Fragile Truths

Her nude dress gave off a brilliant glow under the bright lights. Lights that seemed to highlight ever curve on her body. Large hips on a petite size frame. Full breasts. Dark beads glittering on her neckline. She stood directly under the large chandelier which dropped low like glass rain drops. Her skin. So dark. Something writers would describe as native, exotic, – depending on where they were writing from- dark chocolate, black coffee. Her dark spotless face was so expressionless it would take your breathe away. Strange.
She would reek of cigarettes if you went close enough. Like she sprayed on dark smoke. Bright eyes twinkling. It might have been the chandelier.
The crowd fell silent as she held the microphone. Ronke. Second child of the Aregbesola family. 25. Probably soon to be married. Managing director in her father’s enterprise. Highly intelligent.
No one had ever seen her suitor. Strange waste of beauty.
“Good evening” her smile seemed to make the noise in the hall drop a pitch. Her smile. Her pearly white teeth.
“I hope everyone isn’t too drunk yet, to listen to my speech” she turned her head to the direction of her family table “especially my great father”. A wink.
She looked round the grand hall, right through the large pictures of her father erected at all the exits, he wasn’t smiling. He had a severe expression. Strong as men should be. On the projector to her left, a different picture. You would swear he was a different man. His wide smile. Wrinkled eyes. A genuine smile. Me Aregbesola. Tall dark man. Swollen belly. The projector behind her had the words “Daddy is 60” in bold gold italics. The chair covers and table clothes laid in white and wrapped with gold. The cold, bright hall shone like the expert it was in hosting extravagant occasions and bourgeoisie meetings.
When she started to speak, she didn’t take her eyes off the projector.

“It’s hard to even string sentences together during emotional festivity. Many have spoken before me and made toasts to our great Daddy. I feel I have no words to rival those of my predecessors so I’ve decided to give fragile truths” the silence at the family table became uneasy.

Ronke was the family expert at fragile truths, the time she told father off about his mistress still floated around their subconscious. One of the family events no one ever recalled. One of those secrets never acknowledged. There was physical violence. Ronke in the ER.

“I’m the second child of the Aregbesola family, and I’ve been away in the corner all through the occasion as you all know daddy is a busy man. So I’ve thought to my self why not take this opportunity to get across to him” she paused, shook her head and then continued.

“Forgive my erratic composure, giving this speech isn’t exactly the easiest thing in the world for me. How do you speak of a man you do not know so well, ” Bimpe, her older sister chucked loudly, her husband followed suit, the crowd chuckled too. Uneasily.
Ronke gave an exasperated laugh

“Bimpe spoke about a great father 40 minutes ago. I thrown into confusion by how easily Bimpe lied. A good father tough on the outside, really soft in the inside.” Another pause

“Like cocoa” she chuckled

“You weren’t a good father. You shouldn’t live your life comfortably thinking you’ve done right. You could have done everything better.” There was a stillness in her eyes “you don’t know your own family. We’re all strangers. You’ve grown too old to be surrounded by flatterers. I came to give the honest alcohol induced truth, because I would treasure the same when I’m sixty”. Bimpe stood up from her table, Her husband held her back to sit.

“I honestly wouldn’t say I have a father”

The silence in the hall was broken by shuffling feet. Uneasy guests making their way to the exits. Loud murmurs. Confusion.
The elderly man on the table behind her, Dr Godwin, her fathers close friend stared at her with utter disdain. Minister Bukola walked out, later that night while turned to the left side of his mahogany king sized bed. Away from his wife. While texting his mistress, he would exclaim “our children’s generation has degenerated! They no longer value respect”.

“Happy Birthday Daddy” Ronke’s voice was loud as thunder. She raised her glass and drank alone.

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Love Backwards (Advice we needed in the past)

1)      Do not fall in love with a girl that hates her father: blood splattered on the floor, Uncle Mike leaped from the four-storey building. His wife, she took the kids. She grew up fine without a father

2)      Forgiveness is an attribute of the strong: Dad never forgave Ebuka’s theft. Dad couldn’t cry at Ebuka’s funeral. He was strong.

3)      You do not need closure: mother waited 7 years for her married lover. He didn’t come back.

4)      Deceit and lies destroys love: reason for my last breakup, he said “You knew my father intimately”

5)      Don’t give away all of you: Aunt Ore says she gave her life and her degree to her husband. He has four new wives and two more degrees.

6)      Give away more of you: Uncle Olu never came home. His home is now empty

Incoherent Explanations

Dearest,

I have learnt kindness in a place not so different from hell. I have turned absurd questions at the back of mind and doused them in alcohol till they made sense. I’m sorry I haven’t been able to write to you in a long time. I’m sorry for the silence. It all still seems unexplainable. Those feelings I’ve already felt, the ones that remain, anger mixed with shame mixed with regret, memories that made me sick. I couldn’t return to you even after I recovered. I couldn’t bear letting you see me tainted.

 I spent a month staring at many lonely stars before sunrise, wishing I was a better person or at least different. Wishing I could be someone who deserved you. After sunset, thinking of how you do not deserve me. I wish I could give you beautiful stories about why I now feel like a complete stranger.

I’ve been away pointlessly for a long time, either on some stupid premise in a place without working wifi or for pointless discipline in a military camp. The Nysc camp (which provides pointless discipline) is a morbidly unhappy place where people very different from angels wore white and rolled in crimson dust. I’m however being a tad bit dramatic as lots of people had positive experiences; however the distasteful environment and my anxiety disorder made it nearly impossible for me to smile while sober. It was the last place I wanted to be surrounded by useless bureaucracy and bullies in uniforms.

I wish there was something to tell you of wonderful people I met or beautiful stories I lived. I must admit I haven’t been the most open minded or brave person (I’m far from brave) but the good news is that I’m transitioning. The past week has helped me understand why a phoenix has to have completely been in ashes to rise again. Sometimes growth is only possible after a complete breakdown. After betrayal, loss and heartbreak, there’s really no deeper hole. After complete mistrust we can then find solace in the smile of strangers, in hanging on to meaningless conversations to feel less lonely.

I’ll still be here attempting to build my beautiful world where I don’t have to care so much and calculate every thought or action. Strangers and friends can strengthen you alike.

A summary of five lessons learnt while I was away

1)      You don’t need closure, some things are never going to happen, some things were never meant to happen, some things never will. Best accept life without attaching sentimental values to every friend or foe. What you see is likely what you get.

2)      “You can’t always get what you want” –T

Wise reply from a malo looking stranger when confronted about his perverse attitude.

Lesson: Life is very accepting; life takes us just as we are. We do not always have to apologize about who we are, whether you are an over calculating optimistic light head or an aging pervert. Be you.

3)      Never ever take alcohol days after your master cleanse diet: you will likely black out and could even get shrewd advances from a mate’s boyfriend (This can only end in agonizing awkwardness).

4)      Nothing is that serious: no idea, no norm is worth dying for. Strangle yourself over ideas and your fellows will walk all over your grave. Do not kill yourself over anyone. Of course they are good people in the world worth dying for, love them instead.

5)      We’re all insecure in our own ways: You already knew that. Good.

Despite the whole drama and lack of drama, I’ve learned not to sweat the small stuff, to engage in long meaningless conversations, relax and live a little, say hi to the Abel look alike if you want to. I leave you with wise words

“you can spend minutes, hours, days, weeks, or even months over-analyzing a situation; trying to put the pieces together, justifying what could’ve, would’ve happened… or you can leave the pieces on the floor and move the fuck on.”- Tupac Shakur