Saturday, August 22, 2009
February 14, 2009
My best female friend, BFF just told me now that she’s getting married soon.
I should be happy for her. Marriage after all, is a very important milestone in one’s life, the culmination of a goal for some, the beginning of a journey for others, a phase marked by the presence of that significant other in your life. A stage where that long awaited dream comes true and you look forward to the years ahead filled with the bliss of love, the cheating, the forgiveness, the agony of quarrels, the patter of tiny feet and the gut-wrenching task of raising good children in this bad world.
Despite all the cynicism with which I regard the institution, I still realize that marriage is indeed good. I should be happy for my friend.
Why then do I feel so sad? For lack of better words to describe it, I feel like someone just died. I’ve felt like this two times before. The first time when my best male friend, BMF told me his own good news, the second time, the wedding of my childhood sweetheart/friend. BFF is the second female friend I’m losing to marriage and the third real friend over all.
I clearly recall why when BMF got married I had these same feelings of melancholy. It was as if my best friend, my soul brother, my pally, literally my skin and bone had suddenly decided to take a decision that would affect our friendship forever without duly consulting me. It was selfish on my part I know, but the knife went deep inside my back, pushed even further when I realized he had been dating the lady in question for a while right under my nose without hinting me about it for once. How could I have been so blind? Why didn’t he tell me?
But that’s all water under the bridge now. We still remain friends though in a slightly uncomfortable fashion. A bachelor can never really be friends with a married man. With BFF, however, things are much more complicated than that.
I’ve known BFF for many years now though we became best friends just a few years back. I recall how I first met her. It was in church and I was discussing with my sister after Mass when I saw this girl approach the altar. I can’t recall the day or month. I just know it was a Sunday.
In one of those random moments that just dart past in our lives almost unnoticed, the thought dropped in my head as I watched her: She could be my girlfriend. I had never spoken to her; I had barely even noticed her. I didn’t know her before then. The resolution, unbidden, however was just too strong.
During those University days, I usually carried out full background checks before I even approached a girl to say hi. It wasn’t difficult; you could always find someone you knew in her Department. In her case I just couldn’t turn up much. My sister couldn’t help out either so I later shelved the whole thing and bided my time. There was time.
Afterwards I would run into another girl, E. who ended up becoming not just a friend but my girlfriend as well. Surprise, surprise! While leafing through E.’s pictures I found out she was best friends with BFF. Finally I had gotten all the background info I had long wanted all right, but from the one I was already committed to. I was getting great love from E. I decided not to bother approaching BFF anymore.
A few years later, E. and I broke up and BFF was on hand as a negotiatior of sorts, offering support and encouragement to us as we rode out the storms that follow separation. She did her job well and we all remain friends till today. Some more years later, BFF would also break up with a guy she had been going steady with for like donkey years and I would be there to offer her the same help and encouragement. I didn’t do much. I just listened. And that’s when we went from being just friends to very good friends.
It would seem that Fate has turned the tables again in my favour. We were now single. We were good friends. BFF had all a man would ever want and more (I do not exaggerate here and no, I’m not wearing rose-tinted spectacles). Most men would recognizable her for what she is: an asset. Now seemed to be the right time to lay my cards on that table.
But I never asked her out. I felt she still needed more time to heal. I did hint at the possibility of it once in a while but her reaction was a resounding no. E. was her friend and she could NEVER go out with her friend’s ex even if they had broken up decades ago. I’ve always had an odd way of taking Life as it comes. Maybe that is my undoing. I understood.
And this was before the Guy Parade started. I wasn’t surprised when she told me of two guys in a rush to marry her so soon after her break-up. Ironic it was that what all we guys saw in BFF, one of us had been dense enough to let go of. Contrary to what women think, only a few of us are stupid. We all knew very well how valuable BFF was.
Eventually one succeeded where we others failed and the proof of this is been marked today as you read this. Without a doubt he must be a great guy otherwise BFF wouldn’t have chosen him. She’s very practical, maybe even choosy when it comes to things that affect her deeply and I’m yet to see her make one really bad decision. For as odd as this sounds her decision not to go out with me is a good one. My ego isn’t as over-inflated as all that not to recognize the truth.
This is a scheduled post. I started typing this immediately I heard the news. As you read, I’ll most likely be in church sitting not too far from BFF and her soon-to-be husband. I do not know as of now what part - active or passive - I’ll play towards her wedding. That’s still undecided as at when I wrote this. However I know I’ll be on the sharp look-out to make sure nothing or no-one - myself inclusive - slips up and spoils this day for my best friend.
They may be exchanging their vows right now and I’ll be trying very hard to smile. One thing I know for sure, I’ll try hard to dodge the photographer as usual. I hate appearing in pictures.
I’ll be looking at Mr. Right and jokingly thinking to myself: you lucky bastard. I taught myself early never to hold any ounce of envy or resentment in my heart towards any other guy. Love is a game. He won, I lost. He’s a good fellow and he’s very smart. Just like me. He’s bold too. Unlike me. I am sure he’ll treat BFF right. She deserves it.
I am also looking at BFF caught in the midst of all this. She always wished for this day. I sensed it every time she talked of working towards a successful relationship. She looks radiant as always. I shall stifle the pangs of regret. My loss, his gain. Time to look sharp now. Another female might just be looking at me too and thinking to herself: her loss, my gain…
I wonder how my friendship with BFF will change after this. It’s tough enough for my married friend BMF to remains friends with a bachelor like me not to talk of a married woman. None of us speak the same language anymore. She always tells me we’ll still remain good friends but I doubt it. There is after all, a time for everything…
I love reflecting on the circle of life. Life, with its suspense, ups, downs and in-betweens is actually far more interesting than any movie, film, book or play all put together. When I first met her she was walking towards an altar. Now as I leave her, she’s also walking towards an altar.
I shall miss you BFF. All I’ve got to say to you and he is Happy Married Life. You’re both co-pilots of your love boat now.
You know, when you told me you would be getting married, I cried.
They weren’t tears of joy…
*** UPDATE*** As the timeline above indicates, this post was written 6 months ago shortly after hearing of the betrothal and does NOT represent my state of mind at present. I am grateful for all the concern shown though… Thank you. Really...
Thursday, August 13, 2009
So for the very first time ever, I'm doing something I've NEVER ever done before in all my blogging life: publishing an unedited post directly into my Blogger publisher page. Usually I'm used to typing everything (yes, even my comments) in MS Word and proof-reading before doing the entire copy/paste routine. But not for now at least... So forgive any typos...
I've missed Blogville... I didn't go anywhere. I still do my blog-rounds religiously but I don't leave comments anymore. I try to think of something original or witty to type and everything comes out sounding cliche.
The poor internet services (helped by the rumoured SAT-3 shenanigans) haven't helped either. I've blown a fortune sitting down in cafes waiting for Blogger's sign-in page to load. Not helpful too when you have to move around cautiously with work ID and laptop receipts (both fakes in my own case) before a trigger-happy policeman nabs you for Advanced Fee Fraud. Funny enough, the real scammers have no such fear of the Police.
So where have I been all this while? Well, I'm getting my new digital high from Twitter. I put up the widget here before so people could follow me but since my family's still intent on knowing all I do online I had to take it down. I haven't abandoned Blogville, just that the crowd on Twitter seem so focused and yet nobody there takes themselves too seriously at the same time. Turns out the 140-character limit really brings out the best in certain people literary-wise...
Funny enough, I relate with certain bloggers even better there than on Blogger. Plus I've even met a few in real-life too though I'm not mentioning names! It's an open secret anyway...
