Two Minutes at a Festival

He bent down, peering in, then stepped back quickly, overcome by the heat and the damp that clung to the air and to all the items in the tiny tent. The tiresome drizzle did not seem to have plans on cessation.

“Are you coming or what? God, your tent is a mess.”

“Hey! I didn’t ask you to bend in.” She yanked the flap of the two person tent up, zipping as she held on.

“Whoa whoa whoa!” He stuck his hand in the little space that still remained, “are you actually boxing yourself back in properly? Forget about the heat, we need to get going.”

She sighed, exasperated, “I. need. Two. Minutes.” She said it through gritted teeth.

“Would that be a girl two or a real two?” She snapped the zipper the remainder of the way, nearly slicing the skin on the heel of his hand. “Watch it!”

She made no reply. He knew he had hit a nerve. Ugh, one couldn’t joke about women around her anymore; she used to be so much more fun. She still was if he just kept his thoughts to himself. He tucked both hands into his parka and curved his back against the tiny droplets peppering his clothing. He wasn’t wet, not really, but he hadn’t been dry in days. It was beginning to take its toll.

A minute later, a zipper was making the rounds towards the muddy ground. She popped out. She had put on some sparkly lip gloss and a few shiny stickers on the side of her face. It was in complete contrast to the scowl she was wearing, “well? Shall we then?”

He smiled his roguish smile, “I know you don’t plan on us walking the entire way while you sulk.” She said nothing. He huffed, “I’m sorry, okay? Of course a girl minute is not an acceptable metric by any standards, but especially not in the patriarchal subsystem under which your highness and I exist.” He lowered his head in a mock bow; she swatted it. Then she skipped forward, sending flecks of mud to either side of her, “come on! I don’t want to be late for Kaytranada.”

Non classé Prose et Poesie

The Necessity of Hope

“I think a man needs only one thing in life: He just needs someone to love. If you can’t give him that, then give him something to hope for. If you can’t give him that, just give him something to do.” (Flight of the Phoenix)

Hope is the last bastion for those not already living in grace. Yet grace requires faith.

Hope and faith are intertwined – That last pillar that keeps a person standing; somewhat irrelevant until all else is lost. Necessary, because the point where all is truly lost is death. Hope and faith then preserving life; Faith leaving those left behind to pursue what comes after it. Hope does not tread past the grave.

But yet faith also dwells amongst the living, a blind, compelling thing. Pushing one past all frontiers of logic, suspended in a metaphysical stronghold, full of assurances. Faith is the ultimate paradox. Only the blind can truly see. Hope is its sister wife – a blood relation one too many times over. Hope, too, strains for that stronghold, seeks that assurance. But while faith is at once the journey and the destination, hope remains the weary traveller, set back by the burdens not yet encountered. Hope is not blind because it is aware of its shortcomings, it relies on these to exist. For if there were nothing that was beyond one’s reach and every achievement was palpable, hope would fade into the collective oblivion, a space reserved for minutiae and the long forgotten, Latin still teetering on that precipice.

Hope decries oblivion, it rests in the physical, it earns in the tangible and it is dogged in its pursuit to collect. What it wants, it can see, and if the thing does not yet exist, it can be created. Hope is an atomic structure waiting to be multiplied. It requires imagination within the borders of the frank but youthful. Faith does not bend to oblivion because it exists beyond it. It reigns supreme on every plain. It encapsulates all of our desires and our guilt, it directs them to the amorphous sorter of all things beyond our control. Humanity is one big ever spinning wheel; understanding in the brief glimpses of the whirring cogs that we have no say in the speed and constancy of our continuous movement. We have free will and we have the actions we choose but there is no halting destiny. Faith is perhaps the reason some can handle this when logic has gone as far as it can go, and is still found wanting. Hope is an acceptance with a desire for a different outcome. Faith is an acceptance and submission to the different outcome. One remains a fighter, one panders to whim.

Yet whim is by far the most compelling characteristic of humankind. Inconsistent that whim and faith should be considered side by side since faith put in humankind is seldom deserved, usually lost – blind as it insists it must remain. Faith must transcend the corporeal to become a spiritual seed; rely on the whims of things beyond our understanding, if indeed those things have whims. Hope, on the other hand, relies on the catching of whim’s fancy; sailing the breeze of impulse, simply aiming to catch the right one.

And of these two that remain so intertwined, humankind must always carry both. But the better to be held is hope. For we must first concern ourselves with the here and now, and the betterment of that lot. Only then, can we dive deeper and aspire to those beyond.

Journaling Non classé Prose et Poesie

Seeking Comfort

“It’s been an interesting day.”

 

She laughs. His eyes sparkle. He’s smiling but his mouth hasn’t fully hit it’s lopsided curve. She doesn’t know anything about his curve, he’s a stranger. But she can recognize the glisten in his eyes. That’s familiar.

 

“Interesting is one way to put it. You definitely tried to take a baseball bat to my head this morning.”

“I did. I did.” She throws her head back laughing, eyes momentarily fluttering closed with the force of it. “I did — didn’t I? And now we’re here eating Chinese at 3am.”

