Dance With My Father

I laid my head on his broad chest, my arms around his muscular torso.

I felt his large hand ‘gently’ thumping my uncovered back, the space between my neck and where my wedding gown began.

Luther Vandross’, “Dance With My Father Again” was aptly playing through the monstrous sound systems DJ Snap had brought for my wedding.

From my peripheral, I could see Antoine standing close to mum. He looked unsure, it was his wedding day, yet his father in-law got the first dance… hahaha…

My mum looked on tolerantly… I guess the years had taught them all not to come between this daughter and her father.

As the song ended, he pulled away and gently kissed my forehead. He was still as handsome as always. Athletic too.
He wore his Armani tuxedo like second skin.

My father… El Presidento! I mean that literally, my dad is Mr President.

He has remained unchanged physically for as long as I can remember. It’s so bad that trash-talker’s have branded him a vampire. Some say he is a shape-shifter.
There is talk of his affiliation with The Watchers and some say even The Illuminati… Well…

I tend to agree… In a way…

Back then he drove a pearl green Nissan Pathfinder. I was maybe four years old.

He has always driven us to school. For as long as I can remember, on my way to school, dad and I always sang and prayed and talked and played every school day. He loved us unreservedly.

That morning, he wore black jeans under a flowing white jelabia (traditional native dress). Everything was normal. I was seated at the back and screaming songs as they played off his CD player.

We got to school and he parked across the building along the street.

As always he would clown a bit before opening the door behind the drivers seat to let me out.

School was for 8 am. But dad was always there by 7 am. I was usually the first student to school.

He was standing out there and making faces at me through the window when suddenly a car hit him.

It seemed to have come from nowhere. I screamed as his body was tossed in the air and then he hit the asphalt before rolling towards the other side of the street.

l looked and saw his white jelabia suddenly turn crimson with blood and dirty brown from dust, mud and dirt.

He was not moving.

I remember screaming “Papa!”… “Papa!!”

I can’t remember how long I screamed and cried. But it was a while.

The engine was still idling, music and the air-conditioning still on. I was frightened and confused.

Suddenly there was a ‘ratatat’ on the window and I whipped towards it, my hands wiping tears from my eyes.

My dad stood by the window.

He looked different. Like a good ghost. He was still dressed the same way, but he was a sparkling white.

I looked past him to where his body had fallen…he was still lying down there immobile.

Even though I was young, I knew this was not a good sign. So I tried to open the door to get to him… To them? It would not open… (Child lock).

Ratatat…

I looked up at dad’s ghost… He was pointing at something in front like on the seat. I slid toward the front and climbed into the drivers seat looking frantically about. I could not see anything he would want.

Ratatat…

I looked… He was by the drivers side window now still pointing… Toward the other seat?

Then I got it… His phone!

I snatched it up and held it toward his ghost… And he rewarded me with a wan smile.
But my face fell as he held up his hand… His usual gesture that meant, ‘wait’.
He closed his eyes as though in deep concentration… Opened them and looked at his phone.
Closed his eyes again, Papa looked like he was going to cry… Opened his eyes and looked at the phone again.

It looked like every time he closed his eyes, he faded. He was weakening.
By the fifth try, I could see through his ghost. I could see his body still bleeding out on the street and my school beyond him.

Then I noticed he had placed his right palm on the window for the first time since his apparition appeared… Again, though I was a kid I intuitively knew he had given up and required I place my palm on the window opposite his. I screamed out, “no!”

He was visibly taken aback by my action and he gazed solemnly at me for a few seconds… Eyes full of tears, I held his gaze… Then he shut his eyes again…

Immediately his phone started to ring, with my heart pounding I glanced up at him and he gestured that I pick up.

“Hello”…, I remember saying to whoever was calling,

“a car hit Papa and I think he is dead”…

“at my school”…I told the screaming lady that called.

By the time I looked up, Papa’s ghost was smiling at me, yet I wept. He was almost like smoke now. But he pointed to his phone again, and it rang once more.

I recognised her voice immediately. My grandmother. His mum. Bawling now, I sobbed out the story. She calmed me down and while we were still speaking, my mum and some uncles arrived within minutes of each other.

Dad was the victim of a freak hit and run accident. The driver did not stop and was never caught.

He broke one leg in two places. Several ribs. Ruptured his spleen. Broke a collarbone and his wrist.
In less than a year though, he was fully healed. To the amazement of everyone.

Only he and mum know the identity of the lady who called him that fateful day. She was the one that called mum. My parents never speak of that part of the incidence or of her. Ever.

I stopped calling him ‘Papa’ after that accident. He became ‘dad’. No reason.

