Thursday, 7 January 2016

The Thin Blood by Leonard Chukwuebuka Ibeh

His room smelt damp, like wet clothes folded and kept under a pillow for days. Ada wished he would open the windows, or at least put on the cobweb-infested ceiling fan that housed mean-looking spiders. At least, the little air would allow her some space to breath.

His mouth smelled like the gutter at the back of her house, and when he kissed her on the lips, she wished he didn't, she wished he would continue with kissing her neck and chest, she had already planned a decent scrubbing after this session. His hands on her skin were cold like ice-block, and rough like garri left overnight in the harmattan season. The too-strong smell of the perfume he wore filled her nostrils. This, coupled with his stale body odour that had proven stubborn to the perfume gave him a somewhat awkward smell,
almost nauseating.

He stopped for a while and shot her an accusing glance. "You're not responding". He said. She stiffled the irritated sigh that nearly escaped her lips.'You're not responding'. Who would believe that James would ever say such a thing to her? James, who used to kneel down to beg her for her number, who used to take her insults and rebuke with that strange endurance that puzzled her. And here he was, saying, 'You're not
responding' to her.

It was this, this wickedness of fate that had led her into this. Who would believe she was here, almost naked, standing with her back to the window while James was licking her body, with animal-like passion. His firm grip on her lower back sickened her, as did the way he kept licking her body in the disgusting manner Jack, the dog in her street that had no owner used to do to the children in her street.

When he finally undid her bra and moaned at the feel of her breast against his cheek, she felt her heart splitting, and when he said, "You're so hot" to her, she memorized the voice because she would always remember this day. It was the same voice he had used when he told her "Your mother is very sick, close to death. And here you are, denying her the right to life. The doctor said her drugs cost ten thousand naira, and I am offering you five thousand naira. Won't you take the money at hand and simply do what I ask? You're not a good daughter". That speech had earned him a slap and a serious warning from her, coupled with the threat to report him to the village head. And yet here she was, two weeks later, in this his dimly lit room, enduring the smell of damp and body-odour, stiffling the sigh, pushing back the vomit.

When he unzipped her skirt, she covered her face with her hands because she did not want to look at him, did not want to see the sneer that would certainly be on his face. That mocking smile. After all this years of snubbing him, of mocking him, joining her friends to call him 'mkpi', he-goat, because he smelled like one. It was that odour that oozed out of him that made him perculiar. How would she know that just two weeks after she had slapped him for asking her out, and she would be in his room listening to his excited moans?.

The thrusting was swift, nothing like she had expected. What she felt, at first was shock, not pain. It was after he jerked away and withdrew, breathing heavily that she discovered he had not used any protection.

She pretended not to notice the smile on his face. She focused instead on the bright red stain on the bed, spread evenly, and it filled her with an acute pain to think that she would never get back that
blood, that virginity.

"I promised to give you five thousand. But, you proved to be a good receiver". He said. When he winked, she wished she could reach out and slap him hard that his rotten teeth would spill on the floor. "I'll give you seven thousand, and if you want more, you could hook up with Usman, Mr. Jerome's gateman. Just a few sessions and your mother is out of the clinic". He snapped his fingers to indicate how quickly that could be done.

She reached out for her clothes with pain-staking slowness, her whole being suffused with a faint sorrow. Here she was, with James, already visualising another round with Usman.

James held out the rumpled notes to her and she stared at the money in his hand for long. This coloured paper had made her loose her blood, that thin blood she had kept for her future husband. She had betrayed herself enough by allowing James break her blood, she would not betray herself any longer by taking the money that caused her to lose that blood.

She turned to go, ignoring James' open-mouthed surprise, ignoring the fact that her bra was not knotted, and her skirt was not well zipped. Ignoring the fact that mama was in the hospital and needed the money. She opened the door and walked out of the room, walking quickly until she could no longer smell the damp of his room. She would not cry. It was stupid to cry. She would go to Usman, and she would take his money. She had no blood to lose.


  1. Nice story line.
    Ada didn't act right sha. After deciding not to take the money James gave to her becos u suddenly became ashamed of d act she committed, now decises to go to Usmas to still commit d same act still in exchange for money although this time she would have sex with him not been a virgin as d case of James.
    To me it doesn't really make any difference. If she is truly sorry for what she did, she need not to still go and have sex in exchange for money

  2. A bitter story.. what I feel at the end is her loss of her sense of self, she has been manipulated and used and robbed--the loss of that "thin blood" has broken her self respect, her integrity, so that she feels so devalued she has nothing left to lose--it is all already gone. A sad and bitter ending.