I took my tablet with me to the kitchen this morning. I set up a song to play while I selected tomatoes and sliced a section of an onion. As I chopped the tomatoes, I wondered why I wanted that song in particular. I had forgotten about it for years and even when I heard it again recently, I wasn’t tempted to listen to it on my own. It’s an old favourite of mine and a staple of my childhood, the song is by the American group – Atlantic Starr. The title of the song is Always.
Just as I turned the knob of the gas burner and set the frying pan on it, I realized why I wanted to listen to the song, and it wasn’t just that song I wanted to listen to. Yesterday, I had downloaded Labi Siffre’s smash hit Something inside So Strong and listened to it several times and there was a teasing of my memory banks that I didn’t take seriously because I was working at the time.
My parents had a song collection on cassette that I loved, it started with Always by Atlantic Starr and had other songs on it which included – Something Inside So Strong, Peter Cetera’s The Glory of Love, Chicago’s Hard To Say I’m Sorry (which had Peter Cetera as the main vocalist). It also had Elkin Wilkes No More The Fool, which is a perfect song for riding through heartbreak. I really should make that Surviving Heartbreak playlist that I’ve been wanting to make for years.
My mother had a close friend who we adored, she was beautiful and loving and she also had gap-tooth like me. She came to visit us often and she spent the weekend when she came, she was going to school at LASU at the time. Unlike my parents who didn’t believe children should take sweets, Aunty D bought us sweets and even chewing gum.
We loved going to church with her when she came, she was Roman Catholic while we were Anglicans. Her church was walking distance from the house unlike ours that required a ride in Daddy’s call. We didn’t understand anything that happened in the service, although we loved it when the Father sprinkled us with holy water and when he intoned “Lailai ati Lailai” in his booming baritone.
The reason we loved her fiercely however, was because she never failed to buy us Walls ice cream (as I type, I started singing the walls ice cream advert again and after about twenty-five years since l last heard it, it’s accurate…). I can still recall the taste of that ice cream on my tongue, it was so creamy and rich. My favourite flavour was banana, vanilla was nice too but banana was my thing, it was so cold and creamy. She also bought us anything we asked for, although we never asked for much.
Aunty D loved that song collection and each time she came, she listened to it. Earlier this morning, I saw a post on Facebook where an uncle was nonplussed at his nephew’s response to him leaving their house in a few days. The nephew was sad he was leaving and while the uncle thought it was because he would miss his company, the boy was really concerned about who buy him Happy Hour drink (250ml tetrapak) and popcorn. I made a comment – “Children are primarily concerned about their stomachs”.
Maybe why that’s why the collection came to mind and Aunty D too. She’s in Canada now. I dumped the chopped tomatoes, onion and yellow pepper into the sizzling groundnut oil in the pan. I smiled as I remembered the Facebook friend who had bought it for me from Taraba and the trip to Abeokuta to pick it up from her. I also went to Olumo Rock for the third time.
It was time to add the eggs and I poured it in after adding the maximum air possible while beating it. It’s one of the tricks to making amazing omelettes and I make the best omelette you’ve ever tasted. As the eggs puffed and cooked, I remembered when my brother and I made a tag-team for making omelettes in the morning. My brother did the chopping while I put it all together.
My brother began to make weekly batches of the mix, he’d load them in the food processor and make enough to last for the week. There’s a saying about giving the toughest task to the laziest person, if there’s a shortcut they would find it. Someone once joked that if the male of the human species were to carry pregnancies, they’d device a more efficient method.
Hard To Say I’m Sorry (I wrote about it here) came up, as I stirred the eggs. Peter Cetera is one of my favourite human beings, I love his distinctive voice and his phenomenal song writing. He wrote the kind of songs, I’d love to write – really emotional songs that weren’t in the least bit cheesy or corny. As I turned off the burner, I realized the song would fit in a situation that a friend and I have found ourselves.
I was nearly tempted to send the song but I remembered I had done nothing wrong, if anything, I was the one who was wronged. So why should I send a song about saying I’m sorry? Even if saying sorry was hard. I’ve often heard that staying married is a continuous venture where you say you’re sorry even when you’re not wrong, just to keep the peace and have a smooth sail.
But why should I have to say I’m sorry when I really do not feel that way? Wouldn’t that leave me with resentments that would fester under my skin until they spring forth? I’d hate to live with resentment, my mind would multiply my grudges and magnify them. I set the things I had used in making the eggs in the sink and ran the tap.
Maybe marriage isn’t for me, I thought. It was a sobering thought. I put things away as my mind churned, how would I explain this to my parents? I couldn’t continue listening to the song, so I pressed the next icon on my music player.
The Glory of Love came up, it’s also by Peter Cetera. While the previous song was done while he was in the group Chicago, The Glory of Love was a solo effort and it was nominated for an Oscar and Grammy because it was used in the original version of the movie The Karate Kid. I wrote about the song some years ago and I went in search of the post.
In many ways, I am not the same person who wrote This Post *the glory of love*. I wonder what happened to me which made me less confident in putting my ideas across, I wouldn’t write a post that open in 2019. Was this what growing up was about?
Something Inside So Strong came up and I stood in the kitchen and wondered why I let life beat me down. I was nearly motionless until the song ended, letting the lyrics wash over me and unearthing buried dreams and scrapping off layers of the crap I had let life coat me with.
As the last strains of the song faded in the kitchen, I knew I was done. In more ways than one.
I walked out of the kitchen, a very different version of me from the one who had walked in.