Only he and I know what happened that fateful day. Well you do too (now). We have no need to speak of it.

We became friends, soulmates, confidants after that. Yes, and father and daughter.

He almost gave up and died, and I refused.

No big deal.

He has always loved big cats, guess he simply lost one of his nine lives.

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I AM!

I AM bigger
I AM better
I AM stronger
I AM faster

I AM richer
I AM finer
I AM cooler
I AM popular

I AM trillionaire
I AM genius
I AM debonair
I AM famous

I AM righteous
I AM holy
I AM truth
I AM godling

I AM witty
I AM healthy
I AM daddy
I AM FORTY.

An Ode To My Prince

You are beautiful
Tiny, yet larger than life
A wonderful bundle
You are more than enough.

And so I kiss you often
Because soon I cannot
And so I try to carry you often
Because soon I will not.

You are my ‘shooting star’
Blazing forth in bright light…
My erudite scholar…
My dunamis; my might.

Thou art great; a legend.
Thou art a god my son.
Thou shalt be excellent until the end.
I bless you; my Aydin.

For The Married (Part 3)

3) KNOW YOUR PREY

I love Lions and Tigers.

Ligers and Tigons too.

Leopards and Cheetahs.

I love big cats.

I love Natural Geographic. Cool stuff about the animal kingdom going on there.
The episodes about big cats hunting have me riveted. Ever see the shows? Awesome!
Especially when they hunt. Serious business I tell you.

Them cats know their prey;
They know how fast a deer can go.
They know how keen the eyesight of different prey is.
They know wind direction instinctively, and adjust appropriately.
They know where the watering holes are.
They know which particular quarry they want in a whole herd and work to isolate that one.

They can spot potential prey by observing their weaknesses. Illnesses. Immaturity. Youth. Rookie mistakes.

The cats know themselves too;
How fast they can go. What part of the terrain camouflages them best.
They know how hungry they are, and more importantly, they know exactly what they need to do.
Instincts, genetics, experience and much more, funnel these potent ingredients into a fantastic predator.

Do you know your husband?

Do you know your wife?

Have you ever bothered to know who they are and what they stand for? What they live for? What they would die for?

Do you even know if they really like broccoli? Asparagus? Pizza, or caviar?
If they prefer Merlot to Sauvignon? Vodka to Scotch?

Or its just, “my husband drinks alcohol sha…”

Or, “I sha dey know say wifey like ice cream…”

I have always maintained that, “what we pay for, is really ignorance.”
The same thing you are paying cash for, a more savvy individual is getting it for free.
The issue causing you sleepless nights is not her mother, or rich ex.
Darling, the stuff making you cry is not his girlfriends or wayward lifestyle.

It is your ignorance.

Ignorance of your prey.

You have not “studied to show yourself approved”.

“Draw near to listen” to your spouse. Study them dispassionately.
Read their mannerisms. Your spouse is your prey!
You belong to each other. Chase down, hunt (pay rapt attention to) your beloved daily.

Read them again like a daily devotional or like a fresh copy of your favorite magazine.

Own your marriage.
Own your home.

You need to because, “where your treasure lies, there your heart will be also.”
Or rather, where your spouses’ treasure lies; is where their heart will be.
What does your beloved treasure? What is important to them?

If you cannot, or will not studiously find the answer to these questions, then you are not where your beloved is.
He/she is watching MTV; and you, Telemundo.

You will generally be at polar opposites. Share a few laughs maybe when you both meet occasionally at mutual “drinking holes”, and then they are off to watch MTV…and you, Telemundo.

Do not be lazy. Take care to know the state of your lover. Know when they are lying. (Yes it is possible).
Take care to know when they are afraid or worried.
Have the good grace to be patient even when you smell a rat.
Do not show your hand too soon.
Not every situation requires explanation, defense or full disclosure. At the particular point you notice it I mean.

Understand your spouse. Know them to the best of your ability. Just try is all I am saying.
A wise man once told me, ” marriage is to be endured to be enjoyed .”

Marriage, like any worthwhile endeavor, takes effort, commitment and sacrifice.

I close with a few lines I picked off a mates’ Facebook thread:-

The truth is that the more intimately you know someone, the more clearly you’ll see their flaws.
That’s just the way it is. This is why marriages fail, why children are abandoned, why friendships don’t last. You might think you love someone until you see the way they act when they are out of money or under pressure or hungry, for goodness’ sake. Love is something different. Love is choosing to serve someone and be with someone in spite of their filthy heart. Love is patient and kind, love is deliberate. Love is hard. Love is pain and sacrifice, its seeing the darkness in another person and defying the impulse to jump ship.”

Lovealways!

For The Married (Part 2)

This is the second of a 5-part series.

