I sincerely lay no claims to being more knowledgeable than anyone, but I do confess that I know better than I did yesterday, last year and a decade ago. Isio Knows Better is an attempt to capture the shocking and highly entertaining conversation within myself. The conversations between my mind (the sharp witty one), my soul (the lover and the spiritual one) and my body (the playful one concerned with the more mundane things of life). She is the eternal referee between the caustic mind and the sensitive soul. This is Isio. So, here’s to making private conversations public.
I was excited that I was going to have dinner with the girls, Yola and Dee, mainly because I was curious to see how Dee was handling herself since she decided to place herself on this self-imposed fast. Oh, it wasn’t that kind of biblical fast, it was ‘‘that kind of fast’’, you know, the ones our mothers’ warned us about. Only that Dee was passionate, extremely selective, and it was a miracle she was attracted to her crush in the first place (let’s call him… Banana Head). Dee ached for The Banana… (Oh dear Lord, that sounds so wrong. Okay, let me rephrase…) Dee ached for her Banana Head…
(Ermmmm well, you get the gist… Perhaps we should change his name to Watermelon).
As her friend, I understood where she was coming from. One minute she was cool as a cucumber and acting like it aint nothing, the next she was glowing and butterflied about him, and the next she was as irritable and as snappish as a Grinch; so tightly wound she was. She was a highly combustible volcano of bottled up emotions, frustration and passion waiting to erupt. It was particularly painful to watch, especially since Dee was the calm and gracious one amongst us. An exotic beauty, elegant and even tempered (until The Banana happened).
I was waiting at the restaurant when the girls came in. Yola had a personality that bewitched boys, men and even plants. She was a wild beauty, spontaneous and funny. I wondered which unfortunate admirer had wrapped himself around her pretty little finger this time of his own accord. Poor guy was probably somewhere crushed by his love/lust for Yola. All Yola had to do was breathe and the men swore undying fealty to her. I knew she didn’t like being worshipped, but it was what it was. It was Yola. And her boyfriend was just what she needed. He was enigmatic, charismatic and a natural leader. He understood her temperament and complimented her perfectly. They were happy. They were monogamous. Yola glowed.
And me, well… I was me. (*wink!)
It was a nice meal, even for a food-lover like me. Then Yola started to harass us to spill on our love lives. Since she was going steady with her Mr. Executive, she longed to live vicariously through us. I just stuffed my face with rice and chilli and acted like I was choking so the attention would go to Dee. Dee was in love, although she didn’t know it yet. She was so soft and pretty and shy. She spoke about Banana Head for a bit. We ‘‘ooh-ed’’ and ‘‘ahh-ed’’ at her and teased her that her crush was probably as crazy about her as she was of him. That he longed for her and burned for her touch too. She blushed.
‘‘C’mon guys, he is not crazy about me, how can you be so sure? He doesn’t even know how I feel.’’ she protested.
Of course she only said this so that we would insist that Banana Head was indeed crazy about her so she could feel good about the whole thing and not feel so crushed by her banana flavored crush. I didn’t know what advice to give her really, I just wanted her to be happy and hoped Banana Head was good for her. I swear I felt like smacking Banana Head next time I saw him and then seethe at him, ‘‘don’t just stand there staring at Dee, DO SOMETHING! Jeez!’’
They asked me if I thought it was a good idea to date one’s crush. We shared our experiences. Yola went first.
Apparently Yola’s teenage crush was something of an Adonis. He had a smooth, bronzed- tan to his light skin that glistened under the sun. He was tall and lean with a sexy, dimpled smile. He was her next-door neighbor who considered Yola his baby sister. He was also a born-again Christian. So Yola would go to the neighborhood youth -fellowship on Sunday evenings and try not to look at Brother Bronze’s perfect yellow toes while others were speaking in tongues. The day she saw him shirt-less washing his car in front of her house, she shrieked and ran back indoors like she was being chased by demons. She could not even respond to his greeting. All she saw was his shirt-less body with his perfectly formed abs, wet with sweat and soap, his lean muscular legs, bulging through his soaked shorts and his dimpled smile. He glistened sinfully. He was ice-cream in human form and Yola had to turn and flee from temptation like the bible commanded, because she was gripped by a sudden cave-woman desire to lick the ice-cream in front of her. So teenage Yola fled from her primal passions and prayed Psalm 19 fervently, until the cometh of a new day.
Oh dear! I almost choked on my drink! We were laughing so hard.
I shared the memories of my first crush. He was a beautiful dark skinned boy in my boarding school. He was an athlete, our champion footballer and our class captain. I was the assistant. And it spanned many years. Like Dee, I did nothing about it and avoided him like a plague. But we would steal hidden glances at each other. They were supercharged with intensity that could light dynamite. I felt a pull to another human being that left my knees weak and my breath shallow. Like Yola, I fled. He was the boy that every girl wanted, even our seniors. I just didn’t dare let myself think it, so I grabbed my Organic Chemistry, Advanced Mathematics textbooks and read. Heck I even took up Calculus. I knew if he so much as touched me (not that kind of touch, abeg o) that I would collapse.
And he did.
My best friend at the time decided to beef the poor boy, and one day she and I were walking when I felt someone touch me from behind and say softly, ‘‘Excuse me…’’ I looked up and saw my beautiful crush looking at me so tenderly my heart did six back-flips in a nano-second and stopped beating. But instead of yours truly to smile like a good girl and excuse him; I looked at my best friend (and saw the beef in her eyes).
What did I do?
I shouted, ‘‘WHY ARE YOU TOUCHING MEEEEEEEEEEEEE?!!!! ARE YOU BLIND?! PLEASE PASS IF YOU WANT TO PASS AND DON’T TOUCH ME AGAIN! RUBBISH!’’
He just looked at me, said nothing and walked away. And I died. My wicked best friend was pleased.
Three things happened after that. One, we ignored each other for a while. Two, on the last day of that school term, he came to sit with me while I was playing a game of cards with a classmate. He said nothing but held my hand. He smiled, I blushed.
Three, he died a week later- drowned in the ocean. The moment we had playing cards was one of our last moments together. It’s been seventeen years, and every time I find myself ignoring someone I like, I can almost feel him telling me, “Don’t make the same mistakes you made with me, Isio”.
But, my story is my story and this was about Dee. I truly wanted her to be happy. I hoped Banana Head loved her too, and that they would share a love that was pure and true. I prayed she would not be crushed by her crush. I told her this. And that I would ask you guys to pray for her too.
So, for you guys out there, please share. Have you dated your crush before? What happened? Were you liberated or crushed?
Isio Wanogho is a top-model, TV Personality and entrepreneur. She is conversant in five languages and has 12 years of experience in the Nigerian entertainment industry. Isio, popularly known by her brand name Isio De-laVega, captivates audiences with her signature wide smile and relatable, quirky personality which endears her to many. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @isiodelavega