TWO SIDES OF A TROUBLED COIN 1

Two sides of a troubled coin is the journey of two people who met online and are both in search of the missing parts of their lives. Confiding in each other helps them find these parts but not without digging out secrets that would have been better off hidden.

ONE

TOBI
I wasn’t always like this…My life was much more fun before now and I lived it to the fullest. I have no idea what went wrong. I went from being THAT to being This…”This” meaning without talents, dreams and oh yeah without money. Let’s just say I’m broke, “dreamless” and “talentless”(are those even real words? My English’s gotten terrible) . I might as well be dead.
I should repeat I wasn’t initially wired this way and I’m not just saying that over and over to try to convince myself. I am determined to find out what screwed up my wiring system this much…To find myself again I must find out the “why’s”.
My name is Tobi…once upon a time big dreamer…once upon a time super talented designer…once upon a time lover of life.

**********

FOLA
I keep getting these feelings these days. You know that feeling you get when you know something is wrong but you can’t tell exactly what it is? I sound like someone that is crazy yeah?
I have a feeling I wasn’t always like this… I say. “I have a feeling cos I’m not sure I know when and how it started. Oh boy! I feel like my life isn’t mine and it seems I’m watching the whole thing…like a movie. Put it this way…I feel my life’s a movie and I’m jes a part of the audience.
You do understand right? You don’t think I’m crazy or anything? Looll..look at me go on and on. I’m sorry ehn. I guess I just feel this is it! This would help me find me..find out what’s wrong and fix me! That you’re a stranger don’t matter..now you’re my friend
I’m Fola…once upon a time perfectly sane chic (I guess); once upon a time happy person(I guess again) ; once upon a time die-hard romantic…can you help me find me?

P.S Don’t forget our no-research policy.I like to think we can help each other without necessarily knowing ourselves. I’m dying to know what you look like and all but I guess its better ds way. Don’t think me a criminal or anything o..

**********

She sat back in her chair and read the mail one last time. Perfect! She thought and clicked SEND

Advertisements

UNTITLED

Hi. it’s been a really long while.

I have no idea what title to give to this. If you have suggestions, please help the needy; use the comment box below.

*************************************

He said to me “Oo ma ni ri apada si aburu. Olohun o ni je ki o fi ese rin losi ibi ti o ti wa moto lo.” (That is, May you never go back to misery. May you never walk to the places you drove into, by God’s Grace). I knew what he meant by those prayers.

I had seen the scenarios he spoke about in just those few words first hand…okay maybe second-hand. Alright, I had watched from a distance.

I watched …

…As a young and vibrant man who just moved into my neighbourhood walk by with his beautiful pregnant wife. Word and opposite, I said to my younger sister as I combed out her hair and tried my hardest to hold in a fart.

He was huge…with “holdable” fat all around him and a towering height while she was small…very petite with so little flesh on her body. I wondered how he held her and if he feared he would break her if he held her too tightly. He was the teddy bear and she the lollipop. Ok, so maybe lollipop does not completely do her justice. Lollipops are made of a huge fat mass of sugar on a very thin stick. She was nothing like that. She was just petite…very well proportioned but for the height.

Kuburat, the iya ile ookan walked into the shop at that moment. I called her that for two reasons which described her perfectly. Like the Yoruba meaning of the phrase, she actually lived opposite my house. You could see her house from the window of the sitting room…you could see her house even better when you sit in the shop built against the fence of the house. The second reason I called her that was that she also qualified as the street gossip…again like the figurative meaning of the Yoruba phrase “iya ile ookan.”

“Na them just pack come that house wey dey the end of the street,” she said to me.

“I know.” I replied.  “The woman fine sha.”

“Abi o. She get luck sha. Her husband na banker and him like her ehn! You no see say money dey smell for their body ni? And they talk say that car wey him dey drive cost gidi gan ni o.”

“Ahn Ahn!” My sister said from between my thighs that her head was burrowed and raised her head. “How do you know? These people just moved.” My sister couldn’t be bothered to speak pidgin like us. Well, there was also the fact that she really did suck at pidgin and Yoruba. Our parents had not given her free rein with language like they did me.

“Shebi the katika of the house is my customer. He dey come buy food for my hand well well. Na him tell me.”

I sighed when I realised what she meant to say; that the caretaker of the house is her customer.

“Hmn.” My sister responded.

I turned her head sharply back into its initial position and let out the fart I was holding before she decided to say what it was I thought she was going to say. I didn’t want her disrespecting our neighbour by calling her ‘amebo’ even though we all knew that was exactly what she was. It is the Yoruba thing to do, you see. Don’t talk about your anyone’s bad habits to their face…act like it doesn’t exist.

As I knew my sister would, she forgot what she wanted to say and complained only about the pungent, stomach-turning stench of my fart.

