Two Become One Problems: Who Ate My Rice?!

If you think you’re the most selfless person that ever lived, I dare you to move into a house full of people and promise to be there for you when you realise just how selfish you really are. Don’t judge yourself too harshly though, communal living brings out the worst in us all. The manifestation of your selfishness will take different forms but today, we’ll be focusing on food.

A couple of days ago, I had a Facetime date with one of my girlfriends. At some point during the conversation, I noticed her opening up cupboard after cupboard, making a right racket. I almost died laughing when she confessed that she was looking for somewhere to hide a packet of biscuits from her husband! I couldn’t judge her though because heaven knows I have on occasion, rushed home from work to make sure I got to the leftovers in the fridge before my Yoruba boy. First come, first served!

Thanking you very much for your prayers, it will be well.

When you live with people, the contents of your fridge develop hands, legs, wings, propellers and all sorts of agents of transportation. But when you get married, it’s a whole new ball game. You see, when you live with strangers or even siblings, you can set boundaries. The boundary lines might be crossed by the brave amongst them but when you’re screaming at your sister for eating the bowl of rice you left in the fridge, you will feel justified. Try screaming at your husband when (and not if!) he eats the bowl of jollof rice you left in the fridge and if you don’t feel foolish as the words are flying out of your mouth, I envy you!

You see, the concept of two becoming one creates all kinds of problems in a home. It implies that what’s mine is yours and vice versa. There’s no more me, it’s now us. It means you cannot claim sole ownership of ANYTHING , especially things in the fridge, after all, OUR money paid for them. Never mind who journeyed to the supermarket, who stood sweating over the cooker and took the initiative to pack up the leftovers. All that one is for your pocket. Na who carry sense go market na him dey chop bellefull! In other words, you snooze you lose!

jollof

There are few things more painful in life than spending all day dreaming about the jollof rice in your fridge only to get home and find out it is no more. Such was my fate the other day. If not that shame would not have allowed me to cry, I would have wept for England. Alas, these are some of the problems that arise when two people are targeting one bowl of rice.

I have learnt my lesson.

I’m up and out of the house before my Yoruba boy gets out of bed so if there’s anything in the fridge I’m feeling particularly proprietal about, I get in there and take it to work with me. I will leave him to come up with his own strategy.

Every man for himself, God for us all!

xXx

Waila

Back and Forth and Back and Forth

We had breakfast together like we always did but I couldn’t eat, hadn’t eaten much since she died a month ago. I watched him swallow mouthful after mouthful of boiled yam and corned beef stew, with the occasional sip of water to help pave the way. The temptation to pray he choked was overwhelming; I envied his ability to satisfy his hunger. The fist of grief that had made its home in my throat, making it impossible for anything to get past it, had obviously not paid him a visit.
I wanted to ask how he did it, how me managed to make it from one day to the next with such ease, but I didn’t know how. We didn’t talk much, we never had, and we certainly didn’t trade confidences or dabble in emotions. I wanted to ask if he also lay awake at night, the sound of her voice gliding gracefully in his head until he was convinced she was lying next to him, whispering softly in his ear. Did he see her when he closed his eyes? Did her scent dance under his nose too? Did he stand in front of his bedroom mirror watching his snot and tears collide, feeling sorry for himself, and intermittently bursting into laughter at the idiocy of it all?
Nothing seemed to faze him, not once in the last month had he deviated from normality. Her journey to death was sudden, we didn’t see it coming. One Tuesday morning she woke up with a headache, by night fall she’d died of a brain haemorrhage. Three days later, she was buried. Screams and sobs, wails and paranormal expressions of pain, echoed throughout the grave yard as her body was lowered into the ground. Yet, not a sound did he make, not even a dignified sniff. Not as much as a lone tear fought its way past his eye lids. Hadn’t he loved her, didn’t he care enough for the barest tinge of sadness to cast a shadow over his expressionless face?
“Your father is not the emotional type,” she always said when I complained about his matter-of-fact approach to life, “but it doesn’t mean he doesn’t care, he just doesn’t show it.”
My heart was getting crushed under the weight of my unspoken grief. I wanted to talk about her, share my memories with him. I wanted to tell him I wasn’t coping, couldn’t cope. I’d woken up a few days before to find my underwear and bed sheet soaked in blood. I’d started to panic before realisation hit me; I’d become a woman. Who was I supposed to tell? I’d been walking around for three days with my underwear lined with my old tank tops.
The tears I’d been struggling to keep hidden from public view began to slide down my cheeks. I tried to stop them, to make them retrace their steps, but the harder I fought them, the faster they flowed. I gave in to the grief and wept so hard, my chest felt like it would burst open. Eyes blinded by tears, I didn’t realise he had moved to sit beside me till his arms embraced me. I lashed out in anger, pounding my fists against his chest. How could he be so quietly calm when my whole world was falling apart?!
Gently, he lifted me off my seat and settled me in his laps, cradling my head against his chest. Slowly, he began to rock me back and forth. Back and forth, back and forth, till my fists stilled. Still he continued to rock me, back and forth, back and forth. My breathing evened out. Back and forth, back and forth, till the tears subsided. Eventually, I looked up. It was then I saw the stream of tears flowing steadily, silently, down his face. I wrapped my arms around him and squeezed as tightly as I could. My heart felt lighter. I knew I was not alone.

