Loving Her Quiet Away: Ufuoma Otebele

She wrapped herself in purple clovers while white petals poured down like rain and covered the cloud we were in. A flowered circlet on her head, she turned slowly and her long yellow-chiffon-maxi dress swayed along with her carefully formed hips. And she laughed—giggling sounds that erupted from deep within her never before free essence. She laughed until she began to cry. And I didn’t know how it happened, my eyes began to twitch—stink, throat filled with lumps of words I couldn’t voice out from my heavy chest.

The weight of her happiness on my shoulders she whispered to me, “is this all what you promised? A love that brings unreasonable possibilities of forever?” I could tell she was scared to believe she’d allowed herself have faith in all the hopefulness I’d laid in her heart. She’d been hurt before, that I knew but happiness, true happiness? She’s never tasted it before. Just tiny drops of it when her mother was still alive to take her by the hand to school with ice-cream on the other, but I gave her more than she could ever imagine.

I watched as happiness sipped from her eyes, her lips, her skin glowed of it… she was drunk in it. I should be more careful… she’s fragile, I tell myself. I was afraid if I gave her all of me she would have nothing to come back to when morning comes but she’s all I have.

I remember how we first met; uncomfortable, unpleasant but yet the best meeting of my whole being. She was seventeen and I was twenty one. I’d come back from the city because my uncle ran me out. After all, he wasn’t my father. I came back because I hated the city; there was nothing there for me but weed, cancer sticks, alcohol, and loud music.

I heard a soft knock on my door one Saturday morning… a scared knock and I wonder whose child it was. I sluggishly picked myself up and wore my famous frown. I remember the look of shock in her innocent eyes; I was shirtless and bursting with testosterone. She instantaneously shut her eyes and turned around when she saw me.

“Who are looking for?” I asked with my meaningless mean voice. She stuttered her scattered response. “I…I’m… I’m really sorry,” she started to leave but I stopped her. “Next time, don’t disturb my sleep if you don’t have anything better to say.” I hissed as I scrutinized her tiny backside in her maxi skirt. I snorted, there was nothing there to look at, and I’d seen it all at twenty-one. She nodded and took her steps two times faster than her tiny hairy legs could carry her. Her dress caught in a flower branch in front of the house, she struggled to let herself free of it until her skirt ripped, and her body winding around until her bottom hit the concrete floor. She cried in pain.

I found myself rushing to her. “Are you okay?” I asked but she flinched when I tried to help her up. She picked herself from the floor and dusted her skirt and continued on her way with her head held high I thought it hurt.

I was not the type to stick around, I was always in a rush, the next gig, the next party, the next everything but for the first time, I slowed down and saw a pamphlet on the floor where she’d fallen. I picked it up and to my surprise; it was a Jehovah’s Witness pamphlet. I frowned, what was it doing here—but I really wanted to ask what she was doing with it… I did ask.

She turned and my heart skipped. Everything I’d known for twenty one years disappeared and the traces of what was left stood still for eternity, it’s still silent even till now as she became my only craziness, my music, my everything. She was a beauty. Dark, big and bold eyes stared coldly at me and for the first time, I was speechless. I lowered my eyes to what she held tightly against her chest and there it was—a Bible. She’d come to preach to me. She was a Jehovah’s Witness.

“You can keep that, I think you need it more,” she said but how could she be so sure? We’d only known each other for moments and she knew what I needed. I chuckled because I was hurt… then I noticed a bruise on her right leg from the fall she took. She was already gone before I could speak. I ran into the house and put on a shirt and chased after her—but carefully. She didn’t once notice my light steps behind her.

She wobbled effortlessly as she walked. Her Bible still close to her chest, it made me wonder what else she held dear to her chest; a young lover? Then it hit me, she was the kind who couldn’t have such for now—she was a Jehovah’s Witness and the worse of them all. She straightened her skirt as a man approached her with a mean glare on his old and worn-out face.

“Sabrina, where are you coming from?” he asked but it was obvious to him where she was coming from. I hid in a nearby tree and watched.

“Haven’t I told you not to carry that thing around anymore? Haven’t I warned you!” he shouted and she jumped back in fear but still she didn’t let go of that book, her grip on her Bible became firmer as he came closer to her and snatched it away. “This was all your mother did until she passed way. Your God couldn’t spear her from cancer and I’ll not watch you waste away like her.”

“But papa!” she voiced boldly and my eye brows rose up in alarm of what I feared would come next. “God didn’t give mom cancer. God doesn’t kill, he heals. I don’t believe he took her away from us because he wanted to see us suffer…”

Her father stared at her in awe but that look was quickly replaced by a more serious one, “Sabrina, you dare raise your voice and talk back at me?”

