Happy Birthday Bro

It was Nnanna’s birthday yesterday, you see, he is my favourite person in this world. We grew up together in the same houses. Nnanna and I are siblings: Brother and Sister. Over the years I have learnt so much from my brother, one day he tweeted “I am not your role model” and it got me thinking about the way we live our lives as model children, poster children for good upbringing, home training and manners especially in our social media world. That tweet made me recoil, at first it was “what is this boy saying?! Doesn’t he know that he is expected to be a good kid? That being a good kid must mean that he is a role model?” Later it was, “This role model banter is really stifling, ‘Big Brother’ is watching kind of stifling. One cannot simply drink water and drop cup because one KNOWS that the world is watching. Which kind of Orwellian wahala?” So I came to see where my brother was coming from when he made the tweet and my heart opened up to the option of a new alternative.

Let me talk a little bit about privilege: Due to the way my parents and role models brought me up, I think anybody who has any kind of privilege e.g. Good education, etc. has a responsibility to use their privilege-given access to help out in some way, even if it means simply showing a good example by living an honest life, you know, just to demonstrate to others that having privilege means that you must live an honest life. You follow? So this my perspective on how a privileged life must be led, albeit naive, is what I tried to practice and even standardized for others like Nnanna to live by, hence my initial reaction.

A bit of background: My family is Nigerian, Christian, and Educated. The Holy Book has codified the way we as Christians should live our lives and an important aspect of this is excellence. Bible says we are heirs of the father, we are a royal priesthood, a holy nation, we are wonderfully and fearfully made, we have been called by the father etc. For my Nigerian Christian family, this means that in the lives we live we must portray the word of God as a way of evangelism which can also be seen as being role models to others that are not yet saved. In practice, we must do well in school, always show respect to everyone, don’t fight, don’t fornicate, clubbing? What is a club? Smoking? If you must smoke do it secretly because it is not a good look as a child from a Christian background and the list goes on and on. It is what I will call Church Culture: this is a consciousness that is cultivated in the minds of Christian children from a very young age, to live by example. I don’t think these rules are bad, instead I think they help to breed adults that end up living in a bubble at best and at worst, being extremely judgmental of everybody else that strays from Church Culture.

My brother has taught me that being who you are by just living your life is the way to go. It is better to be your modest, humble, brilliant self than to be all these things just for the approval. It is best to live your life and know that you are attracting the people who really like you for who you are, than to live in the gaze of those watching out for when you make a mistake. Nnanna showed me that it shouldn’t be that difficult to occupy my space in this world, people will eventually be fine. More importantly, I am accepting that it is ill advised to change with the weather ever so often, for the sake of pleasing people. We are young, intelligent, beautiful and handsome individuals, we are also prone to making mistakes and we mustn’t always judge ourselves harshly. I hope this post makes you think about image and lifestyle and all that good stuff!

John 14:15  “If you love me you will keep my commandments”.



 

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Confession

I am sharing this with you because I want to hear back from you. I hope that after reading this, you will be able to offer your thoughts and some advice if need be, in the comments section below. I am one of those women that want women to have equal opportunities with men, I detest oppression in every shape, manner or form and especially from the opposite sex. I am also generally amused whenever a woman proclaims that she is not a Feminist. Amused because I do not have the patience nor range with which to examine why any woman would want to remain disenfranchised in this life, compared to men folk. I take it that a lot of men in Nigeria are yet to accept that Feminism or Gender Equality is something of a phenomenon that does not care for their thoughts and feelings rather, it is centered around all women, their rights and freedoms, their education and health, their bodies, and all the spaces they should occupy in the world.

In Nigeria, heterosexual relationships are the norm, our culture as a country, is popular for upholding the celebration of marriage between man and woman in very high esteem. Marriage is the fulcrum of Nigerian Society, it is the singular most unifying force that cuts across religion, tribe or tongue. Our National football team used to be number one but then Weddings came along. The coming together of a man and woman to start a family is considered as a defining milestone and every self-respecting young Nigerian is in fact expected to aspire towards marriage. Considering the influence of the various religious practices inherent in the country, Nigerian ethnic groups have diverse views on the celebration of marriage or what a wedding ceremony should look like. Common elements of wedding ceremonies that exist across the country are payment of dowry, music and dance, a large gathering of family and well wishers, lots of food and drinks, the compulsory parental blessings and the beautiful attires worn by bride and groom on their special day.

