The Price of Shame

hour glass

The price of shame is seventeen years. Seventeen years is the interval between when Monica Lewinsky’s affair with former US president Bill Clinton became public and when she received a standing ovation at the end of her TED talk. The period following the disclosure was a time of intense disgrace for all parties involved, Mr and Mrs Clinton and Miss Lewinsky.

The media rehashed the stories to the point that the name Clinton is perhaps indelibly linked to Lewinsky and vice versa. Hilary Clinton’s political career, Bill Clinton’s public speaking and humanitarian work, and now Monica Lewinsky’s advocacy for victims of online humiliation and harassment, notwithstanding.

Seventeen is the number of years it took for Lewinsky to mount a public podium and declare, “it’s time . . . to stop living a life of opprobrium; and time to take back my narrative.” And so far, over 2.5 million people have viewed her talk.

Why did the TED audience rise and clap at the end of her talk? One reason may be her opening question, which hit home: “Can I see a show of hands of anyone here who didn’t make a mistake or do something they regretted at twenty-two?”

I am reminded of a meeting I attended where the preacher, speaking on the importance of a wholesome thought life, asked how many people would like the contents of the thinking they had done the previous day to be displayed on a billboard in Times Square. Every hand remained down, including that of the preacher.

She admits that she deeply regrets what happened. Whether the affair was for love, in love, through love, or about love, affix any preposition to love, and we still say wrong, wrong, wrong. However, by throwing stones at her, the ensuing spectacle of derision that has continued, with radioactive endurance, for a decade and a half, have we become like the people who brought only the woman caught in adultery to Jesus?

As I watched Bill Clinton reinvent himself over the years and become to my mind, charismatic Bill, the notion that it is a man’s world concretized. Yes, I can only imagine the PR machine behind such a powerful figure. But we live in a male-dominated culture, a patriarchy, where men are hailed for sexual adventures and women are shamed.

The positive press Lewinsky has recently received indicates that perhaps after seventeen years, we have become magnanimous—okay Monica; you may go and sin no more. But being human, suspicious, and armed with conspiracy theories, we point two fingers to our eyes and then at her: We. Are. Watching. You.

Talking openly about shame, especially the modern cyber variety, how it can cripple, destroy, and lead to suicide is good. Broadening the conversation to include honour killings that assuage family shame is welcome. We do well to adopt a more empathetic response to public shaming.

And yet humiliation, a synonym for shame, in small doses, can be a wake-up call. A few years ago, I finally scored an interview that I’d been angling for. It couldn’t have been scheduled at a worse time. Exhausted from travelling, I slept with my notes (which I was reviewing for the first time), on my chest Sunday night. In the flurry of Monday morning, I had no time to revise and little time to get to the venue.

I hoped to bluff my way through. I could not. I read the impatience in the interviewer’s hands as he flicked through my résumé while listening to me. I perceived his thoughts, rubbish; I cannot believe she came highly recommended. From that moment on, the ability to think on my feet deserted me. Shame made me forget things I knew.

The memory of that humiliation goads me to over prepare for interviews. I have other memories, secrets, too painful to share, which still stain my cheeks red. My shame has filled my compassion vaults, so now I have compassion to spare for others.

Although you and I haven’t endured public humiliation, we are acquainted with shame and its incapacitating effect. There exists the looming danger of a single story if we remain paralyzed. Not of shame, but of regret being our single story.

I think that to change any narrative from shame to glory, we must do time. No, not seventeen years, but a season away from the ‘limelight,’ burrowing underground to learn lessons from humiliation. In time, we may re-emerge with fresh purpose and tell inspiring new stories.

 

©Timi Yeseibo 2015

 

Photo credit: Nile/pixabay.com/en/hourglass-time-hours-sand-clock-620397

 

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Timi Yeseibo and livelytwist.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

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Think Like a Man, End up Without One [3]

gender

Game of Thieves

In the matter of love, men are thieves and women, treasure chests to be discovered. The thief braves thickets and thistles, his sharp eyes searching for the chest his heart desires. His ears, tuned to pick the jingle of gold coins, help decide which chests are true measures of the treasures within.

