Girl Talk: Some Days.

On some days
I don’t feel beautiful
The lipstick don’t fit
And the powder won’t too
And i’ll take a dozen selfies
And make a few many poses
And think about you
And all the nice things you once said
But it just don’t feel
I just don’t feel
Beautiful.

**

One day, a friend asked me “do you feel beautiful”, it didn’t take so long for me to reply– because I had been down that lane several times in my life. So I said “yeah, sometimes!” Then he went on, “And other times?”, and I replied “other times, I just don’t feel” — which is true. On those other days, I look at myself in the mirror and I just don’t quite see. I wear up to a dozen clothes and end up changing my mind on that “outing”, because it just don’t feel. And then I wonder– Is it just me? But that is not the case…

On another random day, another friend told me– out the blues “you are beautiful.” I blushed in my usual shy black way, and told him thanks. Then he went further and said “If at any point in your life, you ever have a doubt– just remember that me, who has nothing to gain by telling you this, says you are beautiful”… and that, that totally did me in. But again, that is not the case…

We are beautiful. I know I have written this time and time again– directly or indirectly– but I don’t think the emphasis is ever enough. On some days, your eyes will not see, and your heart will not feel, but just know you are beautiful. It is not in the colour, or the shape, or the texture, or the grace, or the make-up and make-down, or what he says or what they say– you are beautiful, in ways even you cannot begin to understand. And that is only half the truth.

Darling, you are beautiful. And if you ever have a doubt, remember that I, who has nothing to gain, and doesn’t even know you by name, once said “you are beautiful”, because I know it.

___

And for Music Lovers, Mehgan Trainor says “every inch of you is perfect.” 😉😘

**

© The Short Black Girl, 2016.

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A perfect stranger.

You had not wanted to date John Chucks. He had been everything from compulsive to unbelievable. You remember that you had first made his acquaintance on a call to the Bank where you work as a customer agent, and he had had that nice, collected and well-put-together voice of someone who was too relaxed for his own good. You had admired his voice, and his calmness, but that had been that. And then, he had called you on your private number on an unsuspecting Sunday, asking how you were and if you had been to Church and what you had been doing before he called. Your face had paled at his attempt at familiarising with you on such level. Who the hell did he think he was?! You had lambasted him, and told him never to call your line again. You had been irate.

You remember that he had not stopped calling after that time, and soon, you had saved his number as “Don’t pick”, and ignored his messages; but nothing would stop him. You remember that on one Monday, he had popped into your office. As a stranger, he had looked gorgeous and perfect. 6ft tall, bald shiny head, well-gatored shirt, on a pair of Chinos. He had been too close for you to see the make of his shoes, but the click they made on the tiled Bank floor as his feet kissed the ground assured you they were just as fine as the rest of him– until he put a name to the face and identified himself as John Chucks. The John Chucks. You had turned into a mad black woman at once and bolted to the Ladies, while you asked your colleague Sandra to attend to him. You could not believe his audacity.

You remember that you had mentioned him to Amaka, your ‘sister from another mother‘ and live-in-mate, who had eventually persuaded you to give him a listen, if even once; because to her he did not sound half as bad. You had pointed to her that he gave off the sheer signs of a stalker. She had rebuked you for being paranoid, and blamed your unfounded scepticism on the numerous Hollywood movies you were always keen on watching in the confines of your room. You shrugged her off, but her words stayed with you. You had put his name away for a tinny bit of a second, and thought of him as the guy whose voice and appearance you had tripped smack down for. And he had started to look just half as good to you too. Amaka had cajoled you to have a date with him. You had feigned resistance, but deep down within you, you knew you wanted to know what it was about you that drove him to such persistence. More, you wanted to know if it would last. And so, you saw him.

