Lost and Found (X)

“We cannot decide to love. We cannot compel anyone to love us. There’s no secret recipe, only love itself. And we are at its mercy–there’s nothing we can do.”
Nina George

It is a phone call that stirs you up this morning, just before the alarm goes off. Samuel is sprawled on one side of your bed, looking magnificent and glorious in his bare skins and stuff. You bite your lower lip so hard blood almost spills from your un-cut wound, as you remember last night’s escapades. You want to take him into your mouth when your phone starts to ring again. You groan. It is Gbenga. You do not want to talk to him, so you don’t. But he calls again, and again, and again, and you begin to wonder if it could be an emergency. Eventually, you tip-toe into the bathroom to talk to him.

“It’s 4:30 in the morning Gbenga. Tell me this is an emergency?”

“Good morning darling. How are you?”

“Really? How am I? This early in the morning? I am sure it would not matter that much to you, so that is not why you called. What’s up?”

“Hm! Fesity much this morning. Anyway, I missed your calls and my uncle mentioned you came to see him yesterday so I called to ask how it went. I would have called later in the day but I would be too busy to take or return any calls for the next few days… so, here I am!”

“Thank you so much. Well, it’s the same reason why I called yesterday. It went well.”

“Right. Are you okay?”

You want to say yes and get the conversation over and done with, because what does it matter anyway? But, you want to say no too. You want to know why he didn’t mention he was married with a kid, you want to ask if he was ever going to tell you, you want to ask why he decided to see you again, you want to know if his wife knows.

“Solaye Grace, are you okay? Is there something bothering your mind again?”

“When were you going to tell me that you were married with a child?”

He is silent for so long, “I don’t know. Someday sometime, maybe.”

“Someday sometime? Maybe? And you wanted to sleep with me knowing full well the situation you were in? Were you trying to pay me back for leaving you? Were you trying to hurt me on purpose?”

“Common… common Grace, you know I would never do that.”

“No, I don’t know Gbenga. I don’t know anything. So, this job? You wanting me around Lagos, to what end? To be your side-chick? A souvenir of what could have been?”

“I love you, okay? I love you. I never stopped loving you. When you left, you broke me Grace. You shut me out of your life, and it wasn’t supposed to, but it damaged me. I wanted to get over you so bad that I got down with every girl that was ready to get down with me… just anything to get your taste off my tongue, your scent out of my nose. It never worked. Instead, I got a lady pregnant. It wasn’t planned. None of it was planned. Two years and a child down, I still cannot bring myself to love her and it breaks me every day. She doesn’t laugh like you Grace. She doesn’t bite her lips the way you do. Her eyes don’t have that smiling glow about them. She doesn’t make burnt noodles taste as good as you…”

You laugh now, even though you want to cry; even though tears are slipping out of your eyes and you don’t even notice it.

“—she is not you Grace. I love you.”

“Olugbenga Adedayo,”

“Solaye Grace Ayodele…”

“Go home and love your woman. Go home and love the mother of your child. I will not be a party to this.”

“Grace, I am sorry, okay? It was wrong of me to put you in the middle of all of this. I should have stayed away or come clean from the beginning—”

“You should have stayed away.”

“Fine, I should have stayed away. And you don’t want anything to do with me now because you found yourself a new guy, I get it. But you wanted me that night Grace. It was in your kiss. You have missed me. You still have feelings for me.”

“I am sorry.”

“For what exactly?”

“For everything. For leading you on, giving you the wrong signals, making you think I loved you.”

He pauses again, “So you didn’t love me? You used me?”

“No. God, no. I enjoyed being with you. I enjoyed everything we did together, but it just was not love Gbenga. I never said I loved you.”

“What is love? What does it mean to you? Have you ever felt it before? And this new guy, what do you feel for him? Do you even know?”

“Goodbye Gbenga!”

You disconnect the call and let yourself cry. You don’t know the answer to the questions he asked and that must make you a terrible person. You feel ashamed. You almost forget that Samuel is in your house until he knocks on the bathroom door.

“Grace? Are you okay?”

“Go Samuel.”

“Go? To where? Please come out and tell me what’s wrong. It’s Thursday and we have to be at work in less than two hours, you know that?”

“Just go Samuel. Please.”

“Grace… I am not going anywhere until you tell me what is wrong with you. Who were you on the phone with? Did something happen?”

You don’t respond.

“Okay, I am coming in now and I don’t care what you say.”

He opens the door to find you seated on the edge of the bathtub. He joins you there and cradles you against your violent protests. When you are much calmer, you sit up to look at him.

“I just spoke with my ex. For two years, I was in a relationship with him and I never said I loved him because I never did. I enjoyed his company, and I enjoyed the intimacy but I could never bring myself to saying I loved him. I agreed to a relationship with him because he knew how to love me, and he took very good care of me and my needs, but thinking back now, it was a selfish thing to do. I am capable of a number of things but love is not one of them. I don’t want to hurt you too Samuel. I may never fall in love with you.”

His eyes are resting on yours but you cannot decipher his thoughts. When a minute passes and he still does not say a word, your fear begins to grow wings. “Say something Samuel.”

“What do you want?”

“What? What do I want?” The question takes you by surprise. But you imagine that if you had had an entire lifetime to prepare to answer it, you would still not have an answer to give.

“I don’t know Samuel. I don’t know what I want.”

“That’s not possible baby. We always know what we want. I know I want to kiss you now even though I should be running for my life. So what do you want?”

You chuckle. “I know I want to be with you even though I don’t want to hurt you.”

“So be with me baby.” He envelopes your lips with his now. You feel the warmth and softness and familiarness of his breath cascade through your veins, and you know—despite not knowing many other things—that you want to feel this way for a very long time. For the rest of your life, maybe.

THE END.

*

© The Short Black Girl, 2018

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Lost and Found (IX)

Story of my life: Sometimes, I battle with inconsistency; not because I detest pattern and certainty and regular-ness but because I can’t help it; because life happens; because although I love you and care about your desires, I get achingly busy sometimes. So here is a late should-have-been-Monday post with no excuses. I am sorry and thank you for loving me anyway! ❤

“When there is an old intimacy, with new friends.”

-Nayyirah Waheed

You have a date with Samuel in about two hours but you don’t feel up to it. The whole day has dumped its burden on you and Samuel deserves better than having the day being dumped on him too, so you chat him to cancel.

Me: Hey Samuel. How are you? Did you have a good day at the office? I had been looking forward to seeing you later today but I don’t feel up to it. I am sorry. I promise to make it up to you, okay? Take care.

His response is immediate, as if he had been awaiting your message all day long.

Sammy: Over 24 hours!

Me: What?

Sammy: I haven’t seen you in more than 24hours Miss Me. Do you not miss me?

You laugh.

Me: Nice what you did up there. Lol! But well, no, I don’t miss you. *Tongue out*

Sammy: Ouch!

Me: *A kiss for your wounded heart*

Sammy: I can live with that!

Me: Haha

Sammy: So, how was your day?

Me: It’s almost 5pm. Should you not be preparing to leave work?