“Papa I’m sorry… I didn’t mean to,” she rushed out all her words of apologies but her father wasn’t having it, he said to her, “Go in and pack your things and leave my house. I don’t want to ever see you near my house or your younger brother again before you turn him against me and to your God.”

“Papa, I said I’m sorry.” She cried behind her father’s back as he marched into his house and began throwing out her bags. Most of them were filled with books of all sizes. She pleaded with her father to allow her see her brother for the last time but he refused, still head strong on her leaving so she gathered her things and left.

She still didn’t notice me as she dragged her bags on the dusty streets to nowhere. I couldn’t help it, I was moved by something bigger than me… maybe it was those words that she’d come to preach to me that moved me because I went to her and lifted the heaviest bag she had on my shoulders. She was too stunned and all she could do was cry some more. Maybe she knew I’d seen everything as it unfolded with her father. I marched straight to my father’s house and she followed quietly. What was I doing? I’d asked myself but after a moment of no reasonable explanation, I gave it up. I’d let her stay until my mother came back from her trading in Onisha.

That afternoon, I fed her bread and water and she ate it with pleasure. I began to think of dinner, of breakfast for the next morning, of lunch, and of dinner for one week and suddenly for eternity…

25 thoughts on “Loving Her Quiet Away: Ufuoma Otebele” by Ufuoma Otebele (@ufuomaotebele)

  1. Segun victor ogunekun (@Ogunekun)

    Am thrilled

    1. Ufuoma Otebele (@ufuomaotebele)

      More than happy to serve you a thrilling story. Thanks for reading!

  2. anak adrian (@anakadrian)

    Beautiful. Just beautiful.

    1. Ufuoma Otebele (@ufuomaotebele)

      Thank you @anakadrian really appreciate your comment… sort of calms this piece.

  3. cojones (@dekaiser)

    Captivating.. No one does it better..

    1. Ufuoma Otebele (@ufuomaotebele)

      Hey… Thanks for taking your time to comment. It’s my pleasure.

  4. Ezeama Chijioke Desmond (@Chijy)

    Nice work.

    1. Ufuoma Otebele (@ufuomaotebele)

      I feel old with all the comments of merit.. and yours added. Thanks!!!!!!!

  5. Folakemi Emem-Akpan (@Folakemi)

    I am adding another comment of merit. This was so sweet and so tender and innocent, the way I like romance to read. Should we look forward to more?

    1. Ufuoma Otebele (@ufuomaotebele)

      Yaaay!! But I haven’t even given more a second thought… just maybe… maybe @folakemi but for right now, so glad you stopped by! :-)

  6. majiri (@majiri)

    So interesting,the girl its a witness i like that i hope the guy joined her in worship too. #winks

    #keep_writing #kudos

    1. Ufuoma Otebele (@ufuomaotebele)

      Lol… I hope he joined her also.

  7. Hmmmm and you’re feeling old with merits already so I’ll just reserve mine, really nice,soft and …….

    1. Ufuoma Otebele (@ufuomaotebele)

      AND!!!!! Welcome back to earth @ameenaedrees

    1. Ufuoma Otebele (@ufuomaotebele)


  8. Rhoiy (@Roy-journals)

    Aww! I loved reading this. Great job @ufuomaotebele

    1. Ufuoma Otebele (@ufuomaotebele)

      THANKS A MILLION @roy-journals

  9. Spotted the ‘teeny-weeniest’ of typos but dhoor…!they were nothing, the brilliance of this swallowed them up ( ever read this verse ‘…death is swallowed up in victory..’ Yea twas something like that. You used ‘beautiful words’ too, words that evoked perfectly the subtle emotions you wanted…wonderful stuff.

    Good job.

    1. Ufuoma Otebele (@ufuomaotebele)

      Wow @praize I’m speechless… you just made a tiny weeny me, mighty! I don’t think I can get pass typos with these eyes of mine, I’ve stopped using my glasses which makes things worse lol… but I am more than happy that you found this piece appealing even with the typos!! I’m extremely excited….

  10. nice one, the first few sentences trapped me into reading.

    just watch for spelling errors before you submit and try and separate the speech fro the passages, makes your work neater and give a more enjoyable read.

    Keep writing.

  11. Beautiful story. Good job, @ufuomaotebele

  12. Omena (@menoveg)

    Great! Aww! Why must it be a flash?

  13. watson (@Watson)

    nice 1 but witness preach in twos not just one person but aside frm dat its nice

  14. Adanna Otuechere (@Ada123)

    @ufuomaotebele, nice story. It’s so captivating!

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