August 28, 2011

Unequal Scales

I am too intense for my own good. I wrote this as the hurricane blew through my town. It wasn't that bad after all

He is not the same. Then again neither am I. He smiles a lot still but it has stopped reaching his eyes. I mentioned this to Mama and she said I was wrong.  “There is nothing different about his smile or the light in his eyes”, she told me “except the reasons behind them”. I smiled back indulgently and let her have her way. These days, I find that it’s easier this way.

I look at him sometimes and wonder how he leaves his bed every morning and carries on with life. I still struggle to get out of bed. Most mornings, all I want is to drown in the sea of sheets underneath which we whispered secrets and giggled our way through life. 

I lie awake at night sometimes and weigh all of our pain on scales. Which one of us should have the largest pain? He seems to win in everyone else’s book. People rationalize and say he was your soul mate, your husband and so he should have more than pain than the rest of us. I tell them you lacked many things but a soul mate was the one thing you had from the day you were born. They look at me strangely and I stare back at them till they go confide in Mama about how they fear for my sanity.

He has no right to hurt that much. He has no right to mourn the loss of what he only experienced for three years. No right at all to walk around looking irretrievably lost without you. I am the one who was born with you and the one who is left wondering if I missed my destiny by failing to die with you. He has no justification for taking away the pity that is my due.

He came to see the child again today. He comes everyday bearing gifts and flowers. I felt the bile rising in my throat as I watched from my window as Mama welcomed and ushered him  into the nursery. I have never been in that room. It holds nothing for me. Mama spends all her time there, trying to replace you with your own child. Somehow I am not enough. Even though I look exactly like you.

He was on his way out as they came in through the kitchen, mama holding the child and talking a mile a minute while he listened, smiling in that way that you loved so much.  “You are getting thinner every day. Wait let Taiyelolu make you dinner before you leave.” Mama said to him. It took a moment before she even realized her mistake.I stopped chopping the vegetables. Your husband stopped walking. Mama finally stopped talking. She covered her mouth with one hand, looking like a deer caught in the headlights. Time stopped for the rest of us. Only the child kept cooing. 

“My name is Omokehinde. Taiyelolu is dead. You have only two children. How hard can it be to remember which one lives and which one doesn't?“
Tears filled Mama's eyes but I could not be bothered. Her pain is of no measure to mine. I washed my hands at the kitchen sink, cleaned them with a towel, turned a deaf ear to his "she didn't mean it"s and walked away from it all.

I walked to the old place that houses our childhood memories. Papa told me the other day that some young family now live there. My feet hurt from all the walking. The guava tree is still there. I sat by Mallam Musa’s abandoned shed for the longest time and dreamed with my eyes open that we were little girls again climbing the guava tree. Only this time I lost sight of you and when I called your name, you didn’t answer back “Yes Aburo” like you used to.

When I get back, the house is quiet. The maid tells me Mama and Papa are in bed. I cannot sleep so I sit and try to measure each of our pain on scales. I hear her cries before they become audible. I hear them in my heart before she voices them out. It has been that way since she was born.  I wonder if she has pain of her own. I wonder if it is of any measure to mine.

I walk to her room and linger a while at the door, afraid to take the next step. She stops crying and begins to coo as if she can tell I am here.  I cannot take my eyes off her when I finally find the strength to walk to her crib. She holds my stare and smiles. I know now. This will be the measure of my pain. It will be present till the day I die. It will deepen and it will lessen. Like an Amoeba, it will change dimensions but it is going nowhere. With every inch she grows, I will find it easier to leave my bed. With every step she takes, I will learn to step out of your shadow. With every word she speaks, I will be climbing new trees. This will be the scale of my pain.

Song of the day: One Republic- Good life.

August 25, 2011

Underneath it all

So this is a complaint, a rant, a tirade….whatever you want to call it, be my guest. Against whom, you ask. Hold your horses biko! Keep reading and you will be the first to know.