He had been good to you, shrugging your profuse apologies away with an easy smile. The same smile he had been carrying towards you the first day he came to visit you at your office. His face held the most colourful smile, like a canvas splattered with a rainbow arc. You had talked easy with him, about every possible thing. He had a good sense of humour. You had teased him about how you had thought he had to be jobless reaching out to you every time as he did, and even popping at your office in the middle of the busiest day of the week. What had he been thinking?! He had laughed, like a music box. He had then told you he was a Freelance Writer. He said it didn’t mean he was never busy, it just meant he made time for the things that mattered to him. Your heart had melted at the sound of that. You had always wanted to date a writer. A lot more had been said, and he had placed a gentle kiss on the side of your lips as he walked you to your car. That night, everything had changed. Well, almost everything. You still thought he was too good to be true, but then you had changed his name to “Just Maybe” on your phone.

Only weeks later, you had started dating. And he would send you love notes every morning. He made it easy to fall in love with him. He became less persistent, but remained consistent in his efforts to let you know you still meant as much to him as you did the very first time. You would fight, and argue about how you hated to meet his friends because you were not much of a social person, or how he rarely bought you gifts and only sent you love notes that you were sincerely beginning to get tired of. And you would almost go days without talking, but you wouldn’t mind; because despite loving him, you are hell-bent on frustrating his coy intentions out of him. You still think the devil has sent him to make a mockery of you. To your dismay, he would always be the first one to call a truce, one day after or so, meeting you halfway. And after every make up, you would love him better and deeper, against your will.

It is your first year anniversary today, and he has bought you a stunning necklace and a book bracelet. He has organised a little surprise party for you, in the company of his friends and your friends, where he reads you a poem he had written for you. You smile, and cry at the same time. You can’t believe you’ve come this far with him; yet, as each second ticks on, you keep waiting for him to make that mistake, or that stupid move; or confess it’s all a stupid prank, or a silly game… you keep waiting for something, anything. Because he is just too good to be true.

“If it is too good to be true, it probably is.”- Unknown

**

© The Short Black Girl, 2016.

Dappled Thoughts (II).

you-lost-feelings-i-lost-my-heart

There are a number of things that could go wrong and still be right. Like a bad hair- do, or bad make-up, or wrong outfit… but not love or the stark absence of it, atleast, that was what I thought. It didn’t feel right, nothing did. I cried the whole of Sunday night away, and resumed to the tears on Monday Morning. I then realised how much of a fool I was to think he had called me to work things out and be a better man. And then again, I thought, maybe I over- reacted; maybe I was too fast; maybe I shouldn’t blame him… too many maybes, but things weren’t getting any better by the second. I was angry at myself, love, Denrele and everything. Eager to share my plight with someone that would listen and not judge me for being so hasty or irrational, I called my elder sister.

‘Baby, guess what! I thought of you this morning o, and promised to put a call through.’

I smiled a little. ‘Great! Someone still genuinely thinks about me. That’s a rarity.’

She chuckled ‘Crazy! And why do I perceive something is wrong?’

‘Because something is. Infact, everything.’

‘Oh? You’re 24 baby, you don’t have a stroke, do you?!’

I laughed. She is a clown. ‘Haha! Let’s meet and talk.’

‘Okay Darling! Debonaires, 12. A slice of Pizza for every thought shared.’

I laughed again. ‘Okay sis! Thanks, later.’

Pulling through a hectic morning at work with an overdose of coffee to stay strong, I met with my elder sister for Pizza at Debonaires.

‘So what’s up!’

I told her everything, from the worrisome months of his absence to his return, the lull, his text, the meeting and the goodbye.

‘So why are you confused?’ she asked.

I looked at her, askance.

‘You see girl, people treat you the way they feel about you, so believe them… but then again, only you knows best how to see how they treat you and thus, feel about you, so don’t deceive yourself. You think he loves you, best believe it and give him some time. You think he’s playing around, best believe it and move on with your life.’

That was it. She had given me the lesson of a lifetime, but it didn’t seem almost enough. Like most people in my shoes, I wanted someone to tell me point blank – he loves you, or he doesn’t love you. I was too lazy to think, or maybe scared of over- thinking things that I just didn’t want to bother about it anymore. Eventually, I took a stance  and watched things unfold.

