Opinions And Cages | Non-Fiction

(This piece was first published on my Facebook wall in December 2015. It is a true story, and rather long, but I hope you find it readable at least.)

October, 2015.

For a few moments I could not recognize my surroundings, and twice the bus conductor had to inform me that I had reached the last stop. I alighted, feeling a little embarrassed, with my movements unsteady and my eyes trying to make out where I actually was. I should have known better than gulping down several glasses of Vodka on an evening that was neither Friday nor Saturday, particularly when there was still another day of work at that office where my only smiles came at 6pm, before ushering in the weekend in its saving glory. Sure enough, the mini-university reunion had been lots of fun, reliving old jokes and all, but there was only so much alcohol the body could freely accommodate, and with what was left of my sobriety, I could deduce that the next day at work would be a long one. Still, I boarded a tricycle to the estate housing my apartment, not quite sure if I had not paid thrice the fare. I definitely wouldn’t have known, I was intoxicated like that.

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Bachelors’ Anonymous | New E-Book

Sometime between late 2014 and late 2015, I had my reservations about marriage, a situation not helped by the increasing rates of divorce and marital infidelity. There were young men who shared my views, and together, flowing from our posts and our stance towards such a hallowed institution, we formed an imaginary group (in our heads) called Bachelors’ Anonymous. Continue reading

Confetti

It’s finally here.  After years of hits and misses, reminders of promises made to a dying father, a gradually receding hairline, and fielding questions as to ritual oaths and even sexuality,  he finally takes a plunge into the deep and wavy sea called Marriage.  Yes,  it’s the day he finally decides to share his last name with someone,  the day he bids adieu to his youth,  the day evening hangouts lose their place to intimate family time.

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Words & Bandages (Rejoinder To “Heartbreak Olympics”) by Jennifer Guinevre Obinna

(In case you missed “Heartbreak Olympics”, click here:
https://pensofchi.wordpress.com/2015/11/26/heartbreak-olympics/)

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Sitting across from the latest simpleton trying to
win my love, my thoughts stray to you. After the
first few minutes with this one, i know he won’t
be getting anywhere close to my heart. Then
again, who has, or at least, when last did that happen? I laugh to myself, forgetting for a
minute that i’m having dinner with Jide (or whatever his name is). He has been speaking for a
while, but I don’t get so bothered as to pay attention to lines that used to work five years ago .

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Heartbreak Olympics

(This piece is dedicated to two friends of mine, one male and one female, who just newly turned single again. Heaven bless their hearts, and I hope this helps as they undergo the healing process.)

A pub has never been the most ideal place in the world for a working class citizen to mark his lunch break in the middle of working hours, but I do that anyway. Besides, there is a reason menthol bubble gums exist to cushion the breath. The floors of my head are soaked with Ace Roots to mop off the thoughts I don’t need, while my ears are fed with tracks from Adele’s new album “25” and Coldplay’s 2014 album “Ghost Stories”. The playlist is apt, ripe for the season. Your Blackberry Message comes in; you want to find out how my day is going. Some nerve you’ve got, massaging a wound you’ve inflicted, just damn unwilling to leave the knife you lunged in! Continue reading

Strange Boots

23rd September, 2015.

The spot hurts, and not without good reason. Twice in the space of ten minutes, that corner of my head has made forcible contact with a sharp-edged portion of the bus. Not that the bus is comfortable by any standards, but there is something about this part of the bus that makes it seem like a reservoir for pain. My head was already previously aching from a long day at the slave site I call an office, so the double bump is just perfect. No, I didn’t cause the hurt myself by nodding carelessly to loud music. On the two different occasions, passengers had thought it wise to make unsolicited body contact while boarding the bus, and apparently, an apology is too much to ask for in this big city. Life is too short for that, and besides, you should understand that the one thing on every passenger’s mind is getting home, so courtesy and good manners face suspension like a country’s constitution under a military junta. I am learning. There is still a lot to catch up on around here, but I’ll be fine….  Continue reading

Sisters Not Needed

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Oron, Akwa Ibom State, 2014.