There’s a blossoming Nigerian Weddings market in the country, from catering, MC, DJ, Comedian, events planning, decorating, make-up to photography an industry has emerged organically from our collective obsession with marriage and wedding ceremonies. Within a decade we have seen the exponential growth of these businesses that service the Nigerian Weddings industry, young entrepreneurs abound and our economy is benefiting from it, we are eating the fruits of our marriage obsession. The feedback is indeed very encouraging, every weekend there’s a big wedding ceremony taking place somewhere in towns and villages all over the country. Our wedding vendors are very creative, the Comedians never run out of jokes, Nigerian parents who have unmarried adult children are asking their heirs, “when will you introduce him/her to us?” Not minding whether or not there’s a him or her at all. Aunties and Uncles are not left out, they’re all in the business of matchmaking nowadays, on a very low key even neighbours, friends of the family and well-meaning mommies in church have taken up Ẹlẹgbẹ as their side-hustle. Nigerians love a good party and wedding ceremonies are our final form of partying. There’s no party like a Nigerian wedding party. A movie on Nigerian wedding parties is the highest grossing movie in the history of Nollywood at 500 million Naira.

I have no problems whatsoever with the institution of marriage. I expect that it is clear to any keen observer of Nigerian society that our marriage culture is heavily gendered, it is essentially a ‘woman issue’. Some argue that there’s a biological clock ticking off and therefore young women should be seen to be actively working hard to beat their innate clocks. A lot of people attribute marriage to be the zenith of every woman’s social growth and development, it is evident in the way we compliment our young girls, we are quick to drop “wife material” or “wifey of life”, and in the way we bless them when they do seemingly mundane tasks around the house, “you will marry a good husband”, all these are unsolicited approval of marriageability and if anything, a subtle assertion that a woman’s purpose in life is to end up with a man who will eventually complete her because she is incomplete. The resultant effect of this kind of incessant obsessive hinting and reasoning is we are feeding the idea into their subconsciousness, that the ultimate prize is marriage and it must be achieved by all means. Sometimes we even attach an age cap to our statement of expectations, “Your mates are getting married”, as though there is a specified time appointed for marriage, some uncouth individuals go further to insult women using the appropriate-age-for-marriage social construct, “You are forming shakara, see you in Shiloh when you’re 30” when these women don’t give in to their unwanted advances.

The crossroads that is the social commentary surrounding marriage culture in Nigeria leaves me feeling like the purpose of a Nigerian marriage is to tie a woman up and I will explain. Please ignore the stereotyped nature of what I’m about to tell you and take away the message instead. We hear a lot of stories, about our mothers’ generation and their conquests in cooking for their husbands, cherubic docility and expert child-rearing skills. We also hear a lot of stories about the current rise in the rate of divorce, and we have read those harsh comments on popular blogs, about Feminists like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie that want to sink the ship of culture and tradition by preaching to young women about their rights as human beings to be able to lead the kind of lives they want to, especially away from the smoke of the kerosene stove. These Feminists are seen as bad eggs, no kidding. Since the beginning of the Feminism movement in Nigeria, the proponents of marriage culture have waged a line of attack against young female feminists, claiming that it is their right to marry young maidens and bestow respect upon them by giving these maidens their last names, determine how these maidens work to earn a living or IF they even work at all, and most importantly ensure that these maidens cook for them. I have never seen where men are so adamant on being fed and nourished by women before. Nigerian men have very strong opinions about their nutrition coming from the labour of their wives’ hands.

This generation of young women are already on their way to heading big corporations, many of them have started their own businesses, those of them that are still in school are studying hard to become professionals and so many more are learning skills by the weekend to supplement their income. The Young Nigerian Woman ecosystem is fast changing and superstars emerge everyday from within. Nigerian girls are not smiling in Engineering, Arts, Business, Academia, Finance, Aviation, Theology, Media, Law, Health, Tourism, Environmental Sciences, Economics, etc. They are on a mission to take over. The gospel of feminism is not only talking the talk but walking the walk in our neck of the woods. All their lives, these young women have been taught and socialized to WANT to end up married (not that there’s anything wrong with wanting to get married). They are on Bellanaija in the middle of the night ooh-ing and aah-ing at pictures, choosing colours and dreaming of their Cinderella dresses. This same group of women are getting more informed in the daytime, they are the ones heavily involved in the feminist conversations going on in social media forums, arguing for women’s rights on Twitter, reading Woolf, writing about their lived experiences on Facebook, and basking in affirming poetry by Shire and Umebinyuo alike, the literary heroines of their time. They are inspired and as a result, making bolder choices, taking every opportunity available to them, the complete opposite of their mothers’ generation.

