I hate Facebook
That memory thing puts wrinkles on my face look
Making me remember things I’d just rather forget too
Crushing my shoulders
With guilt built like boulders
I’ll exchange my thoughts for a shot at retribution
Payback at my mistakes
But no – I shouldn’t say that
So I should just move on
Tread softly like a newborn
Remember the times – like Michael sang
And then – who’s on?
Remember how we met?
Remember when I kissed you ?
Remember how I left – but this time, I wouldn’t leave you?
Remember how we fought and made up – cos the feelings were mutual
Now I’m getting married but you’re the one to get used to
Google is my friend – right?
Google is my friend.
Yet it failed me this once
I entered your name
And got no response
That’s funny ‘cos I would think
There were at least some others that share that identity
Your name I mean.
Are you that unique?
Are you that rare?
Are you that missing link – never really there?
Are that – that one who came one lonely night…
The ‘her’ that made the darkness so bright?
The one whose kisses felt so right?
I still feel them now.
Your kisses I mean.
And I will keep looking.
Till I find peace.
I am just sitting here…staring at the sky.
That’s how most sad stories start.
But it’s true you see;
I am just sitting here…staring at the sky,
Dressed in my work gear, I don’t know why
Oh yeah…I do know why
Don’t blame me for trying to lie
A sweet little girl gave me a tract just now;
I didn’t know when I crushed it,
They say love is patient; I don’t know why I rushed it,
I should have been more careful; I was the one you trusted,
I was so caught up in it I just naturally became selfish
But the first time I saw you; I swear it was magick.
I’m a graduate; two years diploma in law;
Four years in educational psychology,
But for all that I cannot figure out
What exactly goes wrong in relationships.
A guy’s sitting beside me staring at a girl,
The girl’s staring back at him as well
I bet the guy thinks he’s really lucky;
Luck has nothing to do with it; it’s just magick.
Abeg; stop frontin’ jo! You know what I’m saying
You know how you felt on your first date; see him grinning
How you guys talked for hours, neither of you wanted to go home,
Now; a few months later you ask; ‘where did all that stuff go?’
How it was; you met someone new, totally fresh and un-spoilt,
After three dates already thinking ‘happily ever after’ now
And sometimes it last just weeks, months or even years,
And they say ‘all good things come to an end’
But the first time we kissed; I swear it felt like magick
How we talked; it was a miracle we had so much in common,
Then what we thought only us had in common became common
And then, the common-ness made it stop making sense
And it’s ironic; like a rare jewel named ‘common sense’
How the connect survives the worst the world has to offer
At first; how every offence was treated with laughter
How suddenly with the shifting of the veil,
How things that didn’t count suddenly began to matter
Emotions are liars; a little different from illusion,
But we need them to live; can we find a solution?
And I won’t leave; I’ll stay here and seek absolution,
From all my wrongdoings; maybe I’ll be cured of my confusion
But when I touched you I experienced magick
The power of two hearts; that for a moment beat as one,
Excuse me; who’s the fool playing that Mariah Carey song?
For you; maybe it holds pleasant memories or even magic,
For me, it brings back memories that are tragic
Could you please just stop it?
The power of two hearts; that for a moment beat as one,
The power of dreams; that bad timing did corrupt,
To the hearts that stay strong; still believe in love
And in the search for happiness, find God above
In memory of the times we couldn’t stop texting;
Of the fact that, for good or bad, we never made it to the sex thing,
In memory of the fact that we did bring joy around us,
For a moment trapped in time; that you were actually mine
And when we were together; I swear it was magick.
I’ll forever miss you.
And yeah; remember the guy I spoke about earlier?
He and the girl just walked away now, laughing
And the way they were doing; I doubt they’d make next year,
But for now, they both look incredibly happy.
What’s that if it’s not magick?
IN MEMORY OF SOLA DUROTIMI
In memory of things that could have been;
In remembrance of things that indeed were.
It was the way he watched me. He would look into my eyes as though he was seeing beyond, into my soul. His smile told me he liked what he saw.
