August 31, 2010

Masquerades (2)

She doesn't whisper my name anymore when we make love. I can't even remember the last time we shared sleeping space. Like cobwebs that cover unused places, so is my memory of love with her.

The devil has no free gift. I should have known that. I should have known that for every stolen kiss of nectar, i would pay a price worth its weight in gold. I should have known that for every tremulous crescendo reached in the back seat of my car, i would descend a thousand depths.

Water from a stolen cistern. I exchanged my wife's anthill colored skin with its maps of our years together for youthful supple flesh. I have known heaven in her arms. I have known hell out of it.

She is still with me because she loves the children. I am thankful for that. If we didn't have them, she would be gone faster than spit dries in the Sahara. When she looks at them, i am reminded of the light that was my wife before i extinguished it.

We sleep in the same room. Two beds so far apart, i could have been in another room. She insists we keep up appearances for the children's sakes. I cannot bear the thought of life without her. My conscience mocks me. ' You should have thought of that before you succumbed like a goat in heat'
I have tried almost every way to win her back. To light up her eyes again. I have failed. Still i try. Flowers everyday. I find them in the bin when i get home. I have sent entreaties to plead my case. Everything has failed...

Nifemi comes home from school. He runs to me to be lifted and i lift him up effortlessly. He tells me about his school play. He plays one of the masquerades, he tells me. I need to buy him a get-up. For the first time in a long time i smile. It takes a while but i find a mask similar to that one Nifemi the elder wore to drive Ihuoma into my arms. I buy two masks. one for my son. One for me...

I call her home the next day. Its an emergency i say. I refuse to say more. I wait till she comes marching in. Ready to throttle me if any harm had come to her children and i refused to tell her over the phone. That's when she finds me at the dining table. The mask in my hands. I offer it to her. Tears fills her eyes. My wife remembers.

She turns around to leave. I watch her go. I have run out of words. I have failed again. I had hoped she would see beyond the concealment. The charade of manliness that has driven us farther than oceans could have. This disguise of deceit, of pain, of distrust, of adultery. I offered her the masquerade with the hope that she would see through it all to that boy that loved her from the first. I had hoped for the magic of Nifemi again...

Night came and she didn't come home.

I put the children to bed. And then sat on the couch, mask in hand, to wait... 

P.S To understand this, I'd refer you here
I hope its worth it...The picture is from the Calabar Carnival 2009

Song of the Day: John Legend - Everybody Knows

August 30, 2010


Do you remember that time at the cinema? It was a movie we had been looking forward to all year. We had to queue up  for tickets and some man just stepped in front of you. Poor man. He probably took a long look at the queue and saw a 5foot tall lady as the weakest link. He couldn't have been farther from the truth. I laughed so much that day as you gave him a piece of your mind. Shaking your finger in his face as you asked him if no one taught him any better. I laughed but i was afraid for you. He was six foot plus after all

You were so spontaneous, so full of energy, so self righteous. Few people approved of a woman who said what was on her mind. I loved every piece of that mind.

Every one in my family likes my new girlfriend. My friends too. She lets me hang out with the boys as much as i want and never complains. She isn't as needy as you were. With her I sometimes feel like an accessory. Something you have only because it looks good and not cause its necessary. With you, there was never anytime for much else. You were my every minute of my every day.

My new girl is always so impeccably dressed. It still makes me smile to think of how we went to a wedding in mathcing dungarees, how you loved your Adire and made bras out of it.
Everyone tells me she will make a perfect wife. They say our life together will be picture perfect. My favorite picture of you is in my t-shirt wearing no bra, no makeup, and showing the camera your middle finger. I took that picture. She doesn't take pictures expect she has make up on, and looks like a queen. 