Enough of the free PR. As for my personal life, not much has changed I'm afraid. Still out of work and as I type this, I'm supposed to be getting my beauty sleep in preparation for an interview back in Lagos but I've just decided I'm not going anyway. I'd gone for 4 (yes, four!) previous interviews in June at the same said company for an Engineering position only for the Manager to flip the whole thing around. Now, just when I leave Lagos for a few days to give myself a much-deserved rest (?) they want me to come back for a 5th interview as a temporary Trainee! Not only has the position been downgraded from a full post, but I hear that the job is just a one month contact meaning I'll be back on the dole within one month.
I guess I'm just pissed because I missed another earlier job opportunity just to attend the previous interviews in the first place and I'm still beating myself up for not choosing the other company. I'm still hoping and praying though because it's almost 6 months now since I quit and my siblings' patience must be wearing thin. My mom wants to help but it hurts knowing I should be fending for her now and not the other way round.
Speaking of praying, I haven't been doing much of that either. I still talk to GOD but we're not as tight as we used to. He's still there for me but I'm the one holding back. Even when I want to run mad with frustration, He still does something - anything - to show me His awesome presence whether it's as simple as showing me where I misplaced my wallet or giving me the courage to let go of fear and seek out wonderful people who want to help me without even knowing my real name. He's just too good to me and I hope I can get back to how we used to be. I hardly talk about religious stuff so this out-pouring is still making me a bit uncomfortable. That's just me I guess.
August holds a lot of emotional memories for me and I'm hoping I'll have the courage to blog about them. Interestingly, they mostly revolve around women (or the lack of). My best female friend's getting married in a few weeks and our talks concerning marriage have been very interesting. I'm trying to schedule a post as I write this so...
Everybody's hooking up nowadays and it's rather scary in a way. But what's even more annoying is when people you've known all your life start showing attitude just because they've paid a dowry, hired a church and worn a ring. I'm not beefing marriage but oh well, why am I even saying all this anyway?
And in case you peeps haven't figured it out by now, I'm rambling like mad, the sole reason I never do unplanned posts. I wasn't even going to put up a post up till like 20 minutes ago when I checked out a new blog I'd just discovered and saw someone saying he'd missed me since I'd gone MIA. So this one's for you Kay9, that's if you haven't given up on my blogs.
Time to hit the Publish Post button under this edit text field and broadcast my jargon to the world. I'm too lazy to even look for an image to accompany this post so I'm using Kay9's profile picture hoping he'll see it.
Gotta go now... MS Word rocks! No endorsements intended but I'm never trying this ish again...
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Disclaimer: First of all, before MI-5, the FBI, SSS, the Nigerian Police Force, National Assembly and my future political detractors flag this post as suspicious and a pointer to terrorist activity, I AM ONLY JOKING, ABEG!!! Please take everything you read here with a pinch of salt.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Ro, I miss you badly. I wish we could talk, laugh, be friends just like we used to. But I feel like you keep pushing me away because you don’t need me anymore. All I can say is that I’ll still be here whenever you need me. I miss you.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
He fired off a gloating “I told you so” look straight at the waiter then turned fully to face LG as she drew out a chair and sat down.
Only that something was horribly wrong: she wasn’t LG!
She was Woomie!
“Surprised?” she asked, as he stared at her with his mouth agape. He was suffering from a very bad case of shock if not he’d have noticed 2 other mouths drop too.
It couldn’t be! He couldn’t help but to stutter, “Bu - bu - but, you aren’t LG!”
“Of course I’m not LG. Were you expecting her?”
It was difficult but he swallowed a mouthful of expensive water before he could get his tongue to loosen from the roof of his mouth. “C’mon Woomie,” he said “you definitely knew I was expecting LG here. What are you doing here instead?”
She signalled the hovering waiter to order something or the other before turning to face him. “What am I doing here? I’m waiting to see LG too, of course! Or did you think you were the only one curious enough to find out her identity?”
It took that sentence for all his anxiety to return in full force. “Look, look, Woomie. You know this date with LG was supposed to be a secret. It wouldn’t be nice for her to come now and meet you here.” He looked around frantically as if expecting the real LG to show up. It would be embarrassingly difficult explaining Woomie’s presence at this scene. The coincidence was just too much.
She however, didn’t seem inclined to budge an inch. He appealed to her once more. “Please, just forget I told you about this, OK? It’s all well and good if you want to find out who LG is. No problem. I’d suggest you go to the bowling alley or somewhere nearby and wait. I’ll even flash your number when she comes, alright?”
Woomie broke out into a big smile that did absolutely nothing to boost his confidence. “Secret?” she said. “You think this date of yours is a secret?” She laughed mockingly, “Why, the whole Blogville already knows about it! Look, so many of us have been waiting like you to find out who LG is.” And to further bamboozle him, she turned and waved to the couple at the next table.“You see those two over there?” she asked as he nodded reluctantly. “The guy’s FBA while the lady with him is the one and only Bumight. Why are they here? Exactly for the same reason why I am.” And like as if she held his puppet strings, he kept on nodding. Now it made a bit of sense why they had focused on him all evening.
But Woomie wasn’t done yet. “You see that group over there looking at that car on display?” His eyes followed her pointing arm. “I’m even surprised you didn’t recognise a few of them. Say hi to Rayo and Esquire”. And true to her words they turned, saw her pointing in their direction and walked up to meet him at the table.
“Oh no!” he thought as he covered his face with his hands, “This is so NOT happening!”
She waved at another group and individually, they walked up to his table and began introducing themselves: Lil’ Woman, Tobenna, Naija Shawty, Dante, Miz Cynic, Ibiluv, Poetically Tinted, Charizard, even one of the Cerberus was there as well. There were even a whole lot of others he didn’t know and as they filed back to their original positions one by one, most with smirks on their faces, each name sounded like a nail driven into the coffin of his embarrassment and shame.
She sensed how he was feeling and put out an arm of comfort on top of his. “Look, don’t you realize that LG is the biggest mystery in Blogville? None of us has ever seen or spoken to her and yet she seems to know each one of us so well. Believe me, we were all just as curious as you are.” And he was still shaking his head when she gave him a wink and added in a conspiratorial whisper: “But honestly, I don’t think LG will come.”
His jaws dropped then he stuttered once again “Wh - wh - wh - what do you mean: not coming? What makes you think so?” Then he narrowed his eyes suspiciously. “Or did the two of you set this up to make a fool out of me?”
She laughed and picking up her glass, took a sip before replying him. “Oh c’mon, relax! It’s not what you’re imagining.” Then she leaned in close and dropping her voice a few octaves, proceeded to lecture him. “Think about this for a second: who do you really think LG is?”
“You?” he ventured.
“Stop being silly” she snapped “I’m not LG. But you see that lady over there?” And she pointed at someone she’d introduced at the table previously, “That’s LG.”
But then she continued pointing. “You see that one over there? That’s LG too. And that one? LG. This one? LG.” And the pointing game continued as she labelled every single female there as his possible date for the evening.
Woomie went on, “The point I am trying to make here is this, LG could be anyone and everyone. She’s a character, an enigma, the alter ego of any and every single female here in Lagos. You never know, she could be a petty trader, pharmacist, receptionist, café attendant, even a Senator’s daughter. Anybody who knows how to write and has access to a computer is LG. For all you know, she could be the girl next door or she could even be YOU!”