Sammy: It is the 21st Century already. Should you still be answering a question with a question?

You laugh.

Me: Fine! Day was okay.

Sammy: Really? Day was okay?

Me: Yes, sure. Your day?

Sammy: No baby. Not the mechanical response so quickly. We are still on your day. So! If your day was “okay”, how about that date?

Me: I told you Sammy. I don’t feel up to it.

Sammy: Either you tell me how your day really went or you have that date with me. No jokes baby.

You sigh.

Me: You are relentless.

Sammy: I am baby.

Me: Fine, we will talk when you get home.

Sammy: Promise?

Me: Promise.

Sammy: Okay baby. Cheers.

Sam is at your door in thirty minutes. You had not been expecting anybody so it had taken a call on your phone to distract you from the music playing from your CD player to the knock at the door.

“What are you doing here?”

“Good to see you too baby.”

You laugh. “No, really. What are you doing here? You did not say you will be coming to visit.”

“Well, you said we would talk when I get home. I am home now, to talk. To you.”

“You cannot just come here whenever you want Samuel. You let me know first! No springing surprises on me like that!”

“Hey…” he pauses now, worried, as he extends his hands to your shoulder. “Are you sure you are okay?”

You take a deep breath, in and out. “I am sorry for going off like that Samuel. Please come in.”

He hesitates before coming in, and when he does, he sits at the edge of the bed as though you might ask him to leave anytime soon. You sit beside him.

“My day has been overwhelming Samuel. Today, the past few days, my whole life… is, has been overwhelming. I had an interview that went well, and returned home to a call from my mum accusing me of being promiscuous because my landlady had called to tell her she had seen guys visit my house. I almost had sex with a married man, my ex. He did not tell me he was married before we made out. He didn’t even tell me after we made out, or before he walked out of my house that evening because I screamed your name instead of his when his fingers were inside me. But that’s not why I feel angry, or wrong, you know? It is the fact that I found out on Facebook myself when I was stalking him because I was feeling guilty for fantasizing about another man when he was right there with me lighting my body on fire. He was never going to tell me, maybe. And I ran into an old crush, someone I had wanted to be with for a long time who finally asked me out to a date some months later, after which he stopped contacting me. We only kissed that night, thank God, right?!—” you pause to laugh, then you continue “—so, when I asked him why he had been avoiding me, and why he would not pick my calls, he said because I deserved better. And I was like, really? How did you figure that out so quickly? Damn! Lies boys tell!”

He doesn’t say anything in response, and you are thankful for that. “Do you need something to eat?”

“No.”

“Okay.”

“I want to say a lot of things but I don’t think here is a good place or now is the right time.”

“I have had a really long day.”

“I know. I should let you rest then.”

“You should.”

Before he reaches the door, you ask “would you like to stay?”

His response is instant “I want to stay.”

You smile in relief, and you run to hug him before your waiting tears begin to pour. It is the first time your bodies meet. He smells like a collision in heaven; a cascade of beautiful things.

“But did you really mention my name in the middle of having sex with the ex?”

You laugh. “I freaking did!”

“Damn baby, you are in love with me.”

More laughter. “Just shut up Samuel.”

“Yes ma’am.”

“I am a mess. Don’t fall in love with me”, you manage to warn him

“I have. Shoot me now or never.”

But falling in love was not the plan.

Because what is love? Is it not what mum thought she had found in dad before they got married? Is it not what they made before they had Temi and then made again before they had you? If it is, then what is the point? Why did daddy not choose her everyday? Why did he not choose her that day he slept with the help?

Because what is love? Is it not the vows people make on their wedding day? For better, for worse? In sickness and in health? Is it not what Gbenga and his wife shared… is it not what they share? Is it not the glow in their eyes on their wedding day picture? Is it not the color of their daughters smile as she stares into the camera on Gbenga’s profile picture? But why did he not choose his wife and daughter? Why did he kiss you back? Why did he set your body on fire like that?

Because what is love? Is it not what Gbenga said he felt for you? Is it not what you saw in his eyes when he kissed you in the kitchen the other day? Because if he loved you, would he not tell you he was married before trying to have sex with you? Would he not give you a chance to choose to be hurt by him?

Maybe love is selfish. It wants what it wants when it wants it. Maybe love does not make sense; maybe it is not supposed to make sense.

And love wants Samuel now. Even though, that was not the initial plan.

But you don’t want to fall in love. You don’t want to be fallen in love with. You want something more permanent. Something decisive. Something explainable. Something that stays.

“Let’s not. Let’s not fall in love Samuel.”

He keeps silent now, and you raise your head to kiss him. His lips are moist; waiting for you.

*

© The Short Black Girl, 2018.

What matters matters: Of Ghostees and Ghosters.

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I have a semi-problem with this quote.

At first, I read it and liked it; acquiesced with it even—because at that point, the many times a guy had showed signs of wanting to be with me, then running away or ghosting (or whatever else it is called these days) flooded my memory. Particularly, I thought of Mr X, the one Sisi mentions often because Sisi knows how much I like him, how much I liked him. Liked because I have moved on, because I must, because I can, because if you matter to them, they will find a way; and if you don’t, they will find an excuse—like “I am not good for you” or “you deserve better”, and when they find that excuse, you must find yourself.

Then, I remembered myself. I remembered how I had been hurting over something that didn’t quite work with Mr W just before Mr X came along. How W demanded that I fight, and thought me incapable of love because I didn’t find a way to make things work. And that hurt, because I truly wanted things to work, because he mattered.

And many times, many times I have heard myself say the words “you deserve better” to love interests; because I knew they deserved better, because I knew I could not give them the kind of love that they gave me, because I wanted them to be happy, because if you love them, you set them free, right?

I have been the one to tell them “don’t love me” because I wanted to save them from a fall I imagined they would regret, because the one thing worse than a lover’s love is a lover’s hate—And thinking back now, I am not sure if I felt the need to save them or if it was just me saving myself. Does it even matter?

So, I am tempted to agree, but it all dawns on me, now; it is not that simple to agree or disagree. I must have been foolish to think it was. That people don’t work “hard enough” to make things work with us doesn’t mean they do/did not want us, it doesn’t mean we do/did not matter. It doesn’t mean hoot. Because sometimes you try to find a way, make a way even, but you hit a dead end. And what happens then? You go home and have a good cry. Because sometimes, the only “way” is to go a-way, silently, noiselessly. Ghost-fully.

Stronger than lover’s love is lover’s hate.

Euripides.

*

© The Short Black Girl, 2018.

Lost and Found (VIII)

Hello family! I apologize for missing out on last Monday’s post. I was trying to get my feet into the new year while retaining my balance at the same time. It took some effort and I lost track of time. I hope the year has been looking good for you? Now, let’s get to the post of the day. Don’t forget to leave your kind feedback.

Love always,

Me.

*

“Maybe it’s not about having a beautiful day, but about finding beautiful moments. Maybe a whole day is just too much to ask.”

-Anna White

Miss Solaye Ayodele, is it? He asks, his voice sounding as uninteresting as he looks.

