Of the many, many tragedies that taint my well-lived life, the one I probably regret with the most frequency is the fact that I don’t have a lot of pictures of my mother. I only have about two or three; not as much as five.
I don’t know; maybe it has to do with me not being much of a picture person. I’m the guy who disappears from groups when it’s time to take a picture. I don’t know; something about pictures just puts me off.
Maybe it’s the knowledge that I have to smile when I don’t feel like it (nothing personal; I usually don’t feel like it). Maybe it’s the idea that…oh, I don’t know. I just don’t like it. Whatever my reasons/excuses, they are why I don’t have a lot of pictures of her. As much as I loved to look at her; as beautiful as she was/is, it just didn’t occur to me to take more pictures of her. Despite being way into the smartphone age by the time of her untimely demise, I only have one picture of her taken with my phone. All the others are hardcopies.
It might not sound like a big deal, reading it like that, but think of the person you love most in the world. Think about the things you adore about them – like how they listen when you talk, how they hold your hand, how they call you for no reason, how their eyes light up when they see you, how they call your name – everything that makes them special to you; everything you know only comes in their package.
Now think about dealing with never seeing them again – literally.
Not that you don’t want to; unfortunately, the choice is moved out of your hands. They leave when you least expect it. They go without saying goodbye.
And what’s worse?
Not only do you have to deal with never understanding why what happened happened the way it did, you have nothing but your memories to remember them by. Not a keepsake, not a love note –
Not a picture.
And memory, even one as awesome as mine, is a frail thing. I remember thinking of my mother in terms of how she smelled, the smells I connect to my more pleasant memories of home, of growing up – coconut oil, Joy Soap and Imperial Lather. There was also one perfume – the name however eludes me now. I miss those smells – especially since coconut oil smells like plantain these days, Joy and Imperial Lather have forgotten where they came from, and home is an unfamiliar place.
If I could go back, apart from taking hundreds of photographs of this great woman, I would also make sure to record her voice. Common, one of the greatest rappers ever and one of my personal favorites, had his father frequently contribute to his albums till the man died in 2014. Imagine how comforting for him it would be; being able to touch a memory of his father whenever he felt a need to. I wish I could listen to my mother’s voice once again – but I still hear it in my head; as clear as a bell.
She’s just as warm as ever.
The physicality of my mother is preserved by a headstone, a few pictures and a letter that contains everything I need to know to live a fulfilled life. The most important things however; her spirit, her warmth, her gracefulness, her kindness – these are the things I will always have with me, the things that defined her essence.
And nothing can take those away from me.
PS: Remember those tragedies I spoke about?
They are the ink and blood that make the tapestry of an otherwise bland life colorful and interesting. They are the things that make me who I am, because no matter how tragic my circumstances have been, I always find a why to smile.
And that’s enough. I hope you get/got the message.
Oh, and one more thing:
Happy Birthday to Me.
Every chance I have, I try to spend with my little gremlin, who colors my life better than any combination of colors. So whenever she’s around, I take her to the movies, and of course we have conversations afterwards.
Here are a few of her thoughts on some of the movies this year:
Spiderman: Homecoming – ‘I really enjoyed the film. It’s nice…I understand the boy! I don’t get all your complaints…mommy was right! You’re old!’
Me: ‘Your mother thinks I’m old?’
Her: ‘Well, she said ‘your father is the cutest old man I know’.
Me: ‘Well. Banana fall on her!’
Of course, I didn’t say that out loud.
Read My Crash Review of Homecoming Here.
Guardians of the Galaxy 2: ‘If I was that one (Drax) I wouldn’t go around calling people ugly. Look at his mouth!’
Me: ‘Didn’t I say not to insult people?’
Her: ‘He started it!’
Me: ‘But he wasn’t talking to you…’
Her: ‘Didn’t you also say to fight for people who can’t fight for themselves?’
Read My Review of GoTG 2 Here.
Wonder Woman: ‘I like it. It was nice…but I like Hidden Figures better.’
Her: ‘Not all of us can jump around and fight like that, but all of us can think and change the world.’