As the hunt begins, many chests rely on their bejeweled covering to attract the most skillful and dogged thief. So they stand immobile, waiting to be saved from true loneliness. These ones stick to the ancient wisdom that thieves judge a treasure chest by its cover.

But the woman who thinks like a thief waits not for the bandit of her dreams to steal her heart. She discovers his desires and then entices him, in small steps, to the place of her heart. When the thief’s eyes hit her trail of gold coins, the fires of his desire will burn bright keeping him in blind sight of the trail.

Time soon unwraps the thief in front of an open chest. Not a heap of gold he finds but a flight of gentle steps littered with more coins and precious stones. His curiosity will burn as forest fires. He will plunge in and the chest—hitherto open as a crocodile’s mouth awaiting prey—will then shut tight. The thief will keep descending unaware that his freedom and maybe loyalty to another has been stolen.

Perhaps he will find an abundance of gold, perhaps a nest of scorpions. No matter the find, the woman-thief finally would have caged the man’s heart in her chest as she had planned from the beginning.

© Samuel Okopi @ SamuelOkopi

If a woman doesn’t chase a man a little, she doesn’t love him.  ― E. W. Howe

 

Men think. Women think too much!

Let’s just get right down to the critical issue here, thinking. Men think. Women think too much, quote me on that. It’s not a bad thing until a man has had a single thought and moved on, and a woman is still having several thoughts about his single thought, long after.

Take for instance the following scenario. A young man and his girlfriend are enjoying a hearty meal and each other’s company at a fast food restaurant, when a stunning woman walks past. The man may think one of two things: what she’ll look like naked or what she’ll be like in bed. His girlfriend on the other hand may think many things including several variations of what her man was thinking about some seconds ago.

Paranoia could follow her dangerous thought process. His eyes lingered a little too long. He must like her. He said he likes women with assets and hers are bigger. Meanwhile the man has resumed munching his burger. His girlfriend on the other hand, has moved from paranoia to “casual” interrogation—“She’s very attractive isn’t she?” Wise men know this is a trap and the correct answer for peace to reign is, “I only have eyes for you, dear.” But if he loves you, why worry?

When it comes to love, less brain, more heart, or else a woman may just chase that man away. Men dislike wahala jo!

© Tonwa Anthony @ thecrazynigerian

Don’t be afraid to lose him, because if a man truly loves you, he’s not going anywhere.  ― Steve Harvey

 

A Bad Thing?

Think like a man, end up without one. The question that comes to me is: how do men think? I’m sure we all agree that pop culture doesn’t acknowledge that men even think at all. I mean, you have sayings like, all men are dogs, and memes like, in American football, the helmet was invented almost fifty years after the jock strap. So, why would a woman want to think like a man?

To expect a human being to think in terms of gender or sex is quite limiting. Once, at a friend’s place, I overheard his father telling his six sisters, “Don’t think like women. Think like human beings!” That pretty much sums my opinion on the matter.

I’m a bit uncomfortable with Steve Harvey’s book, Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man, or at least the title, because it’s misleading. Moreover, the movie didn’t portray women “thinking like men” but women pushing the bar by going the extra mile to understand their men. And I think this is what makes relationships work—understanding the person you’re with.

It’s also better to establish clearly, roles and who-does-what since gender equality is quite the hot button these days. While I have my thoughts on the matter, I strongly believe two captains cannot drive a ship. There has to be one leader. Who says it has to be the man?

So, the quote says, “Think like a man, end up without one.” And I ask, “In today’s world, how is that a bad thing?”

© Seun Odukoya @ SeunOdukoya
Seun is the award-winning author of Saving Dapo

 

Live as though life was created for you. ― Maya Angelou

 

A Thin Line

Sometimes we struggle to find the thin line between being vulnerable and gullible.  We want to be loved for who we are, but we fear the risk that comes with disrobing to be known.  This is the board upon which the proverbial game of love is played.

