind’, because he had said he had seen the man and there was nothing wrong with his eyes. She had said that sometimes people do not see just how valuable the things they had were until they lost them. That was the kind of blind she meant.

He understood that, because he had considered himself too grown up to be friends with Tunji so he ignored the boy consistently until the accident.

A frown appeared on Omololu’s smooth young face and he shifted his attention back to the sobbing and snuffling sounds that were coming through the window. He thought there was something strange about them, and then he realised; they were different from the heart-rending sobs he was used to hearing. These ones were; well…unusual. He thought for a moment, and then walked to the doorway, stood on tiptoes and opened the door.

Immediately the sobbing ceased and he could hear footsteps hurrying towards the door. Before he could think of what to say the door opened and the man was looking at him. His disappointment was evident as his face took on a hopeless look and his shoulders sagged. He sighed deeply and asked Omololu why he was not in school, after apologising for nearly poking out the young boy’s eye with the scrap of paper he clenched tightly in his right fist. Omololu looked at him closely, wondering at his puffy eyes and runny nose. He looked like he just woke up except he was dressed for work. Then he remembered he had just been asked a question and responded that it was their mid-term break at school. He asked for the man’s wife.

The man starred vacantly into space for a moment, and then handed Omololu the piece of paper, turning abruptly and walking back into the house. He stood there for a moment looking at the man’s departing back, and then read the note:

 

“I love you but I hate the beatings. I

am tired of trying to cope with both. Living
with you has become a plague and it’s not
my fault. I dreamt of you as a father and I a
mother.”
-Goodbye.

 

Serves him right; was Omololu’s immediate reaction after finishing the note. And then he looked around guiltily. He could recall his father telling him to never make fun of people when it looked as if they were being punished for what they did wrong, because everybody makes mistakes, therefore everybody deserves a second chance.

A second chance. That was she was thinking when she left the clue she did in the note, but he was sure the man had not seen it; else he would have run after her. That is if his grief was genuine. Omololu slowly stepped into the house and closed the door behind him, wondering why the interior of the house was so cold. He went past a living room that suddenly looked bare and into the dinning room. There he saw the man sitting at the table staring at an empty plate. It was on his tongue to ask the man if he was trying to conjure food onto the plate after he had sent away the one person who had always made sure that there was always something there..and then clapped his hand over his mouth. What would his mum think?

The man had not noticed anything, staring at the plate some more and then stretching his open hand towards Omololu with a heavy sigh. Omololu made to hand the note over and not say anything – and considered again. He did not really like the man but he was her husband and she loved him; or at least she had to, to leave the obvious clue she had. He smiled. At least he was smarter than the man was in that regard.

He spread the note open, but instead of handing it over he pushed himself none too gently into the man’s laps, ignoring his feeble protest, placed the note on the table and grabbed the man’s hand, using his forefinger to touch the words:

 

“I love you but I hate the beatings. I

am tired of trying to cope with both. Living
with you has become a plague and it’s not
my fault. I dreamt of you as a father and I a
mother.”
-Goodbye.

 

The finger that had been stiff moments before suddenly relaxed as the man leaned forward to peer closely at the words, and then suddenly grabbed Omololu from behind, hugging him tightly. The boy was embarrassed, and thinking about the cartoon Boondocks particularly the character Riley, shrugged the man off, climbing down from his lap and muttering something about a hug from a man being ‘gay’.

 

The car screeched to a stop outside a small nice-looking bungalow just like the one granny and grandpa lived in over at Ibadan. The man looked at Omololu as he scooped cold ice-cream from the bucket, dumped it into his mouth and licked his fingers happily. He grinned and rubbed on Omololu’s head, said something about coming back very soon and got out of the car.

Maybe if he had not been so preoccupied with the ice cream he would have noticed what the man was carrying in his right hand. But despite all his intelligence Omololu was still a twelve year old boy who happened to be enjoy a one – liter bucket of Supreme Ice-Cream, and as if that was not enough he was thinking about a lot of things. He was thinking about how he would tell his friends; especially that Olashile girl about how he had singlehandedly saved a marriage. He was thinking about how proud his mum would be of him once they found out too. He was thinking about how creamy and cold the ice-cream felt on his tongue – at the same time wondering why the man had stopped at a place on their way here. A place that had a low fence around it and a rusty gate that served as the entrance. A place that was filled with overgrown weeds, with white crosses and tablets sticking out of the ground. He wondered…and then there was the ice cream.

