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Boloebi Okah

I first saw him in a music video. Something about his face struck me, and I was transfixed. For the rest of the day, I couldn’t get the image of that young man out of my head. Then I opened the pages of a newspaper about two weeks later, and there was an interview featuring him. I read the interview several times, made a note of his name, then tore it out of the paper, and hid it in my school backpack, in-between my secondary school textbooks.

I skipped my afternoon classes and set off to find him, one day when I had gathered enough courage. I had a vague idea where his recording studio was, and I took some extra transport fare, just in case. I didn’t have a clear idea of what I would say, I just wanted to see him. After getting lost three times, I finally located the studio in the hustling and bustling streets of Ikeja. I walked up to the reception and asked to see him. The receptionist eyed me up and down. She was probably assuming that I was one of his young, misguided fans and she snapped at me and said he wasn’t around. I begged and pleaded with her, just to give me a couple of minutes to explain my mission. She refused, and threatened to call the security guards.

“But I’m his sister!” I said, stamping my feet and trying to stop the tears forming in my eyes.

She stopped talking for a second and looked at me closely. Then she picked up her telephone and chatted to someone. Five minutes later, I was ushered into another reception room and asked to wait.

He came out himself and ran to give me a hug. With tears in his eyes, he told me the whole story. I was born when he was in his early teens. He was a rebel, the black sheep and outcast, because he had refused to study to become a medical doctor. Instead, when he was seventeen, he ran away and by the time I was old enough to understand, he had been erased from our family life. We decided to keep our meeting a secret.

The next week, my parents pretended they didn’t know what I was talking about when I asked them why the young man playing the saxophone on the television looked so much like Father. I smiled, and decided, I was going to be a rebel too.

—————————————————————————

Tolulope Popoola is a Nigerian novelist. Her debut novel, titled Nothing Comes Close, is available on amazon. Ms. Popoola blogs at On Writing and Life.

Tolulope Popoola

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.

8 Responses to “Because of Him by Tolulope Popoola” Subscribe

  1. Mohammed May 7, 2013 at 12:41 pm #

    engaging,simply ,which makes difficult to write . loved it .

  2. Bruce UGIOMOH May 8, 2013 at 10:44 am #

    Absolutely brilliant! Tolu, you know how to spin a yarn…I’ll buy the book

  3. Flash Fiction GH May 10, 2013 at 1:27 pm #

    Beautiful writing as always from Mrs. Popoola.

  4. Martha May 10, 2013 at 2:15 pm #

    Good, read! Thanks for the short moment of excitement!

  5. Sanusi May 13, 2013 at 8:47 am #

    Interesting and captivating! Beautiful close. Will take time to look for more of her writings.

  6. debby baro May 18, 2013 at 7:40 pm #

    Very engaging like every of her writings. I enjoyed it and just imagined the flow and relief it brought at the end. Nice one!

  7. Brie-Ashley July 5, 2013 at 10:10 am #

    Wow, this is simply amazing!..Interesting writings..

  8. Raheemah October 5, 2017 at 9:52 am #

    This is simply brilliant. I need to learn how to write flash fiction from you, Tolu.

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