And at last, much as he tried not to comprehend her logic, he finally understood. LG, like Naughty Eyes, like Woomie and the millions of other bloggers out there was just a character, a phantom. She could be real or she could be a figment of anyone’s imagination. And gradually he did come to terms with the latter line of reasoning. LG, as far as he was concerned might have never existed at all. She couldn’t possibly be real.
Then with a smile, he did what he ought to have done a long time ago. He raised his hand and beckoned to the waiter to take orders for him and Woomie. And as they shared dinner together they clinked their wine glasses as he proposed a toast: “To LG!”
“To LG!” Woomie replied.
Eventually when dinner was long over, the bloggers having trickled away in disappointment, he saw her off and stood at one of the exits to The Palms reflecting on how this evening had gone.
What a date, he thought. What had been initially begun as a date with LG had finished in a date with Woomie. And where he had thought he would be discovering LG tonight, he had ended up discovering a whole lot of other bloggers. And they had discovered him too…
One more look at the borrowed watch made him realise how late it was and the long way to get back home. Just then he felt someone tap him on the shoulder and turned around to see who it was. It was that friendly enemy of his, the waiter.
“One lady say make I give you this thing” he said as he thrust what looked like a folded paper napkin into his hands before hurriedly walking away. Puzzled, he unwrapped it slowly to reveal a note scrawled with a beautiful feminine cursive:
“Sorry for standing you up but that was way too public my dear, don’t you think? Let’s meet up again next week, same place, same time…You know who.
PS: And please, do keep it to yourself this time. Norrin’ do you.”
With a steady hand, he folded the napkin same as before and tucked it into his shirt front pocket. Then just as calmly he flagged down a vehicle and jumped inside.
As the Lagos night swallowed up the yellow commuter bus, the woman sitting beside him couldn’t help but wonder why her fellow passenger was smiling like he’d just won the lottery…
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
The story begins…
Patience, he told himself as he nervously tweaked his tie for what must have been the umpteenth time. Just a few minutes more…
He glanced around once more before looking at his watch - no, make that his brother’s watch. It was hilarious indeed. Here he was waiting for someone whom he had absolutely no idea what she looked like, timing her with a wristwatch that didn’t belong to him and struggling with a tie that wasn’t his either. If only he’d known the dumb thing would add to his tension by strangling him, he wouldn’t have bothered going through the pains of borrowing one and stuck with informal dressing instead. But he had a first impression to make anyway. And a lasting one too…
It was amusing, he thought, that all this had started like these things usually start, with a comment. Or rather, a series of comments…
And slowly their dance had begun. He did the foolish things most young men do. He studied all her archives and comments to see if he had any rivals. Luckily he didn’t seem to, aside from one Orunmila Chief Priest like that but that one could be easily “settled”. He chased her from blog to blog leaving coy comments on hers and she did same on his. Sometimes he’d shock her by radically contesting her views, other times he’d apologise. One foot first and then another: side-step, duck, weave, jab… they danced to a tune that only both of them could hear.
But like long distance relationships, love comments on Blogville just weren’t enough. He was single, lonely, desperate even. He thought long and hard before deciding to make the shift from virtual to reality.
There were other landmark days, like the days he sent her e-mail. First one step and then another: jab, side-step, duck, butt, weave… they still danced to that tune only the two of them could hear. And the culmination of their dance had reached its crescendo, a dance that started with a comment and peaked with him asking if she’d agree to go on a date with him.
Sitting at that table now, he couldn’t stop wondering what LG would look like, think like, talk like, sound like. To the best of his knowledge, no-one in Blogville had ever met her and the fact that he would be the first didn’t do anything to make his breath come easier. It was just like meeting… Who? Obama? In fact no name he could think of even came close. Would she be tall, fat, light-skinned? Or short and dark? Maybe she was butt ugly hence all the secrecy? Nah! LG had better be beautiful or else…
Or else what? Hey young man, who the hell died and made you judge? Look who’s talking of beauty. Monkey like you? How much do you have in your pocket? Go and siddon jo! Didn’t you clean out your account just for today?
Imagine if your younger brother were to walk in right in the middle of your date and demand for his tie, wristwatch and shoes back, ehn? You are saying “Tufiakwa!” and shaking your head abi? Think it’s impossible? Shebi, you told him what you wanted to borrow them for and where you were going?
He squirmed in his seat. So what if he couldn’t help telling Rayo about it. They told each other everything - okay, not exactly everything! But did that mean he had to go and tell Esquire, Woomie, Standtall and Afronuts as well? Of course he’d sworn all of them to secrecy but there was no telling who else knew. Or maybe he was just imagining all of this.
He fired off a gloating “I told you so” look straight at the waiter then turned fully to face LG as she drew out a chair and sat down.
Only that something was horribly wrong: she wasn’t LG! Or rather, she definitely wasn’t the LG he was expecting to see…
To Be Continued… Watch out for Part 2 featuring Nkem Owoh, Emeka Amakeze, Stella Damasus and Patience Ozokwor.
To GOD Be The Glory…
PPS: Shayo is going to be on the house for all Bloggers on Saturday, the 20th of June at Solid Gold Exotic Dancers/Female Revue Bar, 25/27 Opebi Road, Ikeja, Lagos. Just mention my name to the bouncers there to gain admission. You can even fit to search for the event on Facebook. But if the bouncers brush you that day, no be me send you oh!
The concluding part of this story came up on Sunday 21st June, just after we must have woken up with hangovers incurred from intake of excessive shayo after watching Naija trash Tunisia in the on-going World Cup qualifiers on Saturday.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
My apologies for starting this way. I’m supposed to post the concluding part of my earlier discourse I know but for some unknown reason I cannot bring myself to do this, at least not for now. Something seems to be wrong with me and being unable to place a finger on what it is only makes it worse. Whatever it is, the symptoms are similar to those of lethargy Laide blogged about not too long ago.
It definitely doesn’t help that my cover had been unceremoniously blown and by a close family member, no less. Actually, FBA says it so well in this post: Blogville sure has changed. And I feel SO TIRED… I recall back in the days when Badderchic wanted to go private. How ironic that I, one of the staunch advocates who discouraged her should toe the same line and go private myself.
Dear discoveress: you know me. I love writing uninhibited (apologies to DiaryOfANigerianGirl) and as earnestly as possible. But how can I rush here to recount yet another crazy experience I’ve encountered or gossip I’ve heard when I know you’re right there looking over my shoulder? You are reading this. Assessing me.
I can’t write like I used to anymore. I wish to express myself, type it out, lay it all out on the floor, dirty linen and all. But I recall you are reading this and so I end up stamping hard on the brakes instead, wondering what my family thinks when I blog about them. Would you for example, take offence if I were to tell them that you once had a lousy ex?
I have mulled over the options: going back to being private, locking down my blogs, even contemplated deleting everything and re-opening shop under a new alias and URL. But who would I end up deceiving? You or myself? I am so tired…
Nowadays I rather choose to be harsh on myself instead. Nothing I’ve done lately seems to go right. My dreams aren’t coming true. Love is totally evasive. Faith is dying. Hope is non-existent. There’s only one 8-letter word to describe what I presently am: F. A. I. L. U. R. E. Wait, that’s even seven letters.
Before you get me wrong, no this is not a pity party. I do not seek any. I need not your comfort either. I am just trying to use this outpouring as a catharsis, a balm to soothe my troubled soul. If I depress you, I am very sorry. The truth is I haven’t really liked me in a long while.
