BALANCE TO LIFE – By Chukwudi Raphaelmary

I stood on the balcony of the topmost floor of our four-storey building on an autumn Saturday morning.

It was few minutes past the hour of ten. Breakfast had been eaten and house chores done. Boredom coupled with the fatigue of a heavy morning meal drove me to the corridor facing the outskirt of the town where I fed my eyes with the astonishing view of the community.

I looked yonder and saw the beautiful green hills, the buzzing market where sellers and buyers exchange more than just wares. I saw the birds flying freely in the sky, making sweet soft coos of pleasure and I felt like joining their echelon. My mind wandered towards Luke my crush and I imagined us flying freely like the birds not in group but in pair and cutting swift arcs of love in the sky.

Then I heard it.

It first came like a whisper, so subtle like the breeze that I almost didn’t notice it if not for my keen ears. I look back to the door to detect where the call was coming from but nothing. There was no one around except me. I continued my fantasy and blamed the heavy meal for making me imagine things that are not there.

Then it came again though a bit louder as if to assure of the first. I knew this time that it was no imagination of mine. I entered the sitting room and met no one. I became frightened as I recalled the numerous fairy tales mother tells us about ghosts and haunted houses during the full moon. I searched under the cushion, behind the shelves, under the table, behind doors and everywhere but nothing.

Storried Balance To Life

“Who would be calling me?” I wondered.
“Ghosts don’t exist,” I assured myself.
After some few minutes, I decided to be brave.
“Did anyone call me?” I asked no one in particular.


“Who is there?”


Laughing, I spanked my butt and re-blame the fufu breakfast for making me drowsy.
The call this time was authoritative and fatherly.
“Father?” I answered, a bit surprised.
“Why didn’t you answer my initial calls?” he queried.
“I didn’t know you were the one calling.”
“Now jump down and meet me!” he ordered.
“But father, how can I jump?” I asked, “It’s more than 150 feet below.”
“Can a father mislead his daughter?” he asked, a bit slighted for the mistrust.
“No, but father…”
“Then jump!”
I slowly prepared to mount the banister and went as far as crossing my left leg, I then remembered that father had left for farm since 7 am and has not yet returned.
“No, you are not my father!” I stated, “My father went to the farm.”
“Silly! Whoever said I was your father,” it mocked.
“I’m your father’s other half, made one in marriage, I am your mother.”
“Now bring the melon I asked you to peel!” she commanded.
“Oh, mother!” I cried.
“I was going to peel them after washing the dishes, hoping to finish up before you return from the market,” I defended.
“But when did you come back, mother?” I asked, confused.


Then the voice changed, I heard the voice of Nene, my little sister.
“Sarah, I’m hungry,” she pleaded, almost crying.
“But you just ate breakfast,” I reminded her.
“Yes but I’m hungry, the food was not enough.”
In that instant, rumblings from the house rattled me as I ran inside and saw my little sister mumbling in her sleep soundly.
Furious, I went out to the balcony again gassing out purple fumes of irritation and red at the level of meddling.
“Who really are you?” I shouted.
“You don’t remember me?” It replied softly.
“Chinwe!” I exclaimed, “Why are you playing pranks on me, you naughty girl?”
She cackled softly.
“I came with the pear,” she stated, trying to entice me.
“Please come down let’s go and play,” she begged.
I recalled that Chinwe never loved playing and will always demand a gift from me before she plays with me.
“Why are you so eager to play today? I asked her.
“Nothing,” she lied, “I was so bored staying at home with my mother.”
“Your mother? But she died two years ago,” I remembered sorrowfully.




“God I’m hallucinating.”
“Foolish girl! Is not enough you mistake me for your ignorant parents, you also see me as your dirty playmate.”
I remembered that voice, the cracking of whip and the ringing of loud wails from defaulting students
“Si–r Jo—si—ah!” I stammered, frightened.
“You have been very naughty these days!” He barked.
“Now come down and receive your punishment!” he commanded.
“But where are you sir?”
“Are your ears as bad as your eyes? If you can’t see me, can’t you hear my voice?”
I made to jump as we were all afraid of Sir Josiah in school but I remembered that sir Josiah couldn’t have come to my house on a Saturday morning.
“No sir!” I responded, “This isn’t you.”
“Very well, am coming up then!” he exploded with annoyance.
“Then I await you sire.”
But he neither came up nor issued any punishment and everywhere was silent like in the beginning of the world until my pastor’s voice sounded gloriously.
“You have proven faithful Sarah,” he praised me.
“You have shown courage beyond expectation,” he continued.
“You are now fit to wear the crown of glory.”
“Finally!” I exhaled, “It was all a test pastor?”
“Yes!” he replied, “If only you would come down and get the crown.”
“Can’t I make use of the staircase?” I asked, “Is safer that way.”
“No! You have to be faithful to the very end,” he encouraged.
But I wasn’t convinced. “God will never want me to fall to my death,” I said to myself.
But the pastor never uttered any sound as the wind changed its course and whistled sweetly to my ears
The tone this time was so different. It was the voice I had always wanted to hear.
It called again affectionately and full of something I have never experienced before.
It was Luke’s voice.
“Chinwe told me about your crush on me and I have spent nights rehearsing how to ask you out,” he said to my amazement and satisfaction.
Luke has been the object of my fantasy, the centre point of my daydreams and whose name keeps escaping my lips during my wild dreams.

There was no escaping it this time. He was there, waiting and watching, inviting me for a kiss, his physique like that of a Roman god. He promised eternal love and other crazy things he would do to me in private. He spoke of how miserable he had been ever since he learnt of my love and had been unable to express it himself, he asked for nothing in return but my consent.

Before I could stop myself and see reason, I floated towards the banisters and glided gently downwards towards him but I felt like I was swimming in honey. I added speed and flew down to meet his full lips that will kiss away my sorrows before he changes his mind. Who won’t grab her desire when offered on a platter of gold?

But as I almost got to him, to his luscious yummy lips, I saw myself hurtling down from our house to meet not Luke but the unyielding merciless floor of our compound tarred ruggedly with stones and gravels.

“Who really are you?” I asked with tears in my eyes as I met the hard floor.

“I am death,” he cackled, “The balance to life.”


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By Chukwudi Raphaelmary

I stood on the balcony of the topmost floor of our four-storey building on an autumn Saturday morning.

It was few minutes past the hour of ten. Breakfast had


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