The Trial – Reminiscence

Anyone looking at the woman in the dock would immediately know that she was oblivious of what was going on around her. She stared blankly at the wall.
Her name was Nana Clifford, a Nigerian with American citizenship and she was on trial for manslaughter in the state of California. Only six weeks ago she had been a bride with a happy future.
No one could guess the thoughts going through Nana’s head. As she sat beside her lawyer, she cast her mind back to six weeks ago.

***

“Do you, Nana Johnson take William Clifford as your lawfully wedded husband?” The Priest asked.
She had looked up at him and her heart burst with joy, he stood there…regal and handsome in his suit. Looking every inch the powerful man he was. She revered him. It didn’t matter if her twelve years older than her, what mattered was that he loved her.
It still seemed like a dream to her. Nana had never been the girl with the magazine cover features. On the contrary she had those plain good looks…nothing spectacular. So, it had been a mystery why William chose her.
“Yes. I do.” She said a gleeful smile on her face.
She glanced at her mother and for once, didn’t feel any jealousy or animosity towards her. Nana and her mother Silvia had never seen eye to eye. Nana knew this was partly her fault. She had always been jealous of her mum. Sylvia had the sexy good looks Nana craved; in other words Nana was a plain Jane whenever she stood beside her mother.
Sylvia had never been married; she’d told Nana that her birth was unplanned yet beautiful. The man who had impregnated her had absconded, leaving Sylvia to fend for herself and a baby while attending college. Nana had never known her father, and her mum had done a pretty good job of raising her.

***

Back in the courtroom Nana sat and watched while her lawyer defended her. There was nothing to defend. She wanted to say.
She had done it. She had committed a crime; although she couldn’t remember how. She wasn’t even sure she wanted to live anymore.
Her eyes searched behind and caught her mothers’ and she felt the rush of hatred. How could that woman have birthed her? This devilish scheming woman? Even where she sat, Sylvia looked stunning as usual. Her dark skin glossy and smooth; looking every inch like the respectable woman she wasn’t.
I wish I never knew you! Nana wanted to scream. I hate you!

***

Sylvia’s eyes locked with her daughter’s and she quickly turned away. She couldn’t bear the intense hatred she saw reflected in them. She had seen that same look in her eyes the day Nana had killed him. She still shivered at the thought of it.
She had been having nightmares for six weeks now. She hardly slept; she had to apply her cream to erase the sleep bags under her eyes. She sneaked a peek at her daughter. When had she become this hateful young person? Sylvia felt the tears welling in her eyes. Yes, she had made some terrible mistakes but she still loved Nana intensely. She wished for an opportunity to tell her daughter so. To hold her in her arms again like she did all those nights many years ago when Nana fell sick.
I’m so sorry baby. She wanted to say.
Suddenly she wished she could turn back the hands of the clock to one year ago; before she met him.

***

She had just finished from a photo shoot at the studio. As usual she looked breath taking. At forty she looked amazing and was still called for the occasional modelling jobs. She hardly needed them; after all she had done quite well for herself. She had enough saved to take care of herself and Nana for many more years, and boy…it felt good. Considering that she had left Nigeria more than twenty years ago, she was now rolling in money. And she loved it.
He bumped into her as she stepped outside the door. She was impressed at their first meeting. He had a magnetic personality. His smile could light up a starry night. His body was like that of a Greek god. Needless to say, the attraction was instant. He was William Clifford, owner of a chain of hotels and very rich. Only problem was he was seven years younger, although he lied about it on their first meeting.
Three weeks after they met they were inseparable. She couldn’t tell if it was love or lust…but whatever it was, she loved it. Their relationship was kept a secret from Nana because Sylvia had a feeling she wouldn’t approve. Theirs was a whirlwind romance that ended six short months later because William had to leave for England.

***

Nana shifted in her seat. She was tired of hearing her lawyer claim she was insane. When he had informed her that he would try to plead insanity as a defence, she had not known this was what he meant. Everything had happened in a blur. All she could think about was him. The man who rocked her world. The man she had killed.

