Archive | July, 2013

Pick ‘n’ Drop

24 Jul

His most striking feature are his eyes, they’re brown, a deep hazel, the kind that you can’t but give a second look. I believe that a person’s eyes say a lot about the kind of person he is, and looking inside his, feels like you’re being drawn into a miasma of pain, hurt, and possibly death, this was the first thing that attracted me to him. People have always chided me about my ability to empathise with other people irrespective of their persona and it is a part of me that has been exploited countless times by several people, both male and female.

We were at the bus stop together, and though there were other people there, what made me acknowledge his presence was how it seemed like he was staring at me but on moving closer, I observed he was lost in his thoughts. I had smiled when I first noticed his gaze on me and waved furtively but when he didn’t respond, I took a closer look and found out he was actually lost in thought about something or maybe someone.

‘A penny for your thoughts’ I tapped his shoulder with a huge smile on my face and quickly added ‘Not that I have a penny in this age though and by the way it is quite rude to stare’

‘E-e-r-r sorry do I know you?’ His voice was a rich baritone, he probably sang in a choir.

‘No I’m sorry, I saw you staring at me but when I came close, I met you lost in thought and I couldn’t help but talk to you. Did you lose your job?, were you jilted?, what happened?’

‘For someone you’ve never met, you seem to care an awful lot, are you this caring to everyone?’ He scooted to the side so I could sit beside him

‘Well, only if they look as handsome as you are’ I replied with a knowing wink

My effort at flirting was amply rewarded as he also gave me a huge smile that lit up his face, his stubbled cheek was now plumped up and I felt a little flutter in my heart. His dentition would have been perfect but for a broken incisor which gave him a mischievous yet sexy look, and his eyes looked much warmer and full of life as he told me his name.

***

Like I guessed, Daniel had just found out that his girlfriend of six years had been cheating on him, what made it even worse was that after he confronted her, she showed no sign of remorse. This was a girl that he practically, single-handedly sent to university because her Mum died when she was quite young and her dad was a ‘ne’er-do-well’. They had met during his youth service in her home town and he had taken it upon himself to make sure she had stellar education, sending her to one of the best private universities in the country, against the advice of his friends and even family members. Not only did she cheat on him, but she did it on a reality show, on national TV.

***
With the way he clenched and unclenched his fists unconsciously every time he mentioned her name, I was sure he had the deepest feelings for her. Why would anyone want to break such an amazing guy’s heart? Not only did he have the looks, he was the full package (Tall, Dark and Handsome). I caught myself fantasising about him and couldn’t help but smile.

‘Where are you actually headed cause I’m sure you know we’ve missed quite a number of buses’
His question jolted me out of my reverie
‘Oh, E-e-r-r that Yaba side’ I stuttered
‘I’m headed towards Oshodi, I need to get my car from the mechanic’s. I really enjoyed talking to you but I must go now.’
‘Oh’ was the only word that came out of my mouth. I was irrevocably attached to Daniel, I wished I could spend the rest of the day with him, the rest of my life?, maybe? He was just so loveable.
‘Please let their be traffic, no buses for now’ I quickly whispered to whoever was up there.
The ‘now’ had not left my mouth when I heard the horn of another bus on its way to the bus stop.
‘Alright man, I guess this is where I say ‘Adios’, till we meet again’ Daniel gestured to the ticket seller and bought tickets for both of us.
‘Here’ he handed mine over and I felt something else under the ticket, it was his complimentary card. He looked into my eyes as he said ‘I would love to hear from you very soon.’ and turned to board bus.
‘Me too’ I whispered behind him, and closed my eyes to savour the lingering scent of his perfume.

My name is Segun and I love ‘We-men.’

Adieu Papa

12 Jul

Countless number of times I’ve tried to write about my father, but something somewhere, somehow just doesn’t add up but I found courage and inspiration in @Aunty_Hotstuff ‘s post Dance with my Father‘. So here goes:

I was never scared of my Dad. Unlike most people I was actually very fond of him, in fact I preferred to offend him than to offend my Mum. My mum was the disciplinarian of the house, I remember a time she flogged me six strokes for coming second in a class of twenty-nine, ‘Why didn’t you come first?’ she had asked with each stroke of the cane. Dad on the other hand was not overly bothered, he would only advise that you put in more effort and that as long as you set your mind on something, you can achieve it. He would however deprive you of some perks that had been earlier promised.

