The Grey Hairs of A Mother

“Mum!!!!” I rolled over slowly, still deep in sleep wondering when I set my alarm clock to six in the morning. I peel my right eyelid open, to see that my alarm hadn’t actually gone off.
“MUM, MICHELLE IS TAKING MY STUFF AGAIN!” No it wasn’t my alarm, it was just my kids that was waking me up more than an hour earlier than I needed to be. I rolled over again to check if Mike had heard the girls yelling, but either he did and was acting as though he heard nothing or he was still actually sleeping and had somehow grown immune to the noise of our kids and knew how to drown them out within his unconscious. With a headache creeping ever so slowly over my brain, I slowly sat up and took a deep breath in. It was times as such when I felt as though crying was the best thing to do. Had you ever been disturbed from your sleep that it almost brought you to tears? That feeling that you just so badly wanted to return to that peaceful unconscious you were in, but something constantly kept nagging at you, waking you up? That was how I felt now. With sleep slipping further away from my clutches, and annoyance taking its place rapidly, I slipped my feet into my brown fluffy slippers and went to go and check on my daughters who had decided to wake up the whole neighbourhood in the early hours of the morning.

Slowly trudging in the hallway, my matted hair in a messy bun, sleep still in my eyes and a headache, I get to Michelle’s room and see both her and Michelle conducting a violent tug of war on a black jumper. Each daughter tightly grabbing an arm of the jumper, whilst they both tested each strength by pulling the sleeve towards themselves, hoping that the other would fail to remain strong enough to hold onto the sleeve and let go. Taking yet another deep breath, I slowly stand between the girls, feeling sorrier for the knitted jumper that was sure to be slacker now than when it was originally purchased.
“Girls, it is only just gone past six. What are you doing fighting over a jumper?”
“Michelle stole my jumper!” Katy screamed, tugging at the right sleeve, hoping Michelle’s attention had diverted enough for her to win the war and get the prize. Michelle tugged back and looked at me.
“Mum it’s mine! Katy’s lying, she stomped in her this morning like some animal ¬–”
“I AM NOT AN ANIMAL!”
“Well you’re yelling like one.” James, their younger brother said as he walked passed the open door rubbing sleep from his eyes. A small chuckle escaped my lips, making Katy throw an icy stare my way. Putting my mother cap back on, I sighed and rubbed my temple trying to decipher who I bought the bloody jumper for.
“Okay, well firstly, you both don’t wear the same size, so what size is it?”
“Medium mum! You know that’s my size!” Katy shouted to me, making me wince as her voice pierced my ears and ran straight to my brain.
“NO! I wear medium too. Check any of my jumpers, I get medium!” For crying out loud. I shifted my weight onto another leg, wishing Mike would pull the girls apart and let me get some more rest.
“Okay, Michelle, Katy – it’s too early for this. If you both aren’t going to settle this like grown ups then give me the jumper and I will hold it until further notice.”
“No…Katy get off the jumper!” Michelle tugged violently again, causing Katy to stumble forwards. Katy retaliated pulling the jumper just as hard, having the same result with Michelle as she stumbled forward. Tired of seeing my daughters ruin a perfectly good jumper, I get between them, releasing their grip on the sleeve and taking the jumper into my hands. I lifted the jumper, assessing the damages and grow even more annoyed. They had both been pulling on the jumper for so long, they could literally both fit inside the jumper or even cut it in half and get a tailor to knit another jumper. I raise my eyebrows and look at both Katy and Michelle who stood scowling at each other.
“Okay, you both have successfully ruined this jumper, so no one is getting it. Next time you sort it out like bloody adults, look at the size of this now, it looks like double XL, not a medium.”
Katy stormed out the room and went back to her own room, slamming the door – symbolically screaming that no one should disturb her and if anyone did so they were sure to feel her raft. I looked at Michelle who stood silently pouting, being the younger sister out of her and Katy, she tried to play the young card far more often than necessary. I shook my head, reiterating that she was not getting the jumper, causing her to frown. I left the room, far more awake than I should have been at six in the morning and made my way to the kitchen in order make myself a cup of coffee. There was no way I was going to get anymore sleep now, so I might as well have started my day.
I walk into the cream kitchen to see James sitting by the dining table eating toast with a cup of orange juice.
“Why is everyone awake now?” I mumbled under my breathe, turning on the coffee machine.
“What d’you say mum?” James said, one toast in his hand and half another toast in his mouth. James was always a little creative. He was my only child that seemed to find humour in everything. I remembered when I had gone to his parents evening and his teacher was explaining ways in which James could be better behaved. When he was asked what he thought he could do to improve his constant chatter during the class, he shrugged and said, ‘I can try, but I am young miss, I am bound to talk, it’s in my blood’. I tried to suppress my laugh then, but when I saw the frown on his teachers face and the absolute truth on James’ – I couldn’t help but chuckle. No matter how much I tried to be strict and firm, James was my only child who could get a sly giggle out of me.
“I said James, why is everyone awake?”
“I don’t know. It was Michelle and Katy that woke me up.” I rolled my eyes and sighed.
“Your dad didn’t even hear any of that, he’s still sleeping.”
“I bet he did. He told me that he acts sometimes, acts like he can’t hear us winge so that you can sort it out.” Before I got to respond, Matt walked in rubbing his eyes and yawning.
“Don’t lie to your mother James.”
“That’s if I’m lying… and I’m not.” He said continuing to eat his breakfast. I look at Matt who’d grabbed a mug and started pouring coffee into it.

