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Dimming my Lights

by Saddi ImaamFebruary 25, 2015

I am not sure when I noticed, noticed that there was an imbalance, a difference in expectations, in

treatment even. But it was subtle, very subtle and I only acknowledge this in hindsight.

At the time, it passed right over my head, I was oblivious to everything else but myself.

So it follows that I missed the announcement when the big lights were handed out, lights vital for

the two legged race that is marriage. All I know is that I saw everything bright and clear, in full

technicolor then all of a sudden it was pitch black. By then I had married him; my Aboki inside!

He brought out his 240 volt, 1000 lumens energy saver camping torch.

Loving him so much and knowing he loved me back as much, I waited impatiently for mine.

When I asked, he told me to stick with him, he would light our way and take care of me.

Being quite the feminist, ever so practical and believing in equal rights, I demanded for mine.

He gave me one of those Maiguardi torches, the ones with 10 Naira bulbs that run on Tiger

batteries. He said that’s the spare he had.

When we started the journey, I was happy sharing his light.

I did not mind that mine disappeared in the dazzling blaze of his. When I implored him to cast the

light in a different direction, he was not happy. He was happier when I shone my Maiguardi light

sideways or sometimes even, behind us, but it kept getting dimmer and dimmer…

He was not interested, he believed I did not need to light my way, what did I need a light for?

I had him to walk with.

Years went by and he grew more impatient, even angry when I asked that he direct his beam so I

could explore. He ignored me when I asked. He refused when I insisted. Now, I have to hold tight

to him to see my way.

I tug and pull at him because I lose my footing. I also become afraid walking behind someone taller

than I in darkness, because he holds the light and blocks it from me. I have to peer either around

or over to make out the world I can glimpse just beyond his shoulder.

He has stopped speaking and flinches away when I grab him to steady myself.

He barks for me to use my own light too, after all he gave me one. Then, I start to cry.

He does not know that my light died off a few years into this journey.

Battery water had damaged the insides of the torch, and new batteries will not work. My hands

have been burnt and mangled by that same liquid.

I see other women with brighter lights than Aboki and wonder where they got it from?

Was there an announcement made that I did not hear?

Was I so busy with my illusion of a perfect world? Or perhaps, their Aboki had a good enough

spare light?

Or maybe he just did not love and want to take care of them the way mine did.

I think I will go with the latter, that their Aboki does not love them as mine does.

But some have no Aboki by their sides.

So perhaps they stole the light and left him with none.

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Saddi Imaam
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