I saw you at the bus stop yesterday. You were helping a  bunch of kids cross the road. I wanted to call out to you but she was in the car. I stopped the car to let you cross. Yes, that was me! She only commented on how ugly the kid's uniforms were.
I am by the bus stop again today. I am alone this time.I am hoping you show up to help the kids cross. I know you well enough to know you will stop to help them again and again. I don't have a plan but i brought my camera. I know you will probably curse at me. Possibly show me the middle finger. In fact am hoping on it. I will be back here everyday crossing every road, every bridge with you. Maybe someday you will reach out and hold my hand. Maybe someday you will let me hold your hand and we will cross the roads together.

P.S This was inspired by John Mayer's song, Comfortable...i borrowed a  bit from Michael Buble's Everything and The Script's Man Who can't be Moved provided the ending. Song of the day? Take your pick.

And the beautiful girl is my friend T...

August 27, 2010


Every Christmas, we go to the village. We go because Iya spends all year crying over the phone about how we never come to visit. Baba says families should be together during festivities. So we all go even though I always find him puttering around with Uncle Sesan's Staff and stones after a few days. It is clear that he misses his golf.

I miss all the coconut girls that will be coming home for the holidays.By the time, we make it back to the city, they are all gone, back to wherever they came from and leaving no trace behind they were even here. All I am left with are tales from my friends whose kind parents understand adolescent needs and let them spend Christmas in the city

One Christmas, Baba loads us into the car and we drive down to the village. Iya is grinning like the village drunk when we arrive. She calls out to me 'Akogun'.

'Iya, please don't call me that,' I say.

I am fourteen and missing out on coconut girls so I am not in the mood for fond names. I see the hurt in her eyes. I do not care. I still go ahead to hug her. I have no choice in that matter. Baba's eyes are worse than daggers placed in fire. I sulk throughout the rest of the day daydreaming about the girls with their 'oyinbo' accents and foreign scents.

A few days pass but I continue to sulk. Iya has had enough and makes me go to the river with her. I plead with Baba with my eyes  to speak up for me but he pretends not to notice. On our way, Iya asks me if i have a  girlfriend. I am stunned. I look back at her. She dares to ask me this. The reason why i am here in this remote village while my friends gallivant with coconut beauties in Surulere presumes to question my non-existent love life.. I look away and tell her i am too young. She laughs at me. 

It is like the ice between us is broken by that question. We start to talk and end up conversing our way to the river. Actually, Iya does most of the talking while I am enthralled by the tales she tells. Tales that sound impossible to my mind but must be true because so intensely does she tell them.

When we get to the river, she finds a place for us to sit. We eat the food she had brought along. We laugh. Most of all I get to know my grandaunt better. Or maybe, I am just reminded. Baba talks about how as a child I never left Iya's side if I could help it. I had forgotten what it was that drew me to her.

I ask her as we eat why she always calls me Akogun. She tells me of the warriors of old. It was a title reserved for great men. She hopes i will be great someday. I tell her i am no warrior. Iya tells me its the heart that makes the warrior not the skill. The sun is setting when Iya tells me her old bones need rest. She asks me to take a photograph of her with my new camera.I tell her to pose for me. 

She is sitting on a rock by the river  in her favorite clothes, sedate jewelry and that's when I noticed she dressed up for me. She walked all the way to the river so we could be alone even though she still limps from her last fall. She woke up early to make a picnic lunch so iIwouldn't be hungry.She took off her head tie that covers the almost bald gray head so I could sit comfortably. Through my new camera lens, I see old love.

'Akogun', she calls out to me. 'Hurry up. my buttock bones hurt'.

I laugh and I take her picture.

I will go ahead and become a great man. I will find me a 'coconut' beauty to marry. I will have my own children. I will show them the dog-eared photograph i have of Iya. I will try and show them the love in her bald head. The youth in her dancing eyes. The curve of her lips that is poised to call out my praise name. Her wrinkled skin that shines with hope for my future. They will sulk and hiss at me when I tell them its time to visit Iya. But like my father before me, I will ignore them knowing that someday they will see also what I see in my grandaunt. I trust Iya to show them.

August 26, 2010

Rant (1)

There's always this one person that knows how to get to you. Most likely there are more than one.And very likely they are  assholes and because they know they can make you hurt, they will.

