I used to have clothes in my closet.
Now there are just skeletons.
Remember when I said I was hurt beyond recognition and built walls around my heart?
Entire friendships were sabotaged and I cut a lot of innocent people off.
Understand that I thought my emotions had played a really good part.
Emotions that had begun to fade and my feelings became arms bound with cuffs.
Little wonder I lost hope in finding light in places that looked like holes.
Keys? Yes, definitely. I had keys to my trapdoors.
With more exits than entrances to the maze I call my soul.
And even more sores that were overly guarded with shifting mirrors and caving floors.
My aim was to never repeat the same hurtful mistakes again.
Even with all the protection, you’ll never believe what was over the outer fence.
Qui Vive, Jasmine! Lookout for rain.
Umbrellas of unbelief; discarded. I am now drenched.
And someone has rekindled this dying flame.
Now I know you must be wondering who on earth this person is.
So I wrote this piece with hopes that the first letter of every line spells out his name.
Also, one thing I’ve learnt at the end is this:
Healing comes when you finally let go of the pain.
these hands of yours
they create life
your heart beats the bass drum
your fingers follow suit
by plucking string after string
chord by chord
you breathe life into our ears
it’s this life that charges our souls
it’s how we remember experiences we’ve never had
it’s what makes us find solace
in a noisy world
every note telling a different tale
every word you breathe
rams into us
like current from a river
you’re a wave
that is pure
it is true
it is alive
it flows from you
Maybe one day, the ocean of life will wash me onto the shores of Western Nigeria and I’ll twist my tongue to learn their language.
I look forward to learning to speak like I’m learning to walk.
Crawling until my feet can comfortably grip the grains and stand in the beach sand, long enough to purge my blood of waina and yaji.
My ears anticipate hearing the beat of the language’s loud drums in the beautiful noise that comes with life in Lagos.
Face muscles growing accustomed to the ‘ye’ and ‘ah’ diphthongs ’til I can hold a heated conversation with a bus conductor.
At first, my tongue will definitely miss its steps and dance off-beat but eventually, I will become one with the rhythm and roll my eyes, tongue and hips with reckless abandon to the rhythm of the gangan drums.
Maybe then, I will also beat my aso-oke clad chest and chant, “Èkò o ni bajè” with the rest of the dancers.
One day. Soon. But until then, I am content with my half half English.
📷 Photo credits: @daviddosunmu @fotovangelist