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 🙂