Because you loved; and you lost
Yet you will love again
But this time
You will love yourself first
This was the type of love that upended trees whose roots had seen centuries come and go. That blew away mountains like specks of dust.
This was the love that taught you to love: yourself first before any other.
This was the love that taught you how to heal, long before it broke you.
And this is for love,
for it’s ability to change you
for better or worse,
that gives you a chance to feel
and so much more
And this is for love
in all it’s inconvenient ramifications
that has the power to break you
This is for you.
You scream freedom for the fifth time this month
How many more before the month runs out?
You dream only of the love you will never attain
You go back on your word and promises to yourself
You only know how to love her, that girl
The one with the questions in her eyes
And the quiver in her voice
You know nothing else
Neither redemption nor salvation
Because somehow loving her is all you learnt to know
Loving her is all you wish to know
But you lie to yourself hurt after hurt that its over
But we know better
We’re all waiting for this storm to subside before you begin another.
I swore to myself today I’d write about you
The thing is I kept wanting to but always found reasons not to
But today I promised myself I’d try
There is something the mind does
It has such powerful evasive tendencies
It redirects, avoids and misdirects
If it wants to
But I was tired of the evasion and the excuses
So I picked up my pen today and declared that I’d write about you
There is something haunting about us, what we had
Sometimes I sit down and wander how could something so seemingly beautiful end up so ugly, so washed up and so unwanted
Life has many quirks, I understand
But I don’t understand the innate peculiarities of them all
But I said to myself that I won’t let the pain of reopening old wounds stop me from doing this
So I made up my mind I’d write about you
The heart is quite cowardly you see
Once bitten, twice shy they say
But the heart once bitten will forever be shy
It becomes scared, fearful, cautious
Sometimes it doesn’t even try,
using apathy as an excuse
But its fear you see
I guess I’m not strong enough
And the wounds haven’t quite healed yet for the bandages to be ripped off
But this is me trying
This is me writing about writing about you
I guess I won’t keep the promise I made
When I swore to myself that today I’d write about you.
You look at the seams of your hands
Red, weak, tired of holding on
You’ve stretched too thin
Held on too strong
You invested your being into hanging on
But you see the thing about holding on too long is
You lose function in other parts
As time goes on you begin to wonder the viability of it all
If its worth all your time
Your arms begin to ache, to falter and your grip loosens
Silent tears stream down your eyes as you slowly unhook it
One finger at a time
Feeling the release of tension from your strained fingers
And you realise as you let go with your hands eventually your heart will follow
With slow uneven steps eventually you’ll learn to unclutch.
Urenwa loved her solitude. As a child, I remember my parents and relatives trying to engage her in careless banter but she never seemed interested; she experienced life from within. I felt bad sometimes when people came and got a bad impression of her because they didn’t understand her difference and her need for lonely silence. I never understood my sister either but I accepted her because there was something subtle and simple with the way she expressed herself. The older we grew, the more quiet she became. She read a lot of books both the usual and unusual but I know she enjoyed fiction more. She loved putting her imagination to use; maybe she was developing the world in her mind. Sometimes I’d watch her lift her head from the pages of a book and stare out our lone bedroom window with a smile on her lips, I longed to know what she saw in those moments that made her beam. I longed to experience my sister’s other worldliness with her but it wasn’t possible. I was different from her, people came and enjoyed my presence. My friends would sometimes ask if my sister had problems socializing or if she was born “different” – they meant the offensive kind of different – unlike me.
I was in my final year of secondary school while Urenwa was in her second year in the University when I noticed something different about her. She never liked socializing so she opted not to stay in the hostel unlike her coursemates, so she came home everyday before 7. This was the norm until I noticed she began coming home after 7 and she always had a smile when she entered. I usually gave my sister her space but curiosity took the better of me so I asked her one night after my nightly shower. She was reading a book titled “A prayer for Owen Meany” by John Irving and I was applying Nixoderm on my face. She spoke slowly, her words drawing out like syrup with reverence on her face. She said his name was Dare, that he had such smooth dark skin and his raspy voice was perfection. She spoke about how the first time she stared into his eyes she felt at peace, and for the first time she longed to share her solitude with someone. I saw her glow daily when she got home until one night she came home with tears in her eyes. This time when my curiosity took the better of me she didn’t speak about his voice or his warmth; she spoke about the other girl. The one he unapologetically left her for.
I watched my sister wither and dry up more each day. She no longer loved her solitude. Some nights I’d wake up and find her hugging her knees and mumbling some words. I guess she couldn’t stand the thoughts in her head anymore, I’m sure she no longer dreamt in technicolor. Her lonely silence only brought thoughts of inadequacy to my sister’s once beautiful mind. She was never the same. I guess the fabric that made up her existence was fragile and her solitude was what maintained it. She was admitted in the psych ward the day I came home and found her sprawled on the floor laughing hysterically with tears streaming down her face; I’d never heard her laugh so loud before.
I rarely ever talk about my sister these days that the few times I do people get surprised about the fact that I have a sister. I show them her picture; one of those times when she was staring out the window with a smile on her face and the light was just right. Then they ask me what she was like, I don’t tell them about the books she used to read and what beautiful imagination I’m sure she had. Neither do I tell them about the dark skinned boy who stole my sister’s solitude and with it her sanity. I tell just tell them that my sister loved her solitude.