My Dear Samira,
Ah! Another beautiful morning. It’s time to ruin it by immediately opening my phone. You know it has not been my routine to open my phone, first thing in the morning, in anticipation of news–be it good or bad. However, your absence has given more anticipation, emanating more from rumours than in reality, that I should forget about us and move on with the damsels within palm’s reach. I may not be full of wisdom, but I can decipher what is good for me and what is not. I have faith and trust in us than the Cross and the Church. At one point, you were the pillar on which my being leaned for immediate survival when all was not well. I wonder what could’ve been the news when a WhatsApp notification popped up on my phone on this beautiful morning.
“What could it be? What has certainly prompted my blinkard “friend” to text me? And why on a Saturday morning?” These amongst other queries ensued in my head in the morning. Temptation crept in, yet self-control took charge of the steering wheel. What a morning it was turning out to be! I thought I woke up on the wrong side of the bed. So, I decided to go back to sleep. More temptations seeded in, whispering through the pillow pores and massaging my mind with sweet information. This could be all I ever wanted from you. It could be the good news I have yearned for all this while. Now, temptations have gained ground, and I yielded to the call. This was it. So, I opened your message on the green app (WhatsApp) only to realize it was a single picture. No text attached. What could it be?
Over the years, I have grown to understand that no news is news at all. There is no good news or bad news; they are simply news. Whether we like it or not, they just come as news. I uncovered that there is no new news in the offing as the media will want us to believe. Breaking news is just a sting in the media’s mind to get our attention only to tell us what we have known or heard or seen already. Nothing is new in this world. So, was the message from you? I only needed confirmation, which, of course, was delaying to open due to poor network challenges. I was still waiting, anticipating and anxious about the body of the message. As if the network knew what was in store for me, it was further delayed and with a disappointing circle winding in the middle of the picture.
By then, I surely knew it was a picture. But what kind of a picture could you be sending me on a Saturday morning? I was tempted to go back to my morning nap, but my pillow kept whispering to me to check the message. It could be what I have been yearning for, waiting all this while. I know it was not a picture of yourself. I know you will not send me your picture at this time. We both know that we passed that stage five years ago. Those days when sleep could not chase us to our separate beds, neither could the racing darkness break our spell, nor did the unending distance break our conversations. We both know we have reached a new level; a level where futures are defined, modelled and remodelled to suit our ambitions. Particularly, this makes me curious about your message.
What is the purpose of an utterance destined to remain unread by its designated addressee? Why speak when the one you speak to will never answer? This was the dilemma in my head. I have been writing you episodes for the past eight months without a response, and here, I was with my only response on a single piece–a picture. The dilemma grew and grew. The scepticism increased in the opposite direction. I was in the middle and stood up. Thus, if you remember Ama Ata Aidoo’s Dilemma of Ghost. I summarily became the main character at the crossroads, not knowing whether to go to Cape Coast or Elimina. I don’t know whether to wait for the picture to finish downloading so that I will unearth the message or go for my morning nap. As if the morning understood my situation, it became more habitable and sleep-demanding. My eyes lulled close and shyly opened. Yet the picture dances to the tune of the internet. The internet also succumbed to the same tune of wonderment.
A message from you? No. I must get the information before my most important morning ritual–nap. I cleared my face at the impending message. I didn’t even know whether to smile, laugh, or grim. I became perplexed. You hardly send me pictures. Our conversations centred around the text. It would’ve been normal for me to have received a text from you. I began comforting myself with what we went through the other time. The poem you wrote on your dad’s demise. Yet there was a text to it. It was a picture alright, but it came with a text. Do you remember the text you added to it? You added, “What do you think? My pen game is not as good as yours, so pardon me. Lol.” When I saw the message, I knew what it meant without even downloading the picture. I smiled for a smitten moment. I knew you had been fully initiated into my world. Alas!
