Young

My mother’s thigh were my stepping stone to the world beyond when I was born.

Day in. Day out. I sat there listening, never understanding the sounds from her mouth.

I clung to her bosom, it was all that I had.

I remember my first movie, Elizabeth Taylor being swooped off her feet.

Maybe I could be a damsel in distress in a marble courtyard  someday, I mused.

It was such a  honor to be chosen as a damsel when I was young.

Some night, mom was my enemy, other nights, dad was my enemy.

Both nights I had someone I could confide in, an ally. My brother.

He stood up for me when  I was defenceless.

The hero I’ve never known until the day he became  mute.

The intimacy I had never appreciated until we became estranged.

Not by time, space, barrier, but by words.

I watched him detach, I watched him change.

Before my eyes I saw him become what I could never describe, what he may never be able to explain.

And that day came when I held his hand, I cried and bursted out in anger

He bowed his head for he didn’t want me to notice the creeping duress that was becoming too real.

His unflexible smirk revealed a cold war unfurling within him, he was no more than ten.

When I was born, I clung to my mother’s bosom, it was all I knew .

I knew my knight in shining armor all too well,  until he went missing, hidden inside a conch.

Now, I have even less than I did then, but I have chosen to be a knight to nobody, but him.

He is small and compact but  will always be my ally.

Then I met a man and when I told him this, he told me, “youth is wasted on the young”.

As we steadily approach the third decade of life, I have to admit that perhaps he was right.

 


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Image Courtesy:  Silas Onoja on Twitter

 

Limbo

A rose  petal withers,

falling, floating to the ground,

one after the next.

A little boy watches

and learns an Inexorably lesson;

life is not a bed of roses.

 

 

Today a boy  is born,

he cries, and jerks…. so he lives.

If he doesn’t, he dies.

Just like the rose.

We survived, nonetheless,

Every human is elated

by the miracle of life.

 

Your young mind is that of a dilettante;

a natural explorer.

An old soul is erudite and diplomatic

when they’ve reincarnated once. Twice.

Three times,

a pattern is repeated.

 

So let’s take a second away from our ego

and step into the mischevious unwelcoming world

wind grazes our skin

stars glisten above our crown

A mush of greenery surrounds us

Dogs bark.

 

A lighter stricks fire beneath your lip

Smoke blends into a beautiful abstract piece

Everything is blank like inner space

We hug a bottle of Johnnie Walker

like an anchor to a harbor

least we slip back into limbo.

 

The clock strikes a few seconds to twelve

Alas, it’s time to go

The door swings ajar

as we bid farewell to a solemn evening

What we have, this reveling feeling

no one can take away.

We shut the door behind us.

 

Time unfreezes, the pattern repeats.

 

Image source: hicksgallery.co.uk/artist/amy-judd/

 

(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.

 

Wild Card

You just chose the wild card.You are an expressionist.You are considered part of a modern generation; generation omega. You’d cast your cares away and listen solely to your wild heart.

Money is of more virtue to you than discipline.You crave freedom as you cannot survive being confined, Freedom is what unites you to your ego.

Young people love to wander far and wide, you seek to elope; don’t you? Travel to all corners of the earth and if the locals ask you,” why here?” you grin and retort; “why any place?” for in your heart you already know, better now than never.

Fill your heart with love wild one as it will distract you from your responsibilities, pretend that this one person is all that matters.Give your soul to the chance that you will be young forever so that when you crash; you will crash hard.Pretend that they are all you care for and rebuke anything that drives a wedge between you and them, but heed my caution, these trust issues will arise like fog at dusk threatening to cloud your judgments even further, pulling them so far from you that they refuse to acknowledge you, even to their own self.

Do not let your insecurities define you wild one, do not let your mind be dismayed by your physical attributes, for they are worth nothing but the age-old insidious monster, depression.

Do not disguise yourself with an exterior that is not yours either; for you will become a prime target to those more troubled and insincere than you, and with time, it will not only take its toll on you, but you will integrate into their culture…becoming one of their own.Burying yourself behind frail wobbly walls.

Let your secrets remain unspoken and your truths stay unchanged.Many will come and most will vanish but do not attach singular priority to any.Indulge in the life you desire, but check the opinions they throw at your feet. Watch them; for they may either make or break you.

In all you do, aspire to do it tremendously, even though you do not have an inkling how, for malnourished ambitions has destroyed many-a-vibrant personalities such as yours. I would know, for I chose the wild card too.

“Treasure the beauty of youthful life and the wisdom of adulthood.”
Lailah Gifty Akita