We all have these kind of people in our lives. Sometimes by design, Mostly its by choice. We hang on because we are afraid of the unknown. The adage 'the devil you know is better than the angel you don't know' becomes our defense. What we forget is that no matter how bad the angel or how saintly the devil, you will always end up preferring the angel

Fortunately, sooner or later, hopefully its sooner,you realize that these assholes only have that power because you have given it to them. Like Esau you sell your birthright to peace of mind. Unlike Esau though, there is redemption for you. You can choose to show the wheedling needling bastards the door and keep that door shut.

Maybe someday the usurpers will see the light and receive transformations and become Israels. Mostly they won't. If they do, find it within yourself to open that door again. Be cautious, take as much time as possible before letting them back in. Its your life. Make no excuses for being happy. Make no excuses for getting rid of people that have nothing but ill to add to your life. Its your responsibility to make yourself happy.

Song of the day: The Script- End where i begin

August 25, 2010


So i heard Michael Bublé's Everything for the first time yesterday morning on radio. Yes, yes, i know am three years late!!! God bless Manny (Cool Fm) for playing the best songs ever every morning. I held very still and listened to every word. It was love at first sound. it has always been that way with me and Mr Bublé. We have serious chemistry. i downloaded it hurriedly and it has been on replay ever since

How does he do it? Time and time again. He churns out songs that leave me on a perpetual high. I have a feeling he lives in the inner recesses of my mind. He just takes all the things i want to say but never find the words or rhymes for and sings it perfectly.

I was still playing the song as i left work yesterday. M was coming back in. I dont even want to hazard where from. I stopped in front of him and put the phone to his ears. He broke out in smiles. And then he laughed and then he sang. Its been a long time since i got M to smile like that. My friend is stingy with his smiles. That made my day. Seeing M so happy.

I think to myself how universal music really is. It took a song by a man from millions of miles away, a different culture, different tastes, different make my friend smile today. It just shows how mighty we are if only we try.

 I bet Mr Bublé never knew he would make M smile yesterday or me so very upbeat. I bet he wrote that song trying to make a living or maybe to just get airtime on the radio. He definitely didnt know about moody M or crazy Kiah and i doubt he will ever know.

I haven't been able to write anything these past few days. Everything i do come up with i end up trashing or Nengak helps me trash. We all have something it is we want  to do. For some its singing, for others its dancing, helping people, giving ...for some like me its writing. Whatever it is, try not to underestimate it. A million people will tell you its crap but you never know whose day you are going to make shine... whose night you are going to light up

You're a carousel
You're a wishing well
And you light me up
When you ring my bell
You're a mystery
You're from outer space
You're every minute of my every day

Song of the day: DUH!!! :)

August 19, 2010

Masquerades (1)

I didn't want to but Nifemi said no one would find out. So i did. And we got caught. Nifemi started to cry. I didn't. Papa would have killed me if i cried before a beating. I was a big boy. Big boys don't cry. So Mr Amuche stripped us to our shorts and whipped us in front of everybody.
That was the first time i saw her. In my shorts. They were the white ones that had turned brown and had holes in them. While Amuche whipped us with all his fury, i forgot where i was and the pain, the jeers and everything else. I had eyes for only her. Her skin was the color of the anthills we played upon. She had a gap in her milky white teeth. Just like mine. Only mine was caused by the loss of my incisors. Hers was crafted by hands unseen. Later Nifemi asked me why i had not yelled out like he did. ' Because Amuche flogs like a woman' I said and winked. Nifemi eyed me and rubbed his bottom harder.

I was seven and in love. Alas, Amuche had eroded all hope of my ever winning her heart.

Everyday, i searched for her with my eyes. I stopped looking forward to the holidays because it meant my eyes would be starved of her. Whenever my eyes found her, my heart did ponponpon like Amuche's bicycle horn.

I told Nifemi. We made a plan. One day, as she walked home from school, an 'egwugwu' attacked her. The 'egwugwu' mask  looked similar to the one we used in school for the last play. She ran and squealed and i was there to save her. Less than 5-foot tall, with nothing but my books to protect her. Her knight in shining armor. She clung to me as i threw sand at my best friend. 'Egwugwu' took to his heels.

