After Sorry, What Next?

sorry-construction

 

“Busyness is a myth. It’s a weapon that people who no longer love each other use against each other.”

“My schedule has been crazy—”

“Babes, I’m busy too, but I create time—”

“But I’ve been really busy you can ask—”

“Ok. Fine. The question is, ‘Do you still love me?’”

“Hmmm. That’s really not the point . . .”

“That’s not an answer.”

“It’s just that I cannot cross that line . . . Like when I was young and I had this dream . . . like I was going on an adventure. My friends and I would be running through a meadow. The grass was warm underneath my bare feet but the sun was never too hot . . .strange . . . but anyway, some kids would stop to pick wild flowers, others to rest, but I was always excited and focused on getting to . . . anyway, I would come to a stream that I could not cross because I could not swim. The other children would jump in and call out to me to follow suit, saying the stream was not deep. I woke up at the edge of the stream . . . every time!”

“You’ve never told me about that dream. It’s interesting.”

“I cannot just forget that you . . . that—”

“I’m not asking you to suddenly develop amnesia, but our memories should serve us not hinder us. Babes, haven’t you forgiven me?”

“Of course, I have. It’s just that—”

“Look, I don’t even think that we really really forget, but I think we can remember without the sting of pain . . . When my brother died—”

“Ah ah, are you trying to compare your brother’s death with—”

“No, I was just trying to illustrate . . . Never mind . . .”

“Well I don’t know. I’m not there yet.”

“Babes, it’s been nine months. Nine months with the sword of Damocles hanging of over my head—”

“You betrayed me!”

“I did. I am sorry.”

“I know and I just need time. I don’t think it’s fair for you to rush me. You hurt me deeply.”

“I’m so sorry, babes. I’ve done all you asked of me to make us work. I’ve done all I know to do.”

“Yes I know and now I’m asking you for time.”

“Do you still love me? Look at me . . . Do you?”

“You hurt me.”

“Babes, you don’t have to allow the picture of what I did blind you to all the good I did in the past and all the good I’m doing now—”

“That’s the problem you always prescribe how I should act! It’s not your prerogative, it’s mine!”

“I’m sorry. I just miss you so much.”

“Well, I hope you can understand. I just need time. Just give me time.”

“Can I hold you? Come here . . . sit . . . just relax . . . Babes, I’m not doing anything, I just want to hold you . . . that’s better . . . relax. I want to share a poem with you.”

“Sure. Whatever. You know I don’t do poetry.”

“It’s a short one, don’t worry.

And still, after all this time,
The sun never says to the earth, ‘You owe Me.’
Look what happens with
A love like that
It lights the Whole Sky
.

Well? . . . well . . . what do you think?”

“Hmmmm. The dream . . . hmmmm. I never made the connection. Maybe that’s the reason I never learnt how to swim.”

 

 

© Timi Yeseibo 2017

 

Photo credit: https://pixabay.com/en/site-website-under-construction-1561769/

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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Love is a Beautiful Thing

love-beautiful

As I grew up, it sometimes seemed that my parents would throw invisible daggers at each other and the knives would miss, hit the wall, rebound, and lacerate my heart. I thought they might do better apart rather than together, but my mother was adamant that she stick things through, as if she were glue.

Close to thirty years have elapsed since those turbulent times. In war more than elsewhere things do not turn out as we expect. Nearby they do not appear as they did from a distance (Carl von Clausewitz, On War). Perhaps because my parents now speak of their departure like something imminent in the distance, they invite my sisters and me closer, and I see what I did not see then.

My parents tell us about their lives, the things we do not know that they think we should.

We ask my father how he met my mother. His story is like him, adorned with few words. He says that when he met my mother, she was suitably impressed with his house; he had a very nice house in Sapele. When he left Sapele for Lagos, my mother followed him there.

My mother protests and interrupts. She admits that although he had a fine house, she never ventured inside, did not even heed the catcalls of the boys in the area, who said, “Lady, notu you we dey call?”

