Olajumoke Omisore

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Olajumoke Omisore lives in Lancashire. She grew up in London and Abeokuta. Her writing has appeared in The Kalahari Review, African Writer, Naija Stories, Tales from the Other Side anthology, TNC and elsewhere. Her flash story, Ochuga’s Girl was longlisted for the Minority Contest. You can read her other series Playing the Game and Losing Hope on Aideyarn.com

Say You Will Stay #22

Obinna was sat on the armchair when she came back in. There were snacks on the table – a bowl of popcorn, chocolate biscuits and two doughnuts. A bottle of Fanta on her favourite puff. One empty glass cup sat on the stool beside him. Next to it, a cup of pineapple juice for him. “I thought you were gonna go to the shops?” Isio did not hide her disappointment. It came out, attached to her words as they left her mouth. “This friendship thing isn’t gonna work if you don’t do your bit.” She picked up the remote control from the table and pointed it at the DVD player to eject the film he had slotted in. A thriller. One of those with Bruce Willis and guns. The kind of film he liked. The kind she avoided watching. Although she watched a few with him at the beginning of their relationship.…

Say You Will Stay #21

Isio did not talk much on the way home. She couldn’t have. Obinna talked almost all the way through. Explaining that he had missed her, that he was sorry. She let him come into the apartment because she believed Biba was home. She was wrong. “Where is Biba, sweetie?” He asked as though he thought caring about her friend would change what she felt about him. She shook her head to inform him she did not know. Examining his words for the air of superiority they sometimes came coated in. “I’m asking you because Anu is in London.” She nodded without glancing at him. She knew Anu was coming to the city with the children, their nanny and someone else that worked for her. They saw her on the day she returned to Ribble Greaves. Her warm hugs and affectionate greetings were enough to make Isio want to stay a…

Say You Will Stay #20

The drive back to the house was unnervingly quiet. She had expected Isio to be asleep when she peered at her face. Her eyes were vacant. They had been red when she trudged into the car. Red because she had drunk enough alcopops for a big party. Her jumper smelt of it. Her sleeve felt damp against Biba’s hand when she hugged her. She had guessed that her friend spilt drink on herself in her drunken haze. Idriss stopped the car close to the house. This was timely. Isio jumped out of the car running towards the house, both palms on her mouth. Kanyin followed, Biba stayed. “Are you not going in?” Idriss asked. “Or you wanna come for a drive?” She thought of the swift manner he led Isio into the car and how he yelled at Chib to back off. He cared too much about Obinna to be quiet about…

Say You Will Stay #19

It wasn’t light streaking into the room that woke Biba up. It was the familiar voice of the woman by the door. She winced as she woke completely. Realising that the taut body next to her had not been imagined. That the time when he pinned her hands to the bed and he teased her with his tongue had not been induced by the copious amount of wine she consumed. He was next to her and she was sure the voice she heard belonged to his wife. “Wake up,” she slapped his chest. “Anu is here.” She did not wait for him to open his eyes. She jumped out of bed taking the duvet with her. The dress she had on last night, her double-strapped, jewelled sandals and her underwear were strewn all over the room. She was bent double extracting her clutch bag from underneath the bed when the…

Say You Will Stay #18

Anu’s house was the biggest Isio had even seen in the UK. It was bigger than Funmi Lawal’s. With sprawling rooms that were decked in luxurious furniture and walls washed in vibrant magnolia. Outer buildings that were big enough to house families and a beautiful garden with stunning flowers, an apple tree and a magnificent treehouse for the children. The living room was painted in pale purple. It housed a few paintings and Isio gawked at one of them with batik patterns whilst Kanyin fetched drinks. Biba had rushed outside to take a call when they arrived. “The house belongs to my stepmother,” Kanyin had sneaked back in with a tray of drinks. “Daddy bought it for her as a birthday present three years ago.” “Really?” Isio did not think Kanyin’s father was that generous. Or perhaps he had to be generous to cover his affairs. It reminded her of…

Say You Will Stay #17

*** Isio did not tell Obinna she had been discharged from the hospital. She didn’t tell him either, she was going to Ribble with Kanyin and Austin. They had decided to spend the rest of the festive period with Kanyin’s family. The last time she saw him, his neck carried his head like it was a weighty load. It was the day after she blamed him for the baby. The day he told her what she expected to hear. “I’m not walking away, Issy. I will wait for you to forgive me.” When she went to see Annabel, he wasn’t there. Kelly was rearranging books and magazines on a table. “She is asleep.” Kelly did not take her eyes off the books and magazines. Isio shifted from one foot to the other. The books and magazines were familiar to her. Annabel carried a few at a time with her when…

Say You Will Stay #16

*** *** *** “Issy-sweetie, you are scaring me. We’re all worried about you. Mum hasn’t stopped crying. Lotachi has called twice. She wants me to go on my knees when you wake up. She wants you to know she will be the best sister-in-law ever. Trust me, that girl loves you. Just like Ifeanyi and Daddy.” Obinna stopped to avoid mentioning Chibuzor’s name. Isio looked like she had simply gone to sleep. If he just looked at parts of her face. Around her forehead, cheeks and the bridge of her nose. She looked fine. Not like the unconscious body he found beside his daughter’s at the bank of the river. Her dress was muddy. Just like his daughter’s. Her hair, wet. Drenched in soil that clung to strands of her twists. Strands that had come apart. The way he came apart when he saw their bodies. When Chibuzor called him…

Say You Will Stay #15

Obinna’s stomach groaned. The strain of Isio’s feeding had gotten to it. He had to abandon his belt after she served him two heaped plates of Nigerian Chinese rice. Last night, it was pounded yam with a bowl of afang stew. Another bowl of egusi stew with the kind of meat that tasted like game meat. Right after, she knelt before him and unzipped his pants. He would have enjoyed himself more if a tooth had not come dangerously close. Afterwards he had held her and reassured her. It had started on Tuesday evening. When he came back from work and found Chibuzor in his room. He was showing Isio the new tattoo on his lower rib cage. A scorpion tattoo. It wouldn’t have bothered him that she was bent double looking at it, if she didn’t seem so comfortable. On their first night together, she hadn’t been that comfortable…

Say You Will Stay #14

Isio paced the floor of Obinna’s room, looked out of the window for a while and straightened the beddings before scrolling down to Ifeanyi’s phone number on her contact list. It was the other phone number Obinna gave her. Just in case, his number wasn’t going through, he had said. She had been like this at the hospital. Staring at the oncologist’s thin lips and hairy face and not really listening. It had taken Mrs Okadigbo’s sighs of relief and thank you Jesus for her to take in what the oncologist was saying. She was trying to listen. She even nodded to the oncologist’s prodding gaze and gesturing hand motions. But everything she saw and heard reminded her they had not spoken in twenty four hours. That her friends’ voices when they told her not to worry did not sound convincing. Mrs Okadigbo had to pull her back when she…

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