***

“I can’t live without you.” She whispered in his ear, after lovemaking on their wedding night. He had been superb and gentle with her. Oh, how she loved him!
He kissed her nose and said. “Neither can I, babe.”
Why me? She wanted to ask. Why plain old me?
As if he read her mind he said; “You’re amazing.”
She blushed.
“How’s your mum?” He asked, climbing down from the bed.
She frowned at the mention of her mum. She recalled how she had vehemently refused to give her consent to the wedding.
“Ummm…she’s okay. I think. I’ll check on her after our honey moon.” She replied.
“I’m sure she misses you already.” He said.
Nana almost snorted. Her mum lived in a world of her own. A forty year old model was usually unheard of. It was no big secret that Nana didn’t approve. To Nana, being a journalist was more respectable.
A month after the wedding, Nana was scheduled for an impromptu trip to Hawaii to do a story there. She was reluctant to leave her newly wed husband but he insisted; not wanting to keep her from work.

Sylvia cringed as she listened to the lawyer make his argument, she didn’t like the fact that they were insisting that Nana was crazy. She wasn’t! She was just in love. If only they knew…
She let her mind wander again…

***

Everything had gone downhill when William returned from England. He began talking of settling down and finding the right woman. He had wanted to pick up from where they left off, ready to take the relationship to another level. She refused. She was done, she told him.
“Move on.” She advised. An advice she was yet to take herself…she couldn’t stop thinking about him. She feared her feelings for him were growing.

They parted ways then. Three months later, they met again. In her living room; being introduced as her future son-in-law. It had been an awkward moment for them both. He had just proposed to her daughter and Nana had said yes.
At the risk of looking bad, Sylvia refused to give her consent. She wished Nana could understand that she wasn’t being selfish; instead she was looking out for her best interest.
Nana was stubborn as usual and threw tantrums claiming that her mother was just jealous because she had done something Sylvia had not been able to do. Bag a respectable man and get married.
In the end Nana had won. In order to let peace reign…Sylvia agreed to the union.
She didn’t tell Nana that her husband-to-be was making passes at her mother again. Using words like; “Fate wants us together. We belong to each other. Say you’ll marry me and I’ll leave her.”
Sylvia had vowed to kill him if he did that that to Nana. Deep down, she knew she still had feelings for him.
The wedding went smoothly and soon Sylvia could breathe easy until things took another turn…

***

It was time. Her lawyer called her to the stand. It was time to give her testimony; to say what she could say. As she took the stand; the images of what had happened that night began replaying in her head.

***

She had arrived two days earlier than planned and drove home in anticipation of seeing William. The front door was unlocked, so she entered quietly intending to surprise him.
She heard noises in the kitchen and smiled to herself. So he was making dinner. How sweet! Better time to surprise him. She tiptoed into the kitchen. And stopped dead in her tracks.
It took two minutes to register what she was seeing and even then her brain refused to accept it. Her husband and mother entwined and nuzzling each other like teenagers.
Nana didn’t know what came over her, but by the time they registered her presence…it was too late. She had grabbed a knife from the counter and was rushing at them.
That was all she remembered. The next thing she knew they cops were taking her away in handcuffs, her mother stood in the doorway crying and William lay in a pool of his own blood.
They said she stabbed him to death. So why hadn’t she done the same to her mother? She kept asking herself.

***

She was aware of the eyes on her. She had finished her testimony. The prosecutor approached her and Nana braced herself.
***

Sylvia sobbed quietly as her daughter spoke. She looked so young and vulnerable that Sylvia wanted to comfort her.
Oh how she wished she could take back everything that had happened. How she wished she hadn’t given in to William’s seductions. Why hadn’t she listened to common sense? How would shelive with her betrayal and the thought of her daughter rotting in some prison?

***

The prosecutor had been lenient with her. But his questions had made her more determined than ever to do what she needed to do. She hadn’t been lying when she told William she couldn’t live without him.
She still loved him. But why had he betrayed her? She looked back and saw her mother crying. Why was she crying? Nana wondered. She was the cause of it all.
Twenty minutes later, the court adjourned for the jury to decide if she was guilty.
Nana eyed the guard with the gun and she knew that now was the right time to act. She had no desire to live any more.



