“Every Story is about a day, the pulsating narrative that drives it is all but earthen fuel. Every story is about a time, the continuing narrative of space and existence. But we write it all. With every step and move, the story moves into the bigger picture. Like running; turning into a race against a war. The context of the narrative reflects the nature of the content. The society is the continuum of our pieces, each dutifully falling into section to reveal a larger picture, the ultimate drama of humanity. The cadence of our voices reflects the often hidden surge of blood in our bodies. We are many things, but in most, we are but blood and love.”
Eli wrote these words on his desk under the lamp light. He pauses, shifts his gaze to the dusty window, the dark room flickered as the wind rushed briefly threatening to curb the little light from the oil lamp. He pauses, regains his distraught composure whilst staring at the darkness that peered through the moonless sky. Eli could just be about 21, a suburban boy raised in that rush of civic chaos. In his head was the constant dichotomy of identity, the battle of being caught between the ideology of an African “African” and a westernized “African”. He was neither; he loved the thrill of being African but found that his liberal nature seemed so out of place with the conservative nature of his society. This young soul knew a lot. He scarcely could recall, yet his sister could, when their house was pillaged by hoodlums during the eventful riots that spurned the beginning of the new millennium. The chasm of war meant that sometimes, children grew faster. And Eli did.
He finally settles as the wind receded. The room grew less dark as his eyes grew into the damp light again. He pauses for a while, almost in a meditative state. The room, silent, could almost be his hearts ambience. He moves again, this time towards his bed that is on the corner of the room, on the bed was his bag; he unzips it and searches through the books that were in it. Stopping only when he had found a particular purple covered book.
For a while he stands, looking subtly at the purple covered book, he caresses the cover as he moves back to his reading desk and the oil lamp. Plainly written on the cover with a gold pen in calligraphy was the inscription “LETTERS TO SHARON”he opens the book, sighs heavily and begins his 366th entry.
It is now a year since the time we met ;( or since I saw you for we never really met) and this drowsiness still hits me. They say feelings are convenient necessities but I find myself being impaled by thoughts of you. We still do not know each other and it is my fault. I remain stuck in this fear that I may never amount to the idea of what I need to be for you. God could not have missed a tone when he built you..
Eli stops, stares on to the empty ceiling, he knows the words are not right again. He has been through the same motions 365 days before. It was almost a ritualistic habit. He rips out the page he has just written, folds it with tortured exasperation, and carelessly throws it on the floor. He sits idly for a few moments, the silence hanging on to his ears; the door gently creaks, “are you asleep?” a voice gently speaks from the door. He turns swiftly, covering the purple colored book with his assignments. “Nope, I’m still awake” he mumbles sheepishly. The voice laughs jokingly, “Well I wanted to remind you about the birthday hangout at 2 tomorrow” the voice gently echoed. Eli suddenly jolts back into a hysterical fit, “what birthday?” he replies struggling to ring his memories in order.
The voice behind the door sighs with desperation. “Sharon’s birthday hangout remember, she requested that I get you to perform a poem at her special day because she liked your club house performance” the voice returns. The voice behind the curtain was Uche, Eli’s confidante who sometimes served as an impromptu manager for the considerable amount of times Eli was called upon to perform his queer poetry during social events on campus. Even though a good amount of people loved his performances, Eli mostly tried to keep away from them. Sharon had by luck caught Eli performing his poem “ The Man Who Died Before He Died” which was a social commentary that used the analogy of a suicidal man who is kidnapped by a serial killer and his struggles to escape the killer so he could commit suicide”
All through his performance, she watched as he felt every word that came out of his mouth. He was caught up in the worlds of the words that he had. He was the words and they were a part of him.
“ Okay, I’d meet you there. My last class ends by 1:45” Eli says. The voice at the door is silent.
“Alright soldier” Uche finally says as the sound of is feet is heard fading into the distance.
Eli returns to his purple covered book. He flips through the other entries, then stops. All were short poems. He debates for a while but then he finally writes.
