Passionate Pasts

Nearly everyone has specs when it comes to choices or tastes in man/woman. You think physical punctuations and accentuations matter most, or perhaps you’re sapiosexual, or maybe you rather fantasize about people that have certain skills. Come, let me tell you; when love happens, it doesn’t care what your specs are, it just happens and you’re caught in its web. When love happens to you, you won’t remember your fantasies, or preferences. You’ll just… love.

I used to crave fair girls. I liked height, long legs, flat tummy, a lot of hair, horizontal shoulders and tiny lips. Sizes of bosoms and bums I hardly noticed. They didn’t really matter to me until so much emphases were placed on them and I became conscious of the differences.

Why am I saying all these? Yeah, I’m trying to say that wishes of the head are fleeting, when the heart finds its match, the head forgets where it used to be. The first person I fell in love with in my life didn’t have height, or tiny lips, or flat tummy yet I was practically crazy about her. I hadn’t seen much love stories but our story was lovely. I was older but she was smarter. I was a virgin and she was experienced. I remember that day she came, and I was so scared touching her could mean I didn’t love her but only trying to take advantage. I didn’t touch her. Dame would tell me months later she came to have sex that day and left angrily when I was doing like sùègbè. Moní mogbé o.

I would walk on the road with her smiles in my face. Life became musical even in silence. There were no phones but every time we met, even sometimes without talking, we understood each other. All these before people started pointing out our religious differences. She was a pastor’s daughter and I was an Alhaji’s son. How we laughed over that, bemocking people who dissuaded us. She promised she’d cross the sea for me, and I vowed our connection would transcend time and the trials it spawns. If I could still remember this love story, even though I’ve forgotten her face, believe me, it was powerful. Her dad got transferred and that was the end. No phone at the time, so, no way to connect. God knows where she is now, I searched every social media, for years, she’s nonexistent.

I dated other girls after that, looking for a repitition of the bliss, which was by then craved by my soul; it didn’t work. I dated girls who were more beautiful; they didn’t have her smile. Taller, they didn’t have her voice. Smarter, they didn’t have her honesty. When she filled my heart, she took a large space. When she left, no love was big enough to fit. And this was how it was, for lengthy months of quiet Sundays until I met another young woman, in whom I found love again. Love, in an entirely different propensity.

She also lacked height, fair skin, and many things I had imagined I would like, but whenever she smiled, the entire world took a pause. I had merely intended a touch-n-go but when I touched, my heart couldn’t go. Man, I stood in the rain for this girl, unaware it was raining. And somewhere from some room, she and her friends watched and laughed, ‘See how that uncle is waiting in the rain for you.’

‘Don’t mind him, he’ll leave when he’s tired.’

I never got tired.

Often, it is rare for love to break evenly. When I see two people who love each other genuinely, and equally, I envy them. They’re living my dream. Love breaking evenly is as rare as pandas in Kano. Man, that shit is nearly impossible. When love is unrequited, you suffer. I sat next to a soldier on my way to Ibadan from Ondo one day. Man told me he came to see his girlfriend but she wouldn’t see him. She wouldn’t pick his calls. He cried and wiped his tears with his army cap. Who was I to tell too, that after two years of relationship, my girlfriend had also only said ‘I love you (too)’ to me twice?

Years later, with so many pasts that the future isn’t endeavoring to heal, love becomes a fool’s idea of bliss. I try hard, to sever the intimacy of my heart with sweaty hours of thoughtful solitude, but where I plant hopes, I reap declinations. I carry around a cold heart, which only memories are hot enough to warm. And I’m constantly reminded of the need to pair, an adventure requiring of a heart, which I’ve misplaced in the past. Love is beautiful, a much-needed respite from the trials of our bleak existence. Unfortunately, love is expensive. Love is fragile. Love is… lost.

– Lord eBay (and his random ruminations, 2020)


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