Why I Why

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So I’ve been asked why I question stuff so much, why I want to know the Why behind everything I’ve been taught. In fact, a few days back someone who has decided he’s now my father’s mate went as far as to ask me “So you think you are now so wise that you would question…”, I didn’t hear the rest.
Anyway, to explain the Why behind my Whys I’ll tell a story someone once told me.

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A Soothing Beverage

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“Tea or coffee, sir?”

“Sir?”

“SIR!”

He finally turns to her, looking up with weary, sad eyes and she immediately feels guilty for yelling.

“Tea or coffee, sir?” she asks more softly. He’s one of the good ones, and heaven knows, you don’t come across the good ones very often in this line of work. No sir, you don’t. Air hostesses don’t have it as glamorous as the movies say, so when they come across a nice passenger they treat him right.

She smiles even more brightly, “Tea or coffee, sir?”

No, he doesn’t look sad, he looks anguished. She must fix it, rub her perkiness off on him somehow, turn that frown upside down like the motivational books say. You don’t come across many nice ones, not many quite as nice as this one has been, so she has taken it upon herself to ensure he is well taken care of and above all, happy.

“Tea or coffee, sir?” she asks again. Read the rest of this entry

A Child was Born

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A child was born, we celebrated.

Earlier today a saw a photograph of a man who was burned alive in South Africa because he was a foreigner. On the day his mother gave birth to him people celebrated. Why? Because a life that had the potential to end so tragically had just started? Or because a man and a woman could now proudly answer that elite title – parents? They had, praise the Lord, dodged the stigma of childlessness and now, hallelujah, had an additional feather in their cap.  And if this new life had just been introduced into a world so broken that he would one day experience the unfathomable fear and anguish of being burned alive by animals who wear his skin, so be it. At least, his parents did not die childless.

The other day I read the story of a woman who had a child at 65. We were told she had been trying for well over 30 years. There were over a thousand comments below her photo, most of them saying “Thank God for you, ma” and “God answers prayers”. But let’s do a little math. That child will be 10 years old with a 75 year old mother. Even mothers in their prime find it tiring raising a child properly so where is this boy to get his discipline? But no, we do not think of that, we celebrate, because finally this woman has dropped the label of ‘bareness’. And if this child becomes an orphan before he is 20 with no siblings to lean on, who cares? At least his parents did not die childless.

But then when a woman decides not to have children for reasons of her own the world works up the nerve to call her selfish. Bloody hypocrites.

Orthography

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I have many memories from childhood. Some good, some I’ve modified to make good and some why-the-hell-do-I-even-remember-that?? Here is one of the latter.

It was the day I first learned to spell the word ‘Blood’.  It was evening, we were in the village and I was playing around outside in blue underpants.  I fear I may not have been wearing a shirt.  I watched in wonder as the lady who took care of me wrote the word in the sand.  No, she wasn’t a village witch, I had actually asked her how the word was spelt. 

I looked on as she spelled the word and in all of my 6 year old wisdom couldn’t for the life of me comprehend why a word pronounced that way was spelled with a double O.  What insanity was this? I thought, nay, I knew for a fact that double Os belonged in words pronounced like ‘hook’ and ‘cook’, you know?  Well, what the hell did she know?  I went in and waited patiently for Daddy to come home, he would fix this like he fixed everything else, he would return sanity to the world.  Alas, when he returned he confirmed my worst fears, everything I had ever learned was a lie.

A few weeks later, back in school during inter-house sports, I needed to write the words ‘Red House’ on my badge.  I froze.  I had no problem with the word ‘House’, it was complicated, they didn’t mess around with complicated words.  It was ‘Red’ that bothered me, it looked too easy, and after my encounter with ‘Blood’ I knew it was on the easy ones they got you.  But no, they weren’t going to get me, not this time.  After a period of careful contemplation I picked up a red pen, drew a house on my badge and carefully coloured it in. 
“Since the hunter has learned to shoot without missing…”

Their Problems

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My friend comes to me with all her problems.  She calls me up at midnight when she fights with her boyfriend not giving a hoot that I live half a world and six hours in time zones away.  When the phone rings at ungodly hours I let out a groan, heave a sigh, remind myself that I am single and so must ALWAYS subtly side with the boyfriend and then I pick up the phone. Read the rest of this entry

Forever Mine

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It is six o’clock on the morning after our wedding.  Dele is asleep beside me breathing softly, mouth slightly ajar.  I’ve always been amazed at how beautiful he looks when he sleeps.  He’s exhausted, as he should be; after yesterday’s hustle and bustle we had defied the popular lore of being too tired to do anything but sleep on the wedding night and made love, I had insisted on it.  Twice at first, then one more time for good measure, even though I could tell that Dele was losing his enthusiasm by the third go.  I had pulled out all the tricks in my arsenal to get that last one going, I needed it.

I look at him as he sleeps, tracing my finger down his beard.  The beard I’d made him grow thinking it would somehow make him a new person, make me forget that I had walked in on him cheating on me with his ex barely a week after I had told him I was pregnant.  I had walked out without a word and when he finally mustered the courage to come to my apartment to apologize I greeted him with a smile and a warm meal, telling him I knew she didn’t mean anything to him anymore and that it was a mistake I had already forgiven.  He proposed the next day, but neither the ring not the beard had helped me forget.

But I love Dele and I know he loves me too so I married him still.  I have forgiven him for his indiscretion but now we have a baby to think about so it falls on me to ensure we remain one family forever, with no room for exes and other loose women.  I lean over and kiss him on the cheek, he reaches for me and mumbles an I love you. I tell him I love him too, so much, and then leave for the kitchen. I return 20 minutes later, like I will do every day from today onwards, with his healthy breakfast of oats and orange juice each with my own added labor of love, a generous sprinkling of Propecia*.

*Propecia is a hair-loss drug whose side effect is permanent impotence.

Aside

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On Friday evening they called me aside.

“Bimpe, you need to step it up a notch”, they said. “You don’t look like you try hard enough. You should use more makeup and do your nails and wear, like, four inch heels. You’d totally look good in a weave and you could do with a pushup bra. And it’s a sin to hide those legs, girl, please DO get a shorter skirt!”

So off I went, sore at heart that the me I knew wasn’t good enough, but relieved as well that I had finally found the magic formula – if I could just look like them I would finally fit in.

Therefore, on Monday morning I wore red lipstick and painted my nails red, exactly as I’d seen them do. Hair racing for my bum and skirt struggling bravely for the finish line I click-clacked my red soles noisily into the hall exactly as I’d heard them do.

It niggled at me that the girl I saw in the mirror wasn’t someone I knew anymore, but I beamed up my practiced smile and adjusted my supplementary bosom as they called me aside, their acceptance had been a long time coming and I was going to soak it up.

“Bimpe, you need to tone it down a notch”, they said “You look like you’re trying too hard.”