Forgive me Motunrayo, I Want to Sin

night

Sola remained quiet even though it was her turn to speak. As each second ticked away, I adjusted my expectations from support to understanding.

 
“It’s not done. Bimpe, it’s simply not done. Blood is thicker than water . . .”

 
“But we are not related by blood—”

 
“Who said anything about his blood? I’m talking about Motunrayo, your younger sister!”

 
She hissed the way our mothers used to. The way we said we would never do.

 
“Have you?” Her voice was soft. Her eyes were hard.

 
“No o! What kind of person do you think I am?”

 
“I don’t know. Love makes people do stupid things.” She spat the word love as though it was bitter kola.

 
“Well, I haven’t!”

 
“Keep your legs closed and run as fast as you can.”

 
I tried to make her see that love could be sweet like chilled ripe mango slices. For two hours her eyes remained hard, the way my father’s and mother’s had been two days ago.

 
Finally, Sola shook her head and said, “Bimpe, love is not enough. Are you forgetting where we come from?”

 

 
I returned to my flat at 10 p.m., took two tablets of Paracetamol, and whispered for sleep to come. My phone rang.

 
“So, what happened?”

 
“Segun, it didn’t go very well.” I fluffed my pillows, sat up, and took a deep breath. “She said I was there to look after my sister not look after her husband. That it might even look like we conspired to kill her—”

 
“God forbid! I’m sorry . . .”

 
“I’m tired.”

 
“We can’t let other people dictate our lives. What we have is real.”

 
“Is it?”

 
“You don’t mean that—”

 
“I don’t know again. I still think it’s too soon. She just died six months ago!”

 
“How long do we have to wait? One year, two years, ten years? What if they never come round? I survived cancer. I narrowly missed that plane crash. I survived the accident. I feel like I’ve cheated death ten times. Bimpe, life is short.”

 
“Hmmm . . .”

 
“Say something . . . please.”

 
“Some days I feel good. Some days I don’t. If Motunrayo is looking down on us, would she approve?”

 
“We’ve been through this a million times! She wanted me to remarry—”

 
“But did she want you to marry me?”

 
“Life is for the living. She wanted me to be happy. I’m happy. Aren’t you?”

 
“But everybody can’t be wrong!”

 
“Who is everybody? We don’t have to stay here. I told you I have an offer . . . we can move to—”

 
“Didn’t you hear my mother? She said it doesn’t matter where we go, bad luck will follow us and blow us like wind; we will never have roots!”

 
“Please stop crying.”

 
“I can’t. My father threatened to disown me! You don’t know what it’s like. Your parents are dead and your uncles worship the ground you walk on.”

 
“I’m sorry.”

 
“Let’s wait. I have so much to lose . . .”

 
“That’s not true.”

 
“Really? Listen to how it sounds, ‘He married his late wife’s sister’. Okay, what of, ‘She married her late sister’s husband’?”

 
Segun sighed, “Okay. How long?”

 

 
We waited another six months during which time, my father spoke to me twice, scowling as he did. Segun took the job abroad and relocated. I convinced him that we should cut off all communication to test the strength of our love. He did not like my gamble, but I needed to know if grief had masqueraded as love.

 
I waited for my feelings to go away. They left and returned with gale force. His absence made me weaker, made my love stronger, and my resolve tougher, so that when we finally reunited, l threw myself at him and he kissed me in the hotel lobby, not caring if any of the people shuffling through life might recognise us. I felt their eyes when I kissed him back. We broke away as we became conscious of their whistles.

 
He took my palm, “Feel my heart, it’s racing for you.”

 
I took his hand, “Feel mine too.”

 
We did not consult anyone after that. For the next three months, we made plans for me to join him like children whispering, “sssh, sssh,” in the dark. The day before I was to travel, I called my mother because she had said, “I don’t approve. If you marry Segun, your father will live as if he has no child left. As for me, I have lost one child. I cannot lose the other. I will always be your mother.”

 
I thought she would weep, but her voice trembled as she said, “Se je je oko mi.”

 
That evening, I ordered room service and pushed the omelette around the plate, then cut it to pieces. Nervous, I stood by the eleventh-floor window and watched ants clear the pool area for the live band. The first strains of the piano reminded me that my feet were cramping. I sat on the bed, leaned back on the headrest, pulled my knees to my chin, and wondered if black was an appropriate colour for darkness.

