When two people meet eight people actually meet: What I think of you, what you think you are, what you want me to think you are, who you truly are and what you think of me, what I think I am, what I want you to think I am and what truly I am.
Good day, lend me your hearts lest -the spidery legs of disgust creep unto you -I will keep it safe. Do away with your mind, this time it is not needed. Just experience, live, let this words breathe you in, hatch you in the hairs in its nostrils, understand the message of its brain. Let this touch you in places your lover is afraid to reach.
Picture me as a wardrobe with well spread clothes. Yes! Close your eyes. Oh! I forgot to tell you to drop it on the tray at the door? Do away with it quickly. You will lose direction. Picture a wardrobe; wood or steel, any according to the hardness of your imagination. Now this wardrobe has a door that protects its secret from the world and as well protects the secret of the world from it. Inside this wardrobe are cloths arranged for the week. Arrange so to say, that the first pair is for Monday or Tuesday. Yes they are in order. Now go close, take a deep breath. Fling the fucking door open…
You are enveloped by a smell; caked and damp it brushes past your face. Don’t let it escape! Hold it down with the hairs on your nostrils, wrap it up. You can perceive it right? At first is just a scent distinctive, harsh and bold. Now sniff some more, get close to the clothes sniff on. The wardrobe has a unique scent -a mixture of the soul or essence of each cloths in the wardrobe and together with the perfumes, bleach, detergents, it has been subjected to over the years, gives off this unique scent of the wardrobe. You will see that each cloth held to its individual scrutiny can never account for the entirety of the smell of the wardrobe.
Let’s meet the cloths
THE STARCHED WHITE SHIRTS:
Feel it, let its smile wade through your palms. Let its thickness make you feel it’s alive. Feel the buttons run up and pause at the neck. Let it hound into you the need for it to be enclosed. Take a deep breathe. Now perceive its whiteness. I usually wear them at home, in the house, covering my nakedness. I have it on when my uncles visits, my aunts, cousin, the extended family. The ignorant smile always playing heavily on my face. The soft smile devoid of any grudge or even a possible trace of anger. The sauntering between blood, to sniff out who needs a pat or a quirk or a smile. Starched shirts are always buttoned to the top you can’t afford to waver, to leave any blight uncovered. It gives off a comic sense of righteousness, of expected piety and total goodness.
The white shirts are the most bleached, frequently washed cloths in the wardrobe. Difficult to maintain. My white shirts are white alright, crisp white. Adorned with cheap perfumes, seducing and throwing off the scent of an armpit with condensed grey hairs, hairs looking feeble and weak, weighed down by their own smell –the smell of being what they are; clueless! Of not knowing why they are there in the armpit. But in every white shirt of course, there’s a yellow menstruation, reeking of freedom bleached and starched to a mechanical obedience.
Be careful with this one, don’t go near it, it is soft but deadly. It is a tapestry of woolly sinning. They are the Overalls or Senators as popularly called. It usually wears me to church. I have five of it, Black, Blue, Brown, Ash and Purple. Blue is my favorite color. It feels liquid, I mean it flows –the color blue –all its physical expressions seem intractable; the sky, ocean etc. The sky can be blue and dark and black and red. The ocean can die, live, run, rage and die again -it flows. The Senators are a joy ride, short, brief peep into what your life should’ve been –only that it isn’t. I wear these for “occasions” too. Events where humans are tortured by manners; pride, confidence, boldness, smartness and bluntness –the need to be something they are not.
The Senator gradually chips away at one’s soul reducing its victim to empty shells of foaming pretense.
I won’t say much here…just that this are daily slices of my unknown whole which like every other clothes loses its essence after been paraded. It is drowned, washed, ironed and dried to fit a particular or current trend.
