To mark the closing of 2012’s Edition of CreativeWings Short Story Prize, the top two winning stories shall be published HERE.
Waiting and Hoping by Efembe Eke will be published today. And the second story will be published on Wednesday. i hope you enjoy reading the stories. You can leave your comments as well.
Congratulations to the winners!
WATCHING AND HOPING BY EFEMBE EKE
I stare at his gaunt face telling myself that I should not see him as a threat. It is a good feeling to know that his virility is probably non-existent, that he is like a dead twig and I, a trunk. But the thought of his withered hands caressing Patience’s luscious body removes the lightness from my soul yet again. I do not like imagining what they usually do inside her little room when she comes home and opens the door and lets him in. He has been coming since she moved into our neighborhood, dragging his tired looking legs here to wait for her.
His wife is the woman who sells fish at the market, whose body shakes like a leaf in a cold and windy harmattan morning. I went to her shed the other day, not to buy fish for my special fisherman soup that makes my bar popular, but to try and keep him in check. I watched her trembling hands as they tried to arrange an assortment of fish on her rickety table. I said,
“Nne, do you know that your husband is sleeping around with small small girls? It is very wrong and disgusting”.
She regarded me with keen scrutiny as if she thought I had brought trouble.
“Are- you- a -preacher?” she asks.
Her voice shook, yet it was powerful like my grandmother’s. I did not know why she asked me that question and she did not wait for me to answer it
“Go- away”, she said. “I- don’t- have- time- for- such- talk”.
When I left the shed it occurred to me that I could preach to Patience and see if I could make her change, become a wife material. I have tried. It is not as if I have not tried hard enough. I know the right Bible verses and I can pray. But every time I go to her, she just sits there cross-legged on her sagging mattress, chewing gum and rolling her eyes. She still works at the red light joint. I still see her out on the streets wearing almost nothing. I still watch the men that come to wait for her.
She arrives. The young man she is with has one hand curved around her waist and the other in her blouse. I can hear her shrill laughter. I can see her indifference to the old man who moves away, his head hanging so low I am afraid his scrawny neck might break. I can feel some kind of temporary relief and comfort as I watch youth beat age. But I know it is only just that, temporary.
She has been coming to my bar; sometimes with the old man and sometimes with the area boys. She winks at me and gives me sly smiles. And when they finish off their rice and fisherman soup or pepper soup, and beer, she leads them across our narrow street to her room. And I sit with my elbow on the counter and my chin in my hand (oblivious of the activity in my bar) and watch.
Bio: Efembe Eke is a graduate of Geography and Environmental Science. She is an
aspiring writer who just loves to tell stories. She resides in Calabar, Nigeria.