The next day, I woke up to a text from Denrele. “Hey, I miss you.” Four words, and I was bawling again. But I didn’t respond. I couldn’t. Then he called. I couldn’t not pick it. I missed him too.

‘Hi’

‘Hi.’ I managed.

‘How are you?’

‘Great. Thanks.’

‘Work?’

‘Just great.’

‘Err… friends?’

Friends? ‘What are you about?’

‘About Sunday, I am… I am sorry, and I respect your decision, but can- can we remain friends? I was kinda hoping that…’

‘No.’

‘Wh– See Felicia…’

‘I’ve got work to tend to Denrele. Do have a nice day.’

Is it just me, or Denrele had really gone bunkers?

I was stunned! How could we possibly be friends? It was a miracle how I pulled through the rest of the day, but nothing warned me of the unceremonious surprise I was to expect until I entered my apartment to the smell of Pancakes that night, and there was more…

Everywhere was dark, safe for soft music playing on the background with a fleet of pictures moving in succession all over my walls. Denrele was there, in my apartment- his laptop, projector and other gadgets sprawled all over my sitting room floor, and I didn’t have to ask how he got in, my sister must have given him the keys. Pictures of me and Denrele, from the first day at my sisters wedding, through our random hangouts before his travel, through our first kiss and everything. I just stood there, in a bit of a trance wondering what to do or what to feel. It was all there on a replay in front of me, and I didn’t know what to make of it. It brought back so many warm memories, reminded me why I fell in love with him. And when the slideshow was over, he was beside me, looking a bit over-size in my apron, holding a plate of mouth- watering pancakes in his hand. I gawked at him, it was all I could do to keep back from jumping over the roof just yet.

He set the plate down, and took my hands in his. I couldn’t resist.

‘I don’t know how to do these things. Love or stay in love. People have said so many things that I don’t even know which is right. Some say, hold them tight. Others say let them be… and truth is, I have never had to bother about it before. But with you, I want to learn how. I am very slow at a lot of things, and sometimes when I want to talk, I don’t even know the right words to say… but with you, I want to try. I am not the most organised person in the world too, but for what it’s worth, can we just like errm… start again? I- I want to try again. Please?’

I couldn’t say anything still.

‘Say something Felicia.’

‘Why? Why so back and forth?’

‘I– You are home. Even after wandering for days, I just want to be enveloped in the Sanctuary of your love.’

I smiled. ‘I need you around, in soul and spirit. I want to talk to you everytime. Call me, don’t ignore my calls. Talk to me about your day, or your trip, about everything. I care, and ‘m very concerned, so don’t leave me begging to know what’s going on in your head. It’s either all or nothing. Don’t hold back. Don’t.’

He smiled ‘So err, hi, I am Denrele. Your elder sisters husbands younger brothers best friends brother.’

I laughed, with gait. ‘I love your beards.’

‘Now i’m jealous. That was what you said the first time. When will you start loving me?’

I laughed again, then we kissed. Truth be told, I still don’t understand him; but tonight, I won’t even try. I just want to eat these sumptuous pancakes, and fall in love with his smiling beards all over again.

**

© The Short Black Girl, 2015.

The Hurt and The Healer.

the hurt and the healer

It was well past 11:00pm that Saturday in March. I sat cross legged on the thin carpet that graced the floor of Omawumi’s room, fumbling with the keypads on my BlackBerry phone as I willed the red notification light to come on before I lost my cool. I had been in that position on the floor, curled up in fury with my knees to my chin at other times, for the past one hour since Bosun’s message came on unexpectedly earlier that evening. We had agreed that we would give ourselves space to heal, that we wouldn’t be in touch until forever, maybe. And I really had been trying. I had been trying so hard to put him out my mind, to bury my own grief and move on with life, and without the flimsiest of thoughts, he shattered the armour I had struggled to build all that time. I had taken a good one hour to reply, re- reading the message every one second with tear- filled eyes wondering why he thought to shatter my quiet at this time, and the most I could manage to send to him was a flimsy ‘WHY?’ which sadly, was the only word that could perfectly convey my deepest hurts to him at that moment.

