Sunday, March 23, 2008

Sister mine




I had not seen her in a long while. That was to be expected. Her flight from town had been sudden but not secret. It had been paramount that she leave when she did and any delays at that point would have spelled disaster.

She wore her hair long now. I wondered if it was really hers. She had always had short hair, cut low like a mini afro. Framing her face, her hair glowed in the light of the room like it would if you were looking through a glass of coca cola. It elongated her jaw. It made her look very feminine. Her beauty was almost a shock not because she had been particularly unpleasant to look at before but because it came with a calmness and elegance that I had never seen or possibly that I had not been able to discern at eighteen.

"I cannot believe you are getting married." she laughed, her voice singing out to me. My stomach tightened. She saw my discomfort and chuckled reaching for her drink.

"Don't worry Lola, you don't have to invite me. I will never cause you any embarassment."

Those words, simple and unembellished cut through me like a sharp knife and it was a few seconds before the pain began to spiral out. I looked away as I felt my eyes fill with tears.

"Lola, please don't." her voice had changed. It was not just that the laughter was gone and her tone held a tinge of cold warning. I had just never heard her sound like that. Is this what nine years could do? Suddenly I was very exhausted. I could not simply sit there and make small talk, skirting around the issues whilst we endured for as long as we could in each other's public company and then flee to the familiarity of my world.

"I would be glad if you can come to the wedding." I told her simply.

Her eyes went cold. "I do not need your sympathy." she spat her words at me like my invitation was decorated with feaces. I ignored her. There was no going back.

"It would be great if I can have all my sisters with me on my wedding day."

A slow smile spread across her face. It was not a good one. It was mocking and unkind. I deserved it.
"So, now I am your sister? Pray tell, how could that be? I thought I ceased to be that nine years ago, you know, when the old man forbade every single one of you contact with me."

I winced, " Sis Dupe, can we not move past that? I know what we did was not right but I am here now, trying to make things right."

She shook her head, "you cannot make right by yourself a decision that took a group to make wrong." she sat forward and I saw that her eyes were misty and filled with pain, "do you know what that felt like, fleeing my country like a thief in the night with nothing to my name but citizenship and yet no one not even mom bothered?" she gave me a once over with her eyes and it felt like I had been wiped down with a rag.

This was not going to be easy. I did not expect it to be. We had all turned our backs on her. All she had asked was a chance to be herself. It was because she loved us, she had said at the time, that she wanted to make sure that she was not living a lie and that we knew who she was and what she was doing. Of all the things that I could have conjurred, no where did it occur to me that my older sister could have been involved in a torrid affair with another woman. My mother fainted when the words left Dupe's mouth and my father did not speak for three days. When he would utter sounds next, it was to publicly declare his disownment. No one was to have anything to do with Dupe ever again.

Things had begun to escalate even before she came clean. Sandra, with whom Dupe had been carrying on was married to an older man who was a colonel in the Nigerian army. Only God knows how he found out. All we know is that somehow there was struggle, a gun and a dead man. Sandra fled and Dupe her lover, receiving no sanctuary from her family even though she had not been present or involved with the shooting, fled with her. The man's family still came calling and made sure the whole world knew that one of Chief Kayode's daughters was involved in "unnatural practices". It had been a little over nine years and still the whispers had not died down.

And I was about to resurrect them. No one in the family knew that I had actively sought her out and that I had come with the sole purpose of inviting her and Sandra to the wedding. It was going to be held in London anyway and everyone was coming over. I wanted my family there, complete and unabridged.

"She is my sister and I want her there." I had told Ima.
"Do you also want the ensuing drama of that decision?" he had asked. He did not like the idea.
I was just tired. How do I tell my children about all their aunties and uncles and leave out Dupe?

Dupe and her love for mangoes. Dupe and her off key serenading. Dupe and her piano playing. Dupe and her sarcasm. Dupe who would lie just as our eldest sister, Subi had instructed about who broke the coffee table and then under further cross examination also inform on the culprit. Dupe who had written two books that had made the best seller lists and got her a literary award. Dupe who was a gay rights activist. Dupe who had survived attempts on her life for her work. Dupe who was a lawyer and had travelled to every single continent. Dupe who was so funny that she always escaped dadddy's spanking by giving her own side of the story in such a way that the man could not hold back his laughter. Dupe who braided my hair and my scalp erupted in boils. Dupe who tried to teach herself to drive and killed the cashew trees in the compound. Dupe who would sit in silence for hours and then rush off to pen her thoughts. Dupe who could not dance to save her life. Dupe who would hug me even though I pretended not to like it. Dupe, my big sister.

There was so much that was her that that by which she was now known was such an insignificant part. She was a good person. I loved her. She was my sister.

"Deepee sis" I called the name I had used for years because in the beginning that was what my toddler lips could form, "I could not come to you then because I was very young and confused. I am about to start my life on my own terms and it would make me proud if you can please come and celebrate the beginning with me."

She looked at me. I held her gaze. And then she laughed.
"Men, daddy is going to piiiiiiiiiiiiissssssed."



Soul exists because God loves it.
-The Shariyat-ki-Sugmad bk 1.

24 comments:

Kafo said...

wow
this is heartfelt
i like


is this true

can't wait for the next installment

happy easter

i like your template also

teecity said...

happy easter Ms Catwalq.part 2 pls.

hey m 2nd.