Yes sir.

Good to meet you, have a seat please.

Thank you sir.

So tell me about yourself?

I am a graduate of accounting from…

I see that in your resume, tell me something that’s not in it.

Err… I weigh 57kg.

Is this a joke?

What, no? I actually weigh 57k…

The job, is it a joke?

No. Oh God, no.

Good. So come back when you are ready.

But—

Have a good day Miss.

That’s when you wake up to the sound of the morning crow. It is a dream; a bloody dream, yet you shiver. The initial plan before the dream, had been to go to Mr Tunji’s office after your CDS programme, but now, you are not sure if you will be doing that, or if you should. So for each step that you take from your bed post to the kitchenette to perform your morning water-drinking ritual, you chant “go”, “don’t go”, “go”, “don’t go”, “go”, “don’t go”…

By the time you reach the kitchenette, your right foot marks the end of your journey, and the Universe says “go”. You breathe a sigh of relief and set about preparing for the day.

*

When you bump into Tolu during CDS, just after all PET members assemble to sign the attendance sheet, your heart skips a beat. Since the date night, you had neither been able to see nor speak with him. A part of you wants to ignore him, and in fact, you almost do—until he smiles. He has the nerve to smile at you?!

“You owe me an explanation Tolu” you say to arrest his attention before your voice leaves you completely.

“H-hey Girl! Goodness, it’s been a while. Good to see you again.”

Really? Good to see you again?!

“I will not exhaust my energy playing it cool with you boy.” You start, again, more pumped with energy than before “It’s not good to see you again, and I know you wish you had not bumped into me today too, but well, life is a bitch! So! Here is what we will do… we will suck our detest for each other up, and converse like adults for some five minutes, and we will be fine. We will forget we ever met, or had that dinner date, or kissed goodbye and then fumbled at playing strangers. All I want to know is why you ghosted on me.”

“I—See—I am sorry, okay? I have just been busy.”

You smile, a smile so questioning it almost hurt. “Busy? I don’t have anything against you not picking my calls or returning them. Obviously, it was on purpose; and it’s fine, because you decide who you talk to and who you stay away from. I just want to know. Because after that night, there were days when I sat questioning myself; days when I wondered if there was something wrong with me, you know? You pursued me for so fucking long, disturbed half the town to get my number, and just when I decide to give in—when I decide to stop being afraid that you have been lying to me all the while, you bolt. What if I had had sex with you?”

“Grace, calm down okay? I am sorry you felt that way, sorry I made you feel that way. You are a wonderful person and I somehow realized that you deserve more than anything I can ever have to offer you. It’s not you, it’s me.”

The line, that cliché over-used-over-sized-shut-me-up line, steal words from your mouth.

You stand, regarding him in silence for a few seconds, unsure of what else to say; uncertain if there is even any need to say more. You conclude that all that has to be said has been said. So you leave. You don’t say goodbye. He doesn’t deserve it.

*

The interview, surprisingly, went exceptionally well—or so you think; at least, instead of the usual “we will get back to you shortly”, his final parting words had been “I have had an excellent time chatting with you lady. Make sure to call me as soon as you are done with service, just before you travel, is that okay?” What could be better?! Although a part of you feels your success had a lot more to do with Gbenga’s referral than your own wit and smart mouth; you are pleased with yourself nonetheless.

Once you reach home, you switch on your phone to call Gbenga and thank him again for the opportunity. The number of messages that stream in, in quick successions, almost overwhelm you. Most are from your sister. You had completely forgotten that you had both been talking about something before you switched off your phone two nights ago. So, you call her first. It rings through the first time, but she disconnects the call. You try a second time—

“It’s selfish of you to just go off like that whenever you feel like it”, she says in response to your “hello”.

“I am sorry”, you reply, knowing she has every right to be mad at you.

“Are you? Really? That’s what you say every time Grace but sorry doesn’t always fix things. In fact, it doesn’t fix shit. I am sure that’s what you told Gbenga the other day—”

“You know what Temi? I will talk to you when you get over whatever it is that’s eating you out. I honestly can’t do this now. Call me when you are fine.” That’s what you want to say, but what you say instead is “I am sorry sister Temi” because you are a Yoruba girl, because you are an African, because where you come from you are allowed to be mad but not allowed to show it—even when you are not the only one who has done something wrong, especially when the other person who has inflicted hurt on you, or at least attempted to do so, is older than you. She honestly had no right to bring Gbenga into this.

“Mummy wants to talk to you.” She says.

That comes to you as a surprise. You had not expected your mother to have visited your sister on a Wednesday afternoon. Or your sister to have visited your mother out of the blues. Plus you are terrified. Does your mother know already? But you say “okay”, followed by “good afternoon mummy” as soon as you perceive the exchange of the mobile phone from one hand to the other.

“What is good about the afternoon?” comes her response; sharp, injurious to your eardrums, African. You imagine that if you had been in her presence, that question would have been conferred with a smack across your face. You are thankful for barriers.

“Ma? Sorry I haven’t been in touch ma. I have been busy, and not feeling quite well too—“

“Why will you not “have been busy and not feeling quite well too”? When all you now spend your time on is boys.”

Wait, what?! Boys? You know it’s your land-lady who has called your mother but you say “I don’t understand ma.”

“You cannot understand and you will not understand. Asiri e ti tu si mi lowo bayii. Today it’s a black boy that visits, tomorrow, it’s a fair one, shebi? Sha don’t bring any nonsense disease into this house o, and don’t bring shameless pregnancy like your sister here, if you don’t want me to disown you. God will help you, and your husband will not bring gifts to the house after the first night together because he did not meet you a virgin, wa so pe oo mo mi ri. I cannot have you children behaving unruly as though you do not have upright parents to emulate! What the hell is wrong with you?”

You are red with rage, and thick sick.

You want to say “—but it’s only two men that have ever visited.” You want to say “—and I have never had sex with any of them, even though I almost did, once.” You want to say “what’s the point anyway? What’s the point of being a good girl, playing it safe, and keeping the hymen safe until you meet Mr Right? How has it helped you, if after all of your good-girlness, your husband doesn’t respect you enough to keep his shit together? If your husband can stoop so low to do it with the maid.” You want to ask “how did you end up so unlucky after doing all the right things” but you say nothing.

“I hear your POP is on the 28th.” She continues after a brief pause, “I have booked a ticket for your return on the 29th. See you then. Odabo.

You hand feels like rubber, limp, as you attempt to put the phone down. It must have been all that energy radiating from mama’s voice that got you exhausted. Now, you just want to lie in bed and close your eyes until sleep finds you.

But what finds you is worse—or maybe it is you that found it.

Because staying still in bed proved more hectic and unachievable than you imagined as snippets of that once you almost had sex with Gbenga flooded your mind and left you thirsty with want, you picked up your phone to call Gbenga. You wanted to call Sam. You wanted to think about Sam touching your body and lighting your nerves on fire, but it was Gbenga that came to mind, because Sam has never attempted to kiss you, much less touch you such that his hands linger and leave an etch, a memory—and for someone who can live with a Friends With Benefit relationship, you wondered why it had never crossed his mind.