“Really Matt?” Matt looked at the mug and then back at me as if to say he was unaware of what he just did.
“What?”
“I didn’t get the coffee started for you to just come and take it.” He rolled his eyes and sat on by the dining table.
“Why you up so early?” He asked James, as I poured the rest of the coffee into my ‘favourite mum’ mug and took a seat beside James.
“Michelle and Katy were arguing…again.” He said looking as annoyed as I did a few minutes ago when I was called to haul them away from each other.
“Over what this time?” Matt asked me.
“A jumper…they both claimed it was theirs.”
“It was mine.” Michelle sang, bouncing into the kitchen, stealing one of James toasts whilst sitting on the seat next to Matt. “But we all know how Katy gets. So we both didn’t get it.”
“Watch it Michelle.” Matt warned her, getting up to make more coffee. The more years I racked up in my time as a mother I could tell when a day was going to be longer than necessary and then when it was just going to be a downright pain in the arse. That was today. These days I avoided like plague, the kids acted like they hated each other, Matt’s breathing would literally piss me off and to make everything worse, I would get a full-blown mummy headache throughout the day. It was just too much for me to deal with, yet something I had to deal with on a daily basis.
“James don’t you have history today?” Michelle asked chomping down on the toast.
“Yeah – Oh shoot! I forgot my homework!”
“Forgot it where?”
“At school.” And the miners in my head resumed their work by beating on my skull.
“Christ, that Miss Maple is going to call us in, again.” Matt moaned beside me.
“I know right, I won’t attend another meeting.” I whispered to Matt who had managed to sneak out of the last two meetings I was called into for James’ lack of homework.
“I don’t blame you, we’ve got to sit him down, he needs to start doing his homework.”
“I don’t even know when he gets homework.” I said softly as both Michelle and James had started talking, trying to conjure up a lie that he could tell his teacher.
“Neither do I.”
“Christ, we aren’t the greatest parents.” Matt chuckled, planting a kiss on my cheek. We tried as much as we could for our kids, but just like any other parent, things slipped through the cracks. It was tough being a superwoman, I wasn’t even half of that, so I couldn’t even imagine how others managed to do it all and still have time for themselves. That instantly reminded me of the roots that were now reappearing in my hair, or my nails that had outgrown its time period and needed to be seriously redone. Matt saw the way in which I had begun assessing myself and kissed me again on the cheek.
“You look beautiful.”
“Ew dad, that twice this morning, aka two too many times.”
“It’s love.” Michelle cooed, whilst James rolled his eyes.
“Alright guys, get ready for school and KATY, come down and have breakfast.” What I loved about Matt was that even though I was left to solve the arguments, the visits to school, the parenting (basically), when Matt decided to take charge, he did it so well that it made me wonder why I hadn’t asked him to do it earlier. The kids seemed to just listen well to Matt, whereas they knew how to sway me – I wasn’t proud but sometimes it just made things easier. After James had finished eating, he rushed upstairs into the bathroom, whilst Katy stomped downstairs and into the kitchen.
“Morning to you too.” Matt said smiling.
“I’m not in the mood dad.” She said looking down with a frown on her face.
“What’s up princess?” Matt sat beside her as I made her some toast, egg and bacon for breakfast. It was better if Matt handled Katy. It wasn’t like I couldn’t but I felt as though if there was one child I struggled to understand, it was Katy. Constantly blowing hot and cold with me, I never seemed to do things right with her. I couldn’t blame her, it was the same way I was with my own mother, but having it done to me just increases my sympathy to my mum. It must not have been easy with me being distant all the time, sometimes it feels as though there’s no bond.
“Helen!” I jump out of my thoughts and turn towards both Matt and Katy.
“See she wasn’t even listening.” Matt signalled me with his eyes as if to say that I had royally messed up again with Katy. Trying to play catch-up on whatever I had just missed out on, I turn my attention to Katy.
“I’m sorry Katy, what was you saying.”
“It’s not fair that Michelle gets away with acting like a brat. That was my jumper, I was going to wear it today as it’s mufti-day, but she’s ruined it!” Her eyes watered and I looked at Matt, who looked straight back at me. This was us, every single day. Buckling over parenthood, never truly getting it right, but managing to do just about a decent job. If I didn’t know something, I hoped Matt did, but in all honesty, we were both as unaware as each other. You don’t become an expert with more kids, you just learn more as more kids mean different behaviours, different feelings, different emotions. I lower the cooking gas and sit opposite Katy, who now had a stray tear down her cheek.
“I’m sorry Katy that you didn’t get to wear the jumper. But you and Michelle need to learn how to get on, how to share. I don’t know whose jumper that was and I don’t even care. You both should have solved that issue way before I had to come in and do it for you. Now –” I said interrupting her, as she looked ready to start speaking. “I know you wanted to wear that jumper, but for today, can you find something else and then on Saturday we can go shopping so I can buy both you and Michelle new clothes.”
After a few sniffs, Katy nodded her head. I gave Matt a quick look of reassurance, he returned my quizzical stare with a small smile and a brief nod. We had done it again, we’d somehow stumbled through parenting and managed to do it right. I smiled back at him and went back to making breakfast for Katy who had remained quiet, but had looked much more positive than when she stormed in.

© All Rights Reserved by Sarah E. Balogun

 

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The Hunt – Part 1

She sat frozen, watching Gabriel watch her. He was being sentenced to ten years in prison for domestic violence and numerous sexual assaults. She tried to ignore his glare, the way in which she was aware of the fierce fire that burned behind his expressionless face. She knew what that look meant and even as the security guards began handcuffing him, she felt more vulnerable than ever.
At first he tried to defend himself. Tried to lie and claim that Marina had wanted it too. The beating, the abuse, the constant verbal insults, in his mind she had wanted it…asked for it even. According to Gabriel, it was a mental thing, that somehow sexually excited her. Being dominated and oppressed was something that apparently gave her thrills.

He even continued to state the their daughter was planned, that she had begged for child, to extend their family and that he was more than happy to give his woman wha she desired. Marina shut her eyes remember how hard Gabriel had knocked her out that night, to awake the next morning naked on the floor beside her bed. She had almost left him then, she knew she had to get out before he had killed her. But, every time she was close to escaping, she realised the fear that wrapped itself around her was more than the one that was with her whilst she lived with Gabriel. She then knew leaving him scared her than being with him. It was that fear that had kept her grounded with Gabriel until Elina was born.
She was now bound to this man, he had not only tainted her, made her undesirable, but he had officially claimed her by giving her a child, whom she loved dearly. Two conflicting emotions with people who ran the same blood as each other, things as such was enough to confuse Marina and keep her with Gabriel. Through the abuse, the torment and the constant demeaning comments – this was what she knew, and that monster had given her a beautiful daughter, at times she found herself thanking him for Elina’s life.

She opened her eyes to see Gabriel walking away with the guards. But just before he disappeared from her sight, he turned and stared at Marina. No last words, or even a shift in his face, just a dead glare that Marina knew she wouldn’t forget anytime soon.
That was the last time Marina saw Gabriel, being handcuffed and taken away to serve ten years of his life behind bars…that was until now. Four years later and she had found herself just as tightly wolf up as she was when Gabriel had first entered this place. She sat on the uncomfortable plastic chair that was nailed to the ground, unable to move as the nerves was all too much for her to bare. Why had she decided to see him again? He’d asked for her to bring Elina, which Marina wholeheartedly disagreed with when she first received his letter. But what made her still come? What was it that Gabriel had said to bring her to this confined room, under the tight surveillance of the guards – back to the man who she was more than grateful was behind bars?

A door opened and in walked the inmates. Marina’s breath caught in her lungs as she remembered the letter she received from Gabriel. Asking her for her forgiveness, for a chance for him to explain his actions. Four years was a lot of time for someone to go over their behaviour and he now knew where he went wrong, he simply wanted to apologise. At first she refused to even consider going to see him, but after some thought she thought he deserved to explain his actions, maybe he could change. And he certainly had.
He was far more built from the last time she saw him, his shoulders broad and square almost looked too big for his jumpsuit. His chest was clearly visibly through his clothes as it pressed tightly on the material, showing her the definition of how much muscle he had gained through his four years of being in prison. He was bigger and more threatening compared to the Gabriel she once knew. What had she done? And was she truly ready to hear what he had to say to her now, whilst he was walking slowly towards her?

Toxic – Part 5

Josh hadn’t spoken to me for the rest of the time we were at the house. Avoiding my touch, my gaze and any interaction with me. It hurt, but I was aware of what I had done the night before and forced any type of pity deep within myself. We drove to his parent house in silence, not in the radio could drown out the awkward tension between us. I could tell Josh didn’t believe everything I had said to him back at the house, but the mere thought that his wife could have slept with her best friend or his brother was probably too much to bare, so silence was his only option.

