Sulking by Morenike Singerr


Sulking has always hurt me, causing considerable pains in my throat and around my forehead. I have never remembered to ask anyone if they feel the same things when they sulk. But then I have always seemed to have the weirdest symptoms in my family anyway. Like, no one else I know has tummy pains when they eat their first meal of the day. No one else has to swirl drinks in their mouth to really “taste” them before swallowing. No one else likes thick fruit juices like mango or guava.

My earliest memories of sulking seem to be of Sunday evenings as a six or seven-year-old, after weaving my hair in preparation for school on Mondays. Maybe Mum would yell at me for something. Or my already irritable self was further frustrated about going back to school the next day. Perhaps the weaving would be too tight to let me enjoy a good cry and constrict the pain. Then all of it would lump in my throat and hurt so bad and make me frown and “hate the world”, and that would make my forehead hurt.

I was about 12 years old when I learnt how to channel the pain of sulking away and it was Mum who pointed this out. She had yelled at me for something I had done. A few minutes later, with my painful throat, I remembered that there was watering of the garden to be done and got to it. I walked back into the house in high spirits after folding away the hose, bereft of throat and head ache and then she commended me. She said I was grown up; I was all ready. “Just look…” how I had translated the “Sulk Energy” into something useful. Thus, I learnt how to do that. Chores help to take that lump away when I can’t sob. That’s my license to think, “I’m all grown up now”.

It helped at work at 20-something years old when my witch of a boss descended upon me in an eerie about face from being my best friend. She quickly re-arranged my schedule from high-powered meetings to paperwork in order to “put me in my place”. So, I turned to filing and re-filing documents whilst humming praise worship songs, to the amusement of my colleagues. It was a hilarious sight, from a distance, that is. Smart suit, high-heels, red lips and nails, hauling and dusting files, whilst humming Halelluyahs.

Sometimes, when the filing didn’t help my painful throat, I tried the occasional weeping in the store room among cartons of provisions. And then some praying with my younger colleague who almost always found me. Poor Zuxyde was saddled with trying to be chirpy all the time in a bid to bring back the old “team love”. She would often discover me wiping the water away from my cheeks but never the redness from my eyes and seldom the pain of the sulking from my throat.

I would emerge from the room and resume filing away, indexing and editing the prior year’s paper work.

That’s being grown up right? Growing up sucks. I feel the lump again.

4 responses »

  1. i get u all through and you are not the only one who feels the pain in the throat when sulkin. the thing about the boss -well said.

    very nice piece there.

    i actually did make an ugly face about the juices … really? mango and guava?

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