Switching Faces

fe9b1705.jpgLike a multi SIM Chinese phone, like the padlock that takes all keys, like the internet that shows different things to different people. What you ask for is what you get? I’m a container that takes the shape of water.

“So easy to impress and so difficult to please”, that would make describing me in one line very simple: Brilliant, dull, handsome in its entirety but the mirror says otherwise. I relish complexity and I love a life full of intrigue, it makes my hair stand and my blood rush. Yet, in a moment of external fragility, I could crumble like a pack of cards; I could stay in a place and be named ‘boredom’. I’m as human as you can possibly be and I’m not a riddle, I live out the Jekyll-Hyde theorem like I was their creator and I was being paid. Double personality doesn’t cut it for me; it’s simply not enough to mask what the face inside is saying.

 

My boss thinks I’m the biggest of workaholics, he sees me when he comes in till when he goes out. He thinks I’m married to my work and the only way to compensate my commitment is frequent raises and promotions. And we both share the same love for Ludwig van Beethoven. His secretary thinks otherwise. She is a young girl so I don’t expect much understanding from her; she hasn’t disappointed me. She thinks I’m a weasel; that I put down my clownish disposition as soon as the boss is around. Besides, she thinks I describe the word ‘irresponsible’; because she is one of the girls riding my pony in the office. But then, the boss’ wife thinks the same thing. That’s a whole book in itself.

 

“To the greatest Dad in the world” is the line inscribed on the card I received from my daughter on my last birthday (the card is priceless, just like her when she was born). I wake her up gently in the morning and sing her to sleep at night with a sweet-sounding lullaby. My girl thinks I spend every spare time I get at work with the family and that family comes first. To her, it’s unimaginable that a man with my kind of work schedule will have an affair, I never miss a family appointment. She thinks I balance work and play quite well; I appear rich to all but my bank knows otherwise. She wants to be like me when she grows up. Rita thinks the same too. By the way, Rita is my wife.

 

I simply can’t describe Rita, but you haven’t seen anything like her. Just picture cupid’s favorite daughter. Exactly: But only better. It wasn’t love at first sight, but as it turned out eventually, it was love. She thinks I’m the most devoted husband, never miss dinner nor any family outing. I never fail to show her lots of love and affection and I make love to her like it’s going to go out of fashion; like we will be the last to have sex before the world burns. She thinks she has the lock to my chastity belt, because she thinks I’m the most trustworthy working-class husband ever. And the best father her daughter can ever have. She totally adores me and admires my addiction to Jill Scott’s music.

 

When the spirit comes down and my hands go up, my pastor is never surprised. To him, I’m the perfect brethren, loving husband, devoted father and one of the regular church members. I’m involved in everything the church is involved in. He meets my car in church first thing on Sunday morning and leaves me there. I live a humble life and I often seem like I’m at the bottom of the food chain with my toilet-slippers humility. Besides, I do counseling for youths: Elders in my church advice upcoming folks to follow my steps and walk in my big shoes. The pastor’s family spend their vacation in my country home where bible verses are inscribed all over my house and car. And I’m Don Moen through and through. Talking of holies of holies.

 

My driver thinks I’m a cold-hearted bastard, as he watches me switch tones and attitudes in the car. Besides, he hates my obsession with dirty rap. And everyone on my street thinks I’m an easy-going person. How I wish they knew. To the booze seller around the corner, it’s a whole new story. And her sister? Sigh!

 

My whole ‘chameleonic’ life has flashed by in one uneventful second, but in the quietness of it all, I begin to understand that I’ve lived a Banner-Hulk kind of life for as long as I know, being different things to different people and they still don’t see. Imminent failure is not exactly set on stone but the bloody writing is all over the flippin’ wall. Am I scared of being one person? Wouldn’t everyone’s life be so easy if they just satisfy everyone the way they want? Do I have to be me every time? Even if I want to be myself, I have no idea who that is.

 

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Wasteful Silence

man

“It’s a lesson, a point of view when there’s a wasteful silence in an empty room”

I stared into that window from my empty room, waiting for a sound, a sign, anything, but nothing came. The eternal quest of man is to shatter loneliness in any way he can, some through alcohol and others through cheap meaningless sex but I have failed in them all. Don’t get it twisted, I have people around me, but the loneliness is never crueler than when it is felt in close propinquity with someone who has ceased to communicate.