So, you called Gbenga. But his phone rang endlessly, and as the rings stretched on, so did your wanting and worry and uncertainty and anger. Restless, you logged back into FaceBook, after so long, and attempted to stalk him. You had blocked him before, two years ago, after the break-up because you didn’t want to remember him or be remembered by him. But there was hardly a need for that anymore. You wanted to know how he felt about what transpired between you both the last time you saw, maybe he would have ranted about it (although it is very unlikely that he would), maybe he would have left a hint. His page, however, left nothing recent to commit to memory, or anything to massage your emotional turbulence, as his last post was dated two months ago and it was a tag to a football game; but just before you closed the webpage, you saw something that stayed with you. His relationship status showed that he is married, and his engagement day cover photo, and the gorgeous child on his profile picture bore witness to the new revelation that now sting the back of your eyelids.

As you sit back in bed, deciding which emotion to feel, you wonder when he was going to tell you about it, if he was going to tell you about it.

*

© The Short Black Girl, 2018.

 

Lost and Found (VI)

PS: This episode is a tad sexual, filter your eyes if you must. That said, thank you for following, and be kind enough to continue leaving your feedback. 😀

___

“There’s a trick to the ‘graceful exit.’ It begins with the vision to recognize when a job, a life stage, or a relationship is over — and let it go. It means leaving what’s over without denying its validity or its past importance to our lives. It involves a sense of future, a belief that every exit line is an entry, that we are moving up, rather than out.”
Ellen Goodman

It took a lot of thought to prepare for his visit. What to cook, what to wear, what to shave and what not to. He arrives around 11:30am, a black giant of a man, fit and pleasant to the eyes, bearing a warm smile and a basket of fruits.

You smile as you usher him in, clumsily; not sure whether to go in for a hug or a limp handshake. He leans in for a hug and you are thankful to have applied your cologne generously on the spot behind your ears and round your neck.

“Welcome to my home.”

“Thank you for having me. It’s really so good to see you again. And you cut your hair! How could you?! You look beautiful nonetheless.”

You smile. “Thank you. And it’s good to see you too. Please come in and have a seat.”

“Thank you. And here, these are for you. Since you would not let me buy you lunch, I settled for these.”

Your eyes melt into mild surprise. “You did not have to Gbenga. Thank you.”

“You are welcome.”

You watch him scan for a chair meticulously. “Err, you can use the bed. I promise it doesn’t bite.”

He guffaws. “Well, I was just being a gentleman.”

“Don’t be him. Be yourself!” You stick your tongue out. He smiles and shakes his head.

“What would you like to have first? A glass of water, juice, snacks or the main course?”

“Err, I am not really hungry, give me something light.”

You laugh out loud. “Yeah right! Just give me a minute. Music?”

“Yes please. It is never not an option.”

“Any preference?”

“Since you are the host, I will let you surprise me. It had better be good.”

You laugh. The Gbenga you remember would do anything to listen to an Adele song. If he could watch her live, he would. You hope he is still the same as you remember, as you turn on the CD player and insert her 25 album which you bought just for this occasion only yesterday.

You disappear into the kitchenette before it starts to play. You hoist a pack of juice from the fridge, and an assortment of biscuits on a saucer. You set the main dish of jollof rice and fried chicken on another tray, and some of the fruits he brought on a third tray. You are miming to Hello, reaching for glass cups above the gas stove when you hear his voice behind you.

“Can I help?”

You blush. “I didn’t know you had left the room. So you have been watching?”

“Not exactly. I just walked in at the right time.”

“Thank you.”

You both cart the trays outside to the sitting room floor, where you eat in companionable silence watching each other over the glass of juice.

“The food is delicious.” He finally says, breaking the ice.

“Thank you.” You smile.

“If I had a dollar for every time you have said thank you, I would be stinking rich.”

“You laugh. My parents taught me well.”

“Apparently. So your CV, lest I forget… I talked to some of my contacts. An uncle who owns an Accounting firm has asked that you see him sometime this week at his office, but you must call to confirm he would be available to see you before making the trip down there. His firm is at Opebi, Ikeja.”

Your mouth is wide open. “Just like that?”

“Well, not quite. He isn’t particularly offering you a job yet, you know? But he has seen your CV and he thinks it would be worthwhile having a chat with you. All those Accounting application certificates you have, give your CV a brilliant edge. So you will always be at an advantage.”

“Always? I don’t think so Gbenga. Do you know how many applications I have sent in these past months? Over twenty, and no one has deemed it fit to reach back out! Not one company!”

“Well, I forgot to mention, I did a little re-work on your CV. Sometimes, it isn’t the content of the CV that immediately catches an employer’s eyes. I mean, there are tons of applications to look at, you know? On a daily basis! Imagine how overwhelming that can be! Although it is not a justifiable reason why they should not reach out to applicants, it is their typical safe landing space.”

Immediately, you reach out to hug him. Tears are beginning to well up in your eyes, and soon you are sobbing. He holds you until you are calm.

“Are you alright?”

You nod. ”It’s just that I am so grateful. You don’t know what I have been through Gbenga. There were days I felt un-achieving, days I felt like I wasn’t enough, like my inability to get an employer to invite me for an interview or whatever meant something was wrong with me. I was depressed for days, and had almost given up hope until yesterday. Thank you Gbenga. I am surprised you could do this for me after our history and I cannot thank you enough.”

He caresses your arm. “Hey, you didn’t do anything you did not have to do. You were going through a tough time then, and I understand it now; even though, I didn’t quite understand it then and said some hurtful things. Point is, we acted the way we thought best at the time but it doesn’t mean we loved less or didn’t love enough. Don’t feel sorry. It hurt me but I know it hurt you too. So, it’s fine. And you are enough. The fact that things don’t work out the way we want them to is not a reflection of anything but God asking us to wait for the better plan. God has got you, okay?”

You nod again, and try to hold back the fresh bout of tears waiting to break out. “I have missed you and I am sorry about how things ended.”

He smiles. “I have missed you too. I waited though, you know? Then, when you wanted space, you said you would reach out when you got yourself together. You never did. You changed your phone number and just went AWOL. I couldn’t visit because I did not know where you stay. Your friends did not have your number either. Wait, how… how do you do it? Just move on from people, events and things like that?”

You don’t know what to say, so you say you are sorry again. You pile the used dishes on the floor and take them back to the kitchen in batches. Adele is still doing what she does best singing “All I Ask”. He stands up to help against your protests. He is such a gentleman, he has always been. You wash the dishes together and replace them on the shelves and in the cupboards. And when you are done, he pulls you to a corner of the kitchen where you both stand face to face.

“Look at me Grace. You have been averting my gaze all day.”

You bite your lower lip, as you make yourself look at him.

“I have missed you. This face. Your warm eyes, your smile, everything.”

You smile. “I have missed you too.”

“I have missed you more.”

“I have missed you most.”

He laughs. “Oh, you want to play that game? Show me how much you have missed me.”

