Posted in Musings

Reflection

Within two days, I have nearly been involved in what could have been a fatal bike accident twice.

First day, I was on my way to work, at a busy junction, the traffic light showed red, the bike man decided this is the perfect opportunity to ignore traffic signs and run over some pedestrians who were crossing at the time. We got lucky. I was holding the back rest of the bike at the time so the application of sharp brakes didn’t throw me over. The pedestrians just barely managed to escape and the others held us hostage for a few minutes exchanging curses and abuses with the bike man.

The next day, I was also on my way to work… same junction. I’m beginning to think there’s something about bike riders and that junction. The bike rider ran a traffic light, was about to turn left, saw the traffic warden a bit too late and in a bid to avoid paying fines, swerved the bike straight ahead and in the process, another bike hit us from the back. I got lucky again. This time around I wasn’t holding the back rest of the bike so my hands were safe from being broken. It was just a small bump of the other bike’s front to my leg.

I would like to say that these two isolated incidents helped me reflect on life, but nah, that is a lie. I just thought it will be a great intro to this write-up.

Some great friendships I have had in this twenty-first century have more or less ended. Well, I can’t say that for all of them… Some of them we are still struggling to keep up.

NAJ – 2010 till 2012

Ours was like a hit and run friendship. I don’t remember exactly how it started but I remember exactly how it ended. Now that I think about if, you strung me on all through the duration of our friendship. I was emotionally detached from everyone, you pretended to be emotionally aware of my feelings and as soon as I fell for you, you got away.

I don’t regret our times together. You were the first human I told I love you. I remember our calls, we always did the “always and forever thing”. We were naughty. You always seemed to be in some kind of trouble and I was always there to hand out good advice. We confided in each other although now I know some of the things you told me in confidence are lies. I started noticing some cracks when you went away to university before me. Naive little me thought we would remain the same, always and forever right. I went away to university too and we still kept up the pretence, until the day I heard you say I was just an old piece of rag that has refused to been thrown away; not exactly in those words but it has same meaning. I forgive you though. I forgave you a long time ago. I do not know if the strength you gave me to deal with what was going on at home was false, but either way, thank you.

NIL – 2010 till struggling 2016

Now how did we become friends.

Call me twisted dear readers but we met after he did something to me that will be classed as sexual harassment in 2018. Now, back then I didn’t know what it was but all I did know was that I felt like dog poop afterwards that I went ahead and told him off. Well, one thing led to another and he became my confidant. We had long hours of calls, countless letters, several used note pads in class and what not.

How did it end?

There was never really a clean cut end. We just drifted. Our chats became monotonous, he was always trying to chat me up with the same conversational starters the boys of his age used I guess, I was having none of it. With time it became a yearly happy birthday friendship. Dear NIL, I definitely thought we were fated when I realised your birthday was 23 hours after mine. You were my first crush. Scratch that, I think I loved you back then with my small teenage brain. I remember crying myself to sleep when you started dating someone else. That was how I knew the words of the song “If you’re not the One” by Daniel Bedingfield. I think I wondered a lot why you didn’t pick me. Now I realise years later after we talked about it that I was the cause. You know back then, if you liked someone you had to pretend you didn’t like them so you wouldn’t appear pathetic. Teenage crap I guess. You would be pleased to know that I have changed since then, now if I like you, I will tell you straight up.

JUN- 2012 to struggling 2018

In the summer of 2012, when I met you, you looked dashing. Now I had known about you obviously prior to this meeting and vice versa but the last we saw each other was when I was well far from puberty. Having

learnt from past experiences not to hide feelings, I took your number and we began to talk. You were an introverted thing. I wanted to know you more. The chats became long calls, the long voice calls became long video calls. We were in different continents at the time but somehow we made it work.

You were a joy to behold. I started liking you the day I told you a story and I waited for you to judge me like others…you didn’t.

You might not know this but I met you during a bad phase of my life, you gave me strength and helped eased the loneliness and lack of self-confidence I felt. For the last three years when life hit you square in the face, you stopped listening to me. You started hiding and I, the award winner for the most persistent human gave up on you.

I am sorry. I gave up on you because I couldn’t handle your flaws. I forgot that every human is flawed. I understand better now, your flaws weren’t your fault. Our recent conversations has rekindled the spark and are almost like old times. It is as if nothing happened.

