***

Sometimes I stand at a distance and look at me

I see her
Walking languidly
Keeping the weight of the world steady on her shoulders
The zeal and agility that once shook her core, gone

I stand apart and look again

I see her
Walking gracefully
With such poise and strength
Assertive in every stride

I see me
A living oxymoron
Happily sad
Enchanted and repelled
Within and without
Demure and Wild
Peaceful yet violent

I see me lost, yet found.

All the bright and beautiful things in this world fade
Or do they brighten up?

Things I’ve Learnt

Err, skip the title.  I haven’t learnt all these things, what, I’m only 22!

Far back when I was 19, I was still a radio junkie. I was listening to one of those shows they had on Cool FM in the night – don’t remember the title or the show now – and the presenter read out all of these with the title “I’ve learnt that…”. I was an agile kid, I took it all down. All of it didn’t add up then, they still all don’t add up now, but, I like them and I’m sharing them and you’re gonna read them 😛

You heard!

I’ve learnt that,

  • Just because you like someone doesn’t mean they’ll like you back
  • It takes years to build trust but only seconds to destroy it
  • You can get on charm for about 15 seconds, after that you had better know something
  • You shouldn’t compare yourself to the best others can do, but the best you can do
  • We don’t have to change friends if we understand that friends change
  • You shouldn’t be so eager to find out a secret, it could change your life forever
  • Two people can look at the exact same thing and see something different
  • There are many ways of falling and staying in love
  • Your life can be changed in a matter of hours by people who don’t know you
  • The paradigm we live is not all that’s offered to us
  • What you see isn’t always what you get
  • It’s not what happens to people that’s important, it’s what they do about it
  • No matter how thin you slice it, there are always two sides
  • You should always leave loved ones with loving words; it may be the last time you’ll see them
  • You can’t keep going long after you think you can’t
  • No matter how broken your heart is, the world doesn’t stop for your grief
  • The law of give and it shall be given unto you, doesn’t always apply
  • Good or bad sex is just a thing of the mind
  • Just because two people argue doesn’t mean they don’t love each other and because they don’t doesn’t mean they do
  • Sometimes, you have to put the individual ahead of their actions
  • Our backgrounds and circumstances may have influenced who we are, but we are responsible for who we become
  • Sometimes when friends fight, you’re forced to choose sides even when you don’t want to
  • Heroes are people who do what needs to be done, regardless of the consequences
  • Learning to forgive takes practice
  • No matter how good someone is, they’re going to hurt you every once in a while and you must forgive them for that
  • It isn’t always enough to be forgiven by others, sometimes you have to learn to forgive yourself
  • Absence most times doesn’t make the heart grow fonder
  • Bad things happen to good people
  • The patient dog might just die of hunger
  • Not everyone is cut out for marriage
  • Change is the only constant thing in life

That’s all folks!

Passing Faces

I work. I suppose you know that already. Of all the many nerve racking things that come with working, commuting to work is the absolute worst for me. I’d go on and on telling you how depressing it is, but that’s unnecessary. It ain’t my flow.

You know the Yin yang theory? In my oh-so-dark-depression every morning, there’s this little shimmering light that makes all the difference. Brings some strange sorta peace in a very weird way. It has come to be the best part of my mornings.

I do it every morning. Have conversations with myself. About them. :)

From the moment I’m dropped off and I walk the rest of the journey to work, there are specific people I expect to see. I’ve seen them everyday since I started taking that route. I’ve watched them. I know them. But they don’t know me.

I do not know their names but I’ve named them in my mind and I wonder about them.

I walk pass tons of people everyday, but these 7, I look out for. They have come to be my light in all the dark.

There’s the first woman. I call her Iya Titi, for no reason in particular. It just fits. She’s there every morning. As early as 6 a.m. She faces me as I get out of the car. She sells fruits, as the seasons come. It was mango once before, and then tangerines, bananas at some point too. It’s agbalumo now. I bought a few from her some days ago, just because. She looked up and smiled at me and said thank you, I smiled back and walked off with agbalumos in my bag and a name for her. We’re friends now, if only by a smile.