My Dad neither knew how to appreciate people, nor know how to apologize, he believed that you shouldn’t do anything that would make you apologize and there was no way you can absolutely satisfy him. My Mum would wake up as early as possible, prepare us for school, go to work, come back home early in time to cook us lunch and dinner, and all my dad would do is complain about something that wasn’t done properly. I always pitied my Mum and my older ones whenever he started complaining about food not properly cooked or plates not washed properly. Being the lastborn, I was saved from his occasional wrath. My Dad was a good cook, he makes the best meals I ever knew the rare times he cooked, and my Mum even says it that it’s hard to top his cooking.
Whenever you did something to really annoy him, he would look at you with utmost disdain and call you abusive names in Yoruba, ‘Oloshi-omo’ he would say. As we grew older, he stopped using those words entirely. He was highly principled and it would probably take a miracle for my Dad to change his mind once it was made up about something. Even when my Dad was proved wrong about something, which was very rare, it took a lot of time before he would swallow his pride and apologize and accept.
The only time I could remember my Dad smacked me was when I was being rude to my immediate elder sister and she reported me to him. He smacked me hard and warned me never to disrespect her again. I can’t think of a time when he picked up one of the numerous canes scattered around the house to flog me.

‘Daddy’ like I always called him was the ‘Ideal Man’, a true father. I remember a time when my Mum was carrying a bowl of hot water to the bathroom for my sister and I. We were in primary school then and we were already late so I wanted to run to the kitchen to hurry her up, unfortunately for me she was already on her way with the hot water to the bathroom. I collided with her and the whole bowl of hot water spilled on my chest, it took the timely intervention of my Dad to stop me from peeling my skin to the bones. (I still have a scar that looks like the ‘Map of Africa’ like my sisters used to tease me with the on my chest). Though I had to miss school for a few weeks, my Dad never made me feel lonely, always cracking me up with jokes about my reaction when the hot water poured on me and practically home schooling me. I confess that was one of my best times in Primary school.

Another time, I went to represent my Mum at one of her numerous AGMs (Annual General Meeting) of teachers, and on my way back I had an accident on the bike. When we got home, the bike-man refused his fare and apologized to my Dad but it took the intervention of my sister to stop him from insulting the man or even beating him up. Despite my protests that I was alright, he insisted that my chest be checked and rubbed first by my sister, then by him and for the next two days he kept rubbing it for me morning and night.

When I ‘failed’ my JSSCE exams and my brother and my sister who prepared me for my exam then punished me severely for making a fool of myself, deceiving them that I was reading my book while I was reading novels thus having a bad result. I had already boasted about this to my other sisters before the result came out. My dad didn’t chastise me for getting such a poor result, he even helped to treat the wounds I sustained from the punishment and encouraged me to buckle up as soon as I get into the Senior secondary school. He even rebuked the actions of my brother and sister then, told them that they went to the extreme and that they shouldn’t have punished me that much.
I was just thirteen when he was taken away from us and though most people thought I was too young to understand what it meant, they were wrong. I was far older than my age, I wouldn’t have anyone to argue ‘men’ issues with, no one to take me shopping, no one to advise me on how to handle women, no one to see me through my entry into manhood, no one… I still remember clearly the last words we spoke to each other as I left the house that morning, I had just come back from boarding school and he wasn’t very happy about my results. He was having a serious case of cough and amidst one of the bouts, he advised that I spend more time at home studying during the holidays and catching up on what I failed. Only for me to come back home in the evening to an empty house and then to find out later in the evening that I’d lost him to the cold hands of death.

***
Of the numerous things I admire about the way my father lived, one of them is the fact that throughout the years he was married to my mother, he never ate outside for once. Even at functions, he would wait till he got back home until he ate anything, and God bless any of my sisters at home if a plate of hot Amala is not on the dining table for him.
I miss that I couldn’t share the details of my first kiss with him, my first heartbreak, my first encounter with alcohol, my first….

If at my age, I’m half the man he was at my age, I would be so honored. I love you so much Dad.

R.I.P David Akinola Oke
1939-2003

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