The day I jumped out of an airplane, I didn’t quite think much of it. I was having fun like young dumb girls do with their young dumb friends. It wasn’t for the blood boiling gut wrenching eye-popping gush of adrenaline. It wasn’t exactly a dare either.
Two small town girls from a small west African town daring to overcome the limitations that are stacked so high against the African woman that we needed a small helicopter several meters in the air to proof that we can stomp them. No it wasn’t because we were curious, we knew exactly what we were doing—or did we?
My thoughts swirled in a multilinear direction. From my restricted vault of childhood memories to macabrely fantasies. If my aim was to die, that would be exactly the way I’d do it—sacrificing myself to Gaia, the goddess of sustenance. Venus in her verdant embellishment of flora and fauna. Surrendering skin, blood, saliva and soul. That sounded like me.
So we signed a death contract and laughed in the face of danger. Took a 20 mins course on how not to die, and soon we were way up there, still laughing. Shit got real when the door flew open. I realised that though I like to sit across a candle-lit sycamore table eating steak and drinking chardonnay, laughing at death’s joke and poking some of my own. I like to dance to cinema paradiso with him and make him buy me cocktails, enough to make me unwind but not enough to get drunk, I NEVER want to fuck with death.
At the moment I was instructed to jump out, I gulped and resisted the urge to breakdown while the condensed air from the high atmospheric altitude slapped my already shrivelled skin. This was one thing that wasn’t going to limit me. So I yelped GERANIMO, made peace fingers and went plummeting down to uncertain doom.
I had never wished so much to be Wendy as when I was falling heart first. I NEEDED to fly. What would my mother say? I was struggling against the resisting pull of the earth’s center, quite unlike the surrender and serenity I dreamed of. Suddenly, the parachute flew out helping me defy gravity.
Ha Ha, not today death. Not today Satan.
I may never have another epic superhero moment again. I stopped free falling and started dangling like a pearl on the edge of a maple leaf, Looking down to the world stretching its arms to straddle my weightless body. It was serene, and almost angelic. This wasn’t death grappling at me with it’s dishevelled claws. This was me taking a leap to live. These were two small town girls tearing at the bricks of limitation. And it was beautiful.
We ended it that day, laughing hysterically at our reflection in the bathroom mirror. Maybe because we enjoyed splitting our sides with cackles or maybe we devoured 2 grams of marijuana for the first time. Did we do it for the thrill or was it a dare? that’s a story for a different day.
It was an especially windy morning and I was in a losing battle with the rain, my least favourite forecast. By now my mascara was like a plangentriver and my nipples seem to have resisted all the confines I had on, and were poking out as if in protest. This is the kind of morning I’d double up on blankets and burrow a hole through with my body. Now I simply had to resist the urge to moan.
Several minutes later, I was in the courtyard of one of the most prestigious establishment of the town’s history. The weather didn’t seem to deter the occupants as there were more than a handful of young adults, running around in the garten, and some if you can believe, making rain angels.
I walked right through the iron-casted door and shook myself like a shaggy mutt, hopefully I’d get some warmth flowing through my veins before the interview. This was my first job interview, but my quivering body and goose-bumped skin subdued all other nerve-wrenching feelings.
As I walked through the long corridor, searching for the waiting room, a door opened and the man wedging his robust body between it was possibly in his late 40s. He seemed to be squinting at me through his rimmed-glasses; “Frau Ukut, Sie sinds?”
I swallowed my words as I replied; “Ja da bin ich”. He motioned to me to wiggle myself past him. I took a seat behind him as he muttered some welcoming words while taking a seat. We were separated by a sturdy table made from maple oak. He adjusted his brims and glared at me. By this time, my smile was beginning to quake. The voices in my head bellowed in unison, “Oh no, the jig is up”.
I dared to break the silence, “Herr Mayer, Gibt es eventuell eine Probleme oder?
“Na ja”, he heaved, ” Sie sind ein bisschen zu groß, eine Patientin hier zu sein”
Entschuldigen Sie, I chuckled at the silly remark, “Ich bewerbe mich nur bei Ihnen als Assistenzärztin. Haben Sie meine unterlagen nicht bekommen oder?”
He toyed with the tip of a pen which seemed to have been heavily chewed on, then picking up the telephone, he punched in numbers and made some affirmations with the person on the other end. A few footsteps later, there was a knock on the door. Herr Mayer stood up, straightened his tie and right before disappearing assured me. “Warten Sie, Ich komme gleich wieder zurück”.
I sat there peering at the obscure hand painted framed images loosely hung on the wall. A couple were of a woman with soft eyes and a reverse smile. Another was of a clown trapped in a burning building, and there were others that had too much going on anyway. Absorbing myself within them kept me from tinkering with Herrn Mayer’s impression about me being a patient..
