They told her tales far and wide…Mothers told their children, elders told their young ‘uns. Her stories were so beautifully crafted, and they all could relate. It was fiction, she made them understand in her books; everything she wrote was a figment of her imagination. But she didn’t tell them the whole truth, for every single day, when she set out, whether to take a stroll, or to make a purchase, she saw them… the characters in her story, they were everywhere; they were the young ‘uns playing a game of fetch, all happily oblivious to the tough world they were destined to grow up in. They were the middle aged housewives, looking disgruntled in the market…the ruthless youthful men, who carried out their businesses with a burning desire to succeed. She often wondered what drove their passion.

She saw beyond the smiling faces, she was not fooled by those who wore frowns to drive others away… She knew, that for every human, for everyone, there was a story…  a tale behind the masks, a reason for their actions…some people’s stories were even unbelievable, some were heart wrenching, some, inspirational.  She wanted to know why that young girl was climbing the corporate ladder with such fiery ambition, almost like she had a deadline… was it a deep seated fear of poverty? Was it passion? Or the desire to be more than her peers?… she wanted to know why that woman stayed in that emotionally abusive marriage for so long… could it be that she had another reason, other than the children that seemingly bound she and her unfaithful husband together? She was curious to know where they were all coming from, and what routes they took, to arrive where they presently were. She couldn’t jolly well ask them, for she was a stranger to them all, but to her, they were more.

So for each person that piqued her interest, she made a story. She wove a web, and intertwined their lives together. Each story was unique, each story was touching; each of her characters, represented one of them.

But the sweetest thing of all was that in each story, she was there… scenes of her life, of her as a child, of her as a young lady, of when she became a woman. Scenes of lessons she had learned…of feelings she had felt… of battles she fought… of her dreams, hopes, and experiences. She felt she could not tell them of them, without telling them of her, and so with each tale she wove, she gave them glimpses, of the storyteller’s memoir.

Mabel Olujie