Sometimes love fails us. Most times, we fail at love.
The chairs are scattered about and the table is askew. The fridge is open and half empty, I wish you were here. The sofa beckons in its sober crimson couture way, and I go to it. And when I shut my eyes I see you. I do not know why you can have this effect on me, after all I was the one that called the shot. I was fed up with your theatrics and your insistence on your “privacy.” I couldn’t ignore the many calls that came and went that you dismissed as being from no one. I was mad, very mad the day I saw Sofia in your apartment, though I admit you were both dressed and well apart, but a girl and a boy alone, was well, a girl and a boy alone. I have courted your memory for 4 days now and frankly I hope this phase will pass. I have pushed you away knowing I will likely hurt me more than I you. I know you have tried calling and that you are the one that knocked for hours this morning and I am afraid that you may never come back. That I may have finally pushed you away. I know we have dated for 2 years and that I never once said I love you but I never really saw the point. Love was giving and receiving and I felt that since we both felt it that a slight uncaught whispering of it might in the end jinx it. Maybe I was wrong. Maybe if I felt it enough like you did I would have said it, over and over again. I would have flung it like a bird song over the hills of Ibadan and allowed its echo resonate over every inch of your being till you were deeply aware that I did. Maybe all the things I said were what drove you to keep doing things that you knew I couldn’t stand. Again, maybe I was wrong. I could have apologized instead but I decided that I would let you mess with my heart no longer, that I will not sniff at my pillow at night wishing you would stop doing the things that you know too well were hurting me. Maybe you were just being you. I have made peace with your presence and now your absence hovers on my chest, heavy like the quintessential burden the Christian faith mandates us all to bear. Tunde, in the deepest corners of the soul where all the darkest desires are hidden, your name will always resonate; but for now, I have willed myself to let you go and this I will do.
UCHE OSITA JAMES
I see you in everything; in the fluorescence light – its coy illumination, in the soft pillow – its cozy embrace. I feel your presence, a familiar tingle that lingers like a ghost hovering around, haunting, teasing, killing me.
My days have gone blurry Irene. It’s like I am stuck in a hypnotic haze listening to the whistle of memories that sound like dreamy birdsongs. I find myself phasing through conversations, through activities, through life. I understand why you left, but I just can’t understand how you could. We were never perfect Irene, we never were meant to be. But I always thought, maybe wrongly, that we were too beautiful to cease.
And I loved you Irene, maybe even too much. But you never really believed that I loved you; you always doubted my words, even before we became lovers. You sometimes pretended that you did not, but I saw through your act Irene. There is only so much distrust you can hide from a man. The truth is, you always thought me a player, a disaster waiting to happen. Remember? You told me this that first day I stopped you on the road and complemented your eyes. I could even say that you feared this supposed fact so much that you created it yourself and we suffered from it. But maybe I wouldn’t be fair if I blamed you for everything. We, our end too, were always both our responsibilities.
Thinking about it now, that was always going to be our undoing, wasn’t it? You could never trust me, and I could never be trustworthy – even when I was doing nothing wrong. I can understand that though, that between my past, effortless flirting and horde of female friends, I did not exactly give you the easiest job. But this was always who I was and you of all people should have known me enough to know how harmless these features of mine are. I always thought that if I was doing nothing wrong, nothing wrong would happened with us. I guess I was wrong; the worse infidelity it seems, is the one that brews in the mind, the mere apprehension of it – and I feed your mind to gluttony. It funny in a way you know, you always feared that I was going to break your heart – when all I ever wanted was to have it – and so you broke us both, before I could break you.
You were mad, very mad the day you saw Sofia and I in my apartment, and though you would admit we were both dressed and well apart, but a girl and a boy alone, was well, a girl and a boy alone. I remember frantically explaining to you that we were just friends and that nothing was going on. I remember feeling like I was reliving a frustrating memory and maybe I was, because this scene was one replete in our narrative. You would always have reasons to question me, and some-how, stupidly, I always had something to answer for.
And I loved you Irene, I still do, maybe even too much. Irene, in the deepest corners of my soul where all the truest emotions are hidden, your name will forever be etched. But for now, I have willed myself to let you go, if only to save you from me, and the dangers I never really posed.
VINCENT CHIMOBI OKONKWO