Friday, July 25, 2008
Sensing the humour behind the question, I had laughed and asked "What is it again?" because she had only just outlined the most ridiculous plan ever to find herself a husband.
"It is these two rats here," she replied hissing, "they are fighting in front of me..."
I had imagined her facial expression, the two tiny things oblivious to their audience and started to chuckle.
"Chase them away naa." I had suggested.
"Ehn, me?" she must have shaken her head because there had been the sound of movement against the phone, "Noooo, before the vex and bite me. You remember what happened to Sylvia when she said the rat in her house threw something at her from on top of the cupboard when she was chasing it?"
So, that was why when I saw the two squirrels hurtling down the steep incline of landscaping near the road, I did not move to stop them; ask them to slow down or point out that it was rush hour and that cars were speeding down the street.
I looked away only for a moment and that was all it took for one of them to launch itself on the street in a bid to get to the other side where the trees were plentiful and filled with nuts and unripe fruit for their possibly famished bellies. It happened so fast. It probably never saw the grey Toyota Corolla coming and I am sure neither did its driver see Brown Squirrel Number II.
It was an excruciating two minutes watching helplessly as the tiny form struggled to hold on to this incarnation, its tiny limbs thrusting out rapidly and furiously in the air as if to grab at the tiny thread that was life itself. What could I do? Nothing. Though not a fan of the pesky critters and always the first to complain how the laws in this country prevented me from indulging myself in some fresh bush meat stew, I still was not hardened in the face of pain.
So, I said to it, "Let Go. Move on. You are done here. May The Blessings Be." And meant it. I hoped it had learned all the lessons it needed to afford it a return into a higher state of consciousness and that it realised that the use of speed while moving should be in combination with caution and good vision.
It must have either heard me, realised what I had said was true or both because its limbs slowed to a still certainty. It had crossed over. Painfully, but over nonetheless.
I looked to see if Brown Squirrel Number I was somehow standing at the roadside, his/her hat in hand mourning the vicious and abrupt passing of their comrade. There was nothing there. God knew what He was doing when He made souls at all different levels. For them, it was all about survival of the fittest.
My bus arrived and I too moved on.
Sunday, July 20, 2008
"Thank you for coming." he says to her. They are looking into each other's eyes and she is trying not to blink. The words sound to her like she imagines they would if he were talking to one of his clients at the office. She does not respond. She neither wants to be there under the circumstances nor is she about to make the whole process easy for him. She is pissed and a whole lot at him.
He sighs. Then he rubs his eyes. They look tired. She mentally chides herself for filling sorry for him. She wants him to feel as bad and as hurt as she is. He senses her coldness and the weight of it make his shoulders sag. He is upset with himself that he is the result of her pain.
"How have you been?" he asks, then wonders what he expects her to say. She does not disappoint.
"How do you think I feel?" her retort is sharp and swift.
He tenses. She is spoiling for a fight and he refuses to give her one. First, there is no reason to fight and second, they are in a public place.
"This is not where I expected to be. You must understand that." he tells her.
"I should know," she replies sarcasm drenching her words and bringing her upper lip up in an unpleasant snarl, "I am supposed to be on my honeymoon." She pauses and touches her finger to the lip as though in thought, "but no, no, my fiancee has broken it off to go be with his..."
"Be careful" he warns, the tone of his voice sending a chill down her spine and bringing tears to her eyes. He never would have spoken to her like this in the past. Now...
He sees he has shaken her and is immediately contrite. He reaches for her right hand that she has placed on the table beside her untouched glass of water.
"Barbara, I am sorry..."
She shakes her head and pulls her hand away to reach in her purse for her handkerchief. She needs to stop the tears and buy herself time for composure. He realises that some of the other patrons in the restaurant are beginning to stare at their table. Most of them are staring at him in accusation; especially the women. They seem to all know that he is responsible for her distress. He sits back in his chair and looks at the table setting before him.
"I only came because it seemed like no one was going to leave me alone until I did." she says finally. Her voice is no longer as strong or as bitter. Now, she too is showing her fatigue. It has been a long day and a long year for both of them.
"I never got a chance to say how sorry I was. I promise you that I never betrayed the relationship the way you always imagined...."
"I know that you never slept with her." she tells him.
This is news to him and it shows on his face. "Then why...?"
"It is not only through sex that one betrays a relationship. No, you never cheated on me physically but yes, you betrayed me. Because every moment that I thought I was sharing my life with you, you were sharing yours with someone else. What I don't understand is why you played along until the very end. You would have married me, wouldn't you, had I not called it off?"
He does not answer and instead looks at his hands.
"How is she?" she asks. He thinks about how she is and a small smile comes to his lips. Barbara sees it and a little part of her dies an abrupt and painful death. It takes all of her not to gasp out in pain. Instead, she channels all her energy into maintaining a fixed mask of tired indifference.
"She is doing great. She sends her regards. She would have come..."
Barbara knows that too as well as why she didn't. She knows that Khaltoume does not need to come to speak with her because she already has. It was that conversation that has propelled her to meet with Martin in this restaurant overlooking the lagoon.
"I am not sorry I love him or that he loves me. I am only sorry that our doing so is causing you pain. We never planned it or even worked to make it happen. It just did. It is okay if you never forgive me but you must forgive him because he fought to stay with you for as long as he could." Khaltoume had said.
To Barbara, that statement makes no sense at all. All she knows is that her boyfriend of three years and fiancee of one is now married to her daughter.
Monday, July 14, 2008
I speak my mother tongue, read and write it well.
I can transition between the crudest of accents and hold a convo in pidgin.
I love that I can balance a tray on my head and roll up a scarf to support it.
I always gather the folds of my bubu under my pits and tilt my head tie to the side.
I can dance the yahoozee, galala and s-wooo very well
I have thighs strengthened from gripping to the sides of okada for long periods of time as well as....
I have a nose piercing
I snap my gum when i chew
I would rather eat at mama-put any day
I talk loudly all the time and I don't care...
I speak my mind as long as I know I can 1) handle the consequences, 2) I can beat up any one who objects and 3) my house is not too far if 1&2 don't apply
I sometimes go for lunch at Mama Beatrice, the woman who roasts corn, yam and plantains on my estate
I lace and gele is a necessity for every woman.
I wear huge costume gold jewelry
I have about three Alhajas in my family and they all sell fabric, have gold teeth, wear fake lashes and drink stout.
I am razz jare. No long thing.