Now, my confession is that I am disillusioned by the marriage culture in my country and each time I see THE post on social media, you know the standard announcement post, a picture of her left hand with beautifully manicured fingers and a shiny rock sitting on that precious middle finger, and how can I forget the attendant “OMG! I’m so happy for you dear! Congratulations!!!” or the “You deserve it! Congratulations!!!” comments from her friends and well wishers (oozing of a mixture of surprise, jealousy/envy, sadness, forced cheeriness and hope), any previous interest I might have had dips a little more.

It is the blatant desperation in those comments that gets to me the most. I wish everyone would calm down and know that they are doing okay sweetie!

The End

Ẹlẹgbẹ – (n) Yoruba : Matchmaker.

Nollywood – Nigeria’s movie industry

Shakara – (v) Pidgin Yoruba : Pretending

Shiloh – (n) A prayer meeting held in South Western Nigeria organized by a Big Church.

Featured Image: A beautiful wedding ceremony curated by Bellanaija

Diary – PAUL Amayo

 Introducing Diary; Paul Amayo talks about his lived experience and stumbling upon inspiration from God through the Bible and Priming a faulty pumping  machine.

19 APRIL 2017, 12:55 AM

I learnt something new today, it is called Priming.
So, I moved into this new place last December, I have a family of three living right above me and a single man just beside me. I like to keep to myself, a lot. I never really interact with them but I do take notice of behavioural patterns, the kids play from dusk till dawn and they seem never to tire. The other single man living behind me strikes me as a retired military personnel because of his physique and he’s always up to something: fixing his gen, his door, anything really. Living in Nigeria where there’s no constant power supply, we always have to be alert when it comes to pumping water so we have enough to use daily and he makes it a point of duty to always be the first to reach the pumping machine when power comes on. Every now and then, I try to make sure I get to the pumping machine before he does, just to show that I also care about everyone. For me, it isn’t a difficult job, it is basically  turning on a switch and walking away and remembering that when the tank gets full it starts to overflow, I walk back, turn it off, and that’s it, my job is done and I’m a good neighbour! I never thought there was anything more to pumping water than that. I mean think of it, what else could there be? The pumping machine does it’s job when prompted, right? So today my neighbor at the back (military personnel) called me to inform me that he was traveling and seeing as everyone else had traveled for the Easter holidays, it had just been us both in the compound for the past 2 days. He told me that I shouldn’t forget to pump water and then he added that the pumping machine wasn’t working properly because the water down under had dried up a little and the machine needed a little help. I’d have to prime it as he had been doing for the past few weeks, without my knowledge. I’d have to take a bowl of water and pour in down a pipe somewhere in the machine and that aids the pressure problem, the water goes down the hidden pipe and helps the machine to pump normally.  This new found knowledge really got me thinking, how many of us are desperately​ in need of some priming? Maybe not us, but how about those around us? How often do we say:
“She’s a strong girl!”
OR

“He’s surely doing okay and he probably doesn’t even need my help.”

Priming.
Galatians chapter 6 verse 2 says “Carry one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the Law of Christ.” We are to prime others! Be a shoulder to lean on, even for the seemingly strong. Be there for those who never seem like they need anyone. Care for the caregivers amongst us. You never know who needs you to keep on functioning.
Gotta go now, the tank is full and overflowing. Stay primed up!!!


All-Inclusive

Thank You for being in my life and for making me feel welcomed into yours.

‘Tis the season to be jolly! And to deal with your family members, once again! It is also snowing on my blog! I don’t recall setting snow but let us enjoy this little gift of snowballs dropping while we read this blog post now shall we?

Emonena turned the big eight-o two years ago, it feels like such a long time ago but I remember the details of that event so vividly because it was the last time most of my family members came together to party in December and…wait for it…IN THE VILLAGE, If you are Nigerian I’m sure you already know what this means. It was Christmas at Grandma’s! People do not easily forget Christmases spent at their Grandma’s or do they? I don’t know.