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Some Things Never Change

Some Things Never Change

It’s the start of a new year and change is in the air. Shingalinga (educate yourself here) is at an all time high and women like me who have never shot a hoop are hoping to be drafted into the NBA by the end of 2014. I mean, who wants the WNBA when the NBA is alive and paying millions. Aim high, aim impossible!

In the spirit of the New Year, I have been assessing the year(s) gone by and in the course of my assessment, I made a shocking discovery. Yes shocking because while it is widely agreed that the only constant in life is change, it is also true that some things never change.

Things like…

  • my mother being a women with skin heads activist

Since my mother was forced for medical reasons, to get rid of her hair twenty odd years ago, I have known no peace. The woman is hell bent on getting me to join the gorimapa (skin head) club. I was in Primary 6 (Year 6 to my fellow *cough couch* Brits) when she succeeded in temporarily converting me. I lived to regret it. Such was the horrendous teasing from my two evil brothers (they took to calling me Mike Tyson!) that I took to wearing a baseball cap everywhere. Everywhere of course included school, for which I got many a flogging. Is it any wonder that till this day I have an aversion to short hair?! *shudder*

  • being opinionated

You don’t want to ask my opinion on an issue if you really don’t want to know what I think because you will regret it. I have strong opinions on almost everything under the sun. It gets tiring being so passionate about so many things in this world. Can’t a girl just be blasé about life?!

  • losing umbrellas

Buying an umbrella is like ripping up a five pound note and chucking it in the bin. You’re a better person than I am if you have ever managed to hold on to an umbrella for more than 24hrs. Perhaps I am exaggerating but it’s not far from the truth. I have taken to helping myself to lost and found umbrellas, resting in the knowledge that someone somewhere is doing the same with the hundreds of brollies I have misplaced since I was born.

  • forks and teaspoons eloping

Where do all the forks and teaspoons go? To Vegas to get married, that’s where! I think. Today you have six of each, tomorrow, you have none. Please, if you know where they go, kindly inform me so I can head down there with a trailer to reclaim my lost property. My Yoruba Boy is prohibited from taking cutlery out of the house and worse still, from bringing home strange forks (that do not match our cutlery set) from his office. Let it never be said that I harbour fugitives.

Knives on the other hand, are friends that stick closer than brothers. When the rest of your cutleries do a runner, you can be sure your knives will stick around. The world would be a better place if one could use them to shovel mounds of rice into one’s mouths without stabbing one’s self.

  • hating my behind

I hate big butts and I cannot lie. This is why the likes of JLo and KimK never make my celebrity bodies to be envious of short list. This people, is a problem because I am one of those that the Lord has blessed with a derriere. No matter how slim I get, the bad boys stick out like a giraffe on an ant farm.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.

xXx

Waila

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The Obligatory New Year Post

It’s fair to say 2013 wasn’t a great year for me as far as blogging is concerned. I was as inconsistent as inconsistent can be. I’m not trying to make any promises for 2014 lest I fall flat on my face but I am working on managing my time to make room for Waila to do Waila and write more regularly.