Because women are more emotionally open than men are (generally speaking), they tend to see inwardly, and then project onto their surroundings. The opposite is true for us. Men are simple. We connect with our surroundings visually, and then project inwardly to process it all. This disconnect causes problems when women seek to understand how men think. We may like at first sight, but we love when we see ourselves in you.

Understanding what initially attracts a man is one thing; but knowing what makes a man fall in love is totally different.  For many women, this is where the need for strategy becomes apparent.  As with any effective strategy, one must think like their opponent. But should hearts be used as pawns? I believe that the game of love should always culminate in both players being free to be themselves without fear of rejection. Herein lies the delicate balance of pursuit and protection.

Secure women who possess values epitomize sexiness and class. There is nothing wrong with “thinking” like a man, as long as you properly defend who you are as a woman.

©Brian Evans @ Wisdom’s Quill

Between what is said and not meant and what is meant and not said, most of love is lost. ― Khalil Gibran

 

 

 

 

 

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Timi Yeseibo and livelytwist.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Think Like a Man, End up Without One [2]

couple

 

The Guy’s Girl

When Yetunde asked me where to meet up the following day, I didn’t hesitate before suggesting Babs, a sports bar. Calling Babs a ‘sports bar’ was dignifying the seedy, open-air joint in a backstreet in Surulere that sold cheap beer but also screened live football matches. I knew Yetunde wouldn’t have any qualms about hanging out at a beer parlour, surrounded by a crowd of raucous, sweaty, beer-guzzling men. I’d started giving her directions, when she cut in. She knew the place. I wasn’t surprised.

Yetunde was the quintessential guy’s girl. She loved video games, argued about politics and football and drank Guinness Extra Stout. But it was more than that. She understood men in a way that was uncanny. Whenever my girlfriend and I had a bust-up, Yetunde was my go-to-person. Majority of the time, she sided with me. I don’t think it was because we were friends. She would subject me to a grilling; she only wanted to hear the facts but didn’t want any important detail omitted. She would analyze the issues—a painstaking process that usually ended with her concluding that my girlfriend, Funmi was at fault.

Then she would laugh and say, “But you better go and apologize to Funmi. Forget about my analysis o; all that is English. I’m sorry, that’s what women want to hear.”

It was easier to apologize to Funmi after my conversations with Yetunde; that Yetunde agreed with me was enough vindication.

We had to raise our voices to hear each other above the din at Babs, but there was no lull in our conversation over the ninety minutes of the game. I couldn’t remember the last time I laughed so hard. I asked her, half-teasingly, if she now had a boyfriend.

“How can?” she laughed. “If I had a boyfriend, would I be here with you?”

“Come on, be serious. How about that tall, skinny dude I saw you with a couple of times at the cinema?”

“It’s always the same,” Yetunde replied, her voice dropping a notch. “He didn’t want a relationship.” The expression on her face suddenly became serious. She went on, “It doesn’t look like it would ever happen, Akin. I’ve started preparing myself for a lifetime of singleness.”

I faltered, unable to come up with an appropriate remark.

“Why are you looking so concerned?” Yetunde quipped. “Are you my father?”

I doubled over with laughter.

As I drove back home that night, light-headed from the beer and the euphoria of Arsenal’s victory over Chelsea, Yetunde’s remark about bracing up for a lifetime of singleness came back to me. It made no sense why a girl who got along so well with guys, shared our interests, and reasoned the way we did, seemed incapable of being more than just friends with any guy. Would I date her myself, I wondered, as I turned into my street. I chuckled. The thought was ludicrous. It was a question I had never considered, not even fleetingly.

It wasn’t that Yetunde wasn’t attractive. Far from it; boy, she nearly caught me staring at her behind on our way out of Babs that evening! I was also certain it had nothing to do with being friend-zoned or any such nonsense. Then why did the idea of dating Yetunde seem so incongruous? This was a girl I loved to hang out with, a girl who always cracked me up. Why would I not want to be with her?

Then it struck me with sudden clarity that defied the wooziness in my head, as I arrived at the entrance to my house: was it because Yetunde was too much like men that successful romantic relationships with them continued to elude her?

I haven’t been able to answer that question; neither that night nor in the six years that have passed. I am now married and I have two daughters. Yetunde is still single.