So he was not paying any attention; not even when he heard the distant ring of a doorbell. But of course he registered all the sounds, so when he heard the door open he looked up to see a kindly looking old woman who was wearing glasses on her nose. He couldn’t see her expression clearly but it did not look like she was too happy to see the man. And then she looked over her shoulder, and within moments the woman came to stand beside her. The older woman looked from the younger woman to the man, and then walked back into the house. That was when he realised that the man had been standing with one hand behind his back. He leaned forward to look closer, the ice cream forgotten for the moment and then saw that the man was carrying something tightly coiled up in a ball…something that was dark brown. As he brought the hand forward, Omololu finally knew what it was.

 

A leather belt.

 

Suddenly frightened, he scrambled from his seat and out of the car, dumping the bucket on his seat. He was going to beat her in her mother’s house! Now he was thinking of how his parents would react if they found out that he had been responsible for revealing where the man’s wife was and he had come to beat her. Not for a moment did it occur to him that he could not stop the man from doing whatever it was he had set out here to do. He rushed round the car to dash up the small pathway to the house – when he saw something that made him pause and cover his eyes.

The man was on his knees in front of the woman, offering the belt to her. She was standing, mouth open in surprise, and then she covered her mouth with her left hand as tears started from her eyes. She reached forward with her right hand, took the belt slowly from the man’s outstretched hands and dropped on her knees in front of him. Then they hugged one another fiercely.

Omololu sniffed, slightly startled by the wetness he could feel on his cheek. He turned around quietly, wondering why he had dumped his ice cream over nothing, hoping he had not spilled any of it and muttering something about a man who kneeled down for a woman being definitely ‘gay’.

 

 

Author’s note: it is with heart in mouth I paste this here. It is a sequel of sorts to that Scopeman’s story Walk Away Or Stay Put. It inspired this. I didn’t like it…I still don’t but…If you like the story, all kudos to Scopeman for creating an incredible story. If you don’t…BLAME ME.

 

 

 



73 thoughts on “Staying Put” by Seun-Odukoya (@Seun-Odukoya)

  1. Ur story is definitely great. Touching I must say because not all abused women do ever have the courage to leave home when they feel it is too much to bear. I hv a correction to make – … boy who happened to be “enjoying”- not “enjoy”. More kudos to you.

    1. Thank you ‘Xter’…

      Waitaminute….XTER?!?!?!

  2. Seun,this is a great story.I like the telling from the boy’s point of view and the different twists.You had me a the edge of my seat.However, I don’t believe that somebody who beats his wife with a belt can have such a sudden change of heart.If it were to happen,it would take time.Domestic violence cases don’t usually have happy endings.

    1. Jef…thank you so much for taking the time and understanding.

      I think if you read the first part it would make more sense to you…

      Thank you.

  3. I believe that a wife beater could av a change of hart. I liked the moral of this story.
    u must really have hated this story cos there was little attn to structurn and tenses…major grammatical errors.

    e.g
    That was the kind of blind she meant…blindness
    He understood that, because he had considered himself too grown up to be friends with Tunji so he ignored the boy consistently until the accident…who’s Tunji? what accident?
    …a man just hands a letter of that kind to a twelve year old boy? couldn’t buy that.
    ‘That was she was thinking’…
    this ur twelve year old is really a genius. I couldn’t find him believeable.

    plz, don’t tell me next time that u don’t like ur story…u took the time to write it.

    edit! edit! edit!

    1. If the story has problems…I don’t think they’re the ones you pointed out. The story is structured that way because I was telling it from the perspective of a twelve-year old.

      He gave the boy the letter because 1. His wife is fond of him. 2. He was disoriented.

      The character’s not believable? Hm…you’d be surprised at the reasoning faculties of these kids.
      try reading ‘Disliking Tasha Deviril’ or something like that. You’d be surprised.

