Monday, June 17, 2024

When hope is the only anchor left

My dear Samira,

I saw a synthetic flower in my bathroom. Yellow flowers are dotted on top of green leaflets spreading across a bouncy sink. The side of the sink you liked very much to use has become a shadow of its former self—yellowish lines crisscrossed an entire plane. Something you dreaded most; This immediately took my head back to the days I used to wash in my own bath; the glorifying scent alone could make me lay a bed under the sink where the sweet, refreshing scent emanated. Regardless, the sweet scent that used to emanate from this side of the bath has faded away like the scent of camphor at the peak of harmattan. This is where the reality of my absence dawned on me. a difficult moment to behold.

Everyone has a difficult time. This is something we are certain of. I grew up in a family where there was never a lack of disagreements or differing viewpoints. The power struggle between various sections is ever-present. All of these squabbles and bickerings occur within, where nothingness is never born. And you know that this has become a part of me over the years. I agree and disagree with myself internally. External fisticuffs are something that much of the indigenous generation struggles with and frequently resorts to. The GMO-induced anger has caused more disaffection among friends than ever before. It can easily turn friends into foes.

This happened between me and a young lady a few years ago. I met her in a programme in the early days of 2020. She’s very cute, eloquent, unassuming, and has a measurable amount of acumen. The vibe was great, but never compared to you. You’ll notice that red lines are more pronounced and easily discernible in the relationship business than in any other. She started drawing red lines. I tried to understand her constant yearning for weird tastes among good ones, and she constantly makes her redlines even more pronounced. Things that will shift you from your own seat.

In fact, she revealed to me how he hates men before she met me. This was the first flag raised. I knew exactly where she fit in. Interestingly, she also revealed in one of our conversations how she never wanted to get married but, upon meeting me, she fancied the idea of marrying one day. She even wanted it to be me. Wasn’t that ridiculous? And you know the deal better than anyone else. There is only one person who can talk about marriage when I am involved. It is something I feel I owe you. This was her mistake. She even surprised me by introducing me to her cousin, whom I know very well. This was the final blow. For now, we are neither friends nor foes. We just know each other. Simplicita.

There was a fuss about beauty and brains in town. She was recently the most talked-about girl. But first, we have a small matter between us. I know you aren’t an ardent viewer of WhatsApp statuses, but you might have chanced on her once or twice on my WhatsApp status. I’m sure you remember the unmistakable description I used for things. She’s a definition of the word itself. She’s beautiful. Not only that, but she’s also “brainy” too. Yes! She is. You know this better than I do. I have started our own thing, going places and to events and all sorts of places.

I read somewhere on Facebook that “no relationship is all that sunshine, but two people can share an umbrella and survive the storm together.” This statement actually takes me aback. I read it and reread it again. I believe it was talking to us. Well. Nothing looks sunny all the time. Even a gold watch dims with time. A bright day might be interrupted by passing clouds. These are the rules for operating inside nature. This is not to say that our lives must be held for ransom when clouds appear. No! Far from it. At any given moment, one of us will have an umbrella. This umbrella can be shared by us to shield us through the storm.

My dear Samira, the people that are closer to us are the people that hurt us the most. They betrayed our trust and confidence and ended up giving us the heartache we never anticipated. I will not be surprised if we ever get into such a situation. And I repeat, I will not be surprised. Like I told you previously, guys will approach you with many interesting intentions. Some may even get to the point of proposing marriage. I don’t dispute such innuendos. I am certain it is either happening or about to happen. But when it happens, I know you will fall. And when you fall, do not fall flat with your heart, because you know I have already taken that on the staircase of Elizabeth Frances Sey Hall.
As I told you before on that day, do not fall in love with people like me. I will take you to museums, parks, and monuments and kiss you at any beautiful archaeological site, cultural scene, or traditional shrine, so that you can never go to any other person without tasting me like blood in your mouth. I will destroy you in the most beautiful way possible, indoctrinate you in the most useful manner, and sensualize your sixth sense so that when I leave you, you will understand why events are named after people. I guess you remember these very well. And you absolutely recalled one such moment when the world closed in on you—the demise of a loved one.

I remember telling you once that when placed on the same balance beam as suicide and ignoring personal issues of love, one can never be too far gone. Love is as dangerously ingratiating in the eyes of men as it is one of the deadly diseases that quickly send men to the grave. Do you know why Ama Ata Aidoo recused himself from venturing into issues of love and affection in her writing? She was so afraid it might consume her. But you know what? She ended up touching on the issue of love in all her writings. Ama survived it because she didn’t entirely make it the topic of her writings. This is what love does to you.

My dear, an early warning in perpetuity is better than having known. That’s why I stick to early warnings.
You’re familiar with my stories, and let me tell you one that has stayed with me since my late father’s death in 2007 as a proud father.

After I had successfully entered one of the most deprived secondary schools and my brother was in his final year at one of the best secondary schools in the region too, can you see the twist of destiny? Yet my father kept on reminding me that when hope is the only anchor left, one must show resilience and endurance. Life is not what has always been painted in one’s mind. The mental images are merely images. I’m guessing you had similar mental images of the loved one you lost.

Surprisingly, fathers frequently have thoughts that differ from ours. What they think is said in parables of yummy “hmm” and peremptory noddings. You often know very little about them here, especially after they believe their work is done. In my case, he used to say, “What’s left of me?” “Why stay for another day to soil what I have achieved when I can leave at my proudest?” This is frequently the difference between fathers and mothers. Whereas mom wants to see the definite pinnacle of all their children before exiting, dad only wants to see a glimpse of success in at least one of his children, and then they happily exit. This is just a mammalian instinct in all mammals, including humans.

My dear Samira, bearing witness is a profound act of the Good Lord. I know you might have heard a lot from the old man, as I have from mine. The interesting thing is that they drop hints of their exits like duck droppings. “All his peers are leaving the scene either happy or not, but why not leave at your happiest when there is one and smile?” my grandfather once told me. I had no idea he was on his way to school when I dropped him off. He left with my name on his lips, not for anything at all, but he used to say my growth and development outpaced his expectations. This was probably his proudest moment.

So I know my father left a happier person, one who was undoubtedly proud of me. But this cannot substitute for the vacancy left in the hearts of many.

Indeed! I must be strong, not only for him but also with him and as him. As a result, my constant demeanor
May Allah forgive all his flaws, as well as those of my father and all departed souls. He has gone with all the wisdom.

What else can be said on this day?

One of the many things I love about you is that even though we’ve walked some very hard roads together and apart, you and I have this understanding that every struggle and every challenge is wrapped around a gift. It might take years to see what the gift is and even more time to be truly thankful for it, but we can see that golden glow on the horizon, and it keeps carrying us forward, one step in front of another… unlocking the gifts that each of us brings, and together…

My dear Samira, I still wonder how people crawl into each other and make the best of it. You remember our first meeting? How did everything turn out? Well! Love can germinate anywhere. It spreads from mushroom farms to markets and homes. Some grow in homes, but the best come from the inside of the trunk. You remember how we expressed our uncommon affection on the Keneshie-Madina en route for a graduation ceremony for our collective friends. This is the kind of affection and friendship I talked about. Family love is effeminate and unceasing. There is a sense of belonging. There attention. But there was no attraction. No affection. Only enduring love exists.

On this note, I tell you that where there is belonging, there is also non-belonging, and where there is inclusion, there is also exclusion. You may not know, hear, or see; now you know, hear, and see. I can sleep now on Saturday night, feeling fulfilled and relieved.

Written By
Al-Latif Kambo-Naa

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