Learning to breathe

Archive for the tag “short stories”

Tchink and Eden (Chapter 5)

“What are you?”

She smiles as she hauls me out of the liquid “I was expecting a ‘who”?

“What?” I am puzzled.

“Who are you?’  Not ‘what are you?”

What difference does it make? I say to myself.

I see the stag on the other side of the foreign lake, resting. My heart is no longer beating hard and I take this to mean that I am no longer afraid. I must have left my wits at the bottom of this lake because if I had them about me I would spread my wings and fly far far away from these…things. Yet, there is something about the way this being is fashioned that compels me to stay and study her. I know it’s a ‘her’ because she sounds feminine. Aside from that there isn’t anything feminine about her in the lome sense of the word; she looks nothing like Yovec or Mama Tchaek. Something like a lot of gold colored yarn is sprouting from her head the way grass sprouts from the ground.

Does she water her head, then?

Her skin is not pale or even translucent but it glows and is the color of a baby lome’s nose when he is crying. Her eyes are endless depth of blue and they are half the size of my endless depths of black. Amazingly, it does not diminish their beauty; I could stare into her eyes for the rest of my life now that I have lost my wits. She is robed in white like a fresh born lome too.

Why does she have robes on? Does she have something to hide? Or is she just a large, deformed baby lome?

Suddenly, I feel naked and a shade of pink creeps into my cheeks when she turns and catches me staring at her.

“I’m surprised you do not ask questions.” She says as she bends once again, reaching into the strange lake with her left hand.

“My mother gives me firm knocks on me head when I ask visitors and strangers questions. She says I don’t mind me business”

She laughs. Her laughter is deep and throaty…bubbling up from her insides.

“Maybe you do ask a lot of questions then but I can handle your questions. Go on, ask.”

She still has her left hand beneath the surface and she is still bent uncomfortably, facing the other direction, facing the stag.

“Who are you? What is your name? Where are you from?”

“My name is Lysa. You needn’t know where I am from; you wouldn’t understand.”

“I dinna want to think that you think me to be simple.”

“No, you’re not simple, Tchink. If you were simple, you wouldn’t be standing here right now.”

My heart slammed against my chest.

“How do you know my name?”

“There are a lot of things that I know, Tchink. For example, I know that you should be meeting your friends at the meadow right now and I also know that you would love some fish.”

She finally brings her hand out of the liquid and along with her hand, a big wriggly thing. It looks like an over fed slug with big eyes and mouth. She calls it fish and she says that I would like to have some of it but all I want to do is run to the meadow.

“I would love to get back to my friends now.”

She smiles again then nods her approval.

“We have so much to talk about Tchink but you can go meet your friends now.”

My heart swells with relief and sadness at the same time but I manage to spread my wings and fly.

I will come back for my wits at a more opportune time.


As Happy As A Sunday Sky

Its early Sunday morning. Cold woke me. I turn on my bedside lamp. Somehow, in the middle of the night, I rolled out from under the duvet. Sunmade’s arm is on my hip and I feel his breath on my neck.
I get back under the duvet and snuggle more comfortably beside him.

Sunlight will steal through the blinds in about an hour.

Sunmade’s phone vibrates. I feel it somewhere on the bed. Past his head.

It stops. And starts again.

I straddle him in an effort to get to the phone before it wakes him. As soon as I turn off his strange alarm ‘tone’

I hear him chuckle.

“What are you doing?”

I can see him smile and cock a brow.

“Getting rid of your phone.”

I smile back.

“And here I was thinking my wife was trying to seduce me on a sunday morning.”

He pinches my derriere.

“Too early love. And I’m starting to feel sick.”

I get off him.

“Good morning Orin.”

He yawns and sits up. Checks the time.

“Wow. Its almost six-thirty.”

Unsteady, I stand. My daily dose of nausea washing over me.

“Going anywhere else apart from church this morning?”

“Yeah. Lolu’s arriving today.”

He stands too and heads for the bathroom.


I understood him well the first time. I want to be sure he is indirectly saying he will not go to church.

“Yes. Arriving. Landing. Entering the country.” He replies.

I hear the water run.

“Can’t any of your other siblings go to pick her up?”

He shuts the bathroom door.

I ask again. No reply.

I start making the bed. By the time I’m through, he is out.

“They have other things to do. Orin, don’t be difficult. Its just one service.”

“And we don’t?”

“Orin gimme a break abeg. I don’t want to argue this morning. Are you coming with me or not?”


“Okay.” He shrugs.

Strike one.

I shed my nightwear and get to the bathroom.

I feel the nausea again and turn my head in time to vomit into the toilet. Sunmade can hear, I am sure, but he does not say the usual ‘sorry love’.

Strike two.

I rinse my mouth then brush my teeth, looking into the mirror.

My eyes are still sleepy. My hair is disheveled. I am slightly pale.

I remove my towel and step under the warm cascade. Letting it warm my numb body for a minute before I start scrubbing myself clean of yesterday. Languidly.

By the time I am dressed, Sunmade is in the living room watching television.

“What time will you be going to the airport?”

“In about 30 minutes.”

It is 8.30 now.

“I’m going to church with or without you. I have to see Pastor Carlton after church anyway.”

He mumbles “fine”

Strike three. Perfect.

“Would you like some tea?” I ask sweetly.

“Yes. Thanks love.”

He smiles up at me. I smile back.

8.35 his tea is ready. I add generous tablespoons of salt.

I put it on a saucer and place it on the stool beside him.

“Thanks” he says again. “Pray for me.”

“I will.”

I grab my car keys and trot happily to my Benz.

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