Earlier that year, January to be precise, Bosun and I part ways. We had been having a lot of quarrels through the past years christmas and the only sane thing to do on the First of January was to go our separate ways and start the year on a new note. It was hard because we had become so used to each other, but I couldn’t stand a liar for any reason, and he couldn’t stand my volatile emotional outbursts any longer.

His exact words had been something like this, very fresh in my memory even now. ‘Stop being so fucking emotional all the time.’

Words hurt. They hurt even more when remembered.

I was surprised he could say that to me because tears overtook my composure while I was condemning his cheap lie of an excuse on why he missed my mum’s birthday, even though she had asked that we all be there. It was stupid and childish of him to have put our flimsy fight over my mum’s happiness. And that wasn’t his first time. That night, I had had enough. I walked out on him without looking back. The issues could remain unresolved for all I cared, because I was certain I would do my utmost to never cross paths with him ever again. And I was really trying, before the asshole sent in a text that night. Damn, he could have called, so that I would fight every nerve in my being to ignore it or ask Omawumi to lambaste him for me because she had been hoping to get a chance since that January, but he chose to send in a text. And not just a text, he had chosen those words perfectly and mashed my heart back to a pulp, somewhere below where I even picked up from that night on January First.

Omawumi walked in on my shattered state, and rushed to me, awestruck.

‘Kiloshe e?’

I sat still in silence, ignoring her company and staring hard at my phone, still waiting for the red light to come on. She grabbed the phone from me and started reading the message out loud.

Some writer Paulo Coehlo wrote in one of his books “if it happens twice, it will happen a third time” and so here I am thinking that might just be the ‘rightest’ thing I ever read.

It’s been a while. Days actually, that feel like forever. I guess this is one of those strange things that happen to and with people. You find someone you fit almost perfectly with but life finds some way of happening.

I miss you. I know I was stupid, wrong and insensitive to have made you feel that way that day and not apologise or try to make amends, and I am sorry. I swear that I am. I miss your friendship. It’s our birth month once again, and i’m careful not to overthink how to celebrate this year’s birthday alone, seeing as we celebrated together for the past four years. So I have decided to take this time out to rant, maybe truthfully for the very first time since that day.

I was wrong. I am sorry. Mum is more important than all of that shit that must have come between us, and I was such an asshole to have not realised that. I know I make mistakes, I know this is not the first time but I love you. Damn my heart, but I do. I can’t imagine living without you for longer than this. These past days been hell.

Please forgive me, and let’s get back with the Magic that used to be us.”

‘Is this it eh? Is this the reason why you’re crying like a one year old? I thought you said it was over between you and that retard?!… answer me na ‘Mobola!’

I was too angry, sad, and confused to answer her.

‘I should even call the nonentity now and give him the piece of my mind I been saving all these days for your silly sake.’ She threw my phone at me and made to stand up. Before she could, I pulled her back to the ground.

‘What na? Let me tell that fool off. He dissed your family, not once, not twice and…’

‘Oma, I still love him.’

‘What?! After that Abuja incident and what happened last year?’

‘Damn my heart, but I do.’

‘Yes you had better damn that heart because I will not let you hurt over him a third time!’

Just as soon as she stood up to make that call, my phone rang. And before she could turn back to stall the call, I picked it.

‘Hello!…’ it was him.

_

Kiloshe e- what happened to you?

**

© The Short Black Girl, 2015.

Rebound (1)

Night was falling. I was a little more collected in thoughts and actions now. He had grown a little taller and even more handsome I acknowledged as he sat across from me on a sofa in the sitting room. Still his face held no expression but I could care less, at least my own anger had dissipated a little. I didn’t even bother about offering him anything, that’d be me being too nice.

‘I’m sorry’ he finally said.

‘It’s a little pointless now, don’t you see?’

‘I don’t see anything. You are not married yet.’

‘I’m as good as being married boo, I’m engaged already’

‘But you don’t love him.’