He’d wore a nice grey snug knitted jumper, with dark black jeans and dessert boots. I’d worn a presentable dress, that came to down to my calves and plain black ballerinas. My intention was not to stand out this evening, my plan was to be as invisible as possible. Say my ‘hi’s’ and remain as quiet as possible, I had already made a fool of myself today, there was no need for me to do anymore.
Josh had parked outside of his parents home and took a deep breath. He looked at me as if wanting to say something but thought better of it, he turned his gaze away from me and proceeded to get out of the car, without saying a word to me. Tears welled up in my eyes, but knowing I didn’t have the right or time to be emotional, I wiped the strayed tears that had fallen out of my eyes and composed myself.

I stepped out of the car and waited for Josh to lock it before following his lead. Before we’d gotten to the door, Josh had grabbed my hand with such force that it hurt. There was no affection in the way he took my hand, if anything the force of his hand crushed into my wedding ring finger, which pressed into my other fingers, squeezing them tightly till they rubbed on each other, rubbing onto the bone. With a little wince, he knocked on the door and before a second went by, the door swung open and there stood his sister, Anabelle.

“Joshie!”
Josh threw my hand backwards as he embraced his younger sister. Ana was only 23 and was one of my bridesmaid at me and Josh’s wedding. She always seemed to make me laugh and understand me in a way that always shrouded her true age – almost making her a chameleon to anyone she came into contact with.
“Anabelle, how you been?”
He swung her around lovingly.
“Great! Hi Sash!”
She jumped off of her older brother and gave me a tight squeeze. She stepped back and allowed us to enter. The house was modern. Wooden floor boards surrounded by cream walls with family photos hung chronologically on the wall gave the house the ambience of love and warmth. It was what defined it from a standard house to a loving home. We entered the living room, and out bursted a room full of people. Young and old, everyone sat mingling with each other.

“Josh how have you been?”
His mother kissed his cheek twice affectionately whilst his father made his way to me, giving me a bear hug.
“Good to see the lovely Mrs Fletcher again.”
With a tight lipped smile, I hug his mother who welcomes me just as warm as her husband. For a long time after our little greeting with Josh’s parents, I simply follow Josh. I watch him greet his family that he hasn’t seen in a long time and others he barely recognises. Soon it’s dinner and we’re all packed around his dining table that has been extended, so that everyone is able to have a seat. I sit between Josh and Anabelle, and find myself staring at the empty plate on the table in front of me because it seems Josh has, when possible, ignored me and placed all his attention on his family at each opportunity given to him. The door bell rings and Anabelle rushes to open the door. Moments later, we’re all welcomed by the sight of Mike, who has managed to find my gaze before anyone else’s.

Stood confidently at the doorway of the kitchen, wearing a plain white shirt, tight enough to show off his physique with smart black trousers, sends images of my hands trailing over his chest the night before. I looked back at the empty plate before me whilst Mike walked round greeting everyone. I tried to ignore the tingle I felt deep within myself, but the closer Mike was getting to me, the more I felt my heart race and my legs tightened shut together. I felt Josh’s chair scrape out as he rose to hug his brother. They both gave each other a firm pat on the back, which didn’t last enough for me to compose myself. So I decided staying seated was my best option. Mike bent down to hug me, wrapping his strong arm around my neck as our cheeks touched each other briefly – but enough to spark a flame within me. I made sure my face didn’t replicate the feelings I felt within me, the tension that was becoming almost too much for me to bare, the way in which my insides had tightened to a tight ball waiting for Mike’s touch to unravel it. I took a deep breath as his arm unwrapped from my neck and he moved to the next family relative.

“Oh Mike why don’t you sit next to mum!”
Anabelle offered as there was no other available seat apart from the one opposite my seat. Mike was going to decline, but when he realised he had no option, he gave Anabelle a small smile and pulled the seat beside his mother out and took his position. I looked back at the only place I seemed to have found solace today, wishing I was anywhere but here when Josh randomly reached for my hand and this time, with more care, started to caress my skin gently, ever so slightly rolling his finger across my wedding ring as he watched Mike greet his father.

© All Rights Reserved by Sarah E. Balogun

Toxic – Part 3

Throughout my journey home I can’t help but question who I really am, who’ve I become? It was bead enough that I had thought about cheating on my husband on multiple occasions, but the fact that I had actually committed the act almost left me bewildered. Who was the woman that sat in the black cab, wearing a body con on a early Saturday morning? Because I sure as hell knew it couldn’t have been myself… I risked my marriage for what? A night that I probably wouldn’t forget for the rest of my life, it sounds exciting when I think about it, but was it truly worth it?

I should have thought about my actions in more depth. Even though I’ve felt like this for a year, I’m not sure if I had truly contemplated the aftermath if I had went ahead and actually slept with Mike. I’m not even sure why now, sitting silently in the back seat of the cab driving me to where I thought was home, but sounds weird to call home now is where I contemplate my actions. I knew what I was doing yesterday – I could hardly blame it on the alcohol, I barely drank any. And even if I drank a cup or two…or the whole bottle, I knew what I wanted from the start, the way Mike had touched me in the club and even more so when our lips touched was enough to remind me that I knew exactly what I was doing.

My conscious was beyond clear at that point, maybe if I was intoxicated it would be a better pill to swallow, rather than having the guilt slowly choke and suffocate me silently in the back of the cab. Before I had even knew what I was doing, I asked the cab driver to stop and requested to walk the rest of the way. I paid him the fare and got out of the vehicle, clutching myself tightly as the cold London air blew wildly on my bare legs and in my short outfit, more suitable for 7PM than 7AM. I ignored the quizzical stares that Londoners couldn’t help but do and hugged my body as I walked home. Getting some air should help me think.

I needed to plan how I was going to approach Josh. What I was going to say, in which way would I say it and whether he would believe me or not. The lie Mike had told me to stick to sounded ridiculous. Far too close to the truth for me to remain settled, but the more I thought about other lies that could replace Mike’s one, I realised why Mike had wanted me to stick to his own lie. The guilt from cheating and the hint of truth would make it more believable to Josh and with Mike as a sturdy alibi – Josh would know I was telling the truth.

I cannot believe I have come to this. Thinking of ways to lie to my husband to get away with infidelity. Where was the determined and strong woman who knew exactly what she was doing the night before? Because if she could show herself now, then maybe confronting my husband wouldn’t feel as hard as it did now. I wasn’t strong enough for this, even as I think back to Mike, back to the night we shared, I can’t help but shudder. Thoughts of us constantly replaying in my head as I ponder when the next time will come…hoping it would be sooner rather than later.

But what was done was done, right? The damage has been created and it was now sealed. I was a fragile glass yesterday that shattered under Mike’s touch – my only hope now was that the cracks that were more than evident didn’t reveal themselves to Josh.
I was coming up to the house now. 17…15…13, the more steps I took the more my heart crashed into my chest. I have never feared my husband – never needed a reason to, but today the fear that resided in me, was wrapped around me like another layer of skin. It wasn’t welcoming, but I was aware I gave it room yesterday to take place in my body.

