This started out as….
A rant. Yes this is what this is about. So buckle up we are in for a ride. Amongst other things, I’m not sure pissed is the word to describe how I feel. It’s a mixture of everything. I’m displeased, vehemently livid, disappointed and grateful.
Let’s start with the first emotion.
It’s probably few hours after noon, I scroll down my Whatsapp status and see the news of a suicide. Someone had allegedly taken her life because of the results of an institution that must not be named. In simple terms, she failed the exams. I text the source of this news(a Friend) to find out if it’s legit. He thinks it is. I feel something like anger but it’s mild. It’s building up but not quite there. It lingers on the surface but isn’t deep enough to make me explode.
My friend tries to comfort me.
This is nigeria he says, only those with strong hearts can survive here, Dear. We just have to manage.
If he was sitting across from me he may have seen the irritation written all over my face. He would have been the object of this upsetting emotion.
I tell him God forbid. I tell him this is not my reality. I will not learn to manage suffering.
And then I am vehemently livid. That budding anger gains full expression now.
I think about how many Nigerians buy into this mentality that we must all suffer. That we must all learn to manage the suffering every wicked institution in this country throws at us. That after long bouts of tiring unnecessary stress and wasted years, we can then tweet what we call a success story.
I want to tear at my hair as I type, so watch me unleash my inner Chimamanda.
What disgusting mess is this? What hellish routine? What barbaric backwardness?
Why do any of us have to sweat sweat and sweat for a country that doesn’t care if we succeed or if mama Kelechi and her children ate last night? Or if she lives off the goodwill of strangers or if her husband left anything for his family to survive on? Or if your father died because the hospital had no equipment or the doctors were scarce commodity?
I dare to ask why must our own be different? Why must we manage wickedness?
I’m disappointed that an institution that deems itself to be fit and proper and teaches on Equity denies students of what they rightfully deserve but boasts in the fact that they have made their exams impossible for a formidable group to pass.
Yes, formidable. A group that had in total, 4 months of learning. Little or no communication from the institution. Over 80 topics carrying an ancestry of sub topics. Insults hurled at us for being unable to answer questions from topics we were trying to familiarize ourselves with. Don’t even get me started on those cases and statutes or those phrases we had to cram or those drafts we had to learn or those maddening clauses we had to recite. It was a mad house. I for one was at my reading table every waking moment. Hiding the grief of my fathers loss in the spaces reserved for stress tears. I only had a second or two to break down and clean my eyes again and again so I could be excellent. And you bet I am.
Of course I was disappointed by my grade. I put in a first class effort in all my courses. Perhaps I flopped in a course that has a textbook called Bhadmus. Perhaps that mistake was too fatal for an A.
Friends of mine did their best too. We all did. Most, undeserving of the grades they were awarded. Some, wishing they could be the ones with the grades we think undeserving as long it meant they scaled through.
Damn, I’m grateful. After these whirlwind of emotions. The last thing I feel is gratitude I’m glad I don’t have to do this Suicidal thing again. I don’t want to remember the classroom that literally choked the air out of me or the environs of that life-draining institution.
I told one of my guys that I’m grateful but my joy is not complete. He says “I swear!” And I wish he didn’t understand what I meant.
I don’t think everyone understands the foreboding insanity that comes with the fear of failures until you are faced with a failure that could alter your life. Failures, like getting less than you anticipated in a professional exam. I’m speaking about the fear they inject into you from your first year.
I heard a rumour in my first year at Uni, that you could repeat the year for not using the formal cutlery for the law dinners. Imagine my surprise when I got to this dinner and saw that no one was grading you for eating.
The first exam on my campus, the school ambulance paraded the school. I heard the collective sighs, saw eyes darting around the examination hall. Long minutes turned into hours. Tension high as the ceiling, tangible as the hair on my skin. My belly rioting from the absence of food. I never eat before an exam. It’s an unspoken rule. Yet I found myself doing just that 30 minutes before my Paper arrived. We had waited over four hours for a paper slated to start by 10am. People were mad with worry. It’s what they do they make you wait for everything. For admission, for resumption, for results and for information
I heard a lady in another campus went back to her room and slept off. She woke up towards the end of the paper. I remember blaming her for going back home and I regret doing so. I wonder if she had any sleep at all the previous day. I wonder if any of us did. This system keeps taking. It keeps taking and taking from you with no remorse or compensation. The same system that equates suffering as success. Our watery educational system that somehow wipes out an important part of our history.