Last year was unforgettable in many ways, getting married being the highlight as most of you already know. But it also sucked in many other ways; the stumbling block that planted itself in the way of my getting married being the lowest point. My 2013 was consumed by my transition from Miss to Mrs and much as I’m grateful and happy to be married to my Yoruba Boy, I’m looking forward to the new things 2014 will bring.

Yes, I know round about now every blogger is expressing gratitude but as cliche as it may seem, we really cannot take our readers for granted. If it wasn’t for you guys, I’d still be unconvinced that I’m any good at writing. If it wasn’t for you guys I’d still be on my knees asking God what I ought to be doing with my life. If it wasn’t for those of you that harassed me, my sporadic posts would have been even more sporadic. So when I say thank you, I’m not saying it to tick any boxes, it really does come from the bottom of my heart.

I’m praying 2014 will be the year my relationship with my God reaches new depths.

I am praying that in 2014 I will become a better me, a better wife, better daughter, better sister and better friend.

I’m praying 2014 will be the year I find the courage to pursue my musical aspirations.

I’m praying 2014 will be the year I write that book.

From my living room, clad in my alumni sweatshirt and track bottoms, my hair bound by the most ratchet of durags hidden under a pair of tights turned cap, I wish you all a happy new year.

May 2014 be the year you find truth, courage and hope.

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Love Always,
Waila

Oops!!!

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No one likes to screw up but if like me you are plagued by the curse of having exceedingly high expectations of yourself coupled with a phobia for embarrassment, it is as devastating as an epically proportioned natural disaster on an unsuspecting city.

My fear of embarrassment is legendary. I have been known to faint and be so embarrassed about it, I pretended to still be unconscious long after I came around. I didn’t open my eyes till I had been safely carted out of the very public space where it happened and secluded in an ambulance. I am that bad.

Last week I made a mistake, a fairly big one and the fall out from my mistake met with me this morning. My instinctive reaction was to smash a hole in a wall and crawl into it. Seeing as that wasn’t a viable option, I sat at my desk, uncharacteristically sober and silent, for the best part of the day.

I am human and by virtue of that, intrinsically fallible. Making mistakes is in my DNA, yet, I haven’t managed to communicate that fact to my brain and deal with it accordingly. It is part and parcel of life and an essential component for growth. You make a mistake, you learn from it, move on and become better for it. That’s the way it should work. That is wisdom. Beating oneself up, especially over an action that cannot be altered, is an exercise in foolishness and futility.

I think my brain is slowly beginning to understand this.

I started off writing this as an outlet for my pent up frustration with myself and the situation. I do this a lot by the way, write to clear my head. But perhaps someone out there needs to be reminded that making a mistake is not the end of the world. The sun isn’t going to stop shining because you cocked up so you might as well enjoy the sunshine.

Sometimes our mistakes are minor. Sometimes they are major, life altering even. Sometimes they are visible, seen and judged by other. Sometimes they are private, known only to you. Whatever the circumstance, it is never productive to beat yourself to paralysis or wallow in it.

So, my fellow error makers, this one is for you;

Make your mistake. Because you will, there’s no escaping it.

Contemplate. Don’t just dismiss it, acknowledge your errors… but don’t dwell on them.

Evaluate. Thoughtfully consider your actions. What you did, what you should have done differently.

Learn. The only thing worse than making a mistake is making a worthless mistake. Learn from it.

Move on. Forgive yourself. Even if no one else does.

xXx
Waila

The Man I Met

20131028-155827.jpgI met a man, the perfect man. Gentle, yet a tower of strength when I lost my mother. I sat and watched as he calmly but firmly took charge of the funeral arrangements when I didn’t have the energy to deal with it all. Patient, he sat with me in silence for days on end, when the words wreaking havoc in my mind wouldn’t escape through my lips. Caring, he held me when I sobbed uncontrollably as her body was lowered into the ground, his arms, the only things stopping me from plunging six feet under the ground. Funny, his unlimited selection of rib crackers teased the first smile from my lips, proving his emphatic declaration that he’d make me smile again.

