Someone to Love

Kovie (@kovieparker) wrote this some time back and finished it just this evening. Could not be more spot on.

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I don’t know my father…

Nelly had just said that to me as we lay on the living room floor, our backs slightly propped up with throw pillows to allow for a proper view of the 21″ LED screen hanging on the wall across us. The empty box of pizza we had just devoured was between us and the Television was still on. It was a hot Saturday afternoon and she had come over so we could go swimming together, but we were both feeling lazy and allowed ourselves get distracted by the movie showing. We ordered a box of pizza, turned up the AC in the room and settled in to enjoy the day. The second movie had just ended, and the last slice of pizza consumed, when she made this unprecedented declaration. I turned my head slowly to face her, unsure of what reaction or response would be appropriate. She had a somewhat abstract look on her face, trance-like. Her eyes were fixed to a point on the ceiling, her hands folded across her stomach, lips slightly apart as if she expected the words to proceed of their own accord.

I met Nelly barely six months ago at a friend’s party. I had run into her in the bathroom and she had complimented my shoes. We were soon engaged in a conversation on everything from fashion to politics and ended up spending the entire evening in one corner of the room just talking and sharing laughs. At the end of the evening, I offered her a ride home as she was slightly inebriated. A friendship and a bond was created that day.

(We have similar tastes in everything except men and share interests in a lot of activities. She jokingly introduces me as her ‘soul-sister’. I know very little about her personal life though. She seems to shy away from any topic that will make her reveal details of her life especially as it pertains to her family. I have never had a problem with that as I’m not exactly one to share intimate details either.)

“Babe, are you okay?” I asked, trying to decide what to do with the information she had just shared with me. There was no response from her. She was quiet, too quiet. Even her breathing seemed to have slowed down, almost as if she was asleep. She wasn’t though, her eyes were still open. Still staring.

Without warning, words began to come out of her mouth. She was addressing someone but spoke like she was alone in the room. Each word was spoken with caution, like she had just one chance to make this speech and she wanted to make sure she was using the right words.

“Daddy, why did you leave? I’ve missed you. I miss the soft kisses on my cheeks that you never gave me. Uncle Jide gave me kisses though. On my cheeks and more. He was nice and friendly. Mummy always let him tuck me in on the nights he was around. Then he would kiss me goodnight on my cheeks first, then lips. In time, he moved lower and everywhere his lips went, his fingers followed. He made me kiss him back too and I liked it. He was my daddy. That’s what I called him when we were alone. He said he liked it when I called him that. It made him happy, and I had to make daddy happy so he wouldn’t leave. I was twelve when he finally left. I cried. Even harder than mummy.
I miss the gifts you never gave me. Providing for all my needs like Alex. He always gave me all I wanted. He got me my first phone you know. After uncle Jide left, mummy didn’t have enough to take care of both of us. So Alex gave me gifts of all kinds. I got a lot of expensive things for free. Yes free. Unless you count the small favors I gave in return. It was nothing really. Better to let him have me than those cash less boys in school who wanted to score but could not afford it. Alex was special. At his age he could still perform wonders. The things he did at sixty a lot of men at twenty-five could not handle. Many thanks to the special blue pill.
I’ve had a lot of daddys. Tall, slim, fat, rich, short, old, young…

As this point, my mind began to drift. I couldn’t bear to listen anymore. She was stirring up emotions in me I had buried for years. Memories that were locked up in the deepest and darkest recesses of my mind. I didn’t have a daddy either, an absentee father didn’t count. And just like Nelly I had searched for a father in all the wrong places. I needed someone to love me, protect me, provide for me, guide me. One who would chase away the monster in the closet. I needed to be someone’s little princess. I didn’t mind giving up a piece of me in exchange for that which I desired. And I gave. Little by little I gave until I woke up one day to realize that there was nothing left to give. For as I gave, I didn’t receive in return. I had moved on from that, grown up from that longing or so I thought. I focused all that was left of me on my career and built a life for myself. As far as I could see, that was enough. Now Nelly’s words were breaking through my defenses and I was beginning to feel that longing again. Someone to love me.