Emonena is my Grandmother, she’s also the one I get my Ajebutter-ness from, yes, totally. When she turned 80, her babies and other people who absolutely love and respect her decided to throw her a big birthday bash, it was phenomenal. They shut down the village, literally.

Emonena ran an all-inclusive household and she raised her babies to be all-inclusive in their ways. What do I mean by this? Here’s a little back story that will help you understand where this blog post is going:

Two nights to the big party, my mother and her sister teamed up, they decided to organize all the Grand babies a.k.a Third Generation to which I belong, to learn a song and a dance, and we were going to perform this song and dance in honour of Emonena at the party (and we did). In the course of organizing the third generation to harness their collective creative talent, different important questions arose. The one question that inspired this post was from littlest cousin, Tamara, she asked “Why is *Rapulu dancing with us when OUR Grandma is not her Grandma?” Rapulu and Tamara are around the same age, Primary school age, Rapulu’s parent is either my Grandma’s friend or beneficiary and by the reason of Emonena’s 80th birthday bash, there were at least 10 different Rapulus in the house with us, they were all expected to participate in the song and dance. Emonena meant something important to all their parents, in diverse ways, but the fact remained that Emonena was not their Grandmother and Tamara in all her innocence did not understand why they (The Rapulus) were invited to perform in Emonena’s song and dance. Looking back, it was a monumental success, considering all that went down in the two days and nights of rehearsals before the main event, whew, dealing with family (especially teenagers and young children) can be very, very stressful not to mention getting them to learn a song in Isoko and teaching them how to do the electric slide, thankfully they had the shoki part of it all covered. Shouts out to my mommy and my aunty and everyone who contributed, especially Emonena who sat outside in the cold with us during rehearsals, best believe she did.

In an all-inclusive household, All Lives Matter. There is no outsider, everybody is an insider. Big Mama’s House vibes, you follow? Emonena is the reason why being all-inclusive is now one of my personal values, and I don’t mean this in a I-am-Mother-Theresa-of-Calcutta way, or any way in fact. It is just something I have come to learn about myself; that I make people feel at home quite fast, which in itself is not a very wise thing to do, considering the fact that people are inherently wicked and jealous and unkind and filled with bad intentions. That being said, there are good people out there, people like Rapulu’s parents who are appreciative, who come back to say “Thank You for being in my life and for making me feel welcomed into yours.

Merry Christmas!


***

Ajebutter – noun – if you behave like your father has money, people will say you are an Ajebutter, i.e you eat Butter at home.

Rapulu – an Igbo phrase which literally translates to “Leaving work”, also someone’s name.

Isoko – Ethnic group in Nigeria with it’s own language and food and everything unique to an ethnic group

Shoki – Contemporary Nigerian Dance Step, the jury is still out on who the originator is. Google if you may.

The Procession

The dominant voice in her head still had the strength to be a Commentator meanwhile the will to live mixed with her sweat and seeped out of her pores.

ding ding ding ding, a Whatsapp message entered Onyi’s phone and she murmured, “who is that rude boy blowing up my phone by this time of the night?” She reached for her phone and unplugged it from where it was charging beside her bed. The room was dark. Before she unlocked her screen she saw from the drop-down notification bar that the message was from her class Whatsapp group. A thought snaked its way into her head, I just hope sey we no get emergency test tomorrow like this so. Onyi drew her secret pattern on the touch screen with her right thumb, touched open the Whatsapp app, and she read the message. What she saw made her cackle like a Witch from one of the elite covens in Edo state.

ha-haha-hahaha-hahahahaha-hahaha-ha-ha-ha-hahahahaha-haha-ha, she lost control, hahaha-haha-hahahaha-ha-ha-hahaha-ha-hahahaha-ha.  This went on for a while. She started clapping her hands in tandem with her words “this-must-be-a-joke, na-lie, this-na-April-fool“. By this time, her roommate Kene had woken up from deep sleep. She moved around noisily on her bed which was on the other side of the very big, old wardrobe they shared, on a good day it served as a boundary between the girls’ large personalities.