You are tempted to kiss him. You never know how to resist gorgeous boys with teasing beards and smiling eyes. Like him. Like Sam. But is it the right thing to do? You used to know him but you barely know him now, two years after. What if he is not the same as before? But again, who are you kidding? You know you want this. You prepared for it. After all that shaving, cologne time, and careful selection of underwear and a single-strapped dress gown, what did you expect? All that purposeful bum wiggling and shaking! Puhleese!

So you kiss him. And you remember how much you missed him those nights after the break-up. Your tongue scours his mouth clean, tasting corners, searching for hidden secrets of what went down since the last time. He breaks off the kiss, breathless.

“Damn! You—you have certainly missed me, but not as much as this…”

He is biting your ear lobes now, caressing the inside of your ears with his tongue. You close your eyes, and moan a little. His tongue strolls to your neck, some biting here, some biting there; then it travels downside to your bare chest, his hands pulling off your mono-strap as his eyes beg for permission. You grant him full access.

You are down to your underwear in no time, and you are thankful you had made a matching choice of panties and bra that morning.

“You are beautiful.” He whispers.

“Thank—“ he kisses your gratitude out of your mouth. One hand unstraps your bra expertly, and the other invades your panties. A finger slides in, and you scream in pleasure. He is watching you intently, watching you break apart under his command. You throw your head back, biting your lips, pinching your nipples to distract yourself from the pleasure you feel. His free hand covers your busy hand and his mouth claims the other nipple. You are on a roller-coaster of emotions, and as you approach Nirvana, you scream the one name that comes to your head.

“Sam!”

Everything stops abruptly then, and the silence that follows is so fragile you fear your voice would break it if you speak.

*

© The Short Black Girl, 2017.

Lost and Found (V)

“Even in the smallest events, there is no such thing as Coincidence.”

-Haruki Murakumi

You are logging into your email after so long. You had told Omolewa about the dream you had in the morning, more because you hardly dream than anything else. She suggested you both check google for an interpretation and it had hinted at something like unexpected good news.

You think hard and long, and decide to log into your email.

About two dozen of emails pour in immediately. Most from Jobberman, for everyday that you have been offline even after you had unsubscribed from it. You sift through the annoying pile of mess with hopes that there will be something entertaining in your mailbox, and you find it.

A mail from Gbenga, your ex.

You smile, bat your eyelids and check to see that you read the recipient correctly, then smile again. Is this the unexpected good news? It’s been two years, and just today when your sister brought him into a discussion out of the blues, you decide to check your emails and find his message waiting. This must be a sign.

You open to read its content.

“Hello Solaye. I stumbled into Jackson some days back and he said you were both posted to Lagos before he redeployed to Abuja. Are you still in Lagos? We should probably hang out. I have a one-month training programme in Lagos running through to the middle of next month, and I thought I would propose a meeting. I have tried your old number several times to no avail, reason why I am sending an email. My number is 09094423755. Call me, okay? I hope to hear from you soon. Cheers darling.”

You smile, then frown. You are obviously crushing on an ex and you do not know if it is indeed a good thing, considering you had been the one to break the relationship off and you haven’t even changed that much. Plus what if he wants to date again? What if he is married with kids and just wants to hang out as friends?

“Any good news afterall?” Lewa’s question halts your overthinking.

“Message from an ex. Good?” You hand her your phone and find her shaking her head in disapproval as she reads the message. “Maybe not. But I am excited.”

“You need sex babe.”

You laugh. “I need love.”

“So what are you going to do? Call him?” She hands your phone over.

“I don’t know.”

“Don’t.” she suggests with pleading eyes.

“Now that you say it like that, I think I will.”

“You are helpless.” She replies in surrender.

“As are you. Keep swiping on your Tinder app. Maybe you will get lucky like Sandra.” You are dialing his number immediately.

“What?! Who are you calling? Him? So quickly?” You put a finger across your lips asking her to keep silent. You count the rings to confirm the assertion you made about people liking to wait until the third ring before responding to a call. He doesn’t pick his call even after the fifth ring.

You feel a little disappointed. And contemplate on calling again but Omolewa stops you.

“Grace Solaye Ayodele, you don’t want to come across as being desperate. Give him a chance to call you back. I would have even proposed that you reply his email with your number rather than calling him so soon. Where is your pride?”

“I left it at home” you state as a matter-of-fact as you dial his number a second time. He picks on the fourth ring, and the voice that caresses your ear drums arrest your common sense. You instantly remember why you fell in love with him. It must have been his voice.

“Gbenga, it’s Solaye Ayodele. I got your email.”

“My goodness! Solaye? I have certainly missed hearing from you. Thank you for calling. Let me call you back, please?”

“Sure.”

He does not give you a chance to wait for his call, as your phone comes alive almost immediately. You pick the call. “So!”

“So. How has Service year been, to start with?”

“Not as much fun as I was promised.”

“Never believe what people say darling.” You laugh. “And how have you been?”

“Myself.” You reply.

You hear him smile. “Fair enough. So when are you free? Will the first week of next month work for you?”

“Err… I am not sure I will still be in Lagos by then. POP comes up by the end of this month and I intend to leave for Abuja soon after that.”

“Whoa. So soon? You have something to catch over there? Work or Marriage or something fancy like that?”

You laugh. “I wish. Let’s say there is nothing reasonable keeping me here. No job or family or anything, so I would rather be in a familiar place.”

“Hm… and if a job comes up or someone proposes before then, there is hope for me to see you then?”

You laugh again. “Plenty hope. Just let whatever it is be more mouth-watering than the security and comfort my father’s house promises.”

“We can work on that, I think. Send me your CV. I happen to know some places where you can get an internship opportunity, at least for a start.”

“Are you for real?!” you almost jump up in excitement.

“Hey, no promises. It’s one thing to hand in CV’s and another to get called in for an interview. But it won’t hurt to try, would it?”

Your excitement drops but you appreciate that he would even attempt to try. “Thank you so much Gbenga and yes, I understand. I will send my CV to you as soon as the call is over.”

“Good! So about seeing you, err… what are you doing tomorrow? It’s Sunday. I intended to rest in tomorrow but just in case my plan to keep you in Lagos beyond this month doesn’t work, I would like to see you tomorrow. Are you free?”

You blush. His persistence, genuineness, matter-of-factness… those are the things about him that made you feel guilty for having left him. You don’t meet his type every day. “What time?”

“Let’s see. Where do you stay?”

“Ogba.”

“Oh yeah! Not too far from Ikeja. I am currently lodged in a hotel in Ikeja. Would you mind coming to Ikeja Mall or is there anywhere around you where you think we can meet? An eatery, a mall?”

“Of course, tons of eateries around here. But let me cook for you. I will send you my address.” Omolewa is in your face now, staring wide-eyed and questioning your sanity. You ignore her.

“Are you sure?”

“Are you afraid I will poison you?”

He laughs. “Why, I just wanted to be sure you were cool with it. Okay love, send me your address and let me know what time will be convenient for you.”

“Sure will.”

“Talk to you later then?”

“Yes. Thank you.”