The couple walked by again, this time in the direction of their house. I assumed they went on a stroll and that now that it was over, they were going back home. I prayed for her kind of luck. I prayed for her kind of husband. A rich man who still loved his wife so much he would stroll with her.

…I watched…

…As time went by and they waxed stronger in their love to the envy of both the single and the married women on our street. People’s relationship goals changed. Prayer points changed. Single women prayed to find a man like him who didn’t see it as a big deal to buy all the foodstuff they needed, help out with chores, take regular strolls with the wife. Married woman prayed their husbands did a quick and long-lasting abracadabra and become just like him. We knew about the ‘goodness’ in him. Things like that always spread like wildfire in these parts.

Of course, there were the other people who saw it as wrong. They thought she had gone to a babalawo (herbalist) or some dibia to tie his brains up in a calabash. It is wrong for an African man, a true son of the soil, to degrade himself and toil through the market or even wash plates. That is the job of the women. She had definitely given him ‘efo to eat’. There is nothing real about this, they said to themselves and whoever cared to hear, but quickly zipped up their mouths when the young couple were walking by.

…And then I watched…

As things turned and the tide changed for him…for them. First, he walked by a lot more than he did before. He could be seen strolling by around 10 a.m, sometimes later. The whispering went a notch higher when his almost always suited-up body gave way to a body only seen clad in a polo, jeans and a pair of palm slippers. Was he on leave or could it be that the worst had happened? People always thought the worst of everything and this was no different.

And then it happened…

The car went into oblivion, like the designer shirts and the expensive phones . He strolled and trekked to places he drove through before. The once always suited-up guy who wore the Armani’s of this world now walked around in clothes that seemed to have see better days.  He started to sit under the tree that before him used to be the hang out spot of only the gbeboruns (gossips). If only he knew that those people he spent the better part of his days with needed only the fraction of a minute of his absence to table his matter before their gathering.

“Dem sack am ni! This life.” that was the voice of Kuburat telling me for the millionth time why this once vibrant young man who was the envy of all became the one who dragged dusty feet around with unkempt hair. “You no see say he don turn by-force-dada ni?”

Dreadlocks is what we call dada. I wondered why she was quick to decide his lack of a proper haircut meant he was adopting dreadlocks. I said nothing. The story was that he had lost his job after a mass lay-off at his former workplace, his dreams cut short right in front of him without warning. And so did the comfort and luxury that came with it.

So here we were, me in the shop, him here with me. We had been discussing dreams and their death when conditions weren’t favourable.

And so when he said to me “Oo ma ni ri apada si aburu. Olohun o ni je ki o fi ese rin losi ibi ti o ti wa moto lo.” (May you never go back to misery. May you never walk to the places you drove into, by God’s Grace) I knew what he meant by those prayers.

I said “Amen” faster than my brain could even process anything else.

Day 8: Aminat

I’m tired. I don’t know why or what exactly I’m tired of but I just am. 2016 hasn’t been terrible but then again it hasn’t been anything. 2016 is supposed to be the year I rewrite my story. I said …

Source: Day 8: Aminat

Dusk 8: Aminat

I did this #30DaysofHope “therapy” last year and it was amazing knowing I had covered most of the things I listed for 2015. I say therapy because, I mean, it’s a feel good thing. You get to write down all your hopes for the year and follow them through. It’s healing, I tell you. Here’s my 2016 entry. Feel free to read other people’s as well.

 

Source: Dusk 8: Aminat

RESTRICTED ZONE

This was my entry for a 200-word short story gig sometime back. Enjoy.

********************

I’m literarily sitting across my future…I hope I don’t blow it.

Everything I planned has led up to this moment. There are only two results: take this to the next level or ruin all I have been blessed with for the past three years…the laughter….the best friend I could ever wish for.

 I am sitting across the person that has become my best friend in three years. I want to ask her to take things further with me.  Even though I promised her we would never become those friends who ruined things with a relationship.

“Omoshalewa, I need you in my life.” I say.

“I’m already in your life, silly.” She says to me.

“Not how I want you to be. I want something more serious. “

My Salewa’s eyes grow wide and then I see what I have been dreading.

                                       ***********

I can’t believe Dotun just asked me to be his girlfriend. I was beginning to get really comfortable in this friend zone. I just said no. Things are better this way.

Sadly I really do like him but I am too scarred to venture into a relationship. I can’t accept this beautiful bitter-sweet proposition. He knows why my heart has become a restricted zone. I can’t afford to let anyone in.

BREAK POINT

I have gotten to the point where it doesn’t hurt anymore

The lies,

The betrayal,

The uncertainty of tomorrow.

 

I have gotten to the point the tears don’t fall anymore,

Tears of sadness,

Of heartbreak.

Of the unreliability of man.

 

I have gotten to the point nothing means anything,

Anymore.