 

© Olutola Bella @ Bellanchi

 

 

Photo credit: SnapwireSnaps/ http://pixabay.com/en/couple-laughing-happy-people-598315/

 

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Timi Yeseibo and livelytwist.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

Think Like a Man, End up Without One [1]

Think

In The Beginning

The story: Eve ate the forbidden fruit and seduced Adam into a bite, na so yawa gas. The origin of male-female dynamics is rooted in the creation of sin and chaos. If Adam had not eaten the fruit, if Eve had not convinced him to, the world would not be a revolving globe of horrors. The blame game has ensued since, with both sides keeping score like umpires at a game.

The joke: God created the world in seven days and rested. He then formed woman and has not rested since. The difficulties in male-female romantic relations are caused by gender complexities, sensitivities or the lack thereof, and hormonal activities. Mr Lagbaja will probably never cry while watching The Titanic. Ms Jane Doe will probably narrate an epistle of random events if you ask how her day went.

The Conclusion: Paralleling the thought patterns of the opposite sex probably has its advantages, but men exhibit varying levels of machismo and women varying levels of femininity.  Perhaps Love is our different similarity. We love differently, but we love all the same.

Think like man; end up with none, or with one, or two, if you’re into that kind of thing. Think like a woman? Well, you really can’t if you’re a man; you’re not that clever.

© Tomi Olugbemi @ Poetry is Peace

 

Although the man and his wife were both naked, they were not ashamed. – Genesis 1:25

 

Think like a Man? Think Again! 

Ladies are different, but most men are the same. When a lady starts thinking like a man, she begins to have a big ego and two (big) egos can be bad for relationships. I have seen many independent, smart, and successful ladies, who want to get married, end up single.

Generally speaking, the ladies who end up with men exude care and use the power of submissiveness to full effect—the ability to massage the ego, while making the mind see reason. They create the impression of vulnerability thereby increasing the protective instincts of a man.

The way a lady makes a man feel, more than anything else, determines if she’ll end up with him. If she respects him and makes him feel comfortable in her presence, he will want to spend the rest of his life with her

If a lady thinks like a man and then acts like him, she may end up without him. Men are designed to seek conquest and when two people seek to conquer, one will be devoured. A lady who lets a man lead the chase without making herself 100% available, will either inspire his consistency, strength of character, and responsible side, bringing him nearer commitment or inspire him to walk away.

© Ifeanyi Ukoha @ Moments with my Mind

 

 Male egos require constant stroking. Every task is an achievement, every success epic. That is why women cook, but men are chefs: we make cheese on toast, they produce pain de fromage. ― Belle de Jour

 

My Move, Your Move, Checkmate!

Do we even think when we fall in love? Can we solve the mathematics of our hearts with formulas in our brains? Or is the man supposed to be thinking because he’s expected to make the first move?

Ah! Make the move, here lies the problem: game-play language used to define the parameters of emotions and attraction aka love.

If the man is expected to make the first move, but he’s more interested in winding down the timer, the lady has to force his hand. Then he has to lie and deceive while keeping his eye on the prize—sex, exclusivity, friendship with benefits sans responsibility, etc. Then she has to counter his moves to checkmate him, that is, to get his money, his ring, his commitment, etc. Two hunters in the jungle.

Why don’t we ditch the games, no scheming and no faking? Forget about whether the other person is playing fair. Forget all you’ve been told: men are evil, women are gold-diggers, if you don’t manipulate him, he’ll dump you, yada yada yada.

Focus on being the best version of yourself. Have genuine affection for another and risk trusting them with your emotions. Will you get hurt? Probably. Letting go to love another and trusting them to return your love is not being naïve, it is learning to be human.

The thing about manipulating love like a game is this: nobody wins.

© IfeOluwa Nihinlola @ ifeOluwa’s rambles

 

We all think that this relationship thing is a game out here. All I’m saying to women is, ‘Okay. If it’s a game, here are the rules that we play by.’ – Steve Harvey

 

Dramatically Predictable 

There are many men. I have seen enough to know that when women state their preferences, a good number of short, fairly ugly, and poor men are left languishing on the wait list. Very little is said about the thinking of The Chosen and there is good reason. Every next man thinks differently.