      Thank you for taking the time. Thank you for your observations.

      Thank you for…everything else.

    2. shai (@shaifamily)

      add this:

      “That was she was thinking when she left the clue she did in the note, but he was sure the man had not seen it….”

      “But despite all his intelligence Omololu was still a twelve year old boy who happened to be enjoy a one – liter bucket of Supreme Ice-Cream, and as if that was not enough he was thinking about a lot of things.”

      I am sure you can spot the grammatical errors.

      Fine job man.

      1. Thanks man…lady…haemaphrodite….

        1. Stop That! Right this minute!
          Lol.

          1. And if I don’t…?

            Sue me. Better yet…?

            Bite me.

  4. @Adaobi. It is possible to write a story/article and not like it…..happens to me all the time.

    I loved reading this through the eyes of a child. Funny way children have of interpreting events.

    1. Thank you Tamara.

      Shey?

  5. Yes staying put only when the belt is dropped, wife beaters simply have no excuse. God help all women in such predicaments. Nice one!I liked the boy’s telling but oversharp dy worry am.

    1. Yeah abi?

      I kinda feel that way too o…:(…

      Thank you jo.

      1. (“‘”) (“‘”)
        ( ) (“””””) ( )
        ( ) ( () ) ( )
        (__”‘”) (______) (__”””)

        1. Em…do you speak ‘Star Trek’ too…?

              1. Whiz my broda…how did u manage that. I want to learn that lingo o!

  6. loved the story. at a point I thought the guy had a gun.
    I noticed some grammatical errors too and I don’t think it is due to the POV e.g

    But despite all his intelligence Omololu was still a twelve year old boy who happened to be enjoy a one – liter bucket of Supreme Ice-Cream

    I think that should be who happened to be enjoying

  7. @Elly… I totally agree with you! How can a boy of that age be that smart?
    @Seun… Nice one!

    1. Maybe the boy is a freak of nature…?

      @gray…thanks.

      1. I am sure u like freaks…hehehehe.

        Nice re-write. Se u and Scope dey share the spoils sha???

        1. Which spoils be that o? Shey all the left-handed disses…or the honest props?

          Or…the one you’re about to bring?

          Talk o…abeg.

          1. hehehehehe…I don’t always come for u with a dagger u know? Lol.

            1. I think you do.

              I really think so.

  8. @seun, the part before the letter was not okay for me…it dragged…maybe vbecause i read @scopeman60‘s original piece…and then you had tense issues there:

    Maybe the man had been beating his wife again. ITS EITHER maybe the man WAS beating his wife again OR maybe the mad HAS beaten his wife again

    i say this because the boy is hearing the sobs at the moment…

    but you added a whole new life to the story and i am sure @scopeman60 will be proud of this

    1. Thank you again Xikay.

      Thanks.

    2. xikay,Omololu heard the crying and not the beating. So, I think that there is nothing wrong with that sentence grammatically. the boy assumed the deed had been done and the aftermath of it which is the crying is what he heard and that is wat led him to think there had been a beating. it’s past participle or wat other name you can call it.

      1. Exactly Ada. That’s what its called. I wasn’t sure about the construction but I was sure it wasn’t wrong grammatically. I just couldn’t articulate an explanation.

        You guys are wonderful. Thank you.

      2. @ada, I still say to you that the sentence is not the way it ought to be…
        HAD BEEN is not a past participle but a PAST PERFECT

        We use the Past Perfect Continuous to show that something started in the past and continued up until another time in the past.

        They had been talking for over an hour BEFORE Tony arrived.
        She had been working at that company for three years WHEN it went out of business.
        How long had you been waiting TO GET on the bus?

        you will notice that there is always a word to show the time when that past ended…BEFORE, WHEN etc

        So we may say, maybe the man had been beating his wife [before now/ until now…]

    3. I am actually proud of this @xikay, to think that my story inspired @Presido to write a sequel, and a brilliant one at that.

      1. I’m really happy you feel that way Scopes.

        Really fEel better about this.

