Monday, June 27, 2011

Seven Days...

That's how long my friend Chuka has been gone...
And since then I have tried to write a beautiful piece about him
to tell everyone just how wonderful he is, how wonderful he was
And every time I started to write, the tears came
Even now...
But something has to be said:

He was one of the best friends I ever had
He shared my joys, my pain, my journey through life
And I still cannot believe that he is gone
I know it is selfish but I keep asking God,
"Who is going to be my best friend now?"

I think about the dreams he had, dreams we had
And my heart breaks again,
my chest even hurts sometimes.
But then I think about the life he lived, the life we lived together
Those first days in Jos, getting to know him
My last few months in Nigeria, wishing I wasn't leaving
Four years I was away, keeping in touch like life depended on it
Our breakup, Our makeup
Last December, so much joy at seeing him
January, the hurt of saying goodbye again
Last Sunday, wishing him a great wedding weekend...

I miss him. So much.
I wish I could find the words to express how much I miss him.
Maybe in another Seven Days.
Rest in Peace, Dark Angel
I love you, always.

Friday, June 17, 2011

I'm Saving It!!

Anike:
All the lights are blazing. Bedroom, Bathroom, Closet, Hallway.
Shut it Down by Drake is playing on repeat in the background.
Her whole wardrobe is strewn on the floor, on the bed, on every surface that's safe for clothes.
It's date night.
Her sister is perched on the far corner of the bed, eyeing the commotion with a bit of bewilderment, and looking at Anike with a mix of suspicion and envy. "This one you're glowing and buzzing with excitement like this...."
Anike stops applying her cherry-red lipstick midway and looks at her, "Why shouldn't I be excited? It's gonna be a great night!" She giggles and shimmies and does a little twirl to the song, frowns at the lipstick in her mirror-reflection and wipes it off to replace it with clear lipgloss. "You can't kiss properly with lipstick," she explains to her audience and her sister huffs and looks away. But not before she mumbles "Just don't do anything you will regret... It's obvious you really like this one"
"It's just a date, and maybe we'll hang out at his place afterwards and, umm, you know? Nothing serious, he KNOWS."
"I'm just saying. Be careful," her sister retorts. "That's all." 
Anike sighs and sits down, somber for only a minute. She gets this from everyone: her sister, her friends. As soon as she gets excited about a new man in her life the worries surface again, seeming like everyone else is on edge and trying to protect her from herself. But she knows what she's doing, what she has been doing for 23 years.....

Yvonne:
In her mind she's thinking (Oh my gosh, when did my bra get on top of the coffee-table?!!!)
But her hands are running up and down his back, touching him everywhere else too. She's kissing him back ardently, moaning every time his touch grazes her nipples and when *gasp* he. kisses *oh* her. right. there *hmmm* somewhere. between. her. navel. and. her. hipbone. And when he goes even lower, his lips leading the way for his experienced, wicked tongue, she bolts right up from the couch. "We should, erm, we- we should slow down" (Oh shit! shit!) He's half-kneeling on the couch now, arms akimbo. He looks at her with a slight frown, looks down at her hand pointedly, then back up with a raised eyebrow and a smirk. "Oh sorry, sorry!" She stammers and blushes red as she snatches her hand from his penis like its hot steel, and then she reaches out again to put it back in the folds of his boxer shorts: a very uncomfortable task because he's suddenly much bigger than when she got him out. (Stupid! Stupid, stupid Yvonne!!) She can't look him in the eyes now, so she wrings her hands with a mortified look on her face hoping the ground opens up and swallows her whole. She hears him smile (isn't that crazy how she's so in tune with him) before he reaches down and lifts her chin up so she's looking into his clear gray eyes. 
"Yvonne. Sweetheart, did I do something wrong?" he asks in that patient, deep voice that melts her every time, almost a whisper.
"No, not- not at all. I just, erm, just want to take it slow. This time" She bites her lower lip, a reflex action. He smiles and places a butterfly kiss right there. (Oh my God, I'm in so much trouble!) He suddenly jumps up, grabs her hand and tugs her up. "Come, I want to show you something. I have a surprise for you, in the bedroom." She followed him, and her only thought as they walked was that the whole apartment was lit up with candles and she absolutely loved this John Legend song flowing out of the speakers. One hour later she was sitting downstairs in her car, heart pounding, a new Michael Kors watch in the passenger seat next to her, waiting for a response to her text message from her frustrated boyfriend. Her message said "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry." 
In her mind she's thinking (Saved! Again! Thank you Jesus!)

