Lome II


It’s not the same, is it?
A new wine, an old wine
Memory is perhaps like this… it is many things, different at different times…
It’s this place in your heart or in your mind, that continues to evolve with time
Like leaves on a tree in rainy season they blossom, they are beautiful.And in harmattan they wither, they get old and crack…they have their own beauty too…
Changing always as we feed it, as our mind and circumstances brings experience to bear. Sometimes the painful ones are still painful. Sometimes they are for you a testimony of your strength – they remind you you survived – and assure you will continue to survive what else may come. The sweet memories – sometimes loose lustre – you can’t remember them as vividly as you would like to, even though you try to feed it. Perhaps because they’ve been muddled with the painful memories. Other times like all memories, there only remains a faint feeling you call back to remember a more vivid experience. But that’s not all there is to say about memories there are times when they come back fully, strongly, sharply causing your heart to skip a beat, your body to shiver, tears to fill your eyes, causing you to fall on your knees, to cuddle yourself and relive them.
Blossoming leaves, Withering leaves all still spring from the same tree. I wonder how the tree feels about both: the withering leaves when the harmattan season comes and how it feels about the blossoming leaves when the rainy season comes.

This journey was a redemptive one as much as it was one of discovery. We were on the road … and now I was itching to pick up my notebook and scribble fleeting thoughts – one thought sparking chains of thoughts.
We were leaving Ghana, going to another country, but by the time we went out of the Greater Accra region, I was already feeling like I was in a foreign land. I realised how little of my own country that I knew. I can’t even describe it, if you have ever been to a place you didn’t know, and you were completely lost as to where to head left all alone. Then you know what I am talking about. If you have never been lost before then you are just plain boring. Get a life!

The roads were beautiful.The driver was moving fast but steadily at about 120km/h . The road seemed to support the vehicle well. I couldn’t help daydreaming. This was my first time going out of the country. I was leaving everything behind for a week. I was going to be in place that was not part of my homeland.
A person who hailed from there would be called a Togolese. He would learn French instead of English in school. And do all his homework in this language, write letters in this language, have conversations in this language. Basically for a person born here, this language,french, would be how he’d relate with the world, as English is how I relate with the world. So if he were to see an attractive woman, he would express it as J’aime çette femme, or whatever (I was trying to say in French … I like this girl.) The more I thought about how his language would cause him to utter different sounds to express the way he felt, the more eager I became … wow the world that was awaiting. Isn’t language such a powerful thing, these words that we learn to utter and attach meaning to. A combination of the right words and perhaps the right body language could cause someone to share with you their soul. Hmm.
French girls! The French – they are the spark of West Africa, something we say. They seem to be more alive than the rest of us. Life is more vibrant for them. Now I was thinking about a pretty French girl, that I will meet and get to know. You know how I love conversations, I chuckle at the thought. Myriads of thoughts, a train of thoughts, a chain of thoughts, all sparked by an anticipation of what lies ahead. The drive was getting cozier. I started falling asleep. I didn’t want to.

I had left everything behind. Or not exactly – I had brought myself with me. The person that I am, the beliefs that I hold about life, my memories, my pain. This journey, as much as it was to discover a new place, was also to find a new place in my heart for relationships that had caused me pain. And the burden of the knowledge I carried with me about a great loss that was soon to come …
A part of me knew and accepted this truth, another part was in constant denial.

Scenario A

# We can’t love too hard, can we?
They’ve had a lot of petty arguments lately. He should have gotten used to her by now, but he insists on getting her to get him. She also insists he gets used to her. Thus there are always quarrels and then qualms. Each asking themselves why their partner is so hard to live with: why can’t he just see things my way for one minute, she thinks to herself – even when we are talking, all she hears are the voices in her head, he also thinks to himself. They are both seated in the couch with their backs facing; why do we keep doing this to ourselves, they say.

Scenes, XVI.

The Thimble Shop. Thimble once said he wanted to have nothing to do with anybody. Back then, nobody understood him. But, few weeks ago, the story was told. Then everybody knew. Then everybody understood. Thimble is 37. He lives alone on the outskirts of Sakaman. He knew all the clubs. He knew all the pubs. From time to time, he took a girl home. From time to time, he shut himself off from everyone else. At such times, he shut his electronics shop up too. Those were, according to him, the days dry, the dusty days and the days of drear. Everybody had heard of this; but, no one knows if anyone understood. Now, Thimble is a very very talented talented man. People come from far and wide to consult him to find out their electronics problems. People come from far and wide to consult him on electronics solutions. It has never been heard of Thimble to have anything distasteful proceeding out of his mouth. Thus, when Thimble shut up his shop and then returned, all customers also returned. Everyone knew about his unique behavior. Nobody bothered; but so many said things. Some said it was because he was unsocial – few believed this, for his pleasantness rendered it highly unlikely. Some people said it was because he was sick – he had to visit the hospital for a tune-up. Some said it was to make a pilgrimage – a rite of some sort. There was a theory here. There was a theory there. But, no one knew his story. Then recently it was told. Then everybody knew. Then everybody understood. Thimble had known Samantha. Thimble had known Beverly. Thimble had known Ishmael. The story with Samantha goes this way: they had met at the provisions store; with little time, their relationship grew – it was hard to conceive otherwise for his pleasantness and she was said to be a bubbly one; she invited him over to her house; she told him to lay on her bed; she suggested oral sex and he agreed; she bit him so bad she tore off some of his flesh. The last he remembers of Samantha are her glowering sneer as he ran out screaming, bleeding and her grin of victory as he made away in a cab he stopped naked. He knew Beverly from the curb; she asked for help with her car and he assented; the hood of the car banged on his hands as he took his hands away, having finished the work; he screamed in pain as he did his best to lift it off himself with the very hands hurt, for she did not help; he initially thought it an accident until he saw the look of contempt in her eye and the wrinkle of disgust on her face. He could have sworn that was the last. Then he was approached by Ishmael to help him seal a pit behind his home. Ishmael slashed at him with a knife. He was lucky to escape without a mortal wound as he swerved his body back to dodge the attack, which same swerve sent him plummeting down the pit. From inside the pit, he looked up at Ishmael. Ishmael had an equal pattern of disgust and contempt as Beverly in his facial features. Then he did the other thing: kicked some dust into the pit, directly in the direction of Thimble. It was 3pm at the time. It was 8pm when he came out – clawed himself out. Very inconceivable stories – all very likely lie; yet, all very much the work of actual happening. Those who knew more, knowing even the actors of the story, said all claimed to have been engaging in preemption against the possible treachery of Thimble. Thus did all know Thimble’s behavior now were the aftereffects of the treachery of these ones. The story was told. The story was heard. Then everybody knew. Then everybody understood. However, Doreen also said: Thimble must finally heal. And everyone sighed. Then everyone nodded. For everyone agreed. The three had played the social card and claimed the moral step. Only Thimble had played the moral card for the sake of the social step. Yet, still, everybody thought as Doreen did: Thimble must finally heal.