 
The twenty-four-hour wait seemed longer than the last two months of Motunrayo’s life. One day, when I visited her, I placed my mouth close to her ear as she dragged out the words, “After I’m gone, make sure he marries again. But not someone prettier than me.” I am prettier than my sister is and she grew up in the shadow of my beauty. Did she see Segun’s love for me and mine for him spark, although we did not, during the long days we spent waiting for hope and battling sadness?

 
One night I walked in on him keeping vigil by her side. I noticed how handsome he was and thought how lucky she was to have him. Because I have been unlucky in love, I wondered how it would feel to be loved by a man like him. Was that when I jumped off the diving board into the heart-shaped pool? I fell for Segun while Motunrayo was dying not after her death.

 
Crying, I called my mother again.

 
“Mummy, it’s me. Please soften the ground for me. Tell Daddy I have come to my senses. Tell him I am coming home.”

 
She said, “Ose oko mi!”

 

 
©Timi Yeseibo 2014

 

 

Se je je oko mi – be careful my child
Ose oko mi – thank you my child

 

 

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Timi Yeseibo and livelytwist.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

Image credit:
City by Jenifer Cabrera@CreationSwap: http://www.creationswap.com/media/12111

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46 thoughts on “Forgive me Motunrayo, I Want to Sin

    1. Ah love… oh well!

      I’m glad you enjoyed reading. I just reread it myself… I had forgotten the details, lol. I thought Bimpe displayed resolve; not an easy decision ….

      @book, I am finding my voice 🙂
      Thanks Nedoux. Since you enjoyed this, you might enjoy:

      https://livelytwist.wordpress.com/2014/01/05/happy-new-love/

      https://livelytwist.wordpress.com/2014/10/19/bus-281/

      https://livelytwist.wordpress.com/2015/01/18/the-promise-of-spring/

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Love, at times, makes people take certain decisions that may not be the standard for a given society. We find this very much in Africa where there are etiquettes to be observed. Failure to adhere makes one a reject in the eyes of the conservatives.

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  2. eesh! that’s a messy situation. The more i think about the love in terms of coupling and marriage, the more complex it becomes. Somethings seem so wrong but feelings are what they are, feelings. They are real, sometimes insane and maybe inappropriate but they are real. These are the kinds of things one prays never to go through. The dialogue in this is top notch. It played in my head like a movie even down to ‘ants clearing the pool area’- i saw everything. “wondered if black was an appropriate colour for darkness”- there’s something about this statement that gave me the chills, something strong, something beautiful, something about loneliness.

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    1. If something seems wrong, can our feelings override that sense of ‘wrongness’? I guess other factors come into play.

      Thank you Tomi. Glad you enjoyed the dialogue and the words that gave you chills. Yes, something about loneliness . . .

      Like

  3. Sometimes we may feel the burden of guilt wearing us out because of whom we may not even have chosen to love..personally i think the world (myself included) is too judgmental based on our own unwritten but known rules concerning this subject of love and to what extent betrayal in relation to love could be measured.
    To me, i think this just proves that we may never be able to decipher nor truly understand this entity called love..because if we did, then we wouldn’t judge.
    And once love continues to exist, even the Seven Wonders of the World are not half as mind-boggling..
    You continue to intrigue and inspire me Timi..beautiful piece and thumbs up..

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    1. . . . our own unwritten but known rules concerning this subject of love, food for thought Prissy. The thing I took away after discussing this story was a comment someone made, “Never say never.” We had thrashed so many issues, I cannot say exactly what he meant. But for me, it meant, suspend judgement . . . until later 😉
      I am humbled that I give you a reason to keep coming back. Thank you!

      Like

  4. “Feel my heart beat…” These are the kinds of stories I want to read from you, ehn ehn! 😀

    I can’t blame the love affair between Segun and Bimpe on the absence of Motunrayo. Love/lust has a way of rearing it’s ugly head…even after its waves have crashed. I heard that still waters could be dangerous to sail upon yet it’s the perfect period for introspection..deep, soul searching.

    This line was eye-opening: “I fell for Segun while Motunrayo was dying not after her death.” And Segun? What happened with his feelings— was Bimpe a replacement? Why isn’t anyone heating up his ass (not that I expect them to)? Why analyze the authenticity of Bimpe’s heart and not the boat that sailed away from Motunrayo’s?

