Month: August 2011

Monologue Series: My Body, My Faith

I’d hoped a few kisses and a little groping would be enough but I overestimated my threshold for self control. I tried to stop but my body wasn’t having it. My heart was racing like sand in a hurricane, my senses, swept up to heights far beyond the reach of my conscience. I remembered Pastor’s sermon on celibacy. Does he think us singles are made or bricks and mortar? What are we supposed to do with our emotions and needs? Pastors, hypocrites the lot of them! After they’ve had their fun and bedded half the female population of the world they become born again, get married and start preaching abstinence. Whatever!

“What about God?” I asked the voice whispering in my head, “What does God know about sex? As his fingers found their way beyond the boundaries of my tank top, I knew it was now or never. If things went any further, I would be powerless to stop him. I remembered the last time we did this. I promised myself, promised God it wouldn’t happen again yet there I was, about to drop my skirt round my ankles and satisfy the lust of my flesh. Surely God would forgive me this time too? Besides, He’s all knowing so He knew this would happen, no? Yes, if I confess my sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive me. I asked if he had protection and when he nodded I made a mental note to repent and gave myself up to the moment.

I shouldn’t have. I felt sick, kill me now and end my misery kind of sick. What was I thinking?! I couldn’t breathe, the weight of the guilt was cutting off my air supply. I stared at my naked form sprawled on the sofa and for the first time understood how Eve must have felt when she first discovered she’d been roaming the garden in all her glory. I reached for the throw dangling from the arm of the sofa and wrapped myself in it. When he kissed me goodbye I feigned enthusiasm. I didn’t need him hanging around trying to find out what was wrong, I wanted him gone. Again I remembered Pastor’s sermon on celibacy, this time it made sense. I thought about how hard I’d been working on my relationship with God after the last time. I’d repented and knew God had forgiven me but couldn’t forgive myself. For months I was convinced everything that went wrong in my life was my punishment. I had just about gotten the hang of this celibacy thing. Why did I run into Babs at the gym?!

Dragging myself off the sofa, I made my way to the bathroom. Standing under the shower, I began to scrub myself clean. I scrubbed and scrubbed but the dirt wasn’t external. I stared longingly at the bottle of bleach standing next to the bathtub. Perhaps it would beach my blackened soul? I shook the thought out of my head. Wrapping myself in a towel, I turned off the shower and made my way into the bedroom where my white bed sheet stared mockingly at me. “So much for purity,” it smirked. I wept. Never again, I promised God, never again! I knelt and began to pour out my heart in prayer. I told him how frustrated I’d been, how hard I’d tried to stay away from Babs. For the next three days I fasted, prayed and ignored Babs’ calls, deleted his messages.

On the fourth day I was getting ready for bed when I heard my doorbell. “Ignore it,” a voice whispered in my ear. “It might be important,” another warned. I decided it might be important and opened the door to find Babs staring at me, confusion in his eyes. “Why have you been avoiding me Anita?”

“We shouldn’t have, I shouldn’t have.”

“You shouldn’t have done something that’s as natural as breathing? How many times will we go over this? I’m a Christian too you know. God hates promiscuity, but there’s nothing wrong with intimacy between two people who genuinely care about each other. You know I want to be with you, I want us to go the distance.”

“If it’s so right why do I feel so guilty? I can’t let it happen again, I just can’t! ”

“You can and you will! We both know you want this as much as I do, why fight it?!” Taking my face in his hands, he kissed me. My head forgot, my body remembered. “Did that feel wrong?”

“No,” I whispered. That was all the invitation he needed.