Me: ‘That is the idea…to make people understand that you have choices. Some of us fight for others, some of us improve the world – as long as we’ll all doing something or the other.’
Her: ‘That’s true. (pause) We all have choices, abi? My choice is Hidden Figures sha.’
Review Coming Soon.
Logan: ‘Why are you crying, Daddy?’
Me: ‘Well…I wasn’t – (she frowns) well…it makes me miss you.’
After the movie
Her: ‘Daddy, if I leave mommy and come and live with you, will that make you stop crying?’
Me: *cries some more*
Read My Thoughts On Logan Here.
Of course, none of that happened. I don’t really have a daughter.
Hehehehehe! Have a great week!
I was going to say hi.
It was the perfect setup. Me; walking into a fast food spot to pickup some light snacks for when I write later tonight. You; sitting at a table, spooning ice cream between creamy lips and looking damn good doing it. You probably wouldn’t have noticed me; I wouldn’t have seen you – but the door swung open, caught your attention, and something about me held onto it.
And because of that, because you were staring, I saw you.
I would have said hi, for the brilliant smile you gave a complete stranger if nothing else. The kind of smile that makes a guy like me look over his shoulder, wondering who the lucky recipient of that kind smile is. And then, envy turns to disbelief, because he realizes the sun decided to come out and shine – just for him. The kind of smile that makes purposeful strides falter, because – this is not a Rihanna music video where everything is scripted to perfection; you are not the singer from Barbados looking for ‘love’, and I am not the doe-eyed six-packed sexy Don Juan who just walked in the club and caught your eye.
Hell, only last night Dami Ajayi was making fun of my belly.
I should have said hi. But I looked at you, and something about you reminded me of another time, another place, another someone whose smile was just as bright as yours; someone who only wanted to make friends. And I remembered how good intentions have a way of being shot to hell,
How it starts with love, and then EVERYTHING that can go wrong goes wrong.
So I turned away, hurried to the counter and did my purchase and damn near ran out of the joint –
Because I saw someone who reminded me of things best forgotten.
I was on a bus sometime ago, to watch Gal Gadot do her ‘Wonder Babe’ thing.
It was good day; rain fell earlier but it had stopped, leaving everywhere cool and mostly abandoned. I was sitting in front of the bus ferrying me to Yaba, listening to…I honestly don’t remember who I was listening to.
It was sha music, feel-good music.
I almost didn’t notice anything till the door beside me opened. That was when I realized we were at one bus stop like that. Before I could tell which; a pretty something shaped like a lady climbed into the bus and sat beside me.
I don’t talk to women I don’t know – usually. It’s a silent, unspoken rule I have – usually. So I was just going to admire her, do the usual ‘hmm and ha’ and mind my business –
UNTIL I SAW SHE WAS CARRYING A RIBENA BOTTLE.
Ladies and Gentleboys and Wobe Folk, have you heard the one about ‘good intentions’?
All thoughts of Gal Gadot and that leather skirt flew out of the driver’s window, along with the music – pretty much the bus sef. The only thing that still existed was me, her and that Ribena bottle.
Without thinking too much, I pulled my earphones off.
‘Excuse me. I just wanted to say that right up till you entered this bus, I always thought I was the only person above twenty who drank Ribena.”
She turned towards me, smiled blindingly and said, “Oh, don’t worry. You probably still are. You see, I just turned eighteen.”
Gentle people, I turned back to the windscreen and put my earphones back in. And allow me add; I did not look left or right till the bus arrived Sabo.
Yeah yeah. I know they say ‘age is nothing but a number, but it decides on what side of the numeric table you’re on. And frankly, who ‘minor’ epp na?
To which we say; we’ll be fine.
We will be, won’t we?
While we pick up the dust and ashes of failed dreams,
Romance and true love we killed on a whim,
In our youth, we danced and spun on fate’s wheeling wheels,
With wind in our sails we bent life to our will,
Will we or will we not forever live?
We will be fine; we say,
While forward! We march onto our graves.
We will be fine.
This Took Longer Than It Should Have. I Apologize.
Maybe it has to do with the type of comics I grew up with.
