The words I didn’t say

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The two weeks ran faster than I could have imagined and the sun broke out of the horizon with full spectacular might acclaiming a new beautiful day. Its first rays gleamed on my sweaty face as I wound up my Saturday morning road run. In my mind was a map for my day: work, school, back home and finally or most importantly: my date. That I have only been on a handful of dates all my life is a pathetic record to write home about. Reason why “going on dates” clinched priority on my year’s resolutions list. I missed the thrill of a perfect date and the chill of one gone wrong.

Since two years I got to know Popsi from our school coffee shop. The longest conversation I had always shared with her had been my bland order of passion fruit juice and chapatti. I had a feeling she could have been wondering how my break time order could stay unchanged for such a long time. Call it consistency or lack of spark, I would choose the latter! I always made the most of our few seconds of interaction, of course with my eyes. Savory was that moment my roving eyes peered through her bonnie blue eyes and then the haste to breach eye contact. She wears at first sight a tough look, nevertheless it does absolutely no harm to her exquisite beauty. It is this same toughness that blossoms into a lambent smile upon the sound of a greeting. I loved so much watching the way her hair rolled over her graceful shoulders and the elegance as she turned around to hand me my order. This would send me on a spin until I remembered that the queue snaked on behind me.

We got talking with Popsi much easier than I had envisaged. Introverted but okay! I found myself in the unfamiliar waters of starting, sustaining and shifting the conversations. Being one of those chaps with only a mouthful of words, I would soon run dry and opt to leave on the pretext of resuming lessons. Heavens knew I would choose to stay anytime but for lack of words.

Our first dates were simple and memorable. A cinema evening, a coffee date and ice cream. Her presence fed my eyes and imagination generously but her company… say our company was yet to spark. Our conversations always involuntarily narrowed down to one personal topic she was resigned not to discuss. The charm that drew me to her from the start made me feel awkward doling out unproven advice to her. I thought it too soon be a “brother” besides the reaction was kind of “I heard it before”. Discussing church was an open window I tried to sneak through despite us going to completely different denominations. It was only a matter of time before I ran blank on the topic and it started to bore. I even tried out accompanying her to a gospel music fest which bored me to the bone, but I hung in there! My aspirations to be a friend (leading to somewhere better) were falling flat on the face. I think our personalities were too similar to attract. Then on, it was a race against time.

The fire burned down slowly and sadly like a vigil candle. Never giving any hope that it could be rekindled. I watched on as the little specks of hope slithered through my butter fingers. Popsi was gone and there I was back to “roasting” my act again. The words I didn’t say weighed heavier on my heart than the tongue. Had I done enough? Had I been patient? The answer was short. NO. Why was I so naïve outside my comfort zone? This one resonated longer in my mind and I realized how much I held back many times the lights went green. Call it slowness because: yes it truly was but it can’t help this cause now. All that is left is a short post for my blog that has only seen two this year!

B.I.

Happy birthday big bro!

michael

Growing up, he used to the trouble maker in chief at home. He was never short of clue to mock someone, not to mention the crafty and annoying nicknames he gave anyone who crossed his path. He was the perennial reason for many squalls the walls of our house heard of course from those younger than him.

Every time mom came back home, she was greeted with the monotonous reports: Michael has called me this, Michael has said I have big ears. Or more awkwardly, Michael laughed at me when I fell. However, he never raised a finger at anyone. Of course mom brushed away most of these because we were just kids tending to have “long mouths” even in the pettiest circumstances. Only a few times could we get him whipped with the famous slipper. This would only be our only chance to laugh at him but the boy could never drop a tear. He well knew that it wouldn’t be long before we also got spanked for errantry. We didn’t have as much guts as him to absorb the lashes thus he would laugh at and mock us for some good days.

The only time I remember us making the best fun of him was when he had a fever. In those days it had to be injections and horridly bitter tabs for medication. Mr. Big boy had issues with the needle. The huge lump of pain it carried could not be compared to strokes of cane he took in bundles without batting an eyelid. Even though we also loathed injections, it was our time to claim revenge. Mom chased us from the house just so we couldn’t hear our eldest sibling’s ordeal. Nevertheless, we planted our ears hard on the window until the movie was done. That day we slept happily like no other one!

Our Michael grew so fast in the process switching coats impressively. It was then that we started looking at him as our elder. He would scoff at our silly mistakes and sometimes recalcitrant behavior with his satirical remarks that would effortlessly drive his point across. At school, he always cautioned me to be smart. We were in an all-boys school where smartness was a reserve for prefects, A-level students and a few other good boys. The few times he dropped by our dormitory, he complained about my bed which wasn’t laid and the dirty cups under the bed. Uncomfortable and embarrassing it was but who was I defend what was wrong even before my eyes. He also warned me to desist from bad company especially foul-mouthed individuals. He always invited me for break tea with his fellow prefects even though I missed most of the time. He would ask me time and again if I had anything I needed and would get it for me even though we were in the confines of school.

The period of time from my S.6 vacation throughout university saw my respect to my big bro grow in leaps and bounds. While I was buried in the village tending to the farms, he made all the university applications for me, obtained admission forms and thereafter personally escorted me to this new place. He left after I had checked into a hostel that he himself booked for me. The period before this ranks as one of the most challenging times I have seen but he pulled me through unscathed. While at campus he was my run-to person when drought came. Needless to mention he was also studying. He continues to offers us life lessons and implore us to work harder and for the little ones; to make good use of their time at school.

