You wake up, clad in only a pair of briefs, your bare chest reckoning without the fan spinning from inches away. Yea, PHCN has been a good sport lately, never mind that you are scared that merely typing out that fact will jinx things. You find yourself alone, like you found yourself hours before, like you find yourself on 78% of the mornings that make up your year. No good morning texts to tug at your battery either, the junk mails from Dr Azolibe and Ikemba Nnewi have not rolled in yet, and you thank the good Lord for a quiet kick-off. You have been thanking Him much lately, though you still hunger for a whole damn lot more.
Your white shirts, those darlings whom dust and sweat and involuntary contact won’t allow to be great, are treated to that customary weekend drowning in soapy water which you can’t tell is soft or hard; you have long forgotten your Integrated Science lessons. You mull over what meal you should fix this weekend too, having only 48 hours (sometimes only 24) out of 168 to strategise on nutrition. Yea, you are the sole architect of this masterplan to fill your own stomach, because The Mom is over 400km away, because your fingers still function properly, and equally because you are not so sure whether an invitation to the fairer sex wont be the subject of an angry BBM rant or uploaded screenshots when things go south, as could be the case.
You stagger into the electronic walls painted blue, where talented people are prone to excesses and freedom of speech is restricted if you haven’t over time reached the point of being able to amass an average of 100 likes per post. No, you are not here to debate on religious tolerance, the comparative value of apes and babies, or the price of tomatoes. You scroll down and bless a few photos with your all-powerful and gracious ‘like’. There is Kemi’s photo; Kemi, who is now a happy Mrs with a month-old son. There is also Lydia’s photo; Lydia, whose affection you couldnt handle in your undergraduate days because of your (documented) commitment issues, and who changed her last name two months ago. Sophie’s ring finger and the keyholder bearing a photo of her son will always haunt you for your inability to speak fast. You notice the pattern, and you grin. (No, you couldnt scout for Laura’s photos even if you wanted to, you planted a C4 on that bridge with damning Prose.)
It’s easy to talk about how you may have been used as an emotional gym bag in preparation for the real deal, or how their flaws got you to lace your shoes and use the door…..but you have grown beyond all that, you know that you were (and still are) not close to being perfect yourself, and you realize how selfish it would be to pin them down with sweet-nothings when their future plans are much more concrete than yours.
Moreover, you have learnt from it all; you know how to call yourself to one corner and say “dude, this thing you’re feeling aint love”, you now know when to smile wryly when a text from you gets a lady all tickly and tell her “curb your enthusiasm, i know where this is going”, you know how to choose your adventures, you know a crush or a complicated friendlationship when you see one, and more importantly, you know when to let go, sending your love and prayers out to “her” when everything runs its course.
Jerry Chiemeke is a law graduate, freelance writer and amateur photographer who lives in Lagos. A foodie and sports enthusiast, Jerry’s works have been featured on The Kalahari Review and Brittlepaper. You can catch up on his thoughts at pensofchi.com
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