Maybe it was the idea that heroes stood for more than themselves; heroes were a voice for people who couldn’t speak.
Maybe it was the escape it offered such that; whenever I was having a bad day, I could just reach for a comic – and like that, I’m gone away like so much magic dust. Maybe it is the realization that comics; like X-Men for instance, showed me a world where people were feared and hated just because they are different. A world freakishly like the one I live in.
Maybe it was the fact that I learnt the difference between a phrase and a clause; thanks to an Incredible Hulk comic.
Whatever the reason, I am a proud comic book lover.
Long before DC started to drop box office bombs with the frequency of a radio broadcast, I was discussing with a number of friends and wondering what it would be like when these guys came on to the screen. As a result, we/I watched EVERY on-screen adaptation of comic books, just to see if they lived up to the image the owners have consistently created in our/my head(s) for years.
Usually, there’s stuff to complain about. Very few movies have nailed it down – even the most ‘critically acclaimed’ of these movies get a whole lot wrong. And even judging them on their own merit; at worst they created a hot, fudgy mess (Dawn of Justice, any of the CW series), at best they create amazing stories (Netflix Daredevil, Batman Begins and so on).
Logan is one of the latter moments.
There was cause for concern; obviously. The first two Wolverine films were (even now I am shaking my head as I write this) just something to pass the time. I doubt I saw either of them more than twice, definitely not up to five time collectively. There just wasn’t anything to see – apart from a train roof fight sequence from the second one. Nothing.
Then Hugh Jackman teased this:
I wrote a piece then, talking about how I suspected they were going to adapt the Old Man Logan storyline from the comics, or at least come pretty close. The biggest issue with adapting that would be the fact that it was a universe-wide event; even though it happened in a Wolverine story, it affected multiple characters; characters 20th Century Fox do not have rights to. I really wanted to see how they would play that.
I mean considering what they did with Civil War…
I saw Logan twice before attempting to put anything down about it, and this was the first and only post I made concerning that film:
I will not be writing a review of Logan – simply because I don’t have anything new to bring to the conversation. I will, however be writing a treatise on why it’s one of the most important superhero films ever made.
There was only one scene that made me unable to control the waterworks from my eyes; even though there was a girl I was trying to impress present.
No, it wasn’t the fact that Logan was dying; anybody who’s watched more than five movies should have seen that coming. People like Wolverine don’t get to retire peacefully. Their deaths have to be as violent as their lives (you’d understand better if you’ve seen Shane or actually listened to that part in the hotel room scene).
He had to die.
What made me cry; what shook me to my fibre was when the not-so-little little girl said, “Daddy…”
Forget that she was built in a lab. Forget that she’s killed more people than you’ve had orgasms (wellllllllllll). Forget that she’s a violent, half-animal, I-can-talk-but-would-rather-stay-mute-cos-that’s-way-cooler, murdering mutant. In that moment, she was just a child about to lose her father.
And that, is the type of pain no healing factor, no matter how heightened, can heal.
One of the pieces I read after the second viewing said ‘Logan is the Batman Begins of the Marvel Universe’ and I agree completely. What both films have in common is that they brought superheroes to our level. ‘Begins and Logan were not ‘superhero’ films, they were films that had a couple of superheroes in them. In other words, the story/plot/progression wasn’t based on superpowers, these are stories that could happen to anyone; the characters just happened to be heroes.
Take away Christian Bale’s costume and gadgets. Remove Logan and Laura’s claws and healing factors. Would we still have stories? Yes; with minor adjustments. For example, in Logan, we wouldn’t have Reavers chasing Laura and the other kids because they were mutants, they might just be child-traffickers trying to catch some runaway kids some high-end clientele have paid for. Bruce Wayne could just have been some guy who wants to clean his city, a well-trained martial artist. The crime had a human face; Falcone, even the ‘super villain’ Scarecrow was just an insane doctor.
Ordinary people in extra-ordinary circumstances. Just like you and me.
