Change II

And so it hit me – full in the face. Bam! A truth I’ve been locking so far away and so deeply that it hit me with the juggernaut momentum of its escape. And all it took was a tweet to know it. I had to see someone say it before it made perfect sense to me.

“Loving someone and watching them move on with no stress is both what you wanted and your worst nightmare”.

Yes. It is what I wanted. It’s what I wanted terribly. But why did I have to read someone else come to the very poignant conclusion to understand this? Because I think I had been living out the nightmare part of it the whole time… But I’m free now, you see. I have to be. You can’t want what’s best for someone with fervour and live in your nightmare. No, you will then live in your release. In your truth and in that love. The object of the affection might be dead and gone, for all intents and purposes, but the love will last. That’s the beauty of it. Once love has been created, it does not go anywhere. It might exist in a vacuum if necessary (in those times, we are deluded that the love is gone because there is no object on which to impress it), but it really is an imperishable thing. Love is an imperishable act and once fostered, you cannot possibly exist in love and in a nightmare. The two are mutually exclusive. Instead, you can be like, “I was, till two moments ago, in a nightmare of my own carelessness THEN in love”.

Journaling

Organic Burn

There are things that have begun to burn.

Save those you can while they in any part

remain

We leave what we cannot take. We trusted

What we did not make

After all, and went ahead and claimed it –

Love.

No, we did not make love. We made,

well…

We did. But we did not create it. God did. God

is

Love. So how could the creator become in any part

the created? No.

So when these things that have begun to burn

can not be salvaged

We leave them and run. We haste from the embers that become

We are followed in our turn but the scarring is

localised to a minimum. An infinitesimal organic suicide

Heartbreak.

We labour with the remnants of our burn

To plagiarise and live in reruns.

Tomorrow we make again what we did not create

And trust again what we did not make

Our memory heals enough so we replicate.

Love.

 

Prose et Poesie

M.I.S.S.Y.(ou)

One blow… One pronounced skip of the calming rhythm of my heart’s steady pace. That was my initial reaction to the news. One blow that plunged me first into shock then into hyper reaction then into the stark flow of silent tears then back into shock. One blow was the only punctuation I felt in the next 20 minutes of an unending sentence that I endured before I felt myself truly breathing again. Just that one blow. Only one…

Missy came into my life when I was 10/11. The years are blurry at this point. But I remember that she came when the office was still on Awolowo road, super close to Munchies. Super close to Bacchus as well (but I wasn’t aware of the latter till much later in my adolescence). And her name was as spontaneous and attitude driven as the person she was named after at a whim – Missy Elliott.

She was the perfect character from day one. And with the trepidation of the young who love all furry four- legged friends but who are also smart enough to have a certain regard for  life and self preservation, I played with her coyly at first; quickly nervous if she got irritated or overly excited with me. Eventually, and not after very long, I decided I loved her. Like you know the kind of love you have for something or someone that never fully leaves your thoughts? That importance of their wellbeing? That happiness in the reunion? I loved her.

It has always been clear how incredibly blessed I was to know Missy. How blessed I still am to have known her. It’s not common in Nigeria to have dogs as pets. This is not to say that people do not have dogs or that people have a shortage of love for these adorably loyal creatures. But what tends to happen is that a lot of people who love dogs in Nigeria do not have the means or the motivations to own dogs, and those who do tend to own them as guard dogs. It would seem of little consequence – these shifts in role title- but the only people with enough patience or time to love these guard dogs are usually those responsible for putting food and water in theirs kennels and releasing them at night. These people are also not usually their owners and more often than not, give abuse instead of love. But I, to my greatest advantage, grew up around dogs who were genuinely loved for their quirks and definitely not treated like “animals”. I was blessed in this way and was blessed to experience the best of Missy in this vein.

As an aside, I will say that the expression “being treated like animals” never sat well with me. Animals should be treated kindly and lovingly across the board, with pretty much the same courtesy we would give to complete strangers at the very least. Even in cases where we eat animals, their method of execution should be merciful and their grooming for this execution, humane. In other words, in an ideal world, that expression wouldn’t mean the things it does now. But back to Missy…

This post was really to acknowledge the life of an amazing dog. A dog that acted a good deal like a cat. One that added a lot of laughter and attitude to my life; a dog who had such emotion that sometimes I swear she could talk. And I think that single immense blow, the one that stopped everything for one second was my heart’s way of affirming what I already knew: that she will be missed tremendously.

RIP Missy

2003-2015

 

Journaling

Love II

“She did not blame him: She blamed life. But he was an implacable protagonist in that life. At the mere hint of a doubt, he would push aside his plate and say: “This meal has been prepared without love.” In that sphere he would achieve moments of fantastic inspiration. Once he tasted some chamomile tea and sent it back, saying only: ” This stuff tastes of window.” Both she and the servants were surprised because they had never heard of anyone who had drunk boiled window, but when they tried the tea in an effort to understand: it did taste of window”

– Love In The Time of Cholera

Inspiration

Wilt

He was going through a hard time. They both knew it but somehow, she knew it more. They talked about it in the wordless ways that humans beings in dying relationships converse through act and emotion- through the rashness of acts and the absence of emotions. The Friday night ritual of Chateauneuf-du-Pape was the first to go. Then the intermittent post-it notes hastily placed not all the way down on her phone screen so they were the first things she saw when her alarm went off in the morning, followed. The first few months those darned post-its had irked her. Waking up to her phone alarm and not being able to snooze it right away because some pesky thing was in the way… but they had grown on her. They weren’t ever mushy, too. That’s what she had loved the most about them. And they usually made absolutely no sense but she kept most of them anyway. Some she stored in memory, like the note after the night she had gone out with her girls for some Mexican two months following their move-in together:

“Elsa, please do not let it go when you sleep. It stinks. Love, Olaf. P.S. Coffee’s ready”.