Hadiza:
Nobody knows about The Rape. It's even hard to call it a rape, because there was some consent. Not to everything, just some things. And then he had gotten too insistent and she didn't want to fight it even though she didn't really want it. She had said NO, but then she had enjoyed it. How do you call that Rape? She knew that it must never happen again, it is forbidden. And while it was hard, she made the decision to keep herself away from men completely. No one understands it. She hears all the time "How can a pretty, smart, decent girl like you still be single?" "Hadiza, gaskiya it's been too many years that you have been single. Won't you pick one of these guys that keep toasting you? They're all good men." "Or are you a lesbian now?" "What is your problem?" "Do you think you're too good for me?"
How you explain to them that this is life or death? And the only way you can avoid death is to avoid them all, at all cost? Boyfriends lead to trouble...

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
There is a world of people out there, men and women, who have several different reasons for holding on to the almost elusive concept of celibacy. For some of the people I have talked to, it's a new thing they're trying, just some part of their lives they want to control in this crazy world we find ourselves in. For others, it is a lifelong journey of holding on to something they perceive as sacred. Other people find it is a choice that they have been given, the cause of it fear or past hurt or mistakes that have been made. And the lines are seriously blurred. Everyone defines it differently and there are many different boundaries that people involved set for themselves. My favorite quote on the subject, "I'm a virgin, but they probably don't think so in Heaven." And just as with every lifestyle choice that people around us make, we all have an opinion about it. What's the big deal? Does this make them think they're better than everybody else? What is wrong with them? They must have a problem, a defect somewhere, a lack of opportunity. But as a friend told me last Sunday, "It's a CHOICE. If I am not asking you to deal with it by being in a relationship with me, it really isn't any of your business". And here I rest my case.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Last Call: Forgiveness

It's one of life's funny twists that has me writing this right after I wrote Closure. That was random, this is my life, today....


In the past, when I have decided that someone would no longer be a part of my life I have been able to make a clean break from them. But, the time it took to make that break is something that no one else has been able to understand. Sometimes, it takes oh so long that some of my present relationships begin to suffer, simply because other people cannot understand why I am still sticking around. But the reason is simple: When it happens, I want to be sure. 100 percent. I never want to leave with any doubts about whether or not a person should be in my life, and I always ALWAYS leave room for forgiveness.

Jesus told Peter in Matthew 18: 21-23 to forgive his brother/sister who was guilty of any offense 70 x 7 times (that's 490) for sinning against him. That is a lot of forgiveness. I don't know how I can allow anyone to hurt me up to 50 times and forgive them over and over and still have a heart left. And with all the different relationships in my life, it seems like an exercise in craziness, this forgiveness thing. I know it is very hard, and it is not the brand of forgiveness most of us practice, because how can someone hurt you more than once (up to 490 times, btw) if we claim to forgive them but never speak with them or deal with them ever again.

But I digress from my main thoughts this morning: the reference to the Bible came up because as I contemplated cutting someone out of my life last night, a third party "used God to beg me". And because of this little reminder I am torn. We all get to that point where we are absolutely done, where there are no reasons to hold on to a friendship or relationship because the other party has taken us for granted and shown by their words or actions that our feelings mean little or nothing to them. And this is where I am today. Today, I am ready to throw in the towel and keep things moving. I have all my retorts polished and ready "Life is too short to waste on one person" "I'm not stupid enough to continue to let this happen" "I cannot keep watching my back because it is hard to trust them now" "I am tired of always forgiving the same old sins" and many more.

But I have not forgiven Four Hundred and Ninety times, not even close... ♥♡

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Closure

I do not know what this word means.
The concept? Even more alien.

They tell me it is the thing to do when a relationship ends:
you call the other party up,
you ask questions about everything that's bugging you,
you get answers,
you're satisfied or at least enlightened,
then you go home and you are able to sleep at night again.

Alien concept.

I once tried it, you know,
the whole nine yards.
All I really wanted to know was "Why?"
But just like the Great curious ones,
one question led to another and another,
until I was cut open again,
to bleed out of all my perfectly disguised scars, again.

So now when I say goodbye to someone in my heart, I do ask.
I ask myself why: why would I let them hurt me again?
What else could I possibly need to know that would make me feel better?
Does it matter why he 'forgot' my birthday three years in a row?
Is there any good reason that she could give for telling those hurtful lies about me?
Can he take back that one night with another woman with words?
Will a thousand apologies make things better?