“For nothing. I will be expecting your CV and the address. Take care darling.”

“You are thirstier than I thought babe. Did you just invite your ex to your house?” Omolewa spits in your face barely a second after you disconnect the call.

“Is it your house?” you respond, clearly getting irritated with her impolite intrusion on your private life and right to make decisions.

She stares at you incredulously. You hate the judgement in her eyes. This is why you hate to keep friends. You give them too much access and they think they have the right to decide what you do with your life. You stand up and fetch your bag.

“Where are you going?”

“To my house.”

“Are we fighting? I just don’t want you to make a mistake, that’s all.”

You don’t respond. You are out the door before she finishes her sentence. “Thank you for lunch.”

You can feel her eyes boring holes into your back and her mouth hanging open. You have never had a quarrel before and she probably does not know how to handle it. You do not know how to handle it either. You decide it is best to leave her presence before you say something you will regret. In two seconds, you hail a bike and head home. You don’t look back.

*

© The Short Black Girl, 2017.

Lost and Found (IV)

So, I am back lovelies! Who missed me? Let’s get back to what Grace and Sam and the lot of the LNF peoples have been up to, shall we?! And yes, I have missed you too, sorely.

_________

“Once you know some things, you cannot un-know them. It is a burden that can never be given away.”

-Alice Hoffman

You start Saturday early, after the flimsy dream about a rat sipping yogurt from the fridge wakes you up from your sleep. You gather your dirty clothes so you can get them to the laundry later in the day and scribble a set of to-do’s on a post-it note which you paste on your fridge for easy reference. You exercise to some music, and make some breakfast.

In the middle of breakfast, you have an impulse to call home, so you do. Your sister picks on the third ring.

“Hello”

“Hey Temi!”

“Solaye, is this you? Knawa o. What happened to your phone?”

“I got a new sim. I needed some space.”

“Space. Space abi? What or who did you delete this time o? The other time, it was that innocent boy Gbenga. What was it this time?”

You wince as you remember how you broke up with your last boyfriend because he would not understand your definition of needing space to deal with your mood rather than talking it through with him. He said you did not know the meaning of having a relationship. You said he didn’t know the meaning of respecting someone’s privacy. You broke up, and have not been with any other man since then, maybe the Universe’s way of punishing you for dealing a good man bad. That was two years ago.

“Anyway, I hope you are fine now?”

“Yes. Thank you. How are you? How’s Teejay, and Daniel?”

“We are doing well, oshey. Are you sure you are okay sha? Mum has been calling to ask if I have heard from you.”

“I figured. I am not ready for her questions jare. I hope she is good? And dad too?”

“Yes, they are well. They are already planning their anniversary and Christmas holiday. I think they are doing Kenya this time.”

“Good. I wish them luck.”

“Why so cold! Are they the cause of your predicament?!”

You laugh. “Abeg, no cold here o. Just wishing them normal good luck. Is that a bad thing? Anyway, it’s good to know you are good. I will talk to you later.”

“Okay ma. On this number? Abi, we should be expecting a different number soon?”

Na you sabi!

Toor, sha please be informing us before you spring surprise calls with foreign numbers on us. Some of us are averse to un-sexy surprises.”

You laugh and bid her off the phone. You are glad you called.

But Samuel hasn’t called all day. He would usually call, regardless of how nasty or unbelievable you have been to him, or send a message. You check your phone from time to time, still no luck; so you chuck up your pride and give him a call. Maybe you over-reacted.

He picks his call on the third ring. Everyone seems to pick the call on the third ring. Is it a thing?! You can hear the sound of music humming in the background. He must be driving.

“Where to?”

“Good morning to you too.”

You snort, then apologize. “Mabinu, good morning. Where to this early? It’s only 11:00am.”

“I am helping a friend move.”

“Right. I just thought to check on you.”

“Really? Very kind of you. Thank you Grace.”

You want to get off the phone. You hate the tone of his voice pregnant with sarcasm, his attitude. But you know you are the wrong one, so you apologize instead.

“About yesterday… I am sorry. Maybe I over-reacted.”

“I think you did Grace. But it’s okay. We do what we do for love.”

You chuckle. “So who’s this friend you are helping to move?”

“Err… you ask like you know all my friends.” He chuckles

You are in a rather splendid mood, so you persist. “Well, there is always a starting point.”

“If you insist you’d like to know, Gbemi is the one moving. I would have asked you to join but you haven’t been giving me too many chances of late.”

You freeze. Gbemi?! You don’t know why, but a pang of jealousy flits across your nerves. And quickly, you wish you could un-do the day, or un-know Samuel and the clingy details of his past relationship life. But if wishes were horses, you would not even be a part of a planet so full of human beings yet devoid of humanity.

“Have fun Samuel.”

“Wai—wh—“ but you don’t listen. You cut the call, switch off your phone and move on to other things, trying your best to keep distracted from the jealousy you feel. What temerity!

You visit Omolewa later in the day. Your dry-cleaner’s shop is located in the same area as her house so you decide to give her a surprise visit. She was your bunk-mate in the Camp, and closest friend of the lot you have made in Lagos so far.

“Grace!” she wraps you up in a fond embrace. You haven’t seen each other in three months but you would chat with her every now and then before you took that break off social media.

“Omolewa!” you respond in kind.

“Come in… sit, sit. What can I offer you? I am so so glad to see you. As if you knew I was having a boring day. I was thinking of coming to visit you one of these days sef because I have been unable to reach you. What’s up now?!” She hurries to the kitchen of the two-bedroom flat she shares with her flat-mate, Sandra. Before you can think of a preference, she is pouring juice from a pack of Five Alive into a glass cup. Shortly after, a saucer of peppered goat meat follows. You smile.

“You see, this is why I always like to visit. There is always something interesting happening in your house. Always. I wonder why one of those fine boys have not come to pay your bride price yet. 100 yards wife material!” She laughs.

“All this flattery because of food? FFO ni e!”

Iwo l’omo. Wey your roommate?”

She dey her boyfriend house. Until Monday.

Ehn ehn! Knawa o. Una children don spoil finish. E don pay bride price? Chai!

“Is it your bride abi your pricing? And what is all this bride-price talk sef? Has someone proposed?”

You laugh. She continues on a more serious note. “I cannot believe one year has come and gone so quickly sha. Those dreaded early morning exercises, mammy market escapades… now that it’s all over, it’s a whole new set of worries. Where to work? When to marry? Who to marry? How many children?”

“I guess there is no end to worrying.”

“This one that you are calm like this, got any plans?”

“Aside finishing this goat meat delicacy and sleeping? No ma.”

It is food that wee kuku kee you.” You both laugh. “But really, have you started applying? Or you have a job waiting for you already?”

“Yes, I have applied to a couple of places. And no, I don’t have a job waiting yet.”

“Boyfriend nko? How far that Ibe guy from Camp? And that Tolu guy from CDS?”

You shake your head. “I have not seen Ibe since after Camp. And I finally had a date with Tolu about three weeks ago.”

“Oh yeah! And you didn’t tell me, is that life?! So what’s up now? When is the wedding date?”