There Francine..happy now?
#bighug#

2) TWO’S COMPANY, THREE’S A CROWD

Depending on your religious bent, the amount of wives (or husbands) you take is quite irrelevant to the point I am trying to make.

Let me explain.

I am dealing with “third parties” to a marriage.

The new testament Christian is instructed to have one spouse.
The Muslim is permitted to have no more than four. If he can love them all equally.
The African traditionalist can acquire as many as his warped ego can accommodate.
And I understand that rich Arabs may maintain a harem outside their official wives.
And king Solomon, gotta love this dude…700 wives and 300 concubines! I am in awe of the man.

The extremes are endless, and obviously disparate.

I am not here to question ‘excesses’ or things I don’t agree with. I am just trying to offer advice on how to make a marriage work based on exemplary lives of a couple of decent folks I am acquainted with.

But for ease of transmission, and ease of assimilation, my premise is on a ‘one man, one woman’ foundation. Feel free to expand the formula exponentially as it suits your marital constituents. The principles hold true, irrespective.

As I began earlier, a third party is anyone or anything you are not married to. It is as simple as it sounds.

A) Infidelity/Unfaithfulness.

It is a popular and obvious culprit that needs no introduction or explanation. Don’t cheat!
Yes I know, there are situations that may have arisen. But there is always a reason for bad behaviour.
In a marriage though, it is wrong. Stop it.
What bears hammering home though, is emotional unfaithfulness. Escapism via children, religious activity, work, gaming, vices (alcohol, tobacco and substance abuse), friends, online/cyber romances…the list is endless.
These are all third parties that did not say, “I do”.
A safe way to check and ultimately stop these excesses is to have your spouse in on all your activities. At least they should have a working knowledge of who you are, where you are, and what you are doing.
Ouch! Yeah?
Trust me, I am one for privacy and secretiveness. I feel your pain. But, the truth; like rain, does not care who it falls on.”
In truth, barring full disclosure, you are simply sitting on a bomb that is counting down.
Wait…for…it…

B) Shut up!

A lot of trivia is escalated because one, or both of you will not stop talking.
By talking I mean relating the problem(s) on ground to anyone else but your spouse or a mutually agreed upon, competent counsellor.
Zip it! If you do not, one of you, or both alike will get hurt.
I don’t believe people always have to get stuff off their chest. I think that character is weak and immature. But that is just my temperament speaking.
If the problem you are facing concerns physical and/or emotional abuse, please do NOT shut up.
If the issues are unlawful and life-threatening; to you or anyone else, please do NOT shut up.
Communication is about listening, as well as speaking. It is about understanding where your spouse is at, and letting them know where you are at. And then finding mutual ground in love and respect.

I will shut up for now. Later!

For The Married (Part 1)

So you’ve snagged yourself a companion…

Maybe even wangled a ring? Or even audience with a minister… Married huh? Bully for you! Don’t know you personally, but I’m one for progress and fruitful relationships. My warm congratulations.

How long now? Are things waning slightly? Not as rosy as you thought? Interference experienced?

You’re thinking, “must be his mum, her friends, her ex…Oh, Snap!! Its the devil!!!”

Well…maybe one of them. Maybe all of them. Maybe none.

But before you do anything rash, consider a few pointers as postulated (and subsequently elucidated) by a few good, decent, godly, married and older folk.

For The Married

1) Sex

No dodging this bullet…

Its how come 97% of us came to be. Oh the bliss! Nothing quite like this activity… Or not. Probably not in your case?

Sigh…

Firstly, study. Yes. Read up. Google the topic if you are at a loss. It ought to be common knowledge by now that,great lovers are made; not born.”
I have earlier posts that handle this subject.
Bottom line is that it takes effort. It is your responsibility to cater for your spouses sexual needs (tongue-in-cheek) all of them. Within reason of course (snigger…)

Secondly, Push boundaries. You are one! Reinvent your sex lives. Be innovative. Try new stuff. Break out the Kamasutra. Sex education. You are married for crying out loud, ideally you only have each other. Who best to get wild and kinky with if not with your spouse; if they are willing and/or teachable?