vroom-shrr-brr-grrr-drrr, She tossed and turned in her bed, she sure wasn’t in the mood for  Onyi’s rubbish drama tonight. Kene started rambling loud enough for Onyi to hear her,  “Madam are you alright? Do you know what time it is? Please you are disturbing the peace of the whole hostel and I am trying to sleep, my head is aching me abeg, reduce your voice. Don’t you know the time? What kind of behaviour is this? Consider me too na, no be only you get loud voice for this room, me sef fit decide to run mad but….” her voice was hoarse.  Kene talked very fast, like she was trying to finish licking a moderately sized Ube that just got off the grill before it got cold.

peeem-peeeem-peeeeeeem, peeee-peeee, pim-pim, pe-pe-pe-peeeee, The sheer number of humans walking on the main road that early in the morning drove the Drivers crazy, one can assume that they unanimously agreed to forget their hands on their horns at the same time. It was the next morning and Kene walked beside Onyi on the main road, they moved together in silence while others sang those awful songs.  Kene made sure Onyi walked on the inner side of the road. She knew that she was all Onyi had at that moment in time and she was going to do everything she could to make her roommate feel safe. She took Onyi’s hand, to make sure she didn’t lose her in the crowd, and led her, navigating the crowd like her mom used to do when they were out in public back when she was a little girl.

yeeeee-eeehhh-ewooooo-onwuuu-ewoo-yeee-onwuoo, The voices went up in unison as the group approached their final destination. Onyi felt hollow, she had a blank expression on her face. The dominant voice in her head still had the strength to be a Commentator meanwhile the will to live mixed with her sweat and seeped out of her pores. She couldn’t help but study her environment: hian why is that one manifesting. She was breathless, it felt as if a hand was squeezing her chest and she squeezed Kene’s hand tightly: so this is how this boy just left without collecting my number? She felt her head turn towards the direction of the loudest voice: This Morenike too dey do one kind it’s not as if she ever acknowledged his existence. Onyi felt drained, she didn’t sleep a wink throughout the nightKene was saying something to her, she looked straight at her face but her ears failed her. “ehn?” That was the first thing she uttered since they started walking. Her voice betrayed her, it was weak and tiny. She sounded like a starved baby Zombie.

It was a sad day for the entire Department of Geology in  Nsukka, 300 Level to be precise. The previous night their Class Representative hung himself at The Cricket Pavilion while the school slept. He was a charismatic leader, well loved by those he served. His Lecturers fondly referred to him as “Bright Chap” because he had a record breaking GPA of 4.9. He was also tall, dark, handsome, and the object of Onyi’s desire. When she read the Whatsapp message she temporarily lost her mind because the phrasing was unforgivable, the grammar wrong, and whoever sent it was in such a hurry, he or she spelled black without a ‘c’. Onyi decked in White from her head to her toe, She looked like his angel for that day.

New Message: 015 Geo-Ginger Group

“Felix is been found dead at Cricket Pavilion by his hostel guys, they say he committed (Suicide) but they are investigating. you guys should wear all blak tomorrow morning for the procession, we start at main gate and walk to department by 8AM. May he r.i.p, what a pity. onwu di njo”

01:23AM

***
This story is based on true events.
May the controversy end on it’s own.
R.I.P Nwanne.

How to become a Childhood Friend

There is no such thing as a perfectly written eulogy. – Ijeoma Wogu 2016

Coming up with the title of this short, I had Prof. Wole Soyinka and Mr. Okey Ndibe in mind
Re: The man died. Foreign gods Inc.

I have a gazillion Childhood Friends. I pray for them everyday, I love them and wish for nothing but the best for them, all the time.


Ifunanya and I went to Secondary School together where we hardly said ten words to ourselves for the entire period of three years we spent in the same confinements. We got into the same University and became inseparable. We were familiar in an unfamiliar place, so we became a team (makes you wonder about the beauty of biology doesn’t it?) helping each other through our individual life battles and culture shock. She is the only person in the world that has asked me to be her ‘birthday maid’, as in a maid of honour but for her birthday and not her wedding. She recently came down with malaria and she reacted to her treatment, the following conversation ensued:


IFUNANYA:
Had drip yesterday.
And injections.
Was reacting to a malaria drug
So they had to suppress it
 JAYJEYSTIC:
Ndo o
What drug?
IFUNANYA:
Serious tremors tho, weakness and loss of appetite
Lol
I have try
I’m a survivor
 JAYJEYSTIC:
Malaria na bastard Sha
 IFUNANYA:
Camosunate
 JAYJEYSTIC:
The stuff sounds like something they use to fight Boko haram
Camo
 IFUNANYA:
Looool
This geh


