The Girl Whisperer
as published by the Suunday Guardian
of June 15
THE END OF THE ROAD
Boys II Men, they called themselves then, and hit upon a magic formula of creating hit-song after hit-song. One of particular interest to me was titled ‘End of the road’, a sweet, slow song with its poignant words- “And now we’ve come to the end of the road, still I can’t let go, it’s so natural, you belong to me, I belong to you”. You might wonder, why separate, when happiness and compatibility come so easily to the parties concerned? It is not always so clear-cut, however.
There are circumstances which sometimes come between the best-suited people, thrown up by fate (and sometimes by they, themselves), circumstances which prevent great loves from holding on to each other, which stop incredible love stories from happening. When I was conscripted for the compulsory youth service in Akwa Ibom state, I met a great number of nice people, male and female. There was my fellow youth service corps member, ‘kemi, who was one of the most gentle people I’d ever had the good fortune of meeting, but she didn’t continue in Akwa Ibom, truncating what might have become a great story in the future. But there was a certain female named Victoria, an indigene of the state who was still in school and she became really special to me. A daughter of a religious leader, she was young, sassy, bright and we met and synched in a way that came naturally to us. We would laugh together, take walks, meet to talk for long periods and then, the youth service year which many of us had reluctantly been part of but which had been so much fun and culturally enlightening was over and the ‘soldiers’ were honourably discharged. At the party organized for the departing members of the corps, Victoria and I danced, oblivious to every other person there. We had come to the end of our road. She wasn’t in a position to uproot herself and follow me back home and I wasn’t ready to stay behind.
Unlike the story of the King of England, Edward, whom in 1936, gave up his throne for an American divorcee, I couldn’t give up my life as I saw it and we therefore reached the end of the road even as we danced quietly that night. King Edward abdicated his throne for his true love, after trying all the possible ways available to hold on to his throne and this woman, Mrs. Simpson, at the same time. The English system refused a marriage to this ‘commoner’, refusing to lay a precedent that might upend their monarchy. Some claim it was that century’s most amazing love story, for he didn’t choose her over the throne of some remote hamlet in the Fiji Islands but over the throne of England. He handed over his kingship to his younger brother, George (who fathered the current queen) and paved way for another dynasty, reverting to his title, the duke of York. The Harry Belafonte song, tells the story. ‘It was love, love alone, caused King Edward to leave his throne...’
In the bid to make our dreams come true, how many of us would choose love over the circumstances that might better our lives, materially? Many have left families at home to ‘create’ other families abroad because of the necessity and immediacy of life, the need to make ends meet. Great love stories smashed to bits because the partners lacked the will-power and the strength to face the circumstances that threatened their own love-stories. By the way, that category includes those in jobs that have taken away the beauty of once they once had. If you return home by ten pm daily and have to be out by six am, you are married to your boss, seeing you spend more waking moments with him or her than with your once-great love.
Face reality, you will probably say. What will pay for the apartment, the new car, the plasma television? Love? It might not; there is also the possibility however, that love will find a way. My brother told me of a friend of his whom we’ve known for ever. His wife and he had always lived in one country in Europe along with their kids, then he got a great job in another European country and he relocated, returning home to his wife once in two weeks, sometimes once in three weeks. And this has been on for eight years. That love story’s gone, hit the end of the road, no matter what they might think. And even though they still relate together, are still great friends, it is the magic of love I am interested in. They can no longer be great lovers.
The end of the road. That is the place you reach when circumstances tell you there must be a choice made, for it is always about choices. It is about whether you choose love over your bank balance, whether you search for alternative routes when the road peters out and there are seemingly no more options.
Do not ask me what I would do for we all have different destinies. True, sometimes, the choices are very hard ones, the job that prevents you from doing what your heart tells you to do, for it really is a war between the choice your head would make and that which your heart, would. The mind and the heart. Once, I debated these choices too but now I am grown and I wear the cloak of the Whisperer. Unlike many others, I can have only one option when true love is at stake, only one choice no matter how fool-hardy it might seem. I choose love each time. Emphatically.