I strongly believe being idle is mainly responsible for why I think these thoughts. I am so redundant even the devil’s workshop denies me employment. Too much free time… The reasons for my depression are legion - so numerous that I tire of complaining. Like Rip van Winkle I wish to lie down only to re-awaken when things eventually decide to get better. Other times like now, I just want to rant, rent my heart out, rush here and pour it all out to you guys before I explode. Scream till I am empty inside. Then I catch myself. I am after all, a man…
I wouldn’t be so down if I had work. Whatever was I thinking when I resigned? Now, four months later, respect down the gutter, no stash, no cash and an on-going recession I keep wishing I could turn back the hands of time and rescind that decision.
Nothing breaks the spirit faster than going from independence to dependence. Going back to depending on your mom who worked so hard to raise you to be self-sufficient in the first place. Nothing kills the spirit quicker than the awareness of being destined for great things and doing nothing towards achieving them. The only thing more frustrating than the possession of myriads of untapped potential and talent is not the inability to use them but the knowledge of the possession itself.
It hurts to have interviewers shun you. It hurts even more when you volunteer to organizations and they never even call you back. Whatever happened to the love of free labour?
I dislike what I am: an inaccurate mathematical, biochemical, engineering equation. Output defies all attempts to equal input. Efficiency is in the minuses. Some look at me and think I must enjoy this existence: sitting home, watching TV, eating, sleeping, making night calls. Is this the life?
Many times my mind skips back to the varsity exam halls. I see me struggling to walk the straight and narrow while all around me my peers scheme, cheat and over-load their course forms. What was all the honesty for? Sitting here I see people half my age rocking True Religion, iPod, Acer and Blackberry. They trawl the web stealing credit card info and defraud gullible white chicks using phoney profiles on Yahoo Messenger and countless dating sites.
The dude besides me poses as an Interswitch Customer Service staff and a couple of fools actually call him and handover their PINs making him a couple of hundred grands richer. Scams are the new hustle and many times I am tempted to join in. After all I can write better stories than the dumb spam mails they send. Blast this conscience!!!
Then I check myself. I can’t do it. All those years spent raising me right ought to count for something. I may be poor but I’m proud I was raised right. Now if only that pride could be traded for cash…
Right now, as I slug it out, I’m still scared to think: what if I don’t make it? Other times I look and I can even touch it, smell it, that someday when I’ll be rich and famous.
Nothing is impossible. Getting my mind past “nothing” is half the battle. Yes, FAILURE I am. But one cannot be so bad at anything forever even if working hard towards failure. Luck happens. The suicide survives a drop from 30-feet while the 10-foot fall kills the optimist proving that the best will randomly occur even when we wish for the worst. Life happens.
I will look back one day and wonder if I really wrote this.
No doubt, someday there’ll be a kid who’ll be having these same feelings and feeling the sky will never be blue. Maybe then I will look into his eyes and see me. When I sign that autograph for him, I’ll remember me now and remember that nothing is impossible if only I set my mind to it.
Despite what it sounds like, this is not a pity party. I will be fine. After being down so long, the only way to go is up. So Help Me God.
I am after all, a man…
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
I love Laide!
There… I said it. Those of you guys who don’t like what I’ve said can find the nearest river, mercifully tip yourselves inside and drown. Your neighbours will be graceful enough to tell the Police it was an accident. As for the females who might wind up feeling a teeny-weeny twinge of jealousy after reading this, I’m glad I’ve got your attention now.
And I’m really trying hard not to feel conceited or anything but just remember that this brother has been crying for love for so many years now and suddenly who knows, his prayers may soon be answered. Don’t ask me how because I don’t know.
So back to what I was saying. I love Laide. QED. My love for her has never been a secret. Anyone familiar with my (numerous) crush lists can attest that she features prominently in ALL of them. Ever since the very first time I read her blogs, “met” her on Facebook, texts and calls on the phone and finally meeting her in real life (thanks Woomie, how can I ever forget?) I have wondered what it is about her that’s gotten me so spell-bound.
I recall reading one of Wellsbaba’s early posts where he reflected on how caught up one can be by certain bloggers’ personalities. Quoting him, he says something like “…and this ex-Schoolnerd (Laide) is a human oh! With one head…” Many times, cocooned by these warm feelings reminisces about her trigger, I remember that like Wellsbaba, like me, this Laide has got but one head. Why then do these strong feelings overwhelm me, like as if she were a superwoman or something?
Laide is all I’ve dreamt of in a woman and more: she is attractive, she is MAD funny, has all the curves in the right places (for me), she has the brains. She can keep me entertained no matter the conversation topic. She is awesomely creative. Moreover, having gone through periods of rejection and depression myself, I find myself relating a lot easily with what she talks about. And we both happen to be looking for love and the search for it seems to be making both of us miserable, not as if we’ve suddenly discovered we are married to the wrong people or something. Oh, and did I mention those curves?
I believe I am caught in what I might call a ‘Bachelor crisis”. Young man like me, first degree done, National Service done, the next state of priorities include getting a job, accommodation, a wife and a family (not necessarily in that order) most especially when your peers seem to be toeing those lines. But of all these worries, the most disturbing I think is the choice of whom to call your woman.
Take me for instance. I am rather confused. Laide you see, isn’t my only love interest.
First there is Vera. Ah… Vera! No other female awakens my highly dormant matrimonial genes like Vera does. I read Verastic Vera, I dream of her and I just want to be so married. I have stared at the various hued pictures of her one eye. I have marvelled at the beauty of that one finely-shaped hand even though it bore an engagement ring that broke my heart. I’ve spoken to her on the phone and I was so tripped by the way she switched from an American accent to a Nigerian one once she realized who I was.
She wants to be celibate before marriage? Suits me very fine. She’s lactose intolerant? Big deal! She might be older than me and I even have absolutely no idea what she looks like? Like as if I bother… Arranged marriages may work even better than all these love-at-first-sight hook-ups of nowadays. And Vera, improbable as may seem, I do want to marry you. Remember when you said that together we could make my potential into actual? That’s the sweetest thing I’ve ever heard.
Then again, I love SpicyTee. Spicy, spicy, spicy Tee… Darling, you sure deserve an award for finally turning me around to see the beauty in big-bodied women. Unlike Vera, I love the way you aren’t photo-shy at all. Looking at you, I drool. That smile, those lips, those eyes, your lovely dimples, that ample bust, everything… But it isn’t just the physical you know. I love the bright mind you possess. That romantic heart of yours, a heart that spews forth your ideals of love and relationships from your pen. Did I tell you I love all those romantic insights that make up your FB status messages? Remember B.I.G.P.E.N.I.S.? Time without number I have wished I had all those qualities and more so that I can woo you.
I love Rayo. Ok, not exactly… I like Rayo very much. Very, very, very much! I used to love her at a time but she has somehow succeeded in making me love her like a sister. Whatever…. I see her as that young fiery sister I never had who isn’t unafraid to say her mind. And she’s fine too. Small, stunning solicitor she is.
One thing I love about Rayo is her heart. I sense she has a strong sense of loyalty to her man and no other, whoever he is or will be - part of why I remain content to settle with her sisterly compromise. Another great thing about her is that she really cares. It might not seem like much to most people but it’s rare since I had a female call me up to check up on me. She listens when I complain, laughs at my jokes, points out my faults. She is always there. Sometimes I worry of what will happen when her loyalty wins and she tires of me.