I hadn’t known a man’s smile could make me soft in the head. He knew and he took advantage any time we argued. He complained that I fussed over him; little did he know I was doing it more for myself. Making him happy made me feel whole. I loved him. I loved the woman I was when I was with him; beautiful, intelligent, sexy as hell.
Now all I can do is hug myself as the nostalgia takes on, leaving a bittersweet chill in its wake.
He came into my life at a time I had reached the justifiable conclusion that no man would love me. I’m not one so inclined to overly dramatic tales but I had had my fair share of heartbreaks, disappointment and unrequited ‘love’.
We met at a wedding. He was the best man and I was a good friend to the maid of honor. Much later, he would tease me of the most popular crime in Lagos; ‘mo gbo, mo ya’. ‘I heard; I branched’.
Guilty as charged. I was there for one purpose; free lunch! The reception was about five minutes walk from my house and so when my friend asked me to drop by, my tummy growled in consent. With a killer pair of red shoes and a trusted cream dress that fit just right I was good to go. My friend came to meet me at the entrance of the hall and made sure I was well taken care of.
After the food, came the shame. Gathering the little I had of my pride, I slipped out without notifying my friend. Alas, I wasn’t to go unpunished for my crime. Just after the gate, the heel of my left shoe got caught in the crack of a concrete slab. I landed with an ungraceful thud to the ground, my hands supporting me. I must have been quite a sight. I heard his chuckle before I saw him. I would have given anything for his head that moment.
He circled till he was facing me, offering me his hand and smiling. The rest is well, ironically now history.
How the relationship progressed, I cannot say. From fending off his teasing remarks for not knowing the names of the newly married couple, I was dicing pineapples in his kitchen.
It had been almost 6 months since we started seeing each other when the visions began. I call them visions because I saw them while I was wide awake. I would see two women, dressed in traditional Edo attire in a tug of war.
‘He is mine;’ they would say to each other. And just as quickly as they appeared, they would vanish before my very eyes.
I knew I was the only that saw them. And the thought was the only thing that assured me of my sanity. I had to go home; I was convinced my answer was there.
I spent the weekend with him before I left. I had an uncanny feeling about this goodbye. I hugged him a little tighter; I couldn’t stop the flow of tears that welled in my eyes.
The journey was long and tiring but once I was in my mother’s arms, it was all worth it. The next day, I called him and had him speak to her and my siblings. I was grinning ear to ear. How I loved him! He spoke to them like he knew them personally. My mother seemed to be taken with him. Which was why the sadness in her eyes startled me after the goodbyes.
‘We must talk. Let’s go to my room.’ I followed quietly behind her. We sat on her bed.
‘I know you’ve started seeing them,’ she began. I gasped, unable to contain my anxiety. How did she know? There was no doubt she was referring to the two women.
Mother cleared her throat and began the tale.
A long time ago, there were two friends; Muwa-lisa and Amenawon. They were inseparable. The villagers often said they descended to earth as twins but were born of two different mothers. They both fell in love. Muwa-lisa to a rich traders son and Amanewon to a charming young prince, both from the next village. When the time came for the young prince to choose a bride, he picked Amenawon. Excited, she rushed to tell her best friend the news and promised to take her to meet him the next full moon. Just as planned, they walked hand in hand to where the charming prince would be waiting. He turned to greet them, and Muwa-lisa found herself staring into the eyes of the rich trader’s son.
She let out a broken sob before falling to the ground. She loved him though she always knew he loved another. She had only hoped to win his affections. She could never have known it was Amenawon. Dying, she clutched her friend’s hand and said; ‘he may be yours now, but he will be mine in the next life’.
She died instantly and Amenawon mourned for her friend.
After a while, Amenawon married her prince as planned and had beautiful children. But Muwa-lisa’s broken heart did not rest; taunting the prince in his dreams till she had his soul. Amenawon was left a young widow with children.