49 thoughts on “The Trial – Reminiscence” by Mimiadebayo (@Mimiadebayo)

  1. I like the story, but the telling of it wasn’t very vivid, in my opinion.
    There was hardly any showing of events, cos you told most of it.

    The ending alluded to drama, alright, but the narrative was sorta devoid of the intense emotions I think could result in a crime of passion. Nana didn’t come across as someone who could stab a cheating man to death.

    All that said, the story has a lot of potential and I bet you can ‘work it’ better.

    P.S. The part about Nana blushing… A Nigerian? ;)

    1. I couldn’t agree more with you Olaedo!

  2. Mimi at it again…. Still scoring high on suspense. I like the story. Is there a sequel? Although the story is complete in itself

  3. @Olaedo Thank you for heeding my call. Lol. The thing is…I’m not good at writing short stories.I always have so much to say,so I guess I kinda summarised this one in a bid to make it a short story.That’s why it had more telling and less showing.That’s not an excuse though.
    I’ll definitely do my best to improve.I’ll heed to your advice. Mwaah!

    Nana is a resentful and insecure lady.I think the thought of her god(husband) sleeping with her mum was enough to tip her over the edge.
    Besides she had the mind to commit suicide.
    About the blushing part…Yea,I think Nigerians do blush. I know I do. We don’t blush red,though.

    Thanks so much for reading!

  4. @Olan. Muchas gracias ma’m. The story is complete alright.

  5. I think you should check this sentence, ‘It didn’t matter if her twelve years older than her, what mattered was that he loved her.’

    ‘Nana eyed the guard with the gun and she knew that now was the right time to act.’ So, the story continues?

    Keep writing.

  6. @Estee Oops! How come I didn’t notice that?! #angry with myself#
    Thanks for pointing it out,dear. Story don finish ooh! It implies she committed suicide.
    Hmmm…might think of doing a sequel.You’ve given me something to think about. Thanks for reading!

    1. Only suicide will be cowardly. She should commit one more murder before the suicide please. That her mother makes me sick. urhgg!

      1. @Estee One more murder will turn her into a serial killer.Lol. But wait ooh…do you blame her mother? She saw the guy first na! And she even tried to warn her daughter but…Nana was wrapped up in her own world. Its not entirely mummy’s fault.

  7. @Olaedo I think love can turn a perfectly rational and cool-headed person to a monster overnight. It depends on how intense the feeling is. In Nana’s case, she was a bit unstable from the beginning. William was her life.

  8. Exactly! You said it yourself, it depends on how intense the feelings were.
    My point is that the story has to show a build-up of emotions to the point where she kills William. She may well have been unstable, William may have been her ‘god’ and her life, but the story doesn’t depict that.
    The emotions have to be raw and rght to be believable.

    The right showing of emotions and incidents that depicted all you said she is, would leave no doubts in anyone’s mind that she could commit a crime of passion.

    Draw me in, is all I’m saying, cos the story has the ability to.

  9. Okay! I see what you’re saying now. I’ll rewrite it and try to bring out the intensity. Thank you so much ma’m!

  10. hmmm nice story but there is a gap – How did Nana and William meet? Why din’t Sylvia tell Nana the truth about her affair with William, i think it is the least a caring moher would do.
    The description of William sounded a bit artificial.
    Thanks for sharing.

  11. @Mimiadebayo, I like this. And the way you use flashback to narrate. I am going to be reading your series as soon as I am less busy. Welldone for both.

    PS- It is so hard to to write a story with so much depth in less than 2,500 words. I prefer writing long-short stories myself because it is harder to do the showing with less words. You write well. Welldone.

    1. I agree with you @olajumoke…..its hard to do a short story in depth. Actually, my story Between Her Sheets – was meant to be one short story but I realized there was no way I could write what I planned in 2,500 words. And that’s how it ended up as separate episodes lol. It was supposed to be one story, one/single post.

      I have a lot to learn in that regard i.e. writing singular short stories – maybe I will go look for more of your work and garner some knowledge.

      1. @Zikora I’m glad you understand.Is “Between her sheets” finished?

        1. @Mimiadebayo…..no its not finished.

