Old Flames And The Memories They Bring...
Something happened to me recently that made me feel like Rachael in the Bible. For those of you who read your bible (yes you should as a good shaild of God), you'll recollect that when Rachael was leaving her father, Laban's house, she stole some of his gods. Well, when I was leaving my father's house some eight years ago, I 'stole' (because it was without his permission), some of his books. Management books, fine Christian literature, motivational books, I took them with me. His was such a rich library he guarded so jealously I couldn't resist. Sigh.
So it was that on this fine Thursday evening I took out one of them at work to unwind. It was Stephen Covey's 7 habits for Highly Effective People. As I turned the pages, I found a folded note which was now brown with time and on opening it, I discovered it was a love note I had written to an old flame many years ago. It instantly brought back memories and transported me back to that time. It was surreal, like going on astral travel.
You remember some old flames and it brings back unpleasant memories while for some, the memories are so sweet you wish you could turn back the hands of time (come on now people, let's be honest especially we married folks). Well not too good to dwell on for too long if you are married so that something will not go and happen to something, speaking colloquially 😁.
This one, brought back bittersweet memories. Sweet because we met in an unusual manner. Typical movie script. We met at the airport on Tuesday as corpers flying to Imo where we served, by Thursday we were an item.
We had met on a queue by Sosoliso counter. The airline had rescheduled our flight for the umpteenth time and eventually cancelled so all passengers were told to come get a refund. I was distraught. I already had a funny feeling about this journey and this now happened. While I stood there, I heard a man behind me angrily but coolly expressing his frustration. I turned and saw this slightly taller than 6 foot, lanky guy with a back pack. I assumed he was going on a business trip because he didn't look like he could possibly be a youth corper. I then asked,
'Are you also going to Owerri?'
'Yes', he replied. While we were discussing how we will possibly get to Owerri, a middle aged man who was behind us now suggested we go with Bellview to Port Harcourt and then make our onward trip to Owerri for our eventual journey to Nkwerre where the orientation camp was.
On board, we got on like a house on fire. We did not get to the camp until past 10pm. I was hungry and bone tired. Imagine my shock when I was told we had to register first before retiring for the night and it was such a long queue for registration. He took care of me the first two days we tried to both settle down in camp. He was such a soft spoken, gentleman. Fine medical doctor. That remains one of the 'craziest' things I have done till date. I initially thought it will be the typical NYSC orientation camp fling but no, things got serious and we were together for a little over two years. Why did we break up? Well, long distance. Sometimes these things doesn't work. He left for Ireland before service ended. We stayed in touch, he came home on a visit, even went as far getting introduced to the family and I subsequently went on several weekend visits with his mum while he was away but still...
As I stared at the note, I remembered his voice, his smile (he had a way of showing his 32), his gentle disposition and usual phrase of, 'Toyin mi fe wahala o'. I remembered his scrawny handwriting (appears all doctors have that), his mum. She took to me from the first day we met. The long phone calls, the pain I felt after the break up. The many nights I stayed up wetting my pillow with tears because the entire time we were dating I was in business school here and had my own fair share of toasters. Some serious, some not so serious. But I was always quick to tell them,
'I'm sorry I am in a serious relationship.'
Imagine the shame so to speak, I had to live with after the breakup. One of them jokingly sang Lagbaja's 'Sisi tani ko fe wa' to me when word eventually got out. Mean guy. We had become friends but he was now married.
This is the poem I found that Thursday evening.
My deepest desires...
I really do need you more than ever.
I need you to be my best friend, my soul mate, my big brother
I want so much to be close to you and be free with you
I want to be able to tell you things as they are not as they seem
I need to know your shoulders are mine to cry on when things are not going as I want
I want to be free to play it by your ears things that bother my soul and are a burden in my heart
I want to be unashamed to strip my heart in your presence
I want to be free to show you things that though I hide from others, they are yours to see
I need your mouth to tell me things that others might be afraid to say to my face
I want your hands to hold and care for me like no one else can
Most of all I want to always know how much I mean to you
Sweetheart, you are my dream come true
Because you bring me so much joy and all I have ever felt since you came into my life is joy
That is why I call you Ayomi, my joy.
I'm holding my breath till you return.
Now that's my story. What's yours?
Article by: Toyin Femi-Akinlade (@y_toyin)