Short Story: Abiku by Jumoke Verissimo

This short story was written by a writer from Lagos, Jumoke Verissimo, who the poetry book I Am Memory under her belt. Abiku is about a previous schoolteacher, Anu, who is pregnant and without a job. She and her de facto husband (Anu became pregnant before marriage), Akin, who no longer has a stable salary, struggle to make ends meet during the economic crisis within Nigeria. To make matters worse, Akin’s brothers constantly come over to their small one-bedroom apartment, burdening Anu with their dirty laundry and their sexual stints with girls. Sick of the monotonous tasks, the neighbors’ racket (Verissimo references their watching of Nollywood films and the characters’ loud, exaggerated performances), and her husband’s constant absence, she falls into a deep sleep where she encounters an alternate life she had dreamed of with Akin. She sees a perfect house and a perfect husband, “Prince,” but is told she is doomed to come back and forth between this world and the real world until “the moment comes.” She is woken up to the violent shouts of people in a power outage, and her refusal to come to terms with her life ends up with a decision to make her “moment” come. I won’t spoil the ending, but I found out that the word “abiku” is a Yoruba word meaning “predestined to death.” I think you can figure it out from there.

Check it out here:

The concept of abiku:


Posted on December 1, 2014, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Short Story: Abiku by Jumoke Verissimo.

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