The Day The World Stood Still

This is a fictious story inspired by true events.
Ladies and gentlemen,
I present


‘’ Dear Diary,
Today has to be possibly the worst day of my life.’’
I shook my head once more. The day’s events had thrown me into utter disbelief. As I sat in the massive cavern that is my classroom, directly under one of two working fluorescent lights I smiled ironically. This has to be the most yawa thing which could happen to anyone. Imagine what would happen if anyone caught wind of this. In a big school. You wanna know how big? Motown big. I let out a deep sigh. Presently a mosquito hovered near my nose. A thunderclap later and there were bits of mosquito exoskeleton and goo plastered in my palms. The sound rapped sharply in the cool evening air. It seemed to reverberate as murmurs around the class. A back seat boy snarled ‘’ Ah you too what that?’’ I suppose he was interrupted in the middle of getting under a girl’s dress in the dimly lit rear of the room. I shrugged. I stared at the rest of the not so blank page and squinted. Through my half lidded eyes the world seemed to rewind.
‘’ Warning for juniors leave the annex!’’ the din of the brass bell and the hoarse bark of the bell boy cut through my sleep like a hot knife through butter. Someone muttered ‘’ This bell boy kraa ede like ring the bell hard too much.’’ ‘’ Make you no mind am. E be like say play dey en eye top.’’ Rising bell was always a cause for grief. Even though I could afford an extra ten minutes of sleep, the whiplash caused by the bell is not so easily forgotten. The house came to life raucously. I trudged out of bed. I checked whether my school uniform was safe nestled behind the thicket of coat hangers. Satisfied I made a beeline for the tubes. In the dank toilet stall a mix of relief and worry creased my face. I was constipated for three days straight. Relief because I had more time to bath and worried because I felt like I was carrying a pack of C-4 explosive in my rectum and I didn’t know when it was going to explode. I trundled through the rest of the morning ritual. No chores because of my semi-senior status. Form two third term meant we were at the top of the hierarchy. While some of my mates were busy being apex predators; having few natural enemies and plenty of prey to choose from I was largely invisible. Due to my melancholy and (enforced) solitary habits I wasn’t part of a clique. If I was part of an ecosystem I would be the seventeen year cicada sleeping under the soil. I lived a largely lonely existence.
I wasn’t looking forward to the morning. Breakfast was foregone because it wasn’t my week to eat. Empty wallet (I left it under my pillow) and empty chopbox (the padlock was stashed away in my trunk) meant I was going to have to wing it. Visiting can’t come quick enough. But it was Thursday and a gloomy one as that. Foreboding grey skies over a grey hill. ‘’ Funny.’’ I thought. The first warning started on my way to class from morning assembly. I was tall and skinny and it showed in my gait; an awkward ambling stride. I feel like a giraffe sometimes. So I was walking on the lover’s lane when I felt it. A knife twisting pain in my gut. I winced and soldiered on. Gladly I had just one paper today. Unfortunately it was in the afternoon. Around 12. It was gloomy and cold. Just great. I had left my cardigan in the house. Cardigans are ubiquitous in Motown. In hot or cold weather you were definitely going to find students wearing them. I cursed myself silently. I made it to class. Word going round was that we were going to write the paper at the Art School. Nice. If it rained we were going to be trapped. No access to the snack square or the school annex.
