So my new friend Fifi, who is a writer herself and manages Hobbingpost; we were talking about how Lagos is such a tedious place to fall in love. Okay well, I was complaining and she was trying to convince me otherwise. Anyway, it got us thinking about all the places people can meet, and love follows. We want to work on a project- tell stories about the weird places love can happen. Your ideas are welcome- use the comment box!
This year, I plan on being open to all opportunities that I come across to love someone. Be it on the subway, the parks as I watch summer return, as I jog on the sidewalks, as I browse grocery store aisles, the internet(bleh!!!)…
Maybe if we loved more often, in more places, there would be less pain, more hope in the world.
JE SUIS CHARLIE
Leaving him is the easy part. It is what comes next that leaves you broken.
The silence; the way your ears no longer echoes with the ring of his laughter.
The anger; the way it creeps up on you unawares and leaves you spent every time
The regret; you feel so stupid, like a fool. How could you have believed? How could you have taken God’s most precious gift to you and handed it over to a mere man who knew not its value?
The emptiness; you no longer dream when you sleep nor when you are awake. Nothing is half-full anymore, nothing is waiting for hope to fill it up, it is all bone-dry empty.
The darkness; there is darkness where there used to be light and his smile. There is pain in the places he once tickled you. And there are shadows everywhere you turn.
You are sure you are going to die of heartbreak the first few days after but death has better fish to fry and ignores you. So you sleep instead, after all sleep is the cousin of what you want most. You sleep and sleep. You do not eat till your mother starts to cry over the phone and you realize how much you are letting your hurt, hurt everyone else.
A few weeks, and one weekend spent with your best friend later, and the silence gives way to new music,the kind of music he would have hated and so you now love. It takes a couple more weeks for the waiter at The Cheesecake Factory to suggest Tiramisu as dessert, a suggestion that makes your taste buds leap with anticipation. You find that you can eat with relish after that, that life isn’t as bland as it once seemed. You stop avoiding your mother’s long distance calls from Lagos.
You start to dream again; sometimes it is of yourself walking paths you once walked with him, only now you walk alone. Other times, it is of children that hold your hand and show you how to climb mountains. “One step at a time”, they whisper, “one step at a time”. In French.
Regret flees when you start your new job, teaching the French you learned as a child those years your father was stationed as an ambassador in Ouagadougou. You teach it to school children that look eerily like the ones in your dreams. You teach them French but they teach you hope and forgiveness. The anger takes its leave not too long after regret.
You start to take up the invitations your friends dole out by the dozen. You used to hate them for calling you and telling you of this and that event and about oh, how they have tickets to go see so and so perform at Madison. Now you let them love you the best way they know how. You let them feel and sleep better, because they know now that you are going to be okay. You sleep better too, dreaming of angels that take the time to teach you to climb mountains.
Christmas comes around and it is not as bad as you thought it would be. Your mother implores you to come to Lagos but you ignore her in that blatant way only a well-loved child can get away with. You get presents, mostly from your tiny real-life French-speaking angels and a few friends. Your mother sends you some Ankara already sewn. You shake your head and wonder if the woman supposes you are still a child at 28 needing Christmas clothes. You wear it the next chance you get.
One of your Christmas gifts comes in form of an invitation to ski in Vermont. You do not know how to ski but you accept because New York the week after Christmas is nothing but painful penance to someone who has loved in the full glare of the lights on Fifth Avenue.
You are bundled up tight like an Eskimo so you can never say for sure that it was love at first sight unless of course he has a thing for Eskimos. He is standing next to you at the starting line of the beginner’s trail as you both receive your first instructions on how to ski. You are strangers about to climb mountains.
You don’t know it then but you will marry him someday at a chapel in the Swiss Alps as a children’s choir sings their version of R.Kelly’s Step In The Name of Love. You will spend your honeymoon skiing and learning the strengths and frailties of each other’s bodies. You will grow old together in many places; Paris, Lagos, NYC, the Alps, Prague, Cape Town, collecting memories like the dust from a long journey, but the eyes of love through which you see each other will be like Moses’s till the very end.
You will have the first baby and then the pesky doctors will tell you your body can handle no more. You will go ahead and adopt four children to make it five because he wants six but you want four and compromise is one of the most beautiful things in the world. He speaks French better than you so you let him teach your babies how to love with their words. You teach them how to love with their actions. You both teach them to ski.
Your lives will have some sadness but mostly it will be a great life, a very good life, one you could never have had if you never knew that hearts could be broken by the simplest things, if you never knew that the places that tickled could also double up in pain, if you never knew mountains of pain could be felled by just one step of hope.
Right now though, you are bundled up tight like an Eskimo, freezing and scared shitless of going up the snow-covered mountain. That is until the man next to you mumbles to himself “One step at a time”. In French.
Song of the Day: Jamie Grace- Beautiful Day