    Love, my people, is fickle. If I’ve learned anything from this article it’s this: there is no perfect romantic love. Even bad love is love. But Bimpe’s guilt led her to think her love is impure because it doesn’t fit in the category of “good love.

    At the end of the day, our hearts and minds follow a preset rulebook for dating. Contents are, well, very subjective…and anchored by culture.

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    1. I’m pleased you like the story. You asked for it, I obliged 🙂

      @Why analyze the authenticity of Bimpe’s heart and not the boat that sailed away from Motunrayo’s?

      Well, it was easier to tell the story from a woman’s POV. I could easily be Sola, Bimpe, Mother, or Motunrayo. I would need to enter a man’s head and emotions for a day to be Segun. There wasn’t enough time, and my self-imposed word limit wouldn’t allow it. But generally speaking, in the story, Segun’s surviving relatives aren’t giving him grief because he’s a man, a rich one at that 😉

      It’s interesting though, that Segun does not feel the weight of guilt that Bimpe does, or the need to keep waiting . . .

      Thanks for joining the conversation.

      Like

  5. Beautiful story, Timi. I loved it. Now I feel better about dialogue. Sometimes that whole “exposition” or “context” thing is just too much for me. I’m generally too impatient to read it and too bored to write it. Lol.

    About the story, I don’t know…if culture shapes everything like Uju said, what shapes culture? Don’t we? Is there some underlying, shall we say, instinct intrinsic to human nature regardless of nurture that just feels violated by a man marrying his sister-in-law especially so shortly after his wife’s death? I’ve got it and I don’t remember my parents teaching me anything about it. I might have picked it up along the way though, so that’s not really a defence.

    About whether or not the West has anything to say about this, let’s see. It’s a popular Hollywood concept that friends (particularly the females) do not like to see one another date their ex’es. I think that counts some in the study of the matter. There’s a feeling of betrayal engendered by things like that. Generally, the hope is that if you ever date or marry your friend’s (and relative’s) it should be long after whatever ended the relationship happened. In fact, if everyone is still alive, the hope is that they’ve moved on (that is, hooked up – and happily too – with other people) before friends, buddies and siblings start anything with their ex’es.

    I think the instinct exists. Does it make sense? To a certain extent, I think. Your “person” is sacred to you. Ordinarily you would guard them jealously, you wouldn’t want to share them. And the people you trust the most to respect your “ownership” of them are your relatives and friends. Should anything happen and you cannot carry on the relationship, you would like to know that their getting together with any of your trusted friends and relatives was not something that sped up the demise of your relationship. You would love for their getting together to have no intersection with your time with your “person”.

    Having said that, it is also true that the more we trust a friend or a relative, the more likely it is that we will entrust our “person” to them should we somehow lose the ability or opportunity to continue to be there for them. So, Motunrayo may have blessed the union if she had a choice. The parents may have felt better if it happened some time after the demise of the sister. Bimpe may have felt less guilty if time had come in between. The only person that could have cleared up the situation here is unfortunately the dead one.

    Like I said, Timi, beautiful story. Thanks 🙂

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    1. In discussing the story, some guys said the thorny issue is that Motunrayo and Bimpe are sisters. A guy said that it would be difficult to go out with Bimpe in principle, because she would be like his sister, and he can’t kiss his sister. Of course, we know circumstances can make the heart go where it would ordinarily not go . . .

      Time. Well Segun asked how long. They waited six months after her death to bring up the issue. Then they waited another six months because Bimpe felt it was too soon. Time. How long? Who’s to say?

      Odii, I’m glad you enjoyed the story. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

      Like

      1. I can relate to those guys. I’ve always found that somehow married women and romantic interests of friends and relatives just aren’t attractive to me. But I agree that circumstances count.

        As for time, the story here is part reason why there used to be a specified mourning period. When these things were regulated, you could tell when people were overreaching or acting inappropriately. Today when limits aren’t very popular, there isn’t enough time to mourn and there is too much. Another two years of waiting may have made no difference or it may have.

        In my opinion, they should probably have waited a whole year before even announcing their interest in each other. But that’s wholly subjective. I think that communities of people should decide their limits and enforce them to keep things clear.