Sucking in my breather, I open my white wooden gate, wishing I was returning with a clear mind. But after having spent the night with Mike, my mind was far from clear. Even now, when I remember how our lips touched in the club makes my libido dance in excitement. God even thoughts of him can spark me to life, even in such situations as the one I was in currently. Before I get to open the door, Josh has it opened. Rushing to me like a mother reunited with their abducted child. He hugs me tightly, too tight and very one sided. I think because I’m too stunned to move my arms left alone my body, I am left in a one-sided embrace. He stands back to watch me and then draws me inside the house.

Walking in silence, my breath comes out shorter, he faces me again and embraces me once more. This time with less worry but with more love. It was then I realised I was a horrible human being, weak and selfish. My husband stood in front of me, me in his arms, his breaths coming out in short rapid spurts, and I can tell he is happy to see me safe. And there I stand, arms planted to the sides of my body, scared that if I touch Josh, I’d ruin him like I have done so with this marriage. I feared tainting him but was too emotional to pull away. That was when I found myself in tears, a flood of emotions rushing out of my chest before I could stop it.

What had I done? Was it truly worth it? Could I just erase such mistakes from reality and act as though none of it occurred – was that a possibility? Because if it was I was ready to do anything to undo my mistake and go back to the woman I was only just a few hours ago.

 

© All Rights Reserved by Sarah E. Balogun

Toxic – Part 2

The sun had crept through the bedroom curtains and had teased my eyes awake. At first I was still in a dream-like state. Enjoying the warmth of the bed and the sun both massaging my body, pulling me back to sleep. Until my phone vibrated and with each vibration I was taken away from this bliss and was forced awake. At first I thought I was at home, laying next to my husband – but when I begun to remember the events of last night, I was mistaken.

It wasn’t my husband that had thrown me against the wall and had ripped my clothes off once we were out of the cab. Neither was it my husband who had me open and craving for more. Images of my husbands face flashed in my mind as I arched my back in ecstasy and when I had reached my climax for the third time. Yet, the more I thought about the night before, the more my husbands face morphed into someone else. Someone who has invaded my dreams, my thoughts – my life.

At first it feels too much like I’m still in a dream. Like soon enough I’m going to awake and  find my husband laying too close beside me. But after a few minutes, I don’t awake from what feels like a dream and when I dare to look at who is laying behind me, reality rushes back to me so hard my stomach begins to roll.

I’d cheated on my husband. It wasn’t as though I had forgotten, it was all in my face. The room I had woken up in was not mine. The dark curtains were key, yet I still chose to believe it was a dream. But now seeing Mike lay peacefully beside me, is enough to remind me of what I had done the night before. What was I to do? My phone vibrated for another time, stirring Mike awake.

It took him a while before he was awake enough to notice me. But once he did his arm slithered around my waist, pulling me closer to him. Even though I was aware of what I had done and guilt was starting to sing in my mind, my body tingled to his touch. Trembling in his embrace, my inner demons still having power to make me crave what I knew I shouldn’t, whilst my conscious was thinking about my husband at home. It must be him that was calling. Wondering where I have been throughout the night – if only he knew I was with someone he trusted, someone he thought would keep me safe.

Mike smelt me as I tried to decide what I was going to do next – stay and lay within this microcosm that seems too good to be true or run back to my husband and act as though none of this occurred.
“I love your scent.”
Without thinking, my body leaned back into his touch, so our bodies were as one. I felt his hard-on, making a small smile creep onto my lips. I guess no matter the logic that seemed so obvious to me, my inner demons decided what I did when it came to Mike.
“Thank you.” He had slowly begun grinding his hips into mine, using his left knee to separate my legs, allowing his access to become more easier.
“I’ve dreamt about this for a long time Sasha.” He was now between my legs. My thighs trembled as I knew what was to come soon. His hand danced on my skin and then made its way to where needed his touch the most, when my phone had begun vibrating again. My eyes shot open to where the vibration was coming from.
“Leave it.”

And I was sure that I would have left it, until it began vibrating again. I knew who was calling, and it was bad enough that I had cheated on him with his brother, but to make him worry was not something I intentionally wanted to do. Peeling myself away from Mike, I tried to find the phone that was still vibrating. Where was it? In my jacket pocket? Or did I take it out of my clutch bag? Before I had the chance to get off the bed, Mike had grabbed onto my hand, stopping me from moving.
“I need to get it Mike, we both know who it is.”
I made another attempt to get my phone, when Mike’s grip tightened.
“I know it’s him Sasha, but I don’t care. I just want you. Let’s enjoy this once more before we have to think about the consequences.”
It was stupid, I knew how dumb his suggestion was and how I know I had done more than enough damage, but I didn’t want to think. I just wanted to be in Mike’s arms again before I had to face reality. I had to choose, between the vibrating phone or being taken to new heights once more, before the guilt suffocated me and would slowly break me down and tear me from the insides out.

I let Mike crawl towards me, and take me again. Take me away from everything. It wasn’t as though my relationship…or marriage for that matter was in shambles. Josh and I were in a good place. It just was not as good as I wanted it to be. I wasn’t too sure what was missing, but when I laid my eyes of Mike at our wedding I hadn’t noticed it then. I was so drunk on love, I couldn’t see the way he held me too tight as we danced on the wedding night as a polite gesture from him to me. Neither did I see the other times he would linger around in my house for too long after guests had gone, a few months after me and Josh had moved in together. However, after three years I was no longer drunk on love – I was enjoying it with a more  sober mind. But that opened my eyes to Mike. To how he watched me, how when we hugged his hand lingered very close to my bum. And instead of these things to make me feel awkward or at least tell my husband, I enjoyed it. Enjoyed the thrill, the feeling of having another mans hands over my body. And not just any man, my husbands brother.

That was when I realised that my marriage was not enough. Josh was an amazing man, great at sex, was romantic and treated me perfectly. Yes, we argued but that was normal. But he no longer had the hunger in his eyes when he saw me walk through the door and neither I for him. Instead, I kept losing my breath when Mike and I were left alone together, when he tried to kiss me when my husband had gone to get us glasses to drink wine in. Or when we had been celebrating their parents anniversary, and Mike had managed to touch me inappropriately in a crowded area. I was sure that Josh had seen, but he didn’t mention anything and I heard nothing of it – so I tried to ignore it. But with the more passes Josh made on me, the more I felt for him.

So here I was, laying on my back. My mouth in an ‘o’ shape as Mike had now thrusted himself inside me for another time. Penetrating me in time of the vibration of my phone. He grabbed a handful of my breast as my back arched in pleasure as the strokes increased. With strength and speed, Mike continued to push me further and further to the edge. I knew it wasn’t long until I collapsed to his love, my eyes opened pleading with him to end it. He smiled as he continued to power through me, ignoring my plea and pushing himself to the brink before exploding. His whole body shaking in desire. Every muscle tensing as he tried to keep his body up above mine, whilst I crumbled below him. That was it, we had had our last fun in this world we had created for the night and now it was time to be true to ourselves.

I had a husband to confront and Mike had a brother he had just betrayed. After a few minutes of laying in silence, I sat up and went to hunt for my mobile. I didn’t put any clothes on as I had no need to hide something Mike had already seen more than enough in one night. I checked my jacket, yet couldn’t find anything. After looking for a few minutes, I found my clutch bag, which had my phone inside. I unlocked the phone and saw six missed calls from Josh and two from Clarissa. Then a few messages from both Clarissa and a few from a group conversation that I was in. I opened Josh’s message, which was frantic, he had called Clarissa and she claimed I was with her, but when failing to prove that I was there, he knew she was lying. He had started to get scared and also annoyed – the tone in his texts and voicemail had gotten a lot more serious. I needed to go home, before anything had gotten worse.

