Fiction: The Blows I Do Not Know

March 3, 2017 Fiction , POETRY / FICTION


Obaji-Nwali Shegun




The Blows I Do Not Know



I know blows and their colors. They are half-crescents, half-circles or short lozenges. They have frames of fat lines. The lines run and cave in, rise and run, cave in, rise and run, cave in, rise and run just like that to shapes of fists of the fingers. The lines have colors fading by stages to void. This order, green freckles in coal-black red, pale-black then perches of brown then perfect skin if you have efficient bleaching pomades- skinlight, carolight, peauclaire, iron cleanser, aloevera complex, mega zapper.

Intrepidly, I’d tell you I know blows. When I see them I’d tell you needing no necromancer, and would bet my life on any bruise I call blows. I grow with blows or blows grow me or without blows I wouldn’t have grown to this twelve. Or I would have but overly rambunctious. I know blows until I become an ardent crusader of well-flung blows. So know blows until they want me to display them to the world. To teach the world about them. I know blows I claimed the wrestlers and boxers on TV are so inept. I know blows I teach fathers; clutch it tight, roll it, throw it, turn it then one more time, again, again and again. I know blows I crowned myself the lord of blows. So know blows I broke our TV. So know blows they are softer than water when my father ranged plethora of them on my cheeks and nose for cleaving the window to the world. I know blows I laugh when they make you weep and twitch your legs. I know blows I draw the shapes and temporal colors on the walls of our house, the gate of our schools and on the back of latecomers in the school. So know it’s a nice cool pizza I redrew them on the face of the father of a student who barked once for the shapes on his son’s face.

I know blows I know they’d only make you stagger then stand, fall then rise. Go to hospital and come back. I know they shape things and color things. I know they dissect and fix what they attack. I know they build and not loot even when everyone claimed they are nightmares. I know blows and their temporal colors for religiously father draws them on my mother’s face.

But I did not know the two my father drew on my mother’s face this morning.

They did not show their shapes and colors. Those duo I know so well. How they come and vanished only to appear and still vanish. The twin my father gave my mother this morning seem to come from a depraved iron wonderland and my father too seem to be confused for as we stagger into Huffin Road of Health for Cyprus clinic with my mother’s still body he is humming I only did it as usual. The same fist and the same fling. These blows are different and awesome. They depressed my mother’s face, they swallowed the bones in her skin yet they did not show their shapes and colors.

I pinch myself hard as fine nurses just shipped to the new hospital from Bulawayo Zimbabwe hurtle to us and collect my mother by a blue stretcher into an emergency room. I pinched myself for my stupidity. Where were my eyes when the rare blows ran off my father’s fists? I blame myself for recapping my father on the walls behind him in our rooms, mocking my mother’s cries. Calling her a weakling and never watched his fists until the grenades loosened.

As my father knocks his own head and paces round the waiting room I admire his fist and vividly stare at them to see if the blows drooped from transformed hands. The hands are the same, tawny with flexes of wiry veins.

A professor said in an interview on our TV you must know everything about a field before you claim to know it. And before you claim to know a given matter you’d have faced and experienced it religiously firsthand. If I claim to know blows having received much of it on my body from my father and watched thousands poured on my mother and claim to know it in and out I ought not to be ignorant of where the one that broke my mother’s bone came from. I’ve not actually known blows and because it’s always been a burning urge to know blows in and out and touches my father’s fists, they are still clenched like he still has more to pour on the poor woman as soon as she’s out of the coma.

My father knows I’ve been teaching everyone the way to blow and telling people he’s the one teaching me the rudiments of blows on his wife’s face. He warned me to stop spoiling him outside. And I’ve told him to stop using blows in our house, that the more I see his blows the more I’m fascinated by them. He looked at me and offered me two and said he blow my mother because she goes out. I don’t know what it means to go out. I asked my mother what it means to go out. She told me my father was listening to people. And people are telling him am sleeping with people’s husband.

My mother told me my father is a liar when I asked her if she actually sleeps with people’s husband and added that a bad husband always assumes his wife is bad. She told me she had been told by Goga, that’s auntie Morua that my father is having an affair with his boss. She told me my father had been accused by many people of fucking around and because I pretended I was deaf and never pressed him to sleep with me for the lack of interest of that desire that comes with longing that set sex hormones on fire, the longing his illegitimate sexual escapades never allowed to thrive he thought am sleeping around or going out.

This morning, my mother and I were eating when Banker father ran in. He did not listen to our greetings, or he did, but refused to return them. He dropped his briefcase in his study, removed his suite and met my mother on the way. He said a source that would never lie told him she’s been fornicating with Mafa, his older brother. He grabbed my mother’s neck and drew the fat shape and color I know on her face. He waved me back with one as I stepped forward, and as usual I learned his blows behind him laughing at my shadow on the wall.

None of my father’s blows have for once silenced my mother. She’s been blown until she’s used to blows. Once her forehead struck the kitchen cubicle because she was thinking of running away. She did not mind, she did not rub at it. I loved that, that the blows give us heart too. When father yelled ‘honey stand up’ some fire seemed to ravage a part of my skull. My mother lied on the floor, some white fluids fuming in her mouth. It’s never happened. The hardest blow roll my mother on the floor and she still stands up.

The blow is different. These are blows I do not.

As I  aress my father’s fist hoping to imbibe the impressive cryptic blow’s soul in mine a black doctor taps my father, nods his head and says we lost her. My father says nothing. He snatches his fist out of my hand before the blows transit down my marrow.










Obaji-Nwali Shegun

Obaji-Nwali Shegun, who once beared celestine chimumunefenwuanya has been published in Tuck Magazine, Jungle Jim, Kalahri Review, Transition Ed and Horizon with stories forthcoming in the second issue of Ebedi review. He blogs at


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