I don’t have a father” she repeated, signaling the end of her tale. I took her hands in mine and made her look into my eyes. I needed her to see that I understood, that I felt her pain and was willing to share her burden.

“Neither do I” I responded, my voice barely a whisper. Then I lowered my head to hers and our lips met.

Someone to love.

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The Angry Sidekick

OK. I promised to write the male version of Kovie’s story from the previous post. So here it is…

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Finally I got to a red light. I pulled out my phone to check who had been dialing incessantly for the past 15 mins. Since I was a guy, it could only be reasonable to expect that this caller was female. I would never get the point of leaving 20 missed calls on someone’s phone when obviously he/she was unavailable or unwilling to pick up.

Sandra… My emotions took a quick tumble into the dark depths of rage, disgust and revenge. How was this even possible?! Why was she calling me now? Didn’t we agree just yesterday to be “just friends”? What kind of friend called you up at 2 am? What if I wasn’t returning early from some club at this time? Was she actually expecting to wake me up to talk her through one of her emotional breakdowns again?! I sighed deeply, getting a rein on my feelings. Perhaps she was having a rethink of her rejection of my lover proposal yesterday. With that hope in mind, I reluctantly pulled over and called her back, trying my best sleepy voice impersonation for a reasonable excuse.

She went straight to the point without the usual accusing questions about why I refused to pick up at the first ring. She needed me to take her cousin to the airport for 5 am that morning. I checked my watch in disbelief. That was less than 3 hours away! Granted she expected me to have been sleeping and not partying away the sorrows of my rejection, (did girls think we didn’t have any feelings whatsoever?!) but this was totally annoying! Having been recently relegated from the “emotionally attached” Premier League to the “friends zone” League Division 2, I was in no mood to run last-minute, crack-of-dawn errands for anyone in my black book, Sandra not in the least! I allowed her pointless explanations to wash over my ears while she pleaded with me, not to take her back, but to take her cousin to Omagwa International Airport in less than 3 hours, forfeiting my sleep for that night, as well as my planned morning church service by direct result.

The thought of church was the only thing that held me back from my typical response. Instead of lashing out at her like the wounded, salt-rubbed lion I was feeling like, I replied in the velvety tones of the king cobra about to strike his mesmerized prey. Hopefully she would take the subtle refusal before her pride was irreparably damaged by the evil words forming themselves in my dark skull. If she did, the door would still be open for a possible attempt at wooing her all over again.

But Sandra insisted, saying I was the last person she could think of calling on such short notice. Immediately my anger burned. The word “Last” had triggered the avalanche of memories from various taunts received over the years over my being clueless and naïve, always the last to know what was going on and always finishing last as the nice guy. How wouldn’t I be the “last” person she could think of?! Arrggghhhh!! I gritted my teeth involuntarily as I prepared to vent my pent-up frustrations on this helpless lady on the other end of the line.

Suddenly my Christian side took over. I heard the restraining Voice in my head telling me to breathe deeply and be slow to anger. I had learned over the years not to argue with this Voice. A third idea suddenly came to mind. I reached down for the Mr Biggs cellophane bag on the car seat next to me and brought it onto my lap. I held the phone mouthpiece to the bag as I rustled it gently and tenderly while continuing to speak. My impression was that the Mobile Telephony Network had begun to frustrate our call with static and poor reception in the usual Nigerian way. After about ten seconds of “static” and complaining that the line was getting faint, I pressed the red button gently. I switched off my phone, kicked the car, turned on the traffic indicator, checked my mirrors calmly, and zoomed off into the night.