We shush her gently and assure her that her turn will come. When it does, she counters his story. She says that on her way to school, my father and his friends would peep at her from their house. “I used to be very pretty,” she is matter-of-fact, “everybody struggled to talk to me, but I would just ignore them.”

When my father came to look for her, he was always well turned out in a suit and tie. Because she was afraid of her mother finding out, she met him at the corner and it was, “Hello, hello, by the window side.” A shy smile creeps at the corners of her mouth at this recollection. “But,” she says, “I did not give in for a moment.”

At this, my sisters and I laugh. We make jokes about standing at the corner. My mother laughs. My father laughs. It is a while before we collect ourselves to continue, lost as we are in our memories of teenage love and desire.

“I left for Lagos because I had a strong urge to succeed in life; Sapele was too small for my dreams. I did not leave because of your dad, but to find greener pastures,” my mother says.

“Okay,” my sister smiles knowingly and says, “he was your greener pastures.”

My father chuckles, “She pursued me to Lagos.”

My mother rolls her eyes in exasperation, “I said I went to find greener pastures!”

They bicker over the details of their romance, each wanting to come up tops, but it is playful, weighted by tenderness processed and matured over time. I do not point out that both their stories have holes they have not filled. Maybe they want to bring my sisters and me close enough and no further.

Young people often imagine, as I did, that the fires of romance in older people die out, their candles burnt and spent somewhere in their twenties. In my forties, I know this to be untrue. Watching my parents, I know that it will still be untrue in my sixties, seventies, and way beyond.

Love is a beautiful thing. 

©Timi Yeseibo 2017

 

Photo Credit: https://pixabay.com/en/tic-tac-toe-love-heart-play-1777859/

 

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Music, Love, and the Occasional Heartbreak

music-headphones

1.
This is how I know I have fallen in love; I listen to Toxic over and over without grimacing, I croon …with the taste of your lips, I’m on a ride…, with feeling and his picture on my mind, then I flip my imaginary blonde locks the way Britney Spears does in the video. Sometimes, Rihanna reflects the true state of my jumbled emotions—those surges of oxytocin we call falling in love. I find myself hunting for, the only girl in the world, and singing along with the gusto of a drunken man. I know then that it is futile to deny that my feet are wet while the waves carry me from shore to pulsing sea.

 

2.
I was born to two Lionel Richie fans, although one was more passionate than the other was. My earliest memories are of my younger brother and me boogying on the sofa and table to Dancing On The Ceiling and of longing to be grown-up and independent as I listened to Easy. Now I wish I’d stayed a child for longer. Adulthood is not the easy ride it seemed to be in the days when I longed to do everything by myself, to be free to make decisions that affect my life, and to marry Lionel Richie or Daniel Wilson if I could not land Lionel. Daniel Wilson’s Raggamuffin made me think of swashbuckling adventures. I do not know why I thought that as a five-year old, I am just glad I did not develop a thing for bad boys.

 

3.
The first time I fell in love, I was eleven years old. It was at a Cowbell Maths Competition Gala and he was singing Careless Whisper. I could have followed him to Jupiter if he’d asked, however my father and his stern look would have frozen my legs and stopped me from following the summons of my achy-breaky heart. I have never forgotten him. Today when I listen to jazz, I wonder who he was and where the tides of life have tossed him. When I listen to either version of Careless Whisper (George Michael’s or Dave Koz’s), I can’t help wondering if his voice was as good as I remember.

 

4.
I broke up with my first boyfriend in a mostly deserted lecture hall at 4 a.m. after listening to James Blunt’s, Goodbye My Lover. I knew as I listened to the song for the first time that what we had was no longer viable. I do not for a minute regret ending that relationship and when I hear the song, I smile and think of him. I fell in love with my next boyfriend two years after we’d started dating. Bob Marley’s Is this love, blared from the speakers of the bus taking us to the park where I’d board a Lagos-bound bus. He sang along, his husky voice breaking and his eyes closed. He wasn’t singing to me but my foolish heart somersaulted as he sang and when my love meter clanged in warning, it was too late.