        1. It is not a sequel jooor.
          Abeg collect royalty from am…thought u were the scopeman and u re been scoped. Kai!!!

          1. You come collect am now…wetin dey scare you?!?!

            Come on!

  9. Whoa. I missed that.

    Thanks.

    1. that did not take from the fact that story is breathing a whole new life now that you have rewritten it.. if not for the letter, one could hardly call it a brother to the other piece…i liked it sire

  10. You know ehn…it was a fight with myself to put this up here. I honestly felt like I had not done justice to the original story.

    But I didn’t want to be full of myself. I’m not too big to learn.

    Thank you. I’d hoped to put it in such a way that even if someone who hadn’t read the first part read it…it’ll still make some sense.

    Thank you.

  11. Now I know why I had to read the story twice: there is a prequel.
    Nevertheless, I think that the author did a good job creating suspense. Like someone else wrote, I thought that the man had a gun. Well done.

    On another level, I think that it is a bit far-fetched for a grown man to confide his marital woes to a neighbor’s 10yr old; especially one who never hid his dislike for the man.
    I can understand if the author had created an earlier rapport between the man and Omolulu.

    1. I took the liberty of expanding the cast with this one…the original writer kept it minimal – just the man and his wife.

      Its fiction na…c’mon.

      Thanks. Point noted.

  12. Yeah….U made this fresh again; U gave it a new angle. Very nice. Xikay raised some valid points though…Still…thumbs up.

    1. Thanks Ray Ray.

      Yeah. I didn’t even expect so much positive responses. I thought the story was so bad…

      Hope dey for me.

      1. i must tell you that you thought wrongly… anyone who had seen the former one will know what a great job you did here

        1. Really appreciate your encouragement Xikay.

  13. People, what shows creativity? I think we should read up creativity so that we can easily relate to some posts.
    In few words, this is creativity: Inventing something that has never existed before, inventing something that exists but you are not aware of, reapplying an existing something into a different place, bring a new ide into existence, et

    My point is that Omololu is an example of the breed of children we have now. Intelligent, inquisitive, thoughtful, inventive as along as they are in the right environment. Seun didnt talk about his parents, but from the boy’s reference to them, you can see that he is being brought up well. No one should under rate these kids o ,especially with all the Sci-Fi cartoons they watch now. I pray that my kids will grow up to be that excellent. I wouldn’t have decoded that code.
    Men are like babies. Their brutality goes a long way to show that they want everything to be about them. On the same hand, they can easily be crushed in their spirits. So, I think that could have happened to the man. The leather belt handover, the kneeling down, the suspense from the time the man left the car till he knelt down, the boy’s fear of an imminent danger (which I shared with him), the humor behind the gay thought (which clearly shows he is a child afterall) are all the creative figments of the writer.

    (let me catch my breath) seun, i enjoyed this. Related to it well. Am sure Scopeman will like this. You have clearly told us to help when we can.

    1. And I do like it a lot Ada. I also like your clarification on creativity. Cheers!

      1. Thanks Scopeman. This is a great collabo that you and Seun has got here.

        1. So…anybody wanna shoot a movie yet?!?!

        2. Collabo suppose plenty for here….lol. About the movie, I wonder if people for nollywood dey here sef? Like that one piece I read about the Taxi Driver who killed for a N500 fare, I still relate it every chance I get. Imagine…many things one can turn into a beautiful screenplay.

          1. Yeah. That Taxi Driver shit was/is the shit! Pardon my Yoruba.

            But come o…art thou stalking me…?

  14. Someone asked recently, “what is the most important aspect to ending a story?” My answer was simple, “CLARITY”.

    My story was really open ended, I left a lot to the readers discretion and imagination, but @Seun has succeeded in closing the story somehow, telling us that the couple got back together.
    All he had to work with as a connector between the two efforts was the short note that the wife left her husband, and I think he incorporated it nicely. I noticed how he paid attention to certain details in my piece, he remembered that the wife’s mother used glasses and did well to mention it in his sequel; that for me indicates some level of brilliance.

