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The Man, The Shadow: Diary of a Lost Soul 3

Catch up on Parts 1 & 2

The Man, The Shadow: Diary of a Lost Soul

The Man, The Shadow: Diary of a Lost Soul 2

“Meji, what in the world was that??”

My mom yelled at me as the whole compound was in chaos. Everyone was trying to figure out what was happening after the bomb I had just dropped.

“Why are you yelling at me?
What did I possibly do wrong here?”

I asked in response.

“Are you serious?
You could have picked any other time in the world to say this and you chose now?
That is so selfish!”
I couldn’t believe the words that I was hearing.
I was enraged and I fired back

“You are telling me that because I called out my cousins for something that they have been doing that is clearly wrong, I am selfish?
Or because I did at the wedding?
Because I don’t know how you hear something like that and I am what you are focusing on. Not the lies and secrets we continue to keep as a family.”

My mom took a deep breath and then said

“do you think they didn’t know?
Do you think the whole family is stupid? that nobody saw it all along?
We did but to keep the peace, you learn to mind your own business…to shut up.
Families protect each other to the core. You stand for your family and to the outside world, you give your best impression of your family”

I scoffed and said

“Well, I am sorry mother but our family unit is fucked up. We are liars and abusers and we need to be held accountable, not sweeping it under the rug”

As my last words trailed off, I walked out of the room and slammed the door.
There were people outside, in the hallway, listening to everything that was just said.
I can’t remember exactly where I went but I kept on walking till I was out of the compound.

…..

“Bring one more bottle”

I had downed 5 full bottles of Star, an alcoholic beverage popular in the Nigeria.
The lady serving me was beginning to look concerned that I would not slow down.

“Uncle, śe sure?”
(Uncle, are you sure)

I waved her on and soon she emerged with my drink. As she opened it, it foamed out and I stared at the bottle as the foam trickled down the sides.
I suddenly felt a huge sense of regret and sadness.

I was all alone.
And that moment, I was clothed in style and value but lacking the true substance that made me important.
There was so much that I was angry for that I had channeled the anger at the wrong parties.
Jola deserved her wedding weekend to be spectacular regardless of what had happened years before.

I motioned to the lady and asked for a glass of water.
I downed that very quickly.
And I quickly rose to head back towards the house. As I approached the compound, I noticed cars leaving and people walking out.
It was soon very clear that the traditional proceedings for the wedding had been canceled.

Walking into the house, I began to look for Monsurat. People that were not super close to my family, avoided eye contact and barely said anything as I walked through.
it was as if I was bringing the darkness.

I finally arrived at the living room. It was filled with senior members of our family.
One of my grandmother’s brothers, motioned to me and said

“Meji, joko sibi”
(Come sit down or sit down here)

I dragged my feet and I sat.
My mother would not make eye contact with me. I could tell she was disappointed. My aunt, Bunmi, had stopped crying.

My granduncle, also known as Baba Agba opened with a Yoruba proverb

“Eyin kule lota wa, inu ile laseni ugbe”
(The enemy is in the backyard but the executor of his plan lives in the house)
“It is very clear that the devil is trying to steal the joy of this family on what should be a glorious occasion. And sadly, we almost allowed him to succeed.
I have heard some of the details of the accusations and they are grave, very grave. In some parts of this country, people are killed for such things.
But today, Mjwe will speak to truth and speak to unity as a family.
Jolade, tell us what happened”
Since I had walked into the room, Jola had stayed silent.
I am not sure what emotions she was juggling but she finally opened her mouth and said

“I am deeply saddened by what has happened here.
Not just today but within our family. We let this happen. Not the devil.
….My family has always walked around like it was better than all of the others in this family and that is clearly not the truth. We are much more broken than we are ever willing to admit.”

She paused and lifted her teary eyes up. Her makeup was ruined and she sniffled then continued

“Mj, did not lie. He spoke on the truth he knows about.
One thing is for sure MJas a lot to be angry about. Juwon and I did some despicable things as children. Some out of naivety but others frankly out of evil and jealously for Mj.
But one thing Juwon and I never did was have sex with each other.
That never happened but we forced Mj and someone else to have sex with each other, while we watched and laughed”

Gasps across the room.
Jola cried harder.