I’m not poor, not by any standard. I own a 5 bedroom duplex in a choice area in Lagos. I have someone I can still legally call my wife and two kids. Yet Bruce and Charlie are the ones whose “hi” means anything to me daily; I call the bird outside my window Bruce and the dog next compound is Charlie, I want to assume every “woof” it does is its way of saying hi to me.

Yeah, about the wife. She was at one point loving, kind, understanding, submissive, gentle and beautiful; though I’m at a point where I don’t even know what beauty means anymore. But by some sick turn of poorly handled events, everything dissolved, it was 5 years ago at my boy’s 10th year birthday. You know the way salt loses its solid-state whenever it comes in contact with water, July 11th was the water to our crystal salt.

Maybe I was too tight spirited, forgiveness has never been my forte. Rather I keep on talking about an issue even after closure, and since it sent bad vibes I started ‘unlooking’. The party music was loud and I had to pick a call, so I went outside the gate for less noise then I saw my wife in the distance. I wasn’t even aware that she had left the party. She was in tight embrace with a man, that kind of tight embrace that isn’t innocent at all; worst of all, it was a man whose face I remember well. When we met she was heart-broken because she had to abort a pregnancy and was jilted by her lover, then like a bricklayer on Sabrina I mended her heart and that was how we started dating. Yes, it was that man! “What was he looking for? Why was she outside? Will she tell me? Why is he holding her waist like that? Are both of them mad?” Were a few questions in my head: I got angry, went inside and was waiting for her to tell me about it since she didn’t even see that I saw them. I never asked, she never said. The anger ate me up, then I started keeping to myself in my own petty way, I became passive-aggressive and progressively the anger destroyed my family ties. Till Today I have never mentioned it to her, and yes we talk; mostly about the school fees of the kids.

I started having issues at work, I became paranoid because I was always thinking “what if she’s with that idiot again? Who knows where she is now, she closes by 6pm and it’s 6:05 and she’s not yet home.” I became cold to my family and lost it all, right up there as the biggest mistake one life can contain.

Scattered thoughts, noisy mind. I sit in the room alone most times and mull over the points in my life where the mistakes made could have been avoided: not seeking clarity, not getting closure, letting anger fester and letting unforgiveness gain possession of my life. I don’t party anymore, what is partying?! Keep in mind that to avoid loneliness, many people have both social circle and intimate attachments, technically I have none. Inside my heart is breaking, no make-up nor smile to cover it up.

Till now she isn’t aware of why we grew apart, we live together in what is already a failed marriage and a terrible example for our boy and girl. They don’t know the causality, they just see the gap widen till it became a gulf. The kids don’t even reckon with me like before because my bitterness spills out like food spilling from a playful feeding toddler. The world I live in is empty and the loneliness cuts me, tortures me and creates many holes in my soul. The potential to be offended in this world is endless; if I can relive those key moments, I will forgive more, seek clarity more and assume less.

“I’m lonely. And I’m lonely in some horribly deep way and for a flash of an instant, I can see just how lonely, and how deep this feeling runs. And it scares the shit out of me to be this lonely because it seems to me it would end catastrophic.”

The Golden Goose

goose-golden-egg

Almost a couple of years ago, I took a sharp stainless knife, sank it into the neck of the golden goose, spilled out its rather lacklustre blood while I watched it gasp for life till it died.

Was it rational? Did it make sense to kill that precious little avian that produces one priceless golden egg per day? Common sense and rationality said No, greed said yes; but knowing how loud the proverbial demon on the shoulder is, it outshouted and drowned the small soft voice of the good conscience and in a moment of weakness and/or blatant stupidity, I allowed it. Now I’m totally soaked in guilt, knowing nobody would take my side if I tell my story. I will not take my side when I hear my story.

Of course I did not literally slaughter a golden goose, or any goose; for if I have one I’d let it multiply and build a huge golden poultry, but I’m not here to build castles and sell unicorns. I had a treasure, I lost it. Then came the “mistake”, the one we generally blame the devil for. She wasn’t very pristine as my friend sings, or “noble” in my eyes, but she agreed to date me. Then came a moment she was mushy and I was reckless. Emotions were on overdrive, weather was right, mood was right and the music was perfect. We consummated; I took that dive without a swimming suit.

