Societal Happenings by Chidera Onyebuchi

It was a sunny afternoon when Nody finally woke up and went to the veranda. She liked to look over the small houses and shops. The naked children running around. The sound of the cobblers and cloth menders. The sound of the man hawking puff puff while hitting his fork on the showglass that held them. School children returning from school in large crowds. sometimes two different schools got into fights she enjoyed. That day was different. The entrance to the gate of Ama’s house was crowded which was never so and she heard wailing. She wondered if to call Ama and tell her about the situation of her house. Did the landlady die? Nody held her growing tummy as she walked down the stairs and out of the gate, towards Ama’s house. Why were people parting the way for her and looking at her sympathetically. She walked into Ama’s house and found her lying still and swollen up while people prayed. A tear dropped from Nody’s eyes as she moved backward, not another person she loved. Not again, Not the mother of the child she was carrying. Memories of her brother lighting up in flames and rolling on the floor shouting and pleading for mercy then her sister in the coffin. She could not do it, she could not watch her bestfriend in the state she was in. She was distracted by a woman asking where Ama would be buried. Nody could not believe her ears. They were thinking of how it was an abomination to bury Ama in her father’s house because they had given her out in marriage and how they could not bury her in her husband’s house because they were no longer together. The way Nody’s aunt had been buried outside her husband’s compound in the village because she had not given them a child. Some people were saying Ama was probably killed in her dream or had a heart attack but Nody knew it was the dirty game of politics. Ama would have fought, she would have woken up from whatever dream she was having. The prayers of the pastor would have woken her up. The wailings of the people there would have woken her up. She did not know what came over her as she went to pick up Ama’s car keys and she drove straight to a building that made her feel like she had been there. She walked into the building, touching every furniture. She stopped in front of a door and looked through the peep hole. Why did she feel like she had done this before. She saw Ama’s husband in bed with another woman who looked strangely familiar. The sounds they made too. She pushed the door and they both turned to look at her startled
“Do you have a problem with locking the door while doing this thing?” she asked
“Nody? Why are you here?”

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The Fundamentals Of Joy by B.B Blerta Berisha

A sigh escaped me as I turned back around, offering a smile to a woman who stood idly near me. I grinned at the smaller candles by her sides, who stared up at me unknowingly, their miniature flames flickering with curiosity. 

“A great day today, m’am? Mm?” I greeted, offering my hand, waxy from the heat of my candle. “How would you like to hear a joke?”

She pulled her candles close towards her, protectiveness radiating from her as if I was hazardous. They assembled themselves together, fearful of my words. I saw the gloom in the trio, the complete disgust they saw in my smile, the shock at the idea of happiness in this town. It was not a positive shock. In fact, they seemed to want to escape it. I raised my eyebrows in question, offering a warm glow. She only lowered her eyes, avoiding contact with me. The joy I radiated that fought with her unhappiness, it was something she didn’t like. I watched as the children glared at me, their own little flames flaring.

“Good day to you,” she murmured, her head low as she grabbed the children and began scurrying off. I watched as their lights flickered back and forth in the wind as they walked with speed, with motivation. My eyebrows furrowed together with confusion, for I had been turned down a second time.

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