 

5.
Cher and Gloria Gaynor held me close and wiped my tears when he shattered my heart with spectacular precision. Believe and I will survive saved my sanity and even my life. When people say a song is just a mixture of words and rhythm, I want to punch them so bad. Music is spirit and pain and life and joy and all the things in between.

 

6.
Neither Josh Groban nor Aloe Blacc thought of me when they wrote Brave and Wake Me Up respectively. However, I wouldn’t have started a blog if I hadn’t listened to those songs as though they were water in the barren desert that was my soul. The lyrics inspired me to take this writing thing seriously and to trust the voices in my head and heart to lead me right across computer or phone screens and through life.

 

7.
I am the woman who goes to work with Phyno on both sides of my ears. His song, Oringo, transports me to a party for one, the rhythms from the east of the Niger River—my ancestral tom-toms—call the wild spirit I have restrained for too long. This is how I know I am free; I am on stage and the crowd is humming a cover of Bruce Springsteen’s Born To Be Wild. No, I am dancing to work and inviting interested stares although I have no blond locks to flick. My headphones trap the sound that come from Phyno’s heart. Maybe today, you will finally tap my shoulder and say, “Hello, it’s me.”

© Adaeze Ezenwa 2016

Adaeze Ezenwa lives in Lagos where she dodges traffic and fantasizes about becoming a billionaire before turning 35 and eating dodo daily without gaining weight. She rents a patch from WordPress at Emporium of Words, and her door is always open for conversation.

 

Photo credit: Spinheike/ https://pixabay.com/en/london-oxford-street-headphones-116018/

©Timi Yeseibo 2016

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To Close A Series [2]

love-is

A friend called me after reading one of the episodes of the Fly series to say that the dialogue reminded him of the way we were, making me want to sing only this line from Adele’s Hello, hello from the other side! Instead tongue-in-cheek, I quoted William Faulkner in no particular order.

A writer needs three things, experience, observation, and imagination, any two of which, at times any one of which, can supply the lack of the others.

Are you writing about yourself, is the question I was often asked while the series continued. I have mostly reconciled myself to the downside of writing a personal blog, which is that readers assume consciously or subconsciously that the stories on your blog are about you. No longer so uptight about being vulnerable, I took this question and its variants cloaked in concern, to mean that the dialogues were relatable and believable. Their questions were in fact a roundabout compliment.

I have never previously dragged out a story on my blog as I did this series. What began as a one-off fun post, a bull’s eye response to a dear friend’s endless matchmaking, grew to ten articles spread over two-and-half months because you asked for more.

I told Ife Nihinlola, my partner in the Fly series and a talented writer whose essays I enjoy reading, that the best stories are woven around love and relationships; throw in a moral dilemma to achieve transcendence. After the badass protagonist has destroyed the villains and saved the planet, we will him to kiss the beautiful woman he fought for as they walk into the sunset. Nothing touches our core like what we are wired for, love.

As the series continued, we had to be deliberate about the twists we would introduce and the manner in which they would be resolved. Ife and I resorted to using readers’ feedback as a guide because we realized we had sparked something in our readers, we had connected. I was humbled and tickled when I read something to this effect: Timi, please don’t spoil it now that they are happy.

We tossed ideas about what felt natural and what felt as though we were trying too hard and all the while, the plot was challenging my own ideas about love and relationships too. The decision to conclude the series was bittersweet.

“What if in the next episode, I make the happy couple, twenty-nine-year-old Junior and thirty-five-year-old Old Woman, bump into one of Junior’s flirtatious younger female friends at the mall?”

I agreed with Ife when he said that he wasn’t so sure. I had thoroughly enjoyed my stint as a Shonda Rhimes scriptwriter wannabe.

In the end, this is what I aimed to do all along; make you rethink your ideas about love, sex, romance, relationships, and friendships while entertaining you. You tell us if we succeeded.

On Facebook, I noticed that a friend shared one of my posts on her Timeline. Underneath the article was a comment from one of her friends asking her to share my post on their WhatsApp group for further discussion. My brain thought about copyright issues, my heart saw so clearly, why I write.