In my mind, it was a smash and grab; life continued in golden fashion till she texted me that her period was late. For a moment the clocked stopped and there was silence in my head, a rare occurrence. See, I’ve always been a baby enthusiast believe me, but I found no joy in the news because it was happening to me and I was just so overwhelmed with the thoughts of the consequences, so I sought the advice of my friend. That my friend, my trusted ally and the author of my current pain; he told me to deny the pregnancy to buy time, so as to find a creative solution. Like a lizard on the wall I nodded, because after 3 bottles of Guinness extra smooth (big), everything sounds like a good advice. But you know, a lie started has to be followed up by series of lies till you get caught up in the web of lies that you start to believe it yourself. You only keep up, you don’t catch up or back track: A less than wondrous mess.

I lost out on the joy of a father, I lost the pleasure of a lover, I lost out everything I’d ever wanted and refused to take responsibility for my actions. All because I was afraid, afraid of what the world would say, afraid I won’t get their approval, afraid to be my own man. At most she needed my love, at least she deserved my respect and she got none from me. I had put her through physical and emotional pain, and this made her legitimise my denial of the pregnancy. How can one life be allowed to contain so many mistakes? On my road to Babylon, nobody stopped me.

Now she’s happy! I see the beautiful baby girl every day; well, through a friend’s Facebook profile as my sorry self has been blocked. My daughter looks so lovely, radiant and does not bear my name. I cannot give her an identity because I ran away when they both needed me the most and I denied them thrice before the cock crowed. I’d live a life full of regrets and ‘would have beens’ if I don’t get a chance to right the wrong that I’d done. Do I even deserve that chance?

I listened to a silly advice; I broke the trust of a girl who gave herself to me, and spurned the chance of pure joy and happiness every day. I have no reason, no defence; I took delight in the moment rather than the commitment.

I dined on the goose of legend, and now I have no golden eggs in my life anymore.

Dear Ganiyu

Not so dear Ganiu Jelili,

Forgiveness is more than saying sorry.

No regrets for me, I won’t waste my time regretting; what it will only do is hurt me and make a bitter sweet tinge about the end of our four year love affair. There were few highs and so many lows; basically all lows, but I won’t take it away from you that at first sight I thought maybe I would never find a better lover than you.

We started as friends, you were close to my late boyfriend and when he died, you offered me a shoulder to cry on. I fell for the warmth of your embrace and I decided not to face my fears. One of my fears was the manner with which you always lurk in the shadows; that worried me. My head said it was timidity, my heart said humility. I wanted to go with my head but my friends and families prevailed and we started living together. The honeymoon period was as short as the few seconds after you said “I do.”

You had a special talent of making questionable friends. Your bald friend that came to visit us sometimes ago had blood stains on his shirt and lips, you said it was nothing. There were always questionable magnitude of money in your friend Dessy’s bags and I questioned you, you gave a dozen excuses and said you’re not one of them. In fact, your area bros that robbed his avenue empty was arrested and you went to bail him out. All these things didn’t add up! Robbers came to raid our home and took away our food and cough syrup, yet you brought out your money to give them t-fare.

You never bought me flowers; you never gave me the honour of holding your hands. Sometimes you treat me like a child that didn’t matter and so many times I thought I will never be able to live after you. I thought you were a good man: I wanted to believe you’re a good man, but it baffles me that a good man can be comfortable in the company of rouges, derelicts and ex-convicts. Now I doubt you were ever a good man, you found it easy to ignore my pain; you would always pass the blame to someone else.

In agony and strife I suffered this abusive relationship for four years. Remember when my cousins got killed in the garage incident and you went dancing at your friend’s birthday turn-up; worst of all you were gumming body to this woman I can’t really single out. It hurt me more than you know, and I doubt you ever loved me at all. My nephew got shot and my niece got kidnapped by those gangsters up the street and all you did was blame our neighbour. You never comforted me, your inactions brought more clouds above me. You were more concerned about how people in the neighbourhood saw you, and not who you are in the house.

Your niece that lives in the next town, who is married to Raji, comes here often and she’s looking all fresh and nice. He never beats her; in fact he takes so much care of her that at one point I was tempted to replace you with him. But now that is history, I have someone else much more matured than Raji I have hooked up with. And I really do not care whether you cry or not, glad you accepted my leaving in good faith. I owe you no favours.