Third; so maybe you see your spouse surfing a porn site…or in possession of pornographic materials…and or paraphernalia?
Flip? Make a scene? Fight? Depending on your religious and moral inclinations, I guess you may be justified.
May I proffer a more diplomatic approach though? I call it informed intelligence.
Before you vent, go through the pornographic material objectively if you can. Learn what goes on in your beloved fantasies. Maybe it was a pop-up from a previous viewer? Maybe an advertisement they accidentally clicked on (yes, its been known to happen). And maybe they like porn.
If you’re lucky, its your body type they are really into. If not, you now know what to work on.
How? Consider going through the material with them. Downplay the situation. Don’t take stuff too personally. Life does not revolve around you…you are not oxygen or blood. Maybe its a position they were relishing? Consider making their fantasy come true.
Remember, to each other, you may be ice cream. But who realistically wants to eat ice cream for the rest of their lives? Exquisite as ice cream may be?
You now have the informed intelligence to vary your ice cream.
Flavour it up; Strawberry flavour? Cappuccino? There are dozens to choose from. Soft serve? Hard? On a cone? In a tub? Toppings? How many scoops? How to eat it? Lick? Suck? Your choice.
Informed intelligence empowers you. It may lend you the tact of not even bringing up the issue. Why not simply act out their fantasy for them? They would think God came through for them personally!

Fourthly, I humbly recommend that you both work on your diet.

Eat loads of bananas- women.
And snails- men.
Or…
Cucumbers- women.
Oysters- men.

Oh please! Stop rereading those lines!!

I mean cunnilingus and fellatio!

Keep up…work with me!

There’s nothing quite as intimate as the aforementioned cuisine when served in a giving and loving atmosphere.
Nothing binds quite as much as consumption of bananas and snails. No better ties to bind with.
Think of the mutual submissiveness… The humbling of one to the other and vice versa? The naughtiness? The secret and taboo dimensions…

Once in a while, toss in a bottle of wine. There’s a classic vintage I recommend. “69”. Truly unforgettable.
A pleasant shock to the palate.
Served chilled or at room temperature, this vintage will bind you to it eternally.

A toast to you both in advance.

For The Unmarried

I was at a wedding recently. I was moved to romantic heights.
It was a very refreshing event – after I woke up.

Before the romantics on board begin calling me “emotionally crippled,” something happened while I slept…yes, thank you for asking, I received a revelation. I accrued unto knowledge, an epiphany I know I am supposed to propagate.

The wedding was in Benin, Edo state. Nigeria. Hence the my partial rendition of this piece in the official Nigerian patois, “Broken English”.

For The Unmarried

1) Shine ya eye!

Good people abound. There are many lovely angels walking about pretending to be human. There is someone for everyone. Look closely is all I’m saying. Also, scrutinize! Not all that glitters is gold. Gold usually has to be discovered; laboured for, mined, cleaned, processed and then designed to look just like the goldsmith wants it to – beautiful.

2) Lion no dey born monkey!

Old habits die hard. Careful who you fall for. Oh please shut it! You can control who you fall for. Don’t even get me started on “love at first sight!” Thou evil and heartless generation! Opportunists!
I digress…apologies.
Hang around a bad person long enough, you would start to see the best side of them. Invariably start to accept them for who they are. Invariably start to accept bad things as the norm.
Funny thing about personalities is that opposites attract. Yet the very character that attracts two lovers, would be the same character that eventually causes friction. Usually enough to separate the lovers.
If you hang around questionable establishments, you will find questionable friends and maybe questionable love. More often than not, if they were pretending they revert to type down the road. With you in tow, my (now questionable) friend.

3) No carry ya wife do girlfriend

Do not treat a good woman badly. Do not toy with a good man either.
Many people lose out on love out of shortsightedness. They treat their best choices of suitable life partners shabbily – like a fling, and never quite get their groove back. Or the person back.
Reasons may range from over ambition, to greed, to bad advice, to immaturity, and to stupidity.
Its a personal judgement call. But a good person is a good person. The wise ones pursue potential in their choice of mates.
“Ready-made’s” are already set in stone, you will find that you’re soon caught between a rock and a hard place.

4) Handshake wey don reach elbow… No be handshake again.

Maybe you’ve found such a one? What in God’s name are you waiting for? Marry them for crying out loud! Commit to them my indecisive (and often, self centered) friend! Tell them how you feel. Show them how you feel. Do right by them and do the honorable thing.
Its been two years since they proposed, friend, return the ring. Except if your country is involved in war of some sort, and one party is drafted.

5) Una two no be pikin; couple yasef!

Ever notice that marriage is the only institution that gives you a certificate before graduation?
My point is that marriage is for life. Marriage is for serious minded people. It is not a status. It is not meant to be just romantic.
Many people treat their marriages like they’re dating and so experience boyfriend and girlfriend issues whilst married.
Grow up! Act your age. Play your part. If you do not understand marriage, do your research from holy books first. Please stop traumatising both families. The ripple effect of marital problems are far reaching. Stop worsening marriage statistics. Don’t let your poor choices misinform and ‘miseducate’ the willing.
If you don’t get it, please leave marriage alone till you do.

Nkpam! (Finish!)