Her grief was immeasurable, yet she thought nothing odd of her husband’s death. When her first daughter lost her husband to a mysterious illness she knew something was amiss. She went to visit the village oracle who confirmed her fears! It was Muwa-lisa. She would take what should have been hers for generations to come. The only way she would be appeased was with the blood of unborn children. To have children would mean the death of any man a descendant of Amenawon married.
We were descendants of Amenawon.
I started laughing hysterically. This was the 21st century for crying out loud! But my mother was prepared for my argument. She asked me to recount every living female relative we had that had a husband alive and well with children. There was none. I looked at her as then it dawned on me. I had no memories of my father.
Mother began to speak again. ‘You may not believe me but I’m telling you now because I know you love that man. My mother didn’t tell me this truth till I lost my husband. She wanted the family blood line to continue at all costs. I never forgave her.’
I was lost. My head was spinning. I staggered out of her room into mine and I cried myself to sleep.
If this was true, I needed to get away from him. I couldn’t bear to lose him but I wouldn’t be able to live knowing I was the cause of his untimely death. I called him later that day, reciting words I had put on paper. I broke up with him.
I sit now in my room in my mother’s house staring at the wall but not seeing it. I thought it would get easier. I did not think I would still hurt this much – did not think it would hurt more than it did the past day. I miss him. So much.
I hate the sight of pineapples these days.
I did not think it was necessary to write a part three – as far as I knew, the story was done. But a dear friend told me the unresolved nature of the story disturbed her subconscious; and that she feels an explanation as to why she left is necessary. So she offered to write it.
She’s Nura; @bellanura27 on twitter. She writes to escape – and it makes her feel good to write great stuff. She’s working on her debut novel at the moment.
I think she’s single too.
Do read more from her here: http://www.itsnura27.wordpress.com. Give her your support.
The okada stopped in front of the address I’d given him and I hopped off, paying him with some of the change I collected from the fruit woman before heading inside the house. I waved to the sometimes over-sabi gateman standing outside the gate and made my way to my apartment which was in the back.
Opening the door, I went in and closed it behind me, moving into the kitchen and dumping the pineapple on a tray there. I continued to my room and changed into a t-shirt and shorts before returning to the kitchen to prepare the pineapple and to continue thinking.
We woke up, Sunday morning – or rather I woke up and made tea. Usually she would already be up, and in fact be the one to wake me but I guess she was exhausted. She did not wake up until I kissed her gently and she responded, putting her arms around my neck and almost spilling the tea I was carrying all over the bed. We laughed self-consciously like two kids and she collected the tea from me, refusing to taste it till she brushed her teeth. So I made her stay in bed, brought the necessary toiletries and a bowl for spitting in for her, and she brushed right there in bed. As I carried away what she used and handed her the teacup, I caught her looking at me strangely. But she liked it and she was happy – or so her eyes told me.
We spent the day indoors, only stepping out briefly to buy chicken and burgers at the KFC stall in Shoprite Alausa and then coming back home to eat. That was when she mentioned a trip to Benin to see her folks.
She would be travelling the following day, to return three days later. They had not seen her in a while and were getting concerned even though she called them regularly. I understood, even though my folks when in Lagos and I had no such issues. Much later in the day she left for home, almost in tears as she entered the cab taking her to Iyana Iba. She kept giving me instructions; to warm the efo stew, and to boil the ewedu and to air out the yams and plantains and… I paid the driver and he zoomed off, taking the one great love of my life away.
We spoke on the phone after that, and all the way through her trip to Benin. She called to tell me she had gotten home and we would speak later. I in the meantime had made arrangements with a friend and had gotten an exquisite piece of jewelry. It was time to make it official.
But she never came back. Not to me.
I came to myself to find that I had stopped peeling the pineapple halfway through, and I had laid the knife aside. I picked it up again and continued where I had stopped – and did the exact same thing with my memories.
It’s been three months, and the only thing I know for sure is that she’s alive and well…well.
Early the following morning she had called and we had had quite a lengthy conversation that ended on the note of her saying she was missing me so bad – and couldn’t wait to be back. I held the exquisite piece of jewelry in my hand and told her I couldn’t wait too. And for the first time in the seven months we had been together, I told her I loved her. I actually put it in words.
