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Dugo #24

“I hate that we’re bonding. I really hate it.” Laika yapped in response to Ace’s words. He sat on his hind legs for a second or two, hopped up again and began skipping around. “Chill. Your turn will come.” Ace had his hands full with both dogs. Santos was in an old bathtub in the backyard, having his bath for the month. Unlike Laika who loved baths, he was grumpy about it. His droopy face didn’t hide the fact that he would rather be elsewhere, but he sat patiently, waiting to be hosed down while Laika kept on with his hops, demanding his own bath time. Suddenly, both dogs began to bark in unison, their heads craned in the direction of the gate. Ace could hear a car that didn’t sound like Dugo’s driving in. He rinsed Santos and rose up, rubbing his hands on a towel. “Stay here,” he…

Dugo #22

“I did it, Ada! I did it. I got her to say yes!” Dugo appeared from her bedroom. Holding an Ankara-designed hand fan, she swung it in her face as she watched Ace take off his sneakers at the door. A sheen of sweat covered her dark skin. She was dressed in a t-shirt alone. “You got who to say yes?” “Toyosi,” he answered, calling Toyosi’s name in a way only a Yoruba person would. “She agreed to go on a date with me.” “Okay. When?” “Tomorrow. Why are you sweating like this?” “The gen is bad. I called the gen guy four hours ago, and he’s not here. I really want to go for a swim.” “Your boyfriend has a swimming pool in his compound.” “They haven’t cleaned it in months.” Dugo looked frustrated. “Somewhere in Germany, it is winter.” She dropped into a couch. “Why is Nigeria so…

Dugo #21

He palmed her face when his lips touched hers. He told her how much he loved her and promised to be back soon. The dread in his eyes wasn’t hard to see, even though he tried to show that he had it all together. “Don’t worry about me. Go for your interview and let the whole world hear your story. I’ll sort this mess out and be back.” “And if I take a flight to Benin tomorrow?” “No, Ada.” The tip of his fingers gently stroked her sideburns. “I want to do this alone. I don’t want you mixed up in any more family drama.” “What affects you affects me, handsome.” “I know. But you’re at the start of something great in your life right now. Don’t let anything hold you back.” His kiss silenced any other protest she had. He hugged her, his face in her hair. After his…

Dugo #19

Christmas in Berlin. Heartbroken and missing Luper, Dugo spent the most part of her holiday indoors. She had never been a fan of winter, anyways. It was better to let the days pass, watching German movies and babysitting Mila’s children. It distracted her from her pain, although it couldn’t erase the regret she felt over asking for a break from Luper. On the other hand, she felt justified for going away. He had behaved foolishly. The love she bore for him had not been enough to save him from being axed. She missed him, nevertheless, and wished that things hadn’t gone the way they did. “You know you can just call him and end this nonsense, right?” Ace told her the night before. His words were a reiteration of what he had told her repeatedly over the course of three months. Her answer to him was silence. In the early…

Dugo #17

If Luper hadn’t stayed so long at the mechanic’s shop, if she hadn’t come downstairs for a cup of tea, this moment wouldn’t have been happening. But here she was, granting Udazi audience again. The backdoor was open and Dugo sat there, stirring her cup of tea. Udazi had made herself comfortable in a plastic chair in the kitchen, long legs crossed. Dugo had to admit that there was something stately about the woman. Her beauty was ageless. Even in her sixties she slayed with her elegance. But maybe it was all part of her foul packaging. Her aesthetic presentation had deceived many along the years, covering the blackness of her heart, and it was still doing so. Dugo couldn’t comprehend what type of person she was. Udazi carried out her malevolent acts as if she was doing the world a favor by them. Only a short while ago, she…

Dugo #15

It rained all night. They were awake right through it. The first half was spent exploring each other’s bodies as if for the first time. Luper had come with dinner and apologies for his behavior earlier. He was simply worried about her, he explained, emphasizing why he still felt that she needed therapy to heal from all the abuse she had faced in the past. Dugo didn’t care for his speech. She cut through his words with a silencing kiss that led to another, and another, and ultimately to clothes being tossed on the floor of her bedroom. A cold meal of macaroni was waiting afterwards. Dugo hated macaroni. She opted for some of Luper’s birthday cake which was being stored in the freezer. In the kitchen, while Luper warmed his meal, she fixed herself a cup of tea. “Will this rain stop at all?” she asked, looking out the…

Dugo #14

She saw him today. Her brother. He walked past her in the bank. She might have been mistaken because he looked chubbier and was pushing a beer gut. But it was him, alright. Half of his right ear was still missing. Mazi Enemuo, the village womanizer, had been responsible for the missing chunk that year. Her brother had dared to snatch one of his women and the man chased him with a cutlass, almost taking his head off. Nothing was done to Mazi Enemuo, of course. He was the igwe’s in-law. He didn’t even pay to treat the ear. Mama handled the treatment with the money she got from selling aki and ukwa at Eke market, the same money they all ate from. Adaugo recalled hawking her okpa for longer hours the following week. She’d walk all the way to 9th Mile where commuters coming from the middle belt and…

Dugo #12

“Hi.” It was all her pale lips could utter as his strong arms wrapped themselves around her. She shivered a bit. She was exhausted. Ace’s hug was more than welcome. She had felt like a floating balloon before now. His hold and the feel of his body brought her back to earth. The only problems was that she wished it was Luper hugging her. She told Ace this. “Then why didn’t you tell him you were coming back today?” “Tomorrow is his birthday. I want to surprise him.” “So that means you guys are back together?” She gave no reply. She received a peck on her forehead before Ace picked her luggage and began towing it down the alley that led to the parking lot. A little over two weeks ago, she had buried the cremains of her ex-husband. He had insisted on being cremated and his ashes stored in…

Biyankavitch #11

Lanre. He had spent the night here. Face buried in my neck and a leg tucked in-between mine, he slept the sleep of the exhausted and angry, after a long session of intense sex, following two hours of Krav Maga in which I was defeated asininely. He had pinned me beneath him at the end of the session and demanded to know why I launched a personal attack on Baka. “You put yourself at risk and jeopardized the mission!” he shouted. “I’m pulling you out of there!” “No!” We were in my backyard, on a short stretch of land that held artificial grass on which Duru spent most of his time. A nasty rainfall was beating down on Lanre and I. The training session had been difficult. My body ached all over. Lanre was not the type of man you flexed your muscles with. He was swift and brutal. “You…

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