On this blog, I don’t write for myself although I write for people like me. Big difference. Small difference. If you stopped reading, I would stop writing—what would be the point? I cannot thank you enough for believing in Livelytwist.

 

©Timi Yeseibo 2016

 

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.

 

To Close A Series [1]

shakespeare-quote

As someone who steers clear of romantic love, I seldom write love stories to avoid sounding like a fraud. Writing this series has therefore been a learning experience, both in the art of collaborations and writing love stories. The process was easy because Timi called the shots, setting the premise and plot points, while I simply reacted to the elements of the story she threw up from the conversations. This also freed me to focus more on the personality of the characters than the plot points, because if left to my whims, all love stories would end as tragedies.

In writing the series, I tried to pose questions to myself and find answers in the conversations of the characters. What hope does a guy who isn’t assertive have in a relationship? How do men talk about the things they are accused of avoiding in conversation? Readers’ responses to the characters’ conversations were illuminating, showing how we gauge romantic relationships we observe close-up. No question was as instructive for me as this: at what point, and because of what traits, do we declare someone unworthy of another’s love?

Love, like a drug high, pushes people to act in ways that appear insane to outside observers, but carry a fierce internal logic to the people in love—the ones shooting up. So, when we proclaim that an observed trait in someone renders them unlovable, it sometimes turns out that that very trait is the reason their lover has chosen them. The more we criticize their lover, the less sense we make, and the more they are disposed to ignoring us.

In spite of the insulation by romance that the above suggests, couples rarely escape the influence of the times they live in, including their cultures and upbringing. We are products of our interaction with other humans, whether we acknowledge their influence or not.

Without discounting personal responsibility, you and I are more culpable in the actions of people we berate than we think. In the series, a twenty-nine-year-old man contemplates dating a thirty-five-year-old woman and confides in his friend, his worries about her fertility. What would have happened if his friend responded by telling the story of his aunt who married at forty and now agonizes over not having a child or having a baby with down syndrome, which made her husband marry a second wife?

In the past year, I’ve fielded more questions from friends and family about my romantic life than the two decades before it. Why are you not in a relationship? Is something wrong? Ife, are you keeping her way from us? I often tell people I don’t have time to think about these questions, but whom am I kidding? I cannibalized some of my experiences from answering questions like these in drafting the dialogues.

We should stop blaming fairy tales and Hollywood for love fantasies being absent of reason, or people doing stupid things in the name of love. That is how all lovers look to people like me who are too scared to be enchanted by it. It is not reasonable for the Beauty to love the Beast, but she does, and we root for them. Jack should have stayed away from Rose, but he didn’t and the Titanic sank.

A character from the movie Hellboy said, “You like people for their qualities, but love them for their defects.” And while I think this is the loophole that serial killers exploit to find lovers, it’s also the premise of our greatest love stories: Tristan and Isolde, Romeo and Juliet, Ifemelu and Obinze, and so on.

Stories, when done right, should make us more empathetic, more open to possibilities in the human experience that are outside our imagination. So, perhaps we should reassess the conditions we set for finding people desirable and worthy of love. Not just when the potential lovers are ours, but when they are of people close to us, too. This isn’t a call to remove all relationship standards, but only that these standards—be they age, class, or temperament—be filtered through lenses coloured with kindness. After all, a wise man once said, the law was made for man, and not man for the law.

I still believe fairy-tale endings are an exception in this fly-catching business, but I’m all for lives suffused with kindness that give way to love.

 

©Ife Nihinlola 2016 @ IfeOluwa’s Rambles

 

©Timi Yeseibo 2016

 

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.

 

To Commit To A Fly

to-commit

 

Does the saga continue or does it end? Can these two find love and make it work? It all started with To Catch A Fly.

To Commit To A Fly

“Junior, the fish tastes really good, mmmm.”

“You like? Fresh from the Atlantic—”

“Fish pepper soup, just the way I like it.”