    I also think the case of the boy being “unbelievable” is not quite applicable. I’d rather say that he introduced that character and his ‘uniqueness’ in relation to the wife. She exhibited some level of sophistication in the note she left her husband. It further goes to emphasize that she was fond of the boy because they were alike in terms of mental aptitude. It also explains how the boy could feel comfortable in the house as to the point of entering without even knocking, and it also explains why the man could share his grief with the boy.

    This sequel is rich and I thank @Seun a lot for this. One only needs to read my piece again and then read this sequel right after to appreciate how @Seun applied himself here. True, the story could do with some more editing, but the effort is one that I am proud of.

    Now, is there anyone up for a ‘sequel to this sequel’, hm? lol…

    1. I’m really happy you like this Scopeman. You see clearly what I did here…the note was all I had to go on.

      And you too are a genius…both literally and figuratively. I mean…you were able to see all the subliminals I had hidden away in the story…like the wife and kid’s mental abilities…the intimacy the kid shared with the family…or at least the wife…and the fact that it all revolved around the letter.

      Yeah. I guess I tried but all the props go to you because you inspired this. Without your story this wouldn’t be…so pat yourself on the back. You’ve earned it.

      Well done.

      1. U pat him jooor! Can he reach his back ni? lol.

        1. Lolololol.

          Hey…you can’t scam me, you hear?!? I have sworn not to like you!!!!

          And no matter…what you do…(my fingers are fighting me at this point)…I won’t!!!!!!

  15. Ada…wow. Thank you for assisting me in clearly outlining my thought patterns in creating this. You’re a genius.

    Really. This is one of those comments I want to keep in my head when I write…just so I can keep improving…keep outdoing myself.

    I appreciate most of all your clear grasp of what I was trying to do/doing with this one…

    Thank you Ada. I’m grateful. Very much so.

    1. It was purely a good creative work you did. It cut across all levels of humanity.
      It was my pleasure reading it and seeing what you didn’t write. Thanks for appreciating it.

  16. I was going to shout PLAGIARISM but then I saw your note at the end…..

    For this piece to generate this amount of comments shows how good it is.

    Well done!!!

    1. It would be nice if you defined clearly what I plagiarised in this one…

      Thank you!

      1. It was very good no doubt…why? Because that NOTE, was made to breathe a new dimension into this here piece.

        U know bros @ Seun….u did great. Once again – Kudos.

        1. Toasting. TOASTING!!!

          I no gree jo!!!!!

  17. : ) Thanks. But like someone said about us ‘sharing the spoils’, you earned a large portion of the praise as well.

    I’d like to see this happen with other writers here on NS, it really is a good way to grow and learn as a writer. Cheers!

    1. Yeah man.

      I think more collaborations should be encouraged. I think it’s really fun watching your character(s) come to life in other people’s imaginations.

      Let’s go Scopes!

  18. This is creative….i remember you (Seun) said you would try your hand on it on scopeman’s post….
    I am happy i read this…congratulations Seun Odukoya!!!
    the mistakes have already been pointed out and you have noted it…aside that…This is a fine piece..

    PS: Truthfully Seun, you can’t afford to write a whack piece..the consequences wouldn’t be nice…
    so when i read a piece from you, i raise my standards above the normal to critically access the write up. WHAT AM I SAYING —YOU ARE ON THE SPOTLIGHT..

  19. *hides face

    Em…Emmy…thank you so much.

    Thank you. Hope you don’t expect too much of me o…I’m only human.

    1. hehehehehe…no fear. We all here to learn. U said it urself, and believe me u will hear it when u need to hear it!!!

      1. Yeah.

        Bring it on jo!!!!!!

  20. Mr. Odukoya! I don vex oh! I don’t think Omololu Johnson 4rm my story would appreciate another story on NS with a smart young MC also called Omololu!! Lol! Just kidding.

    Don’t want to comment on this ur story till I read Scopeman’s own…

  21. Would you believe me if I told you deSpite my referring to your story…I didn’t remember your protagonist’s name was Omololu?

    Coincidence?

    Shit happens.

    Waiting for your comment.

  22. I love the story and i love your artistic way of keeping the reader’s interest.

    1. Thank you ma…thanks!

  23. beautifully rendered

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