“These memories never sleep.”
Ghost Ship, Sting
Not every love story ends with lovers strolling on a beach, shoes off, bare feet sinking in the soft sand, the tides of the lake rolling in, hand in hand, laughing. Sometimes quiet, taking secret looks at each other, the night to come guaranteed wonderful. All the music in the world and booming through the speakers in the hotel with the lights in their hearts. Lovers the same, from one bedroom shacks to 8 bedroom mansions, leaving the gardens of their love by foot or Landcruiser, the same. Not too many love stories come close to ending that way but a few do. I have seen a few that have. This is for the romantic pessimists, yes, I have seen some that have ended that way, in a complete absorption and trust and oneness that had her accepting his drinking habit was a part of him and he accepting that she liked to flirt not because she was loose but she liked to flirt. I have seen them all. I have seen them.
For the longest time I used to believe that every love story was the same in some way. I used to follow the theorists who used to say that there were two or three stories to tell since the beginning of the world and what made them seem different was the way each writer told them. I used to believe that when I loved Somerset Maugham like he was an African writer, a homosexual writer who managed to live through a medical course in a German university so that he could have a safe degree to fall back on in case his dreams of art and writing for a living failed, as they for a time threatened, when he was an orphan, living on the mercy of his uncle and aunt. I used to believe that. I still love Maugham. You have to read The Moon and Sixpence and his short stories to understand why I will never stop loving Maugham but I don’t believe anymore like he did, when he died 90 years and some, that every story on the face of the earth has been told. I have since seen love stories that I have not seen on any TV screen or read in any book. Ishta, your friend was right, his life story is his story, and it has not been on television yet. You have a right to tell your story by the fact that you have lived. The longer I live, the more passionately I believe in the individual than in any society. The individual endures, society passes.
Countryboyi once accused me of writing only about love and Zack challenged me to write about something other than love. I did not reply much because I thought they would see with time that it was not about love, physical and sexual, that I was writing about, but more. I had wanted to argue with them that love is far from trivial; that love is the only reason why we find everyday the will to go on living, that love is the only reason why we are the people we are; that love is the only reason why we were born even if it looked like one minute lust then conceived during a one night stand. Life’s trials and sufferings would be meaningless if one person did not will us to live on. I wanted to argue all this. I have said this in a film review and I don’t think anyone took me seriously because it was a Nollywood film review. The future is not tomorrow, the future is everyday you’re living, from moment to moment, the future is already here. I did not learn that in a Nollywood film but it was confirmed. The future is everyday you’re living. I know. From more than bitter experience. More than once.
So this is for you, walking from CityOil, this is for you finding a beggar to give the left over take away, this is for you in near tears because there were so many children on the street being used as bait and beggars by their parents, and you knew this but nevertheless it would not stop your voice from choking with emotion. This is for you. And your necklace I wear as my talisman. Certain death is stalking me. Leaving when I did would cause you less grief. This is for you. I have not stopped thinking about you one single day though I have been silent a long time. That you could think what you thought so fast about me says an enormous lot to me.
“What could I do but run and run and run?
Afraid to love, afraid to fail?”