Pain Demands To Be Felt

Heartbreak, abuse, bondage, sacred temples violated

The suffering, rejection and loneliness planted

When you want to live your life backwards, drown in the misery

When you need the magic of a romantic fairy


She was 17 and he was younger, he promised to tell her by how much but he never woke up drunk on the right side of her bed. College sweethearts they were.Every time he wrote her a love letter (yes, a love letter), she felt reborn, brand new. They knew this was never going to end but then, the promises were broken before they were even made.

Whenever Alice visited Jade, the look his father gave told her he surely didn’t approve but they didn’t care about the approval of the geezer anyway. They were in love! ‘Shh…I’d kill you if you scream again’ said a husky voice in a whispered tone. Alice couldn’t see his face, her face was pressed hard against the ironing board while the beast behind her grunted away.

How did she get here? Jade had asked her to help fold his clothes while he went out to the pharmaceutical store nearby…It was the day they’d been waiting for, they had the house to themselves but there she was, in pain.  She knew Jade wasn’t this strong, he wasn’t this big,vile? By no means. This feeling wasn’t new, Alice grew up with an uncle who did this to her whenever he could until he left the country. ‘Alice!’ The sound of her name was the end to her torture or was it? Jade stood watching his dad pick up his trousers. This had to be the end of their perceived bliss, she couldn’t explain, he’d never understand. Four hours later, Alice sat on her bathroom floor letting the water from the shower trickle down her body while she slowly cut herself with a razor to see if she was still real

Stress, mental torment, despair, blood, sweat and tears

Condemnation, disappointment and failure are some of our fears

The inadequacy,privation, anguish and wretchedness

No feeling, no meaning. Emptiness

Those days of psychalgia, when the feelings got so intense that they physically ached. Ebele was a victim of social rejection, he could never fit in. He had a skin deficient in melanin, he was shorter, weaker and more timid than all the teenagers at his school.

He wore glasses from the age of four, stuttered and was often picked last for sports or not picked at all. Ebele would long to return home as soon as he got to school; home was the only place he felt accepted, the one place he was never ridiculed or picked on. Home was perfect until Ebele’s dad married a second wife – alcohol.

He’d lost his job 6 months before and had drowned his disappointments in bottles only to rescue them whenever he saw his wife; beating her was the only way he reminded himself that he was still a ‘man’. ‘I’m tired! Tired of being that boy’s step father’ Ebele’s dad yelled to his mom, pointing at Ebele before walking out the front door. That Saturday morning, Ebele was instructed by his mom to stay in his room and not come down no matter what he heard. The poor woman could always conceal her pain from her son but not today, his dad had exposed the secret of his paternity and stormed out! Ebele had been standing on the stairs watching what looked like his parents’ first last fight; he was never around whenever they tore at each other. Only one thing was certain to Ebele now, he didn’t belong anywhere, ‘I’d run away and never come back!’ he said to himself

Death by the Reapers scythe, out of Egypt but plagued by disease,

The slow groping of loss, grief and tragedies,

Suicidal thoughts, agony, cradle to the grave

All the blessings a wicked God gave


Ifunanya was 10, a child so immaculate she was almost named ‘9 months was too long’. ‘To infinity and beyond’ she’d say to papa. Of course her father would say it back, it had grown to be their salute, and something they’d grown to say after Ifunanya’s mom didn’t make it to the ground on some ill-fated flight years ago.

In those days, all her parents’ fights ended as soon as she walked into the room, stamped one foot on the ground and shouted ‘Nnem!’ with a straight face. She was always sure her mum was the cause of every fight…Papa was the bogeyman chaser, ergo could no wrong; but it was her face that actually ended those fights. Ifunanya was beautiful! She had charm, she was lachrymose, she was Snow White-looking, if she wasn’t an unrepentant vandal, she wouldn’t have been human. She was her father’s team! ‘Acute monoblastic leukaemia’ this devil of a doctor carefully pronounced as if he was trying to justify his medical degree with the word complication. ‘She was diagnosed late and I fear she might not make it, I’m really sorry’ the doctor added. Ifunanya had been suffering what her father thought was an ordinary fever that’ll pass away until the doctor came back with her test results. Doctor Charles was the real bogeyman after all. Ifunanya spent the next 11 days fighting, she’d promised to be her dad’s soldier the day before she was rushed to the ER. When she could finally open her eyes, her father was by her bed side of course, he’d been waiting to see her blue eyes again. ‘It’s so painful papa’…Her first words. Her father’s voice broke as he cried ‘don’t you dare leave me the way your mom did’. She smiled (she always did no matter what), rested her pale  right hand on his left cheek as her lips struggled to mutter the words ‘don’t cry papa, to infinity and


  • Image: courtesy FineArtAmerica

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