Making 3 million deaths look like a circus party trick.
The first time I ever heard about the civil War I was 13. I was horrified. And I found out about it from the novel, Half of Yellow Sun. I remember asking my father if he saw the war and then my mother. It became an obsession. I found myself writing short stories about it. Making notes in class, asking my government teacher questions on the subject that were of course, not in the syllabus.
I wanted to know about every detail of that bloody war. Blood, that this country has tried to white wash just like every other conflict in the country that they claim to be hearsay. My mother has a clearer recollection of the war because she was on the side that faced a greater casuality. The Biafran side. My father on the other hand said they walked through the bush to get to his village. He said he didn’t really see the war that he only saw dead bodies littered on the way to his hometown.
Seeing “only dead bodies” is trauma enough
My Father’s corpse was the first I ever saw. His should have been the second if I had seen the dead man my Mother asked me not to when I was a child. Somehow I knew it was something terrible so I obeyed her.
She was right. It was terrible.
The moment I knew I would be seeing a shadow of my father at the morgue, my bowels pulled at me. I just remember rushing off to a rest room. Spilling out the little contents I had left in my belly. I too, had become a shell of myself. Completely “untethered” from every thing that would not offer resurrection to my Father. The hospital had not allowed me to see him until one protocol after the other was followed.
When I was led, to that stretcher that carried his body, my initial thought was to pray. But when the covers were removed and I looked at his corpse, I felt lost. Unable to form any words except rasp “Daddy”. I remember touching him lightly, willing him to wake up. I would never forget how touching him felt and how quickly I was whisked away. I wanted to hate the morgue attendants. Especially the one that kept telling me to hurry up. I probably did. All I needed was a moment. A moment to come to terms with what had happened. To understand. To understand why his body felt like hard soil. But all I got was 3 minutes.
Soon after, he was in every dream, lying down the same way on that same stretcher. I do not know whether to call them nightmares or grief dreams but I did not want them to cease. I wanted to exist only there. In the place that I could hear his voice.
I cannot write about this without bawling. So I’ll keep this part brief.
Grief is difficult to talk about. It is a shape-shifter. It finds a way to twist itself into what ever shape it wants. It could land on these words I am writing to you and jump right in my eyes. It could cloak itself into a regular conversation with a friend. It could lay a bed on mugs or t-shirts.
I still have random moments of Shock. As if someone would tap me one day and tell me I was in a coma for a year.
Yeah it’s been a year. I’m still a Daddy’s girl. I haven’t played our recorded conversations. I haven’t watched his video since he passed. I haven’t cried in months. I fear I might have forgotten how to. I fear I may have picked myself up too early. That I may have moved on too quickly. Laughed too early. Smiled too heartily.
I only dream about him once in two months, or is it three? I can’t tell anymore.
Speaking about things I can’t tell anymore
Where did the passion to be an Esq. go? I can’t remember when exactly I began to withdraw from this profession. Withdrawing even before beginning. All I know is since I turned 19, my life begun to pan out in front of me and writing was all I cared about. Poetry was a strange art but man, did I take a grab at it. I’ve held on to it for years and I still feel like I have only scratched the surface.
I’m 24 now, still sitting on my bed at 7:35 am on a Friday morning. Wondering if today would be less tiresome. Or if some mail would drop in my inbox carrying “good news”. Or if I would have good conversations today. Or if my anxiety to go to the bank is below 10. Or if some guy I considered to be a friend in the past is truly a narcissist.
Speaking about narcissists.
Loki is incredible and it seems like a good way to end this ride. I cannot believe I would be truly intrigued by any series other than GOT or The Chosen. I truly am. It’s the acting, actually it’s Tom Hiddleston’s acting (I’m Bias), it’s the mad plot and of course it’s Sylvie. I would give spoilers but I don’t know how to. Either way, I will tell you one thing. There are narcissists and there is Loki (or Lokis).
So here we are at the end. At the forefront of a first post on Medium. Perhaps I will write to you again. Perhaps I would be here more often than I care to admit. Perhaps I would open the draft for the novel I have been working on and take in the scent of a challenge. Perhaps a friend would call with some good news. Perhaps an alert. Perhaps I would mail this to the man I love. Perhaps I will laugh having no fear for tomorrow.
Until next time.