Our friendship hasn’t ended. I hope it doesn’t. But life has taken us to different paths. Perhaps we will see.

LPO- 2013 to struggling 2018

Hello there LPO, I also cannot remember the exact moment we began interaction. But just like your friend JUN, we had known about each other from the napkin years but had never spoken as at 2013 when we were well into adulthood.

Truthfully, I disliked a lot of things about you. You always thought you were right. Your mindset never quite fit in with mine. I think that is why we drifted. I couldn’t handle your thinking. It is true we had a lot of similarities, but our glaring differences made the similarity look like chicken shit. You are quite the conversationalist and I could keep up but I knew it wasn’t going to last long. On some issues that mattered most to me you stood against it vis-a-vis.

So why am I thanking you? Because you made my evenings fun. Coming back home to speak was and always will be a pleasure.

Dr.EC- 2012 to struggling 2018

Our meeting was per chance. The very first social media friend I have ever made. I remember that we often joked a lot about how difficult I was at the beginning. I think you were the very first brother in my friendzone.

You were helpful, kind, understanding amongst other things.

I remember worrying a lot about your safety when you were still in medical school. Till date, I really don’t know what made you slide into the DM and remain there. I do not know what the future holds for us. I wonder what will happen when we actually meet physically. This online chat has gone on too long. I hope you will not be disappointed.

OEK – 2000 to 2016

Ours was a very long friendship. Perhaps the longest I have ever had without a break in communication but my thoughts on you on this blog is going to be the shortest. We were sisters, partners-in-crime at one point even but you broke that trust. I forgive you, I still love you and wish you nothing but happiness, but we cannot be the same again. I cannot deal with betrayal when I have gotten to that level of bonding with anyone.

Back to the present day, I put up a picture of me in a headwrap. I wonder if I’ll lose another friend over my apparent “conversion”.

To those friends that we’ve parted ways, In the words of the Jackson 5;

“Don’tcha know

I sit around

With my head hangin’ down

And I wonder

Who’s lovin’ you”

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Posted in Musings

A High Calling?

Verse 1

Train delayed arriving into London Euston. Busy London as per usual. Nothing new.

Forgot what taking the bus was like since I couldn’t bring myself to call dad.

Finally got home.

Alicia jumps on me, Mathieu takes my luggage downstairs to my room.

“Good evening mummy”

“Ehen Nnọọ, how are you”

“Fine ma”

“I’m stealing this coat before you leave” Alicia shouted. “Go straight to the room” she added with a whisper.

The aura at home had changed, the usual gists between me and mum didn’t happen and the house was disturbingly quiet.

“Dad is in his room” Alicia said, “it’s like he knew you were coming in”.

“I really didn’t ask, busybody! Can I take a nap and wake up in 2 days?”

Alicia laid my luggage down and started going through every single item.

I jumped into my bed to force sleep on me and all I could hear was “I’m taking this, and this and that as well” as Alicia went through my belongings with intent to steal.

————-

I felt tapping on my left leg. At first I thought it was in my dreams, but it didn’t stop and it became annoying.

“Louise, bilie”- Mum said

“Ooohhh i want to sleep” I complained.

“Your father wants to talk to you”. Mum insisted.

As soon as I heard ‘father’ I cleared my eyes, jumped out of my bed and headed to my parents room. I tried to lighten my face although my entire body screamed fear. This fear was not a show of respect or reverence. This was the kind of fear I used to have when 6 year old me would go to someone’s house and my mother would warn me not to eat or eat too much but I’d go there and do the total opposite and she’d give me that look that said nothing but “When we get home your father will hear” and I’d want to die before we got home. I didn’t know what to expect because to be honest we had talked about this matter for the past 5 weeks and it seemed to me like all the points were exhausted and well emphasised. I was sick of hearing the same thing again.

“Do you know why I’ve called you here?” Dad said.

I remained quiet. I observed the redness of his eyes and the crookedness of his voice.