I sat down in silence. Everything was a bit blurry. Hunger necessitated a reduction of activities. No energy wasted on extraneous things. I avoided the group discussions. No talking. Not even to the girls. I slept away the hours. Everyone in class was accustomed to my quirky ways so I wasn’t disturbed, not till it was time to go to the Art School. GKA wasn’t ordinarily a difficult paper. The history made revising for it a chore. It could be overwhelming. Hunger pangs tore at my stomach but my concern was the slow turning of my bowels. I positioned myself in the middle of the class. It was much harder to cheat from there and I really just wanted to be left alone. The paper looked easy on the eye. I set to work. I was done in half an hour. Yeah yeah I know. I liked to finish my papers as quickly as possible and daydream or sleep the rest of the allotted time out. I felt the urge to fart and I positioned myself; one buttock up. Almost immediately I held it in.
Second warning. My eyes watered. The knife twisting gut pain was back. I wasn’t going to wing this one. I had to get to the school annex asap. I looked up at the invigilator and raised my hand. Without waiting for him to get to me I darted out of the classroom. How the art school lacks toilet facilities I have no frigging idea. I set out in my mile eating stride to cover the fifty plus metres to the school annex. Ten seconds into it and it was already a bad idea. I doubled over in pain. I started hobbling. I was in a dilemma. Holding in three days’ worth of crap was a herculean task. I was facing off nature and gravity and they were winning. I could hear the churning of my colon’s contents like an organic cement mixer. I burst out on to the road between the dining hall and the co-op shop. Then wham! It hit me again. My lumbar region screeched in pain. Tears welled up in my eyes. Mercifully there were no students in the form three block (their previous occupants were busy regaining the fat lost in three years of their academic travails). I half imagined how this situation would have panned out if they were there. Some of the boys would have been lounging out of the window waiting for unsuspecting juniors to pass by and send. One would have bawled ‘’ Yo! Form two boy. Drop.’’ I would have given them an incredulous ‘’WTF’’ look and continued my meandering on. ‘’Herh! E no be you we de call? In fact clock for there. Why are you loitering around during school hours?’’ I would have stuck my fingers in my ears. Fortunately this was never going to happen. Ultimately the delay would cause outright disgrace to me. It wasn’t worth obeying a senior for.
I laughed manically. I felt my coccyx sway. The school annex was just up ahead. I tried to increase my hobbling speed. Home straight. I veered into the hedge right beside it attempting a shortcut. The school annex was little loved. Despoiled and desecrated on a daily basis by the Anumle boys it was a place of darkness and unspeakable terrors. My need however trumped this. It was just too great for me to care. Then I heard a sound like a balloon deflating or cattle groaning. I felt the warm stickiness in the seat of my shorts. I lurched in horror. ‘’ Oh God, why now?’’ I whispered. Too late. How I tore off the shorts without a fleck of human excreta on it was mind boggling. It was bye bye boxers though. A tremor ran down my spine. A sharp cry of relief, tears of joy streaking my cheeks and the human sewer chugging its waste to the ground. A blissful idyll.
While I had the forbidden pleasure of relieving myself I wondered ‘’ What if Kasa saw me?’’ I was not about to be lulled into serendipity. He had the nasty habit of jumping students in the most undesirable areas. As I wrapped up there was still no show. I cleaned myself up by the tap which was most fortunately stationed a few feet away.
I snapped back into the present. I crossed out the opening sentence and scrawled again. I just had to record today better. The weirdest of the weird I know. It now read ‘’ Today is the day the world stood still.’’