The lights in the room were turned off, but then they were not exactly needed, not this breezy late Tuesday evening. The moderate brightness from Mark’s laptop was deemed to be enough for the room, and besides, the low lighting created a cinema effect. Yes, it was another movie night in Flat C, the bubbliest flat in this lodge designated to the corps members deployed to this old town, where fish had a swollen population and ladies were fluent in the language of love. Continue reading

Heavy Fingers & Sundry

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Drab, hot Wednesday afternoon. The office case
files provide no excitement, and I am all alone,
with a wallet as flat as my slippers back home
(my tardiness that morning means no going to
court and ultimately no appearance fee), so I
look to my BBM for solace. I am not sure
however of who would be up for a chat, between
the busy ones who won’t check their phones
until 6pm, or the ones changing selfie after selfie
and updating their contacts with their life history.

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Hearts & Kilometres

30th April, 2015.

The Heart,
A Tiny Room,
Somewhere in Lagos.

Dear Kemi,

NOTICE OF SUBSISTING FONDNESS

The above subject matter refers.

So i am seated in this poorly-ventilated bus, seeing out the eight hour of what would ordinarily
have been a six-hour journey. This journey from the nation’s capital back to the South-south has
been anything but smooth. A fallen truck has forced us to take the longer route, and the scarcity
of fuel is being fully exploited by these petrol
stations on the way. The hike in price reflects on
the bus ticket, and when you spend two hours on a
queue twice as long as that which you find at the American Embassy, all because of a few litres, then
Fatigue becomes a close ally.

My music-enabled phone has gone off, and i am forced to listen to a passenger bandy words with
this middle-aged driver over the lack of a functional air-conditioner in the bus. Seated close
by is a lady with quite a mouth on her. She looks 21, but I perceive that she is a lot older. Small body frame, pretty face, firm voice….she reminds
me of a place now distant, and more importantly, she reminds me of you.

I still remember that Tuesday evening when you and the others were shipped from the NYSC
orientation camp to the lodge reserved for corps members. I had been out for most of the day and had just returned, but once
our eyes met, a conversation began, one too free-flowing for two people who had just met. Some of the male corps members tried to gain your attention, but you felt so comfortable with me, even after less than six sentences. The other ladies at the lodge would tease me that night.

I remember how you showed up the following day and asked that I take you into the town to get a
few prescription drugs. Yea, you felt safe with me like that. As Fate would have it, the skies opened its floodgates that night, and we had to take shelter in a wooden enclosure. You complained of how susceptible to cold you were, and luckily I had
my khaki jacket with me, so i gave you to wear. The rain would last for more than two hours, and
within that time interval, I would learn more than a few things about you. I would learn that you
worshipped on Fridays rather than Sundays, that you studied Mass Communication, that you just
got out of a relationship. I played the role of listener and comforter, and the weather was right
to steal a kiss, but I passed that up, not typical of me. There was also the option of convincing you to pass the night at my apartment, but I felt that such a decision would have seemed too awkward on only your first full day in this environment so new to you.

I remember how you called me up days later and together we went shopping for your household items, me playing the role of tour guide as well. You also offered to visit the following day, but I, in a bid to preserve the sanctity of my Sunday turned you down. You would eventually show up the
following weekend though, yea, that weekend where you pulled off a wonderful meal with limited
resources, and where I fought a tough internal
battle to maintain self-control. I was beginning to spend too much time with you. My other female
friends got jealous.

You soon saw through my attempts to woo you however, and contrary to my expectations, ‘no’ was
your response. I still persisted nonetheless, until the day we hung out and you got angry at a waitress. My efforts at calming you down proved abortive, and that day I saw another side of you. A hot-tempered lady is a dangerous one, and I didnt want to risk being at the receiving end of your venom someday,
so i applied the brakes. I also found out that your size belied your years, and that you were older than me, a four-year age gap at that. We still related cordially, but the level of interaction was nothing close to those first few weeks.

I see this lady here in this bus, chatting freely with everyone and being all so outspoken. I feel like
starting a conversation, but except for her long braids, all I see is you, Kemi. I don’t want to perish
from yearning for a walk with you on a cold Lagos evening, so I turn away from this human reminder and seek solace in Chimamanda’s novel
“Americanah”. The thoughts adamantly refuse to clear away, and as the Sun goes to bed on these lonely roads, I want to bring to your notice that I won’t forget those eyes or that voice, that I am still fond of you, that i sorely miss you.

Sincerely,
Me.