I have lost weight. That was not part of the plan. I was at my happy weight before leaving Nigeria. I had no intention of coming here and losing or putting on weight. I was a very content size 10. Okay, maybe a big size 10 but still a size 10. Lately I have been noticing how all my skirts, trousers and shorts need a little more help from the belt these days.  I find myself looking in the mirror and wondering why some clothes don’t fit so good anymore. My wake up call was this morning when I put on my fave black trousers. Every woman has one of those…black skirts, trousers, leggings, jeans…etcetra. They are lifesavers in ways guys couldn’t imagine so lets drop it at that. I call my fave trousers 'One Nation' because it has traveled far and wide and seen things but its still perfect. I got it at Tesco by the way (T.Notes Sugar, any chance you might hold onto that job awhile, at least until you send me two more pairs of my One Nation - batting mascara enhanced eyelashes). Anyway, to cut the long story short, One Nation looked like a tent this morning and I, a pole wrapped up in it. It can’t get sadder than this oh.

Firstly, I blame myself! For not including Garri and other condiments in my luggage (customs be damned). I was deceiving myself big time when I thought my stomach would do a seamless transition to all these aje-butter food. Secondly, I blame myself! When I was choosing school, I forgot to consider location. In this town, I cannot find me a single store that carries African foodstuff.

That was my first rant. Rant Two. I am a Yoruba girl. I love to dance and partay!!! I visited the best pub in this city on Friday. Let’s just say Swe will not be hurriedly forgotten by me. Infact comparing where I went to on Friday with Swe is too terrible an insult to Swe. I apologise.

Rant three. When I made up my mind to come here, I didn’t add natural disasters into the equation. Infact this is supposed to be like the safest area in the US. No earthquakes, no Katrinas, no heat waves etcetra…Imagine my shock when my house started shaking vigorously on Tuesday. Bush Yoruba girl, I first thought “the people that built this house sef! ordinary wind, house dey shake?!” Next thing, I get a text asking me if I am ok and if earthquake no reach my side.
Oghene!!! Shooo!!! Earthquake ke? See me as I begin MFM prayer na! Medicine after death, I know but hey...
Fast forward to today and we get a message from the school administrative folks introducing Hurricane Irene. The thing tire me oh! But eh, if I could survive Lagos…dusts shoulders and Yimus…
Besides, i am a child of God.

Tirade over! Time to count my blessings!

I got over a fever in record time and didn’t have to miss school.
My family is well and happy.
My taste buds are beginning to get used to aje butter food.
My classes are beginning to make sense.
I don’t feel so homesick or lost anymore.
I find that I am still beautiful…
Underneath the scars, underneath the flaws, underneath the mistakes…
Underneath it all…

Now for Prince charming to find me...underneath it all...

Song of the day: No doubt- Underneath it all

August 20, 2011

Butterfly Wings

My daughter sleeps like a butterfly. Her arms and legs are always yearning for the sky.

My mother tells me I slept the same way as a child. I used to see butterflies in my dreams. On days where there was nothing but grey, the butterflies would visit my dreams and colour my nights. They haven’t visited since Mo was born. Tonight she is wearing the blue pajamas her grandfather bought for her. She will be the most beautiful blue bug in the world of dreams tonight.

They say when you become a parent, everything comes into perspective. Whoever said that probably agreed that the world was round as well. The first time I laid eyes on Mo, I lost all perspective, all reason…I am not sure I have gained it back four years later. Tears flowed freely down my face that night as the nurse placed her in my arms. I wasn’t the only one crying. The heavens poured down rain as well as it gave up one of its own.

I am moving out of the house tomorrow night. Ayo and I have agreed it will be best to end our charade of a marriage but only after we have given our daughter a befitting party.
What does it matter the exact time our marriage ends, I wonder? What matters is that it has ended and cannot be begun again. Who are we fooling? Mo? The guests? Ourselves? I stopped caring a long time ago about keeping up appearances but one more day to watch over my daughter as she makes her ascent to the skies is a gift horse I won’t look in the mouth.

My child wakes up and stretches. She sits up and tries to rub the sleep out of her eyes. I have been sitting by her bed all night. The rest of the walls in this house keep closing in on me. Only in her room can I breathe easy. She is my oasis in this desert that has become my marriage.