Tayo is the one friend to whom I have reported all my major life events since we were teenagers, since the early Facebook and BBM days. When I passed my SSCE, when I got into university, when I failed a course in university, when I was in an accident, when I moved continents, when I had that existential crisis on virginity and what not, when I had to go to different embassies by myself I hatched an elaborate plan and ran it by him. That time I tweeted about how much I appreciate all my friends that look out for me, I was referring to Tayo because he had asked:


TAYO:
How e dey go
JAYJEYSTIC:
E get as e be [ long chat where I pour out my frustrations, which I was unaware were gathered at the brim of my mind, waiting to come out]
Thanks for asking.
TAYO:
*one strength emoji* I like your spirit though. Keep up the ‘fight’ and don’t be discouraged.
JAYJEYSTIC:
Thanks. Same to you.
TAYO:
*one kiss emoji*
JAYJEYSTIC:
Aww *four kiss emojis*


Chisom walked down the corridor of Manuwa Hall with her freshly braided head of hair that made her hang her neck at an angle to help reduce the pain, she looked a bit puffy, and ready to take on Monday morning simultaneously. We didn’t notice her until she started taking off her slippers by the door, She exclaimed in her peculiar way when she finally entered the room “Ah! You guys are eating Plantain and you didn’t invite me!“. The first thing that struck me about her was her complexion. She was the fairest person I had ever seen, Omalicha. The second thing was that she wore socks indoors, like me. Ours was predestined. In the following weeks, we shared our stories, zoomed in on our similarities and there was no stopping us. By the time it was the Student Union Government election season, we had formed our own version of the cool kids subculture in school. Once, during the campaigns, an aspirant came to the hostel to talk to Chisom and when he left she said to me smiling “I feel like we’re the Kingmakers, we are important in this election, we decide who wins…“. Chisom taught me how to acknowledge my privilege in life and how to use it. To an extent, she taught me how to be human. When I won a beauty pageant it was Chisom behind the scenes, literally. Before I left Nigeria she invited me to her parents’ house in Abuja, twice. We sat down and talked about this and that and it was that week it got real for me: I was leaving my friends behind, I even said to myself “I’m not going to make new friends abroad“.


Kingsley and I met in 2014, he doesn’t know this but the very first time I met him, he was teaching a tutorial. I was listening to him teach and that was when I saw him through the eyes I imagine Simon Cowell uses to judge Got-Talent shows, and by the time we were done with the tutorial, I was Simon hitting the Golden Buzzer for him to move on to the “live shows”. That night, when I got back to my room I made a tweet about him. I said how he was full of promise and how he was a great teacher. Time did it’s thing and sooner than I had expected, we actually became sort of friends. I think he also  came to see me with the “Simon Cowell googles” but I’m not sure, you can never be sure when it comes to that boy. Kingsley recently entered into a short story competition called #JollofRice by Okadabooks and he won the first round, (by getting the highest number of votes/reads from the general internet public). His story was unique, very very well written, funny, Nigerian and relevant to the time it was written. Today I woke up to a Whatsapp from Kingsley:


KINGSLEY:
I lost * three crying emojis*
JAYJEYSTIC:
You won.
Don’t say that.
KINGSLEY:
Lol. Don’t worry I am over the loss now.
JAYJEYSTIC:
Okay.

I think I reacted to the message in the way he expected. To a large section of the people I have come to befriend, I am that friend who believes in your dreams fiercely, as if they were mine. The grounded one, you know, the one that scolds. The one that hands out tough love cookies without batting an eyelid, also the one you can rely on to reassure you. Kinda like my version of what Tayo is to me.


Bunie was my sister’s next door neighbour at her place off campus, He was also her classmate. I found him annoying in the way you find a tall, handsome, light-skinned boy that goes to your Teenagers Church annoying and the feeling was mutual. We got along despite each other, I was staying with my sister that semester and Bunie’s Chess board worked its magic to bring us together. It was our common ground. As usual there was no light/power that night in my sister’s room. We played two sets by candle light and he won both so I lost interest in the game. Sore loser that I am. We bickered and bantered, I started playing with the matchbox.  I lit a matchstick and blew it out, put it in my mouth and instantly felt like smoking something, anything. My sister’s room was on the second floor, I got up from my position on the floor and opened the window, sat on the window stool with half my upper body leaning outside, there was neither burglary proof nor mosquito net standing guard so it was just human, window, and night breeze. There was a piece of paper on her table, I reached for and took it, rolled it, not minding what was written on it. Bunie was carried away with the business of arranging the board for another round, he looked up at me when he sensed burning paper and shouted in horror

“what are you doing?!”