Next up are the two beggars who sit in the path I thread by with laminated A4 papers around their necks. I’ve never stopped to read what they have on, neither have I stopped to drop a few bucks. I’m not mean, I just wonder about them. How long would they sit out to beg, what amount of money would make a difference to them. What do they want out of life? Even I cannot fathom what it might be.

I walk just a few steps more before I start to hear the clinging sound from afar off. It’s where the next two are. I think they’re sisters. In my mind they are. The elder one fries puff puff, the younger one hits a fork on an iron tray to get the attention of passersby. They’re there everyday too. We don’t smile at each other – yet – but it’s satisfying seeing them support each other in the early hours of the morning, trying to make ends meet as people swarm by to face their daily businesses.

I walk only a little more, and then I’m on the street that leads to the back gate of the estate my office is. I take a bike from this street. There are tons and tons of bike men who chant “Sister come” when I get here, but I never budge. I have a chosen one. He’s the sixth. He wears a thin faded blue shirt everyday and has a fixed sad smile. He’s old and I have no name for him. I take no other bike when I do not see him, I’m always early anyway, so I have enough time to spare. I do not want my N50 to go into anybody else’s pocket. I want it to be in his alone. And he knows it. When I get there and he isn’t there, immediately he’s back, he comes to me and says good morning, with that fixed sad smile, only a little wider. I give him the brightest smile I’ve got and say “Good morning, sir”. And then, I get on the bike and we zoom off in the ambiance of our silence and peaceful friendship. On random days, I want to pay him N100 instead of N50, just because, but I wonder how he’d react. I wonder if he’d be excited or if he’d feel insulted. I wonder about him. Every single time.

The seventh person is a lot like me. She’s a young girl. She lives within the estate. She’s always leaving for work when I’m walking the last mile to my office. I envy that. She’s very pretty :) We pass by each other without a word but we give each other a placid stare. I know when she’s happy and when she’s down. I know when she had a good night rest and when it was frustrating. Yesterday, after we passed by, I turned around to look at her again and she had done the exact same thing. We smiled and turned around. I planned to ask for her name today :)

I’m glummer than usual today. My little lights weren’t there today.

Iya Titi wasn’t on the bridge today chanting “buy your fruits, fresh fresh fruits”. The beggars weren’t on the street. I didn’t hear the clank of the fork on the tray from afar off. I got there and saw the elder sister alone struggling to fry the puff puff, get people’s attention and sell them all at once. I stood out for almost thirty minutes, my bike man never came. And when I walked in, she didn’t pass. I couldn’t ask for her name.

I walked by looking worried, wondering where they all went and what could have happened to them. I saw too many people look at me like something was amiss.

I walked on, finding my path in the dark wondering if my lights would be back to light up the way tomorrow.

The epic childhood story

Were you born in the era when the best chewing gum ever was sold for only two for 5 naira?

No, not Sprint chewing gum, that was two for one naira. *eyeroll* Bomky!

Bomky was in a shiny blue wrap with circles of pink balls all around. The chewing gum in itself was pink. It had this rare quality of being able to blow the largest of balloons, having it burst all over your face and not leaving the littlest trace! It was simply the gum for all! And then it fazed out so quickly :( *one minute silence*

That’s hardly the story to be told.

Now, at the age of about 8, I was ready to be Bomky’s brand ambassador. I bought it, shared it around, chewed it, proclaimed the gospel about it, dreamed of it…. Name it, I did! Bomky was the deal!

There would be four characters in this story. I should introduce them now before I go on, ’cause they would take on peculiar roles in this tale.

Bisi: If you aren’t new here, you should know her. She’s the only sibling I’ve got. But here she played the villain. She’s been a sly sister for as long as I can remember *eyeroll*

Ruka: She was an eleven year old Cotonou girl who stayed with us to help out with chores. Child trafficking thingz! She played the dimwit 😐

Mother: She’s who she is, here

And of course, me :)
I’m as much a hero as it can get.

So, to the “epic” story.