Monologue Series: Unrequited Love

          I watch him as he dresses up, one arm shoved into a sleeve of his crisply ironed white shirt and then the other. One button done up and then another and another till it’s all buttoned up. That’s how this mess started. A coffee here, a mojito there. Dinner with friends, dinner for two and before I knew it I was lacing his shoes, sending him off to work with a hug and a kiss. Friends with benefits, that’s what my friend Debbie calls it, this screwed up arrangement that’s turning me into a nervous wreck. Damn it! I don’t want to be his friend and he knows it. I love him and he loves me too. He’s never said it but I know he does. The way he looks into my eyes, cradles my head in his hands, tickles me till we collapse in a heap laughing, the number of times he’s told me how grateful he is to have me in his life… what else could all that mean? Damn that girl for breaking his heart!

           It couldn’t have been easy for him to discover that the girl he’d been planning to spend the rest of his life with was cheating on him. I would never do that to him though.  I thought he needed time, time to see that I’m not like her. I told myself to be patient and I have been, so much so that my friends think I’ve lost my mind. I think I have too. How long is a girl supposed to wait?! It’s been a year and I’m still waiting. How long does he need to get over his ex? Like seriously!

          I’m scared. Scared to ask him what this thing between us is. When people ask if I’m in a relationship I don’t know how to respond. What am I supposed to say, it’s complicated? Damn it Femi, what do you want from me?! In one breath you tell me I’m the most important person in your life and in the next, you say we’re just friends. What am I supposed to think? I can’t stand this anymore. I need to know where I stand. Do you care enough to commit or is this a strictly cum and go affair for you?

******************    

“What do you want from me Femi?” It took him so long to respond, I thought he didn’t hear me.

“What do you mean what do I want from you?”

“I didn’t speak Chinese. It’s a simple question, answer it. What do you want from me?”

“You women ask the strangest questions. Isn’t it obvious?”

“If it was I wouldn’t be asking. You say you want us to be friends yet you spend your nights tucked between my thighs. What am I supposed to think?!”

“You think what I tell you…that I want us to be friends”

“Then why the hell are you boning me! Is that what friends do, have sex with each other?”

“I’ve got to be at work in half an hour, I don’t have time for this Abs. You know the score.”

“Like hell I don’t! You’re a friend who cares about me, thinks I’m special, thinks you’re a better man for having me in your life, takes me out on romantic dinners and surprises me with thoughtful present, touches me like your life depends on it and goes to asleep in my arms…is that the score?

“I’m not ready to be in a relationship. The last time…”

“Damn the last time!” I screamed cutting him off mid sentence. “Yes she cheated on you but was two years ago Femi, you can’t punish me for another woman’s sins.”

“Who said anything about punishing you? I have to go Abi.”

“You can’t leave me confused. I can’t go on like this, it’s killing me. I need to know where I stand. I love you and you know it but do you love me? Is this thing going anywhere or is this it for you?”

Tearing his gaze from mine, he picked up his briefcase and silently headed for the bedroom door.

“Femi, I need to know,” I pleaded as he opened the door. He turned around and the instant our eyes met I realised how foolish I’d been. “I need to hear you say it. Say it so I can move on with my life,” I whispered, tears streaming down my face.

“This is all I’m offering Abi, I’ve always been clear about it. You can’t blame me if you allowed yourself hope for more. I care about you but I’m happy with what we have. It works perfectly for me.”

“What about me Femi? Doesn’t what I want matter? You can’t do this to me Femi, you can’t!” I sprung to my feet and latched onto his shirt collar. “When will you be ready? You have to be ready! I’ve waited a whole year, you can’t do this to me!”

“You don’t get to tell me what I can or can’t do. If this isn’t enough for you, make sure you’re not here when I get back.” Flinging me onto the bed, he adjusted his collar and walked out of the room, slamming the door behind him.

FELA!

Everybody say “yeah yeah!!!”

If you haven’t seen  Fela! the musical, that would have gone over your head. My friend Kay is a hardcore Fela fan and refused to let me be till I agreed to watch it with him. We saw the show last year when it was showing at the National Theater. I wasn’t as blown away as I thought I’d be but the show was pretty good. The production was impressive (stage, dancers, script, costumes) but the best thing about it by miles was the band. Easily the tightest band I’ve ever heard. The worst thing about the production was Fela’s (Sahr Ngaujah) accent. The second he opened his mouth I rolled my eyes in despair and braced myself for many an annoying moment. 

