BOTTOM POT

BOTTOM POT

You ran your hands through your short thick ebony black hair. “There had to be a way,” you thought, to fight this battle. Then again, you were not a woman given to fighting. You thought and over thought every problem, and when Seun didn’t come to the rescue you let the tears fall. It didn’t matter that you were thirty eight, and mother to two beautiful children. You were young at heart, a grown adult who would rather stay home and watch Winnie the Pooh. You looked over Seun’s phone again. The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 was frail in your hands and for a moment, you resisted the urge to let it fall to the ground. “Evidence is most important,” Ginika would say. Now it was. You typed in the password you had almost broken your neck to acquire and the phone screen greeted you. Maybe it was a lie. You checked the Whatsapp messages and saw her photos glaring at you. She was beautiful, undeniably so. Seun had good eyes, and like all his exes she was light skinned. “Oyinbo”, “Lepa” and all the many things you were not. She couldn’t be more than twenty eight, and there she was sending Seun pictures. Making him ask for more. Little wonder he had been absent minded for days. He crept into the house in the mornings, and disappeared with the excuse of going to work. “How dare he?” You looked at the large wall mirror again for assurance. Your face was still oval and beautifully dark but your cheeks had developed the puffiness of akara balls. Your arms were what Ginika called “Christian sister arms”, flabby and dimpling. Your once flat stomach had rose like rice boiled in water to become as big as a bag of garri at Onitsha market. Your once prominent behind looked smaller because your chest had grown in multiple proportions Seun had been complaining of the wrappers you tied around the house and the Moju powder you loved to rub around your neck, like it was a beautiful necklace. It was hot anyways, and you were so busy trying to care for him and the children that you didn’t care how you looked. “Was that a valid reason?” Seun had changed, too. His hairline was thinning. He had developed a beer belly that was as big as that of a woman in her third trimester. He no longer wore those nice smelling colognes that drew you to him. He now smelt of beer and sweat and honestly, you were tired. Oh!!!If only Ginika were there. Ginika, your 200 Level roommate and friend. The no nonsense lady. She would fume and boil over. She would call Seun unspeakable names and attribute his unfortunate behavior to his being a Nigerian goat, the worst of them all. She would console you, with a trip to the movies and a bowl of ice cream. She would introduce you, to a couple of guys, trusted to be better than Seun. She would do all of that and still tease you, calling you “Bottom pot” because to her, your ebony dark skin resembled the burnt part of the pot, charcoal black in colour. You missed Ginika, but then she was in Canada. You couldn’t call because of the time frame. You waited for Seun to come back. So you could confront him. He did, just because at work he discovered that his phone, so carefully placed in his pocket was missing. “Had you seen it?” He said. So you threw the phone at him, screaming. It was because you were dark that he needed a light side chick to fill the gap. He begged you, but in anger you left. You picked your car keys and drove to the mall. You saw the products there. They would do the magic. Make you rake thin, lightskinned and Seun’s eyes would never wander again. You bought them with your card. They were expensive, but maybe they would save your marriage. You went home, and changed your look. You ditched your beautiful full hair for human hair wigs, ridiculously expensive. Your skin lightened, but developed patchy spots like that of the guinea fowl. You wore long sleeved tops and switched off the lights at night so Seun wouldn’t tell the difference. He never left your side, until Rose came along. The surprising fact was that she was dark, and not so beautiful. One day, Seun came to say he was sorry. He didn’t want you to be in shock when the lawyer came with the papers. He wanted to move on, and so should you, Kosisochukwu. You did, eventually. Not into a new relationship, but away from the creams and into your art that you abandoned years ago. You sold out a million dollar painting last week, and Ginika has never been prouder. No one else knows the struggle behind the painting, “Bottom Pot.”

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