I’m glad the four years of abuse, misuse and devastation has ended. Really glad to know Mo’ud would take care of me; honestly I’d rather take my chances than wait for you to get home drunk and beat me all over again. In the twilight of our living together, you deliberately removed the cut-out from our electricity fuse and you drained the fuel in the generator just to punish me. Ugh, you thought it would make me meltdown and crawl back on all four for you, but you’re wrong. Maybe you should know, my new boo is a fighter, he’s not a wanton weakling like you and be sure when he sees the marks and bruises of your torture on my body, he will come for you and I cannot vouch for you not being sent to prison for it; my experience with you reduced me to less than human. Forget the people I’ve been with before I met you, I gave you my heart and you threw it to the gutter; I’m left with a bitter after-taste, you took my submission for granted.

Forgiveness is more than saying sorry. Don’t bother to apologise for any mistakes, it’s too late: It won’t clear the cloud over the dark days, it won’t bring back all the money I made from my palm oil selling business that your mistresses stole without you budging, and it won’t bring back my cousins and my nephews. It definitely will not bring back any emotions I ever had for you or the admiration my family members had, when they thought you were a breath of fresh air.

Now my crying has stopped, I will wear a smile and walk in the bright sunshine. They may forgive you for the right reasons, but I will never forget you; for the wrong reasons.

 

Nohimat.

 

(Nohimat is every Nigerian that is saying goodbye and Goodluck to the outgone Ganiyu)

To unwrap your food

The time was 6:45, just when the sun was going down over the west wing of the city, but with enough residual illumination to remind you it was longer day and shorter night; or as Stella had planned, a very long night.

The ambience in the room was cool, the light was a little dim and the temperature was just right. She sat at the edge of the bed, her legs folded as she looked up at her tease. She had rid herself of her short gown in seconds, leaving bare her red undies as they clung daintily to her smooth body; red up top, red way down, she favoured the fiery look for the feisty moment. Her man was tall, heavy like a tank and every movement he made seductively created a void inside her that needed filling. He was a boss: He was her boss.

David was fully clad in his corporate wear, an hour before that was when he left the office. He paced in even movements, moving to shut the window blinds, gazing at her in flashes; moving his hips, licking his lips and smiling all at the same time. He turned on the music on his iPhone, placed it on the table and proceeded to sit by her side at the edge of the bed. She stopped him before he could sit, being face to face with him.

“I want to unwrap you like a shawarma and eat you bit by bit” she said as she put her two little palms on his chest. She moved closer, swirling her waist closer to his; nibbling his ears and whispered in sultry tone to him “Just enjoy it boss, enjoy it”. He intended to. The visual stimulation was not enough for her, she wanted total consummation. Strip by strap of clothing she started undressing him, she pulled his face to her neck to undo his tie, then she whined to the slow music unbuttoning each button one after the other; grinning deviously and breathing heavily. She’d always imagined having him, her chance showed.

Done with the buttons, Stella slipped her hands down his hands to undo the cuff links and with her fingers spread from his shoulders; she took the shirt off slowly, touching his body as she did. He giggled, she did too. Then in a fast pace she flew open the flap of his trousers to conclude the unwrapping of him, she picked the zipper.

“Are you going to stare at your fufu all afternoon or eat like a normal person?!” shouted her colleague who was seated beside her, almost done with her own leaf wrapped fufu. “You’re lost in thought again? Don’t let it affect your work this afternoon biko, don’t get carried away in this place o”

Her lunch break would be over in a quarter of an hour, she had spent the first quarter daydreaming about food in suits. Stella desperately wanted to unwrap her boss. She needed to.

Box of Cuteness

black-baby

I love babies. It will take blindness, negligence or denial to not have noticed my fascination and gusto for new lives. Seeing their cute little smiles and their glowing large eyes, hearing their giggles and watching them pull your finger near their mouth; graceful moments, right up there as the most amazing moments in life. Pure joy. As for me, the soft cry of a baby gives me goose pimples and the sight and sound of them carries all the beauty in the world in a single package of allure and delicacy.