“there is not much I want to say further but humbly as for your forgiveness Mj.
It is all I can ask for and I hope you find it in your heart to forgive me and my brother”

I didn’t realize it but I was already in tears.
I wanted to walk over to Jola and give her a hug but I chose not to. There were more tears around the room and then I responded and said

“Hola, I am sorry also for how I acted this weekend in taking the focus away from a beautiful union.
You deserve love and peace and I am hoping that we can get you married to start the next chapter of your life”

She rose and walked over to me.
As we hugged, my eyes closed and I heard applause around the room.

As she walked back to her seat, I cleared my throat and said

“I am somewhat glad this came out. It has been a burden on my chest and weighed me down for years.
But there is something else I would love to share with you all, now that I have all our family here…. I am in love with Monsurat”

The gasps this time were louder.
Monsurat, standing closest to the door, was shocked and rightfully so. I had not informed her that I was going to do that and frankly I didn’t know I was going to do that either.
I looked at her with her mouth ajar and in one move, she turned and bolted out of the room.
I mean, she ran so fast. I couldn’t believe it.
I was shocked and so was everyone else in the room. And in true asshole fashion, I heard someone snicker.
I turned to my right and it was Juwon.
I don’t know what happened but something snapped in me, I noticed a bottle of Mirinda on the table, I grabbed it and smashed it on Juwon’s head.
He was knocked unconscious and everyone in the room stood up and ran away from me.
The bottle broke and the butt of it was still in my hand, everyone cleared out of the way as I stormed out of the living room and into the back house.

As I sat in one of the rooms, I cried.
Hours passed by and people tried to come and console me.
I couldn’t believe it.
Why did she run?
How could she run then?! After all we had been through?

I must have cried for 5hours straight because when I finally opened my eyes, it was nighttime.
I had been awoken by a sound of keys, someone trying to enter the room I had locked myself in.
The door flung open and with the rays of fluorescent light coming through the blinds, I noticed for big men walk into the room.
The grabbed me and proceeded to punch and kick me.
They beat me till I was bleeding and almost unconscious. And then they left but not before locking the door back.

I sat there coughing up blood.
But knowing fully well that it was my blood that had called the hit on my life.
Who?
We’ll you’d have to come for Part 4 to find out. 😊 LEAVE ME A COMMENT & ANSWER THE POLL!!!!

It’s Part 3 of The Man, The Shadow: Diary of a Lost Soul by The Wordsmith @adewus4real
PART 4 drops next Saturday!
Stay up

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#WordsOfWednesday
© 2017 #WhatTheHeckMan

#WhatTheHeckMan · African · Art · Bloggers · Drama · Fiction · Life · Oakland · Poetry · Sex · Stories · TheRants

Zuliha 4

Zuliha 4

Hello!

Some of you are probably wondering where this random story came from. Well it is not random, but a series I started out in 2016 and never ended.
So here is the concluding part!
I truly hope you enjoy it and leave me a comment. Catch up on part 1-3 here.

Zuliha 1

Zuliha 2

Zuliha 3

Check out Part 3 of my current series The Man, The Shadow: Diary of a Lost Soul 3 

….

The struggle to be honest with myself was beginning to overwhelm me.
Yes, there were secrets that were out but if the words never reached the right person, then the lies remain.

With everything that had happened with my sister, my dad, and even Cole, I needed to find a new balance.
A new equilibrium.
I wanted to pack my bags and leave.
Cole was being so good to me, I felt completely undeserving of his love and patience.

Maybe this was my cross to bear. I was beginning to feel guilt that Cole, a man who just wanted to love me, was dragged into this.
So that Saturday afternoon, I packed my bags and I was headed out.
My plan was to Uber to the car rental pickup, get a car and head to the facility my mom was being held at.
I was dragging the bigger suitcase with my right hand, my backpack on my back and my laptop case in my left hand.
Standing in front of the elevator on the 5th floor, I waited for the car to reach me. As it dinged, the door flung open and my damn luck, Cole was standing there.
Covered in sweat and returning from the gym, he looked confused.

“Where you going Zuliha?”

He asked.
I couldn’t run back and to get into the elevator, I had to get past him.

