Remember me (XII)- Short story

This story is just unfolding

Chapter 12

The Beach bottle

Tara stopped using her medication the week after she left the wellness centre. She found the cocktail of pills irritating and could barely swallow the tablets even after she drowned them in bottled water.

She hated the after-taste because it was somewhat bitter, but that wasn’t the worst of it. The drugs made her slow, docile, lethargic, and sometimes fatigued, impairing her sense of judgement.

Ann had warned her about skipping the medication and made her promise to take them every morning and evening as prescribed.

In anticipation of her discharge, her father had done a fantastic job getting her apartment thoroughly cleaned and neatly arranged. He had engaged her aunt and a few hired hands to remove objects that could trigger her sad memories. The cloths Levi left behind at her place and a few beddings were stashed in disused laundry baskets away from her view.

They were also kind enough to stock her kitchen with foodstuff enough to last her for weeks. She liked the idea of cooking , but the very act brought back tons of memories from her immediate past that she would rather leave behind.

Each day she watched the bunch of plantain transit from unripe green to dark brown and finally rot away in its black skin. The yam tubers heaped on each other soon dried up as though life had been sucked out of them.

That Wednesday afternoon at the beach front was the sixth day since she stopped her medication. She loved how strength returned to her muscles and how her countenance and mood improved since then.

The beach stretched out alongside the water and upon the primrose sand, the hue as gentle on the eye as a vintage photograph, but therein was a steady warmth from the grains that calmed Tara’s nerves.

“Why would anyone take those pills if they simply made one a sitting duck and zombie?”

She enjoyed the salty air and the chance to bask in the afternoon glow of the sun. She loved the feel of sinking her bare feet into the beach sand until the grains separated her small toes. Nothing could beat the clean air that the beach offered in return for her time.

She picked up a copy of Back From the Brink, a psychological thriller that distracted her enough from her worries as she sat under the shade of the beach umbrella listening to the waves crashing at her feet, replacing the warmth with steel coldness if only for a moment.

It was in that quiet moment that she first discovered a second voice; her inner voice. It sounded just like her but with a hint of control. The voice jumped into her thoughts at will to converse with her.

Sometimes she liked the conversations, other times it was a struggled to shut her out. She christened her Bella.

What a lovely afternoon to daydream Tara. Whatever you do, please do not even think about him.”

Tara chuckled out loud.

“You do know he is always in my head. Stuck up in there like caked plaster on a wall. How do I even shake him off without bits of me crumbling with him?”

I know its difficult, but you have been through the worst of it.

“He raided my heart as if it were his emotional piggybank, then smashed it with rage when he was all done.” Tara hissed.

Tara continued to flip the pages of her novel, her eyes darting through the lines desperate for distraction.

Where is that address again? The one you wrote into that piece of paper you tore from your novel. Do you think its about time to find the place?” Bella suggested.

Its boring here.” 

Tara suddenly turned around to look for the bottle she had brought with her to the beach. She lowered her her right hand by the side of the beach chair in the hope of grazing the cold glass bottle, but her fingers came up short.

When she looked down, she soon realized that the bottle was no longer by her side. She initially panicked but soon found the bottle floating in the waves as it bobbed up and down reflecting a streak of light into her eyes from the seawater.

“Oh dear!” That was her prized asset, the most important thing she ever owned.

Go get it quickly.” Bella hastened her.


Tara found the bottle carefully concealed in her father’s room when she was a teenager. It was during the long breaks from secondary school and the period that the army barracks got only three hours’ worth of public electricity supply once in two days.

She waited until the sirens rang out, precisely at the same time that the bulbs in the house flickered on as public power was restored, before fetching the electric iron to press all the cloths that had been laundered the whole week.

It was an important chore for Tara to wash and neatly press all the cloths in the laundry basket before her father returned from his military posting. His visits were becoming quite frequent unlike the years before and his intolerance for laziness was uncompromising.

Tara had been at the receiving end of his vitriol many times and had learned to make the most of the restored power when she was at home.

It was hard work and it left her exhausted and so bored that she found nothing else of interest in the house when the power returned.

As she returned the freshly pressed and folded agbada to her father’s room that day, she spent more time rummaging through a few of the dusty boxes that were stacked on top of the wooden wardrobe than the previous times when she was in his room.

She always wondered what her father kept in those boxes. She once found several rolls of now-expired condom packs in one, and in another she found several old phonograph music records, all still in pristine condition. She would spend time reading the information on the artist, or the music tracks while admiring the fancy dresses the foreign female artist wore in the mock-up images.

In one of the boxes that she hadn’t checked before, she found the bottle neatly concealed in a formerly white, but now cream-colored local piece of cloth and underneath heaps of slowly crumbling paper.

Her curiosity was piqued by its careful and painstaking disguise. It looked like it wasn’t intended to be found, at least not by her.

The crumbling papers were outdated documents that had her mother’s name on several certificates including a bulky thesis amongst the pile.

The bottle looked harmless and slightly heavy. She eased it from her right hand to the left. Weighing and sizing it with both hands before tracing the bottle with her fingers. She turned the bottle on its head looking for inscriptions that could give any hint. She found none.

There was something inside. The amber color of the bottle made it quite difficult to notice. But when she put the bottle up against the light in the room, she could see the outline of several cleverly rolled pieces of paper and what looked like a lot of dried leaves and a coin. She shook the bottle to listen to the sound, but the coin tossed around the paper and made no clinking sound.

“Interesting. A coin.” She murmured.

She fiddled with the cork as she tried to force it into the bottle with her thumb without success. Her thumb hurt. That was when she fetched a corkscrew from the makeshift wine cellar in the kitchen to open the bottle.

It took some effort, but it wasn’t long before she broke some sweat.

She tried to sniff the contents by taking pockets of air into her nostrils. It had a stale and moldy smell that suggested that it had probably been sitting in the travel box without any air for a little too long.

On close inspection, one of the rolled-up piece of paper had an inscription that hadn’t faded, and it was in English.

Cocking her head slightly as though listening to the inscription rather than reading it, she soon realized it was an address.

No 17 Lawal Adeleke Street”

She would have to ask her dad about the address. “Was this the address to the home her mother lived?”

She knew very little about her mother and that day, the box had suddenly become the most important possession that she owned, after the old passport photograph of her mother that she carried about wherever she went.


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9 thoughts on “Remember me (XII)- Short story”

  1. The intrigue with this story is like reading a book from end towards the beginning. I can recall the story started with Tara picking a bottle from the beach side and now here we are.
    It is really a story of fate and destiny.

    Great write up

  2. After reading this chapter, I stood still for about a minute trying to figure out what’s going on. It looks like Tara’s hallucinations/sub conscious behaviors may have led her to solving the mystery surrounding her own life.
    Nice work, Akin!

  3. Tara will definitely uncover a misery that’ll shock us all…..
    I can’t wait to get back into this ending

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