Sometimes, to be objective, one has to look beyond the obvious cuteness; there is more it. To be clear, having a child or being a parent shouldn’t exclusively be limited to that borne out of sexuality or biological means, someone you raise or adopt is also your child and you have as much obligations to them too. Saw something about ‘Maternity photo shoot’ and I did not know what to make of that. Whatever parenting is, or is not, should not be explored entirely via charmingly delightful pictures and “I love my baby” posts or tweets. Those things are beautiful; but more particularly, how committed are you to raising that new born into a proper godly adult that would bring you pride, joy and more importantly peace?

Heard this from an apologist not long ago about babies and the classic case of belligerence: “Every baby starts life as a little savage, he’s completely selfish and self-centred, he wants what he wants when he wants it; his bottle, his mother’s attention, his playmate’s toys, his uncle’s phone. Deny him this once and he seethes with rage and aggressiveness, which could be murderous were he not so helpless. He’s dirty, has no morals, no knowledge, no developed skills. This means that all children are born delinquent and if permitted to continue in their self-impulsive act to satisfy EVERY want, every child would grow up a criminal, a killer and a rapist.” Very harsh, yet very true.

A staggering thought, as much as you may seek holes in it, the truth in it is simple and undeniable. There is huge criminal potentiality in a young mind that is untaught and untamed. The almost-innocent delinquencies in the new born, if unmatched could make him turn out into a non-innocent derelict.

I feel as parent, it is primarily our duty to dust off those traits and tendencies one after the other in firmness and in love till our baby grow into adults that exhibits culture and character. That is the problem I see with the western world, they mostly let their children have their way all the time and later complain about lack of morals and discipline in the same children.

I quietly await the day I become a father, but I will keep preparing myself for the challenge; though no preparation is ever adequate. Be careful with the child in your hands, because in your hands are the children that will influence generations. Prayerfully guide these babies on the right path, for in your bosom lies those who would rule the nations, make the nations or break the nations.

Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he’s grown IT SHALL NOT DEPART FROM HIM.

 

Anyone can cook

IDN recipe (name unknown till I'll be told)

IDN recipe (name unknown till I’ll be told)

In many ways, the nutritional life of a bachelor is far from easy. Our food ranging from noodles to bread and bean balls, which in modesty is decent enough. Life is hard when you have to cook, but it gets harder when you do not know how to cook. When simple tasks like boiling rice and turning Eba seem like the culinary version of servicing a V6 car engine, then it gets worse. They risk very little, yet are often the most critical of those that present them food, as if it is up for judgement.

Fortunately for me, I know a thing or two about mixing this and that to become an element edible enough for me to consume. Whatever feeding is or is not about, I believe, it’s not to be explored in the plastic seats of KFC exclusively, not on the wings of Mama Monday, but is to be discovered by oneself from washing to preparation to consumption; a total experience. But that is my opinion.

Yesterday night I sought to delve into a new unknown cuisine; potentially an awe-inspiring dish, whole possessing the capability of being a irreparable disaster. I prepared a meal from a recipe given by my dear niece; awesome young lady well trained by us and now doing us proud by raising our grandchild. She gave me the recipe on BBM and it wasn’t the hardest thing in the world. Sometimes, the most complex looking outcomes are birthed from the simplest of tasks.

They say cooking is unsexy for a guy, that the best a man should do is cast shadows on the kitchen and leave it solely to the ladies. I really would have loved to nod in agreement, but I see that as a pile of cat piss and pig poop. I do not have a problem with those that cannot cook to save the dying, as we all cannot poses every skill, but I think it’s a tad prejudicial to say a man shouldn’t cook and label those that are kitchenophillic.

I really do not know/care what name Idunnusubulayo would call this happy meal. With the ingredients being ginger, garlic, chicken meat, green pepper, spring onions, carrot, round pepper, salt, seasoning and Irish Potatoes, nomenclature is the last thing on this man’s mind

I’m not challenging anyone to change their prior knowledge and disposition about cooking, but merely putting my new found recipe out there with gusto. To say I enjoyed the meal would be a gross understatement; it rocked me and my jolly worms. I’ll continue, to look, learn and cook. It gives me pleasure and it is one of the few fine arts left that have not been ruined by contemporariness.

Not anyone can cook, but a good cook can come from anywhere

 

Plantain somn somn

Plantain somn somn 

Eba and Egusi

Eba and Egusi 

Marinated chicken and rice

Marinated chicken and rice 

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