I turned back to Mike who was watching me.
“I have to go Mike.”
“I know, but I’ll see you again soon, just say you was with me when you speak to Mike. I found you a little too drunk and I took you here. I’ll come round later and explain it to him.”
“Are you crazy?”
“Trust me Sasha, say you are with me and I’ll handle everything.”
He stood up and came to me, pulling me close so that our naked bodies touched as he kissed me deeply. I was scared, but I wasn’t too sure what of. I don’t know if I was scared that Josh was going to wonder where I was, or whether this may be the last time I see Mike.
“God Sasha, if I had my way, you wouldn’t leave my side. But I know you have to go to Josh. Sasha…trust me, stick to what I said and we’ll be good.” I nodded nervously. He planted another kiss on my lips and helped me gather my things as I ran through the lie in my head. Well, it wasn’t even a lie, I did come home with Mike, but we did things I know Josh wouldn’t approve of. I just hoped my face didn’t have the events of yesterday night and this morning written all over it.

© All Rights Reserved by Sarah E. Balogun

Family Debt

 

I thought I’d handled the issue well. You see, I borrowed a couple thousands, but I had plans to regain the money and return it, it was meant to be a simple loan. Simple my ass. Because once a bitch named interest and her friend loan began working hand-in-hand, the couple thousands, started to accumulate. Thousands turned into more thousands, and if I didn’t pay up this week, it’d turn into a million. And who else to tell me this bitter sweet news other than my father. Ah! My good old father. The bastard who’d get a kick at praying on helpless women, and his own son, the bastard who’d steal money and then gamble it all away, leaving his “family” starving, the bastard who appeared in my office in the finest suit on Monday to tell me, with a smug smile that the company I owed this loan to was now his, and that the interest was increasing. The bastard, that not only crippled his child emotionally when he was 15 but was ready to cripple his child again, financially at 36.

I could still remember the way mother stared at me from time-to-time, looking at me like she hated me. Why? Because I was ‘blessed’, as what many women would refer to it as, with chestnut hair and dark brown eyes. The things that drew ladies closer made my mum stare at me like I was the one who’d given her the black eye, or swollen lip, or cuts and bruises on her body. I’d grown to hate him for what he did, what he made us. Dysfunctional.

I promised I wouldn’t let him win, she cried in my arms that night, and I promised, if ever there was a chance to prove my strength, my purpose, my protection towards my mother, I’d prove he won’t win; and I’ll be damned by God if I let him win again.

So let this shit begin.

 

Hayley’s Story [Working title]

It’s happened again.

Once again I’m laying on my back, looking at the ceiling thinking, ‘is this it?’ No, like really, is this it? I look to my left and there he is, hugging me like a little child, snoring. I look back to the ceiling and sigh. Is this how it will end for me? Every night, looking at the ceiling wondering is this it. I’m sure I didn’t cum, wasn’t even close. Yet there lays my boyfriend, hugging my body tight like a lost puppy, completely tired. I can’t believe I’m back in this same position again. I even have enough time to recollect my whole life.

A few minutes pass and he wakes up.
“Sorry baby, I just slept.”
“Yeah, I know. I’ve got work tomorrow, when do you think you’re leaving?”
“Babe! I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have slept – I can’t leave without pleasing you.” I chuckled quietly under my breath.
“Don’t worry, just go and we’ll talk tomorrow.”

I just wanted him out as soon as possible. It was bad enough that he slept, but to think he can now please me, when I am sure to be dried up down there like a dessert – was an absolute joke. So even though he was my boyfriend, he had to get out. I was beyond annoyed and I had work tomorrow, which I was not looking forward too. A good fucking would have probably made me walk into work a little more chirper, might have even put a spring to my step! But as that isn’t going to be the case, all I wanted to do was sleep and forget that night ever happened.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

It was lunch time and I still couldn’t forget the horrors of last night and called the one person who I knew would be a great ear to listen too.
“Hey Veronica, you alright?”
“Yeah I’m good, yourself?”
“Meh! I could be way better.”
“What’s up?”
“V hear this. So Marcus comes to see me yesterday. Of course I’m thinking I’m going to have a nice intimate time with my baby. But when we start to do our “thing”, he lasts for like a minute…two tops!”

Instantly Veronica started laughing. It took a while for her to stop, but once she had, I continued on with my tragic story.
“You think that’s bad, he then hugs me and falls asleep. Bitch is he being for real? Like I know you had a long day at work or whatever, but you do that and then fall asleep, whilst I’m practically still wet?”
“Hold on! He fell asleep??” Out came another burst of giggles. “God Marcus is hilarious.”
“It’s not funny V, it’s annoying. How selfish can you get?”
“Yeah but, is sex really that deep for you Hayley?” I rolled my eyes and took my food out of the microwave.
“It isn’t – well I thought it wasn’t.”
“I didn’t know getting bad dick could ruin your day.”
“It could ruin your whole week V, trust me!” We both chuckled.
“But Hayley, is it that big of a deal? Just talk to him.”
“And say what? ‘Aw babe, I can’t deal with these sessions we have, it’s just not cutting it?’ He’d be offended!”
“Well don’t say it like that you idiot. Be more sympathetic, let him know he hasn’t been satisfying you for a while and maybe he’ll put more effort in.”
“I understand what you’re saying. But to even think he asked me to,” I looked around to see if anyone was listening, and when I realised no one was eavesdropping I carried on. “suck his dick, was like a slap in the face. He’s already had his thrills and then he asked me to do that.”
“Hayley, I am on break this is too much over the phone.” She said through laughter. “Look, come meet me after work, we’ll have dinner a few drinks and then I’ll get you some good old elderly sister advice.”
“Thanks V, because I totally need it right now.”
“Oh get a grip Hayley, it’s just sex.”

Work didn’t last too long, answering calls, dropping calls, sending emails – the usual. Anyway, I got into my SmartCar and headed off to see my sister. One thing I was grateful for in this world was Veronica. The fact that I could count on her whenever and tell her almost (!) anything, was something to treasure. Even though it seemed like I was bitching about Marcus, who else was I meant to speak to regarding this issue? I couldn’t trust no one other than Veronica. I met her at our favourite bar (which happened to be five minutes away from her house, lazy bitch) and grabbed a menu.