“Well if you don’t know it is because of the matter at hand” mum quickly rushed. I glanced at the wall clock in their bed without making it obvious to them. It was 2.13am. 2 in the morning?!?! Whatever they had to say had to interrupt my beauty sleep, which I do not play with. My parents chose to discuss this this early. The last time I had such midnight discussions with my parents was when i was in junior secondary or was it primary school, when my behaviour was disgustingly rude and disrespectful towards my teachers and fellow pupils. The teachers would send several notes home through me to arrange meetings with my parents but they never even came home with me because I was afraid of telling my parents. Can we deep this used to be 10 years ago. Okay, deeped yeah? Alright.

I really expected one of these just before going to university but even that one happened in the day time and did not interfere with my sleep.

“You have brought me shame, Louise, the leaders have heard of your change and they are all disappointed. Now they think I don’t train my kids and didn’t lead my family well”

We talked for a long time. I pretty much repeated what I now believe in and what my decision was. They pretty much said the same thing they had said before, nothing new.

“You have no power whilst under my roof and unmarried to make decisions for your life, therefore you will refrain from attending that church with immediate effect. You will find a higher standard church if our church does not do it for you. I cannot watch you go from being on top to losing all the morals we have put in you.”

I looked up to him. Looked at my mum and then looked down again.

“I really believe this is the church for me and…”

“No! No way. It can’t be. As your father I cannot see evil come your way and not warn you from it, obey you parents in the Lord, unless you don’t also believe we are in the Lord.”

“Charles being forceful will not help matters” my mum managed to say.

“Exactly dad, you can force me to do this but it won’t be from my heart and won’t shift my belief.

“Janet. Janet. Janet. Ugboro ole ka m kpọrọ gị? You are the one that stopped me from training this kids the way I was going by saying the night vigils at home shouldn’t hold all in the name of going to school or them being tired.”

They went on arguing. It hurt to see them argue over this matter and me being the reason.

“Louise, please try and go to church this Sunday…” mum said after they quieted down.

“Mum I can’t promise you that. I’d lie if I told you I was and I hate to lie”

“Why?”

“I don’t want to mummy, i don’t”

Boom. My dad slapped me on the right cheek and then continually hit me without stopping. My body was in shock. It didn’t know what being beaten felt like any longer. Its been 9 years since it last happened, it stopped when I gave my life to Christ in 2009.

I put my head in between my thighs as to protect myself and patiently waited for him to stop or get tired. A single tear dropped down to my chin. I looked at mother with a look she will never forget, I got up and went to my bed.

I couldn’t get back to sleep but I however turned my body to face the wall so that if they went past my room they wouldn’t see me awake.

I loved that I did not retaliate, verbally of course, cos i cannot raise my hand over my parents. You see, the old me would have packed my bags and left home with the first train. Instead i stayed until my time to go was come. I did the dishes and cleaned everywhere. I served my family leaving my siblings to wonder what had come over me.

I was sad not because father hit me but because of the reason behind his anger. Father didn’t fear losing his daughter because he knew well that this would only bring us closer. He wasn’t angry because what I was doing was not matching his belief. Father was afraid of what the ‘elders’ where going to say. He feared the persecution he was about to receive and the effect my change will have on his ministry. Father would probably have to take a back seat. Father would have to attend to 100s of calls from the pastors that faked to love him or have interest in the matter only for them to carry the news around.

Father cared about being a pastor more than he care about first being a father, a dad to his children…

Verse 2

I was scared of father for a long time. All the way from my childhood and well into my teenage years. Eventually that fear became submission and something else. I had trained that fear to become useful to me. I had perfected the art of mind games. While father dominated me, I “submitted” and only just used him to achieve what I wanted. I was very ambitious you see. Whenever I wanted something I always had. I became his beloved child. Always at his beck and call. I have a natural “maternal” instinct and that father liked a great deal. I could sell the clothes on my back if it meant that the starving person next to me will eat. Father always said I was like him. Beauty, brains, persona. Father was wrong.

While we share some similar characteristic traits, we are very different. Father likes indoor activities and I am adventurous. Father is a man of few words and me, I can talk Africa out of a recession if given the opportunity. Father trusts outsiders easily, I am wary of both insiders and outsiders. Father is afraid of the dark… in the darkness, I come alive.

Father likes the vision and I do not.

That brings me to the beginning of a short diatribe.

Father happens to be at the helm of an organisation that is over three decades old. The organisation is run almost like a parliamentary system of government with Father being the head of government….

To be continued….