‘How would you know? You don’t even know what love is!’ I snorted.

‘See, I am sorry okay? I love you. I have loved you since the first time we met.’

It was the last thing I wanted to hear. ‘Why are you here Mensah?’ I questioned impatiently.

‘To ask you to..’

‘Be your girlfriend?’ I laughed without meaning to. I was angry but I just couldn’t help the laughter. ‘You take a year to finally decide I’ll make a good girlfriend, maybe you’ll then be needing 4 more years to finally decide I’ll make a good wife or not but sorry darling, I don’t have that kind of time to spare.’

He had a ring in his finger. I only just realised because he was awfully silent and staring at me intently like he was expecting a response to a question he just asked. I smiled in my head. He wouldn’t kneel, or perform all of that unceremonious proposal rituals other people busied themselves with. He just sat there with so much confidence and aura, certain that I had no choice but to jump into his arms and kiss those enticing lips of his. I turned my head away from him. He had to be joking!

‘Marry me Ayo. Marry me and put us out of this misery.’

‘I..’ There was a knock on the door. I was thankful for it because I wasn’t sure how to respond yet. I went to see who it was. It was Bello.

‘Thank Godness you are fine!’ He said excitedly as he took me in his arms. ‘You scared me love. Your phone was switched off, and you didn’t answer my calls earlier.’

I just stood there like a log of wood- not welcoming him into the house and not ushering him out. I let fate decide what will be. Eventually, his eyes caught Mensah’s who had obviously been watching the scene with mock interest from the beginning. He stuttered now, releasing me from his embrace, willing me to explain what a full grown man was doing sitting on my sofa at some minutes past 7pm.

**

About a year ago.

I met Peter Mensah through a friend at our final year dinner. He is a tall, black attractive hunk of a man, with tiny eyes, and distinct dimples that gives him an undeniably appealing look. A Mensah by all standards, I fell for him instantly. My friend, Tope Ojo, had always promised to hook me up with one of her many rich boyfriends because she hated to see a beautiful girl like myself single at 23. True to her word, she introduced me to Mensah as my arranged date at the dinner and we got chatting. He made good company and I had begun thinking maybe, just maybe, he could be the next big thing until I found out he was running his Masters program in the UK and had only just come into the country for a quick visit. Long distance relationship? No way! Quickly, I put the thought out of my head and enjoyed the evening as it came. After he travelled, we kept chatting via BBM and he would call me every now and then despite the costly charge. It warmed my heart. In months, we had built an enviable virtual relationship, that even couples that saw each other daily could not boast of. We would chat everyday and he knew of everything that was going on with me, same with me about him. We were both single and we were aware of the fact but we never broached the topic of being in a relationship. I was thankful for it really because much as I would have loved to date him, I never wanted to do the long- distance thing. So I fixed him in the bestfriend zone, without letting him know. I made my head register the fact too. And it obliged. Service year was going well, and I was growing older by the months, and there was my mind teasing me about being a lonely old soul, so that when Tope Bello came up on the radar, I gladly welcomed the distraction.

It was a coincidental meeting at the Banking hall on that Thursday, my CDS day. I think my Khaki attracted the fine black thing to me, before he noticed my smallness. So the question flew right out his mouth before he could even censor it ‘how old are you?’. I laughed in my head. No, I couldn’t be angry. I was used to the question already. ’10’ I responded with an unsmiling face but hell yeah, that was just a facade! He bursted out in laughter on realising how silly his question must have sounded. ‘I’m sorry’ he finally said. And then I responded with a smile, my first smile that day and the very thing that undid him. He walked me to my home. His company was enjoyable but I didn’t want to entertain any thoughts or hopes of seeing him again so I declined when he asked us to fix a formal date. He was shocked. I guess he had never been turned down in his entire life. What sensible girl would anyway? The way his face fell made him look even all the more gorgeous but if I let anything with him, it was going to be pure rebound for I knew my heart was with Mensah even against my will. I loved him.