Jaycee said...

I almost cried as the true meaning of the story began to be unraveled in front of my eyes...

This is about blood, which is thicker than water. There's nothing like the love of a blood-link. Nothing can be like that. There's power in family.

It is the sin indeed that shd be despised, not the person...

Naapali said...

As usual I like the story. This line made me smile: "she gave me a once over with her eyes and it felt like I had been wiped down with a rag."

- do you think adding an adjective before rag would give it even more drama (dirty, soiled, dish etc?)?

- u describe Dupe's affair with Sandra as torrid. It reads in my mind as a negative connotation. Is that your intention?

I am still searching for that land in Utah. Read my comments to previous post to understand.

Unbiased said...

Happy Easter Ms Catwalq!!
These ya tori sef. Let make a deal. Mail me all the manuscripts for proof reading. All this reading in bits is giving me high blood pressure. lol!!

Ms. Catwalq said...

kafo: it is not written intended to have a sequel....thanks

Teecity: happt easter to you too. I did not have a second part planned. You are to fill in the blanks yourself

Jaycee: I will have to shift away from one part of your view not because I do not respect it but because I do not share it. This story is not about sin. I don't believe in sin. I believe in crime and punishment, actions and reactions where thy apply. My idea was to communicate how it is so easy to condemn from a distance and the complexities that come with these issues because they involve people that are part of some family or commununity unit.

Naapali: 1. The words are those of the sister. They are her definitions. In this sense, I believe she is not saying the "with whom" was bad but rather the "how". That is, she was in an affair with a married person.
2. not all rags are dirty, some are just raggedy...but i will look into it.
3. Project Utah: men, I was blindsided by your offer. That is not what I want o. But since you insist, I am afraid I can only commit one day of the week to you. Beloved gets the other six. I await your counter offer.

Unbiased: hello dear...u want all the manuscripts now? go and check your mail.

Uzezi said...

first time here.
i love ur flow and style of writing. still, will like to know if the story is true or fiction, either way, i think u r an excellent writer

Waffarian said...

Well written, as usual...I am getting tired of saying that though, "well written", let me go and find other ways to describe your writing....I will be back.

ablackjamesbond said...

Great piece. Waiting for the next instalment.

Pink-satin said...

oya update

Pink-satin said...

no sequel...why now

darkelcee said...

part 2 nko?

this is too sweet not to have part 2.

My Alaba bros must not see it b4 u say what dem don turn am to nollywood movie.

nice one sis

Happy Easter

Arewa said...

Wow... love this .....Sibblings should support be there for each other no matter what....this is what happens when families fail to accept situations and let thigs be. PART 2 PLSE X X X
Hope all is well with u ...How are the studies comming along?

SOLOMONSYDELLE said...

Ol' girl, bawo ni? Just a quick response to your comment at Easier...I thought I already included you on the evite? Anyway, since I have already been 'lombasted' for not sending the evite to enough people, here is a very public invitation to you oh!

Give me a call and I'll arrange a ride for you, ok?

And, why is it you writers keep tantalizing us with Part 2s? E no good oh...

NIGERIAN CURIOSITY
IT WAS SO MUCH EASIER WHEN I ONLY HAD ONE...

Afrobabe said...

Yep, Daddy had better get set to be pissed.....

You know the part i love the most about this write up??
The way you described Dupe....It was so real...

Naapali said...

See u this greedy woman sef. U wan chop where u neva farm, I say make u chop small, u begin wash your face, wash your neck, say make I commot make u chop everyting.

1:6 which kin offer be dat? Dem tell u say dem born me yestaday?

Okay to counter offer; if u gree bring ya sef, Afrobabe, G. Nigeriana, den maybe I fit go up to allowing u one day off for sake of free play.

Nne, de ball is back in your court! I ready to sign Utah lease anyday!

eFJay said...

U have undeniable talent! I absolutely loved it

Moody Crab said...

I'm LOVING the new format! I'm off to read now.

'Yar Mama said...

very nice blog, will be back

Ms. Catwalq said...

uzezi:story is fictional for me and real for thousands....

waffarian: we should talk o my sister. how bodi?

007: well, it will have to be an installment of something else because this piece has no sequel. It is left for you to write the ending as you wish.

pnk-satin: i kind of have

darkelcee: *chuckle* Alaba is a market waiting to be tapped into.

arewa: the story is complete. it is what it is....

Solomonsydelle: no o i did not get an evite o, i did not get an evite o. i did not get an evite o...whorusay? parrie ova dere? I am on it joo

afrobabe: I think most people don't realise that gay people are simply people and that their being gay is such a minute aspect of their life...kind of my being in love with guava

Naapali, Naapali: omo, u no even thank God say I gi u one day. i for comot you o. na Beloved I consider as she like you small. However as I no be bad person, I go oblige you small...I gi u two days. oya go book the houses wey we go live. Na for my own Beloved go dey. the pikins go dey your house....

efjay: thank u and so have u too

moody: where have u been?

Yar mama: i was at your briefly and I must say, I think we are going to get along just fine...

guerreiranigeriana said...

i read this earlier and meant to comment...was distracted...great read and timely topic...there is more, abi?...

Zena said...

will you grace us with part 2? was an excellent read

pamela said...

Oya, part two....

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