“I am starving!”
“Hello to you too.”
“You know we don’t need to say hello.”
“It’d be normal and polite if you did Hayley.”
“Yes V, what have you ordered?”
“Nothing yet.”
“Great, let’s get two Proseccos and dough balls.” Before she could protest, I was already calling the waiter and giving him our orders.
“Prosecco? Damn you act like getting rubbish dick is a crisis.”
“Because it is V. I really didn’t think it was an issue, but I think it might be. Like I love him–”
“And that’s where I stop you. If you love him, then sex is just a thing you can work on.”
“But why has it gone downhill, not improved.”
“Maybe because you moan too much.”
“Phrasing!” We both chuckled, whilst the waiter put our glasses on the table. Just to let you in on this sisterly lingo, when we say ‘phrasing’ it just means that the phrase prior was ambiguous.
“But it’s true Hayley, if you love Marcus that much, then why let poor sex bother you?”
“Because it’s happening all the time. I don’t know V. It’s not just that, yes the sex annoyed the shit out of me, but we’re falling out a lot too. I want to have a future with him, but when his mother is like a monster to me, it just doesn’t help. Add shit sex to the mix and you have a real problem here!”
Veronica chuckled whilst sipping on her drink. “Okay, his mum is out of our control. Your petty arguments you can control. Maybe just sit down with him and try to work out how you can reduce the arguing.”
“V, when we argue, he makes me feel like it was all my fault. Like I was the one who caused it.”

“Are you sure you’re just not reading into things too much, I know how you are?”
“V, if after every petty argument, I feel like I am a issue, that’s saying something about our relationship. Is it making me a better person or worse?”
“Don’t overthink it Hayley, I think shit dick and petty arguments have gotten you a little too observant.”
“But it’s true V, no playing around now.” She put her glass down and watched me talk. “We have these arguments, and then we don’t talk. When we do talk, I feel like shit, because apparently it was all my fault.”
“What makes you think it’s your fault?”
“He says stuff like, ‘I don’t get why you behave like this’ – like my actions have caused yet another disagreement between us. It’s stressful for me.”
“Wow, see how rubbish sex can shine one hell of a light on a relationship.”
“I know. It sucks, and I want to speak to him about it, but I cannot handle another, ‘babe where do you get these thoughts from?’ Making me sound crazy.”
“You know what Hayley, lets have a good time tonight. I know you feel a little down and I know that shit sex didn’t help, but lets not think too much about this. We’ll drink today and then sober up tomorrow and think of how to deal with this issue.”
“Alright.”

So we drank and ate and drank some more. It was nice just being with my sister. She was more like a best friend that I never wanted to lose. We joked around and never shared a cringing moment, like others do. After drinking and finishing another bottle of Prosecco, we knew it was time to get home. Luckily for her she lived just a few minutes away, but for me, I was in no state to drive.
“Stay at mine then!”
“I can’t, I have work tomorrow. I need to change.”
“Call Marcus then, he’ll get you home.”
“Yeah I will. Don’t worry about me V, you get home. I’ll text you once I get home.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes I’m bloody sure, now get out of here!”
She chuckled and began walking home. I didn’t want her to get home too late, so it was best she went home before I did. Even though she was my big sister, I was more confident and aggressive than she was. If anyone was planning on jumping me tonight, I was going to put up a fight. Sober or drunk, it wasn’t going to be easy.

I got my phone out ready to call Marcus, when it slipped through my fingers and on to the ground.
“Shit!”
I bent down to pick it up, when I felt someone else’s hand cover my own. Instantly, I jumped back, whilst grabbing my phone tightly. In fright, I stumbled backwards and lost my balance, landing straight onto my back. With my legs tangled up together and my sight  getting more unbalanced, I wasn’t too sure whether being left alone was the smartest idea.
“Are you okay?” A lady’s voice spoke. Closing my eyes tight and then opening them up slowly, my vision returned.
“Yeah I’m fine.”
“Let me help you up.” Before I could shoo her away, she had already managed to pick up me and lift me to my feet. The motion was a little too fast for me to handle, causing me to sway left to right.
“Okay doll, how are you getting home?”
“Marcus, I need to call Marcus to drive me home.”
“Do you want me to call him for you?”
God, was I that much of a mess. Not only could I not stand alone, but I couldn’t even call Marcus without help. I needed to get myself together and fast.
“No I should be okay.” I tried to walk away from her, but without her help, my knees wobbled, causing me to hit the ground once more. She lifted me up again and walked me to my small SmartCar.

“Is this your car doll?”
“How did you know?”
“You’ve been pointing your car keys at this car for a while, so I took a wild guess. Come on let’s get you inside.” She opened up the passenger door and sat me inside, gently reaching over my shoulder to put the seatbelt on. And then went to the drivers seat and got in. Closing and locking the door behind her.
“Oh God, if you’re going to rob me, do it now. I can’t fight back. But don’t kill me.” She chuckled and faced me.
“I’m not going to kill you or rob you, I’m going to drop you home.”
“But you don’t have to, Marcus will do it.”
“Marcus… I assume is Mr.Lame Dick?” My eyes widened at her remark.
“Excuse me?”
“The more you drank, the louder you got. So I kind of heard you speaking about lame sex.” She laughed once more, “It was funny.”
I closed my eyes and inwardly moaned. This cannot be happening. How have I ended up in a situation like this?
“So where do you live doll?”
“18 Dorset Avenue.”
“I’ll get you home in no time.”

And with that I fell asleep.

© All Rights Reserved by Sarah E. Balogun

Runaway Girl

We hadn’t known what hell was until our mother had brought him to our doorstep. Mark. Mark was the devil’s name and would forever be burnt into my mind after everything he had put us through. Even as I lay here, I know deep down he cannot take the blame for the torture both my baby sister and I were enduring. I had somehow dragged her into this mess and allowed this devil to clasps his arms around her without a fight.

To even think we had experienced the worst. The men mother had brought around the house before Mark was beyond lower than low. But Mark was a new breed of bad. Completely different in all aspects and this was what had started the pain we now suffer. He wasn’t verbally abusive to us like how Kenny was. Neither was he as physical as Dean had been with my mother after a drink or two. It may seem surprising, but Mark was more of a father than I had ever had. Things turn into a blur when I try to remember how everything truly began.

 

  • May 2012

It was late in the night and the last time me and Belle had saw mother was when she had stood just in front of the door claiming she’d be back in a few minutes. That was at 12’noon, it was now almost 9’oclock and she still hadn’t returned home. It wasn’t as though Belle and I weren’t used to it. It was normal for her to leave at early hours and return home late at night, smelling of alcohol and other things that always made my nose scrunch up whenever I got close enough to her to take her to bed.

Belle sat on the couch coloring Velma from her Scooby-Doo coloring book, whilst I began cooking lunch. Which normally meant anything that could be cooked and worked well was what I normally prepared.

At the age of sixteen I was a mother to my baby sister Belle. I had realized depending on my mother was wasted energy. She’d either be too intoxicated to care for either of us, or be too preoccupied with company to even remember she had daughters. Belle was only eight, so she wasn’t fully aware of how she was being neglected by our mother, but I was attentive to the way she failed to be a mother to us and I knew it wasn’t an epiphany I wanted Belle to go through just yet. So by any means I was trying to prolong this realization by shielding her like a protective older sister.

After rustling up and eating our ‘make-shift’ dinner, I tucked Belle into bed, not wanting her to see mother stumble into the house around midnight like she usually did. I didn’t want Belle to witness her older sister stripping her mother and taking her to bed, so when she woke up she was in her bed and not blacked out on the corridor floor. Belle looked up to me as I tucked her blanket around her.

“Dara where’s mum?”

Half of me wanted to shrug, because I truly didn’t know where she was and it was exhausting thinking about where she could be. But instead I gave her one of the many lies I told her during our childhood.

