1st September, 2018.

The Heart (or What’s Left Of It),
A Tiny Room,
Somewhere in Lagos (or Owerri, as the case may be)

Dear Ugochi,

NOTICE OF INTENT TO STARE INTO EYES

The above subject matter refers.

It’s nice getting to re-establish contact with you after nearly two years, or so little longer. Sure, it’s been slow and laboured, and there is a whole lot of catching up to do, but then again, I don’t expect any less. It’s no more than I deserve. Much is made about staying out once you have walked through that door, and while the reasons for advocating same are valid, I’d say it’s subjective, and equally a matter of perspective.

I know that things didn’t quite end blissfully the last time out, but more importantly I never knew that those parting shots of mine would go on to become arrows the way they did. You see, sweetheart, when you fall from a high building during a war, there is the tendency to fling whatever weapon you have at your disposal, in a bid to prove a point.

The last moments of a dying relationship can be compared to a battlefield, or worse still, like dancing slowly in a burning room, where both lovers are trying (in vain) to salvage what’s left.

There is also the tendency to exhibit some selfishness when you’re playing victim; all that matters is that you’re the one who got hurt, and all your words are automatically justified. I was selfish, I know that now, and I don’t even want to remember the contents of that Whatsapp chat.

Sometimes when you can’t get through to someone by loving them, the next way to go about it could be to build up resentment.but you can only do that for so long. Now I know why I was mad and kept painting you black in my head; it was because I still cared. Reverse psychology, defence mechanism, all that jazz. Admitting this doesn’t do my dignity any favours, but I kept asking your friends about you, still kept a few of your photos, and even tuned in from time to time to check the weather wherever you were. Yes, I miss you, and shamelessly too.

There is this Chinese proverb about fooling someone once or twice and whom the shame should be heaped…but baby, fool me for the rest of my life and I’ll be glad, smiling like a sheep would. True, a lot of water has gone under the bridge, but I like to think that my heart has got what it takes to dredge all that. All that talk about writing your name in the skies and waking up next to you until the day after forever may not feature much these days; we are older than that now, and besides there is much re-learning to do, but to hear you whisper “good morning” from inches away and on frequent basis won’t be a bad idea.

I’d imagine myself to be a cigar and you to be an open keg of petrol (yea you stir me up like that), and I am not about to figure out how good you are for me, but be sure that it’s you I want, combustion and all. I still don’t trust myself with loving you, but I don’t even want to understand anything, I just want to smile after finding out what your black lips taste like after so long. Ok, a lot has been poured out here, but it all boils down to this: Ugochi, I crave for stale morning breaths amidst loosening hair and windows smarting from the stares of 6.45am sunrise, and while a third swing at any concrete emotional arrangement would be too much to ask, a few late evenings where we forget the whereabouts of our clothing can’t be so out of place.

You’re still a heartbreaker, and I am still drawn to that Seyi Shay-esque flat stomach, but that’s fine, they will never know why I embark on Bolt-like sprints after yesterday and all the turbulence it was bedeviled with. A blend of memories and Lust spring up an army of abdominal butterflies, and tonight, Ugochi, I am under a duvet, and yearning.

Sincerely,

Me.

“And I’ll be here
absorbing the lines
this city adds to my face
coming to terms with my sleepy eyes
that no longer hold that white innocence
tracing these slowly sprouting
hairs on my chin
theorising all the concepts
that a younger world once held dear
transforming real-time feelings
into something that can
easily be impacted by virtual reactions.

Until you change that display picture
The green of your contact lenses
and flatness of your abdomen
impossible to ignore
then that chat message comes in
bearing alphabets which have not had
accompanying emotions completely detached
and the quiet jazz sound
that is my pulse rate
breaks into synthetic drums
and electric guitars
just so I am reminded
that I never really succeeded
in expelling the contours
of your figure from my mind.”