Every time I hear a Nigerian accent on TV, in the theater, in movies, I have to take deep breaths to calm myself down. Nigerians are like air, we are everywhere. How difficult can it be to find an authentic Nigerian accent and replicate it?!

Eastenders. There’s an elderly woman on the show who is supposedly Nigerian. For those of you who watch the show, she’s Mercy Olubunmi’s grandmother. Her accent is RIDICULOUS. I don’t know any Nigerian that sounds like her. This is the BBC in England that has access to Nigerians in their masses both within their organisation and the nation at large.

Blood and Oil. BBC again. I had to keep reminding myself that the documentary was supposedly set in Nigeria. I’d have been forgiven for assuming it was set in Botswana or some other southern African country. 

Anyway, I digress.

Watching Fela! was somewhat bittersweet for me. The man was a larger than life character and I have great respect for his revolutionary spirit and musical talent. He was intelligent, articulate and passionate about his land and people. An incredibly gifted musician, he made music that couldn’t be ignored. His lyrical prowess provided a voice for the oppressed and was a thorn in the flesh of the oppressors. His music tells interesting stories…stories that need to be heard.  Yet like many gifted artists, the weight of his issues could have sunk the Titanic. His penchant for drugs and alcohol was well known plus he was a category one ashewo and fetish to boot. Much as I admire his gifts, I would spend every second of my life on my knees in prayer if I had a child like him. Should you want to make him your inspiration, please take the good stuff and leave the vices…unless of course, the vices are the good stuff, in which case, I can’t help you. Lol.

For those of you who missed the show in London last year, it’s back this summer at the Sadlers Wells and running till the 28th of August.

http://www.sadlerswells.com/show/Fela

Hopefully, now that the cast have been to Nigeria and back, Fela’s accent would have improved.

 

xXx

Waila

Midnight Snacking

This summer is proving very interesting. Why? My cousin, KFC, is spending his entire summer holiday holed up with me in my studio flat.

I’m rubbish at this big sister thing. The role is new to me because I am the youngest child in my family.  Am I supposed to laugh when he tells me about the first time he got drunk at school or tell him off for drinking irresponsibly? Am I supposed to encourage him to explore the sights and sounds of London or keep him under lock and key to avoid his overprotective father’s wrath? The thing tire me.

In the early hours of Monday morning, I woke up to the sound of my flat door shutting. It took me a few minutes to realise he’d left the flat. I checked the time, 4.30am. Where the heck was he going at that time of the morning?!

I grabbed my phone and called him.

“Where do you think you’re going to at this time of the morning?!”

“Huh, what do you mean?”

“Don’t ask me silly questions my friend! Where are you?!”

“I’m at home!”

I looked at my telephone screen. I’d accidentally called my friend Kay. After apologising profusely, I hung up and called KFC.

“Where do you think you’re going at this time of the morning?!”

“I’m going for a walk, I need some fresh air.”

“At what time of the day?! My friend reverse yourself and don’t be silly!”

“But it’s already morning.”

“I said reverse yourself! Who goes for a walk at 4.30 in the morning?!”

10mins later (yes, I was checking) he walked through the door carrying a plastic bag. He went out to buy a midnight snack?! This is someone that ate two plates of jollof rice and a packet of popcorn just before he went to bed. There were plenty of things I wanted to say to him but I only had one hour before I had to wake up. I decided not to waste my sleeping time.

“Boy, don’t ever pull this crazy stunt again!”

I went back to sleep.

When I was leaving for work in the morning I noticed an empty sandwich carton, the empty packet of popcorn, two dirty plates and a couple of gigantic mugs next to his seeping head.

Heaven help his waist line.

 

xXx

Waila