Editor’s note: the post formatting has been retained due to the writer’s preference. Enjoy!
i was with my sister in her room and she was telling me about campus life. i was still in secondary school and was fascinated by it all.
‘there’s this lecturer in my class that knows book. he is iwe. he made first class, and when he finished, he went to work in the bank. but he resigned after even though they were giving him plenty money. he said all he was dealing with was paper, paper, paper.’
‘what is first class?’
‘it means everything is complete’
for some reason, that day, i felt i would like to make a first class and actually get employed by a bank but i would stay cos i like money.
i made a first class when i got admitted into the university and actually got to work with access bank but i left.
i was 16, in sss3, and filling my year book.
‘what is your ambition?’, it asked.
‘writer’, i wrote.
i was 25, celebrating my birthday in n-tyze karaoke club and lounge. in my hand was the proof copy of my first book, sixty percent of a true story (available at terra kulture and konga).
i have always had goals. i have always achieved them, and the price for that is that my life has always been a race.
‘i am tired. you are always consumed with one thing and it makes you neglect us. and i feel when you get it, we are going to be happy but you get it and come up with another goal and the process starts again’
that was O, complaining about how our relationship had not been a relationship cos i was always about the next big thing but that’s the only life i know, that’s what i love; writing things down and going after them.
at the end of 2016, i lost a friend.
in 2017, i lived.
i made love in the forest as i hiked to the seventh level of the olumirin waterfall, erin ijesha. ‘you know you could hold this tree and we’ll…’
i got into a cab with 6 marvelous people and partied till dawn in nairobi.
i was in a tent in chilly rwanda overlooking the lake kivu and four of us, despite the warnings of the park owners, huddled into a tent and smoked so much that our faces became blurry.
i ate ribs and sabana gold sauce in an open air restaurant in gisenyi and laughed loudly. we ordered more plates than were necessary and people stumbled into rooms unmindful of who last night’s partners were.
I spent time in a monastery and asked a father questions about life and death. i asked if I could return and he told me ‘nous prions pour’.
i met a caveman who had lived beside a waterfall for seven years with his adopted daughter. i swam naked in his waterfall.
i lived in beach resorts and slept to the sound of crashing waves.
i attended a literary festival and got transported in time.
i joined a dance class and picked up yoga. i washed my dog and said my prayers. i planted seeds and crushed lemongrass. i listened to my inner voice and stilled the rage, i tried to.
‘i think we should have a baby’
‘when are you going back to school?
‘why didn’t you take that job offer?’
‘are you having fun?’
it is december 12 and i just turned 28. earlier in the day, we had lay staring at the ceiling.
‘happy birthday dear’
i am not a fan of birthdays so we can’t talk about it too much. we walk out to the rooftop of the monastery for a smoke.
we sit on the floor of the rooftop, looking at the surrounding houses with a bird’s eye view of what people are doing in their compounds. i stare at the threading of my topman denim, how it clings to my thighs, there’s a hint of a fade between the threads, it feels nice to tilt my head back, pull deeply on a blunt, then pass it to her. i see things in details and bright colours, it’s part of my high, the sensory overload.
‘this is beautiful dear’
‘yes, it is’
we have breakfast. a large meal, like we always do after a smoke. rice, a soup which has a lot of onions, and a large chicken. we talk about how surprising it is to get such a meal for 1500 CFA. we have some aloca (diced, fried plantain) and fried eggs. then we end it with a baguette, the french long bread, which had been slathered with butter.
‘are you having fun?’
i know what she means, it’s my birthday and she wants to know if shuttling between sleepy towns, smoking on a rooftop, intense sex, deep drags, body washes at public pumps and monasteries is what i envisaged. but the thing is i stopped interrogating moments a long time ago. people are happy till they hold their present condition against a predetermined ideal. everything is beautiful till you hold it against the light. it’s better to just live in the moment than come out of the moment and ask yourself if that moment is beautiful and everything you hoped for.
so I smile, hold her hand and don’t answer.
in 2017, i left goals alone cos life happens no matter how careful you are. it’s the little things that matter. it’s the little things we ignore.