*Based off real stories by “Anonymous”. Names changed to protect identity.
Short Stories By Anonymous
Olotoro lo man koko jiya. ‘Slang’ Yoruba.
A simple adage that translates to; the person telling the truth is always the first person to suffer.
I tell my daughter this all the time.
Is it dreary? Absolutely.
However, in a society like mine where power & influence overcome common sense -coupled with the wicked tendencies of man’s heart- one could only imagine what consequences you will suffer for being extremely passionate & loud about the truth.
Obviously, if everyone speaks up, eventually a wave of change would come, but the first person(s) to start this domino effect always bares the consequences.
Life just isn’t necessarily always ‘fair’.
& there he was, inside the gutter.
It’s been almost 10 years since I have been labelled the title “Widow”. It’s still extremely shocking to me because I could have never predicted this, & honestly; neither did I want the responsibility.
My husband & I were somewhat of ‘highschool sweethearts’; we didn’t attend the same Secondary school but we met each other around that age.
Today was a regular, Tuesday in Akure.
Although, to shake things up. I got up super early, & headed to the yard to see if I could nab some tardy employees. A little bit of unpredictability; used in the right context of course, is necessary to run a thriving business in my country.
Quite, alright & just as I had expected, upon arriving to my establishment; I discovered most of the staff had yet to resume.
This is where the unpredictability in context plays in.
I lock the gates of my establishment 20 minutes after the staff ought to have resumed to work, intending to catch the awfully tardy ones red-handed! Hear their excuses & write them up the ones with bad stories.
After an additional 20 minutes, I walk outside, open the establishments gate, with all the zeal necessary to chastise my late employees. You see, I’m a woman & we need to be ferocious around these parts to be taken seriously. Even then you aren’t assured anything regardless of your work ethic.
& there he was, literally -maybe even metaphorically- in the gutter.
Just outside the company gate.
Pastor *Bassey’s vehicle; with him in it, had somehow fallen into one of the gutters near the side of my office.
Even more interesting? He was calling out for my assistance.
This Pastor that had a hand in his demise.
Yes, it’s no secret that my husband & I have always had a strained & tumultuous relationship. Ever since the conception of our first child! But that gave Pastor Bassey no right to exploit a weak marriage for his personal & selfish gain.
Unbeknown to me, Pastor Bassey was one of the people poisoning my husband’s heart against me. The spearhead leader of the ‘Your wife is a witch’ campaign. I found out about this from him, during his dying moments.
He told me everything & kept apologizing profusely.
Much like Pastor Bassey is doing right now.
All I’ve done is stare at him. I haven’t uttered a word.
Why is he apologising?
‘Alhaja, e ma binu, se mo se yin ni?’
‘Alhaja, I’m sorry, did I offend you?’
People think women lack gumption around these parts.
They see a hijab-wearing middle-aged lady & they automatically assume their half-apologies should always be met with ingress.
This outward appearance may read as ‘docile’ for some around these parts.
I just keep watching him -for what seemed like- a while. At least to me, I was cut away from my thoughts by his cries of apology.
So I cut him off; ‘you didn’t offend me, you offended God’
It is very common for ‘Men of God’ to exploit their social status as ‘holy men’ within the community for their self gain; around these parts.
Pastor Bassey was no different. He saw some money, a weak marriage, & a husband with a huge ego. Ergo the perfect breeding ground for greedy men who seek to exploit.
The mere fact that he felt the need to apologize on the spot, coupled with him -& his car- physically being in the gutter, while he keeps calling out from my help, all seemed oddly symbolic for me.
I should let him sort it out by himself.
He never reached out one time, after my husband’s unfortunate demise.
Not even one phone call!
Extremely atypical behavior for someone who stayed in contact with our family regularly. Checking into my husband’s ear every other day.
Purposefully misleading him, massaging his ego, in exchange for money offered for church donations & “prayers”.
Now the idiot needs help?
Life really does come at you full circle abi?
I intended on leaving him there. Sorry, stuck & wretched.
Then something made me stop & think; why do you always come up on top?
Even when I’m oblivious & unaware that I’m walking through the valley of the shadow of death -which could honestly describe my 15 year union- things always found its way to turn around back in my favor. I equate this to my lifestyle. I avoid causing any unwarranted harm or hurt to my fellow human.
I am a woman of my word & whenever the opportunity presents itself where I can comfortably be of help to my fellow human; I take it.
Pastor Bassey -as disgusting & off-putting as he was to look at now- was not going to be any different.
He was not going to dictate my character.
Was this a life test?
All I know was, I asked some of the tardy employees to drive my car out; I got in it.
I had a meeting to catch. I also told them to help Pastor Bassey & his vehicle out of the gutter. I watched them push & pull his car out, he face seemed a little less distress once his car tyres were actually on the main road.
Pastor Bassey even broke a smile & my direction. He began to walk to in the direction of my car.
Surely, he didn’t think my being of assistance meant an open invitation for conversation?
I waited for him to get as close as possible to my vehicle, while I waited with the car door open. Once he was close enough & with earreach, I watched him gather his wits. As he summoned enough confidence to talk, I slammed my car door in his face & sped off!
What does he think this is?
The next week I got a very important call. I found out a contract I had been gunning for for the past 8 years -& to no avail- finally came through! & I didn’t have to grease any hands.
I was flabbergasted! & immediately my mind casted back to my encounter with Pastor Bassey.
Do you believe in Karma? I don’t know.
I just know I feel better when I don’t play God.
‘Olotoro lo man koko jiya‘ but it always pay off in long run.
…at least this has been my experience.
Wanna tell your story? Contact us in the contact box down below.