And did I mention my love for Woomie too? Young, vibrant, clear-headed, I don’t know why I thought of her instantly when I read Laspapi’s hurricane piece. Behold a hurricane in the making. Stand in her path and be crushed. I don’t know where she gets all her insights from, this darling of mine. Funny how my heart remains so attracted to her that I barely even notice the physical. Sadly, the thing about loving such an intelligent young woman is that she tells you her mind in words that are glaringly clear in their meaning. She has told me to look elsewhere. In her words, I should seek an “unbiased sample”. That’s what I get for loving a hurricane.
Last but not least is Buttercup. OK Chari, cool down… Recall that some of us have always been active members of the Buttercup Background Boyfriend Bunch from way back. I’ve remain convinced since forever that all her exes were plain blind and stupid, otherwise I just can’t understand why they would let a babe like that go .Burrax, like my Spicy is wildly bootylicious but what I love is her frankness, evident even in the way she writes! An open friendliness she posseses, something which is worth much more than its weight in gold. Chari is a lucky young man but I know in your typical fashion, Buttercup will remind me that she is a lucky young woman too.
Laide, Vera, SpicyTee, Rayo, Woomie, Buttercup, LG and lots of other women out there.
Women I love. Women I am not in love with.
For yes, though I love each one in their various ways and to various degrees, being in love with them implies a reciprocal element of love, a factor which is missing in all these cases.
TO BE CONTINUED…
PS: The last instalment hopefully comes up on Friday the 17th at 16:00 GMT.
** UPDATE: My PC just crashed with EVERYTHING I had on it so I won't be able to post anything till I get it fixed. Please bear with me...***
Friday, April 10, 2009
As you read this, I am on a search. For years I have trawled blogville looking for someone, or maybe something. The personification of a concept.
I am looking for the real blogger.
The real blogger is almost impossible to place, hard to find but I’m still looking.
The real blogger does not reside in Lagos; she does not live or work on the Island. She might never reach Ozumba Mbadiwe in a year unless the need arises and when the need does indeed arise, she does not ride there in a Toyota Avensis equipped with factory-fitted A/C. Instead she gratefully takes the molue any morning she can get it so as to save her hard-gotten cash.
The real blogger has never entered The Palms on any excuse whatsoever. What has the fish got to do with the birds? She thinks malls can only be found in the U.K. She has dreams though. Dreams that someday soon she will get to watch a movie at Silverbird so she can also brag to her friends about it, about the ambience of the place. Prior to that day she will beg, crawl and if need be, offer me sex so I’ll take her there. And like the gentleman fool I am, I will reject the sex and still take her there all the while ruing the fact that I can buy several pirated DVDs, each containing about 16 movies for the same price of watching one at The Galleria. Ambience does come at a high price but I have to brag to my friends too, don’t I?
Or maybe I’ll just take Real Blogger to Terra Kulture instead to watch one of Laspapi’s plays. After all, I love the theatre even though Terra K’s price is way above the 50 Naira I used to pay to watch the occasional play at The Lobster in the Uni days. But of course I won’t tell RB that, will I? Instead I will smile at each joke the thespians crack or shed real tears when my favourite character dies. Part of the tears will be for my wallet as the busier part of my mind calculates the transport fare back.
RB always has problems going to the bank because she is a low “net worth customer”. Her two ATM cards from two different banks never work and the Customer Service lady keeps saying “we’ll get back to you”. Last week, when I escorted her there once again, RB told me the male cashier implied he could change her world forever as he slyly passed her his business card. All she had to do was say yes! Like that bank advert…
RB loves reading books but she can’t afford to shop at Nu Metro. Instead she stops by the roadside bookseller’s to pick up a dog-eared second-hand book if her meager salary’s been paid. If it hasn’t, she tells Osondu to reserve it for her till next time. He never does.
But RB never complains of her situation because she has an escape. She has a blog where she’s a 5 foot 11 inches tall all-woman, dashing in her good looks, confident in her feminity and assured of her sexuality. Beyonce, J-Lo, Shakira and Paris Hilton combined can’t measure up to her. She has multiple dates, each beginning at Marco Polo and ending in heartbreaks in Ocean View whenever she tires of the wealthy Adonises.
She has never used an ATM in all her virtual life; MasterCard and Visa are now her currency. The last time she held a Naira note was when one mistakenly fell into her lap during the shooting of 2Shotz’s last music video. She’s an investment banker by day, leading socialite by night.
She doesn’t suffer anymore the real-life risks of possible Police detention while sitting bum-bum to bum-bum in a stinking cyber café with soprano-sounding crooks who speak with platinum-fake accents to their magas then curse them afterwards in Yoruba. Why would she when she now has a killer Acer Aspire laptop and broadband internet access in her bedroom thanks to her latest catch: the bank manager who promptly fired that randy cashier.
The real blogger doesn’t have my time anymore. She’s always off to book-reading sessions with authoresses or album-listening parties. Shopping in the malls or partying on private beaches. Appearing on TV entertainment shows or in the Fashion & Style pages of magazines.
You see, that’s why I’m still looking for the Real Blogger.
The former real blogger is gone. She doesn’t swim with the fishes anymore. She now flies with the birds.
And I want her back...
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
The title of this post was lifted from Wole Soyinka’s play of the same name. I had originally wanted to call it, “Death & The Biomedical Engineer” but I believed this one to be catchier hence my borrowing it. My post however (sadly…sigh…) bears no implied connections to that great work…
If there is one big weakness I have in my character, it is my amazing lack of empathy when it concerns the sad news of Death. This weakness worries me endlessly.
It wasn’t always so. I used to be a very sensitive person once. But Death came along and changed all that.
Death, you see, is my friend.
Many people view Death mainly in line with the symbolic figure as painted by the book of Revelation and Hollywood. Some others see him as the hooded figure with an ugly black bulldog walking the graveyards at night or the pale figure in a black suit with dark eyes, long hair and fingernails who morphs into a black bird as portrayed in a Snoop Dogg video.
But those of us who know him as a friend know he is nothing like this. He is timeless, ageless. Of cruel yet wise, kindly countenance.
I remember the first time I got to meet Death firsthand. Before then he had been a rumour, a story told from the village of a distant relation now lost but whose burial ceremony, Tradition and my father compelled us to visit. (Little wonder that in my childish days I came to equate the wearing of native attire and a visit to the village with death, not Christmas). Or I heard of Death from a friend who had lost a father, a mother, a relation. Then I used to feel the pain, knew how to empathize.
Then Death came and took away my immediate elder brother.
I remember sitting in my Uncle’s house miles away playing with the kids and then all of a sudden, Death came and tapped on my shoulder and said “I have taken your brother”. Almost immediately the phone rang and a friend of our second born was on it telling me to come to their office for a fictitious purpose. He didn’t have to lie or try to keep up a cheerful voice when he told me something had come up at home so I better hurry back. I already knew.
I can’t say I knew for sure when Death took away my Aunty Mo but I knew she would go soon. The air of Death hung around her for so many months as he mocked all our efforts as we tried to keep her alive. I knew Aunty Mo could keep him at bay if she wanted to. And Aunty Mo was a fighter!
I still remember the stoicism on her visage and the twinkle in her eyes while laughing at my jokes as I put an intravenous needle in her arm. As I took out the needle countless times when I failed to hit a vein and reinserted it severally after each mistake, she would laugh and say, “You should have been a doctor you know, not an Engineer”.
And Aunty Mo laughed at each and everything I said. Even if I said the sun was shining, she would laugh at just the way I said it. Then it became a pain for her even to laugh and one day she gave up and stopped laughing. And Death and the disease took her. I guess that’s the day I lost my empathy.
