I am compelled, my dearest Adaugo, to tailor this letter to free your lovesick mind from silliness, for the likes of Obinna have loosened in your head that which makes us fools, keeping your sturdy soul in mental torture. Remember that Mama never fell short of molding us into goddesses through dialogues, handwritten notes under our pillows, and the telephone conversations that stir us to feast on male brains like the chunky lumps of beef hidden beneath the thick egusi soup we enjoyed on ceramic plates crowded with stockfish. And after we separated the soup from the meat, and teased her morsels that were the shape and size of an infant’s head; joy turned up the corners of our mouths whenever we stared through the open-mouthed windows into the multicolored horizon.
Nostalgia rolls from my mind like film strips because he tells you that my logic is more imaginary than factual. You’ve gone crazy and I pity the ill-fated woman you’ve become- you who through no fault of your own lives like a prisoner and trudges through life like a pregnant woman slowly pushing her belly. Had he not turned you into a comic, Obinna deserves my pity too. But that is the world for us. Some are born to control you while others are born to be controlled by you. And the harder you try to break out of that cycle, the more you’re sucked into it. Still, try to discover yourself amongst these characters trapped in such pigeonholes.
It was refreshing to see Obinna’s mint Peugeot race away yesterday after the last beating he gave you. Those six days we spent in the hospital. Darkness came early and left late and after the nurses gave you some medicines–and changed your dirty beddings–you turned your face to the wall and dreamt disfigured dreams. Once you dreamt you were eaten by a hyena. Then you dreamed you were a graceful nun in a pretty blue uniform. We were always aware of the approaching nuisance but helpless to stop it. When he stopped and asked about you, we shook hands. I stood akimbo then a soft clap. Of course, he stood a head taller, and I regretted not wearing my high heels as I colorfully displayed my anger with acid words. Were he within spitting distance when he said that he likes you more than sugar–had a lorry not loomed into the road scattering dust about–my tongue would have sliced his heart like a new razor.
Listen, there is something unsolved about him. Not just because his brown eyes drilled into mine like the earthworm drills into the soft earth after a heavy rain when we spoke. But there were traces of white here and there on his unshaved chin even with his youngness. There was a piece of red pepper between his yellow teeth- the sort that resulted when the mortar and pestle quarreled, or when strength left the body doing the pounding. Someone called Obianuju as I said his ex-wife isn’t barren but simply too terrified to bear a child with his perverse genes; a mad son like he who punched female faces till they ballooned like ripe oranges.
So while you choose to thread that lie he told you and believe his story because his left collar is rumpled and soiled with fresh palm oil from a meal of roasted yam, (or was it from a good dish of vegetable soup you made him?) ask yourself why his barren ex-wife bore a child for her lover- a striking boy with the color of caramel. Look, Adaugo, you must try to know when to bulge to the pressures of true words for foolhardiness often overshoots the barriers of our sanity and lands us in a grimy pit after a short stay in paradise. Surprisingly, we spoke with reckless freedom in front of the customary court with salmon paint peeling off its hips. But why won’t we when we have no ties and our paths will never cross after today? There, he asked if Mama had loved another man after him, and I said (my voice sharp and slightly rising) that I too will date him if he had the courage to leave you. He watched me like a bundle of mint naira before asking for my number. His arms were neatly folded napkins and his eyes beaming charcoal. A patch of sweat below his arms made me wonder if the sun’s heat was hot or lukewarm until I saw the loaf of bread and margarine in his hands.
So we watched the house with muddy bricks and trimmed thatch roofs, with dry maize cobs hanging on its entrance below the wooden turban. A lad beat the drums as comely maidens danced and I said that I had fallen in love; not with him, but with the boy’s fingers, and the way his upper arm danced to the drum beat. Unquestionably my dearest Adaugo, lust is complex more than atoms. The only good approach to it is to break through Obinna as you’ve done with other men. You need reasonable willpower and determination to attain that or some other woman will do so before you stifle the tenets that elevate you above the stratum of the ordinary woman. I should drop my pen and let you come to grips with the issues that I’ve raised. May Heavens remember you in your troubles so that you will know no failure, disappointment and impossibilities as you break through whatever happens to you.