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.
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.
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.