War is love
When love is war
We fight to love
Never should we love to fight.
Many battles has love taught me,
The greatest was loving you.
It is 2:15 and the music is playing softly as some friends gather, the eagerness of youth prowls the room as sexed up young men and women battle the villains of lust and desires. Sharon, a dainty, dark skinned girl appears at the door way spotting a purple tight fitting dress that accentuated the outline of her beautiful curves, as she walks in she acknowledges the guest that had arrived at the small showroom that students used to host their social gatherings. She searches around and finally spots Uche at the door. She swiftly moves on to him. Uche freezes as she approaches.
“ I’ve been searching all over for you” she says softly,
Uche stares at her,
“He hasn’t yet arrived” he replies slowly, watching her excitement turn to desperate unease.
“Do you know what is holding him back” she asks impatiently, the mood between them flickering from desperation,
“ He had an afternoon class, he will be here” Uche says, offering a mild assurance.
Sharon moves to the corner, phone in hand. A voice calls her on the other side of the room as a message turns up on the screen. She stops to look and bumps into another figure.
One year on from the day they met in the same room under the same circumstances, Eli and Sharon were back on the floor again. This time felt different though, she did not berate him or take a slight look at him, she only offered him a smile which made her more beautiful to him.
The room felt their spark. They felt it too. She wanted him to talk but his words were taken. His bag had come unzipped at the impact of the fall, Sharon offers to help him arrange them as he dust off to perform. Eli in a moments rush forgets that the purple colored book was in his bag.
He walks to the microphone, stands idly for a few seconds and he was off. The poem he was performing “ The day of the One day people” which was about dreams and the unbecoming of them, offered through the eye of a lazy and procrastinate mind.
Sharon though could not focus on the words that flowed on stage; her eyes were on the purple colored book. She opened the pages and the words enveloped her. The passion, the thrill, the dreams, the hope, the disengagement, the disbelief. The coincidence that the book was purple colored and she was wearing a purple dress. She read through most of the poems, but rested on one. Subtle and sweet, she could hear his voice saying the words to her,
Love is the word of wise kings
And I am not a king,
The only throne that I have known
Is the throne of loving you.
Many dames were cast ahead
To be a pebble stuck in a way.
But this much I know is all but true.
That I will love none but you.
His poem finishes on stage and as he walks to Uche, he sees Sharon in a purple dress, holding a purple book that was written in her name.
The nausea begins to sets in, he feels dizzy and dismayed. Angry at himself for being unguarded.
He begins to walk away and Sharon runs after him.
She stops him at the door, teary eyed and emotional. “Why could you not tell me?” she asked in tamed vexation and curiosity. Eli stares to the floor beneath him,
“ How could I?” he questioned, looking uneasy at her prying eyes.
“ When you love someone you tell them, damn what they will think of you?” she answered back in tears, he reaches out and embraces her petite frame.
“ I never learned that rule, but maybe it is too late now” he replies.
“ Say the words, then we would know”
He lifts her head from the mild embrace and tilts it till they were eye to eye.
“ Sharon, a lot of things I have in mind, but the surest after God, is that I love you”
She smiles as he cleans her tears.
“ I have heard these words from a few boys, but none have ever sounded as convincing as you.” She says leaning into his embrace as he gently cuddles her hair.
“ We’d try it one step at a time” she tells him, “ If you move I will move, if you stop I will stop” she continues.
“ Yea I understand” he answers as the music on the background begins to play Aaron Naville’s “Even if My Heart Would Break”
“ I have a purple dress with a purple covered love letter book, all that’s missing is a purple kiss and I’d be all shades of blue.” She joked as she stared at him.
She turns to the first page of the letter and reads,
I know how to love you.
When you’re not mine
Take a chance and teach me
How to love you like you’re mine.
“ I guess your lessons starts now, so I need you to back me like a baby” She jokes and Eli plays into the joke as he tries unsuccessfully to do so. She laughs hard at his attempts as she stares at his corny mannerisms.
“I’m gonna love this” she thought silently.