The Girl Whisperer
as published by
the Sunday Guardian of April 27
We’ve all gone through those moments when we know, we just know that life as we know it will come to an end because we will be unable to see a loved one again. It doesn’t matter how old you are, (I first experienced this when I was only sixteen). The girl that made my life complete was moving to another city with her parents and the thought of not being able to steal a glance at her as I strolled past her house daily was heart-wrenching. Things would never be the same again, I knew, and the pain stayed for a long while but then it reduced to a dull throb and after a while wasn’t so noticeable, but it stayed for a long while. Knowledgeable adults call this ‘puppy love’
As one grows older, one can sometimes plan against these separations, and at other times, we merely shrug and continue with life. Other loves will come, we think. Maybe. However, this is the point we must avoid in all relationships, that point where we think life will go on without the other (even if it will). The beauty of relationships in one’s younger years is that the other person can be seen in all that surrounds us, in the stars that shine at night, in the non-scorching warmth of the morning sun, heard in the strains of soft romantic music that filters through on quiet Sunday mornings. As we get older (but not necessarily wiser), we become immune to all that matters in relationships. We grow deadened to life’s natural sweetness. It’s the same way we lose the natural instinct to sense danger. As adults, we’re looking for an angle- ‘who are her parents?’, ‘does she hold a passport that will qualify me to live in the developed world?’, ‘how can I benefit from her?’. As the old song goes, “Boy, nothing in life is free, that’s why I’m asking you, what can you do for me? I’ve got responsibility, so I’m looking for a man who’s got some money in his hands...You’ve got to have something if you want to be with me...Ain’t nothing going on but the rent... No romance without finance.”
The person who turns a complete blind eye to the prospects of a partner might be living dangerously but still the choice (and sometimes disposal) of a partner should not be a totally clinical operation. Business is business and well...love is love. In an ideal world, the two shouldn’t mix even though they have since the beginning of time. I had a girlfriend in university and once when I visited her at home, her father asked me what my name was. When I told him, he asked “what does your father do?”
After secondary school, a friend of mine (they were quite laid back in his family) said he wasn’t going to the university immediately. In retrospect, that was probably because his results were poor. He was going to work, he said, and he did for a while until he met this first year student of medicine who agreed to be his girlfriend. The day he visited the girl’s home (he went with another friend of his); her father met him and sent the girl on a fool’s errand to go find something. Father turned to my friend. “So what do you do?” My friend, confident in his ability to speak English well, told him. The Father looked at my friend closely then pointed around his own living room and asked, “Is your father’s living room like this? You see that daughter of mine? You will never be like her. Get out of my house!” Soji, my friend, said he stumbled out of the house, his companion climbing the railings of the veranda because their confusion didn’t let him see the door.
He told me this story a few months before our call to the Nigerian bar as lawyers. We laughed about it and how far he had come but that disgrace showed a brutal aspect of life and forced him back to school. Soji lives in England now but will probably, someday, guard his own daughter that same way.
Puppy love, it’s the beauty of all relationships and should be guarded jealously. When we view love as if we are scientists studying some bacteria under a microscope, it’s not the same thing anymore. Now , the relationships I’m talking about here are not the run of the mill relationships. I’m talking about those ones that make our hearts pound, which make us smile to ourselves when we remember the other person. I’m not talking of unrequited love, I’m talking of the kind that’s a two-way street, pure magic.
Puppy love is what we should all seek to have. The kind that makes us want to do anything for the other person, climb every mountain, dedicate every song... Life’s principles remain the same, we get wiser but find that the lessons taught us by our parents and grandparents still hold true. Same as with love, nothing ever changes except that we become jaded and lose the ability to recognize Peter Pan when we see him.
Let’s keep love simple, it’s the only way it should be.