Not the pain,

Or even the joy of the morrow.

 

I have gotten to the point I feel nothing,

See nothing,

Believe nothing,

Because humanity has taken from me all that I can believe in.

 

 

 

 

 

Because you are supposed to be strong

You feel the tears well at the back of your eyes,

You feel the knots in your throat,

Knots that mean one thing only,

The tears are coming and they are coming enmasse.

But you can’t afford to let the dam burst open,

Because you are supposed to be strong.

 

You want to yell and scream at the world,

You want to lash out and find that closure,

You want to be able to curl up and just let go,

You want to be able to cry without holding back,

But you can’t afford to fall apart,

Because you are supposed to be strong.

 

So you keep it locked up inside you.

The hurt, the pain, the sadness,

It gets worse but it doesn’t matter,

You hold it all inside you because,

There are a million people watching, and

Because you are supposed to be strong.

 

You hold it all in cos that is what is expected.

You can’t admit you are on the path to depression,

You can’t tell anyone about it,

Because depression is an oyinbo disease,

Because Africans, Nigerians don’t get depressed,

Because they are supposed to be strong.

 

Until that faithful day when those barriers

Cannot hold back the dam and the dam bursts open,

And you take your last breath

Because you decide to end it all,

End this hurt and pain and sadness,

Because you can only be so strong for so long.

The concept of active citizenship

Jci_LogoJunior Chamber International (JCI) is a non-profit international non-governmental organization of young people between 18 and 40 years old. Activities in the organization are based, more or less, on active citizenship.  I wrote this article  sometime back and I thought to share.

…So they went on. The two young people who liked to think themselves active citizens. The two Jaycees*. As they walked on they talked about the world and all they wanted to change about it. They talked about their Local Organization’s just concluded Waste Bin Project. One of them decided to stop and get a sachet water. It had after all been a very hot day and the walk back to the hostel seemed to be getting longer. He got a sachet for his friend too. Between gulps of the water and walking back home, they continued their conversation about the change they would bring. They both finished drinking at the same time and discarded the wraps by the roadside. What lofty dreams these young active citizen had! What beautiful goals they spoke about! Only they forgot that Active Citizenship is not limited to huge projects and that it starts from the smallest of things as disposing waste properly.

One phrase is synonymous to Junior Chamber International- Active Citizenship. Right from the second you pick up the form to join the organization to the days (or years that follow) the concept of active citizenship keeps coming up. From the vision to the creed down to our actions, we are faced everyday as a Jaycee with the endless possibilities of the things we can do by taking a stand and not just sitting around waiting for the change to happen.

The concept of active citizenship is not far-fetched. There is no standard definition or model for an active citizen. The term is used to refer to people or rather citizens who become actively involved in tackling problems facing the community or bringing about change.  Active citizens take action in order to improve their community to make a difference. It is a philosophy that advocates that citizens have certain roles and responsibilities to society and environment although they do not have specific governing roles.

Many a time we complain about things going wrong in our society. From the smallest thing as the untidy state of our environment to bigger things like leadership of the community. Over time, we have developed the ‘Siddon-look’ attitude (waiting for things to change all by itself). It is believed that the government should do any and everything and that they have little responsibilities to the community. This, however, is a wrong notion. The growth or downfall of your community rests on your shoulders as a member of that community. While it is true the government has a huge part to play, your responsibilities to that community is limitless.

From disposing waste properly (no matter how silly it sounds, yes you owe your environment that much and yes, it is a part of being active), to organising small empowerment training sessions for those ‘Area Aburos’ to deciding to vote during elections because you feel your vote counts for something (not because some persons decide to distribute odourless fufu or branded rice/bread or “poundless iyan”), these things go a long way in building the community.

I like to use this analogy I picked up somewhere a lot. So here goes…Picture a dark neighbourhood with ditches at almost every turn. For every one that passes through that route without light, there is a possibility of falling into one of the ditches. Now picture one “good Samaritan” who decides to put on a light bulb just in front of his house. That one bulb lights up a little part of this area and He probably would succeed in saving one person from that one ditch in the illuminated area. Now imagine every single person puts on the light bulb in front of his house. The actions of these individuals have transformed that dark neighbourhood into a lit one. Those good Samaritans are active citizens who have made an impact small as it seems.

This illustration can be related to our every community. Your actions as a Jaycee should be to favour your community. Think of ways your community can benefit from your existence. Incorporate the values of the organization into every area of your life. The world cannot be better if we decide to wait for the other person to do something. The fate of your community rests on your shoulders. Be that Active Citizen and do something about that problem you see.

SEE THE NEED…TAKE THE LEAD….BE THE CHANGE.

 

*Members of Junior Chamber International are called Jaycees.

Just in case you want to learn more about JCI, here is a link. You could also do well to search for Junior Chamber on google.