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Dear Widow…

Her voice was that quiet confidence that spoke volumes. It echoed the graceful direction of sound by grandma; directing you, telling a story, or lovingly scolding you. I smiled in my head, the kind that only appears as a slight lift of eyelashes in an otherwise unperturbed face. I was being interviewed for a job, she my potential employer. I wasn’t sure she would appreciate being told I was thinking of her in poetic terms. Women can be unpredictable like that. Years of trying to break through the glass ceiling have made some of them sensitive to the slightest nuance. And while I wasn’t sure I wanted the job, I knew I wanted to spend some time in her company. She exuded that unmistakable cool aura of strength and confidence. Call me what you please, but I think those are the most attractive things a person can possess. For some reason, she chose to like me. Perhaps for same reason or another, she chose to tell me a little about herself. I was the interviewee; but I daresay I learnt more about her than she did about me. We spoke, ignorant of time’s passage, unwilling to track it.

“I am a widow”

I felt my jaw drop. Unconsciously my right hand rose to perch my glasses closer to my eyes; it seemed I was seeing things wrong. Some minutes and discreet up-and-down gazes after, I noticed my tongue unwilling to move, felt my eyes grow bigger. My brain was interpreting what my eyes were seeing through the ‘widow’ filter, and getting “error404 Page Not Found” response.  She was exquisite: a dress that curved her body while leaving room for your imagination, a dark jacket with a bright red emblem just above the curve of her full bust, and blood red stilettos. For the love of God! Stilettos!!! I watched her gait when she walked to bridge the gap between us and could only think of a cat. Her last of three sons had just finished from college, and she looked just about 20 years older than me (and I look like I’m 16 years old). She was at the top of her career, and managing two homes; continents apart.

***

Today, on International Widows Day, I empathize with every woman who has ever had to bury her husband. Every woman who felt her world shift because the centre of her universe stopped breathing. Every woman who felt pain so deep she thought her heart would physically shatter. Every woman who hoped her heart would literally shatter so its pieces might fill the emptiness she felt inside. For every woman who lost her sense of identity and/or belonging in the world because her husband left it.

I also iterate the words of that amazing woman who gave me a glimpse into the world of widowhood:

It’s okay to be broken. But don’t stay broken too long. You don’t know why who might pick your pieces if you stay afloor too long.

When the world hits you down, when your world is a chaotic jumble of ill-meaning others, when pain is all your heart can feel and your spirit is a wilted flower, when you can’t breathe because memories of a happy lifetime ago suffocate you, when you’re talking but there’s no one to listen and all that’s left are sounds in your head, when you wake from dreams and the pillow is soaked with tears… remember those words. Accept your broken self and heart, then build it all back together. Piece by bleeding-tear piece.

P.S:

I’ll be tweeting about widowhood @DupeKuku between 4 and 5 p.m today; Nigerian time. Dear Reader, kindly direct your network that way; let’s make today memorable for every widow on cyber space.

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Weekending

I swung out of bed the moment my fan moved, leaving my bed a shocked deserted lover. I imagined its eyes and jaws hung open; dazed mind whirling to find words, bobbing Adam’s apple worrying to unclog emotions stuck somewhere in its throat. My bed doesn’t understand that I’ve spent the last few hours of dusk in conscious sleep, with eyes closed and mind awake; anticipating electricity. I raced for my laptop and schedule book; there was a long to-do before power was seized again. A lot to do before the sky brightened with shades of blue.

As today progresses, I would tidy my room, do my laundry, fix the strap of the expensive bag a toddler thought a toy, and have two meetings. I would do these before dusk, because then I would celebrate the successes of the week with a different kind of grind; the type that loosens bunched muscles, and numbs overworking mind. The agenda would be lots of laughter, wild imaginings, and crazy talk.

Tomorrow, I would have another set of two meetings, and travel to another State. If traffic is light, I should have a third meeting before night shuts the day down. In the middle of all these, I hope to remember food, or at least to feed when my stomach tells me that we are hungry.

Once upon a time, the weekend was for sleeping, eating, and lounging. Those days became history when life became too short, and 24 hours too not enough, to set two days apart for lounge. Because life is too uncertain to not make dreams come true the moments I have, the “present”. The future is an unknown space, I cannot shelter my dreams therein.

So yes, cheers to the weekend, and the dreams it makes come true!

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Of Dreams and Monday

In Bed,

January 25, 2015.

06:45 hrs

Candy thoughts

Dear You,

Last Friday, I was telling my parents of a football match I had watched earlier in the week. The players of the team which had lost had been very unfit, so watching the game had been something of a comedy for me. No, that doesn’t make me mean. Just you imagine full grown men with pregnant bellies running after a football, or men losing balance just because they want to kick a football and falling flat on their faces! It was beyond hilarious. Anyway, my parents laughed too because I dramatized some of the high points for them. After one particular bout of laughter my Dad kept very quiet, then whispered: “I shouldn’t have let go of football”. That got me thinking.

We never forget our dreams. Life might obscure them from vision but, someday, life would hit us smack in the face with them. Sadly, at some point, it would become too late to live our dreams… even if we then have all the time and resources to.

Today is the last Monday of January 2016. Go pick up the book in which you wrote your dreams, goals, objectives, and plans. If you hadn’t written them down before please do so now. Now, evaluate your progress:

  • How have I done?
  • Am I on track with the timelines I set?
    • If yes, okay; if no, why not?
  • Have I been recognizing and celebrating “little” successes?
  • Do I need to redefine some things?
    • If yes, what should they now reflect?
  • What major challenges have I faced, and how do I cope?
    • Are there better ways to get around it that expend less energy and motivation?
  • Do I need to change strategies because I have learnt somethings new?

After that’s done, smile, determine what you need to do, and get to the grind. I hope you respected the weekend and relaxed. Now work smart and hard, so you can earn Friday’s T.G.I.F. You are not supposed to hate Monday; its grind, and those of the days it heralds, takes you closer to your dreams.

N.B:

Next Sunday wraps January 2016 up and tucks it safely in the annals of memories. Don’t do same to your goals. Remember them, plan, activate your plans, cry when you must, dry your tears, work hard, celebrate all successes, and make your dreams real.