“I’m glad. Nothing pretentious about this place; it’s clean, decent, and very affordable in this Buhari economy.”

“I like trying out new places. Thanks for bringing me here. So, what’s on your mind?”

“What’s on yours?”

“I asked first—”

“I know . . . ladies first . . . please.”

“I don’t know, we seem to take one step forward and then two steps back . . .”

“Yeah?”

“I’m not a virgin like you, I have been with other men, deal with it!”

“I’m coming to terms with it. It’s not as big a deal anymore.”

“I like how they serve the pepper soup on wooden fish trays instead of on a rectangular mat . . . do you come here often?”

“What? Yes, yes. May I please hold your hand? Thanks. Your hands are dainty and so soft . . . right now, it’s as if I put my heart in your hands and you have the power to squeeze life out. I haven’t been here before. I didn’t think I would be here . . .”

“Hmmm.”

“You look really beautiful tonight.”

“Thank you.”

“I’ve missed your smile, the way your face comes alive when you talk about something that matters to you . . .”

“Don’t look at me like that—”

“Like how?”

“Like that . . . that . . . you’re doing it again—”

“Isn’t it a good thing?”

“It’s too good. That’s the problem!”

“Ha ha ha!”

“But seriously, being with you has made me rethink what I thought I wanted in a man. I wonder about patterns of attraction and this thing we call ‘my spec’, like how I could be drawn to someone not-so-my-spec, you know? Like if we look beyond the externals—”

“You are my spec.”

“Now you’re making me blush.”

“Girl, I don’t think we should give up. We share the same fundamental values, although our expressions may differ . . . we have the right building blocks—”

“There’s so much to navigate, though . . .”

“If two people are committed—”

“Still love does not conquer all . . .”

I’ve often thought the general definition of love faulty. Like the love songs today, they focus on ephemeral things like desire and feelings. I worry when I see my niece listening to Tekno’s Pana on repeat—”

“♫ Love is a wonderful tender feeling, you dey give me ginger . . . baby pana . . . you like cassava, I get big cassava ♫. Hahaha! Ah ah, but there’s nothing wrong with feelings and desire—”

“Love endures, desire ebbs and flows . . . that’s why I was talking about commitment. You know my parents would be married sixty years this November. My father says an irrevocable commitment to one another is the secret of their longevity. I want that.”

“As do I. My parents divorced when I was nine. I didn’t want to get married for a long time . . .”

“I’m sorry to hear that. That must have been tough.”

“Yeah, thanks . . . but I’ve healed.”

“Old woman, since you persist in calling me Junior, would you like to have more fish?”

“Hahaha! . . . No o, is it because I deboned this one?”

“Deboned? Deboned is an understatement; there is nothing left! Here, have some of mine . . .”

“Are you sure?”

“Sure. So where are we?”

“We’re navigating this ship.”

“That’s not enough for me.”

“What—”

“What I mean is that I’m not doing trial and error. This is it, baby.”

“Neither am I. Sometimes I feel bad about . . . like, I should have waited, kept myself as you have . . .”

“What’s done is done. What matters is how we go from here. I think, and I may be wrong, that you also have to come to terms with it. We’ve all got a lot to learn—”

“True. True. Speaking of learning, how well do you take instructions?”

“Meaning?”

“To the left, to the left; to the right . . .”

“Silly woman. I’m good at football. How hard can it be? Oya give me back my fish!”

 

©Timi Yeseibo 2016

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.

 

 

Riposte: To Call A Fly

riposte-to-call-a-fly

Should a person’s past sexual history matter in their current relationship?Last week and the week before, it would seem that shame made our main character defensive. This week, Ife Nihinlola delves into the mind of her boyfriend.

 

Riposte: To Call A Fly

 

“Dude, somehow, we’ve not had lunch together this week. Is this office making us slave that much or you’ve been avoiding me?”

“Avoiding you? When you’re not my landlady who wants to hook me up with her niece?”

“Look at you. Hot cake! Mr. Loverman! Anyway sha, how is the madam?”

