The Irish River

 

The little boy was confused, you see, there was a river that flowed right through his village, he was confused because one day he had walked the length of the river and the water seemed to be going nowhere, flowing but it remained stagnant.

So he met the oldest wisest man in the village and asked him why this was so. The Epa said to him, my son the water flows downhill and right into its salty older sister and together they flow into their Saltier parents. Eventually, she finds her way home, exactly as she left it, not even a grain saltier.

The little boy was not satisfied, “I know what I must do”, he said. And he did. He took a stone and placed it in the water and let it flow with her and then he waited.

He waited and waited.

The pendulum swung.

The quartz vibrated.

Dusk turned to dawn.

At last, the stone came back.

The stone came back, it looked exactly as it did when the little boy placed it in the river, only, more.

The stone had been weathered and cured by the river, its edges had been beaten smooth.

The river, not a grain saltier.

 

Two things really happened to me this year; my mother stopped dyeing her hair black and my brother grew hair, beneath his nose, on  his upper lip, where excretion and the cohesive forces of water molecules make sweat beads on a hot day, right there.

Obviously a lot of other things happened to me; arthritis, and then depression-the type that comes from chemical imbalance/ a lack of will to live and not, without disparaging the type that happens after a romantic break up/sudden unemployment/a failed exam/an empty bank account etc. Diseases I’m going to have to manage for the rest of my life even though I’m just in my early twenties.

I made a huge career choice (change), slept with a few people e.t.c but yes, Mumsy deciding to let her grey tendrils flourish and my baby brother’s strands really do not have any competition.

It was a persevering ritual of ours, under the revealing glare of the fluorescent bulb, every Sunday, we would stain every unnatural strand of grey hair, we would toil relentlessly as we artificially turned back time.

My mother started growing inappropriate grey hair at age 10. Weird, prematurely grey, she became a spectacle. Edede, they called her. She was often stared at in those formative years and so, ingeniously, she started to dye her hair black and then I was born.

After our Sunday rice, we would chemically alter the colour of her hair. She would get out the chemicals and the brush and the mirror and the gloves, I would get out my glasses and my determination and my sheer will and we would tackle those alien strands. This ritual was dependable, as dependable as the oscillating pendulum, as day and night, as the vibrating quartz.

Your tweet was sent 10 secs ago.

You were last seen on social media three mins ago.

Your download will be completed in 50 minutes.

That meeting/class/e.t.c lasted two hours.

Moon reader says you’ll finish this book in 16 hours.

It is four days till the weekend.

Your favorite TV show won’t air till next week.

You aren’t going to be paid till the end of the month.

The next marvel movie will be out in six-right  months.

Your birthday is next year.

My birthday is April 22nd and my brother’s is April 20th, every year on the 21st of April, we celebrate our birthdays. We celebrate our birthdays so selfishly; if we bought a cake, we ate all of it by ourselves, if we went out, it was just the two of us. I look forward to this non-birthday, it is such a special day, mostly because my brother is really the best turn up partner. He is usually down for just about anything, his laugh always starts off my laughter and he makes me look cute mostly because he is really cute. Birds of a feather and all.

For a few years now, we have been celebrating our birthdays the same way, we’ll get a few bottles of wine-I give my underage brother wine to drink under the pretense that it is the “classy” and “cultured” thing (yes, I actually said this out loud when my mother queried me)  and not because my drunk brother dancing is just freaking hilarious – and plenty of fried chicken (Fried Beef or Turkey for me, I don’t eat chicken)and we would get stupid drunk and have a dance party. Just the two of us. Four left feet and all, we would dance, drink and stop everyone else from dancing with us on our non-birthday as we turn a year older.

The synonym for LITERALLY is FIGURATIVELY.
A synonym for RETARDATION is DECELERATION.

You really only notice time’s passage through milestones and events, now when milestones get messed up by a freak accident; say an extra chromosome for example, time sort of takes a different meaning and you don’t even notice it.

There are obvious milestones, in our times, we have; birth, first tooth, first steps, creche, nursery, primary school etc. If you are able to read this, chances are you went through these milestones and being a certain age (range of ages) is often a side effect of reaching said milestones.

Long before grey hair meant old age, it meant a certain Sunday night tradition for mumsy and I and long before birthdays meant merriment and an increment in the number of years you’ve spent alive, it was an event that evoked dread and nail-biting as it approached.