"Daddy”, she calls to me "is it my day yet”?
I kiss her hair with its smell of all that is right with the world and whisper in her ears how it has never ceased to be her day. I ask her about butterflies and dreams. She giggles and asks if she can be a butterfly when she is older. “Yes” I answer. "And a gorilla" I add as I tickle her. She squeals in laughter and it’s all I can do not to burst into tears. She quiets down and tells me how she wants to be free and happy like a butterfly always.

It turns out that i and my daughter want the same things. I want to be happy as well and my happiness lies away from the woman that gave her life. I have my child’s blessing.

I lift her out of bed and walk to Ayo’s room. Before I can knock on the door, my wife opens it. I reach into my pajama bottoms pocket and hand her back the divorce papers. Signed and sealed. She takes them, kisses her daughter happy birthday and shuts the door on us. I hear the sobs before the door shuts.

Mo is singing "Happy birthday to meee, how old are me now".
"How old am I now, Mo.” I  correct her.
She giggles and begins to sing  "if I were a butterfly…"

I smile and walk away from the shut door to prepare my daughter for her day and myself for a life without butterflies.

Song of the day: Westlife- Angel's wings

August 17, 2011

Winning ways...

Every time Messi scores, Casillas's face is a joy for any Barcelona fan to behold!!! hehehe

Welcome to a new season Barcelona!!! Welcome, Fabregas, to the ways of champions!!!

Eat your heart out Jose...all your tricks still leave you second best time and time again!!!

No song for today biko...i am giddy with joy over Messi's first goal today!!! That goal sang to me!!! :))

August 16, 2011


Habit is...

Ironing clothes quickly and two days before you need them...the fear of NEPA (even in another country) lives on..

Getting up at 6-freaking-am because i still think i have to leave home early to beat mad Lagos traffic...

Opening a browser window and going to take a bath because i think i am still using MTN Fastlink...

Hesitating to cross the road because  i expect to see those mad buses come out from the blue...

That will be all folks

Song of the day: Adele- Daydreamer

August 14, 2011


They told me to go east.
I went and found the lions,
Beautiful and brave,
Hungry and greedy for my flesh.

I ran southwards for my life
But the ever present color lines soon got confusing
And the hatred began to choke me.

I decided to go to the center of it all.
Maybe there i would find the secret to the puzzle.
I searched long and hard.

I journeyed to the North.
Its pyramids and veiled women,
Left me awed and not much else.
It was not long before I was enroute west.

The Niger quenched the lingering thirst I brought from the deserts.
Kente shielded me from the sun.                                                          
Yossou N’dour nurtured my soul with his dirges.
Ivory, Cocoa and Diamonds fed me.
Crude oil returned health to my parched skin.
West Africa, I have come home!

I love Africa, I really do but there is something about Mali, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, Togo, Ghana, Benin, Nigeria..that is indestructible…come Biafra, come the Taylors, come the Does, come Boko Haram, come Blood Diamonds, come what may…West Africa holds the key.

 Song of the day: Angelique Kidjo-Salala

August 12, 2011

The things i do not say

Missing home will make a mushy writer out of anyone...forgive me... :)

I start by telling you how happy i have been these past few months. I ease into the good times we have shared. It takes a while but i get to the crux of the matter soon enough...

I am too old. You are too young.
I am Basange. You are Ibibio.
I am fat and ungainly. You are God's most graceful creation. 
You are quiet. I am like a cock hoping to outshine everyone with my loudness. 
We were not meant to be.

The things that i do not say..
That it scares me that i can no longer tell where your caramel colored skin begins and my dark chocolate bark ends.
That when i look into your eyes, I see what the creator had in mind when He decided to make me and it is the most beautiful thing i have ever seen.
I conveniently forget to tell you that when you kiss me goodbye in the morning, i have to stop myself from running after you and begging you to stay.

I do tell you i have watered the plants. You will not have to worry about them for a few days. When the pigeons come to coo at  the bedroom window, the bird seeds are on the ledge. Your laundry is done. Plenty of meals in the freezer, you just need to warm them up and eat. My bags are packed. I will call the cab myself. I need to find myself before i find you.

