Curse of the Rose (Episode 2)

“He that would enjoy the scent of the rose must risk the prick of its thorn”
– Kanayo Anigboka (Kani)

Nkoli lay in the dark. Conversing with the voices buried deep in her head. She travelled through time and went to strange places. She lived her fantasies. She let her guard down and her challenges melted and became one with her mind. It was the day and she was walking towards him. Her phone buzzed. She came back. Opened her eyes. Her room was unfamiliar. It was her mum. She sighed and turned away from the phone. Her eyes shut, she returned to the Fortress of San Nicola in Tremiti Islands. Her vintage wedding dress sweeping the stone floor as she walked towards him, his smile broad, revealing milk coloured teeth. Her eyes snapped open. She was wasting valuable time, she should write. She jumped up from the bed and made her way to her desk, using the illumination from her phone. She should write. She was a writer. A bestselling writer. She opened her laptop and stared at the picture from Oprah’s show last month. Oprah’s arm on her shoulder, their smile as bright as the sun. She looked happy. She should be happy but she felt the strangeness creep up on her. It started from her head down to her heart. The tears came hard and fast. Her head fell on her MAC and she wept. The room became whole with her sadness. The voices were silent as they watched her cry.

The banging started. She thought they had finally decided to let her be. She held her breath. She would be silent and it would stop. It persisted. Phone in hand, she stepped over the books and clothes that lined the way to the sitting room. There was a stench. Dishes from last week were piled in the sink. She looked through the peep hole. It was Salam. Again. What did she want? Hadn’t she learned already? She leaned her back on the door and listened to her bang.

-          I know you’re in there Nkoli, open up

Nkoli shut her eyes tight and tried to breathe slowly

-          Come on, your neighbour said you are in there. Nkoli!

More bangs. Nkoli heard another voice. Her nosy next door neighbour was talking to Salam. Mind your business she wanted to scream. She should buy a house, on a hill, with a one mile drive in. she hated neighbours. They gawked at you as you left, and would be there on the same spot as you came home, peering into your bags like owls perched on dead evil trees. She heard Salam’s shoes thump on the hallway as she walked away. The third time that week. The nosy neighbour’s door slammed shut.

Nkoli sank to the floor and put her head between her legs. She started to shake. She was a fake. She was a space. Non-existent. She tried to see him waiting for her at the end of the aisle but his smile was gone. He dissolved into the night. She crawled to her room and sat on her desk. She opened her word pad and began to type. She deleted. She typed. She deleted. She was an award winning writer dammit. She heard her agent’s words, "You need to keep the pace Nkoli. You don’t want to leave the mind of your fans. Write a  book, a short story, an essay, anything. Be controversial. Make a lot of noise." Hot tears burned her eyes. She stared at the blinking cursor. It was waiting. Watching her. She was a fake. No she wasn’t. She had eight books to her name. She took a deep breath and began to type. The tap tap of her fingers on the keyboard interrupting the silence. She wrote. Dead inside still, but her character was beautiful, bold, fearless. Her agent’s dream.

-          But I am not all that. 
-          I am what I say you are. I am your creator. 
-          Then it wouldn’t be true. You know what I am. Say it.
-          Shut up dammit. I am in charge here. I write you as I choose. 
-          Then you are a fake 
-          Shut up. I’m a writer.
-          Not yet. Not until you say it. Say it.

She slammed her laptop shut and lay on the bed amidst dirty clothes. She covered her face with her pillow and prayed her breath would go, that the darkness would bring relief. No. she wasn’t even that bold. She uncovered her face. The light flickered and filled the room. She grunted. NEPA.


Nnadi crawled out from his bed. NEPA had finally shined upon him. Yeah, but why did he even need electricity? It’s not like he was a TV junkie. He plugged his phones and Rechargeable lamp which was just a moment ago, his only source of light. At the sitting room, he sank into the sofa and switched on the TV. It was the 9’oclock news. They were talking the usual Nigeria’s blah blah blahs and then there was the announcement of the forthcoming PDP primaries. He sighed. Jonathan would win of course and also the national election and he would sit on the throne of the presidency again and he, Nnadi would never have left his house to vote neither would most Nigerians. He would watch something else… he changed channels… or not. He switched off the TV.

He walked back into his bedroom and saw it with new eyes. It looked like the room of a drug addict on withdrawal. He would fix it in the morning or better still ask his symbiotic cousin, Afoma, to come over. He picked up a book from his table, Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s Wizard of the Crow and beneath it was her book. He felt jabs at his heart again, like she had just walked out on him yesterday and not last week Friday. He should take one last look at her face because he was never going to open her books. Why should he? He reached for the book and shook his head in protest, he jumped into the bed with Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s book in hand. He would never look at her face.

Thirty minutes later he was still staring at the first page of the book and making no sense of it. He would go for a stroll. He stood up and grabbed her book before he could change his mind, he flipped the cover and looked at her face behind. She was beautiful… and unkind. Don’t forget. He would read her books. Why shouldn’t he? She was a good writer. He opened his front door and saw the girl from the gate incident last week by the steps, her eyes red from crying.

-          Hi. Are you alright?

She shook her head and started shaking in sobs. Here was his opportunity.Opportunity? Come on, he wasn't going to take advantage of a crying girl. He would be a gentleman.

-          Do you want to come in?

She hesitated Maybe she hadn’t heard him. Maybe he should mind his business and go for his stroll, maybe the guys from upstairs would come down later and take her back. Then she shuffled up to her feet and walked towards him. He stepped aside as she brushed past him into his home. He followed her in, his stroll forgotten.

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Depression is like a black cloud that covers the sun, it forces you to suffer the night while everyone else enjoys the day.

                                                    – Kanayo Anigboka (Kani)      

Story written by +Nnedinma Jane Kalu 
Nnedinma studied Biology but works as a freelance scriptwriter. She lives in Enugu from where she sees the world in the pages of books. She is a co-writer at the Radio drama series Purple produced by Flint Productions. She participated in the Writivism writing program 2014 and is an Alumini of the Farafina Creative Writing Workshop.

Kanayo Aniegboka

Kani is a Nigerian born and based minister, public speaker, entrepreneur and life coach. His keen and unique perspective to life issues makes him a refreshing voice to listen to. He currently serves as the Executive Coordinator of House on the Rock - Word House and sits on the board of a number of companies.

1 comment:

  1. Jesus who's this Nnedima and do you have a book we can read? You write you write you do write i'm humbled