The call
Are you a budding Ugandan poet keen on improving the quality of your poems? Word Oven would like to edit your poems with you. 

What to do
Send a 20-line poem on any theme to wordovenug [at] gmail [dot]com with the subject line, Word Oven Poetry.

The catch

  • You'll learn how to be your first editor 
  • Your edited poem stands a chance of being published on our website and social media pages starting March 2018
  • The mentorship is free of charge

Submission guidelines

  • You can only send one poem at a time
  • You can only participate twice for the duration of the project 
  • Format your poem in Times New Roman, font size 12, single spacing. The poem should have a title. Include your name and contact
  • Send your poem as a Word attachment
  • Submissions with spelling errors will not be considered
  • Poets who have published a full-length poetry collection are not eligible to participate (in this round of mentorship)
  • Selected poets must be available for the online editing process
  • The mentorship can be withdraw if a selected poet doesn’t show commitment during the editing process

Submissions open on 28 February 2018 and close on 30 April 2018

Terms and conditions apply

 

 

 

By Mauryn Okunga

My phone rang before Christian put his down. I reached for it but couldn’t recognize the number. I picked the call, too late for Christian’s raised hand, telling me not to answer it.

“Leave my man alone, Maureen. Tonight’s meal might be the last you will have if you don’t leave him alone…”

Christian took the phone from me and ended the call.

I fought the urge to scream and pull out my hair. Even in my life as a hooker, there had never been a single day that a woman had called me with threats over a man. A few of my friends hadn’t been as lucky and that left the fear embedded deep in my heart. And yet here I was being threatened by someone who I assumed had become an ex-girlfriend more than four months ago.

“Maureen,” he said, reaching for my hands again. I pulled back.

“Please listen. I do not know how she got your number or how she even knew you and I were dating. But I have made it very clear to her several times that my relationship with her is over. I’m really sorry.”

Looking into his eyes, honest, pleading, I wanted to draw him into a long, warm hug despite my anger and pain. But I remained rooted in my chair. 

“I’m going home. I’ll see myself out,” I said, and rose.

“Baby, please…”

 Baby? That got me, but I couldn’t go back on my word.

 “We’ll talk in the morning.”

I could hardly recognize my voice. My body had been consumed by a level five storm and if I didn’t leave as fast as possible, I would break down. He sat down dejectedly and didn’t make a move to stop me. I picked my phone and walked out of the house while scrawling through my contact list for my boda guy’s number. 

I waited outside the gate for a while before he arrived.

It wasn’t until we’d reached my house that I remembered I’d left my handbag in Christian’s car with all my stuff, except the phone. Paying for the ride wasn’t a problem since I could easily do a mobile money transfer. I also had an extra key under one of my flower pots but my diary was in my handbag.

My diary!

***

Epilogue

It felt like eternity before Christian looked up and accepted that Maureen had walked out on him. It was harder than the time his ex-girlfriend cynically announced that she had aborted his child. Maureen loved him and he loved her. Well, she hadn’t told him she loves him but he knew she did.

He picked up his car keys to follow her. He dialled her phone number but her phone was switched off. He wasn’t sure she knew the neighbourhood well enough to leave alone. He couldn’t imagine how he would live with himself if anything happened to Maureen. On the co-driver’s seat was Maureen’s bag.

“Dear Lord, I hope she had money on her for a boda or something,” he prayed.

Opening her bag, her purse was there and a book.

He flipped a page, reasoning that there could be phone numbers jotted somewhere; a number belonging to someone close to her, someone who could help him win her back. She hardly talked about her friends or family. “Maybe I could get lucky,” he thought as he flipped another page and just then, a note caught his attention.

“Josh over dozed today and I thought his father would kill me! Why on earth did I get entangled with both father and son?”

He turned off the ignition, leaned back and closed his eyes.

***

Dear Reader, In Bits of Forever ends here. We are glad you read it with us. Look out for our next diary. 

Written by Mauryn Okunga

My phone rang before Christian put his down. I reached for it but couldn’t recognize the number. I picked the call, too late for Christian’s raised hand, telling me not to answer it.

“Leave my man alone, Maureen. Tonight’s meal might be the last you will have if you don’t leave him alone…”

Christian took the phone from me and ended the call.

I fought the urge to scream and pull out my hair. Even in my life as a hooker, there had never been a single day that a woman had called me with threats over a man. A few of my friends hadn’t been as lucky and that left the fear embedded deep in my heart. And yet here I was being threatened by someone who I assumed had become an ex-girlfriend more than four months ago.

“Maureen,” he said, reaching for my hands again. I pulled back.

“Please listen. I do not know how she got your number or how she even knew you and I were dating. But I have made it very clear to her several times that my relationship with her is over. I’m really sorry.”

Looking into his eyes, honest, pleading, I wanted to draw him into a long, warm hug despite my anger and pain. But I remained rooted in my chair. 

“I’m going home. I’ll see myself out,” I said, and rose.

“Baby, please…”

 Baby? That got me, but I couldn’t go back on my word.

 “We’ll talk in the morning.”