For years I refused to cry - I never still do - blaming myself for the death of everyone close to me, marveling at the way each piece of bad news makes me even tougher to receive the next. I looked for ways to put my lack of empathy to good use. I could be counted on to be a cool head when everyone else was panicking in a Life-or-Death situation. I remember calmly crossing a road, strolling to a pharmacy and just as calmly strolling back after buying a drug that helped save a girl’s life. One of my friends still berates me for my seeming lack of concern that day. I told him that if I had panicked and run madly across the road, I could have been knocked down by a vehicle thus putting my life and the girl’s in even greater danger. He thinks I’ve lost it.
We all know that we will die. None of us - except probably suicides and condemned criminals and their judges - know the exact moment that Death will come. Some of us try to keep him at bay: exercise, proper dieting, medical check-ups, drive carefully, look left and right before you cross, home and personal security... For those of us who have been on first name basis with Death for many years now these things mean little.
I have lived with Death. Well, we all actually do. But some of us know his address better than others. An unpredictable illness means I have stayed up on some nights confident I won’t see the next morning. But Death deceives me each time. I see the dawn and I say: Ok, maybe you’ll come tomorrow. Early last year, strapped in a car that crashed and somersaulted across a busy highway going at full speed, I looked across to see Death sitting beside me. I asked him if it was time but he shook his head and said no.
I have worked in hospitals for almost a year now and nowhere is Death more familiar and even more welcome than here. I have seen all ages and sexes of people hanging on to Life but from a thread and a Doctor or nurse’s wise or foolish decision. I have seen Death waiting as accident victims are lowered onto the bucky table, decency and nakedness forgotten as an x-ray is taken that may or may not save the person’s life.
Death is my friend but he never lets me hang around when he comes to collect someone. I have never looked at a person and they just die in front of my eyes. I only see them just before or immediately after they die. At least I am spared that.
I know Death will come for me one day and I am very comfortable with this. I try to live my life without regrets but I know I will have them. Why did I say this? Why didn’t I do that? Why didn’t I get to know God better? Why didn’t I pray more? Why didn’t I turn out to be a better Christian? Lord, remember I begged you to make my Death painless…
I don’t think I’ll really care for any of the loved ones I leave behind. I’ll try to make sure they’re well taken care of and done well by but there’ll be nothing I can do from that point on. It will just be a matter of time: one day, one week, one year, ten years, fifty years but they’ll forget me all the same as surely as the sun comes up the next day. And I won’t even spare a thought for the enemies - few, if any - that I leave behind. I think I’d even wish Death on them too so they’ll leave my loved ones alone.
I have ignored the blood, the tears, the wailings and supplications of the injured and their relatives and friends as I coldly tighten a screw or check the x-ray tube temperature error codes. I have done equipment maintenance while someone somewhere has his or her life juice slowly dripping away just so that the machine may not break down when some other people are in the same need. Thus the one sacrifices for the many. These things don’t bother me. After all, I have taught myself to have no empathy. In all honesty, maybe I wouldn’t be able to do the kind of work I do if I had any.
I am one really cold, cold bastard. I guess the only time I might actually feel empathy is when I die…
PS: I no longer work with health-related institutions.
Saturday, March 14, 2009
If you didn’t believe it before, The Naija Bloggers’ Awards has already gone full speed ahead and the final nominees for Category A have been out for a while now so all those of you who did not nominate me, you can rest assured that not only will I torture you in your dreams, I will also find out your Google password and delete your blog. If you doubt it, try me. Chikena!
Anyways, between Vera’s convincing reasons why she should win all her nominations for Category A (my dear, you even qualify for all of Category B) and Miz Okpeke’s intriguing campaign video (don’t you just love techno-chicks!) I’ve decided to hook up my crystal ball’s USB port and upload my latest predictions for your voting pleasure!
(As an aside, do you notice everything comes with a USB port nowadays? Soon even babies will be born with one hooked to their dimpled behinds…)
Anyway, since the Category A’s are partly decided, I’m going to have fun with the Category B’s instead and though some of them were so hard sha, I just had to choose more than one winner.
And so after seeing visions and dreaming dreams I present to you the bloggers who’ll (hopefully) be the eventual winners of this edition of the Naija Bloggers’ Awards. Sadly I have no real say in all these matters so if you no win eventually, no vex!
Just blame it on my cloudy crystal ball…
Bloggers Choice Award - Vera (‘nuff said.)
Most Intellectual Blogger - Emm… Doug or Danny Bagucci?
Best Student Blogger - Emm… Ex-schoolnerd?
Best Political Blog - Nigerian Curiosity (she sabi wetin dey happen for Naija pass me wey dey live here sef)
Best Religious Blog - Rita’s EROlyrics (God + Brain + Beauty)
Most Inspiring Blogger - StandTall (Funmi Iyanda, Vera Ezimora, etc, etc)
Best Entertainment Blog - Niyi Tabiti’s Gistmaster (was rooting for NotJustOK though)
Best Fashion Blog - Honestly, dunno… Wanted BoobSistas though (una know wetin carry me go there, abi?)
Best use of Media - Fresh & Fab (still rooted for NotJustOK and Afronuts Kush Galleries)
Best Use of Theme - Nigerian Curiosity (preferred SSD’s Easier family theme)
Best Use of Visuals- Afrobabe (if y’all know what I mean…)
Best Literary Blog - 14th & Serenity (Ok, OK, Carlang instead)
Most Creative Blogger - Ex-schoolnerd (I’m still waiting for you and Teddy’s porn movie oh!) very close tie with FBA
Dedicated Blogger Award - Vera (Gistmaster suppose win sha, abi?)
Best Personal Blog - Hmm… Afrobabe? (would have chosen Charizard & Buttercup’s though because Thanks to their blog, I even know how many boyfriends BC has had and that they haven’t done it yet)
Best Everyday Read - Verastically Vera
Most Likable Blogger - Vera (sotey the like don over-mature to love sef. Why do you think I’m marrying her?)
I laugh in Japanese (Funniest Blogger) - Tough one… OK, na draw: Vera and XsN
Celebutant (Most likely to become a celebrity off blogging) - Lil’ Woman, Woomie O! (and Me)
Drama King/Queen - (Over)dramatic blogger - Rayo (she dey too happy, she dey too vex!)
Hot and Sexy! (Blogger you think is hot in real life) - Spicytee (yum-yum!), Lil’ Woman, Rayo, XsN (My other wives, sorry to disappoint all of una)
Fire in my pants (Blogger you'd hook up with based solely on the content of their blog) - Badderchic ( **singing** All night long…)
Grandma/Grandpa Blogger (Seasoned blogging veteran who still updates frequently) - Funmi Iyanda
Paparazzi Blogger (Always on blogville) - Niyi Tabiti
FIRST!! (Always first on every blog) - LG (1st), Temite (2nd)
Meme Addict of Blogville (Always doing Memes) - Emm… Doug, StandTall and Buttercup?
Most Scandalous/Controversial Blogger - G.G. Naija (no vote from me for you jare! Na me you wan take get cheap publicity?)
