My Dear Samira,
The days are getting shorter. Writing to you and about you is cyclical. The cycle has completed another journey. Hence, the need for me to express myself to you again. You know, I have never run short of memories of our encounters. Unlike the Hakeems, we have successfully created meaningful and meaningless connections over the years. I dare to say, could this be it? An exit on a highway? Nay! They say, “Here it is; nothing is offered for nothing.” It is all over again.
As usual, you know this is not about the Hakeems or Adjos, right? Yet you may be wondering what might have triggered this again. Of course, there is little room to wonder—especially in a world where true friendship has fallen into the gutter. As for true love, it has only been sighted in Disney land three decades ago. Flattery in perpetuity. But for us, it is far from it. You know, it has never been and will never be.
Our lives are like a magic wand in the hand of little Farry, waiting for wonders to happen anytime and anywhere. You know, such tendencies. Time and space have always been our best bets. Things fall in place, apart, and back in place again. Such is life. But isn’t that what builds the life profile of a man? Your answer is as good as mine. You told me so. Obstacles never sit atop a rock as you ferry life through this steep, worldly highway. It defies logic and rationale. Life simply defies human logic.
My dear Samira, I have been ranting for the last millisecond. You might be guessing what triggered this rant. Well! Nothing short of a familiar stroll on a Sunday night. strolls you are more familiar with than anyone. It was a Sunday evening, and I decidedly took a young lady through the streets we both knew well. It was a stroll to the majestic KFC along the Wisconsin University College enclave where the salivary gives choice the freedom to slide along its own chosen path.
I guess you may be nodding your head slowly and rhythmically guarded by a voluminous book on the Wealth of Nations with Adams Smith’s portrait as the cover page, who constantly peeps at your “fine” face from time to time, wondering what you are doing on the laptop. Who even talks of Taylor’s “Confidence Games” where money and markets languish in an irredeemable world? Could these two symbolise our distance? I know your response hitherto. Smiling.
My dear Samira, the mood is stuck in its throat due to excessive mucus that refuses to move up or down. Such a feeling. Mixed feelings: Can this be any different from the Spanner Crossing Incident? The horrendous 37-hospital experience? You may be guessing what I seek to achieve with this garbage patch. What do I seek to achieve with that? I do not know. Yet, one thing is certain. You never doubted my historical memory. This stems from our shared vision.
Do you know that Sundays are good for us? Our coincidence at TV3 premises for Ghana’s Most Beautiful (GMB) where you sat in front while chatting with me until I left the auditorium despite us coming with different partners–a revelation right? Can you remember the first time we met in Troski on our way from Russia (Last Stop) to Legon Campus, with those Waala boys chatting you up the whole time and me just smiling? These were vital coincidences. Of course, it changes perspectives.
Well, it was another Sunday with a bystander on the edges of North Legon Road. The sleeting night had already eaten the twilight. A blanket of darkness engulfed the neighbourhood horizon, and the sky was punctuated by the glow of street lights and sharp vehicle lights. We trekked hand in hand, crossed roads diligently as if our lives depended on it, and passed intersection after another until we got to our destination-KFC.
Intermittently, I thought it was you. In particular, her athletic steps and graceful body manoeuvres were not different. Despite having the same name and similar stature, I often realised it was not you whenever I struck up a conversation. She finds it difficult to connect the wide dots. The subjects were extremely porous, disjointed, and completely parallel. It was such a time-consuming task. We could not connect at any level. Some things are better left unsaid. The first time, I completely convulsed all discussions–if I may call them–at the exit.
I know you may not remember all, but you did remember some of the things discussed under the dim light of the KFC magnolia bulbs, though it blurred your vision. I wonder why such lights are used in these kinds of places. Such complexities sparked more in-depth discussions, with only one winner frequently emerging. Yet in our case, there has never emerged a solo beneficiary. The blurred vision was holding us hostage, or we were often indifferent.
Your unwavering focus was one aspect of all encounters that captured my attention. You outlined your vision clearly. Despite the blurred vision of what the present holds, you never fail to give the future a chance. Yes. I have such an abstract, I often call it “present continuous.” I am pragmatic.
Nevertheless, I can still vividly remember how you described your vision while we sat on the tall, shiny iron, black leathered chairs opposite each other with a bottle of Coke, a box of fries, and two giant pieces of chicken in front of us. I particularly enjoyed the way you “tear” those chickens. I can still see it as if it is still happening in front of me. Wasn’t it one of those situations that led to your current vision of studying in the UK?
I still remember you telling me that vision comes from a broad worldview. Indeed, for one to have a nobler vision, one must know himself, believe in himself, have an open mind and a broad worldview, look out for opportunities that are gaping for attention, be courageous, and crave to provide a solution to a human problem. I am happy the Canadian dream died while the UK vision plugged in.