I could hardly recognize my voice. My body had been consumed by a level five storm and if I didn’t leave as fast as possible, I would break down. He sat down dejectedly and didn’t make a move to stop me. I picked my phone and walked out of the house while scrawling through my contact list for my boda guy’s number. 

I waited outside the gate for a while before he arrived.

It wasn’t until we’d reached my house that I remembered I’d left my handbag in Christian’s car with all my stuff, except the phone. Paying for the ride wasn’t a problem since I could easily do a mobile money transfer. I also had an extra key under one of my flower pots but my diary was in my handbag.

My diary!

***

Epilogue

It felt like eternity before Christian looked up and accepted that Maureen had walked out on him. It was harder than the time his ex-girlfriend cynically announced that she had aborted his child. Maureen loved him and he loved her. Well, she hadn’t told him she loves him but he knew she did.

He picked up his car keys to follow her. He dialled her phone number but her phone was switched off. He wasn’t sure she knew the neighbourhood well enough to leave alone. He couldn’t imagine how he would live with himself if anything happened to Maureen. On the co-driver’s seat was Maureen’s bag.

“Dear Lord, I hope she had money on her for a boda or something,” he prayed.

Opening her bag, her purse was there and a book.

He flipped a page, reasoning that there could be phone numbers jotted somewhere; a number belonging to someone close to her, someone who could help him win her back. She hardly talked about her friends or family. “Maybe I could get lucky,” he thought as he flipped another page and just then, a note caught his attention.

“Josh over dozed today and I thought his father would kill me! Why on earth did I get entangled with both father and son?”

He turned off the ignition, leaned back and closed his eyes.

***

Dear Reader, In Bits of Forever ends here. We are glad you read it with us. Look out for our next diary. 

Written by Mauryn Okunga

I had two days to change my mind about the dinner.

My anxiety grew by the hour and I hated it. Even when I counselled myself that the dinner would go on smoothly and there wouldn’t be any attempt by Christian to undress me, a louder voice kept saying I was lying to myself.

The writing is on the wall. It’s time up, girl! 

And then Friday came after what felt like a year. Christian kept passing by my office to peep and check if I was around. By 5pm, he was parked at the UT entrance, waiting for me.

“Maybe I should call the police and report a case of stalking,” I said once I’d buckled up in the passenger seat of the Harrier he’d recently acquired.

“Why would you do that?”

“Well, you’ve been on my case like a kidnapper.”

“I will plead guilty.”

“You would?”

“Yep. And I’ll ask police to jail us together.”

We laughed.

As we embarked on the ride to his house, words deserted us both. While it seemed we were lost in thought over the dinner date, the silence was awkward.

After 40 minutes, we drove off the main road and turned into a tarmacked one. There was no sign of public transport. I immediately thought about my boda guy and scrolled through my phone contact to be sure I hadn’t somehow deleted it. Christian reached for my hand and gave a reassuring press as if he’d read my mind.

The neighbourhood was the ‘leafy’ kind, with high fences and quiet, except for the occasional barking by guard dogs, or the chirps of birds and screams by playing children. At the house, Christian got out of the car and opened the gate while exchanging greetings with the man I later learned was the gateman.

I stopped myself from asking why he didn’t hoot so that the guy could open the gate for him. I reminded myself that this was Christian, the gentleman.

Once inside, he parked the car and ran to my side to open the door. As I made to alight, he told me to wait. He carried me from the car and gently placed me down as he opened the door. I was still stunned by the act when he carried me again to the living room. I had only seen things like those in movies. I never imagined the movie would become reality in my life.

Well, my mother used to say anything is possible under the sun, and as I smiled from my newfound bliss, Christian lightly brushed his lips on my cheeks before he walked into the bedroom.

I took advantage of his absence to calm my nerves with deep breaths. Looking around, it struck me that this was the house he’d recently moved in. His own house.  How could I have forgotten? I had seen and dated well off men before but I had never been with a man as humble as Christian. That humility was written on the walls of his house. Humility with a touch of class.

By the time Christian walked back into the living room, my excitement was under check. Much as my body craved to get a feel of him, my heart was not ready.  He proceeded to the kitchen and returned with a glass of orange juice.

“My sister made it. She’d just left when we got here,” he said.

Dinner too had been prepared by the sister. It was delicious, so much that I helped myself to a second serving of the main course. Then we carried dessert to the balcony where we would be playing chess. Maybe that would calm my nerves for an hour or so and by then, I would hide behind the excuse that it was late and I had to get home.

Three moves into the game, Christian confronted the elephant in the room.

 “I can feel that you feel what I am feeling but I would like you to know that I will wait for you until you are ready,” he started.

“Ehm! I don’t think I follow.”

“I want you in my bed,” he continued, taking my hands into his. “But only if you want to. I love you Maureen. We have not known each other for a long time but I know that I love you and one day if you say yes, I would like you to be the mother of my children. My wife...”

Just then, his phone rang. He paused and waited for it to stop ringing. As soon as it stopped, it rang again, and again.

“Please don’t call me again,” he calmly said to whoever was on the side of the phone and he hang up.

End

Dear reader, this is our second last installment from In Bits of Forever diary. We hope you have enjoyed it as much as we have. Don't miss the finale series next week. 

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