“She’s at a friends house, then she’s going to grab some groceries for us.”

Belle looked at me, long enough for me to wonder if she realized I was lying, then looked towards the ceiling. She grabbed a handful of her blanket and spoke without giving me eye contact.

“But she’s been gone for so long!” I gave her a gentle kiss on her forehead and moved stray hairs away that fell onto her face.

“Belle don’t you worry, she’ll be here soon. I’ll tell her to give you a kiss goodnight when she comes in, deal?”

Belle nodded, obviously not convinced with my explanation, but I hadn’t given her room to voice her doubt. I turned on her lamp and turned off the room light, blowing her a kiss before shutting her bedroom door. With a sigh, I trudged back downstairs, awaiting my mother’s arrival. Knowing eventually she’ll stroll in. It was only once when she’d left the house and hadn’t returned until the next day. I can vividly remember the way I worried, thinking she was face down in a ditch, or that she’d actually forgotten she had kids. It was always a dark joke between myself that mother had forgotten she had children. But during her absence that night, I remember thinking how she could have actually forgotten about Belle and me and if only I knew those personal jokes could have actually been a reality. She eventually stumbled in the following morning, claiming she wasn’t aware of the time. No apology, no sign of worry that her kids were alone for more than 24 hours. Instead she walked in the house nonchalantly and headed straight to bed. The anger that boiled within me that day was uncontrollable. She hadn’t even cared for our wellbeing. I was sure to take Belle and myself to a care home that day. However when she awoke, she’d given Belle a fluffy toy that Belle, till this very day, clings onto and had gotten me earrings. It was her way of apologizing and I had accepted it. It was rare for us to receive any gifts from our mother, so when one came around, I was sure not to throw it away.

 

But sitting here, watching the time go by reminds me that no matter how many small gifts she throws our way, will not excuse her lack of maternal skills. Midnight was around the corner and there was no sign of her return. I’d somehow dozed off a few times, awaking to the sound of the television and looking straight at the clock, sighing when I realized it was later than when I initially slept and that she still wasn’t back. Just as my patience began to wear thin, the locks on the door began to unlock slowly. A few giggles were heard on the other side of the door. I stood waiting to catch my drunken mother, when the door opened and a tall man had his arm around her waist. Frozen, we both stood watching each other. My mother’s head swung left to right as she grew limp. The man watched me stand before him in what seemed like horror, then gave me a small smile and closed the door behind him.

“Could you help me with her, she’s drank a little too much tonight.”

I ran to my mother’s side, putting her left arm around my neck as the man started walking towards the living room.

“It’s okay, I can handle it from here. Thanks mister for bringing her home.” With a startled look, he watched as I took my mother into the living room. I sat her down on the couch and pulled her shoes off. It must have startled him how a sixteen year old was caring for a more than able thirty eight year old woman, because even after her shoes were off, he still stood in the corridor with awe written all over his face.

“I said thanks mister, but you can leave now.”

“You’re a special girl to take care of your mum like this.”

“Well, I have to do what I have to do.”

“Hmm.” He nodded his head and watched as I did the routine check on mother. I made sure I didn’t remove any clothing off of her, as I couldn’t really understand why the man still hadn’t left.

“I respect what you’re doing for your mother. She’s a good lady, under all the drink and addictions. She wanted me to stay the night, but I wouldn’t want to intrude. Let her know she got home safe because of Mark and she got to bed in one piece because of you.”

With that he left my mother and me alone in the living room. The front door opened and then shut soon after. This was the first time I’d met Mark.

 

© All Rights Reserved by Sarah E. Balogun

Elliot & I [Part 2]

I hadn’t seen Elliot since our intimate moment on the balcony where we found ourselves confessing our love for each other one moment and then where I found myself being pulled away from him the next. I wasn’t sure what mother planned to do with me as she dragged me closer to the hall that evening. With tears streaming down my cheeks, I wasn’t even sure if she could do anything more to increase the pain I had begun feeling. But when she abruptly stopped near the rotating doors that led into the ceremonial hall and faced me and said,

“Love? You think you love him Alexandra? You no nothing of love, so get that out of your head.” It was then I realised that mother could actually somehow make this already bad situation worse. Even now as I lay on the bed thinking about that evening, I wouldn’t forget how she felt no sympathy towards my emotions. Instead she sent me to the toilet to get cleaned up (as she stood guard outside) and then told me to not utter a word throughout the rest of the night. Not as though I was planning to talk someone’s ear off anyway. It didn’t help that once we did return back to our seats, Elliot and his family had left. I couldn’t even have another chance to see Elliot and explain my love for him, explain to him how important his love is to me.

And here I lay, two weeks since I’d shared that passionate moment with him, I can’t help but find myself grow impatient. Every day grew more harder without speaking with him or seeing him. Not as though we saw each other frequently, but at least we had the opportunity to text. But ever since mother caught us, she made sure my phone was confiscated. Not only that she made it a necessity that anywhere I went I was to be guarded. I wasn’t under any threat, well – she’d say Elliot was enough to be a threat. But because of her lack of trust in me (I could only presume), the security men followed me wherever I went. I could barely leave my room without one of the guards trailing behind me, like an unwanted shadow. What still puzzled me was the fact my father hadn’t sat me down to discuss what had occurred. I was sure my mother would have instantly told my father as soon as we got into settled into the limo on our way home that night. But after he continuously spoke about business deals and future movements with other companies, I realised he knew nothing of my venture with Elliot on the balcony. Which surprised me as to why my mother would spare me? It’s almost to impossible to believe she would do anything to protect me, especially when it came to Elliot. But I knew she hadn’t told father, so I made sure I didn’t bring it up.

There was many times I thought about sneaking away from the guard that was allocated to watch over me. Last week I tried to lose Mr O’Neil in the hustle and bustle of the London streets. But after I believed to have gotten away, he showed up in front of me a few minutes later. These men were trained to follow orders and it was then I knew no amount of plotting or sneaking away would actually be successful. I sat up, tired of being caged away in my room with nothing other than my thoughts to keep me company. I was exhausted of thinking about how Elliot was or what he was getting up to. I didn’t want to think about how only two weeks ago did he confess his love to me and my mother and now I no nothing of how he currently feels. I had to do something to ease my anxiety. I slipped my feet into some casual slippers that were laid just near my wardrobe and opened my room door. I was done laying waiting for something to happen. I was going to make sure I saw Elliot today.

As I opened the door Fredrick stood firm, his gaze looking straight ahead, whilst his body remained upright and ready to defend. When he saw me walk out, he looked at me.
“Fredrick there’s somewhere I need you to drive me.”
“Miss Alexandra, I’ve received orders that you should remain at home whilst your mother and father attend their meal tonight.”
“Fredrick I understand you’ve taken orders, but there is somewhere I must desperately go. If you fail to take me, I will find my own way there. And there is nothing you can do to stop me.”
I looked at Fredrick’s build and slightly chuckled in my head. If Fredrick wanted me back in my room, there were more than ten ways he could do so without breaking a sweat. But I was determined to see Elliot today. Especially with my parents out having dinner, there wasn’t going to be an opportunity like this anytime soon. I had to seize the opportunity.
“And where would you be going Miss Alexandra?”
I hadn’t decided on the lie I was to tell Fredrick, but if I hesitated for just a second, he would know that I was planning on meeting Elliot.
“I’d prefer to direct you myself. It’s private.”