Men don’t know how men think. We just shake hands, grunt, and pat our backs. But when men deal with women, usually we expect a game, a chase, a lot more drama. It’s rewarding when the curtains close and you’re both backstage. And even though men wish the drama did not persist sometimes, we like the certainty that we will get drama. I suppose many men want their women to stay dramatically predictable. It is what makes women interesting and keeps men interested.

For the sake of ourselves, let women not think like us, whatever that means, please. Women who try to think like the men in their world are adventurously boring and they will certainly find boring men for themselves.

The thought that a woman who thinks like a man will end up without one is condescending to women and a joke to be fair. No woman needs to think like the next woman, much more a man. What are you doing thinking like a man? Think like you! There is nothing more desirous in a woman than independent thought. Men crave it and nothing will change that. Because in truth, even we don’t know how we think.

© Delalorm Semabia @ African Soulja

 

A man’s face is his autobiography. A woman’s face is her work of fiction. ― Oscar Wilde

 

 

Photo credit: Hans/ http://pixabay.com/en/bottles-imprint-glass-think-yellow-60336/

 

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Timi Yeseibo and livelytwist.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

 

Martians and Earthlings

That the book, Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man, sold over two million copies1 lends credence to something I read: women spend more time thinking about what men think than men spend thinking. If you’re rolling your eyes, I’ll rephrase. That the book, Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man, sold over two million copies lends credence to something we already know: men are from Mars, women are from Earth.

When a friend brought the poster2 that inspired the one below to my attention, “Hilarious!” was my response. But, I wondered what motivated the author to coin the words? Was it true? Was it a joke? Was it a barb aimed at Steve Harvey enthusiasts?

 

think like a man

 

I asked several brave men who saw the poster to let their thoughts roam and pen flow. I hope you’ll join the conversation beginning Sunday. Perhaps, if you keep an open mind, you might learn or disagree with a thing or two. Or you’ll share your laughter with a friend or three.

If you missed The Hunter Games, now might be a good time to catch up.

 

Take lemons, make life, & jump for joy!

timi

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Steve Harvey’s book rose to number one on The New York Times Bestseller list after its release in 2009. A feature movie, a sequel to the movie, and an expanded version of the book has since been released.
  2. The original poster: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10154257033455431&set=a.10151940356485431.878240.602760430&type=1&theater

 

 

 

 

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Timi Yeseibo and livelytwist.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Did We Do Any Learning? [3]

learning

9 Things I’ve Re-Learned This Year

Life lessons aren’t mastered in a single bold stroke.  We learn, we practice, we forget, we remember, we re-learn. Here are a few key notes I re-learned this year:

  1. Like a bottomless well, Ego’s desire for applause, accolades, approval, acknowledgement, acclaim, awards, and recognition is never satiated.
  2. When we stroke Ego, it purrs. When we stop, it snarls.
  3. It’s silly to buy another pair of shoes because we want an Ego boost from others when they see us rocking our new ruby slippers.
  4. People want us to do what they want us to do when they want us to do it. They are affronted when we don’t.
  5. When people ask us to “be honest” . . . they don’t always mean it.
  6. In many ways, we are at the mercy of the tides. Life ebbs and flows.  Joy comes and goes.  Sorrow is hard to avoid.
  7. Even if we’re not convinced that “everything happens for a reason,” taking time to look for “silver linings” helps us deal with passing clouds.
  8. When we aren’t wedded to a set destination, we enjoy the journey (and its inevitable detours), more.
  9. If we are enjoying the journey, we win. No matter where the wind blows us.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Nrhatch @ Spirit Lights The Way 

 

Diversity and the Art of Writing

Writing has reassured me that the things we feel deeply as individuals are universal—love, rejection, angst, joy, belonging; that it’s okay to admit your vulnerabilities. It might feel scary, but it also makes you authentic. Your foibles, shame, and guilt might be someone else’s quiet truth.