      2. @Zikora, I love reading and writing stories with a few developed characters with a good measure of issues thrown in, which is why I always end up with a long-short.
        My short story Skin Deep was supposed to be a short story of around two thousand words and a single post. In the end, it was a three part piece.
        I think emotional/issue led writing such as chick lit would always need more words anyway.

        Hope you are enjoying writing about what Mmasi gets up to next.

        1. Yes @olajumoke…..time and clear mind is so necessary for writing but I am really enjoying it.

          Thanks for asking.

  12. This was a good, suspenseful story that was quite well written, @mimiadebayo.

    I liked the interleaving between Sylvia and Nana’s thoughts, although I was confused in places at the timeline. In the paragraph beginning ““I can’t live without you.”, it appears that Nana is already wed, but in the next paragraph, it looks like she still needs her mother’s approval for her wedding. I get that both paragraphs are reporting different points of view, but where both POVs refer to the same events, it’s easier for the reader if they’re both in sequence.

    Also, I kind of get the feeling that the story was compressed. @nicolebassey has pointed out that we didn’t really find out how William and Nana met. Then there was the whole relationship between Nana and Sylvia; I feel this was a very interesting part of the story, and it would have been nice to see this explored in more detail.

    Well done.

  13. @nicolebassey Thanks for reading. I know there’s a gap…the hazards of writing a short story. I’ll improve.
    Nana hated her mum’s guts.So telling her daughter that she’d had an affair with her fiancee will make Nana hate her mother more.

    1. Really? There is no hint of hatred prior to the murder, you say Sylvia brought her up as a single parent and she was well to do, she even sought to keep close to her mum after the wedding… abi am I missing something?

      1. @nicolebassey I think in the story I made it clear that she had always been jealous of her mother cos of her good looks and body.She even didn’t approve of her mother’s job as a model. She clearly did not favour her mother much and that would have heightened if her mum told her the truth about William.

  14. @olajumoke Thanks a bunch for reading.I’m glad you understand my ish with short stories.

  15. @TolaO its actually compressed. Maybe I should have made it two parts. Would have done a lot of explaining…Thanks,kind sir for reading.

  16. I like the story line, I like the way you switched between mother and daughter.

    I don’t like the description of Williams, too cliché, unreal.

    There were typos, here and there, a second look wld point them out.

    The nature of the relationship between mother and daughter was well painted, it’s a love-hate type, and that explains why she didn’t kill her along side the husband.

    Statements like “I can’t live without you” scares me cos it means the person can do anything once that relationship is under threat, like murder. More so for someone who has self esteem issues and married to a guy way above her level in terms of physical attributes….

    Work on adding emotional depth to ur stories, and readers will be able to connect to it better

    Well done….

  17. @topazo Thanks for reading,sir. I’ll heed to your advice about emotional depth.That’s one thing I’m trying to work on now. Thanks.Will check out the typos too.

  18. Also@topazo I’m glad you got the message I was trying to pass across;about the relationship between mother and daughter.
    I agree William’s description was cliche`. Lol. I think I did that on purpose. Hehehe

  19. @Mimiadebayo good story, don’t think you should do a sequel because that will spoil it. I think the fact that you left it vague is good means the user should interpret their ending. So please just leave it alone.

    However I do agree with what a few people have said and I guess I’ve told you about it before. You need to show more and tell less. But this could be because you tried to pack in a lot of details with very word count, which I think you would have over come by focusing on Nana’s story and building her character more so we can see why she was moved to kill him and less on Sylvia.

    Who by the way you first called Silvia and then changed to Sylvia.

    There are some grammatical errors and issues with tense. Like saying her name was Nana, does that mean she is no longer called Nana?

    With this descriptive “His smile could light up a starry night” now isn’t a starry night already lit?

    Overall I liked it, think it needs editing and could be written differently but good story and LOVE the ending

  20. @dkny111 Noted. I’ll take everything you’ve said to heart and rectify the errors. Thanks a bunch!
    Why won’t you LOVE the ending? You’re a huge fan of tragedy.Lol. All your characters die…

    1. @Mimiadebayo, I am changing nahhh, shey I told you I am lol.

      But that’s not why I LOVE the ending. I LOVE that it is vague; it eaves the reader to interpret and decide their ending.

