Aisha Oredola is a Creative Writer and Public Health Practitioner. Regardless of her passion for health, she dives into Literature. Her works are published in Literandra, The African Writers Review, Bad Form Review, Kalahari Review, Freedom Magazine and Elsewhere. She was longlisted for the Collins Elesiro Prize in 2019 and won the Panacea Short Story and Essay Contest in 2020.
What Survival Feels Like
An anklet circles my ankles; heavy like an anchor, pulling my feet as I raise them in a bid to move.
One night, my friend's fingers let go of the thin strings she used to hold on to.
It was one slip, one release.
And a quick shut of her eyes
But she opened them days after
and I know my anklet can be unclasped if I defeat its weight
There's a hungry fear rampaging my bones
I think I've got this then I think I haven't
It expands, contracting my lungs
There are walkways I've trudged
With no one next to me
And my legs have covered wide lengths
They keep walking, carrying me ahead
There are stubborn voices that whisper words thickened with courage
'Aisha, you've to see the end. Aisha, you've to survive'
I hear them.
Just that on many days survival feels like inhaling toxic air and claiming to breathe fine
What if my fingers slip, release the only rope I hold?
Will my eyes shut like my friend's?
Will they open again like hers?
But I quiet the malicious whisperings I've fed in my mind
If there's war, a thing like peace too exists
And survival can also feel like being a sailor on an angry sea
And sailing still, envisaging the shore. Its dryness. Its tranquil feel.