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.

Continue reading →

Dear Lagos

Lagos,

Foundation of a thousand castles 

Graveyard of a million dreams

City of endless toil

Oasis at every corner

Glittering northstar 

Hell’s embassy

Crusher of fragile hearts

Destroyer of the weak

They say you’re the biggest,

Their geography as valid as a two thousand naira note,

They say you’re the best, Eko for show

They say you’re golden, old enough to have sense.

A plethora of shiny faces wishing you well,

At each succeeding bus stop.
Yet you let him dance with hope, under the tunnel

Bleeding and dying, while life pulsed around him

Three hours they said, he bargained for life,

Waiting for flashing lights to take him to safety,

Hoping to touch love one last time.

But you wrapped him in a bodybag

Your work complete, as his soul rose to the sky

Accepting the sacrifice of your favourite son.

The one on a yellow throne with madness in his eyes 

And gin and weed chanting his oriki. 
Dear Lagos,

In your crevasse I was born,

In your shadow I thrive

I wish it is hate that makes my blood sputter and pop

As I think of you,

Shame lights my veins instead, slowly it consumes me.

Dear Lagos, 

Be kinder to your children, 

Listen please,

For I will say it again.

Stop killing your young.

Friday Fiction- Highway to Heaven

Yes I know today’s Saturday, I didn’t finish this until this morning.

 

“You will kill me Jumoke and I will stroll to heaven laughing”

“And you will think you will go to heaven?” She swatted at the fat fly that tried to perch on the gleaming mass of white on the porcelain plate; that told of sweaty labour on a mortar and pestle.

“Haba! I am not the worst sinner na, am I not better than all your brothers put together”, his slim fingers wrested a big chunk of the mangala fish from the soup and he suspended them just below his mouth before smiling at her and slowly raised the fish to his thick lips.

My brothers are saints, you are not even fit to dust Juwon’s shoes”

Ah! Juwon, Commander in Chief of the allied forces of Yoruba Demons and Principalities,” he guffawed.

You’re jealous because you do not have a hundredth of his sex appeal”

“Will sex appeal increase my account balance?”

“Ask Juwon, he just bagged yet another contract from the governor” Continue reading →

Friday Fiction-Dear Itohan.

My dearest sister,
I can hear your laughter in my mind as I write this, I can see you gently wrinkling your nose as you remind me that you are my only sister, just before you ask what I have done wrong or if I want money. I wish I could hug you now, even if you would wiggle your shoulders out of my grip and mutter in your froggy voice about my softness. Continue reading →

Friday Fiction- No Mosquitoes In Heaven

In 2014, I wrote a story about Malaria on my other blog. I decided to share it here today because I wanted to rant about how my having relaxed hair is not a sin and the annoyingly judgmental attitude of some new naturalistas who act that way. However I have decided that it’s too early in the year for a rant… Maybe in February, I’ll do the rant thing. So today instead of a rant, I give you an old story.
Continue reading →