She became my girl friend. I saw less and less of Nifemi. Every time i did, she was always with me. He would smile at me and wink. I would smile back. I couldn't bring myself to wink. Keeping secrets are what makes best friends out of us. 

When we make love, she whispers my name and climaxes with 'egwugwu' on her lips. 22 years later and Nifemi still has my gratitude. I named our first son after him.

Song of the day: White Houses- Vanessa Carlton

August 13, 2010

Blog Fever..

I have absolutely nothing to write about today.

Its the weekend and these people from the office that obviously haven't had enough of me for the past five days want me back here tomorrow. God dey!!!

I am loving this blog thingy...Dols got me to change my template and background for the 3rd time. She is a hard woman to please. I hope no one has been bored to death yet by all the ramblings of my mind.
I even got someone to start blogging and am gradually finding friendship,laughter, on blog-ville.

Life is so beautiful right now. Yes,  LCC de find my trouble with all these talk of tolls. Yes, i still find myself finding it hard to let go and let God. And yes, i am still plenty angry... But i am here and i refuse to go down easy. I have found that the best way to do that is to find beauty even in the littlest things.(Dalai Lama would be proud)

This weekend ,the devil is a big fat black liar. I will read my books. I shall find strength to go shopping for cream shoes for UK's wedding. And  i will not binge on Sharwama...So help me God.

Have a great weekend and don't forget to ..breathe and love, love, love...

P.S thank you my followers (Ah, finally I'm becoming like Jesus)...kisses

Song of the Day: Jason Mraz - The Remedy

August 12, 2010

Just in Case

I see them flock around you. Svelte young beauties with bouncy pointed breasts. Board stomachs without scars. Thighs that are stretch mark free. Faces that are alien to the ravages of time. They flock around you despite the gray beard and the belly that i have nursed all these years. They are drawn by the wealth that is visible in your every nuance. In case you forget and somehow decide they are better than your wife of 27 years, remember all these.

In case you ever forget. And i know that it is possible that you will. We are human after all . Susceptible to amnesia - self-inflicted and sometimes through means we have no control over. Who knows if we shall escape that horror that is Alzheimer? Or the numerous accidents that can steal our memories and leave our pages blank? Memories are as vulnerable as our bodies. Who knows if tomorrow might bring seas of sorrow or despair, wealth or abundance to wash away all memories of all that i am to you?

In case you forget, the wrinkles on my face are from years of worrying about you those nights you stayed out late, those days you couldn't face the dawn because of pain and despair, those times you were grieved in your spirit and unwilling to face whatever life had to offer. In case you forget, the laugh lines near my lips are from the joy you brought me over the years, the laughter you drew from my lips with your clumsy advances to win my heart, the clowning you engaged in to elicit a smile from my face when all other efforts had failed.

In case you forget, the stretch marks are from the four children i have borne you. The scar across my stomach from the last one that you so wanted to be a girl. I suckled and nourished them from the bowels of milk nature gifted me with. That should explain the sagging breasts.

In case you forget, i make the best jollof rice.its all you ever eat. It is your best meal and years of cooking it has made me into a plump woman and no more the svelte girl you met on the streets of Akoka. The cook must taste the meal first after all. If salad had been your favorite meal, it would be another story altogether.

In case you forget, my eyes are dimmer and i wear glasses because i cooked for five long years with firewood. You couldn't afford better then. Now we have all the shiny stuff in the kitchen but back then i had the firewood, my hands, my lungs and my eyes to make your meals.

In case you forget, i love you. I have loved you for the best part of my life. I will never love again like this. Never like this.

Most of all,  in case you forgot, my father is still very good with his guns and my brother, the one that never liked you,is a major in the army now and he is acclaimed for being a sharp shooter.

Just in case you forget...