Finally! The picture has finished downloading. Was I happy with what I saw? I didn’t know then. I still don’t know now. All that I know is that I stepped into an arena with only two options at my disposal; the hard option, painful withdrawal, and the softer option retaining uncomfortably. With what was before my eyes, the written name before me, and the design of such a picture was accurately done to draw the straw unprepared. And this is what happens. My morning sleep was tormented, my Saturday morning musings distracted, and the atmosphere around me became uncomfortable all of a sudden. I jostle in my bed for a while, thinking through what was before my eyes, even my ever-strengthened mental fortress couldn’t accommodate for the nanoseconds.
What a surprise! Not even a pinch to know what was coming? At least to prepare for the big bolder you were about to unleash in a millisecond. I know courtesy demands this from either of us. To give a hindsight of major events. I was even more surprised you surprised me with this, amongst others. You know I have always been a part of all major decisions in your life. Well! Some things happen in your life that no one else can understand better than yourself. Even sometimes, religious men come this close but scratch the surface. They can only touch the surface, leaving deep cracks within you. Even the most dignified counsellors can’t dig this information to its sterile. They try, yet like their religious counterpart, get a scratch of it. Most of the time, we go silent because we can’t even find words appropriate enough to explain to another soul what there is. Hence, we leave it in the mighty hands of the healing prowess of time.
Do you know why it gets to you so badly when someone tries to judge you from a distance only with the eye of observation and what they perceive of your circumstance? Yes! It will be at least expected. People pronounced judgements based on their circumstances. They compared their circumstances to yours and tried to judge. This is why it gets to us so badly. You used your circumstances to judge, thinking that it would be all breezy on a Saturday morning. This is the case. The healing hands of time aren’t too quick to quell the fast-beating heart. I wonder how you wanted me to swallow that information in the early morning. Well! The morning breeze would’ve made it easier to deal with rather than a tempestuous afternoon or even an eventful evening. You may be right in your judgement. But it met the wrong timing.
You know, under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t have bothered myself explaining or talking too much about it. In other words, I would’ve stopped complaining and then closed my eyes, thank God for life, and pray for time and hope. Because I know we will become a witness to how things unfold. Amongst the many things my dad had bequeathed to me, there is one saying that always rings in my ear, “Bad things happened to good people, and good things happened to bad people too.” I do not claim to be good or bad, and neither are you, I just referred to losing you as a bad thing that happened to me. You will attest to this. As I have told you in several of our conversations, we are free to choose. But there are consequences to our choices that we must face. Remember I told you that the life which you look for so dearly, you will never find it the moment you left your room.
You know I am not a bitter person. I have never been. I have said this to you on countless occasions before your decision, and your decision will not embitter me. I still hold you in high esteem. As I outlined in one of my episodes, I am still that pillar you can lean on. We might have lost the “deep connection” we had anticipated, but time is a great healer. My affection for you never changes. I try to understand the pressures of being a young blinkard lady alone in the woods. Anything is capable of happening. And everything is possible. I know you will soon make choices. The least expected of you was an opportunity to ask questions and get answers. Answers, whether favourable or not. I understand change is an inimical birthright. Yet, you made a choice and denied me this all-important space to ask questions.
We both know nothing is constant in this life. The only constant in life is change and death. Change has never been unexpected, too. It has always been changed. I know that. And you know it too. I read from the blue app, one Gifty Asamoah consoling Bernard Avle of Citi TV on his beautiful wife’s demised “For when the gods created man, they let death be his share, and life withheld in their own hands.” I learn one more thing. If mankind doesn’t exercise the first constant of change in life, then the second constant makes sure it triggers that. I guess you recall my response upon reading the message from you “I have thought a whole day to find the right words and all that I could muster is Congratulations on your next life.”
As Charles Dickens reiterated in the closing pages of his famous David Copperfield that “no words can express the secret agony of my soul as I sunk into this companionship (with your message); you can compare these everyday associates with those happier childhood dreams…” You may not know or hear or see; now you know, heard, and seen. I can sleep now on a Saturday night, feeling fulfilled and relieved.
Al Latif Kambo-Naa