People read novels autobiographically, through the lens of their life’s narrative, and their values and opinions. My heroine might be a role-model for one reader, but another reader might want to slap her. I have little control over how readers see my characters as an author, and this came as a big surprise. Most readers love my male lead, but one reader thought him a tosser (although she did reassure me she’d shag him in a heartbeat, oh dear!). Now I realise I can’t write my characters to keep everyone happy, it’s not possible. That’s okay, life isn’t a popularity contest. Besides, my characters largely write themselves.

Writing has taught me that diversity isn’t some little politically correct box to tick. Diversity abounds, it is the norm. The trick is to be open to differences and to hold back from rushing in to judge.  I attempt this by thinking my characters’ thoughts, walking in their shoes, and imagining their predicaments. Besides, wouldn’t it be boring if we were all the same?

Susan @ Susan Lattwein

Susan’s novel, Arafura – Unfinished Business, is a gritty romance with a bit of sex, dynamite, and hilarity – not always at the same time.

 

Real Men Carry Purses

Statements of fantasy can be metaphors for real life—you can live backwards and you can still learn at age 403! I once read that even if your body never aged, you’re statistically likely to die from an accident before you hit 600. See, you just learned something! I told you it was possible.

I have previously claimed on this blog that I am 403 years old, but I am far closer to 43. Although I exaggerated my age for humorous effect, one can learn after 40. And, while we can’t literally live backwards, we can become more open and tolerant, which is the opposite of what usually happens when people get older.

So I learned two things this year, both related: to respect women on a higher plane and to break free from my personal gender stereotypes. While I’ve long thought of myself as a feminist ally and viewed women as equals, that didn’t stop my subtle objectification. I was never the creepy dude, but I wasn’t the ally I thought I was, either. The journey toward being a better person is a welcome one.

With encouragement from the women in my life, I finally bought something this year I’ve wanted for ages, a purse. Why can’t a guy have a purse? It elevates the quality of life. I needed to build up my “bravery” first, which shows you how badass women are. They carry purses all the time.

Eric @ ericjohnbaker

 

 

 

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The Hunter Games

Huntress

Once upon a time in faraway Heindenlily, Princess Amera decided that she would go to the Wise One to help her find love.

She pulled the reins so her horse could gallop faster as she left the palace gates behind. Sandwiched between her bodyguards, she felt as if palace life had shielded her. And from what? Foolish princes like Prince Olmeri of Findolgun who’d stuttered when he came for her hand until he all but swallowed his tongue, and the king’s physician had to revive him. Still blue in the face, he’d tried to stutter an apology, but she shushed him by putting her index finger to his lips. What utter nonsense! She would find love on her terms.

When her guards dismounted to cut low-lying branches, paving a way in the forest, she saw how long their shadows were. She had not noticed the sun receding behind the hills of Allaymin. She shivered and drew her cape tighter. In front, the oak trunks leaned in as if to touch them and then, as if to squash them. Meeting her bodyguards’ stares, she masked her fear with her smile. She marvelled that women had lain passive as though waiting for pollen from bumblebees, for years and years. The wind was variable too. Nectar had lost its edge, and the driver’s seat was vacant.

“Fair princess!”

Her bodyguards bumped into one another and struggled to quieten their horses. Princess Amera gasped as the trail widened to reveal a moss-covered hut. The Wise One beckoned to her from the entrance. The rumours were true. His white beard swept the ground like the dust brushes her chamber maidens used to attack cobwebs.

Inside the hut, babies’ skulls lined the walls. He pulled one, dropped something inside it, and offered it to her. Her hands trembled as she collected the skull. The thing inside smelt like cow dung and tasted like honey, so she did not chew.

“So you are tired of waiting for him?”

He did not wait for her answer.

“Choice is a rudder without hindsight. A thing to be desired and yet a thing to be feared,” his voice boomed, and the walls became mirrors.

She smiled when she saw perfection.

“That one,” she pointed.

“The moon will cross Orynimmel Kingdom tonight and tomorrow. You will have one chance.”

