White Noise

Don’t take this the wrong way

but who do you think you are?

You serenade me with a golden harp

yet bind my hands and feet.

You torture me,

My screams fall on deaf ears

You manipulated me in the times I trusted you.

and judge my existence with every breath I expire.

You delude yourself with illusions of control

and when I ask why,

you imagine that I’m besotted with you

I grow mundane of righteously defending my honor.

 

 

Don’t take me for a fool

I cannot be what you want me to  be

I will not cut myself  before you believe I bleed

You will not sit on your high  horse

and watch me grovel for attention

My self-esteem—

my free will must  erode your ego

and as sure as the sun shines,

nothing can hide forever.

 

 

You say we are similar

I think like charcoal and diamond.

Everyone on social media believes your facade

Today I pen the truth, the first and last time

unearthing a love story that never was

Never again will I be startled by your white noise

for what does a sociopath have in common with an alexithymic?

 

The tunnel

 

We thought we could escape our troubles. We thought if we climbed the ladder fast enough, no one would stop us.

 

Across the bed from him, I sat.

“I like you, I really do.”

He blushed, licked his lips and placed a palm on my thigh. I liked that. I shut my eyes and allowed myself to dwell on this simple pleasure. His hands lingered from my thighs up to my waist before grazing my cheeks. I opened my eyes to meet his pearly hazel ones. It was the first time I permitted myself to look so closely into someone’s eyes. It was intriguing to see them dilate. He parted his lips and I listened to the words that fumbled out….

A Volcano erupted in my heart. My being was shaking; like an earthquake, like an explosion went off in my head. My ears could bleed, my voice was gone, My lips were quivering from the horror when he said, “I trust you”.

I jumped up, and for a second or five, I was patting myself as if searching for something. His face grew worrisome and he constantly asked me what was wrong.

“I have to get out of here”

“Where to? this is your house”.

“Nowhere,” I replied, “Just need a walk.”

I sprinted out the room into the night. My legs were moving, one after the next. The people I walked past were staring at me, as if in shock or sheer curiosity. Maybe I have something on my face but I’m acting as normal as I possibly can. My mind is a war zone, the more I try to focus, the more nothing seems to make sense. All I see is a tunnel of darkness that I’ve never been brave enough to walk through to the other side. But now, it beckons me and right there in the park, I could make something out of the rusty air. A tunnel.

“Idara,” I heard a voice call from within the tunnel. It sounded like a child with a thick accent, Western African perhaps, “come”.

“Why” I muttered hesitantly

“Because you will never be able to face your truth if you don’t”.

I heard the fluttering of wings, and seconds later a butterfly was in front of me, so close it could perch on my nose. In a blink of an eye, it’s wings would change from violet polka dot to black with white streaks then to brown and white with blue streaks then again, and again, each time, a unique blend of colors. I was too mesmerized that I almost didn’t notice that now there were two of them, and in a millisecond five, then twelve and they just kept multiplying. They formed a line before me and begun flying into the tunnel. I pushed some air down my lungs, took a step and then another and I was inside the tunnel.

My mind was simmering with thoughts and they were chaotic but with the light from the butterflies illuminating my path, I felt less anxious. I noticed the walls had phrases and sentences inscribed on it and there was a sense of familiarity I had when I read them, I remember them because I lived them.

At the tunnel entrance, I read:   “you were always there for me.’ I recall smiling when I wrote that. I recall feeling lonely afterward.

“when I count my friends, I count 1 person 10 times”.  I know who that was for, it came from a sincere place.

the next one read; “you’re the bitchiest bitch out there, but you’re also the only person that piggybacks me home when I’m drunk”. Actually now I just think she’s a bitch.

The farther I got into the tunnel, the more cynical the phrases were. “This may probably be the last time you see me, I’m not going anywhere but I can’t promise I won’t wander off.”

The other read: “I can’t stand the pain, it makes me cry. I want people to care, I want things to work out”.

At this point, I noticed that the butterflies were reducing, disappearing. I was feeling unsure again, anxious. In an attempt to forge on, I staggered through the never-ending corridor with my resilient companions.

The next I saw went thus; “it’s not in my nature to express myself so wouldn’t it be weird, stupid to people if I started expressing myself? wouldn’t it seem like I was impersonating someone I’m not?” 

I sidled on like a lummox drunk in a grave-yard, I refused to look at the walls any further. I tried focusing on making it to the end, but my mind wouldn’t stop buzzing and I kept on wishing I was out of there, I’ve never been more restless.