You laugh. “Wedding sha? The fool ghosted on me.”

“Ghosted on you how?”

“He stopped calling, and wouldn’t return or pick my calls since the date night.”

“His loss baby girl! His loss!”

“Cheers to that.” You raise your glass of juice to the air.

“There is this app though, Tinder. Been on it for a while now. Sandra introduced me to it. She said it is where she met her boyfriend, Ray.”

“You don’t say!”

“Well, I say! Will you will spend the night, so we can make some matches together?”

“Tempting, but I did not come prepared. You know.”

“It’s not this one day that you will wear one dress twice that will say you will not meet your future husband na, aunty! What if future hubby likes his woman looking like yesterday and God is just trying to use me to help you meet him?”

You laugh. You honestly do not want to go back home, because you know you will end up thinking about Samuel and getting madder over something you don’t understand. So you resign to fate and accept to stay the night.

She jumps up in delight. “Will you eat jollof for dinner?”

“Are you asking? That’s the only reason why I am staying. The food. You had better make it worth it.” You say, winking, as you spread out on the floor in front of the TV.

FFO ni e se.

“You said that before ma.”

She laughs, you unfurl. This should be fun

*

© The Short Black Girl, 2017.

Lost and Found (II)

images

Picture Source: Google, Quote culled from Nicola Yoon’s ‘The Sun is also a Star’.

*

You do not wake up until 12:00pm, sweaty with a full shot of headache. You are certainly taking the day off work. You look around your room now that sunshine streams in from the window side. Save for the pile of hair on the floor that greet your gaze, everything else appears serene, unperturbed. Your hair, dammit! You want to cry but you don’t. You are still in your work clothes from yesterday but a little less bitter about your life.

You clean up your room and take a long cold shower, basking in the sensations that seize you as water splashes on your scalp. Maybe cutting your hair wasn’t such a bad idea after all, you decide. You change into a short black dress and stay in bed for the rest of the day, shuffling between movies, and writing in your journal. You forget to eat.

Dear Diary,

Bad mood suffocates me like foul air sometimes. All it takes is one moment, a second and all the things going wrong or about to go wrong or I fear will go wrong crash in my face pooling tears in my eyes. Then I become full with grief, and wait to explode. I remember the choices I did not make and regret the ones I did. Yesterday, I had a major explosion. I am not sure what triggered it, but it surely came to fore after the call with Boma. And no, it’s not Boma, it’s me. I know it’s an overused line, but the truth cannot be over-sold.

With NYSC rounding off in a month, and me, still yet to hitch a job or find a man, I am constantly faced with the question of where my life is going and what the future would look like. A lot of my friends seem to have achieved a lot during this one year; some completed projects in their communities or at least kick-started it and now have something prestigious to add to their CV, some are getting married to boyfriends they met at Camp, some have jobs already waiting for them after service, some have hitched a boyfriend or two along the line and while it would hardly increase their job prospects, it affords them a husband material to take home to mama… and I am here, having nothing and too good for love, writing this self-pity journal, mildly wondering why my last date ghosted on me and when it will be my chance to get lucky.

I have tried dating but I have hardly ever gone past a first date—they say “We should certainly meet again sometime soon” but we never do. I have sent in application letters to too many companies and shared my CV with too many people, but the same response meets me: “we will get back to you shortly”. They hardly ever do.

But I know I shouldn’t do this: compare myself with others because each man to his own race course. So I am taking a break from other people’s lives. With social media applications gone, and a new sim in my phone, I can monitor what and who gets to me and meet my life where it meets me. Sometimes, we need to disconnect from people to connect with ourselves; and that is totally fine.  

It’s me; I know it’s all me. But even that knowledge is not satisfying. I need a breakthrough. 

Yours, the unmade adult child.

You sleep the rest of the day away until a knock finds you in your dreams. It is 6:30pm. You shuffle to the door of your en-suite apartment to find a worried Sam. You open the door to let him in.

“Goodness! Your hair!”

You make a short laugh and shrug his questioning gaze off. “How did you know my apartment?”

“And good evening to you too.”

You smirk. “Forgive my manners, good evening. Please have a seat.” You gesture towards the bed, the only “seat” in the house.

He takes a seat and makes a show of looking around your well-furnished apartment with approving eyes. “For a corper, I will say you have a high taste.”

“Let’s say I will do anything to make a strange place feel like home. So, how did you find me?”

“It was easy. I just had to ask for the gorgeous fair youth corper who lived here, and all fingers pointed towards your door. What happened to you?”

“Right!” you smirk “you forgot to add ‘fat’. What can I offer you?”

“An explanation. Come here and have a seat. Let’s talk about yesterday and your hair.”

 You roll your eyes. “Making orders in my own house? For a gentleman, I will say you have too much nerves.”

He smiles. “I do when I need to. Common now, sit. Please.”

You oblige him. “I was just unhappy is all. Nothing “happened”.” You emphasize “happened” by raising your fingers to put imaginary air marks.

“And your hair? A terrible accident?”

“Well, I wanted a new look.”

“For someone who has a good taste in interior décor, I will say you have a horrible fashion taste. You do know you have to visit the barber, right? You look unfinished…”

You laugh. “Thank you for the compliment and yes, I know.”

“So is this the reason you didn’t come to work today?”

“I wasn’t feeling very well. That’s the reason.”

“And your phone? Switched off. No one could reach you. We were worried sick. Everyone kept turning to me because they knew I was the last person that saw you. You could have called me Grace. You could have said something, or sent me a message. I kept sending you emails, you didn’t–”

“I am sorry Sam. I am sorry. I—I felt suicidal yesterday, okay? I just needed to get myself together.”

“Suicidal? And you say nothing happened?”

“I am fine now Sam.”

“If you wouldn’t talk to me, have you at least talked to someone about it?”

“Yes. I have.” You smile to reassure him that you are okay, but it is futile. His face looks flushed, his worry imminent. “Thank you for taking the pains to come see if I am okay.”

“I don’t know what to say Grace.” He looks away from you, shaking his head and twiddling with his car key.

“Say “you are welcome””

He smiles. You smile too. “Good to know you are fine anyway.”

“Yeah, glad I made it.” You check the time, it is almost 7pm and you begin to feel uneasy.

“Err, it’s getting late, you know?”

He looks up at the time, then at you. “Are you sending me off so soon?”

“Not that I don’t want you to stay, but I imagine you must have some things to tend to at home. I don’t want to keep you longer than you have to be here.”

“Don’t be too kind. There is nothing to rush home to. No dinner. No wife, or fiancee, or girlfriend.”

You blush. “Okay, let’s make you dinner before it gets too late”

You make Garri and Egusi for both of you, and you eat from the same plate which feels a tad sentimental. You start to feel a little too self- conscious in your short dress as you see his eyes roving every inch of your body.

“You know I like you, right?”

You smile. “Yes. You are too obvious about it.”

He laughs. “Well, good. And I know you like me too.”

Now, you are the one laughing. “You look like the kind of girl I would like to settle down with.”

