Subscribe to Newsletter
Monthly Newsletter: Join more than 5,000 African literature enthusiasts!
Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our "Guide to African Novels."

Leftover Egusi Soup

SHARE THIS

Songs of Solomon.

Isoken did not leave the staff room of Patricia Primary School when the closing bell rang. Everyone else did. It would appear that she was inspecting the attendance booklet on her desk. Actually, her mind had taken her elsewhere, perhaps, to the room she was renting at no. 15 Furniture Rd. The dread of loneliness, that was what glued her on to her seat and gave her this lost look that an onlooker could easily mistake for boredom or tiredness. She could leave the staff room and walk the 2 miles home, but what would be the point. There isn’t a pinch of voltage coursing through the old wires in the room. It’s been dark nights ever since the heavy rain– the first of the season–came and blew up the transformer. But the room was dismal in other ways. It tired her to live there alone, she and her Ghana-Must-Go bags still unpacked after two years of living there, she and the pots that have stayed on since her college of education days in Warri, she and the only thing hanging on the wall, a picture of Jesus holding a bleeding heart and Mary standing right next to him looking beatific as she always manages to do in the face of the most absurd suffering. It was also a calendar. And of course, she and her Gideon bible opened to Songs of Solomon–“Ah, my beloved, you are beautiful.” Chapter 4 of the Songs of Solomon. And of course, she and the leftover Egusi soup.

Leftover Egusi Soup.

Not a happy thought…this business of going home to no-one and some leftover Egusi soup. And maybe the last bit of Ijebu garri, which she’d use for eba. Tart eba. Eba that would set her teeth on edge. Not a bad idea. With the dullness and all of her life. A little electricity in the mouth is not entirely a bad deal. But she’d eat alone, perhaps, while sitting on her bed, on which no man had slept for a long worrying while. The last time…it…happened was when that Okada rider dropped her off at home and then said he was thirsty for water and followed her into her room. They first did it standing against the wall, right next to the Kero stove. Then the pot of Jollof rice fell from the stove–rice, pot, cover and all landing on the ground–because their feet kept hitting it. Then there was all this sound. They stopped for less than half a millisecond and then laughed. That instant of noise, passion and laughter was something Isoken could never name and so could never forget. A needling little instant during which noise arrested the force of passion and produced laughter. They did it a few more times in a few more places until they ended up in bed, reeking of love without ventilation. She woke up late at night to find he’d gone and left behind a 200 naira note smelling of sweat and pocket. She got up and ate cold Jollof rice, alone and in the dark.

 

The featured image is a painting by Renoir titled “Onions” and painted in 1881. 

Tags: , , ,

Ainehi Edoro is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she teaches African literature. She received her doctorate at Duke University. She is the founder and editor of Brittle Paper and series editor of Ohio University Press’s Modern African Writer’s imprint.

6 Responses to “Leftover Egusi Soup” Subscribe

  1. Omon May 7, 2012 at 2:26 am #

    Ainehi, I love your writing style! This piece got me gluesd, even though I am a kinda impatient reader when it comes to literatures! Guess u are almost making me a ‘beliver’

  2. Ainehi Edoro May 7, 2012 at 3:26 am #

    Omo, I’m happy that I was able to arrest your impatience 🙂 Thanks for stopping by and leaving such a sweet note.

  3. nkem ivara May 7, 2012 at 1:46 pm #

    I enjoyed this story. Though short, it accurately captured the essence of loneliness. I like the way you allude to the picture of the bleeding Jesus and beatific-looking Mary. I sense therein lies a whole other story.

  4. Ainehi Edoro May 30, 2012 at 11:14 am #

    Thank you Nkem. I think you’re right. The Mary-Bleeding-Jesus sequence does seem promising. I’ll see what I can do.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Tower Ministries | Brittle Paper - May 30, 2012

    […] Leftover Egusi Soup […]

  2. Tura Soap | Brittle Paper - June 8, 2012

    […] Leftover Egusi Soup […]

Leave a Reply

Welcome to Brittle Paper, your go-to site for African writing and literary culture. We bring you all the latest news and juicy updates on publications, authors, events, prizes, and lifestyle. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram (@brittlepaper) and sign up for our "I love African Literature" newsletter.

Monthly Newsletter!

Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our
"Guide to African Novels."

Archives

Kwame Dawes’s “Yard Boy”: A Powerful Poem for Our Moment

153602001522332304

Kwame Dawes recently wrote a poem titled “Yard Boy” that speaks to the recent events surrounding the death of George […]

Teju Cole’s Spotify Playlists Offer Musical Solace for These Times

PoliticsAndMore-021819-TejuCole

Among Teju Cole’s many talents is his ability to curate music that captures a mood or even the feel of […]

Petina Gappah to Write Play About the Censorship History of Dambudzo Marechera’s Novel Black Sunlight

Untitled design

Petina Gappah recently announced that she was writing a play that focuses on “the 1982 banning and unbanning” of Dambudzo […]

Oh, Blessed Bri’Land | Jedah Mayberry | Fiction

fiction brittle paper Jedah Mayberry

Bri’Land glistened at me, her brilliant display of pink sand shimmering in delight.  It would seem that I had finally, […]

Books That Go with Wine and Books That Don’t

literary lifestyle wine and books

The beverages most associated with reading are tea and coffee. But many readers love to cozy up in bed with […]

In This House | Inok Rosemary | Poetry

poetry brittle paper inok rosemary

  In this house, we sift our words, Never letting the walls hear what they shouldn’t. The fear of their […]

Thanks for signing up!

Never miss out on new posts. Subscribe to a digest, too:

No thanks, I only want the monthly newsletter.