Homecoming by Yetunde Morenikeji

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In my house, there are no hanging portraits to remind us of happy memories except the photographs carefully arranged in a blue trolley; some are torn, some are half-burnt, some have had their images melted off from the heat of my father’s old shelf, and others are not so appealing to my eyes. Like objects we drew on sands as kids, the memories of my home is nowhere to be found.

There are only books littered across the expanse of our room; text books, notebooks, my mother’s Sunday school books, my brother’s comic books and my novels. I look around and everything here takes the semblance of fire. The photographs. The books. The boxes and piles of faded clothes. The curtain hanging down the window. My favourite clock that has stopped working. The cartons of movies on the shelf. The tv. The gas cylinder. The toast bread machine. The faulty iron. I am tempted to burn them all; anything to complement the emptiness that gnaws my inside. But I breathe instead and stare longingly at my favourite pillow. It’s pink and soft, and has served as my lover for as long as I could remember.

My mother sighs deeply beside me but I do not ask her any questions. It is better to listen to the disturbing giggle of my little brother than hear her give a long list of sentences that breaks my heart into single consonants.

I close my eyes and drift away to Asa’s rich voice poring out from the speaker of my mother’s android phone. She reminds me of who I was, who I’ve become, who I’ll turn out to be.

My phone beeps but I ignore it too. I’m guessing it’s probably a message from my lover asking if I’ve eaten, or my surrogate father trying to find out if I’m really fine, or that boy who always want my nudes, or a poet friend asking why he’s not seen any of my poems, or my editor asking when I’ll complete my novel, or my colleague who always wants a kiss, or a random hi from a random person.

I miss the good old days; the days when my demons came in legions and there was enough space for them and maybe one more. The days when darkness filled my day and nights and still I loved it that way. The days when the voices in my head were the only things that mattered. The days when it was just me and solitude hand in hand, dancing round the corners of my room. The days when I loved to carve pain out of my hands with blades and needles. The days when i owed no one the accountability of my mental health. I miss those beautiful days.

I sigh and move close to the stacks and stacks of books. I am trying to find the book where I wrote my dark poems but I can’t find it. I search and search and turn the whole room inside out but my book is gone like everything else.

The rage burns inside of me and I start to shout and shout. I’m shouting because I love the book. I’m shouting because I found out my saving box has been looted while trying to find my book. I’m shouting because all of my existence is fading away. I’m shouting because I’m shuffling between two opposing planes of darkness and light. I am shouting because my mother has her back turned to me, and she’s pretending not to hear me. I’m shouting because my brothers are quiet now, trying to maintain a long stretch of uncomfortable silence. I’m shouting because I’m angry that my mother made the wrong choices. I’m shouting because she made the right choice by sticking with us, making us her responsibilities. I’m shouting because she could have abandoned us but she didn’t. I’m shouting because I know home isn’t where I want to be anymore. I’m shouting because I’ll miss these people if I leave. I’m shouting because I’m sad and then happy, angry and then cool, stubborn and then indulging. I’m shouting because I’m 21 shades of fuckup. I’m shouting because I knew God but don’t know him anymore. I’m shouting because I pretend to be who I’m not. I’m shouting because I am tired of Living.

Yetunde Morenikeji is a budding poet who adopts writing as a form of therapy

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