When we are together, he makes me feel like the single most important thing in his world, the world. Some nights he stays over and I dream of what marriage to him would be like;

I dream of the moment our eyes would meet as I walk down the aisle, towards him. I imagine his, bright with tears, staring deep into my soul, making promises that transcended words. I imagine stirring every morning with the certainty that he’d be right there, lying next to me, when I open my eyes. I’d be home waiting when he got in from work; table set, dinner ready with a glass of wine waiting to take the edge off his day. I’d be showered and wrapped in satin and lace, a parcel for him to unravel. I imagine myself gently stroking my stomach, swollen with his child. I imagine my feet swollen, waist thickened, neck blackened and nose doubled in size; none of which would matter as he gazes adoringly into my eyes.

Would our daughter inherit the lone dimple in his left check? Would she be collectedly confident like her father or a boisterous scatterbrain like me? Would our son be his father’s copy or a spitting image of me?

The nights he goes home, I try not to think about it, try not to picture his boys running into his arms as he walks through the door, screaming, “Daddy!” I try not to wonder if she wonders where he is when he isn’t with her. I try not to picture her lying in bed with him, touching him, kissing him. I know how much he loves a good cuddle and I try not to picture his arms wrapped tightly around her, as he snores gently through the night.

Does he love her, really love her? Do his eyes light up when she walks in the room? When they are together, does he make her feel like the single most important thing in his world, the world?

We share a home; his clothes hang next to mine in the wardrobe, his toiletries sit next to mine in the bathroom. The smell of his cigar permeates the entire flat and the fridge is full of his favourite things. I could have his babies, permanent reminders of him left behind when he’s not around and I know he’d be there for us, look after us, come what may. But I hate that the thing I want the most, his name; a public declaration that I belong to him and he, to me, he’s already given to someone else.

Tales From the Underground: Silly Me!!!

The cutest little boy was sat opposite me on the DLR yesterday. He had the most gorgeous curly blonde hair and his eyes were a sparkly green. He had me all gooey even before he smiled at me. That smile! It made me want to rush home and create my own little heart stealer. Not that the son I will (some day) produce has any hope of having hair; blonde or otherwise. You should see his father and his grandfather’s gorimapa, all hope is lost I tell you. They didn’t try for my son at all.

When I returned Blondie’s smile, he giggled and buried his face in his mum’s jacket. And so our game began. I’d wait for him to look my way and then give him a mega watt smile. He in turn would giggle and duck behind his mother. After a few minutes, I thought I’d up the ante of the game so the next time he looked my way, I crossed my eyes and stuck my tongue out at him.

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His eyebrows shot up in surprised and he doubled over laughing. When Blondie managed to right himself, he held my gaze for the first time, shook his head and said in a rather adult voice, “That was REALLY silly!”

His mother looked mortified.

“Brian, that’s rude!”

“But it’s true!”

“She was only trying to make you laugh!”

“I know mummy and it was funny BUT it was also silly!”

At this point, I couldn’t hold back my laughter any longer. He did have a point, at my old age I shouldn’t be sticking out my tongue at people and making faces! His mother, obviously relieved that I wasn’t offended, offered an apologetic smile.

Funny as it was, he’s lucky we’re not in Lagos; I’d have pulled his ear and ‘konked’ his head!

The Case of the Walking Wardrobe

6a00e54fc798d0883401630338f9cc970d-800wiMany years ago my family played host to a friend’s daughter for a couple of months. Her mother was critically ill and her father had his hands full nursing her.  On the day her mother died, we took her home under the guise of going to visit her dad, as we often did while she was with us.  My mum had called me aside earlier and asked me to secretly pack up her stuff and put them in the boot of the car.  I will never forget the paranormal sounds that pierced the air when her dad broke the news to her. Till this day, I have never heard anything like it. I sat with her for hours while she wailed and I shed a few tears myself. My tears weren’t’ for her mother, they were for her. Her pain was palpable and I shared in it.

In the following weeks, we were constant visitors at their house; my mother, to help with the funeral arrangements, and myself, as a companion for my new friend. New because the few times I’d met her prior to her stay with us, I’d established that I didn’t like her. Her abrasive personality grated on my nerves. I groaned inwardly when I heard she was coming to stay but smiled and made her feel welcome. I knew better than to be ungracious.  My mother expected nothing less from me, and rightly so.  But seeing her breakdown and holding her in my arms as she wept inconsolably changed all that. Her shared pain drew us together.  I had just turned 13, she was 17.

