There are three sides to most stories, the side The Observer jigsaws together from the bits and pieces that fall off the dining table, the side The Observed eats from the bowl that Life has served them and the side that Life itself cooks while stirring its brass pot.
Life will cook a spicy, eye-watering, tongue-burning soup, and with each torturous spoonful, The Observed hops uncontrollably whilst inhaling air into their mouth to cool their burning cheeks.
The Observer, who has no way of seeing the steaming bowl, simply sees the seemingly rhythmic hopping. Some might exclaim in admiration “Ah! He is break-dancing so well”, some might ask suspiciously, “Ah! Why is he dancing?” and others might conclude disdainfully, “Ah! I can dance better than him”.
For in the absence of X-ray vision, they cannot see the peppery soup wreaking havoc as it viciously embraces the throat with its heat and travels down a fiery path to the belly of The Observed.
Perspectives. You see this way, I see that way. We are both seeing.
Yet again, the snake-like fuel queues have returned, the Naira is entangled in its awkward “stop it but I like it” romance with the Dollar and the crude oil boom has deserted us like a runaway husband given the news that his wife has just birthed their third set of triplets.
Indisputably, Death’s supreme power lies mostly in its permanence.
She bade farewell to the last visitor, it had been a long sad day. They had come home straight from the church service while the others accompanied Naomi’s body to her final resting place.
The house was quieter now so she could hear her emotions clearly – Sorrow and Regret. The former was expected and the latter despite its futility amplified the former.
In the Seventies, people weren’t so careful about these things, love was all that mattered. If they had both known about their AS genotype would they have still gone on with the wedding? She tortured herself with questions requiring answers past their sell-by dates. Expired common sense.
The past is another country, even if she were magically issued a visa to travel back could she even consider a life without him? It was hard to imagine now, their paths seemed so intertwined after 25 years of marriage. Still, how does one let go of a twenty-one year old daughter forever?
Oh! How she blamed herself, with each painful crisis she was taunted by the sickle-cell disorder that lived inside her daughter’s body rent-free. Her sweet Nana, so full of promise and with a radiant future bursting at the seams with dreams. What does one do with the memories of a child?
To live in Lagos is to know when to flaunt your body. I will always be amused by the tales of Danfo bus drivers who resort to stripping naked to avoid being penalised by LASTMA officers after flouting traffic laws. ♫ I’m sexy and I know it ♫
To live in Lagos is to know not to run when you hear shouts of olè, as you might get confused for the thief and receive fiery punishment for much more than restless legs.
I once heard a joke about a man who was running wildly, and as he raced along everyone who saw him joined him unquestioning. When asked why they were running they’d simply point at him and say “Something must be chasing him, I don’t want it to catch me.” To live in Lagos is to intuitively know what sort of race to join.
To live in Lagos is to accept that everyone owns you, people feel entitled to a piece of everyone else whether they like it or not. An unspoken communal ownership of human beings. Lines as thin as the translucent strings seen when lifting amala from well-whipped ewedu stew separate your business from my business and our business.