Monday, November 22, 2010

The Visitor

Keeping secrets is such a terrible thing, just as telling lies is; I know because I’m keeping one and I’m burning to tell you all about it. It’s a wonder I haven’t blown up yet because this infant I’m harbouring is well past its gestation period. If what they say about good things coming to those who wait is something to go by then this had better be worth it because I’m having to plug my ears so they don’t leak out of there as well. Good week everyone and a very hearty Barka de Sallah to my Muslim brothers and sisters. How’s everyone this week? Me? I’m not sure how I’m feeling. Oh darn it! I am sure how I’m feeling! I am in a very lousy mood right now. A day I should have spent hopping from one Muslim friend’s house to another filling the gaps between my teeth and sorting them out with tooth picks or floss afterwards has just been loused up by Frieda for no reason I can lay my hands on whatsoever. My crime that I can barely make out from all the gibberish she’s uttered so far? Empathy. Empathy! Just to say, “I don’t exactly know how you’re feeling but I’ll share it with you”. That’s all!

What happened? It all began yesterday, no, the day before yesterday when Frieda was in distress for the best part of two days, nay, she still is in pain now as we speak but to a much lesser degree. She was on her period during the stated time and she was in extraordinary pain, worse than any I’d ever known her to have. Matter of fact the pain was excruciating. I could tell because she couldn’t even stand up let alone walk straight. She was on her period, the, like I’d said earlier, the most painful I’d ever experienced her to be in. Frieda is the sweetest thing ever and even in that pain she was still a trooper; she still asked me how I was, trying to ignore her own discomfiture and I, on my part (bearing in mind I’d never seen her nor any other person in this kind of distress before), resolved to do all I could in my power to be as supportive as possible. That was a time I was especially glad I was created a man. Imagine being scared --itless of wearing white trousers to a party or feeling a wetness that has little to do with arousal. At the same time I remembered the wise words of an elderly friend; “When your woman is being irrationally and illogically annoying, don’t fight her, be patient and calm. When she’s going through a very rough time, stay with her. When she’s going through trials, stand by her. She’ll forgive you almost anything when you start to misbehave because she’ll never forget what you do for her.” Unfortunately for me, sleep was at its sweetest during this time.

I didn’t stand by her. I was made to wait upon her, stand by her and my circulation cut off by her claws! Even when I tottered on my feet, completely at a loss of what to do – say sorry, hold her hand, rub her back and wonder how all this was going to assuage the agony she was going through. Would it not be better if she just went to the doctor’s for some prescription? I tried urging her to go the gym to do some exercise so it’d flow better. No. It was me she wanted. I did not sleep for three days and even when I tried to harden my heart, watching her suffer was too much for me to ignore. Is this what I’d see in marriage? No way man! I’d sooner plant twins in there so the aperture (not the one that really matters of course) would open up a little bit more, let it run free and save me from the cyclic lunar madness . Periods? Damned when they come, damned when they don’t. Still, that is not what I’ve called you all here to complain about.

What I have called the community to complain about is about what happened afterwards. Would you believe that – okay what happened was this. Frieda was feeling rather low the next day and feeling a little depressed – we all get that way sometimes – and I tried encouraging her, telling her what a trooper she was, and telling the tons of things she’s accomplished in such a short space of time. We talked for over an hour and true to myself, I was as patient and supportive as ever. She calmed down, seemed to lighten up and I left it at that. She came back again, revisiting the same subject we’d just dealt with. Calmly, and still true to my nature, I considered that it might be prudent to try another approach and deftly tried to swing the mood to a more upbeat one. I talked about the funny incidents that had brightened my day, in the hope that it would cheer her up a little. Ah! Obirin! What I got for my trouble was a serious tongue lashing about how insensitive I was to her plight and that I only thought of myself! I was accused of being uncomfortable in unfamiliar territory and would use humour and jokes to get out of it. Me, Kalu, run away? I was so angry! Who was it that spent three whole sleepless nights caring for her during her time of need? Who was it that kept talking until he had nothing else to say? Who was it that… In short, I’m not going to provoke myself. I will be the bigger man. I will ignore the fact that you, Frieda, completely soured my day and made me cancel all my Sallah ram meat appointments, kept me holed up in my flat seething with anger and my lost appetite. But, I’ll be the bigger man. I will forgive. I hold no grudge against you. I only ask that you, my people judge this matter and tell me what I have done wrong. Have a great week everyone, and to you too my dearest Frieda!