“Cole, please just let me go”

“What do you mean?”

He asked as he stepped out and stood right between the carriage doors.

I ran around him and into the elevator.
He followed me in as I tried to force my bags in. I didn’t realize it but I slumped to the floor and began to cry.
Cole put his gym bag down and sat down next to me.
He didn’t say anything but he put his hands around me and held me close. I just sat there and sobbed.

A few minutes had gone by and someone had called the elevator, the doors opened. It was an older lady.
She saw me crying with Cole holding me, and she quietly backed away and left.
He finally spoke and said

“Zuliha, I am totally fine sitting right here with you but I want to make sure you are okay.
Is there anything I can do?”

The pureness of this love towards me actually made me uncomfortable.
I tried to wriggle out of his hold and he clutched me tighter.
He kissed my head and said

“I am not letting you go”

I kept my head down and continued crying as I said

“Cole, before I leave here there is something you should know”

“What is it?”

he asked
I sobbed some more and said

“I am just afraid to tell you now because you will leave me but you are the best thing that has ever happened to me”

I could almost hear him smiling. He kissed my head again and said

“Nothing is going to make me leave you. I love you.
And if you are worried about what happened between you and your sister’s husband, I am not here to judge you for that.”

I jumped out of his hold and said

“What?!
how did you know that? How could you possible know that???”

He looked up at me in this cramped elevator and said

“Your father told me a while back. I guess in an attempt to keep me away from you”

I couldn’t believe it but most importantly, I couldn’t believe how calm he was being.
He got up and gave me a hug.
The last thing he said on the issue was

“I got you”

And it was true.

……

As we drove towards the facility, I tried to stay awake but it was around 4 am.
We had a few hours to cover and I hadn’t gotten enough sleep before we left.
I had been so anxious.
I imagined what she would smell like. I hoped she would smell nice.
Like flowers on a hillside as the blossomed.
I imagined what her voice would sound like.
Would I sound like her?
Or would she have a rasp in her voice that I found so sexy?

I wanted answers and I think the thoughts racing through my mind, weakened my body.
I eventually knocked out.
As I startled out of sleep, Cole was still driving. I looked out the window to my right as I cleaned the drool off the corner of my mouth with my left hand, I couldn’t tell where we were.

“Babe, how long was I out for?”

I asked as I tried to plot our geographical Location but assessing the distance we had covered.

“Over an hour babe”

It was closer to two hours and I know he was just being modest.

“How you feeling babe?”

He asked before I could even compose my next sentence.
The day was brightening up and the sun was rising on the horizon.
I felt my heart palpitate and I caught myself as I responded to Cole

“I think I’m fine but I’m not sure. Maybe a bit nervous but mostly just excited”

He reached out his hand and I placed it in his.
I thought I was going to stay awake again but I fell asleep again.
I woke up as we pulled up to the facility.
As I opened my eyes, I caught Cole smiling again. It looked like we had been parked for a few minutes.
I smiled again as he leaned forward and kissed my forehead,

“You ready?”

He said into my hair
I didn’t respond but gently nodded my head.

We stepped out and headed into the facility. The security seemed tighter than the last place.
I still wished I had answers to why she was here but I was just going to settle with knowing who she was.
As they checked us in, Cole asked if they had her there and they said

“She’s here”

That was more than enough but just the tip of the iceberg. I now wanted more.
We couldn’t go through security fast enough.
They finally led us into a waiting room.
Cole sat down but I couldn’t sit still. I stood up and paced the room.

“Babe, we already here. Sit down.
She’ll be out in a second”

He tried to calm me down. I was so nervous.

“I just don’t know babe. What is she doesn’t know me?
What if she has forgotten me?”

He leaned back in his seat and said

“I don’t know a lot about motherhood but one thing I know is that a mother always remembers her own”

I smiled.
He was so smart and those words temporarily soothed me.

But then 12 minutes had passed and she had not shown up.
I was pacing the room faster now.

“She’s not coming Cole.
I’m so stupid. How would I think she would come to see me?”

I was so overwhelmed and I bent down and began to cry when I heard a gentle voice behind me.
It said

“Zuliha”

And in that moment, I felt my throat dry up and I swallowed hard.
I finally got the words out and said

“Mom?”