        I don’t see any sin in a man marrying his sister-in-law after his wife’s dead, but they should give enough time to indicate their respect for her. And the “enough” should be determined by the community.

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  6. *sighs*
    Our culture shapes everything, Timi. Sometimes I wonder if we’ll ever get past it. I just knew i wasn’t going to like the end of this story, very sad. And i agree, love isn’t enough but she should have stayed with him anyway. Their love was good, her guilt just wouldn’t let her see it or then, maybe it is the point she realises she simply wanted what her sister had because she felt all alone. Guilt’s a bitch.

    There are a lot of emotions dancing inside of me now, i will give this more thought.

    Like

    1. Ujuh, I feel you. I felt as if I was grilled like salmon over this story. I had to confront many emotions and address the why behind the what.

      Well, you can change the ending if you want . . . While riding in the taxi to dad’s place, she has a moment of clarity and heads back to the hotel to pack and get ready to travel. She calls Segun and declares her love. Happy ending right? 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I wasn’t sure where this one was going for a while. I wasn’t sure I liked it for a while. But stories with delayed rewards are often the ones with the most emotional power at the conclusion!

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    1. This story is easier to understand through Nigerian cultural lenses and what I’m really trying to do is ask the question, what’s wrong with marrying your late sister’s husband. I find it easier to engage culture by telling stories. The theme isn’t new, and perhaps Nollywood has produced several movies around this theme. The challenge then was to write the story in such a way that piques the reader’s curiosity as the story unfolds. Otherwise, I thought readers would go, same ‘ole, same ‘ole, and abandon plot halfway.

      Being a woman, it was easier to write from a woman’s POV, coupled with the fact that some guys had silly grins on their faces, when I tried to get their POV. I’m glad you stayed to the end 😉

      Like

  8. Reminds me of an African movie I- Ghanian I think on a United Airlines flight. Never saw the end of the movie, so this story is similar in that respect. But are such views limited to just Africans? Is it accepted by the Western world? Just thinking …

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    1. I’d like to know as well. It’s interesting how culture shapes our beliefs. It’s interesting that Segun and Bimpe felt they would fare better in a different culture and country. Good question Gbuchi. I hope someone responds . . .

      Like

  9. Aloha,
    Who ever ‘wonders if black is an appropriate colour for darkness?’ Philosophers! This is deep thinking on this and I am thrilled by your use of metaphors…
    I was gonna catch in on the midweek craze around here but let me doff my hat for that singular thought about darkness
    Now, my mind goes off tryna find if there’s just another colour that could do justice to darkness…
    – Cee

    Like

  10. Wow, what can I say! Engaging story, reflects realistic way of how events will unfold given Bimpe’s background. Multiple endings on my head, just one question….What would I have done

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  11. I like how the story unfolded line following line. I, perhaps, would not want to complete the anecdote it in my head.

    Of course you do know what that means – ink a sequel!

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    1. Bunmi, the thing with a sequel is . . .

      1. Most sequels I have read on blogosphere have been a let down, as if the writer reeling off the high from part 1, penned sub-par (drunken) lines in part 2.

      2. I have this thing about letting readers finish the story in their heads. I know they feel cheated (sorry guys . . .).

      3. I’m not sure I can do justice to a sequel, and I doff my hat to all who write sequels and series.

      4. When I publish a post on Sunday, come Monday, I’m working on another post. It’s the comments that keep me linked to Sunday’s post; my energy has left the story.

      Having said that, I had a lively discussion on this post, and if I had the resources, I’d be sorely tempted to pen a novella.

      Thanks Bunmi 🙂

      Like

  12. I wanted to wait for other comments before I submit mine, but I’m ditching that plan. It appears you revel in dialogue, and I think that’s a great thing. I’ll will always take eavesdropping on people over reading an elaborate description of their personality littered with obscure metaphors.

    Now, the end of the story is one I’m not convenient with and I can’t tell exactly why. She tests the love with time, is assured of it’s authenticity, then ditches it because she realises she started to like her sister’s husband before her sister died… *sigh* I guess human beings are not always rational beings.

    So what happens to Segun? Does he hope that she’ll be back in his arms someday, or will he just move on? And what happens to Bimpe too? I know love is a decision but will she regret the choice she has made? Timi, this is where you respond to my questions by writing a sequel.

