Monday, March 24, 2008

The Girl Whisperer

as published by

the Sunday Guardian of March 23


Tonight, as I drive down the quiet, wet Lagos streets, street lamps casting their faint glow on the deserted roads, the headlamps from the occasional car lighting up my vehicle’s interior and then passing on to unknown destinations to leave me in comfortable darkness again, my mind drifts to beautiful things as it does whenever the rains come, for I think it must have rained the day I was born.
I am reminded of beautiful people, girls with beautiful spirits, thoroughbreds whom I have met through the years of my life and tonight, I pay tribute to some of these women who have added joy to my days.

There was the university era and ’yinka, who had a heart of gold and looked out for me. She who called me her “hero”, and now every time I see that word, I remember her still. Olayimika, life, really, is what we make it. At some point in life, we will all look back and with the strength of hindsight, recognize the beauty of those we have met in times gone by and whom we see no more.

And I remember she, whose name translated into “a drop of honey”, and the goodness of her heart. We were classmates and friends, and her purity and goodness were unforced and apparent to all. The only way I can describe her is that she was good, she was gentle, she was kind. She was my friend, this young woman whose name is ’kanyin.

There was ’kemi, whom I met during the orientation camp period of a compulsory youth service year in Akwa Ibom, she who taught me to like the song, “Walk on by” by Dione Warrick. Kemi, gentle, soft-spoken and kind. The computer scientist from a state university who had a keen, keen mind.

I remember the poet, yemisi, who opened like a flower opens it petals as I got to know her. She was funny, she loved life, she was brilliant and she made me laugh. We would talk forever on the phone about poetry, about books, about ourselves, our hopes and dreams. All these women in their different ways, brought sunshine into my life and it is interesting to observe that in all these cases, we did not need physical intimacy to add a beautiful dimension to life that will last for as long as I live.

Of the “fantastic four” recorded here, three of them live abroad now and I muse on how goodness has been dispersed all over the world, by the economy, by necessity, through the betrayal of hope by those who should have done better for this land. The poet, John Burroughs wrote as if he was addressing me- “To his sorrow he learnt this truth/You may return to the place of your birth/You cannot return to your youth/.

But I know that someday, I will have a daughter, bold and beautiful to behold, with keen eyes that radiate the beauty that lies deep inside her. And, on a quiet night, as she and I sit, reading, on a porch, on a veranda, a balcony, I will tell her to come sit on my knees and gaze out at the falling rain with me. And as we look out on the street ahead on that quiet, quiet night, the sound of the rain acting as our backdrop, I shall whisper into her ear. “Listen to me”, I shall say, “...and learn from he who is known as the Whisperer. He who has met women from across the length and breadth of this earth and has been a confidant to a countless number. You must grow up to be yourself, a beautiful woman in your own right, confident of who you are and your capabilities, refusing to be put down by life or circumstances or by any human. You may learn from your mother who brought you into the world, for if she was not a good woman, I would not have gone near her. Humans make many mistakes, but the mistake of allowing the wrong sort partner you in child-birth is one you may never recover from. I have been careful. I have been careful. You be careful too.”

“Therefore, daughter of the Whisperer, learn greatly from she who was the vessel that brought you to this world. But if by some chance you display the traits of these four women who added magic to the life of your father, I shall take no offence. For it is not every angel that has wings. And I have met angels.”

The past is made up of many memories strung together. The trick is to fill it with as many beautiful memories as possible, and to jettison the garbage. Selective amnesia is essential here, for why remember ugly people? A waste of time and hard disc space. This is the Whisperer’s mission, for when he is old and grey, only the beautiful memories must remain.


lemonade factory said...

papi, happy easter......are we by chance expecting?

dont mind me hope u had a wonderful easter

dScR?Be said...

now.. i am convinced smn is pregnant... lol.. is ur wife pregnant?

awww, uncle wols.... u'll be a very very good daddy, i'm sure

Sherri said...

truly beautiful!
that was endearing!

Aladura said...

Do not dwell too much on 'Memory Lane'. Many a time, the lane is damn too fast.

Mind you, people do change.

Your Quote:
"You may learn from your mother who brought you into the world, for if she was not a good woman, I would not have gone near her."


Black Man Comes said...

Nice post. First post I am reading on Naija soil for that matter. I am catching up with "OLD" friends from long ago and your post rings true.
But wetn man for do with electricity, I will be posting on my thoughts on this country of ours perhaps I will not be repeating what a milions others have said.
Can you please repost your schedule of plays or point me to the link. I hope to catch one.
Laspapi for ever.

Thirty + said...

What happened to all these sweet wonderful ladies? How come no one became the special someone with whom you look forward to sharing your mug of coco.

Ok I know I am questioning too much, soowwwwwwyyy but it will be kind a cool to get the girl whisperer hooked up to one of this fab ladies :)

Uzo said...

Beautiful Papi....One of the more personal insightful posts...No cynicism or dry wit...Amen to your first child being a girl (its something you have mentioned so so many times so i pray it comes true for you)

laspapi said...

@ shola- except it's the immaculate conception, shola, not at this particular moment

@ 1st Pet- Wife, Scribe? Ah, I do know I'll make a good daddy.

@ sherri- thank you, sherri. Thank you v. much.

@ aladura- These people cannot change. Their circumstances might have.
Your quote of my quote lost me.

@ bmc- glad to have you in town, black man. I'll post a schedule here soon. But there are plays every Sunday at 3pm and 6pm. Next Sunday is "The Sisters" written by Ahmed Yerima, the following Sunday (first Sunday in April) is "Sizwe Bansi is Dead" by Athol Fugard", then "Prison Chronicles" on the 13th of April, "The Sound & The Fury" on the 20th (both written by Wole Oguntokun).

@ 30+ sometimes beauty encompasses us and we have no idea. They really are fabulous people.

@ uzo- yeah, For some reason, it's always me and that child, never her mother in the picture. I should go for psychotherapy? "Where is her mother?"
No one should reply to this comment o!

Prousette said...

I do wonder if the beautiful ladies say the same wonderful things about you...
Since you so desire a daughter may your heart's wish be granted AMEN!

dScR?Be said...

hehehehehehehehe... that warning could have stopped me but it didn't...

or did it.. okay so now I'm ULTRA curious too!! hehehehehheehheheheheehhehehehe....

awwww Uncle Wols.. we go yarn

dScR?Be said...

lol.. and since there is a question mark by ur response 2 my comment.. i'll make assumptions!

Anonymous said...

lol selective amesia is essential...true talk who wan remember yeye people!!!nice post...but was wondering why none of the fantastic four became your you know!!!
and yes i feel you on how the economy in 9ja is seperating friends and family!!was still talking abt it yesterday!

Woomie O! said...

.hi papi.
wot time does 'Sizwe Bansi is dead' show on the 6th?
it kinda sounds interesting...asking cuz i'm 'curfew-ed'...sorta.

And BDW, u'll make a beautiful dad, don't never talk about a son...maybe like me, you want to have 8 girls(i've had a rethink recently since all the Mr.Men talk about sons and boys and men)

PS: made a mental note to start buying the sunday guardian...i never read that paper BUT then, there's the girl whisperer thingy that i sooooo want to read cuz i just love ya.

iEsquire said...

Some people add colors to our lives that we can't ever forget...

Your Girl Whisperer articles are masterpieces, you should make them into a book... someday. This particular one is fabulous!

Jinta said...

beautiful people exist everywhere. sometimes the grind of the world obscures our vision

Atinuke A. said...

I believe strongly in selective amnesia.

How are you?

Little Miss Media said...