Blogger I would most like to meet - Ahhh!!! Vera, Afrobabe, LG, Temite, Oyin, Funmi Iyanda, Doug, Danny Bagucci, Buttercup, Bumight, Laspapi, Afronuts, Jinta… (abeg, una just too many)
Most Stalked Blog (People keep going back for updates, comments) - Fineboy Agbero, Carlang
From the Outside looking in (Non-Nigerian members of Blogville a. k. a Honorary Naija) - Oyin (a. k. a Kin’shar), James Tubman, Queen of My Castle, ShonaVixen
Blogville Celebrity/ Popular Jingo (Most popular blogger) - Vera Ezimora (1st), LG (2nd)
Blogville Magician/Disappearing act Award (Blogger disappears for long periods without any explanation) - Carlang, Esquire
Most Nigeriacentric Blog/Blogger- Blog(ger) reps Naija to the fullest - Emm… Solomon Sydelle?
(n)Oprah Award (Most likely to become a talk show host) - This one too simple… StandTall
Quiet Storm (Most likely to quietly take over the world) - , Lil’ Woman, StandTall (quietly? Hmm…) Ex-schoolnerd
Say What?! (Most confusing Blogger) - Doug (?)
Epistle Blogger (Blogger loves writing long post) - FINALLY!!! ME OF COURSE!!!
Most Creative Moniker (blog title or blog name) - Ok, there’s Me, Porter deHarqourt, Fineboy Agbero, A Black James Bond, Danny Bagucci (think Mafia or designer shoes), Atutupuyoyo, Rayo (all4words), Woomie O! (sosowoomie), ConfessionsOfALondonGirl (na complete sentence be that one), bArOqUe (unorthdoxdecorum), Original Mgbeke, LG (Lady Guide), FFF, Miss Definitely Maybe, H2O, -- Ok, e don do!
Blogville Tatafo (Best Gossip blog) - LG, Niyi Tabiti
So fresh and So clean [Best newbie blog(ger) 6 months and under] - Lil’ Woman (?)
Blogville Butterfly (Friendliest Blogger) - First, there’s Rayo (checks up on me, calls/texts me and everything), Woomie (sometimes) and then Vera (second reason we’re getting married)
PS: Typing this list no be beans men! By the time I finished, voting would have ended already!
PSS: Abeg, I don’t intend breeding enmity oh! If I no mention you for here, please forgive me. Believe me, when I start tormenting people with nightmares, leaving you out might eventually be for your own good sef…
Oya now! The medicine man has spoken… Now, let the juju, sorry voting, begin!
Take care and have a swell week (or what’s left of it)!!!
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
She isn’t tall at all -- she could even be called short, coming up to a height of roughly 5 feet 2 inches, plus or minus a few inches depending on the hairdo she dons at the moment. She is a bit on the plump side though her weight also does fluctuate depending on her well-being. Considering that most of the problems in her life are almost over now, she should weigh in at her most impressive size in quite a while.
Her face is plain in that beautiful way that plain can sometimes be and the gentility visible on it is reflected in her demeanour and how she carries herself. If the world had much more of her, then the world would surely be a very peaceful place to live in. But do not be deceived by her simple looks into thinking that her life has been anything but easy-sailing because beneath the face of a lamb lies the heart of a lioness. This woman was born fighting.
Right from even her Primary school days growing up in Aba, this daughter of one of the most celebrated goldsmiths in the South-East was always known as a fighter. Despite her puny frame, she could take on any bully twice her size and still emerge victorious. So vicious was her attack that once, the parents of a fellow classmate of hers strongly refused to believe that the tiny runt summoned in their presence to the Headmistress’ office for punishment had actually been the one responsible for beating their daughter to pulp. Till they went to their graves, they were still convinced their daughter had been attacked by a wild animal and the school authorities had decided to cover up the incident by laying the blame on one of the tiniest students.
I do not know if this incident was responsible for her parents sending her to a girls’ school run by Reverend Sisters but I do know that the transfer did achieve its desired results except for the few moments when the fiery temper would occasionally flare up. However, by the time she entered into the Teacher Training College, she had completely mellowed into a very desirable spinster renowned as one of the youngest and most-liked Headmistresses in that area. Before that time, she was certain that only 2 paths lay ahead of her. She would either go into the convent and become a Reverend Sister or she would meet and marry Mr. Wonderful and together with her awesomeness, they would raise the most wonderful children in the world.
Then the Civil War came and things were no longer the same as they were. Her well-to-do family had to flee the shell-ravaged town of Aba several steps ahead of the Federal troops who would still later invade the village they had fled to. For 2 years she and her loved ones struggled to survive, always on the run, convinced that each day might be their last. It broke her heart to see her brothers roaming about in the bush looking to scavenge anything for their family to eat (a process called bush-combing) while avoiding conscription or certain death from the bombers that circled overhead.
It made her sad to see her father, once a very popular philanthropist whose clients brought gold from all around the country for him to fashion into jewelry that became collectors’ items now reduced to almost a nobody while his various houses were seized or destroyed in Aba (till now her family was never able to reclaim any of his property. Several tenants who stayed behind would eventually illegally take over the property as theirs in the aftermath of the war). His slowly-impaired eyesight and worsening health conditions didn’t help situations either.
And then the big blow came after she lost her elder sister to an air-raid when a shell exploded on their house. Rather than sympathise with them, the villagers did an about-face and accused her family of creating a trail for the Federal troops to track and attack them all the way from Aba. Hearing their taunts of “Serves you people right”, it seemed as if life had administered its final coup de grace.
By the time she met him, the fight had all but gone from her spirit but with the perseverance, charm and grace with which he wooed her, she became slowly convinced that maybe Life still had its merits despite the bleakness that surrounded her.
She thought she could dream again but it was not to be. Six kids, two miscarriages, countless occasions of adultery on his part and 24 years later and it turned out that Mr. Wonderful’s dark past which the rumour-mongers had always whispered of to her in the dark corners (and which she had vehemently refused to listen to) had become revealed in the starkest of lights for her and everyone to see.
It took all of those 24 years but the fire was reignited in her heart and this time she let it burn from her very soul, cleansing her from the pretences and guilt of the past. Despite her strict Catholic upbringing, she took him to the courts and before the church and got a separation from her marriage. Mr. Wonderful was all too happy to see her and her wretched children go since after all, he had been itching all these years to start a new family with one of his numerous concubines. He even went as far as alleging that his wife of 20-plus years wanted to poison him since he now had money -- an allegation that further convinced the judge and church to grant the separation.
As she looked at the ruins of her marriage, her six children some of them in various stages of University education and her pensioner status, she must have felt like she did during the war. She didn’t give up though. It was time for yet another new beginning.
She became the Principal of a private secondary school, she farmed, she traded in everything under the sun, she joined Co-operatives, she borrowed loans and repaid them till one by one all her children had completed school. When she heard the stories of her ex-husband’s rising profile, she must have cried herself to sleep sometimes. What had all their years of struggling to raise a family been for when she was the one toiling while he kept another woman happy with his new-found wealth?
This woman is still a fighter despite the fact that situations have never been kind to her, especially death. She has nursed and cared for her mother, her younger sister and a son all of them in various stages of ill-health at different times. She has stayed up for countless nights praying for them to get well and she has watched as the cold hands of Death has taken them one by one. She has plan and organised their funerals.
Even till today, as she’s just starting to enjoy the fruits of her labour, she’s still doing a nursing course overseas rather than sit at home, eat and watch TV. She can revel in the luxuries of her children’s homes, she can watch over and play with her grandchildren but her fire still burns on as if she still has a lot to do. Her quest for service to God and humanity still keeps her occupied.
She turned 64 a few days ago and as I look back at some of the battles she has faced and emerged victorious, I can only hope that when I turn 64 myself, I will be content in the fact that I - like she did- could still raise 5 wonderful children despite the trials and tribulations I face along the way.