“What madam?”

“You want to start playing word games again? You know who I’m talking about. How is she?”

“She dey.”

Wetin? Trouble in paradise?”

“You must think life is a Mexican telenovela, with these your corny lines.”

“Just answer my question. Or are you guys fighting already?”

“Not really. We are probably just not compatible after all.”

“That is what men say when they find out the woman they like already has a daughter approaching puberty. Suddenly, compatibility becomes an issue like Windows 97.”

“You must think this is a joke.”

“No, really. Tell me—”

“Tell you what?”

“Or is it her body count?”

“Why do you have to mention that now?”

“So it is body count. You children of nowadays.”

“I didn’t mention body count.”

“But you’re not saying I’m wrong.”

“You can’t understand.”

“Can’t understand what? See, what a woman did before she met you, all the lives she lived, all the people she’s been with, only matters as much as you allow it.”

“Okay. It’s not about body count. Are you happy now? It’s about other things in our lives… you know… ermm… experience and all that jazz.”

“All that jazz? Now who has the corny lines? See, the past doesn’t matter. It’s all gone, and nothing can be done about it. That’s why we call it the past.”

“Wow! All you need is a shiny suit, oxford shoes, a haircut shaped by a calligrapher, and you’ll be a perfect motivational speaker!”

“You think this is funny abi? It’s your love life you’re joking with. Not mine. And see, it’s about to evaporate in your very before. You’ll grow old and little girls will end up using pictures of your unmarried big head with grey hair for bae goals on Instagram.”

“I already told you. You can’t understand.”

“Can’t understand what now?”

“Okay. Let’s put it this way. How… how much upper hand did you allow your wife have when you guys were courting?”

“Upper hand? What is this? Table tennis? Hehehehe! See, someone is always going to have to be the mumu in a relationship. Too bad you’re the one in this case.”

“That’s not what I asked you?”

“So? What is my own? Better come to terms with how you feel about this lady and be a man.”

“Be a man, seriously?”

“Nah. Not in the way you’re about to think. I’m saying you should stop worrying about things you can’t change, and take charge of your emotions. Show this woman you love her if you do, not all this past nonsense you’re talking about.”

“I don’t know. I already said you wouldn’t understand.”

“Can’t understand what exactly? This woman doesn’t deserve this indecisive nonsense you’re doing. Either commit or commot, but please, don’t waste her time.”

“I hear you. I’ll call her.”

“I’m not asking you to call her. But if you want to, better make up your mind. See lunch is almost over. Are you eating or not?”

______________

Hey
23.20

Hey
23.50

Asleep yet?
23.55

What do you think?
23.56

I don’t know. That’s why I’m asking.
23.57

I have some work to do before sleeping.
00.00

I actually thought you’d dumped the old lady and gone after a good virgin.
00.05

Smh. You know we have to talk, right?
00.05

Really? You think so?
00.06

Yeah.
00.08

So is this going to be like a confession where you’re the priest and I’m the sinner?
00.14

Smh. Who said anything about sins?
00.15

Okay. I don’t know o. Can we do it now?
00.18

Not really. We’ll have to fix a date or something.
I’m already feeling sleepy
00.19

Okay.
00.21

Can I call you tomorrow?
00.21

Sure
00.22

I’ll also be the one to choose the place,
somewhere I don’t have to lose my
teeth trying to read the menu.
00.23

Whatever makes you happy… Junior 🙂
00.24

Really?!!!
00.25

*lips sealed*
00.26

Hope you’re good sha?
00.27

Yes I am. Thank you for asking.
00.27

You’re welcome. I’ll call tomorrow
afternoon, old lady.
00.28

Don’t call me that! 😦
00.28

 

Call you what? 😉
00.29

You there?
00.35

Good night.
00.40

Good night. Till tomorrow.
00.45

 


Mumu in vernacular means, a fool.
Commot: to move away
Wetin: what

 

 

©Ife Nihinlola 2016 @ IfeOluwa’s Rambles

 

©Timi Yeseibo 2016

 

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.