Song of the Day:  The Script- I 'm Yours

August 11, 2010

Black Suspenders

It was raining when he was born. It was only fitting it should rain when he went home. No, that can't be right. Home was with her. Not in that lonely cold gaping sore in the earth.

But the priest said he was going home and painted pictures of the wonderful welcome he would receive in heaven. The angels would sing a chorus. Trumpets would herald his homecoming and so on and so forth. What a load of crock. He was hers, by God, and he belonged here with her. She should have been the first to go. Then she could help the angels make his welcome home sweeter. Alas, they knew best or so the priest said over and over again.

It poured harder on the day she decided to give his things away.She kept his black suspenders.She remembered the phase of wearing them every and any where. She smoked secretly.Well, if keeping secrets meant Nana knowing. She couldn't bring herself to drink the wine she had bought to celebrate his homecoming..
She didn't notice anything anymore. Couldn't have, didn't even want to try. Nana handled life. She was content in the grave with her son.

If she noticed anything, it was the silence his departure brought. The emptiness that substituted his presence. Yes, he had lived thousand of miles away these past few years but he was always an email away. Not anymore. The absence was complete now. The silence so thick she could cut through it.

She feared if she began to notice anything else, it would mean the end. She would drown. They had murdered her first born son. The warrior that forced his way into her life after she had resigned herself to barrenness.He opened her womb and left it incapable of birthing another. As if he knew she possessed the ability to love only one. An Abiku they called him. An Angel he was. What did they know? Did they wake up at night to hear him gasping for air, refusing to give up his hold on life? Did they see his eyes brim with tears every time he woke up in  a hospital? His father left for another, for healthy and less demanding children. But even that was OK. They had each other.Against all odds, he blossomed. he fought death and won time and time again. Only to die on the roads his father was supposed to maintain. The irony of it all. The newspapers were in ecstasy . 'The son of the Minister of Works dies from a road accident'!  Headline after headline screamed. Once again, it was all about the father. Nobody mentioned that a light, her light  had left the world.

She buried her heart with him and went back home. She never cried. Day after day...she waited for death. She opened her arms to it, welcomed it. It eluded her. She implored it to take its satisfaction with her. Death ignored her pleas and sought other lucrative ventures.

Its been a year. She still works. Designing houses. Contracts are few and far between. Not many people appreciate the only colors she has to offer- black and gray. Its his anniversary in a few days. She needs pictures for his memorial. Another circus his father has planned. She only hears about it because he has no pictures of his first child. She will not share the ones she has with the world. Maybe she will find some random picture in her mail. In-box is 568. She starts to trash them. She almost deletes it too. Mail from a ghost. She hesitates a moment and opens it.

Nana is by the door in a heartbeat. Nana finds her on the floor. The sobs rack her small frame so hard. Nana does a double-take. It cannot be. This woman who wouldn't cry even during the worst of times. This mountain that stood head up high as she was paraded in the triviality they called a funeral. She who stared in defiance at the cameras and the 'mourners' who had never even met him. 'What is it? What happened eh?' Nana bellows

It takes  a while before she  can speak. They are cuddled up together. Two middle aged women who lost the center of their world. One his mother,the other his nanny. He left her a gift. There are pictures in the email she almost deleted. A little boy. He wears suspenders. His mother says he will wear nothing without suspenders.He is three. He has her smile. He has her name. Bami-dele, come home with me.

There are so many questions in her head. Why he never said anything? Why the woman had waited so long to let his people know she had borne their son? So many questions and yet no doubt.The boy wore suspenders after all.

Her heart is exhumed from the grave.She tells death she is no longer interested.There is something to live for. She goes shopping for new suspenders. 

Song of the Day: Morning After Dark-Timbaland :)

August 3, 2010

Rose Colored Glasses

My Grandma has the funniest glasses ever. They make her look like an owl. Sometimes i am not sure if she doesn't make them look owlish. There is no separating them.

Every time we come to visit, she hugs us and lifts us up. She doesn't lift Chike up anymore. He is all grown up now. Chike doesn't begrudge her. He thinks she smells like camphor anyways.