He leaned forward, and his beard nicked a bit of the flame from the huge candle on the centre of the table. A quick glow and then fading embers, as the light died in his shaggy bush. He pulled a bow and arrow from under the table and handed it to her.

“Shoot with all your might, and he will be yours.”

“B . . . but . . . what if he doesn’t want me?”

“Isn’t that why you are going after him? To show him what he wants? Sssh, sleep now, in the morning it will all make sense.”

The next morning, she washed her face with the washcloth Wise One gave her. She looked in the stream. He was right. She was even more beautiful. When she turned to hand over the washcloth, the hut had disappeared. Her bodyguards stood at attention as they waited for her.

“Yee haw!” she cried and mounted her horse.

As they journeyed, the oak trunks leaned backwards, making space, so they could ride in an A-formation. Daylight pushed through the mist shrouding the hills of Allaymin. She saw him first as they rounded a bend. The sun’s rays filtering through the long necks of oak trees, circled him like a spotlight. Her horse neighed testing her indecision. Why was he alone?

“Fair princess,” he bowed.

“Prince Zonaltera of Luxamdola.”

She dismounted, clutching her bow and arrow in her right hand.

“Going hunting?”

He smiled at her and then turned to his horses, grooming their manes.

She sat on the grass. Dewy anemones and bluebells teased her ankles. She waited and waited until the sun rose to the middle of the sky.

You will have one chance . . .

“Do you like me?”

“Yes,” turning to face her, he said, “what’s not to like?”

“Then,” she cocked her head, “why have you not asked for my hand?”

“I don’t know. I . . . I have been distracted.”

“I see . . . grooming your horses . . .”

She stood, raised her bow and arrow, and aimed at his heart. He ducked and then ran deeper into the forest. Her hair danced in the wind as she pursued. Darting and ducking, brown trunks and green leaves embraced them in a fuzzy camouflage. The ground sucked their footfalls as squirrels and weasels skipped away.

“Stop!”

She spun around and around ears on alert. A creeping vine curled around his left sleeve, pinning him to the spot. He placed his free hand on his knee as he sucked in air, turning red. Overhead, jackdaws abandoned their nest holes and flew away, unamused by the lovers’ game.

“Please,” he said, twisting this way and that, “if you chase me, you will catch me.”

A thrill she had not known before made her skin tingle and her pupils dilate; she tasted power.

“I’m tired of hunting. The prey you want gets away too many times.”

He pulled his hand free, ripping his sleeve and sending tiny leaves in the air.

“Perhaps you lack skill.”

“Sometimes the prey runs too fast and then too slow, confusing your aim. Hunting can be exhausting!”

He sunk to the ground, massaging his arm.

“Wimp!” she scoffed. “I know what I want.”

She raised her bow.

“Wait, wait! How will you know I really want you, if you trap me?”

“Do you want me?”

“Yes . . . but give me a chance to—”

She raised her bow and released the arrow into his heart. Then she left him there for the magic to do its work. One month later, they were married. Her happiness was a rainbow that all came to behold and point at. Ten months after, he began to shrink. Smaller and smaller, smaller than a stump in the ground.

“What is happening?”

Her tears could no longer hide behind her eyes, which were twin mirrors through which he saw not only himself but also how she saw him. He longed to lick her tears, but she no longer ached for him, letting his name escape from her lips, softly, softly, softly. He began to cry too.

“Evolution?”

“I tried to warn you.”

“If we were born a thousand years from today, it would no longer matter who hunted and who got caught. If we could time travel . . .  I mean, what kind of woman loses a slipper at midnight and doesn’t go back to find it before one idiot consigns it to the lost-and-found dump?”

She carried her frog and placed him on the golden pouch on her nightstand. She missed the strength of his arms.

In the distance, the stars twinkled over the hills of Allaymin. The moon would cross Orynimmel Kingdom tomorrow night and next. She still had the bow and arrow.

You will have one chance.

Time had snatched her rainbow, but nirvana was still within reach.

“Good night my love.”

“Croak, croak, croak,” he replied.

 

©Timi Yeseibo 2014

 

Image credits: http://www.disney.co.uk/brave/downloads/?d=downloads-merida

 

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