I remember being concerned about her. I knew what it was like to lose a parent and I worried constantly about how she was dealing with it. Having her turn up unannounced one afternoon was a surprise as she lived an hour’s drive away. I was in the middle of a piano lesson so I told her she had to wait a while before I’d be free to hang out with her. She said she couldn’t stay, she’d only come to collect a few things I’d forgotten to pack for her. I couldn’t remember seeing any of her stuff lying around but I told her to feel free to head up to my room and grab whatever she forgot.  She left before my lesson was over.

The Sunday after her visit, I decided to wear a new dress my mum had bought me a couple of months before. I tore my room apart trying to find it. Running late for church, I decided to reach for my favourite cream brocade skirt with the black floral embroidery instead. That too was nowhere to be found. As I rummaged through my wardrobe perplexed, I realised there were quite a few items missing. I sat on the floor, confused, and it was there my mother found me. Before she could scream at me for not being dressed, I told her half my wardrobe was missing. At first, she thought I was being silly, surely, my clothes couldn’t have developed legs and done a runner?! Perhaps if I’d tidied up my wardrobe like she’d asked me to umpteen times, I’d be able to find things more easily? It wasn’t till I mentioned that my favourite skirt was missing that she took me seriously.

“The cream one with the black flowers? Didn’t you give it to Anita?! She was wearing it the last time I went to her house.”

I didn’t need to be a graduate of the police academy to realise what had happened to my missing clothes. Many of the clothes that were missing were new and I was determined to reclaim them. I needed to confirm my theory so my mum and I took a trip to her house. Under strict instruction not to utter a word, I sat quietly while my mum calmly asked if she’d helped herself to my clothes.

At first she vehemently denied it but after my mum gently reminded her she’d seen her wearing my skirt, she came clean. She went off to her room and returned with a suitcase full of my property. Underwear, clothes, jewellery, books, shoes and some random bits and bobs.

The look of furious shame on her father’s face is beyond description. He made several attempts to hit her but my mum stood in his way.  After calming him down, she encouraged Anita to apologise to me and her father, which she did.

What happened next shocked me to my core.

As we made to leave, I reached for the suitcase of clothes but was halted by the sound of my mother’s voice saying, “leave it.”

Leave it?! How could I leave it?! Some of my favourite possessions were in that case!  Besides, most of the clothes wouldn’t fit Anita (who was two sizes bigger) so what was the point?! I knew better than to argue though so tears running down my face I walked away from my belongings. I’ll never forget how hurt I was. I felt betrayed not only by Anita who in spite of my reservations, I had embraced, but also by my mother who had taken the side of a thief over her own daughter.

On the journey home, my mother tried, unsuccessfully, to console me. Whatever happened to justice? Didn’t I deserve to have the things that had been unlawfully taken from me returned? Surely that WAS the right thing to do?!

Understanding didn’t come till many years later. My mother’s actions were a lesson in mercy; compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm.

Supernatural Things

Miracles-Happen

Supernatural things happen in this world; deaf people regain their hearing, the blind see, the lame walk, the dead are raised back to life, I am writing this post…and I cried watching a Nollywood movie. Not ‘a lone tear escaped my tear gland’ type of crying, proper crying, complete with sniffles and things. That I was not alone when it happened completed my shame. I blame that Mercy Johnson, her crying spirit leapt out of my laptop and entered me. Now I know that it is time to stop watching those movies, evil spirits abound therein.

The last few weeks I’ve been running into random people that read my blog and I tell you, I’m surprised that you people still bother to visit this site given how sporadic my posts have been. See what I was saying about supernatural things happening in this world? God bless you all and abundantly too!

It’s was my birthday last Saturday (this isn’t me begging for birthday greetings, walahi!) and for the first time in a very long time, I decided not to just sit at home, drink tea and estimate how many more years I have till I can no longer get away with wearing hot pants. Not that I wear hot pants, I don’t have the legs or courage for them but a girl is allowed to dream, no? I dragged a bunch of my friends to a private hip hop dance class and we left the studio with sweat, aching muscles and choreography to Usher’s Yeah.  Shame will not allow me post the videos on here.