To us he is that light shining ahead to show us the way. An enormous pillar of counsel and one who never shies away from responsibility however insurmountable it seems. One who refused to drown in despair and took on life mightily with both hands. On this day we thank God for the gift of your life and example. May you continue to shine and show the way to everyone in your wake.

Happy blessed birthday big BRO!

Call me Johnny

 

Yemi-Alade

Just learnt that my most famous crush is in town and yeah it’s hot on many lips. I am certain I won’t make it to her maiden show on our soil but I can anticipate it being the hit of the year. The rattling stage performance she gives her titillating hits affects many a fan of Afro-pop music. Yours truly got smitten in 2013 when she started looking for her certain Johnny..oo.

This crushed dropped from the heavens straight into my heart on one night while I watched a Friday music mix on one of local TV stations. By the time “Johnny” finished playing, I was groping for the replay button on my remote. We hadn’t gone digital by then thus, no such miracle as finding that button was bound to happen. The beat was captivating, her voice so strong, the video was both funny and catchy, the lyrics well… I didn’t mind and the singer was wow o wow (call an ambulance!).

Her rosy cheeks glowed with the wave of her smile revealing her perfect set milk teeth. Her lewd look was set to dare anyone and her body so true to imaginations. The dance moves in the video brutally rubbed this in and i fell like dominoes. Google my only friend who could help; gave me a little info about my new found virtual love and that in common, both of us were born after 1986. Discovering her Instagram was a milestone in our relationship. Here I could receive seasonal greetings and keep my mind well-nourished on the stunning photos of herself. At some point I attempted some moves from her “pose dance-off” challenge of course under the watchful eye of the walls in my room. The catastrophic story I will write soon about that dance attempt. I downloaded as many of her songs as I could get and each one I listened to I liked involuntarily. Did I mention that I even had her app on my phone? The crazy things I prior thought were signs of lunacy I was now doing.

I hadn’t ever had a crush far from a classmate, neighbor or church-mate but here I was swooning over a gorgeous Naija songstress. Our city has much more beauty than international TV’s could show therefore; I should be looking around for more realistic crushes. The odds of bumping into a “local” crush are infinity here in contrast to the zero odds of ever saying an elated hi to my TV crush. I guess that is what makes them crushes anyway, but anything is possible with life.

Well, Yemi is in town and I am excited despite that I have blown the chance to set my eyes on her. Nevertheless, my name this weekend is Johnny (..oo). I am sure she will tell y’all that she is in Uganda looking for me.

Welcome to #Uganda #YemiAlade

The Merchants

merchant

It was always close to the end of the term when students would become serious. In this period everyone remembered their class notes, preps and winter regained relevance. Class discussions would often stretch past the relieving end of prep alarm bell. On normal evenings this would find the class vacuous and in the presence of a teacher, it was greeted with a sudden burst of life! The end of term was also characterized by contagious “kayasi (others say kawu)” making the days drag painfully slow. Guys had to bite so had not to blaze transport money often hidden deep in the hardest corners of their suit cases. This was always the toughest bend of the marathon but definitely not for all students. We had a clout that made a killing transacting business in such tough economic times: these we called Merchants.

My worst moments in were always when I lost my property to merchants. Not on one or two occasions but rather too many except for uniform. The loss of school uniform was never a worry since everyone had a pair or two. Those too timid to “shop” would borrow from friends: who probably had done shopping. The infamous market time was over the weekends in the beautiful school compound after most students had done their laundry. Soccer games and movies took so many eyes away from the grounds where merchants prowled. I never worried for my uniforms except when still new but I worried all time for my other property. For the later I was accountable to my parents back home and I could never for a second forget the stern cautions that came with every new item they bought for me. I lived in utter fear of the merchants and I prayed they roamed far away from my few belongings.

One so vivid evening after my extra time of night preps; feeling contented with what I had effectively revised, I made my way through the chilly midnight breeze to our dormitory to rest my saturated head. It was already dark (remember the lights out rule) and I couldn’t envisage that anyone had an eye on me. I mounted my top-decker bed carefully not to wake the snoring chap below me. Every other day I could keep my shoes under my mattress right atop where my head rested. I had lost my last pair of shoes just a term ago and that came with a barrage of scorn from my Zeeyis. I could do anything to keep my shoes for the sake of my Zeeyis’ peace. Alas, this wasn’t to be that night.

I woke up for winter to a shocker! Under our bed was clean save for an old pair of broken slippers. I searched the whole dormitory chamber in vain. In no time my guts gave way to emotion and frustration thus, I sat on the floor and wept, cursing the devil that coerced to ignore my routine and one that led that wretched soul to steal my shoes. In our school neighborhoods the villagers purchased cheap items from the merchants. In turn the latter had enough to club and never to worry about kayasi. For the victims it was pain and torment both at school and home. I lost a number of items in my course of school that once mom came to school to question the authorities about this.

Years down the road, most of the then “Merchants” have evolved. Some into prominent citizens but the memories of those times remain lodged in my head even though with no more hard feelings. It is for these merchants that I double check my door locks every time am going to bed or leaving for work. I even check under my bed before I sleep, lest the merchant that took my shoes could be lurking. These hard school times taught me to be cautious with what I have: the same I always tell to little boys and girls.