The Hopeful Side-Chic

Kovie (@kovieparker) shares her dream day with us in today’s post. The male perspective to this situation written by Yours truly comes up later tonight. (I think). Enjoy 🙂

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My heart does a little dance. The butterflies in my tummy seem to be flowing with the same rhythm my heart is dancing to as they flutter about in excitement. This is the day I have been waiting for all my life. Everything seems to be going perfectly. Standing beside me as we wait for the doors to open, my father gives my hand a little squeeze. “My little angel is all grown up” he whispers. “You are so beautiful my love. He’s lucky to have you”. This time his voice cracks up a little. Now I’m beaming. “I love you daddy” I say to him. He lifts my veil slightly, just enough to place a kiss on my cheek. As he drops the veil, I hear the music, the doors open. It’s time.
Walking down the aisle I take it all in, the hall looks heavenly; the wedding colors, simple and classic, white and black with a hint of red. My wedding planner has outdone herself. Everyone looks lovely. All smiling as they watch me walk down. The saxophonist plays so beautifully. Then I allow myself look at the groom, the most handsome man I have ever laid my eyes on. He’s smiling at me but I can tell he’s a little nervous. His eyes sparkle as he watches me approach. Today I marry the man of my dreams. My Jide…
The first time I saw him, he was standing by my office door looking confused. I had heard of the new director who had just been transferred from the head office to oversee the Risk Management Department of our branch in Abuja, but being in the Legal Department, I had taken no interest. To me he would be just another old pot-bellied Director barking out orders. When my colleague pointed to this young, tall and dark “hottie” with the most handsome features I had ever seen as the new Director, I was shocked. My eyes quickly checked his left hand and ring finger. No ring; he was single. I quickly got up and offered my assistance as he seemed lost. I gave him directions while flashing my most enchanting smile.
The next time I saw him, we were alone in the elevator when he asked for directions to a particular restaurant in town. After giving him the details, I suggested that he have his driver take him instead of taking the risk of getting lost in a new city. “You know what they say about getting lost and how it helps you learn your way faster”, he had replied. I shook my head to signify that I did not understand him. ” How about I explain it to you over dinner? ” I had gone along with him for dinner and a few dates later, we were in a full and blossoming relationship. He turned out to be the man I had always wished for. Olajide Braimoh Baker, the man of my dreams.
My walk to the altar finally ends and my father takes my hand and places it in Jide’s. Just as the priest opens his mouth to speak, the alarm clock blares, jolting me out of dreamland. 6.00AM. I hiss. Time to get ready for work. As I get dressed, I practice my smile in the mirror again. It’s been six months since Jide resumed work in the office. I leave the house with as much optimism as I’ve done since the first day I set eyes on him. Today will be the day when he’ll notice me. I just know it in my heart that this will be the day he’ll say more to me than the occasional nod he gives each time I offer my greetings. For I see it in his eyes. Maybe today it will become a reality. He is after all the man of my dreams.

As pathetic as this story sounds, it made me laugh

LOVE LOST

Hello People! This week’s post is written by Kovie (@Kovieparker) and myself. Have you ever felt held back by forces beyond your control? Enjoy!!

LOVE LOST 

My head is spinning!

Still spinning!!
Calm down Marie. Calm down! Get a grip silly! Okay I’m calm. Actually I’m trying to be calm.
This cannot be happening to me. Not again! I have to do something. Anything! Marie, say something! Don’t just stand there. Open your mouth, form the words. SAY SOMETHING!
My palms are sweating. My legs are shaking. My lips quiver just a little. Good! The words will come now. I part them to make way for the sound. Nothing. I try again, yes something is coming out now. Oh no! Not that word. I quickly shut my mouth. My eyes are burning. Make them stop! The tears are coming down now in trickles.
This is the part where I turn around. I make for the door. I don’t want you to see my tears. Oh damn these sniffles. You already know. I open the door with shaky hands. Now my feet pick up speed, I’m running. Running away blindly. Out of the room, through the gates, onto the street. There’s a cab. I wave it down, slump into the seat. Finally I speak, “Take me away sir. Take me far away from here”.
As I lay in bed moments later, the scene replays in my head. Your message, “Marie can you come over? We need to talk”. I should have known. We have fought this for six months now. You’ve become a part of my life, a friend, a confidant, a pillar of hope. Through the war I’ve kept a brave face, refusing to let it win. Today I finally knew. I lost. Your words, “Marie, the results are back”. I knew. That look in your eyes. “The cancer spread. The Chemo couldn’t stop it. I’m sorry…” I didn’t hear anything else.

