Dede and I had had a sexual adventure in my office, after work hours once, maybe twice, no I think more than that. She was married. She had been for the past three years, and I wasn’t sure if she was happy, but she said she loved her husband. She was young and beautiful, extremely, and she had a mystery dilation in her eyes all the time. Don’t judge me!
It was one of those office gossips as usual. We were wondering why she had missed work that day. Irene, the receptionist said Dede’s husband had come in to the office early on visibly furious and demanding to speak to the MD. She said she over-heard him telling the MD that her wife was pregnant and someone in the office was responsible. My heart sunk. My God!!!
So when I met her smiling at me the next morning in the office, I had no idea how to react. We were alone, but the only thing I could afford to mumble was, “is it mine?” She laughed calmly, “Yes, it’s yours!” She walked over to me and kissed me on the lips. I was speechless, thoughtless, lost!
She said over her shoulder as she walked out, “look inside my bag, the waakye (rice and beans) is there. It’s yours! You and food dierrr!”
We learnt later that day that it was Irene who was finally pregnant after six years of marriage and that was how she chose to tell us, with that scam of a story. Everyone thought it was a pleasant surprise. I was furious!
On that narrow street I was famous, or infamous if you hate beggars. Those whose routine route it was knew me well, and I them. When a coin from a generous hand dances its way to stillness in my bowl, I feel my hopes wake gradually to meet the expectations of my empty stomach.
Those who passed me by, givers and “ignorers”, knew my one look of distant plea. But I knew more than them. For in my saddle, I have seen eyes, more eyes than any man has ever seen. The pain that masks mascaras, the burning oasis of ambition that sits in the quick, slow and quick blink of the young and restless, the dying light that fizzles in the eyes of a woman cheated by love, the mystery that dilutes the dizzy daze of grandmothers, the simple tear that escapes the eye of babies. I have seen all these.
When I go to sleep tonight looking up at my ceiling beneath the old bridge, I will think on all these eyes, as I do always. I think to myself, certainly, there is beauty in everything, if you look well enough, there is awe in everything, if you think deep enough.
Battered, bruised, broken, buried.
It was only yesterday that tomorrow failed
She flew out of the rain into the sun
It is not safe unless you are safe
No one knows what they look for
Until they find what they did not know
Stay there, the wind’s lost reason
There is a path in the sea to sanity
When you find it you will know you were lost
Home is where you are, my dear
You are not here, you never were
Today when tonight comes, I will be here
Find me a timeless linguist,
I have a quarrel with time,
For he is an eternal bully.
I have seen fools die as fools;
Time makes sure they learn nothing.
I see she still stays with him;
Time stole the memory of pain he brought her.
Ah, do not stay the fire in my belly;
Let me beat the impunity of time’s hypocrisy!
How now that they thirst for each other’s blood,
They who once drank from the pot of camaraderie?
I knew a man with the promise of youth;
Time sold him to death before his hair knew grey
Which court will hear my case!
Ah, how I will vomit the injustice of time!
I heard the tale of a legend once.
He rode on the shoulders of his time.
When he forgot himself, his unfaithful time rode him to oblivion.
And time gossiped it to all he met on his way.
That someone would pull time’s fleeting ears?
I have seen men master the mighty seas.
Yet all were mastered by time.
Swords drunk with blood, victories of warriors!
That they had taken a fight with time?
Cowards, cowards, all of them!
How they slept when time stole their breath!
There must be a place where justice hails,
I will go there and flaunt my plight.
Is there a worst politician than time?
His brewery is lined with broken bottles of hope.
Princes and poets once paraded her beauty.
How now that she is the mockery of youth?
Her skin roughened as a sailor’s palm.
Who made time the henchman of the seasons?
Shivers and sweat he sends at will.
Let me not lose salt to take up my matter against time;
He will send me to the dirt when he wills.
When I am gone, he will make men forget me.
Not him, he has no memory.
Time remembers nothing; time forgets nothing!