His voice was laced with concern and panic? I laughed and coughed. Bunie warned me to stop playing with fire and in that moment, he too became my Childhood Friend, for life.


For: Kayode (Sir Kassanova) Adeniji.
1994-2016
Sun re o, ore mi atata

LOVE FOUND

I have woken up to listen to Asa’s lyrics on two separate occasions in the past 3 moons, When my aunt died it was Baby Gone, today Bibanke.

Pictured above is the Love Garden in UNEC (University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus). It is where young lovers go to at night to express their love, other notable things happen here but that is a story for another day. Maria photographed it on a nice day in 2014 after the flowers had been expertly manicured by the Groundskeepers.

Thus goes the story of Love Found.

Love did not come to Maria in the Love Garden. She was very well known for being a controversial person when she started school at UNEC, she had the temper of ten angry men and the sharpest tongue to go with it and rest assured she knew how to make perfect use of her arsenal. To cut the story short, she didn’t have many friends because the general perception of those close enough to try to befriend her was that she was a handful! Okon on the other hand, always fancied himself as an alté person, he found Maria interesting and befriended her when they were both in their first year of school. Maria and Okon became really close and he succeeded in rubbing off his coolest-young-man-in-the-room attitude on her. She adored Okon. To the ordinary eye, they appeared to be in Love! But no, what they had between themselves was sacred. Love couldn’t begin to describe it.  They called themselves best friends as many others the world over, who find themselves in similar situations, tend to do. Maria and Okon eventually had some problems in their friendship when she suspected that  he had gone on to befriend someone else. The trust she had in him, for him, and in their best-friendship dissipated before she knew what was happening. She felt betrayed by him and confronted him but he simply dismissed her feelings, he thought she was being such a babe about it, after all, they weren’t in an exclusive relationship. Okon carried on with his new friend while trying to maintain what was left of his and Maria’s relationship. Whenever they spoke about the other woman he saw it as an avenue to tease Maria about how clingy/jealous (he basically appointed himself judge and jury over their matter) she was. Months went by and they weaved a new kind of dynamic in their friendship in which Maria accommodated Okon. She did it because she still admired and valued Okon, she respected his choices and brought herself to care less and less about the effect they had on her. Maria met someone new and her world was turned on its head by the forces responsible for such events… same forces that she suspected for telling the butterflies when to start flapping their tiny wings in our tummies when we are flattered by the sheer existence of another human being. In those days she touted her dedication to her friendship with Okon but when the forces came along, it was surreal, that her, Maria, would go out there and allow herself to desecrate the same friendship which she fought countless  losing battles with Okon for. That she, Maria had gone to bring the other man. That she found Love and it was not Okon. She was subdued by the emotions. Maria took out time to evaluate the outcome of her happily ever after with the other man and she was forced to grow up in the wake of the events, and take in the lessons that came with her friendship situation, one of them was that happiness is sometimes selfish and everyone deserves to be happy. She was on the other end for the first time and it was only then that she sympathized with Okon and the other woman.

the END.

Theory of a Dead Man

This short piece came in last night, upon my request if I must add and the author has asked to remain anonymous. He’s blogged here before so go figure who the mystery man is! If you so desire. 😉
Continue reading “Theory of a Dead Man”

MAN IN THE MIRROR

I’m Starting With The Man In
The Mirror
(Ooh!)
I’m Asking Him To Change
His Ways
(Ooh!)
And No Message Could Have
Been Any Clearer
If You Wanna Make The World
A Better Place
(If You Wanna Make The
World A Better Place)
Take A Look At Yourself And
Then Make A Change
(Take A Look At Yourself And
Then Make A Change)

By Paul Amayo

In memory of MICHEAL JOSEPH JACKSON
(August 29 1958 – June 25 2009) Continue reading “MAN IN THE MIRROR”