Yes! Those clothes you buy and cherish so much you separate them from other clothes, to avoid a taint in their gracefulness. Yep that’s the one, I have lots of unworn cloths in my wardrobe. I keep them for special occasions. I don’t wear them to church nor to school nor at home, they are just there, not part of the wardrobe but they are there, yet to be savored. I think they are for the orgies I have at night. I mean when I sleep, when I dream…those thoughts -afraid of daylight -about staying out and late at night, in some dark room, you know? Acting your own parody of fifty shades of grey. I hope one day I will wear them.
There are other unworn cloths intermingling with others, I seem to bypass them. They are like glitches in a computer program, you can’t explain their presence but you accept their existence as error in human coding. Weaknesses rearing their polished smart wry faces to mock you.
(laughs loud) they never betray you. It collects, like flowing streams, cringes of your leftover shit from your arse, the condensed and sweat convoluted hairs of your pubic region, the sad sag or stretch mark caused by nights of bulging erection or soft and dense sad look of years of imprisonment spent clogged to the crease of your vagina, like plastic Eva bottles torched with hot water. They ironically bear the true stench of the being who wears them, the punch marks of someone held back by himself and society, sagged by frustrations of not knowing which cloth truly is his best.
Now just wonder… that an occasion crept out of its jar. Just imagine that Monday jumped into Saturday or Friday jumped into Sunday. That instead of going to church on Sunday you went to club. While the Lord would be in the altar waiting for your soul and offering. You end up in a club. Exchanging your offering with booze, with a night stand and wraps of condom.
Well this happened. Pick up your mind from the tray you left it, try and discern, imagine, don’t judge yet, just wait, hear the last of the story. Never judge a wine when you haven’t had the last drop. All its flavor could be locked in that tiny drop, the one that gathers, pricking the bottles as it descends to your mouth.
SO, we traveled to Village on the 23rd, Sunday to celebrate Christmas. I wore my Senator, you still remember him? Good. It was night when we got to our village, it was a last minute travel. I had forgotten my charger. On the 24th morning I went out to get a charger. My village is not a village so to say, but a town, with tarred road, with kiosks, pharmacy, schools and steady light. As I walked down the street, I wasn’t surprised to find a Nokia phone and accessories shop and there I met her. Or she met me. We smiled and cracked jokes. About how my village has lost the status of a village. About her not traveling to her own village because her Ex would wear the feared Ohuofia masquerade nicknamed Idi Amin and he was out for her. We exchanged numbers and we talked into the night, we kept vigil together. We talked about things that should’ve stretched into a third date all in a night.
Christmas morning while others dressed to church, I lay on my bed. My mother came in, she wore a purple beaded lace material and was still struggling with her headtie, when she noticed I was on the bed, not getting ready.
O wu inaghi ejike iga church? She asked
I told her, I was sick. A cruel case of running stomach, she came closer touched my fore head, Ewo o! nwam sorry oo, iga anuru n’ulo, if we’re coming back anyi azutara gi ogwu. She mixed her Ibo and English as if both were not different languages. I smiled, my plan was working. My dad came in later. I told him I was sick he said no problem I should dress up that Christ would heal me in church. My dad was the type that believed in church. That believed that actually with faith you can move mountains –literally. My mum came to my rescue.
When they had all left I dialed her number…can you come over?
When? She asked.
I’m on my way. She replied without hesitation. My heart danced. I put on my favorite clothe –the unworn, you remember? Those ones you buy and cherish so much you hide them, keep them far away from the rest. So I wore it and I waited for Tuesday.
And there she was on my bed with a wry smile.
Are you hungry I asked…she smiled and as if reading my mind, unbuttoned her shirt? And our two words lay open, bare, weak. Needing help.
Let’s eat she said. And that’s when I encountered death. Death was sweet, it was attractive. It looked beautiful. I knew I wasn’t eager for tomorrow. And just then when I had the north and south pole in my mouth. My mum walked in.
I know you would think I am stupid, a fool or whatever foul name your minds evaporates. But consider if Christmas hadn’t fallen on a Tuesday?. Is not my fault if Sunday crept into Tuesday without its permission.