PS. This post was actually written last week and the said day happened to be on her birthday which is what made the experience all the more strange. Hm, I wonder…

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

School Ghost

Good week everyone! For some reason I am on a high this morning and I don’t know what it is I am so excited about, which is nothing. Maybe the reason I have so much adrenalin pumping through me is because I am biting my nails in trepidation regarding what I have to do today. Today I go to enrol in a three day course in a field that was responsible for my chronic truancy during my secondary school days – science. Ah, those were the days, the most horrible days of my entire life, and I refused to bow to the enemy – Physics, Chemistry and boarding school! Escape route? Truancy! Man, I was such a pro I had a radar in my head that went off anytime a potential threat – any adult with a questioning look in his or her mind as to why I was not where I was supposed to be, or why I was where I was not supposed to be – lurked behind me. I was so good at truancy that I was nicknamed The School Ghost. I remember my greatest feat; circumventing classes for a full year, and paying the price – I repeated the class. The good thing about my truancy, when I wasn’t roaming the length and breath of the country armed with my school fees and that of my younger brother’s, was that most of it was spent in the library, public or school. I loved to lose myself in the literatures and histories of different countries and times and sometimes hid among the shelves when the library was being locked up for the day only to creep out, switch on a discreet light bulb and continue my devouring of the delicious volumes of fact and fantasy. I learned back then that there is always a heaven in every hell on this side of the world. Now science, my past, has come back to haunt me – and I am ready.

I think I gained my confidence in tackling this monster when I prepared and sat for my GRE exams some years ago. I bought a preparatory book on geometry and algebra, and I think trigonometry, squeezed my eyes shut, prayed and opened it. It was amazing! I was led through a step by step ‘how to do it’ on all the mathematical problems and most importantly why and where it was all going! Suddenly I could see what all this was for. I saw myself, in my mind’s eye, writing calculations that would make the internet go faster, or designing the very perfectly symmetrical cars I loved so much. In short, the reason for poring over the complex figures became increasingly realistic and not abstract like my stupid and visionless teachers in secondary school made me believe.

I think we should be very careful with the way we guide our young ones as we guide them on the arduous path to becoming adults. Education means nothing if it is not going to be applied to some aspect of life in my opinion. Anyway I have a date with science tomorrow at seven and they’d better show me a road map of where what I’ll be learning for the next few days is going or I will take someone’s head off. Early morning tomorrow so early night tonight. Have a great week everyone and do please spare a thought for me. Tara!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Prelude To Crossing Over

Good week everyone. It’s been like ages since I hooked up with you guys here at our meeting place. I’m asking myself if there’s any gossip about myself I should shed and lay bare before you all but, I fear you may not be quite able to handle the truth. Okay, so I hopped on an okada two weeks ago when my car refused to start in the morning on my way to work. I had to hop on one and I don’t know which one scared me the more, the thought of falling off the bike, being hit by a car or being seen by the public or worse still the gossip press – oh shoot, I just gave them the ammo!- on an okada. My mother who always scolded me about my slouching habit as a child would certainly have beheaded me on that day. My chin was buried somewhere in my chest and my back was so hunched that I probably looked like I was carrying a baby on my back. I squinted my eyes to protect them from the smarting wind rushing at them and at the same time surreptitiously glanced at passers by in the frantic hope that none would recognise me but, that is a story for another day; now to the present.

I am having a hard time trying to write this post because one of my very good friends, Femi, is here on a visit for a few days and that, my friends, is a few days too many because the idiot is a pest. No sooner had he entered my house (flat) than he began to demand that I go to cook up something for him to eat. I told him I had a carton of instant noodles and eggs for him to test his skills on. The bloody nerve! A well meaning considerate friend would have asked his wife to cook two huge pots of good soup since he was going to stay at his bachelor friend’s for a few days. Oh well, I guess we’ll just sit here looking at each other, go out to work, eat whatever is available on set and at the end of the day come back and go out for a drink and goat meat peppersoup. I have my multi vitamins and fruit to keep me buoyed so little worries about scurvy. We are having fun catching up with the latest gist, not gossip like girls do, but manly talk; work, business, maybe dirty jokes and what have you. His wife just called to know how her husband is doing and asked to speak with me ‘to know how I’m doing’. We both know she just wants to know he is where he says he is and I do feel sort of honoured that she trusts me to keep her husband in a good place. I think before I finally get married I’ll have my bride sign a pre-nup allowing me a weekend’s getaway once in a while to catch my breath and smell freedom for just a few days before jumping back into the swirling pool. I am not being selfish, I’m just working hard to prevent the inevitable midlife crisis that plagues many a home when the man begins to feel he has lost out on the best life has to offer. But then that’s just me and my many theories.

We just opened another bottle and we’re starting get to get philosophical on matters ranging from how best to get rid of our corrupt leaders to who benefits the most from sex; men or women, and why we have to be the ones to spend a fortune just to get some. The rest are not topics for polite conversation so I’ll spare you those and pen off here before my hand loosens like my tongue already is. I’m very possessive of my ‘squeaky clean’ image so while I’m still on this side of the divide, have a great week everyone!