I will admit that sometimes it means something (a lot) just to hear them say "I'm sorry", but even that is hardly ever enough. To find closure, I know I have to look inside of me. Because no matter what anyone else says or does, I am responsible for my pain. I have to find it within myself to forgive myself, and forgive them and shut the door; not with an angry bang, but with the silent but sure click of finality. At times I get lazy, and in a bid to prolong what I must do for myself I seek the answers in someone else, hoping that somehow they will say or do something that will set me free and make the bad feelings go away. But who am I kidding...

And will I ever really get closure? A part of me knows that these perfectly disguised scars will always be there: invisible to you but just a bit tight right where it hurts. Where is the closure in that?

Closure. (n) an often comforting or satisfying sense of finality
xxx


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Bibánké

I remember the exact moment I fell in love,
the last time I was in love.
It was a nice fall evening,
I don't know what day of the week.
I remember we were taking a drive 
somewhere around the city, 
Asa's song came up on the radio, 
and he started to sing. 
This was one of those rare moments that 
he was completely himself,
living in the moment and not being so 'cool'. 
I think it really helped that he could hold a note too...
But for the first time, I really saw him.
And I swear my heart shifted a little bit
And just like that, I was in love.
The rest, they say, is history

I never thought about this before, but Asa popped up on the playlist this morning and the memories came pouring back.
The End.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

I ♥ U

3 words.
8 letters.
A world of meaning.
The beginning.
The end.

A lot of things in the real world confuse me (this is the real origin of my dizzydami  pseudonym, btw). Lately, I have been thinking about the big deal everyone makes about saying "I love you". There's so much protocol attached, in my opinion, to something that should be one of the easiest things in the world to do...

Who says it first?
How soon can you say it?
Who can you say it to?
Should you say it back?
What if they don't say it back?
How should you act after you say it?
Like I said, protocol(s)

Yesterday, I picked a couple of random friends and told them in very simple words, I Love You. The reactions ranged from nervous, awkward acceptance to dismissal to disbelief to shock to serious conversations and grave declarations of undying love. To some, I had to explain and issue serious reassurances that I wasn't picking baby names or trying to become the next Mrs. Dude. I was simply telling the people in my life who matter to me right now, that I loved them. Plain and simple... or maybe not.

This is how I sees it:
Love is so multidimensional that none of us have been able to really define it. But for some reason it seems we have limited it to a romantic concept, a weapon between the sexes, something that determines the balance of power in a relationship. But that's bullshit (pardonnez mon français). Saying I love you cannot be that complicated. It does not make you weak, and it should not be a tool to elicit any obligations from the person you say it to. Its quite simple. Three words that tell someone that today, right now, they have a place in your heart. Whether or not it means you cannot live without them (or their famous jerk chicken recipe) or that you will catch grenades and jump in front of speeding trains for them depends on you; and expressing that in real words that they can understand is very important.

I once dated a guy who struggled for weeks to say those words. After a while I started to tally the number of times he said "I Love...." and was never able to complete the phrase. It was all so comical to me, because I said it all the time not caring whether or not he was able to force the words out of his throat. I think the fact that he was so afraid to say it even made me love him a little more (I'm weird like that). But the real tragedy was, even when he did the most horrible things that hurt me, his response to my accusing tears was "But I love you" like the words were a magic balm, a priceless gift that fixed everything, as if just saying those words was the most important thing in the world. Ironically, those were his last words to me, but that's another story.

All I'm trying to say today is, I think that if you love somebody, for any reason, you should just go ahead and tell them. Sure, some people will take it to mean you have enslaved your soul to theirs, but that's really their problem. It saddens me that people, even within very close families, find it hard to express the most basic feelings of love for one another (unless it's a funeral, of course).

Why should you wait until it's too late....?

~ P.S. I LOVE U ~

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Strange Bedfellows

There she was. The most beautiful woman I had ever seen.
She was at my door, saying Yes...


I remember meeting her for the first time. She was so beautiful, I was dumbstruck at the sight of her. I barely heard my best friend, Tunde, mutter to me under his breath "PJ, pick your jaw off the floor and say hello to my woman...” Tunde had spoken about her endlessly for weeks, and even though I had vowed not to get involved in his numerous brief affairs, I started to take him seriously. I mean, Tunde was gushing about this girl, I had to meet her.