My gaze settled on one final inscription on the wall and I couldn’t help but read it through; “so once again I was alone staring at the walls as it were empty like my soul.”

I stopped. Thrusting my back against the wall, I read the phrase again as I slowly sank to the ground. The lights fluttered around me urging me to rise to my feet. I couldn’t move, I’d lost all my strength.

“I was alone…the walls…empty like my soul, alone…walls..empty, empty….

The butterflies wouldn’t stop but I ignored them whilst they continued to vanish.

“Get up,” the voice was back. “Come Idara”

“I can’t,” I yelled, my voice resounded through the walls. I watched the butterflies fade until the last resilient wings were flapping right before my nose. Its light began to flicker and went dim until it was gone. Everything went silent and cold. No insects. No buzzing. No light. Just me alone in the dark tunnel.

“I can’t,” I whispered. “I can’t”

 

(In case you) Find your ghost

“A Toast,” she said, raising her glass, “to my adorable cousin, may no man ever traumatize her sexually, and physically like my uncle; her father did me”.

The venue went cold with unwavering tension. Out of nowhere, the head table overturned, shards of glasses glistening as they struck concrete. From the side of her eye, she saw her dad lurch towards the father of the day, gripped him by the throat before he could utter a word, his eyes red with fury.

And just like that,  the party was over.

 

********

 

Some secrets are too perverse to remain hidden. Secrets that burrow a hole in the middle of one’s chest. This is the story of a young maiden plagued by the ghost of the repressed emotions that she has never been able to confront.

This is the origin story of Alexander.

Born to working-class parents, the family had nearly nothing, except for a Volkswagen Beetle. Dad was never home; always at work, gunning for that big break that would catapult him to the next phase of his career; and mum, she too was hard at work, holding down the fort. Doing what good mums do.

About 18 yrs ago, on one of those evenings, an uncle visits for a meeting with dad but he didn’t come home that day which wasn’t unusual. At the time in Nigeria, you couldn’t just pick up the phone and call someone, NITEL was somewhat popular but people were adapting rather slowly. He stayed over solely because his village was somewhat far away and the sun was setting.

Her family were subtenants renting a one- bedroom apartment with a shared bathroom and while her mum and brother stayed in the bedroom, she slept in the parlor feets away from her uncle. Sometime between thirty to eleven and midnight, he drew closer and closer to her, then he began fondling her prepubertal body and genitalia…

Like a good little girl who always behaved in front of her elders, never spoke unless spoken to; she remained mute but then again, she was always a quiet kid.

Thought more than she spoke.

Wrote more than she was willing to say,…but that broke her. It solidified her antisocial exterior; her social awkwardness. Until this day, she would never be able to make eye contact or flirt the way normal people do.

********

A lot’s changed, the family lives in a big home, that old beetle replaced by numerous automobile model from Honda to Range Rover. What hasn’t changed is, dad’s still as busy as ever, and those flesh wounds never healed.

If he had stayed where he belonged—in the past, perhaps the ghosts wouldn’t haunt her.

Last she saw him, he came to the house with his then fiancée, to introduce her to dad and get both financial support and his blessing for their wedding. That was her chance to confront him, reveal these ghosts to the woman who probably thought she knew him so well, in front of her dad; so he would throw him out of their lives forever….but she didn’t.

Couldn’t.

Turns out she wasn’t ready. She would never be, but she knew she owed it to her younger self, that poor girl deserved even one honest moment where she didn’t have to hold it all in and pretend it was all okay.

It wasn’t until that day, years later, at her cousin’s naming ceremony when she climbed on that stage and her gaze settled on him, that her ghosts were enraged, threatening to unleash all the emotions of the past that have subdued her physically. Sobs welled up in her throat, her head buzzed with unsettling thoughts. This wasn’t the right time, but then again, there’s never a right time to talk about sexual abuse. Either she’d do it or she wouldn’t. So she swallowed hard, parted her lips and let the words spurt out….

A deafening silence.

A moment of sincere epiphany.

Through all the ruckus,  she swears she saw a little girl, not more than six years of age at the far end of the blinding stage lights whisper, “Thank you”.

From that moment, she began to see herself more as a force to be reckoned with and less like a victim, began trusting herself. She’d given herself the single greatest gift,

Freedom.

Some secrets are too perverse to remain hidden,…..

In case you find your ghost.