“To coincidences!”

“To obeying the natural vibrations”

They clink their water glasses. She stares at him, he’s looking right back. She’s nearly daring him to make a comment about her salutation. It’s like she said it to get something out of him. More than a reaction — some understanding of who he was.

 

How did he react to the spiritual? What faith based systems did he follow? Did he believe in faith? Was he grounded in logic and agnostic? Why did this matter? Why had she already pictured him here — figuratively? A presence in her cosmos several months from now. Why did she expect more than this night — this morning? Was she deluded? Doing that thing people do when they have a good moment with a stranger and think of it as the beginnings of forever. They’d had a moment. It had led to another moment. And now they were having a moment over cheap Chinese food and, tomorrow? She didn’t even know his name yet. Not for sure.

He echoed her — “To obeying the natural vibrations”.

He took a sip of his water. Put his glass down and didn’t take the bait. That was telling her a lot. She decided this was going to be a moment. No extended leases on fate.

“Okay then, Mr. Your-head-is-still-intact, can I get a last name? Or a coherent first name?”

“Oh, I thought we had agreed to carpe this diem”.

“Placidly. I still would like to be able to refer to you pointedly, from across a room, if need be”.

 

This felt like witty banter. It wasn’t un-witty… but it was a 2/10 on the scale of smart things she could be pulling out her repertoire. Yet, it still felt like it was supposed to be flirtatious. Flirtatious, witty banter?

“Okay then — as a ‘break in case of across the room emergency’, you can call me Tobi.”

“I won’t insult you by asking if it’s an ‘-ey’ at the end like McGuire, or just a ‘-y’.”

“L-O-L”. He enunciated the letters out loud, spelling out the acronym to bolster the cynicism in his humor. He mellowed it out with a smile.

“Omo naija here please. My parents didn’t play any of that. This Tobi has an ‘Oluwa’ in front of it.”

She smiled. Wide. It was nearly a laugh. He was funny. Not super, belly achingly funny. At least, not just yet. But, she was amused and she was interested in continuing the conversation.

 

“Okay then, Mr Tobi with an ‘I’ and an Oluwa somewhere by his side”, her eyes twinkled, “you already know my first name, the kind of car I drive, the kind of weapons I keep — at least in the car, the kinds of cuss words I pick, the kinds of asses I kick… tell me something about you that doesn’t have to do with why you were on the back of an okada, edging the driver on between several tightly packed cars till he knocked off a side mirror.”

“Ohhhh! But that’s the best part!” His face contorted into a dramatic look of anguish, overdone so someone who might not recognize the subtleties of his emotional cues would not be confused by his word choice. She understood.

“Well, if you insist, I’ll start somewhere else. I also have a car — my weapons of choice are the dumbbells I use in the gym, or my office, or on the go, that I choose to keep in my car for ever present fitness. They give a hell of a headache in the right setting. Or would that be the wrong setting?”

“That would depend — how heavy are these dumbbells?”. She was teasing him. He understood.

“20 pounds each ma’am. They do the work.”

“Oohhhh I bet they do.”

 

He looked up at her from the patterns he’d been tracing on the white table cloth, head cocked a little to the side. He was appraising, fully, for the first time. She could tell he was beginning to understand this little dance they were doing — how slow men were to jump in.

“Yeaaaa,” he dragged it out, “do you work out?”

“Wouldn’t you like to know? Question’s still on you, Tobi with an ‘I’.” This was definitely a flirtatious exchange, right? Time to kick it up a notch — “So you drive and you gym — on the go, apparently. What’s your favorite color? Better yet, what’s your star sign?”

“I know I’m a Cancer and that’s supposed to make me secretly sensitive/weepy? I have several girl-friends and cousins that are into that mess, but I’ve never really been interested.” Unsurprising. Still. Cancer — what was she going to do with this information? Moment, not fate. Moment.

“Not interested, huh? Well, I’m a Libra sun, Cap rising, Cap moon, but that Scorpio’s a real bitch as a Venus.”

She looked at him and laughed. She’d only said that to watch his eyes glaze over. That, too, she was familiar with — no nuance needed.

 

The waiter came back with the appetizers they’d ordered. She took a bite of an egg roll and let her mind wander just a little bit — to the car she was going to get back into with a quarter tank and the drive she was going to be taking back to the one bedroom flat she shared with four other girls on the other side of town. By now, she was just biding time so she didn’t get home before 6am, which is when Patience would wake up and start getting ready for her early job. That would free up a spot on the mattress so she could get a few hours of sleep before heading back out herself…

“You still with me?”

She looked up at him and centered this moment — the egg rolls, which really weren’t bad for a 24-hr establishment; and this really handsome stranger who had broken her side mirror this morning, eating out 47 percent of her savings if she decided to fix the damn thing, and setting her back exponentially in her fight against mind-numbing poverty. Yea, she was with him. For the next two hours, she was golden.

“Yep, Tobi with an ‘I’, I’m carpe-ing the hell out of this diem”.

 

He tossed his head back and laughed, easily. This, too, was familiar.

Non classé Prose et Poesie