The guards had no right to intervene with our personal lives. They were there for a job and that job purpose only. Fredrick understood he had no right to question my privacy, which pained me to see him disobey his orders. But I had to start doing things for myself or else I’d never find happiness. He gave me a stern nod and walked me out of the house to the family car, ready for his directions. It took a while for us to arrive at Elliot’s house. I made sure the directions I gave Fredrick were beyond complicated so he couldn’t trace where exactly I was going. But as soon as he saw the road name, he parked the car and turned off the engine.
“Miss Alexandra –”
“Fredrick I won’t be a second. Please remain here whilst I just go and return something to someone.” Without another word, I left the car before he could stop me. My heart pounded against my chest as I grew excited knowing soon I’d see Elliot. Soon I’d be with him, in his embrace, digesting our newfound love for each other. I walked passed a few cars before getting to his property. Normally two or three cars would be parked in his driveway, however tonight, a row of cars were lined up, and even spilling to the street where other cars were parked. I quietly snuck passed the entrance and begun making my way to the back of his house, where a vine which clasped on tightly to the bricks of his home would be awaiting me to climb right into the window of his room. The vines were beside the kitchen window, where it seemed the event that must have been occurring at Elliot’s house was taking place. Different voices emerged from the kitchen, whilst cutleries were being played with constantly. Elliot could be amongst them and probably was, but I was willing to wait for him in his room, rather than check if he sat with the cluster that seemed to be going on in his kitchen.

After test a vine or two, I started to climb up when a voice from the kitchen stopped me in my tracks.
“That fucking Harold Bennett, you know what if I had the choice to build my business or kill him…I’d kill him.” The kitchen burst out into laughter, as the male voice choked on his own laughter and continued. “No that man is a bastard. I still don’t understand a nigger has managed to get what he’s got. Can you imagine Clifford is till this very day struggling on receiving clients for his upcoming technology program he’s starting. And there’s Harold Bennett, not even giving a fucking damn. I told him about Clifford and he said he’ll ‘sort something out’,” He huffed and continued. “Sort something out, the cheek like we need help from him, from people like him.”
“It’s ridiculous how things have changed.” A feminine voice spoke after the room had settled to listen to the mans story. Quickly climbing down from the vines, I slowly creep up to the window, just to see who was talking so poorly of my father. But recognised no one, just a room full of people in suits and dresses, eating a meal and bad mouthing my father.
“Don’t worry Jo, they always seem to fuck themselves up one way or the other. Am I right?”
The room fell into laughter again as these strangers mocked my family and my race. Stunned, I couldn’t find the energy to stop watching, to leave and tell Fredrick to drive me home. No, instead I looked around. Hoping to not see anyone I recognised, it was bad enough these people I knew nothing of was praying for my father to face a downfall, but if it was people I recognised I wouldn’t know what I’d do. But then I saw him. Elliot, sitting down with a plate full of food, chuckling with them. Finding the words that cut so deep to me amusing. I wasn’t sure I was seeing accurately. But the more I stared at him, the clearer everything became. He agreed with what they were saying. I shouldn’t be shocked, my father always made it obvious to him that he didn’t like Elliot. But I never assumed this would have had an affect on how he saw the rest of us. The scene that was before me was far too much for my brain and heart to comprehend. Who was Elliot? Elliot, the same man that I just recently confessed my love too, was the same man that sat amongst racists and found their disrespectful words amusing. Even as I stood there in what I can only assume was shock, I couldn’t help but remember my parents. Remember their own narrow mindset and how it discriminating it was at times. They never truly gave me a reason why they disliked Elliot so passionately, but it was obvious his skin colour was a factor. So did that mean I had a right to be angry? My parents were just as bad as the strangers in suits and dresses that sat around the table hoping for my father to fail and belittling my race?

With the pain, hurt and confusion slowly slipping its way into my muscles, I found the energy to turn away. Not aware of Elliot’s mum who stood a few steps away from me, watching me watch them talk about my father. With a pained look in her eye, she followed my previous gaze onto Elliot and then returned her gaze back to me. With no words to say that could possibly explain or reduce the shock I received, I walked passed her and back to Fredrick. Wishing I stayed in bed.

© All Rights Reserved by Sarah E. Balogun

Have you ever?

Have you ever had to analyse your emotions ten times over, just to make sure you’re not behaving or feeling emotional for an irrational reason? Have you ever had to question your own mind-set, because everyone around you doesn’t seem to grasp your way of thinking? Have you ever felt crazy because you just can’t understand whether what you feel is reasonable or not? Well I have, and it drives me insane. Why must I feel as though I am the one who has blown everything out of proportion, the one who took everything “too far”, the one who just always seems to destroy the mood with her reactions? I tell you it could make any sane human being feel crazy. Just because people fail to understand the way I process things why must that make me the odd one? I remember years ago when I studied psychology, I was learning about conforming. One thing that stuck in my mind was how incredible it was to see how people would conform to the majority group, just because the numbers were high. Even if the question was as simple as what is 2 + 2. We all know the answer is 4, but if the majority claims the answer is 5, we begin to doubt our own judgment. That is exactly how I feel write now. As I sit here, pen in my hand, scribbling subconsciously on the plain piece of paper before me, I wonder whether because people cannot understand me, I can no longer understand myself. Hence why I have to analyse everything I do ten times or even more.

It’s beyond frustrating when you find yourself in this cycle. Where you feel a way one minute, but instantly question it the next because maybe the majority is right about me. Maybe I am a little irrational. Maybe my thought process is abnormal. Or am I now conforming to the majority? Who says the minority isn’t right? Why can’t the way I think and feel be right and everyone else be wrong? It makes me chuckle slightly as I sit scratching my head, thinking about whether I’m sane or not. A mother of two, is up alone in her study room in the early hours of the morning questioning whether she is sane or not, is a headline that I can’t help but chuckle to. I should have my shit together by now. Almost thirty-five, two children and a husband and yet here I am, wondering whether I’m losing it or maybe it’s everyone else who’s losing it. What irks me is that there is no one I can discuss this with, oh well I could go to my counsellor (whom no one knows I visit) and explain it to her. But, then I might just feel even crazier that I’ve had to go counselling in order to reassure myself that I’m not crazy. Ha, the irony. There’s no freedom, there’s no escape. I’m constantly in limbo with my emotions, constantly going from zero to a thousand, because I’m not sure whether I have a right to feel the way I do or not. And it’s a tough battle. It brings a lot of dark nights, silent cries and fake smiles, because everything just doesn’t seem to add up in your mind. And having two children and being a role model for them, gives me no room to even have time to fail. So I hold everything in, make sure only me, myself and I, see this confused version of me. I make sure all the tears have run its course before I see my children, I make sure the internal battle that I face everyday, is kept at bay when I kiss my husband good morning. I make sure the crazy has gone into hiding when I see my family, because it’s bad enough that people look at you like your crazy, but when you looking at yourself and seeing a crazy person stare back at you – everything goes downhill from there.

 

© All Rights Reserved by Sarah E. Balogun