It was a Saturday morning. My sister and I generally spent Saturdays studying and working momma/lesson teacher given homeworks. My dad was out. My mum was about to go out too. Before she left, she stated specifically : “None of you should go out, if I hear that you went out while I’m away, I’ll beat the hell out of you when I get back” (She is who she is, here) and then she left.

Only three seconds after she was out, Bisi said: “I want Bomky”

Now, y’all realize that I’m the ambassador for this brand, I mean what else is branding about if it isn’t’t ensuring a potential consumer is conversed to a loyal one, huh?

I took that statement with all seriousness and said “I’ll gaan buy for us”
“What if mummy catches you?” she asked.
“I’ll be fast, she won’t” I replied.
“Me I’m not there o!” the sly one said.

From somewhere, Ruka adds “I’ll go with you”
I should have known better.

So!
We took 10 naira to buy four and we set out – Ruka and I.
We ran the whole stretch with me singing “Just be limbo, just be quick….” from Fragle rock – in my mind – the whole time. We bought it and turned around to run the whole stretch.

I was a very fit child, there I was basking in the euphoria of “dusting” Ruka while she tried to catch up behind. And then in a moment I looked back and saw my mother’s blue Peugeot 504 bending at the corner. I shouted to Ruka in Yoruba “Mummy’s coming, run!” I don’t know what she heard, but I saw her retreat and head to the car and do a courtesy like she was saying “welcome ma”.

I was rooted to the spot, entranced by her stupidity.

I heard my mum say “I was checking if it was both of you, I wasn’t sure, thank you for helping me confirm, now go and wait for me at home, I’m coming for you.” And with that, Ruka ran back to me, crying in advance.

You know the rest of the gist, my mum did beat the hell out of us and asked us to face the wall, kneel down and put up our hands for the next one hour. Bisi snickered behind with the “I told you so” look.

And yeah, the bomkys, they stayed in the medicine box on the dinning table for the next 6 months till someone threw them out.

I lost my brand endorsement.

Eat. Pray. Love.

I’m sitting up with my laptop on my lap, my legs haphazardly tucked beneath a duvet on the double bed of a hotel room I’m lodged in for two nights, playing the clapping game.

The clapping game has me clapping loudly every 3-7 minutes in arithmetic progression. One clap. Silence. Two claps. Silence….

Thing is, I chose this day to be alone. I just wanted space, I craved it. And I got it. But now, there’s this stray cricket in my room who’s gone insane with the silence around here and is chirping loudly to make the environment livelier. But I do not want lively right now. I want still. As such, I cannot play loud music to deaden its chirping (which is irking me badly) out. I’ve settled for clapping intermittently. It’s working a little bit.

I like being alone a lot. As a matter of fact, much more than I thought. For someone as jovial as me, it’s quite alarming. But yeah, that’s that. I had planned this “holiday” (for lack of better words to describe it) a while ago. I simply wanted a place stay that had no one and would have me lazying around like a brat, reading and maybe just a tad of soul-searching. And it was all working out well, until this cricket thought to chirp.

I’ve been in bed all day, reading Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert – hence the title – and it’s been a good day eating. reading. giggling. For every moment I’ve tried towards soul searching, I’ve dozed off for the next two hours. (That has happened twice) So, I’ve given up. My soul probably needs not be searched.

Last year was all sorts of things for me. Most of all it was such a rush. I basically saw everything and noticed nothing. I just didn’t get the time to. I had said at its beginning that resolutions were flawed, mantras were better. I stuck to “work hard, play hard, love hard”. I only worked hard in the whole year. Mantras are now flawed 😐

I have no exact direction with this. It was born out of my irritation with the chirping sound. It’s silent now, so I can go.

One last thing. This time off has taught me one thing:

There’s only a few things that can make you genuinely happy. Happy without feeling selfish, or having your conscience nag you into asking God for forgiveness. Just genuinely happy in that moment. In yourself. You should seek those things out and do them. All of life is but a dream and you’re entitled to enjoying every bit of it.

You’ve only got one life to live. Make it worth it.

Have a cheerful additional twelvemonth ahead.

Eat.Pray.Love. Giggle and Read too