To my surprise, weeks after on one Saturday afternoon, Bello visited. I had forgotten about him already because I didn’t expect that he’d check back. He made me go out with him on a lunch date. His ‘plea-face’ was so damn irresistible. He had a charming personality. And he was smart in thought and style. ‘Why are you single?’ This time the question flew out my mouth before I could censor it. He gave a short laugh. ‘Did I mention that I was single?’

‘Is she that boring then? Or I am just your idea of passing time?’

‘Ah. You want to put me in that corner you girls love to put guys abi?’ He laughed again. His laugh was contagious but not ticklish like M… Don’t go there, my mind cautioned. I dismissed my thoughts and focused on him again, harder this time. There had to be something about him that would beat Mensahs charm. And there I found it, his eyes. They were surprisingly grey. How did I never notice it?

‘I like you.’ And here was someone who would tell you his feelings even when they were so obvious. Mensah would.. Don’t go there! My mind warned again.

I smiled. ‘Thank you.’

‘It wasn’t a compliment.’ I laughed this time, honestly, for the first time.

‘A proper gentleman would say ‘you’re welcome’. What village are you from again?’ We both laughed.

Lunch was great and I found myself looking forward to seeing him again. I told Mensah about it though over a chat later that evening. He seemed like someone squealing in delight as he replied with about a dozen BBM ‘dancing’ smileys. I think for a minute I felt hurt. Hurt that maybe it was just me feeling the ‘whats’ and ‘what-nots’ all this time, imagining what was and what wasn’t.
But I dismissed the feeling almost as quickly as they came when Bello’s message popped from below Mensah’s chat page. Quickly I navigated to his chat page and we had an wholesome chat. It was enjoyable. I was so engrossed I became oblivious of Mensah’s chats or maybe it was my way of punishing him for being excited at the news. With time, things balanced out. I gave Bello a chance and I was almost sure I would not regret it. We had gone four months down and it had begun to look like marriage as both our families knew we were an item already and they were fine with it. Service year was over, and I had been working at my dad’s law firm for 3 months, which would mark a year of being together with Bello when I received a call one unsuspecting afternoon from Mensah. We were still friends but the chats had reduced considerably over time.

‘Hey!’ I called out.

‘Hey. So when should I visit? If you won’t visit, I won’t mind visiting.’

‘What? You lost me there.’

”M back to Nigeria.’

‘Whoa. Since when? You didn’t mention na. How was I supposed to know?’

‘Ha. Well, since you started dissing my chats since you found a new love, how really were you supposed to know?’

Then it clicked! All those chats I had ended even before reading because it seemed like he was catching feelings long after I had moved on with my life.

‘Errm. Guess we’ll see soonish dear. By the way, welcome back! Sure you had a smooth flight. Stay away from unnecessary contacts o. Remember you’re in Lagos and Ebola is very real!’ I said on a lighter note.

He laughed a little. It tickled my ears. ‘Let’s talk later dear. Work calls.’ I lied. I needed to get off this phone before he used his winchi winchi to get me feeling those feelings again.

We didn’t speak again for a while and I was fine with it. Tope had proposed the weekend after Mensah’s call at a family dinner, and the question almost made me choke. I wasn’t sure if I was ready, worse still, I wasn’t sure if I was still in love with Mensah or if I had totally given in to him. If he hadn’t decided to make such a grand act with the proposal, I would have pleaded with him to let us give ‘us’ more time. But here, in the presence of sisters, brothers, cousins and nephews, it was impossible to say no. It would hurt him, torment him, embarrass him, and what’s more, there’ll be too many questions to answer because everyone thought it the best thing they had heard all day. I forced a smile to my lips before the teardrop that teased my eye found its was out. I stretched my fingers forward and nodded. I couldn’t trust my words not to fail me. Everyone squealed in delight. It made me all the more nauseous. If only they knew what turmoil my heart was in. What had started as a mere rebound had now got so big, it threatened to swallow me up. He hugged me now, and then I couldn’t help the flowing tears. I was sure they all thought it had everything to do with joy. If only they knew..

**

© The Short Black Girl, 2014.