I never got tired of watching Ore take off her clothes in front of me. It was enough to make me go crazy every time I was ushered into her beauty. To think there was no more to her than just physical beauty and big brown eyes, every part of her that took me in, made me feel a whole lot empty when I’m left alone in the open.

Ore never made me remember who I was, I mean, half the day I don’t even know who I’m supposed to be, but with Ore, I didn’t even have to bother with the thought. There was no analysis of good, bad, right or wrong; she had a way of making the world a whole lot simpler, and she had the right words to ensure that too.

“Harder.” “No, I said harder.”

“Choke me gently.” “Be firm.”

“Good, now put it in.” “Don’t stop!”

“Lay still.” “Kiss me like that again.”

“Don’t.You.Dare.Burst.” “Stay longer Daddy, you can.”

I could tell what I was doing right, everything I did was always right. With Ore I didn’t have to be somebody else, I had no use for my glasses and my nerdy ways. She took off my glasses and called me innocent with a smile whenever I said ‘wow’ to the things she did.

Last night was no different, only she refused to talk after sucking the paste out my tube. I lay there, smitten and defeated while she poured herself a generous amount of vodka.

“You still don’t drink yeah?” I thought for a minute and decided to be spontaneous as she suggested once.

“Nah, once a while now.”  She turned, surprised and pleased, then she handed me a cup and lay beside me, lost in thought, drink in hand.

I know I should have asked her what was wrong, but she made me agree never to ask about her personal life. I was not the only one she was seeing. Obviously, I can’t even afford her. But she keeps coming back, says I’m the only one who reminds her how much she misses her past. Whatever that means.

She turned to me and smiled. I smiled back but my smile faded as I noticed her teary eyes. I was about to ask what was wrong but she hushed me with a kiss, closed her eyes and let the tears drop. She looked at me again, concentrating on my eyes like there was so much she could understand just by looking, yet I was the one who needed understanding. She brushed my cheeks and said faintly

“I’m really going to miss you.”

I paused, startled, all the while thinking to myself if this was the breakup my insecure self had been awaiting for months now.

She smiled, “Relax. The old man thinks we should spend the weekend abroad. I know I said I’d be around for your mum’s birthday, but a girl has to hustle.” I never complain, she’s done a lot by just being around me. Nerds have the reputation of not being desirable at first, until a taste of our innocence is had. I see us as the modern forbidden fruit.

She giggled and downed the vodka in one swift gulp. Placing her head on my chest, she gently played with the scattered strands of hair. “Is it okay if I’m falling in love with you?”

I try not to sound excited, playing cool like she always suggested, “Good, because it wouldn’t be okay if I was the only one doing the loving.” She bit my nipple and laughed aloud and then whispered with a smile.



It was official, I had a girlfriend.


This morning, Kenechukwu came to my room, collected my phone and left. My other flat mate, Dairo was overtly nice to me, insisting I watched cartoons before going to work. Kene returned with my phone but kept avoiding my eyes. I know he’s always had a thing for my sister, but he was beginning to act weird because of it.

Work was quiet, everyone seemed normal, until I received a mail about the sudden death of my boss. I went numb, that was the old man Ore was talking about. I scrolled through my contacts for her number but it wasn’t there.

“Is this some kind of a joke?”

I dialed the number but the network seems too crappy. After several attempts, I decided to send a text.

Work closed earlier than expected due to the news so I rushed home. Kene welcomed me with a hug and teary eyes. Something was definitely wrong, Kene never hugs anyone. He didn’t let go and started to sob quietly. Dairo kept avoiding my eyes, shifting his gaze from the TV to the remote control.

Just then did I see the picture in front of me clearly. With my hands gripping at Kene’s shirt, I pulled hard but he held on tighter, repeating the words “I’m sorry”. I was speechless, but an unrhythmic dirge came from my mouth, accompanied by endless tears.

She looked perfect in death. Not even the bullet holes and crimson blush could take that.

But why did the thieves have to shoot more than once?


Only the good die old, that’s what they told me but you’re an exception…


Written By Oriaku Stephanas

First posted on

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Dear Loved Ones


Dear Loved Ones,
Mom came to visit me today. She’s made it a habit to ‘drop by’ at least three times a week. I wish I could tell her to tone down the visits a notch but I’m scared it’ll crush her. Who am I kidding? I couldn’t even tell her if I wanted to. Don’t get me wrong, I love that she never fails to be punctual;  4pm on Mondays and Thursdays, and 6pm on Sundays, but she has a life. She needs to move on with it. How do I tell her she’s added like a ton of weight? Her cheeks are chubbier, her arms are getting all bell-like and don’t even get me started on her tummy! I’m shocked to say the least cause I know she’s one hell of a fit fam but I know I’m the very last person to let her know she’s letting herself go. I don’t deserve to tell her. In fact, I don’t deserve her visits, the hours spent with me, the beautiful bouquet of flowers she never fails to leave behind, the tears she sheds every single time. I don’t deserve any of it. It hurts knowing that this is all because of me. And I’m sorry.
I am sorry, mom and dad. I’m sorry that neither of you noticed the dark hole I gradually fell into. I’m sorry you never bothered to read into the signs, dismissing it as ‘a phase’. I’m sorry that you never knew of all the nights I lay awake in bed, crying with a heavy feeling in my chest, and no matter how hard I sobbed, the heaviness never gave me a chance to breathe. I’m sorry I cut down on my food intake, first by skipping ‘just breakfast’ with one flimsy excuse or another, then by using projects and assignments as an excuse to avoid dinner too; sometimes you and Dad would force me to eat, I’m sorry you didn’t know the food never made it out the other end. It never could sit in my tummy. You noticed I was losing weight, the signs were clear – my sunken eyes, skinny arms, reduced energy, once tight-fitting now turned baggy clothes. Dad was worried. You called your sister to complain and her response was “All teenagers deal with this. Don’t bother yourself, she just wants to lose weight and look good. It’s that stage, you know. She’s definitely seeking attention”. I’m sorry you listened to her because she vowed her children went through “the phase” and look how good and fine they all turned out. I’m sorry I hid the self-harm marks, I was smart enough to cut my inner thigh. God, mom, I’m so sorry the grandma’s response to your complaint of my sudden withdrawal was “I know this pastor, it’s exactly what she needs”. I guess it really wasn’t mom, was it?
I realize my apologies are next to nothing now but I am sorry. So sorry that I had no remorse when I locked myself in my room and tailored the rope to the size of my scrawny neck. I knew that there was no going back and I’d never been so grateful for the presence of a ceiling fan. I’m sorry that dad had to find his baby like that. But it’s over now, isn’t it? Way over. Maybe it could have ended differently if I had stuck around to find out, there might have been a light at the end of the tunnel or someone to climb into the endless gaping hole to bring me out. Who knows? Well, not you my loving parents, or my sister, or my bestfriend, and definitely not me. No. Definitely not me.g

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