You cock your head to one side in that way that i love so much and look at me. I twiddle my fingers. Scratch my head. Take a few hesitant steps forward, and then backward. I stand before you like a child waiting for punishment. I wait for you to say something. We stay like this for a while and then you ask how my day was. 

It takes a while for me to answer all the questions in that one question. When i am finally able to, i am in your arms and it doesn't matter anymore.

Song of the day: Jem -Wish i

August 11, 2011


So i was sitting at the table, chatting with my friend on Facebook when i remembered that its Friday tomorrow.

It was just last Friday i decided to leave it all behind to follow my dreams. 

If i were in Lagos right now, i would be picking out what to wear for work. If Nepa had been good, i would be on my way to bed- no mosquitoes to think about, no un-ironed clothes to smooth-en, no worries about muscle pull from trying to coax my generator into working. Depending on whether i had plans to go dancing, i would pick out something sexy and a jacket so the office's fashion police won't fine me! The list is endless of what i would be getting up to right Lagos.

What am i doing here? What search has led me here- to a people not my own, to a land i barely recognize, to food bland and missing maggi? What madness, bravery, stupidity possessed me to leave all that was great about my life for the unknown? 
I am not sure when the tears started falling. All i know is they haven't stopped. 
Its amazing that i am the same girl who couldn't wait to begin this journey. Yesterday, I was laughing like a mad hatter and acclimatizing.

Today, all i want is Akara and Fried Yam, Smirnoff Ice, Swe Bar, Yaba and Balogun(Target and Walmart-sheesh), my crazy friends, my duvet (i know i was forgetting something), my family...

I am so ashamed i am still crying...i am just a bag of mush after all!!! If the crying was the dignified silent stuff, e for better. But for where? When it rains, it pours in Kiahville. I will never live this snot and body heaves down!!! I haven't cried like this since...errr...okay let's draw the curtain on charity right there, shall we?

Land of the two rivers,
Home isn't where the heart is.
Its where the road leads.
You are where my heart is.
Will you be where my road leads?

Land of the two rivers,
There is no better place or people.
Proudly Nigerian.

Song of the day: Styl-plus- Ma se

August 10, 2011

Unfaithful husbands and dreams.

Before Blog husband starts looking for new Blog wife, i am still alive and kicking oh! So unless you have forgotten that we didn't sign any prenuptial and are ready to give up all you are worth, kindly stop trying to find a replacement for me!!!
Sigh, it hasn't even been that long since i posted... YIMU!

Anyways, i am glad i was missed. Now what have i missed?

I have a great excuse for not posting. I have an even greater one for not coming up with any literary wonder to delight y'all. And no it isn't my Muse. This excuse is called following my dreams. 

I am three days into it and i have found that following one dream will leave no room for some others. Is that a bad thing? Maybe. Maybe not. We will see.

T.Notes ,SN...darlingProfesseur ...thank you for checking up on me. 

Rest assured, the right dreams will thrive no matter the competition. A time and season for everything underneath the earth...

Song of the day: Bob Marley-One Love

August 4, 2011

Lights, Camera, Action

I am all packed up. Just waiting to get on the plane and leave the life I have always known behind.
Oh, I am such a drama queen! Its not all that bad but hey I am not one to resist the lights, camera, action! Besides what's drama without a whole lot of exaggeration?

I have said goodbyes to the ones that mattered! As for the others, YIMU! I have packed and unpacked. I have read the luggage requirement for my airline a hundred times looking for ways to somehow get past having to pay for extra luggage!

I am ready to start anew but I am not ready to let go of some relics of my past. Its like planting a corn seed and expecting a pineapple plant. The way I see it I am a seedling! Already  rooted in the word of God, the good soil. I have shot out amongst the familiar. Now I am going to be transplanted into an unfamiliar environment. Whether I will succeed or not will depend on me. On whether or not I choose to remain firmly rooted in the reason for my being in the first place.

So there, I am leaving, with my very own flower pot complete with soil in tow. I am gonna make it! 
...come thorns, come rocks, come birds of the air, come what may...I fell on good soil after all..
I am only across the ocean.
if you miss me, breathe in deeply...

Like I said...I love drama...

Lights, camera, action... :)

Song of the day: Fergie-Finally