We hung up and continued with the day – and sometime in the course of the day I got a text saying she was so busy, she was sorry but we would talk. I replied saying no problem – she should take all the time she needed. That night she called and I spoke with her entire family. They sounded like they liked me and the idea of us together. But you never know.
I was a happy man. I made arrangements for some chocolates and cakes and candles and the like. I made plans for a huge dinner – after which I intended to propose to her. Somehow I floated through the day.
And then she called sometime that afternoon. The moment I picked the call I knew something was wrong…terribly so. She spoke and it was her but at the same time it was not. Something had gone out of her voice; something that made the phone conversation feel as though I was listening to a pre-recorded message. She spoke and I felt the bottom drop out of my world. I felt the lights of my life go out; I felt how Uriah must have felt when looking down from heaven (or hell) and realizing he had died because he had a beautiful wife the king just so happened to covet. I think I died a little that afternoon.
Sounding like a cracked-up Lady Gaga on auto-tune, she told me it was over between us – that she could not be with me anymore. She said things had changed; and it was best if I just forgot about her. She thanked me for the most beautiful seven months of her life; and that she hoped I would find someone who would love me like I deserved. And then she hung up.
I must have stood at my desk, holding the phone with my mouth open for several minutes. Even if she had a given me a chance to say something I doubt I would have been able to. As it was, she did not.
In shock I called back. The phone just rang. After a while, it was switched off. I was confused.
No. I think I died.
The day after that I did not go to work; choosing instead to stake out her Iyan-Iba apartment. I must have left that area sometime after eleven at night, and she did not make an appearance. Not for the next one month.
It was all just so crazy and I know this sounds so unreal; like something you would find in a movie or a book – online or somewhere else, but it’s the truth. That was it for me and her.
I took some time off work; I could not function properly. Not after that severe a shock. It took a while, but slowly as the shock began to wear off I started feeling a strange kind of anger. A really violent anger that had me lying awake late at night hurling curses and calling her all sorts of names. It got to a head when one day, on my way from Shoprite, I nearly killed an okada man who nearly hit me. As it was, I broke two of his ribs and his jaw. I was arrested.
It was sobering for me – me who never lost his cool. I was afraid of this person I was becoming, just because I’d lost someone I thought was forever. It was all too much.
I was released that same day, and I made plans and travelled to Jos the following day. I knew no one there, but I did not care. I just wanted to get as far away from Lagos as possible. After a few weeks, the anger had receded, leaving only some sadness and a dull ache somewhere in my chest region whenever I thought about her. I returned to Lagos shortly after that.
When I arrived Lagos, I made some half-hearted attempts to find her but was stonewalled. I gave up, went back to work and tried to continue living as I knew how. But I also knew things would never be the way they were. Not with me.
I kept the ring, placed it somewhere on my dresser and looked at it every morning. What made the pain so drawn out was mostly the fact that I had no idea what went wrong. Friends kept asking me what happened…all I could say was I don’t know. And though they mostly thought I was just trying to be vague, I had no idea.
And I hate loose ends.
I finished cutting up the pineapple and poured the cubes into a bowl before placing it in the refrigerator. As I poured myself a glass of cold water, while eying the half-full bottle of McDowell’s Premium Whisky, a series of knocks sounded at my door.
“Coming!” I shouted, shutting the fridge door and placing the cup on the sink before wiping my hands on a red towel. “Who is it?” I asked as I approached the doorway.
“It’s me,” a sing-song voice replied and I froze, almost losing my reasoning. No way; I thought. It couldn’t be!
It could not be. It should not be. I ran to the door and tore it open.
Of course it couldn’t have been. And it wasn’t.
It was Ayanfe, my landlady’s daughter bearing a message from her mother. I quietly closed the door and went back to my pineapple.
Maybe tomorrow I’ll find someone else to make me happy – someone else to peel pineapples and chill them before serving them to me. Or maybe that ‘someone else’ would prefer oranges…or might not even like fruits.
Maybe tomorrow. But today…