Midweek Fix: Unwritten
The rain looked like jail bars would look to a prisoner. To the figure standing in the doorway; at least.
He stood there and stared at the impact points of millions of raindrops; the tarred yet uneven surface of Ukpabio Street. He watched as each slashing needle sped down and splattered in a million showers of diamond, wondering which one ended up in the gutter, which one ended against the wall, which one ended against one of the tires of the many vehicles racing up and down the street –
And which of them ended up against his shoes.
He regarded the shiny tips of said shoes; black Dr. Martens, Kiwi polish protecting the leather from wetness. The same couldn’t be said of the cuffs of his trousers, steadily becoming a darker shade of grey – different from the higher parts of it. He could easily have stepped further back into the shadow of the doorway and conveniently continued his perusal of the empty street – empty but for cars – but he refused,
He stood there and mentally scrolled through his options.
He had to go to work; there was quite a bit waiting on his desk for him, put there the previous evening by the smiling devil that was Ms. Adeniran. “These files have to go out tomorrow,” she said, moving her glasses up and down like wipers on a really large windshield; “so you better get to it before you leave.”
She delighted in making him miserable.
He had to go to work – but the rain did not look like it was going to let up anytime soon. He had called his cab guy earlier – the guy had said he was stuck in traffic somewhere on the island; a thousand miles away.
Suddenly there was a slight easing in the pit-pat singsong pattern of the rain hitting galvanized rooftops. Almost in the same moment, he spied Celestina; the landlord’s daughter from the opposite house run out from underneath the awning in front of her yet-to-open mother’s shop and into the street, waving at someone behind her – someone he couldn’t see.
He followed suit. Stepped out of the doorway and into the rain; and turned left.
Almost immediately he realized the folly of his actions. The rain hadn’t slowed down; in fact judging by the speed with which his azure shirt became like a second skin, it had picked up speed. Celestina had vanished. He almost couldn’t see in front of him; the jail bars had become concrete walls and –
He suddenly realized he was floating. Something had snatched his footing – or maybe the tarred street – from underneath him.
Before he could enjoy the feeling; however, the street rose and hit him with an unapologetic open-fisted smack. Everything became brightly hued and sharply colored – and then red-tinged grey started to cover his sight, starting from the edges of his vision.
He lay there, arms wide open; abandoning himself to the black chasm that yawned before his sight – the rain pushing fingers against his pain-contorted face denying him the opportunity. Sensation slowly returned; sensation in the form of a billion pain-points opening along his spine; up and down his back – and then to take permanent residence in the back of his head. He winced, tears of pain mixing with the tears from the sky adorning his cheeks.
Somewhere far away yet right next to him, a roaring was pushing through the Afropolitan Vibes going on in his skull – but before he could do more than hold his head, he was suddenly bathed in road water. Only then did he remember.
He was lying in the middle of the road.
He made to rise – pushing himself away from the floor with both hands – but then an earthquake suddenly began, shaking the length of Ukpabio street; only subsiding when he let go and fell back on the tarmac.
He closed his eyes. I’m so in trouble; he thought.
“Can you stand?”
What sort of question is that?
Probably because of the mush state of his brains, a retort wasn’t fast in coming. He opened his eyes –
And came face to face with the person who had spoken.
Celestina, the landlord’s daughter from the opposite house and the girl he had been nursing a crush for since the first time he saw her; the day after the day he moved into the house opposite her father’s.
I spent a moment wondering; what would have happened to that guy if he had turned right instead of left?
Probably a different story entirely.
But he had to make a move for a story to be told; no?
That is the long and short of what I want to share today.
We spend too much time thinking about the holes and the gaps and the spaces in between the lines. We spend so much time planning – it’s almost as if we take time to create a plan for the planning of the plan gangan.
There’s nothing wrong in planning; but when all the time is spent on planning and none is made towards executing; there’s a problem. A plan should not – is not – an end onto itself. The whole purpose of planning is to execute – is it not?
Make A Move.
One saying I’m so fond of is no battle plan survives first contact with the enemy. In other words, we can sit in our rooms and offices and planes and taxis and vehicles and so on and plan how to take over the world; but without actually doing something; taking a step or whatever, there’s absolutely no purpose to the plan; we won’t find out how effective it is.
They say genius is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration. No matter how world-changing that start up of yours is supposed to be – if you don’t actually get off your behind and make a move, that’s all it’s going to be. An idea. A plan.
I see parallels between life and art; like most everyone else. I happen to be fond of Temple Run – asides the truth that all you do in Temple Run is…
You guessed it. Run.
There are lots of twists and turns in the game. You turn – and next moment your character is falling screaming into an abyss – or maybe he falls into a stream that sweeps him/her away. Whatever.
I come to find that sometimes, I cannot help but wonder what would have happened if I’d turned left instead of the failed right turn I made.
I will never find out. But then I tell myself; I turned right; right? That’s all I need to concern myself with for now. Left could have been better or worse – or at the very least; different, but I turned right. My business is – should be – making the most of that right turn.
I view life like that.
Nothing is clear. Nothing is promised. The only certainty is that something is going to happen. Should that be enough to stop you – to stop me from living?
I didn’t think so.
You’ll never be 100% prepared. But you can start now; and grow as you go. You cannot build a reputation on something you plan to do!
I feel in love with a girl named Natasha Bedingfield – long before I heard that runaway single These Words. And then I heard that one, and then I heard another one – and my love was cemented.
There’s a particular song of hers; it shares titles with this post – and I would like to cite some of the lyrics – specifically the bridge/chorus:
Staring at the blank page before you
Open up the dirty window
Let the sun illuminate the words that you could not find
Reaching for something in the distance
So close you can almost taste it
Release your inhibitions
Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins
The rest is still unwritten
It doesn’t matter who you are or what you have. Start something. Go somewhere.
There’s a whole litany of words; a whole library of life waiting to be opened, waiting for the right person to pick up a blank book and begin to fill the empty pages with life. There are plenty plenty stories waiting just beyond the left/right turn, the next move…
Just don’t stay in one place planning all the time away.
The rest of your life; as at this exact moment is a blank page waiting for you to write on it. So go ahead. Take the pen of destiny, step out…
And begin to write your story. It really doesn’t matter where you are now.
The rest is still pretty much unwritten.