“What? Is it you or the food? Mum always said the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. I never wanted to believe it, but now I am tempted to.”

He laughs. “But I am serious about this…”

“You don’t know me Sam.”

“I want to now.”

“If you knew me, you would change your mind. I would rather bask in the euphoria of this pleasant friendship we share now, than lose you—or well, the free rides home!”

He smiles. “What will make me hate you? Your impulsive change of taste and hairstyle? The history of how many boys you have dated and the ones whose hearts you have broken?”

“Yes. And my penchant for invading the souls of well-meaning men with my beautiful corruption.”

“Now I am scared…” he fakes a shiver, you laugh. “But I still want you. Your virus and beautiful corruption. I want to be invaded by you.”

You check the time again. 7:35.

“It’s late Sam. Plus I have to prepare for tomorrow. Figure out what to do with my hair and stuff.”

“I want you.” He insists, ignoring your efforts to send him off.

“Don’t want me Sam. I am not as pretty inside.”

“I don’t want pretty, I want Grace.” he winks.

You smile. “I don’t know Sam. Maybe we will revisit this after you get to know me better. Thank you so much for coming around, and keeping me company. Drive safely, okay? See you tomorrow.”

“Whatever you do with your hair, make sure you stay recognizable. Please.”

You laugh, as you shut the door after him. “I’ll try.”

*

© The Short Black Girl, 2017.

Conversations with Marvin: Will “what will be” be?

Love is a kind of grief.

-Chimamanda Adichie, Americanah

Me: What will be will be

Marvin: Will it?

Me: We will have to see

Marvin: You don’t even believe in your own self, your truth; how then, my darling, shall I begin to believe you?

Me: *silent*

Marvin: What will be will not be. What you want to be, you go out there and make it happen. I want you, I am here– willing to do whatever it takes to have you. The question is, do you want me too?

Me: Rain…

Marvin: What has rain got to do with anything?

Me: Can you make it rain?

Marvin: I am not a fucking rainmaker baby. What the devil has that got to do with us?

Me: I want rain. Now. I cannot make it happen, you cannot make it happen. Look outside, it is piercingly bright. But I want rain. Can you make it rain?

Marvin: Sunshine, sunshine look at me–

Me: If I cannot make it rain, you cannot make me stay.

*

I have just finished reading Adichie’s “Americanah” and it has left me with a riot of emotions– a sad familiar longing, excitement for a love that triumphed, worry about the reality of it. I have often thought and said “what will be will be” and often too, I have believed it. Because I can safely say that Ifem and Obinze were meant to be together and that is why they ended up together. But, as I now vividly remember the words M once said, that now float in my head auspiciously: what will be will not be, you have to go out there and make it happen if it matters that much to you, I shrink in the knowledge of my own incredulousness. I am thinking, now, maybe this is also true. Because if Obinze had not gone back to Ifem (seven excruciatingly-slow-moving-months after), maybe they will never have got back together.

And maybe there is no set rule to these things and maybe we say “what will be will be” because our hands are tied and Faith is our only recourse, maybe because Destiny; maybe if two hearts are truly in love, and in sync, the Universe will make their silent wishes come true. Maybe, maybe…

Yet now I ask myself, wondrously, curiously, will what will be be?

*

© The Short Black Girl, 2017.

Conversations with Marvin: The deal about honesty.

Me: I think honesty is the most important thing in a relationship.

Marvin: No, I think it is Love and Respect. You love someone, you want to forgive them quickly even before they apologize. You love someone, you find it hard to get mad at them. You respect someone, you consider them and their feelings even though you are only responsible for what you do, not how they feel. You love someone, you spend your living days having their back, trying not to hurt them. You love someone, you believe in them until there is a reason to stop believing. I think we lie to ourselves when we say we want honesty. Because we can handle love and respect, but we can never truly handle honesty. We don’t know how. The world we live in is not made for honesty.

Me: I don’t agree with you. I do not kid when I tell you I want honesty. I want to know every grain of truth that there is: about the past, about everything. When I love you, I give you the whole damn truth and I expect the same. I want to know about the girl you kissed, the girl you almost cheated with, the atrocities of your past, everything. When there is honesty, we give ourselves a chance at forgiveness. A chance at new beginnings.

Marvin: Would you really want to know how I kissed that hot girl in my office because you and I were not on talking terms? Would you have the patience to hear about how she kissed me more than I kissed her because the man in me wanted it but the soul in me knew it belonged with you and no other? Would you want to know my loins stirred with lust after I saw some thick set woman walk by? Would you want to know my ex visited and although we didn’t revisit the bed-times, I had wet dreams about her? Would you want to know? Can you handle it?

Me: Yes, I would want to know. And it should not be your business if I can handle it or not. Your responsibility is to be honest, and my responsibility is to make do with that information however best I can process it. If I resolve to forgive you, it will be my prerogative. If I resolve to leave because it is too much for me, then maybe we shouldn’t have been together in the first place. I think people who feel self-righteous about their ability to hide the truth are in fact selfish egoistic bastards. You are not afraid to tell the truth because you are concerned about my well-being, rather you are afraid because you worry about how I will begin to see you and how my feelings for you might change; how you might stop being the guy I love and dote on and start being the one who hurt me, the one who cheated.

Marvin: That is not true… and I am not saying I would not be honest with you, all I am saying is that I think beyond honesty, love and respect are the most important things in a relationship.

Me: All I am saying is if you love me, you will respect me enough to be honest with me; or even better, respect me enough to not do those things you would not have the heart or humor to be honest about.

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Honesty is the fastest way to prevent a mistake from turning into a failure

-James Altucher

Honesty is a double-edged sword, and I think that in all sincerity, there will be times in each person’s life when we will contemplate on the perks of being honest and the perks of keeping our mouths tight shut– because we are humans, and more often than we may wish it happened, we are not always in control of our bodies or the things we do and/or say. We have “wants and desires” and then there is “the way that things should be”, but the path of life is not all rights and lefts, or rights and wrongs, or blacks and whites. Some days don’t come with choices, they impose their will on us and leave us with the torment of whom to tell the story to.

And this is not just about romantic relationships…

Recently, I was honest about something to someone very dear, and (surprisingly or unsurprisingly) I expected to get a certain kind of reaction, which I did not immediately get. I was thinking (quite self-righteously) to myself “I could have lied! I damn well could have lied but I chose to say the truth, so I deserve to be cut some slack” but really? Now, I see that thinking the way I thought then would amount to me trying to rationalize dishonesty, like everyone does it, so why not me?! But of course as we already know, the ubiquitousness of a thing doesn’t redeem it from savagery. It remains what it is!

What do you think? About the role of honesty in romantic relationships, or other relationships for that matter? In light of the abundant ways that people can now cheat (it gets as bad as you cheating and not even knowing that you are), or the fact that, increasingly, it seems as though there is no reward for or gain in being honest. Should we even expect a reward for being honest? Should we spread the dirty linen wide and clear in front of our partner’s eyes, unthinking, uncaring? I think yes, despite the consequences.

But then, it is easier said than done.

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© The Short Black Girl, 2017.