She began walking towards me and outstretched her hands.
she said

“My baby”

I swear I had never heard something so random, soothe me like those words.
She pulled me in and I melted in her arms.

….

There were a few minutes where we just sat there with Cole just watching.
Nothing was being said.
She was mom and her eyes scanned me like a TSA machine, making sure she didn’t miss any details.

“You’re so grown”

She said.

“A woman”

I smiled shyly as she continued to look at me.
I was glad to see her and feel her but I had so many questions. My eyes were scanning her so quickly and I wasn’t surprised when she said

“I bet you have many questions..”

I looked down at my fingers that I had been fiddling with. A tick I had whenever I became uncomfortable.

“I just want to know what happened”

my voice shook like a child asking a parent to go and play outside without their chores being complete.
She smiled and said

“There is a lot that happened that I don’t want to rehash but I will tell you this, there is nothing that happens that doesn’t happen for a reason”

I think she knew that I wouldn’t be content with that answer.
As she finished her sentence, I was about to speak when she continued and said

“I know you want to know how things happened with your father. But Zuliha, I will invite you to focus on the future. Don’t you think it is Interesting how one of the keys to a fulfilling future is to balance our past with the present?
I will never ask you to let go of all that happened but I want you to know that holding on to the past will never get you anywhere”

I was now upset and snarled back

“What do you mean?
He put you here! He put a baby inside Irene! He repeatedly threatened my life.
How are you asking me to let that go?”

She never moved in her seat or changed her posture. Even though Cole was visibly nervous in the corner.

“Zuliha, I am who I am because of you and your father. People don’t always see it but your identity can hinge on certain people coming or leaving your life.
I made a mistake being with him. I picked the wrong man.
And he was so overwhelming that I drowned, I wish I had no children for him but you are a blessing.
…Ending up here is irrelevant. I had demons that I had to deal with aside from being a mother. Things I never sorted out as a young woman.
Do not spend time searching for a part of yourself that you lose who you already are.
The love you think you will find in people will never be enough…like your sister’s husband. You have to fill yourself with your own self-love and navigate the world as such.”
By the time she stopped talking, I was crying
She rose and came to sit next to me. she said

“Don’t cry. Life is meant to be a rollercoaster. You don’t know how you get on it but you know eventually it will slow down and it will stop.
Make the best of the ride”

Struggling to speak underneath the tears, I replied and said

“I want that but I am just so sad that I missed most of my life with you. So much time has gone by.
I feel like my life would have been different if I had you in it all this time”

She chuckled and replied

“Or it could have been worse. There are men and women in the world today that are silently watching the lives of their loved ones fall apart with no ability to save them.
We have now. You know where I am and I am getting the help I always needed. Let us make good use of our time going forward.
I at least want to be alive to watch you marry this fine young man sitting here…”

We all smiled as Cole looked the most assured and uncomfortable in the same breath.
We chatted for a few more minutes as we caught up on each other’s lives.
Then as we were about to leave, she pulled me back and said

“I know he is not your favorite person but he is going to need you.
Lung cancer. It’s really bad.”

I sighed and nodded.
There was a smile in my heart. Even though I know it wasn’t a good thing to think.

…..

It had now been 3 years since my father passed. It was mere months after my mother had told me had cancer.
We talked once before he died. I tried to get him to take responsibility for what he did but he was stubborn and unapologetic.
I did not attend his funeral and I am frankly glad that chapter closed forever.

Every second Sunday of the month, Cole and I would drive up with David, our son to see my mother.
She was getting worse but giving so much love. She was still unhappy that Cole and I had David out of wedlock.
But this particular Sunday, we had news.

As we sat watching a movie together, I leaned over to her and flashed a ring!
She jumped out of her seat and squealed, startling a laser focus Cole and a napping David.
She hugged me and said

“I am so happy!”

We danced briefly and she beamed the rest of the evening.
She would not attend my wedding to Cole a year later.
She passed in her sleep that night.
And she was right about time, the short amount we had was priceless.
She met David and I, while she gave her blessing to marry Cole.
I shed a tear because I selfishly wanted to keep her longer but I was grateful that I found and loved my mother.

 

The End. 

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