Posted in Musings

Tattling

Happy new day!

Happy Sunday!!

Happy new week!!!

Happy new month!!!

That is, to those who always look for something to celebrate even when there’s nothing to celebrate. The Lord is your strength.

Happy Independence Day to Nigeria. As my friend eloquently put it, “on this day, Nigeria unfollowed Britain”.

Did we really?

I have not written in a while. I have had nothing to write about. Even now, I have nothing to write about. I would have, if my plans had fallen into place. So sit back and enjoy my blabbering.

So exactly a month ago, I was about to start putting in motion, plans to execute the biggest surprise I have ever done. I was ecstatic. Certain that my surprise package will go well. You see, I took three weeks off work for this surprise. I was going to see “the one”. I had missed him for the past nine months. He had treated me badly, granted. But I was still willing to try and see if there was hope for us.

I was wrong. My love didn’t want me to come. He didn’t even want me around him. I had already booked my flight. I unfortunately had to cancel. He said hurtful things to me. None of which were logical enough to make sense. Being the fool in love that I am, I still forgave him. I will still try to go see him again. Maybe my persistence will change his mind.

On another note. I surprised mother and myself today, if I might add. Almost always any conversation with mother ends in an argument of some sorts.

Usually rebellion on my side to be fair.

So I had this hairstyle on that mother didn’t approve of when I met her last week. I noticed it in her stance, the hardness of her eyes and the coldness in her reception when we met. I was hurt. I haven’t seen mother in three months. A warm welcome would have been nice, even if it’s a pretentious one.

I have been waiting for mother to comment on it for the past couple of days. But she has been too scared to say anything. Always going through my siblings who will then tell me. Well finally, mother stopped being coy and commented on it. I am sure she expected some anger, loose words, fire, brimstone etc from me. I wonder how much she must have prepared to receive them.

She was quite taken aback when I simply just commented “okay, I wouldn’t make it again”. I felt her dead silence over the phone, so much so that I had to check if the conversation was still on.

In retrospect, I don’t know how or why I did it. Either I’m having an early stage adulthood crisis or I’m actually changing, for good I hope. I am tired of fighting with mother.

Posted in Musings

The Mind; Her Mind; My Mind

I

Sometimes I imagine what life would have been like if I was born without privileges. If I was born without a silver spoon.

From last year, I began to experience the thing called “brokeness”. For most of the last six years, I always had enough, and when I didn’t have, all I had to do was place a call home. I wasn’t working and I was living in a fairly expensive city with high cost of living. My friends were both jealous and awed at the same time. I didn’t have any budget. I just spent money as I saw it. I didn’t have savings, because there was no need. Money never came to me unless it finished. I couldn’t give account of anything I spent my money on. Now I wasn’t extravagant, but I wasn’t frugal either.

So when “brokeness” hit me like a plague last year, I could not deal. To some, it was normal. To me it was hell. I found out that I could not adjust to certain things. I lost weight, my health suffered, amongst other things. This year, it is even far worse, except that I have come to enjoy it. I want it. I want to see life and the world at large through a different lens. I love clothes. I have so many of them. Or had. I hate to repeat clothes at work or anywhere. Even for an outing. But here I am, I haven’t gotten new clothes in ages and I am still alive. You see personally I cannot afford new clothes. I am broke. But I’m still alive aren’t I?

I am trying to be independent. I am trying to be normal. I am already the Nigerian lady in my age grade who has been having cheese, sausages and all things nice since I was a baby. I don’t want to be the Nigerian lady who is still having expensive things at the expense of others. You see, father dabbled into something he should not have dabbled into. So now salaries are unpaid, children are getting nearly kicked out of school and their parents are shareholders in the borrowers committee, the organisation is suffering, and the CEO still has no clue of the situation.

Now father has come again with talks of another degree. Still at the expense of others. No, thanks. I’d rather strive like evey other Nigerian my age. I am tired of worrying about father, his reputation and the organisation. I am tired of the looks I get when I say “oh I haven’t done this before.” Or “oh I haven’t tried that before”. Because apparently it’s normal for other people. I am tired of being that person. It is no fun.