Logan is a fitting end to Jackman’s run as Wolverine; he has never been better and I doubt he can ever be. Patrick Stewart was at his telepathic finest even with his mind ravaged by Alzheimer’s (see the irony?) and the new girl, Laura aka X-23 was just…
In all the many, many mortalities in all the X Men films, none of them hit me like the death of Logan. Not because he’s my favorite X Man (well, till they find a perfect Gambit) but because it was human. This was not a superhero, mutant, claw-popping, accelerated healing factor rocking guy dying; this was just an old man who happened to have lived too long.
In fact, I was kinda happy for Logan.
Finally, he’s going to rest. I mean, he has the burden of outliving EVERYONE he’s ever cared about. He’s lost his one excuse for sticking around; Professor Xavier, so his life pretty much had no purpose from then on. Finally, this lonely and grumpy old man will have peace.
But, he had a daughter.
Someone who knows she was built in a lab finds out she has some kind of tie to humanity; she has a father. A father who denies paternity – but a father nonetheless. And when, just when he’s finally accepted she’s a part of him –
They kill him.
Even now, putting down these words that have been hovering in my head for almost two months, my eyes still smart. Finally, an X Men movie I can not only enjoy; but relate to. Themes of friendship, responsibility, purpose, destiny keep going on, over and over.
And then, when you consider I have a little girl of mine…
As far as I’m concerned, Logan is a movie that belongs in the ‘How To Make A Superhero Movie’ corner of libraries, film schools – and whoever else archives stuff like that. Me?
I’m just thankful I’m alive to see stuff like this.
Now, who has some tissue?
The thing about clichés is; they’re often true.
One very annoying thing; cliché if you will, people say when things go wrong is ‘it is well’.
Trust me; I know how annoying that shit is. Here I am, tearing my eyes up over the loss of someone who gave me life and gave my life meaning – and all your tired ass can say is ‘it is well.
Educate me, how the fuck is it well?!
I know how you feel.
I also know that, for the most part people who say that shit mean well. They just don’t know the proper way to say what they want to say.
Okay, how about we do it like this – what if instead of saying ‘it is well’ they said ‘and this too shall pass’?
Feel me now?
As different as both phrases look, essentially they’re saying the same thing – no matter what is happening to you, it will pass. One way or another, it will.
Think about it. Someone has just been diagnosed with Type A Cancer – the type that cannot be cured, fuck chemo. Their world comes crashing; they die before their due date.
Who can blame them?
However, this person is in a unique position; they possess a knowledge most of us will never have; they have an idea of when they’re going to die.
Do you have any idea how powerful that makes them? They can do things the rest of us are without fear of consequence; they have nothing to lose anymore. The worst has already happened.
Their fates are sealed. ‘And this too shall pass’.
Getting the picture? I’m not trying to make light of whatever anyone is going through; and sometimes, all we want is silence instead of lame attempts at consolation. However, reality is reality is probably the most subjective thing on this side of things –
It depends on how you look at it.
Everything that has a beginning has an end. If there’s any certainty, it is that. You’ve heard the one about ‘not living seriously because none of us are getting out alive’, right?
I remember something I shared in a conversation; ‘Death has been around the longest, yet we’re still not used to it’. An unfortunate truth – but true nonetheless. And if we know, death is certain, why don’t we spend each day living, knowing what we know?
Sometimes, I feel like this life – this entire existence is purposeless. Sometimes, I wonder why I’m here, why I don’t just take a cold drink of something hot and end the freaking thing. Sometimes I wonder…what exactly I’m here for.
Sometimes I can’t figure out what the next thing is. Funny, I know.
You know what though?
Those moments of doubts are just part of the whole process. I mean, to create anything there has to be moments of doubts, moments in which you question if it’s going to work or if you’re just wasting your time. How else do you get through times less that but by stiffening your spine, squaring your shoulders and telling yourself ‘it is well’?
I assure you – everything you’re worrying about or obsessing over will soon be over. Sooner OR later. Everything; including life itself, has an expiry date. We’re all just winding down. And since they say ‘today is the tomorrow you prayed/worked for yesterday’, does it not make sense to realize that – everything will; sooner or later become history?
No matter what it is, it’ll be over soon.
So – believe them when they say; ‘It Is Well’.
Because. It really is.