…Or the one after Curry, her pre-pubescence Tabby, passed. That one had been a tiny caricature of a dog with a thought bubble above it’s head saying :

“All (cats that act like) dogs go to heaven.”

She had almost shed a tear after that one. Almost.

It wasn’t the attempts at failed prose or romanticism that engaged her, it was the vigour with which he had adored her smile and the reverence through which he had aimed to preserve it. But all that vanished in the summer of the year her peonies did not bloom.  She was later told by the horticulturist ex-wife of a colleague that her quack of a gardener had planted them too deeply. Their foliage in early spring had held so much promise, the three wilted flower buds that showed in early April brought heart shattering disappointment. Years down the line, friends and family would ask her about that period of her life and all she would ever remember with annoying clarity were those goddamned wilted peonies.

He left in late September. There wasn’t any of that slow realisation that you get when you read a suspense novel or watch a romantic movie. There was no immediate warning but there was the exceptionally huge lump constricting her breathing when she saw him sitting quietly in the living room waiting on her that evening. It wasn’t the waiting or the stiff sitting, not even the single suitcase and stained carry-on shoulder bag leaning on the chaise. It was his complete awareness of her in a way that had not happened in several weeks. She had only just adjusted to life with a stranger and now she couldn’t handle the discomfort of having him stare directly at her and still not see her. She looked blankly at that travel bag the whole time he talked. He told her it had been over a long while, that he had tried to re-invest time and time again. He mentioned the one day she had come in shouting about the unwashed dishes and he had had such a difficult day but she had not even cared. She was mildly aware that he spoke a long time but she was careful not to listen to the details. She knew this would become an argument if she did and she did not want that; she was too good at gathering that kind of word ammunition but this situation required no sifting through the finer points and pressing of pressed issues. As a matter of fact, she had made up her mind to forget the details of the conversation the moment he walked out her door if she could help it.

He spent 39 minutes trying to let her off easy, like she needed it. By the end he was uncomfortable because she kept her silence. There was nothing she could say that would further solidify or weaken the resignation that she felt. He asked her to say anything, that he knew he had told her it was forever and he was chickening out. He did not say sorry though. He had always believed sorries were a pitiful attempt at taking the easier road out of a difficult situation. But it did not matter. She was spent.

She nodded her head once to indicate her understanding, stood up from the edge of the chaise where she had been sitting, and kissed him on the left side of his temple like she would have if this were any regular day.

“Leave the keys on the accent table by the door. Don’t bother locking it”.

She left him on the sofa, grabbed the grocery bag she had brought home with the Chateauneuf in it, got a wine glass out a kitchen cabinet, and walked into the bedroom. Fifteen minutes later, she heard the door shut quietly. It would have been better if he had just left without trying for goodbye

Prose et Poesie

Reclaim of Pain

I once had a really good friend and, if friendships are really broken down into tiers of closeness (which they are), I might even say that we were the best of friends. But, a few months ago, there was a huge falling out. And this, I think, is where this really begins. You see, J – we’ll just call this person J- and I are no longer friends. This has had a profoundly larger impact on my being than even I thought possible. And I think, in many ways, I have allowed this. I wanted to not feel anything at the end. We are always so tempted by the ease a lack of emotion or pain offers. The lies with which we are fed that unfeeling is strength or peace. There is no strength in hiding from your pain. There is no courage in locking up our emotions. They go nowhere; they fester and putrefy. John Greene said pain demands to be felt-

So.Much.Truth.

But, my point is my pain went nowhere. It did not fizzle out with time because I had not experienced it. And if I had not experienced it, I couldn’t let it go. I woke up yesterday morning and I had a dream with a feature from J. You know you’re bottling something up when it no longer torments your consciousness, but goes even deeper. I had not let myself acknowledge my feelings in my waking, so they tormented my dreams. Yesterday I caught myself, though. Finally. I guess what I’ve been trying to say, what I’m still trying to say (and doing a poor job saying) is that I’ve been afraid- afraid of experiencing unpleasantness. Fear is a powerful compeller but I find that for me I fail too often to acknowledge that it is the root cause of many of my problems.

J and I stopped being friends and I did not cry. I did not look back. I did not let go of hope even in such a hopeless situation. I pretended that my pain and loss did not exist, then I sugarcoated my denial and called it “moving on”. I told myself that if I looked back, I was lost. But as it turns out, I am still lost now. I do not pine for what was once, but I acknowledge now that I do have to grieve for its loss. My life is no longer exactly as it was and I’ll be damned if I don’t stop and realise it. So, if I feel like going through a bag of lindor truffles to grieve, I won’t stop myself. I am the only one that can make ‘being alone’ feel ‘lonely’, and I am the only one who can reclaim my solitude.

Journaling