My head is still spinning… The tears are still flowing. I know I can’t face you anymore. There’s no hope for us now. My doctor, my friend… I weep not only for the life I am about to lose but also for the love I will never have.
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My head is as peaceful as the graveyard. Everything seems in slow motion as I walk you home. Nothing is said but everything is known. It would be less embarrassing if you couldn’t read my mind to know exactly what I was thinking. But you can, and I know you can.

We were so perfect together. Eye contact was all we needed to know we were in love. The future together seemed as certain as a day in our shared memories. We related as re-united, long-lost twins. We seemed to make perfect soulmates. Until I asked the damning question.

You could not summon the courage to answer. You asked me to give the reply to my own question for myself. Even before my lips opened I knew there could only be one reason you would be so scared as to bounce my question.

I was a sickle cell carrier and so were you….

Only a Little Prick

So finally I get an article from a guest writer. Kovie (kovieparker.wordpress.com) is here to bring some female spice to 19th Street and I do hope she can keep visiting her room here more often. Enjoy!!

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They said “You’ll only feel a prick, just one prick and it’ll all be over”. After the pain will come the feeling of satisfaction, the deed is done! Just one prick; like the nurses would say before they gave that injection. It never felt like just a prick. After days and sometimes weeks of suppressing the symptoms just so mama wouldn’t find out, the malaria finally wins and you have to make that inevitable trip to the hospital. First they tease you with the cool feel of the stethoscope as the man in glasses looks over you from what seems like under his nose, a little poke here and there as mama watches keenly, concern in her eyes. Then this man in white overalls, looking like an angel but actually sent from the world beyond to inflict pain on defenseless victims, sits down to write down his verdict and your sentence. As he passes the white slip to mama, you know your fate is sealed. “Just a little prick and it’ll all be over”, the nurse says as she prepares her instrument of pain. As the needle pierces your skin, the scream forms somewhere in the back of your head and somehow forces its way through your mouth as the pain shoots all over your body. You have no control over it. There’s no feeling of satisfaction after, the effect leaves your legs paralyzed, except that by some miracle, you can still walk.

 

“Don’t be a chicken, after the first shot of pain the feeling is priceless”, the other children at the stream say to you as you stand on the bank of the stream on that cold harmattan morning. “Jump in”, they say. Finally, you give in and dive into the icy cold water. Ten thousand swords pierce through your entire body in a second. As you make your way out of the water, you’re shaking and shivering, your teeth clicking to the rhythm as your entire body sings from the pain. Guess who’s still a chicken.

 

Oh and don’t forget what they say about childbirth, “Just a little pain and when the baby comes it’ll all be worth it”… Well, let’s just say it doesn’t look like a little pain to me. As she lies in bed screaming her head off, her legs spread from here to Timbuktu, more screaming, and then a head the size of “felele football” forces its way out of a hole the size of a peephole… Definitely not a little pain!

 

All these images flash through my mind’s eye as I lay very still, expecting the worst. Then their words taunt me: “It’ll only be a little prick” they say. “Be a big girl, you’ve come of age”. “All the girls have done it”. “One prick and it’ll all be over”. “Just one prick”! “There may be very little blood or none at all”. “Come on don’t be a chicken”. I make up my mind to block the pain, to go numb, I close my eyes, force my mind to shut down. Then I feel it, from somewhere far away I feel the prick. I wait for it, for the pain. I want to scream, but nothing comes. Just a prick and it is over. As she passes the mirror to me, a smile finds its way to my lips, then a big grin as I look at the second piercing on my ear lobe.

For the first time, they were right. It was indeed just a prick. The feeling after, priceless!