    And by the way, Sola is my favorite character in this story. She has the best line: “Bimpe, love is not enough…” She might be wrong, but I think it takes chutzpah to say something like that in the context where she said it. Now I’m just praising Timi, right?

    Good work. Now, about that sequel…

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    1. Ah, the end of the story *sighs* I wrote several endings before settling on this one! Why? Because I got more people involved in reading and discussing the story than I usually do. We debated the story and the ending. We debated culture, gender inequality, non-economic migration, love, loyalty, we covered it all. Some characters even died and were raised back to life! (thanks to the appeal from some people) In the end my friends and I discovered more about ourselves than we knew previously.

      What happens to Segun? What do you want to happen to him? What happens to Bimpe? I don’t know. One anonymous commenter said the end is inconclusive as we don’t know what Bimpe is going to say to her dad 😉

      I like Sola too, but Bimpe’s mother saying, I will always be your mother, pulls at my heartstrings.

      Thanks Ife. I’m sure you’ve already written the sequel in your head 🙂

      Like

      1. @dialogue, it keeps the story short in my view. No need to set context or provide description. I was shooting for 800 words. Then I got to 1000, then 1,100, and began to delete exposition in favour of dialogue.

        Dialogue can be tricky, you can lose readers because of the lack of context. If you explain too much, it becomes tedious and unnatural. I really hoped people would read carefully and pick up the words behind the words. Thanks again Ife.

        Like

      2. I think having a panel of discussants decide the ending of a story is a bold thing to do. I ask beta readers to go through my stories and I’m not sure I’ll be able to do it, if they asked me to kill a character I’ve allowed to live.

        I’m all for discussing the outcome of a story and voicing differing opinions, but I don’t like the idea of a group deciding the outcome. I can understand one or two editors but a group scares me.

        Sequel? I’ll just let her stick to her romantic opinions and spend the rest of her life pining for the only man she ever loved. She says she has been unlucky in love so why should that luck change. I don’t think Segun would fare better too. Maybe he pushes his “life is short” notion to its worst end and becomes a philanderer. Dies of some terrible disease and leaves his possessions to Bimpe who does not accept it. Bimpe ends up alone and miserable. Her parents discover they lost one child to death and another to their desires.

        I know that is entirely formulaic, and I don’t know what it says about me and my psyche. But I can’t see a silver lining this story anymore. No silver lining at all.

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        1. Oh oh, my sequel wouldn’t have had such a drastic ending. Your imagination is ‘wicked’! 🙂

          We debated the end yes, but ultimately, I decided it under ‘the influence’. I thoroughly enjoyed the myriad perspectives each person brought and answering the hard questions we asked of ourselves. I think it made for a more realistic portrayal & dialogue. Incidentally, that your best line, “Bimpe, love is not enough…” was voiced by a friend and I got her permission to use it here.

          I once moderated a ‘group’ story on FB- wrote the opening paragraph and invited others to write lines and move the story forward. Writers were taking the story in different directions. We saved one guy, only for another writer to put him in a Coma! After two days, I put a stop to comments and announced that I would polish and complete the story, and post it on my timeline. Readers and writers alike warned me not to kill off certain characters.

          So, Ife, I’m used to making the wishes of the ‘group’ come true. Isn’t that why I wrote this story in the first place? 😉

          Like

    1. Yes I agree. I enjoyed writing this story because I had a ‘panel’ of ‘discussants’ who grilled me and I them in return. I was pleasantly surprised by how broad the scope of our discussion was and how we challenged each others assumptions.

      Thanks for the reblog.

      Like

  13. And Sisi Timi gives us a love story yay!!!!

    Awww, why do you have to stop there now, it’s so sad, why! Why now! Why now! Why did it have to be this way. So not fair, I’m tempted to believe it’s an excerpt from your novel because I want continuation but I know it’s one of your short stories 🙂

    I passed the Liebster and Sunshine awards to you which I do hope you get to do.

    Click here to view how you should go about it.

    http://glowingscenes.com/?p=2507

    Like

    1. You wanted a love story, I gave you one! Please forgive me if I can’t write more. Just continue where I stopped and write the ending you want in your head 😉

      Thanks for the awards!

      Like

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