On the topic of things one should or shouldn’t wear, my poor Pastor suffered from a severe case of melancholy when his eyes beheld some of the latest fashions at my wedding. So much so that it found its way into the sermon he preached at church the following day…not that I was there to hear it. I was holed up in a hotel room staring at my band clad finger and trying to understand how I ended up married to a man I always thought would make a great husband for some girl, that girl not being me of course! See what I was saying about supernatural things happening?!

Lest I digress, most of the people who were at the wedding and heard the sermon were surprised by it and when I looked through my wedding pictures, though I did spot a couple of sexy dresses, I couldn’t find any that I deemed scandalous. It got me thinking about the times and how we change with them, sometimes rightly and sometimes to our detriment.

There are some clothes sitting in my wardrobe now that I would never have bought, let alone worn, a few years ago. My lover girl MrsOhgee (see how I’ve upgraded you!) found an old picture of herself wearing jeans under a dress that stopped just above her knees and though we laughed at how ridiculous she looked, it symbolised the point we were discussing. In those days, she considered a dress that stopped just above her knees too short but today, she would wear that same dress, legs commando, and not think twice about it. A demonstration of how we relax our standards over time. Sigh.

Speaking of relaxer, the other day I ventured into Toni & Guy to find out how much it would cost to relax and trim my hair. I showered the receptionist with saliva when she gave me a quote of £130. The shock was that shocking.  I blamed the splutter on ‘that blasted hay fever’ and apologised profusely. I guess I’m not a big enough girl yet to be venturing into such establishments. I shall respect myself and my pocket and nosey on down to Upton Park or Burnt Oak. Better still I might just invest in a second mirror so I can see the back of my head and do the thing myself. One day, I will be great.

On a final supernatural note, and people, it’s a big one, my consumption of Indomie has fallen by 80% in the last six months!!! Somebody needs to get on up out of their chair, throw their hands up in the air and wave ‘em like they just don’t care!!! This is a serious miracle, more miraculous than me collecting aso-ebi for your wedding. Don’t get me wrong, I still LOVE Indomie and that ain’t ever gonna change (Lawdy, my hubby has infected me with his American spirit!) but the desire to consume the stuff all day everyday has faded into nothingness.

If I didn’t know my husband was a praying man before, now I know!!!

XxX

Waila

Waila Rants: Manners 101

Today is rant day. Are you ready? Let’s go!

Courtesy, the showing of politeness in one’s attitude and behaviour toward others, is a dying concept and I am sincerely worried for mankind. Whether you are an eighty year old pensioner or a three year old running around in diapers (do three year olds still wear diapers?), there is absolutely no excuse for bad manners.

I concede that some human beings have the capacity to invoke rage in a dead man but provocation is but a temptation that can be overcome.  It is easy to succumb to and justify bad manners when provoked but hanging on to good character against the odds is a thousand times more admirable.

At the very least, we must learn to say please, thank you and sorry. All it costs is the parting of our lips. If you capable of opening your mouth, you are capable of being polite.

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Why all the grammar?

I got a message from a strange number on WhatsApp (another rant for another day). The message read;

“Get me a bottle of cologne. It is my entitlement as Chief.”

I was convinced it had to be a mistake, there was no other explanation for such nonsense finding its way to my mobile phone.

I replied, “Huh?! Who is this?”

“Chief xxx. Buy me a cologne.”

I recognised the name and realised it wasn’t a mistake; the person is a member of my extended family. Words cannot express the depth of the anger that possessed me, not least because my relationship with the person does not exist beyond the realms of “hello” and “goodbye”. His sense of entitlement knocked me for six, grandiose delusions of the nth degree. Even if he was my brother, same mother and father, and not just any kind of brother; my Siamese twin who was still attached to me and sharing one brain, he would still be bang out of order sending me a message like that.

For the sake of my own moral standing in the association of the moralistically upright, I ignored his subsequent messages. I was sorely tempted to give him a lecture on begging etiquette but I had to take one for the team.  Team, and by that I mean mother, you owe me.

I’ll rant no more but I beseech thee, if you do nothing else in life, please do manners.

XxX

Waila