Just for the record I am a heterosexual man.
I however believe that homosexual people also have basic human rights.
Homophobia is a canker worse than racism.
Please enjoy the read.

The dictionaries say one of the meanings of singularity is “a trait marking one as distinct from others; a peculiarity.” I snorted in derision. I don’t believe I’m peculiar or otherwise remarkable. I looked at my reflection in the broken mirror adorning one of my walls. Bloodshot eyes rimmed in baggy sockets, sunken cheeks, cracked hairline and bedraggled hair, the slightly twisted features of my gaunt visage looked back. I smiled. The reflection grimaced. The best you can get out of a broken jaw. The jarring pain accompanying it was bliss.
I looked round my cell of a one room apartment. A single incandescent bulb glowed overhead in the otherwise dim-lit room. I was hemmed in by four dingy yellow walls stained black by dirty hands. A furniture set from the 80’s; plainly retro took up a corner. Gift from daddy’s garage junk. No TV. I don’t remember the last time I watched TV. My twitter feed was a rostrum of blow by blow news. Across from the sofa was my refrigerator. It was the same colour as the wall and even nastier inside. It was a breeding ground for cockroaches. It was another throwback to university days. The fading stickers a sad reminder of hey days long gone. In another corner was my pallet and wardrobe. Clothes strewn everywhere, the faded straw of the thin mattress barely peeking through.
I listened keenly. It was high noon. The neighbourhood music was sure to start soon. I could hear the roaches scuttling about in the fridge.the soft plinking of water from the standpipe in the compound. Presently I heard the flare of raised voices. Mr and Mrs Osei-Danquah were at it again. A janitor with gambling issues, and a wife with delusions of a Hollywood life in the ghetto. I went to the window. I had removed the mosquito netting and chicken wire ages ago. I hated it. It made my cramped apartment a boiler room. I’d rather suffer the ignominy of a thousand mosquito bites than the maddening heat of a stuffy room. I turned and looked at the center of the room. A coffee table atop the center table. A bible and my phone side by side on the center table. The bible was a throwback to more religious days and a wannabe lifestyle. The cheap piece of plastic and metal was a knock down I got from a secondhand dealer at Circle. I picked it up and caressed the spider webbed screen. A faint motion caught my eye. I almost forgot. The rope. It swung idly. I smiled.
Then I began the step up. I closed my eyes and listened again. High noon is my favourite time of day. I could hear the tinny blare of speakers from a neighbour’s room across the compound. The shrill voice of Mr Osei-Danquah and the more dulcet tones of his wife. The loud screech of a taxi with worn out brake discs and the stream of putrid insults from a pedestrian who just cheated death. The effluvium of Ga from the kenkey seller around the corner. The rangy cries of children playing “alikoto” in the shade of the Neem tree in the middle of the compound. The Osei-Danquahs had quieted down. I listened more keenly. I could hear the soft slapping sounds of lovemaking, the grunts and low moans. Just like the Osei-Danquahs to make love after war. I rubbed my wrists. The sting of half healed cuts crisscrossing my forearms brought me back from my idyll. I breathed in and out. Then I prayed. I hadn’t done that in a long time ago. “God I thank you for the gift of my life. I thank you for making me who I am. May be I am strong so you gave me a weakness to mock me. May be I am a weakness you are using to mock a strong person. I have tried living in this world. I have failed. Living has become too much of a chore. I know I am hell bound, but it is to prevent more grief and judgment. I thank you once again. Amen.” The words rang hollow in my head.
A lifetime ago I was a staunch Christian. I loved the Word. I sung in church, I gave my tithes and I enjoyed going on missions. I tried to do no wrong. To be a good child of God. Everything changed when I met him. We met on a tro tro going to Circle. I was going to buy a phone, (my cheap piece of plastic I mentioned earlier.) and he was going to fix a friend’s phone. He was streetwise and helped me get my phone. I took his number and boom, fireworks! He is the sweetest man I have ever known. Then the church got wind of my relationship. I was kicked out of the choir. My volunteer services were revoked. Even my tithing was stopped. The head pastor advised me vehemently against such a “harmful” relationship. How could I? Oh Richmond. I have never known love to exist in such a pure form before. We had no sex. I don’t believe in pre-marital sex. I loved his calm demeanor and easy going outlook to life. He loved music, sports and video games. He could score me for hours on end during his so called FIFA tutorials.
Everything went down the drain. Somehow my colleagues at the ad company where I worked as a photographer were poisoned against me. I lost everything. My job, my faith and now my love flushed away. I had been avoiding his calls for a week now. He didn’t know where I lived. I never showed him. I was going to hurt him. I was doing it because I love him. I had to spare him the disgrace I was living through. I felt tears burn down my cheeks. I faced the noose. Dying terrified me but the thought of Richmond suffering in the bigotry of the society we live in was bone chilling to no end. I put the noose around my neck and tightened it. I made sure the knot held. My previous attempt resulted in my fractured jaw. How thoughtful of the previous occupant of the room to install fan hooks.
Slowly I swung forward. I did not fight the choking. The cheap nylon bit into my neck. I always figured dying would be painful. I was acutely aware of my diminishing oxygen supply and the nerve receptors ringing alarm bells. The stars grew larger and brighter. I was dying because I loved a man. I was dying because I did not want a forbidden love to cause any more pain. I was losing consciousness. My last thoughts went to the note in my bible. “I am gay.”
© Sena Kodjokuma 2015


Take a minute and reflect,
Rays of light refracted,
Diffused evenly over a surface,
Observe a minute of noise,
Sixty seconds of chaotic orderliness,
A backwash of perfect sense.

What if the lie was hidden in the light?
What if all we can see is darkness,
And the purity of the children of the night.

Shade of white,
Tint of black,
Not a hue or value,

What do you really stand for?
Why does light cast shadows,
Who are you?
And what if truth is lie?

© Sena Kodjokuma 2015