Shortly as promised, he was back with news, ” Ich freue mich darüber, Sie zu erzählen, dass Sie den Job bekommen haben. Wenn es stimmt dir zu, können Sie schon am heute Nachmittag anfangen”. My heart was palpitating in my chest as I could not believe his utterance. In that moment, I had forgotten every appropriate reply, so I grabbed his hand and shook it vigorously. Before I left the office, his last words since the forty mins I’ve known him were, ” we believe you will fit right in”.
So I went into the changing rooms and reemerged in the courtyard in white overalls. The dress code seemed to grab the kids attentions. Now the rain had stopped and my smile was beaming. Here I was, residing physician at the Institute of Paediatric Neurology and Psychiatry, Cologne. A dream I’ll keep reliving until it comes true.
After my well articulated post of taking it easy and letting life happen few weeks ago, I went ahead and did something absolutely rash last week. I signed up for the language test.
the registration for the exam is not a big deal, I mean normally people register for an exam they want to take next month or so. No sire, I wouldn’t be me without careless judgement. This test happened last weekend, that meant I had 6 days prior to prepare. How’s that for relinquishing control
Thus rolled in the beginning of what happened to be a really long week, I was recoiling from the death of my grandfather and somehow my brilliant plan was to distract myself by studying without ends each day. Na ja brilliant.
On the D day, I was beyond tired, kaputt as the Germans say, and well I couldn’t turn back now. I had already paid. Although I don’t consider myself a run-on-the mill lucky person, spring had just begun. This is the time of new beginning. If I was going to make a leap of faith, it had to be now.
So I did it anyway.
Out of the four fluency skills, I pride myself in my reading and understanding skills, I felt positive about that. Listening on the other hand, is not my forte. And writing? God knows that could go either way.
But the speaking. Oh the speaking part. I could count a million things wrong with it other than my enunciation skills. So there I, brain running on low glucose and less than optimal sleep. Hands fidgety. The self -confidence battery completely drained and naturally expected to speak Deutsch for 15 minutes.
Game over. I lost.
…or did I?
I told myself I’ll be okay either way the wind blows, tho honestly I lost hope. Today, I contacted the institute. The lady was kind enough to reveal my points, even though they officially aren’t to be revealed yet. Perhaps she had sufficient emotional intelligence to sense the desperation in my voice which provoked man’s most regal emotion, empathy. I’ll never know, and at the moment, I wasn’t really interested in that.
I have to say i’m shocked—in a good way. The scenario played out a lot different in my head. I will have to repeat a part of it, luckily not the whole. Now the question I can’t help but ask myself is, if I could go back, would I register for this test 6 days before it takes place, knowing I won’t make it all the way through?
At the risk of coming off stand-offish, Absolutely. I’m unapologetically non-penitent in this regard. I get no accolade for good judgement or relinquishing control. There’s a reason I don’t know how to swim. But I like to think I’m a student of life, I let life chew me up and spit me out.
Tomorrow, I’ll still climb the moon.
Matthew 11:28; Then Jesus said, “come to me , all you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest”.
Today is infamously the day my parents arguably claim I was born on. I have no option but to accept that. Nonetheless, around this time every year . I notice a shift in energies influencing me.
Reversing back to a little while ago, I would have relied on birthday wishes both from social media acquaintances, and wanted nothing short of grandeur and spectacular gesture. I remember my 21st, when I celebrated both with picnic ( in cold February) and a dinner party. Lol. fun times.
I believe that there are two dates a woman is allowed to be self-centered. One comes every year on her birthday, and the other is her wedding day.
Well, truth is today is really not about me. it’s more about every other force around that negates or supports me to grow into myself. As I realised that each year God rewards me by unlocking a part of me. It’s like being invited to a party where you’re in the regular section, next year you get a VIP pass, the year after, you’re invited backstage until eventually you run the damn show. That’s just the reality of growth.
Another rather painful reality is that, the people who celebrate you each year may not be consistent. You eventually run the show because there is no one else to lend a hand. However, if you like me, then your guardian angel in the guise of a very handsome, caring, recently snatched bachelor, compels your amazing friends and family to support you.
The best present I got today was more of an act actually. Having my old lover(s), supporters and family from all around the world wish me birthday cheers. Thats’s going to be hard to outdo next year lol.
Lastly, because it’s become some sort of a tradition, I am compelled to reveal one key-word my previous age has taught me. Contentment. So as I sit down tonight and enjoy my glass of cabaret and my creamy pasta dish. My trusted hopping buddy being extra as usual, and my man checking up on me, before I sleep. I know I have everything I always needed.
Happy Birthday to me and memoir of Alexander.
This two years would have been nothing without your support and love, so from my heart to yours, have a great week.