Dread and nail-biting; for some reason my brother won the lottery and his prize was a tiny little extra chromosome. This chromosome will go on to become quite an inconvenience with the whole “age and milestones” tallying thing the entire world seems obsessed with. I mean, a birthday will be approaching and o’boy has not started to talk or another birthday will be approaching and oga still cannot wear his shirt by himself, even though his mates are well into their primary school. At first, it was stressful because “hey, isn’t your brother supposed to be…?” questions were getting a little annoying and the “mind your f$&*#%! business” answers were apparently very rude. Then it got less stressful when people started to guess his age wrongly and I went with it because it was better than being “rude”.

Time and tide and tax and Peter Pan wasn’t growing “old” and by virtue of birthday proximity, neither was I. The 21st day of April every year would come and we would mirth and party without the icky stigma and pressure of a birthday.
Every year until this one; twenty-fifteen (2015). This year, for the first time, my brother’s age and milestone tallied: my baby brother grew a mustache. Time respected my brother’s development’s pace until we got comfortable enough to pretend he was invincible to time and then she went and made the biggest statement – which sounded like a “haha f&$* you”- by giving him appropriate facial hair.

So, my mother after living so long with inappropriate hair, thinking that she had conclusively conquered time, put away the chemicals and the brush and the mirror and the gloves, and she let her grey tendrils be. Then comically, she had to bring out the chemicals and the spatula and the gloves and I had to bring out my glasses and my determination and my sheer fucking will as we tried to combat time. Again. This time it was eliminating the appropriate strands on my brother’s face.

All forms of “politically correct” words and phrases are a form of censorship.

Maybe it’s sibling’s guilt, empathy or a compulsory camaraderie imposed by genetics, for some reason, I subconsciously tied my senescence with my brother’s and since my brother wasn’t ageing, a priori, I wasn’t either.

I’m not pretentious enough to say I had an existential crisis but this year I came out of the river.

The pendulum was swinging and the quartz was vibrating and like clockwork, dusk kept turning into dawn and it didn’t look like it, but the river flowed and I had gotten beaten by her.

Basically, the phrase “Shit, I’m getting old” became a little too real for me after all these years of Peter Pan-ing up and down.

=====================

Why do I think this took quite an effort to write? Where were you when you wrote this post?

Readers, where were you when you read it? Comments welcome below please. See you tomorrow at 9 am 🙂

Ehi Enabs

I like stories; reading them, I like watching them and listening to them.

37 Comments

  • Enajyte says:

    At my office, just waiting for 6pm so I can leave (internet has been sucky all day).

    I know I should say something appropriate but all that comes to mind is ‘Oh my God, this girl can write’.

    Uncle Efe, easy reading is difficult writing. I rarely come across writing like this.

    Ehi, you’re a brave person. I pray you always find the strength you need.

    And if you ever decide to do this writing business (if you’re not in it already), I’ll be more than happy to edit for you.

  • Tobi says:

    Words fail me… I am sorta, kinda lost…. in the words… the expressions and the year… I won’t say much…
    to growth, change and time…
    Thanks for sharing this with us..

  • Clarion says:

    It’s 5:47, I’m standing over the stove trying to make a late lunch. I’m reading this on my phone as I walk around the kitchen. I feel like I have just read something profound, without actually ‘knowing’ much. I sense that it was difficult to write, but as you wrote/typed the words flowed, much like the same river you wrote of. Life, huh? It is well dear, I wish you a better 2016.

  • Ola says:

    This got me wowing. Girl, you are good.

  • Abiola says:

    On way home….I can only imagine what it took for this to be written, I could read your writings all day……there is no good enough word to describe this. Keeping living……

  • edgothboy says:

    Youre amazing. You inspire me.

  • Jvmoke says:

    Hmmn.

  • Ehi Enabs says:

    And to answer Baba Blue’s question, I don’t know I it took an effort to write, maybe it did, maybe it didn’t. I literally do not know.
    I was sitting on my bathroom floor waiting for my deep conditioning to set in (this natural hair life) so I could wash my hair and shower.

  • Ehi Enabs says:

    And to answer Baba Blue’s question, I don’t know if it took an effort to write, maybe it did, maybe it didn’t. I literally do not know.
    I was sitting on my bathroom floor waiting for my deep conditioning to set in (this natural hair life) so I could wash my hair and shower.