The greatest woman in the world isn’t much to look at really but I am glad everyday that I know her.
She’s my mom…
PS: I’m sorry about the lenght of these things, I really am! I know Jinta said I made him dizzy last time but it’s just that this is my subconscious talking and when I started I didn’t know I’d just go on and on…
Pardon me, my subconscious just doesn’t know how to summarize that’s all!
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
You know something about Life? We always say we’ll try to live one without regrets, don’t we? We rejoice in the ups and weather out the downs and then convert these phases to life experiences. But sometimes, despite all our best efforts not to regret, Life comes back and bites us real hard in the ass! I’m not talking of a tiny nibble; I’m talking of a great big chunk of your ass hanging around flapping like a flag in the wind for all to see.
Why the sudden philosophical bent? Well, you see, I met the Ugly Duckling recently…
Ok, let me clarify this first. When I say Ugly Duckling, I am actually using a very wrong choice of adjectives here because this ugly duckling in reality was one very fine duckling indeed; truly one of God’s masterpieces. I just call her ugly duckling to illustrate the massive make-over that she has undergone to become the very beautiful, beautiful goose that she now is (and yes, I did say beautiful twice).
I ran into UD towards the end of last year in Lagos and I must say I was totally taken aback by the transformation. For where she had been a clingy, mercurial-in-character, not-too-sure-of-herself, mildly irritating phase of my life, she is now an extremely confident, sexually ravishing looking female with a gait in her stride, a swing to her trim hips and the story of an impending marriage in her kitty.
UD and I do go some way back to the time when I was going very steady with my ex. It was during my I. T. programme and there was this fine, slim, fair-skinned, slightly snobbish Ibo gal Engineer who seemed to be the cynosure of all eyes: mine, the top management brass and even the lowest factory hand inclusive. The attraction to her was a given seeing that the presence of females were ultra-scarce in the factory environment we worked in. There were actually other girls around but the Quality Control girls tended to act real bitchy, a strategy they obviously devised to truncate our amorous intentions. And so everyone was forced to jostle for a smile, a wink, a corny pick-up line, a stolen touch or an “accidental” brush with UD’s vital stats.
I knew UD was dancing to my samba right from the minute we met. There was that spark. I had never felt it before. I remember the vibes were flowing in very shockingly clear defined waves that I even told her a few minutes after we met not to let me fall in love with her. Frankness has always been my forte and the caution sign was necessary. My heart has a notoriety for not knowing when to keep still.
I had then what I considered the best relationship in the world and unfaithfulness wasn’t going to be an issue as far as I was concerned. But things turned out otherwise.
It was innocent at first. The discussions. Going together to solve an Engineering fault. Spending time together during Break. Waiting to sign out together. Hanging around till she got transportation back home. Looking out for each other in church…
That was when I learnt the lesson that even the Presidents of two major world super-powers who fall in love with each other can still somehow squeeze out time for their rendezvous. But again I use the wrong analogy here. We weren’t in love. Or rather, I wasn’t.
After a while, it was obvious (to both of us at least) that UD was in love with me, much as we tried to hide it within the gears, grease and pulleys of work. But I still stress that the feeling wasn’t reciprocal. I wish I could say I loved her a little but that was so untrue. If anything, lust was the major factor. That, and the power it gave me to know that without even moving a muscle, without a dime being spent and despite my total lack of influential power of any sort, the most beautiful girl in miles around had inexplicably fallen in love with me.
The roles were clearly defined. I was in love with my ex. My ex was in love with me at that time. UD was in love with me. I didn’t love UD. I didn’t want to break UD’s heart though. Here I was, a foolish Sir Galahad caught in a nasty love triangle. It was the first I had found myself in, others before just being “crush triangles”.
Things came to a head when I got to UD’s house. A true African girl is taught out of some crooked, old-fashion relationship manual handed down by their mothers to never be the first to admit she loves the guy. I could clearly read the signs of the dilemma UD was going through. As she seductively wrapped her long self round me, tugging at my last shred of commonsense and reducing me to a hunk of testosterone-saturated goose flesh, she kept on begging me for just one thing. She said it time and time again: “Tell me you love me”.
But I always had a problem with following authority most especially when my senses are incomplete.
She begged, she pleaded, she cajoled, she tempted. “Say you love me”. But I didn’t. I knew those words were the key. I could have said them and meant nothing by them. Any other guy would have. I just had to say the magic words and she would be mine forever.
Don’t get me wrong at this point. UD wasn’t a tease or a temptress or gold-digger or anything of the sort. Lord knows that at that time I had virtually nothing to offer her and she knew I had a girlfriend. Anyhow the game went, it would be a lose-lose situation for her.
But I clearly knew what she was. She was just a young lady who - misguidedly I might add - had sensed the potentials behind starting a relationship with the male involved even though he in this case wasn’t interested in her. She could have told him she loved him and maybe convinced him to leave his belle but that wretched manual laid down by her female ancestors whose ideas of a romantic get-away was an arranged marriage, a couple of white goats and a barn full of yams said that if she did, the guy would never truly value her.
If she dared admit to being in love first, she could be assured that a time would come in the near future when their relationship would run into a storm and the guy in question would then say the words women have dreaded hearing over time immemorial: “After all, you were the one that asked me out”.
To cut the long story short, he never said the magic words and her love for him slowly turned to heart-break, then anguish, then resentment and later to wonder as she pondered what she had seen in such a foolish boy anyway. For indeed, he must have been very foolish to have gone and told his then girlfriend about the erotic moments they had almost shared and how he had said no at the last minute and given her a kiss before walking away.
But his ex never believed that was how far things went and slowly their relationship crumbled after one episode of mistrust or the other on both their parts. Not long afterwards it broke down totally and even though he made efforts to pick up with UD where he’d left off, she sensed the anger in his heart and knew that his ulterior motive bordered more on a mission to wreck vengeance on womanhood for his break-up than to love her as honestly as she once loved him. They still stole a few kisses but she could clearly read the label on the bottle: 100% lust content.
Even when in a erotica-fuelled moment he did finally manage to say the magic words, she had learnt her lesson already and didn’t trust him. When he called her on the phone to ask her if they could begin a relationship, she asked him the other magical question: “Are you ready to get married, say in 2 year’s time?” Any other man would have done the usual “guy thing” and lied but he still hadn’t lost his frankness and stupidity, so he said no. And so slowly, they drew apart and this time she had the satisfaction of being the one to walk away.
He ran into the ugly duckling in December 2008 and she looked even more beautiful than ever. She looked radiant, painted in the blushes of love and all he looked into was his own cupboard of skeletons. She’s wearing hip-hugging jeans now (she only wore skirts before) and he’s looking unabashedly at those hips and thinking to himself, “They fit snugly into someone else’s palms now”
She tells him she is getting married in 2009 to a guy he used to hear of but never met and he wishes her luck. When they depart he remembers those past times, those stolen kisses, her picture in which she’s smiling with those twinkling eyes of hers straight at him which she gave him as a gift. He remembers how good she always looked in her skirt suits and even work overalls.
He remembers his ex too, lost to him forever. He recalls the love triangle. He recalls that moment when he could have said the magic words.
He will never cherish the opportunity of having two beautiful, intelligent women passionately in love with ordinary, drab him because it never happened. Her hips disappear around the corner and he thinks to himself, “Just look what I’ve missed”.
He knows he was never smart after all. He never was a “guy-man”. He was always too frank for his own good.
That ugly duckling is now a beautiful, beautiful goose. He, on the other hand, was just plain stupid…