Tonight’s post is another Pepper Soup excerpt from a very talented poet and writer – Adanna Adeleke (that’s a writer’s name, right there).
I met Adanna at the Farafina Workshop in 2013 and I fell in love with her writing. Everything she writes is evocative, and her work always leaves you with at least one line burnt into your soul. In A Handful of Dust, that line for me was Lagos broke you months before mama died. Lagos tore you apart that warm afternoon…
In Pepper Soup, it’s I am finally becoming.
Even Adebola Rayo in the foreword of Pepper Soup said, “I found myself in some of these women, especially in little Adetutu in ‘Playing Pretend’ by Adanna Adeleke. In this story, a little girl is struggling with her identity in the background while family drama plays in the foreground. It’s a familiar feeling, this struggling with self, even in adulthood, even as work and life play in the foreground“.
Dear readers, I present to you Playing Pretend by Adanna Adeleke (an excerpt)
This time I am sitting at the back of class. This time I am hiding. I am sitting at the back of the class, sharing a desk with Anthony who smells like old socks. I am hiding and holding my breath like I do with Mummy under water, counting to 10, but this time I am watching Miss Agoro’s big white clock, waiting for the long hand to reach the big black 12.
Jumoke turns back to look at me and gives me that screw face. Soon Joke and Shade join her, even Ify too, screwing their faces and sticking out their tongues like snakes, like Medusa’s snakes.
Jumoke walks to the back where I am sitting and starts to laugh. She is seriously laughing, throwing her Medusa hair back like she’s in some movie. Then she says, ‘You and Anthony fit.’ Soon everyone is laughing except me and Anthony. Anthony looks down at his shoes. His daddy is the school’s gateman. My daddy is a civil servant. Anthony’s daddy is poor. Poor is dirty and hungry.