  • Ajufo Gavra says:

    It’s 7:52 just right after a proper Saturday morning devotion. I started reading, and it made me sit down, read and smile. When I was done “This is undoubtedly Nabs’, and she’s even better” popped in my head. You really are an inspiration, you’ve always been. I hope your ascent never stops.

  • Amanda says:

    As the (self-appointed) mother of this group, I don’t usually like to comment, but I have to pipe up here because this was oh-so-good. I can’t even tell you.

  • Sharon says:

    Sigh. May God give you strength for the times ahead.

  • Grey says:

    Ehi, I intend to read more of you (and/or your writing) this coming year. You write so good, it’s ridiculous. Unfortunately, “Ehi decides to write” is not predicated on “I intend to read”, but I sincerely hope you do decide to write more. Here’s to a great year ahead for you buddy. Cheers.

    *raises Ribena bottle*

  • Abigail says:

    And I read this thinking the writer was a guy until I started looking at the comments. I hope to write like this writer ehen I grow up and I’m not even joking. I’m adequately confused. Let me go sit on the toilet seat for a few.

  • spacyzuma says:

    First time I read this was yesterday night…
    I’ve slept over it, and I’m about to start it again.

    Ehi, your writing is unique.

  • spacyzuma says:

    I’ve read it again. This time, I turned off distractions (muted my phones and phones, paused my music).

    I’m soberly reflecting now. Thinking of your life experiences outlined here. Thinking about mine. Thinking about what I’m currently going through.

    Kudos Ehi. This is an amazing article. It made me pause and reflect. Again, your style of writing is unique. I hope you emerge from your travails, and push forward to make the most of life.

    Life and time screws us all in some way. Even though Life fairer to some than to others, it’s up to each and everyone to make the most of it while still breathing.

    Cheers.

    • spacyzuma says:

      When I read it this 2nd time, I was on my bed again, but sitting up and eating a late cereal breakfast. Radiator turned off.

  • Lucia says:

    I ran out of data so I bookmarked till today. This was really beautiful Ehi. Have a wonderful 2016.

  • Naro says:

    How I wish i could tell everyone (including those who want to write like you when they grow up) how much work you put in to get to this place you are, where you can just sit down on the bathroom floor and create magic with words. There’s talent, a little of it, but most importantly, there’s the result of all your hard work (you guys have no idea how much HARD WORK im talking about) + the unavoidable madness that came with it. I’m so proud of you Ehi…. mwah

  • Bishopade says:

    Sometimes when we read, we get lost in the words and sort of walk in the writers shoes, see from the writer’s view and feel as though we are one with the writer.

    Your words; deep.

    Thank you.

  • Timi says:

    It’s 18:55pm, I am lying down on my bed with my body aching all over and as I read this post, I kept wondering if it was written by a guy or girl. I concluded it was written by a guy. I was wrong. Kudos for telling us a lot and at the same time not telling us much (I hope this makes sense)

    • Ehi Enabs says:

      LMAO. How do I write like a guy? How do guys write? How can you tell the difference?

      • Haze says:

        I almost did conclude it was written by a guy till I thought for a second… hardly will any guy be consistent in partaking in a mother’s hair dyeing.
        You did quite reve much, love love balance. Beautifully written.

  • Tolu says:

    Read this in bed at 5.40am, one of the few days I don’t get to rush out at 5. 15am to the Island (relief!)
    I almost skipped this, then I stopped. I don’t do much writing but this is awesome! I’m wondering if I’ll ever be able to use words the way you have.
    Have a great 2016 girl! (well, now that some other comments have confirmed you’s not a dude)

  • Nenye says:

    Ehi ❤️ Age sneaks up on us really! You write really really well. I’m usually too lazy to read these stories. But this one was special.

  • Apsel says:

    Honestly, till I started reading the comments of others, I thought you were a guy – Dancing in high spirit with your little brother misled me. (How stereotype of me huh? Lol)

    Anyways, I really like your writing style. Hope you write a lot more. Please do share your collections (if you have any).

    Do have a great 2016 with less Peter pan-ing up and down.

  • Isioma says:

    It sure took an effort to write. I’m at my desk, doing anything but my actual ppt campaign plan because i’m too scared to open it…I don’t know why. So I am bidding time, hoping courage will come soon.

    I like how you use words,, it is the more reason why I say the mind is beautiful. Your writing style is colourful. I can see the things you talk about and feel the emotions, in my own way though, but I feel it still.

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