      To me she doesn’t kill herself but I can’t be sure, maybe she did, maybe she didn’t but I’ll never know and that’s what will make me think of the story on the tube to work, so did she or did she not and think; that Mimi girl she has started again lol :)

      1. Okay ooh! If you say so. I’m actually glad you LOVE the ending.

  21. I think the story lacks emotions. Alot of things were left unsaid. It looked to me like a summary to a much longer story.
    It’s got a nice concept.
    Anyway what do I know am not a writer. Xo kudos @mimiadebayo

  22. @kingobozy you’re actually right.I explained in my previous comments that I kinda compressed it in a bid to minimize the word count.
    Thanks for reading!

  23. intriguing

  24. To be frank Mimi, I didn’t feel this one. I dIdn’t connect with your characters at all. It’s very obvious this shouldn’t have been written as a single story. However, I salute the effort!

  25. @elovepoetry Thanks for reading!
    @francis I understand. Thanks for reading all the same. Will do better next time.

  26. I love this story! @Mimiadebayo….A different dimension from your just finished series….

    The ease and clarity with which, you transitioned from scene to scene flash backs is commendable.

    A few honest errors here and there….nothing you can’t spot yourself when you re-read.

    I am flattered you tagged me darling and it is a worthy read!

    1. @Mimiadebayo…..not that I’m a mathematical genius but calculating Nana’s age from the age of her mother and William’s…..that makes Nana only 21?!

      Jeez, I agree with you….its Nana who has a deep seething issue, insecurities and no self-love. She blames others for her woes and fails to work on herself. But then she’s too young and it was all too much for her, thus it was easy for William to become her god – he accepted her and she reveled in it. Yeah people like that are always ticking time bombs…..they only see or appreciate themselves through other people’s eyes (approval).

      …..Nana should meet Mmasi’s – Kola, they have issues lol.
      How feasible is it that Nana is already a full fledged Journalist at 21??

  27. @Zikora I think Nana has serious psychological issues. She needs to see a shrink so she can learn to feel better about herself and not blame others for her shortcomings.
    P.S. Nana is not too young to be a budding journalist.
    Lol@Nana and Kola meeting. Good combo.Two cra-zzy people. Hehehe…
    Thanks for reading dear! I have you in mind,don’t worry.I’ll be sure to tag you in any other stories of mine. Cheers!

  28. Thanks for pasting Mimi…i like like

  29. @nicolebassey and @ topazo have said it all,then some typos wic@olan have pointed out.i love the switch between mum and child.but why didt slyvia tell her daughter about d relationship, though it might have hieghtend d jealousy nana have 4 her mother but it wout have gotten o this. But slyvia self,waytin she carried her figure 8 body go do 4 married woman house wen d woman wast at home.she too gots some problem.

  30. @NIRA-SLYVES Sylvia made a wrong choice based on what she thought about her daughter. They were all to blame.If Nana had listened to her mother’s refusal to the wedding,maybe all that wouldn’t have happened. Thanks for reading dear.

  31. I think the best way to write (really) short story is to try to capture or write about an emotion, rather than circumstances. And it often helps if it is character driven (I.e focus on only one character rather than a sequence of events) so for instance you could write on how a man handles break up, or in this case you could focus on Nana alone, her thoughts, emotions blah blah…. Just my thoughts

  32. Hottie (@MissAjiboye)

    One more suicide would be cowardly but of course some people are cowards. Unlike some I do not think it has to have a sequel o. That’s my opinion though. She only needs to put the gun through her mouth or ear. Stories end like that na, fiction or non-fiction lol. However I did not like it as a short story though. You had too much to say. One or two more sub-plots and it could have been a proper series, ending with her committing suicide or killing herself and her mom or something even more stupid and dramatic. The story had potential to be more. . It all started and ended too quickly.Others have pointed out the rest of my observations. Good one.

  33. @MissAjiboye Thanks for reading and for your observations.I’ll do better next time. Thank u!

  34. That kind mama,na die…..

    Lovely story as ussual,you no dey carry last,lol.

  35. intelligently captured…………..love the words deployed!!!!!!!!!!

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