He came second.

A Facebook post reminded me of something I’d forgotten, a memory lost to time and the worries of life.

 

We were in primary four and he was my best friend in class, I talked about him all the time- my dad even teased me about him, calling me Lekan’s wife until the day I went to him as he washed his car and told him I didn’t like being called Lekan or anybody’s wife because I was too young to be married to anyone- I was just eight and a very serious child. Continue reading →

Remember me and smile.

My mother’s not gonna like this.

This morning, just before dragging my T-shirt, jeans and sneakers clad self out of the house despite the rain that begged me to take it all off and catch up on all the sleep I’d been owed for at least ten months, there was a clip on CNN that competed with my breakfast for the greater portion of my mind. It was about leaving a digital footprint after death, recording video messages for those you leave behind.

 

I don’t know if the participants had terminal diseases or were just trying to be extra prepared, I started watching midway (I think) and I had fried yam and dodo and fried eggs singing my favourite song on the plate and in my mouth. I watched a young woman record a message for her boyfriend and for her mother and burst into tears as she remembered her mother’s kindness and sacrifice. I thought about making that kind of video too, but I’m not sure I can go through with it without collapsing like tissue paper in the rain or if my mother would not kill me- or my dead body, if she sees the video.

 

Death has been on my mind for a while, even before I lost the man who became a mentor in a very short time, we’d been talking about death and it was he who said “we are not afraid of death, it is the when that is the problem” as we drove from Ekwerazu town, Mbaise to Owerri less than a week before he died. Perhaps it is having my thirtieth birthday circling above my head that makes me think of my own mortality and fragility and eventual goodbyes if I’m lucky enough to get them. Shouldn’t death be something we prepare for? Apart from writing wills and sharing assets, how about making sure that the people you leave behind know exactly what they mean to us?

 

When we leave this world, the most important thing we will leave behind is love. Money is an ornament jumping from hand to hand in cyclic rhythm; it is inconsequential in the driving of the universe. Power and possessions will always go to another, you didn’t create it, you can’t destroy it. But love? It’s yours, will always remain yours even after you are gone, even after the body has become food for worms or ashes in the Ganges- if you are so inclined.

 

The people I have lost have left me a treasury of memories that have brightened my days more than any bank alert. From the friend who’d listened for my quiet voice in a cacophony of teenage voices, to the grandfathers and grandmother who thought me precious and imagined I could do anything I wanted to- even hang the moon to the uncle who’d named me computer and would tell me anything he wanted to remember, confident that even after the years had passed, I would remember. He is the reason I haven’t eaten roast corn in nearly eleven years, it’s been ten years plus since he passed and during corn season, it’s hard to get through the days without tears collecting behind my throat, he loved roast corn so much. I will not cry, I will not cry, I will not cry.

 

So when I die, I hope to God that I do not regret not loving more, that the parts of my heart I reserved for myself will not become slivers of repentance for stinginess. I do not want tears as my memorial but smiles at my quirks and joy for the little things that bring me to mind. I had an uncle once, who knew how much I loved mint notes, so everytime he came he would bring mint notes for me- he worked in Central Bank. When I put aside mint notes in my mint note purse- yes I know it’s a form of OCD, I remember my uncle Victor and smile. You see, that is how I always want to be remembered- with a little smile that belongs only to me.

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Home is where I am me. 

I’ve been in Benin-city for less than six hours and I’ve already heard the most outrageous (true) stories, laughed until my stomach clenched in protest and howled from every spectra of emotion from the things I’ve seen and heard. 

I could write an essay, several actually; on what this city means to me. How the differing landscapes are as familiar as my name, or my ears receiving  the flavour of Pidgin English makes my heart crackle and pop and how it is the language I’m most comfortable with, even though I first heard it after my seventeenth birthday. Perhaps it is the abundance of plantain and how you can get masses of it at prices that would shoot guilt daggers in you, or my favourite people calling this city home- especially that five year old girl who makes me believe in soul mates and past lives. 

Maybe it’s the ease of conversation here, and the music with the words I don’t understand even if I twirl the rhythm  around my fingers, as my mind uproots stories I am too lazy to sit in front of a computer and strike the keys that unlock the magic. 

I should write “I love Benin-city”, but that is not wholly true; each time I scoop from the cauldron, the emotions are never the same. I’ll just write the truest thing- this town is where all my parts collide, where I am most capable of being me.

Lyrically- Look what Love Has Done to Me

Tomorrow’s my friend’s birthday, I met him on his birthday… not physically, on WhatsApp. It was his picture that brought us together, he was posed with a toothpick in his mouth and for a reason I cannot decipher even three years later, I was so irked by it that I kept complaining to Hero who’d put up the picture. Hero was irritated by my pestering and forwarded his number for me to tell him myself.

That was the start of one of the most beautiful friendships of my life, I’d have said the most beautiful but Hero would sulk and Zagira would send a barrage of WhatsApp messages. Anyway, he’s the quickest connection I’d ever made, he almost seemed to have a brand of truth serum and got me to tell him all my secrets. 
Three years on, I count him as one of the major blessings of my life, the one who knows me better than I know me, the one who will listen to my problems at midnight when he has to leave home at 4am (if you think the hustle is crazy in Naija, you should try relocating to Illinois USA). He’s still the one who has refused to find me an American bobo 😦 I’m mega vexing for him, like all my married friends who rub marital bliss in my face but refuse to hook me up… Is it fair?

I wanted to put up “That’s what friends are for” by Dinner Warwick but I was listening to a random selection on my phone and Patty Smith’s “Look what love has done to me” came up and I knew it was the right song. Knowing and loving Christian (Baby) has changed my life. Agape love oooo he’s a married man, biko. 

 Look What Love Has Done

I woke up this morning feeling lonely

There’s so much my heart just does not understand

There were times when nothing really mattered

But now I find I care too much

There’s life in everything I touch
Look what love has done to me

I am not who I used to be

Everything is changing, now we’ll never be the same

Look at what love has done to us

Will we ever learn to trust

We’re running out of time, there’s so little time

Baby look what love has done to me

Oh, yeah
Now it’s late at night, I’m here without you

I’m trying to make my way to where you are

Can’t you see, I’ll still be here waiting

Can’t you see, our two hearts were always meant to be as one
Look at what love has done to us

When will we ever learn to trust

We’re running out of time, there’s so little time, baby

Will you look what love has done to me
I’m calling out your name, baby

Calling out, calling out, yeah, yeah, yeah
Now look at what love has done to us

When will we ever learn to trust

We’re running out of time

There’s so, so little time, baby

Oh, look what love has done

Baby look what love has done to me
Look what love has done

Done to me

Break The Cycle

“I will NEVER call my son from his room to come and hand me the remote that’s next to me like my parents did.

#BreakTheCycle”- Chike Delic Obi.

 

So I saw Chike’s post on Facebook about breaking the cycle and a certain mocking comment “Don’t worry when the time comes” prompted this post.

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