Bookbag Love Story
by Sinmisola Ogúnyinka
“Oh, my goodness, Cosmas! Call 911!”
I shivered at the thought. 911 meant law enforcement in our lives. Being an African immigrant had its disadvantages in more ways than I ever imagined. I hardly heard what many people said, and they couldn’t understand me most of the time. There were the polite ones who would apologize ahead, and the brutally honest ones who asked you where you originated from, more like which oven baked you? And then there were those who spoke slowly, in fairness just trying to get you to communicate, and ended up making you feel like a dimwit. Then the other group who acted like you were not different at all. Which was equally frustrating as noble as this sounded.
No way was I having 911 come into my life at this time, when I spoke words sparingly.
“No, Pearl. I’ll just take it back tomorrow and exchange it right back.” I shuddered. “I can’t believe it.” I paced. “I can’t even look.”
Pearl had turned quite pale. I’d never seen her shiver this much before. A woman I had come to admire and ready to protect with my life; someone who gave me a room to board when she knew little or nothing about me, based on a single reference from her old school mate. It tore my heart to see the pain on her face.
“I don’t know what it is, but it smells like someone took a life, burnt the flesh, and tucked it into your bag. This is criminal, Cosmas. I–we need to report this.”
I cried. “But how will I say it got there? I can’t never explain myself to the police. They would never believe me.”
“I can explain for you. You sit with a crazy nerd at work, and he swapped your bookbag and stuffed it with human or animal flesh. You know nothing about this.” She rocked on her heels gripping her middle. “I can’t believe this.”
This was getting so much at Pearl, it tore my heart. I pulled the bag gingerly closer and peaked into it.
“Ahhhgh! Pearl, please. They would never believe me.” I gaped. “You know the race thing. Matt is a stellar citizen and he’s from a classy family.”
Pearl swiped tears from her eyes. “This is going to be on my conscience forever, Cosmas. And what if this is murder we’re staring at.”
I couldn’t bear the distress I was putting her through anymore. I dipped my hand into the mess in my bookbag.
Pearl screamed. “You can’t touch it. You–listen, I know someone I can call. An old friend in law enforcement. They will handle this–what are you doing?”
“Crying?” I sniffed. My hand was out of the mess, and I was on one knee. “Pearl, it’s not anything criminal. It’s–a fool in love?”
“I made all of this up to get your attention. It’s burnt leather and doll hair.” I looked at her. “Will you marry me, Pearl?”
About the Author
Sinmisola Ogúnyinka is a pastor’s wife, mother, writer and movie producer. She has a university degree in Economics and is a Craftsman of Jerry B. Jenkins’ former Christian Writers’ Guild. Sinmi, as she is fondly called, blogs, teaches writing, and writes. She also has a day job in customer service. Sinmi lives with her family in Philadelphia, PA.
You can read Sinmisola’s flash fiction on the 4th Tuesday each month here at Pandora’s Box Gazette.