After all the hugs and the lifting ups, she sets us down. Lines us up and out comes the rose colored glasses. With it she peers closely at each face. She sits at her stool and peruses our faces. Like books she has read before and in which she hopes to find new meaning.

Grandma takes her time. I have always wondered what she searches for with such patience. I will ask her one day.
When she is done, she hugs us with renewed fervor. kisses and calls us pet names we blush at.

Grandma's rose colored glasses. Morning came and she couldn't find them. She wept and called me Chike. I am not Chike, i say. She says to me 'without my glasses you are all same to me, with them i see each of you for who you are'.

I searched hard for Grandma's glasses. Chike found them. She hugged him to her breast and tried to lift him up again. He didn't fuss. I think he missed Grandma for those few days when she called him Anwuli and Bingo.

The Unforgotten

They are the ones that linger
They are the ones that visit our dreams
They are the ones that remind us of what's missing at Christmas
They are the ones we stretch our imagination wondering what life would be like if they were here
They are the ones with chapters that we will never get the chance to read
Movies with unfinished scripts,
Songs where the lyrics come to an abrupt end.
They are the ones whose passing away we never get over.
The ones whose absence we will always mourn
They are the reason our eyes water at the oddest times
The reason every triumph is a little sweeter
every failure more bitter

We are the ones left behind
Left forever incapable of filling the empty crevice in our lives where they fitted in so perfectly.
We are the ones with memories
We are the ones haunted by their voices.
Like hunches, we carry them everywhere we go

We are left behind to remember
The curve of her lips,
The beauty mole on her chin
Eyes that drank every inch of you
Hugs that made your nightmares flee
Words that brought you inspiration

I have tried to blot out the memories
But like an eraser that veers out of control
The more i erase the memories
The less there is of me

Your memories, My existence

Song of the day: My Immortal-Evanescence

August 2, 2010

Birthday Fever

Yay!!!another milestone! Another year in the life of me!!!

I have been so happy!!! And it isn't just about today!!!

Lately, i have just felt so good about everything. Even when i get sad and or am upset about somethings. Even when i go to bed crying feeling things aren't quite right. I always wake up feeling better.

It wasn't always like this. There was once a time when every birthday brought tears and regrets and wishes on doing it all over again. Not last year though!!!

Last year was amazing. I got another chance at love. I learnt so very much about so many things. I made so many mistakes and got a chance to correct them. Some i did correct. Some i shrugged and moved on. I learnt that not all mistakes are meant to be corrected. Most of all, i lived.

I couldn't have done that without too many amazing people that i dare not mention for fear i might miss one name out and commit an unforgivable slight. You guys know who you are and you know that despite my plenty plenty nonsense, my moods, my temper, my bothersome and quarrelsome ways...i love you!!! You are God's gift to me, a constant reminder that He loves me.

I am trying to think of the perfect song for today. something that will capture all that this year has been and my hopes for the new year. Several come to mind but none rivals Sunday Morning.

Thank you God. There is no me without You...
Thank you Baby for being the first to call as always and for loving me truly, madly, deeply..
Thank you Dols for being late.
Thank you my beautiful brothers.
Thank you Dad-still your lil' gal.
Thank you my wonderful work-place-you guys rock absolutely
Thank you my friends-you make me better
Thank you Mama-Iyawo mi, ore mi, Arewa, Adun...Your gal can rock Yoruba anytime :)

Love, love, love

And since its my birthday i get to have two songs...

Song of the day: Sunday Morning- Maroon 5
September-Kirk Franklin

August 1, 2010

This Place

We are here again. This place I never thought we would find again. This place I never dared to imagine we would embrace again. This place far removed from eyes. Soundproofed aganist ears.But we are here. Better,stronger... Our special place. Only hearts glimspe it.

We made it back here. Depsite far removed once. Despite the wind that flung us to the ends of the earth.

We have found the impossible again. We will not question why. We will not bother with the unknown. The known is enough.

Lightning struck twice for us. And we will accompany it with thunder...


Song of the day: This love, This heart-Phil Collins.