You also know that my mission in life is not merely to survive, but also to thrive, and to do so with some passion, compassion, humor, and style. Is it not what made us stand side by side over the years? Yet sometimes you need someone to tell you, “Heya! You are moving too fast; that is the reason. Can you start all over again?”
Even without an exit poll, I can tell you what the results will be. Though it may not be obvious to the naked eye, it is acutely clearer than a surgical blade. And you know, my heart dances about the soft breeze of words born in your tongue. A pillar also needs a foundation to stand on. Caterpillars, too, get their strength from the ground. I do not know where yours came from. It is surely top-notch. The kind of famous mucus–famed by the Good Lord HIMSELF for no reason–stacked in my throat, refusing to go up or down. It is just there, soiling all other good tastes in whatever form they take.
My dear Samira, my ancestors described the human mind as a labyrinth. Indeed so. A sophisticated artistic sensibility. There are no large champers. There are just small rooms exiting into small rooms without a clearer exit, yet there is an open entry. Only the expert mind–philosopher (if I may call him so) can manoeuvre its way out. I am no philosopher. You know this. I used to believe that I could take my affection with me wherever I went. This has been proven wrong when you enter the labyrinth. All efforts for an exit failed. My granny says time is the greatest healer.
Can you recall the day we trekked to Commonwealth Hall to buy Waakye in their common market, and there was a colleague who started giving me fans from the balcony facing the common market? And do you remember what you called me? After a few responses to my peers, you called me raggedy on our way back to your room in Volta Hall. You told me this was the first time you saw me raggedy. I have always been raggedy. You can even place “raggedy” as my middle name. I do not know how you managed to keep it in check. Indeed, you graduated me, albeit prematurely, to “adulthood” when I was still not ready.
And did you hear the song about adulthood being a fraud? Adulthood is not only a fraud but a full-grown scumbag; it just robs you of all forms of fun and excitement. My village’s witches and wizards have been accused wrongfully for a long time. I know you agree with me that the real culprit is adulthood. I may not be physically present to access the level of damage it has caused you, but I can sense it right under my bottom left ribcage. It has taken all our juicy portions away. You can’t even yell in peace without it yelling back.
Indeed, I have seen it manifest in your smiles and your swag. The traces of your sense of humour cannot be found in the debris of a crashed teenager. In adulthood lies regret and resentment. No foolhardy. Childhood innocence is buried under the sludge. Adolescent exuberance is suppressed by anxiety. Such is adulthood. It has its woes, never-ending. I am certain of my share. I know you are too. A silly, inescapable bridge. Yet, we are sailing through in God’s name.
Ahem! The first time I told you this, Obama was still president. The second time, Donald J. Trump was in the post. Now, I am saying it for the umpteenth time when sleepy Joe is still sleeping. Regardless of the pangs of this fraud, you were, are, and will always be the best I have ever met, known, and seen. Surprised? I am still the Globetrotter, trotting along the edges of North Legon roads towards Libya Quarters with a young damsel I thought could replace your footsteps, which, of course, were too heavy for her.
My dear Samira, tiredness tore up our feet with violence. My mind was more fatigued with the lesson “101–How to Take Care of a City Lady,” which at a point became repetitive, boring, and exhaustive. She made me realise things I used to take for granted whenever I was with you. She constantly reminds me of a lady’s life. How does she expect me to know? Samira never gave a gist. Samira never complained. Samira was always grateful. Samira only requests when necessary. Hence, what you presented became the gold standard. You know, I am a local man from a village in the Upper Savanna.
I can complain of numerous things God has not bestowed on me, but the power to woo is not one of them. I thank God for that, and I also thank Him for everything He has not given me. You know, I was great at sweeping ladies off their feet, yet terrible at maintaining the momentum. Guess what the use of sweeping ladies off their feet would be if I could maintain the momentum? You will never have come into the picture and I will never have written to you. Imagine all this not happening. How will you feel without knowing me? An obvious answer: you know, this has become a difficulty ever since our paths crossed. You have managed to capture a large room somewhere in the labyrinth. I am just not sure where the large room is located yet. In my next episode, I will tell you about some good friends who fell in love. Those who think themselves smarter enough; the intellectuals; the wealthy fellas; the crazy fashion designers; and some others. I know you would not panic or swell because I am still who I am.
My dear Samira, you know, being recognised is far better than not being recognized. And you also know that living in anticipation is worse than fading hope. At least fading hope realigns you to something. A history A place. A loved one. Together, a memory is hung on. A lot of people may not know why I hung onto you. It gives me joy, hope, and reason. At least I will be remembered as a good friend, if not as a memento. Some people called it winter, but we called it Harmattan. Whatever its name, it is coming. Winter is coming; Harmattan is coming.
You may not have known, heard, or seen; now you know, have heard, and have seen. I can sleep now on a Saturday night, feeling fulfilled and relieved.
Enjoy Your Weekend
My dear Samira,
written by Abdul Latif Kambo-Naa