So yes, I would have preferred to have had fifty kobo as spending allowance than eating smarties and goody-goody for fifty naira whenever I wanted. Yes I would have suffered, yes I might not have had food whenever and wherever I wanted, yes I would have gone to averagw schools. But at least I would have been happy. I would have had a semblance of a future goal. I would have been free from societal obligation and trying to maintain the perfect standard. I would have no midnight restlessness. And again, I would have been happy.

II

Can I have your number?

I want to be your friend.

I want to know you more.

The good Lord knows I hate this line. I absolutely hate this line. What’s up with Nigerian guys and I want to be your friend. Why don’t you just come straight out and say what you want straight up?

If I had a pound for every time I’ve been pitched that line since I have been back in Nigeria, my account balance wouldn’t be in a sorry state.

I would rather a guy walks up to me and says I want to have sex with you (obviously not at work because I could kill you for sexual harassment and not with a lewd sneer either) or I want to take you out on a date than shady lines like “I want us to know more of each other”, “can we be friends?” “Let’s hang out”.

It’s funny how they always change their tone from being friends to something else after I must have cajoled and threatened, the truth comes out.

Okay, maybe I am going to try out my theory and tell someone that I want them; body, mind and brain. And I’ll see how that works out and I’ll also see if it’s really difficult to just say those words.

Maybe they are afraid of rejection; everyone is. And so they probably think starting from friends will make me less likely to reject them. Please and please, I want to inform you that it doesn’t work that way. From the very beginning I almost know how my relationship with someone is going to turn out. I always know if it’s a conversation that will die a merciful death or continue. My instincts have been extra sharpened.

III

I first fell in love at 21, by 22 I had gotten my heart broken. I knew there was a reason I had never loved before. I don’t think I can handle all the emotions. I don’t think I can handle all the jealousy, hate, anger, sleepless nights, panic attacks and the list goes on.

So how did I fall in love?

It’s a really funny story actually. Growing up, I had this tough hide or maybe pretended to have one. I had difficulty trusting or telling anyone something even a tiny bit personal. So I always had this fantasy that the one person who listens, the one person who I am able to trust, the one person I can tell everything without restriction is “The One”.

So with this young man, I started off. At first, I was my normal pretentious, superficial self. But with time the walls kept caving in, crumbling until like the wall of Jericho, it went down flat. And then I began to fall in love. It was no longer a case of my childhood fantasy about “the one”. It was proper love. Racing pulses, girlish excitement kind of love. I felt the electricity in our touch. The Mills and Boons novels kind. For some reason, I thought he felt it too. The longing and the yearning I felt. In his arms, I found calm, sleep and peace. That’s love right. I cannot remember the exact moment I fell in love. Okay, I lied. I can. But all I know is I have never felt this way with anyone. No, not this long.

How I got my heart broken…

Well, I discovered to my greatest shock that he didn’t feel it too. I was just another piece of puzzle solved. Another riddle that had been explained. Another girl he had made “whole”. I thought I was special. The thought of being special finally to someone made me all gooey. Was I angry? I think I was more astonished at the time. So I tried to play it down in my characteristic way by saying naughty things. Seconds turned into minutes, minutes to hours, hours to days, days to weeks and I realised it really was true. Between those days when reality dawned on me; there will be a few hours of reconnecting and then I’ll feel content or linger to a small tiny shred of hope. But it always soon passed. It became as if I was grasping for straws. There was no electricity, there never was. All the words he uttered that made me fall in love in the first place were just empty. Now I think about it, I think he just liked new shiny things. The excitement of opening each layer and finding something new. All my layers have been opened, I have nothing new to give anymore. Now, between us, there is nothing.

You know this thing they say is true. When you get your heart broken, you find it difficult to love again. I am almost sure that I would never be vulnerable, I would never be open, I would never trust someone this much ever again. It’s always been me all this while. True that I get sad during valentines or all those special holidays, but it passes. And I get happy later on. But a broken heart… I am not sure I am ever going to be happy again. I am not sure things will ever be the same again both in my life and between us.

P.S As I am writing this post, I am not actually curled up under covers licking icecream like someone who just got heartbroken. I am actually having Borscht soup. Boy is it nice! And do you know why? Because I’m transitioning back to the phase before I met my love. I think that did my heart and physical body fine.

I am also overhearing my neighbours discussing about me in their self-righteous way and being generally stupid and selfish and I’m trying not to commit murder. So help me God.