I have been Tunde’s unofficial wingman since our early days in Law School, and many years later it is still not an easy job. Not because he has any trouble getting the girl; Tunde’s preying prowess is legendary and he has never needed me as his right hand. My job usually begins when he’s done with them; I’m the best friend, the one who should know what they did wrong and how they can fix it, who knows the secrets to keeping his attention; sometimes they blame me for wanting him to myself and turning him against them, and after being caught in the middle one too many times, I refused to meet any of his 'temporary girlfriends'. But he insisted that Shalewa was different, and at one time even hinted that she could be The One.


That first night I met her, I was sold. She was everything any man could want. Beautiful, smart, just a little naughty and very confident, every girl in the room at our favorite hangout paled in comparison, every other girl Tunde ever dated really. They were so happy together, and when I asked her what an angel like her was doing with a devil like Tunde, she said “Love finds us where we least expect it,” like that summed it all up. I congratulated him; he had definitely found a keeper. And I wisely kept my confusing, growing attraction to her a secret. It was weird, Tunde and I are never attracted to the same type of people.


But their fairytale was not to last. A few months later Tunde was up to his old tricks again. And Shalewa turned to me. It was another heart to patch up and send away, but this time I did not mind one bit. I seized my opportunity to get close to her and got to know her. Up close, she was even more amazing than I had thought. And against all the rules, I persuaded Tunde to give the relationship another shot. But he wasn’t having it; his reason was “She’s too perfect. I can’t stand those innocent eyes judging me every time I dare to do something human”. Classic Tunde. It was either the girl was not good enough, or she was too good for him…


A few weeks ago I saw her at a friend’s party and convinced her to ditch the party and grab drinks with me. It was the alcohol that did it: one minute we were sitting at the bar, just two friends talking about old times, and the next we were on my couch and she was pouring out her heart to me. It was like old times really, she always said I was easy to talk to. But this time I did not just listen. While she was telling me how every man she had been with had selfishly tried to mold her, I was staring at her lush lips…


“I want to kiss you so badly”
The words were out before the thought formed itself in my head. She laughed. Just a soft, disbelieving laugh, like you would politely laugh at a bad joke told by your boss’ wife. But then she looked at my face, and I could sense her bewilderment.
“Why?” she asked softly.
I told her. When you’re in love with someone, you see everything about them and I saw everything about Shalewa. I told her how I love her sense of humor, how laughing at herself only made her more beautiful in my eyes. I love how her eyes sparkle when she faces a challenge, whether it was a game of charades or suggesting a new restaurant for dinner to Tunde and I. I love how honest she is, how she never makes excuses and how she always puts others first. I love that dimple that only shows up when she’s thinking up some mischief, and the graceful way she moves. I love how she accepted me as a friend and never thought to punish me for Tunde’s actions, and how easy it is to talk to her about how much I love her.
And then I tried to kiss her.
She was off the couch in a split second.
“We can’t do this PJ. I like you too, a lot, but Tunde is still a factor and I know I’m not ready for this.” 
She said that last word with all the emphasis she could muster. I knew I was asking her to take a huge step, but I pretended I was too drunk to notice. I turned on the charm -Tunde was a good example after all- and told her all the reasons she would want to be with me. She knew, and I knew that Tunde would not be the least bit interested, and as I sensed her hesitation I moved in for the kill. She wanted me too; she just couldn’t convince herself that it was right. And as she walked away from my couch and my life, I implored her to think about it one more time. “Love finds us where we least expect it, remember?”


Two hours later I was jarred from sad sleep by the insistent ringing of the doorbell. My first thought was "Tunde". She told him, and he was here to raise hell. I opened the door to find Shalewa standing there, an uncertain half-smile on her face.
“I have been in my car, thinking.”
I tried to respond to her but no words came out.
“Tunde never noticed my dimple, you know? Not in six months.”
Still nothing. She sighed.
“If it’s okay with you, I just want to be held tonight”


I was still speechless but I opened the door wider for her to come in and before I knew it was coming she kissed me. It was amazing. I kissed her back with all the pent up longing I had and as I started to nibble my way down her creamy neck I heard her muffled question.
“What?”
“I said ‘how long have you known’?”
“Known what?”
“That you were a lesbian. I would never have guessed”
I smiled and went right back to kissing her neck. No point telling her she was my first. I wondered for a brief second how this would look to my long-term boyfriend who was all the way in Europe, and if I would ever tell him. And then I focused on Shalewa…


-Pelumi J. O, Esq.