Befriend Love; she should be the chum you run to at 2am, the friend you can tell anything. Tell Love of how much you are in love. Tell her, her makeup is too drab and that it makes her look like a whore when she comes visiting on nights you are curled up and alone, do not sugar-coat words this time.
Be truthful to Love; invite Love to sit comfortably on the warm red couch in the centre of your heart smelling of lavender – the sacred place which you have only invited men.
Ask Love to sit there and flip the pages of a magazine, ask her what drink she would like, and if the air conditioner is cooling properly, then watch her talk to you about love. Ask her about these things: what did you do wrong the last time and with the other man? Were you too forward, did you stifle him?
Listen to Love speak in her countryside accent, puffing dark circles of cigarette smoke in the air, raising the glass of wine to touch her lips stained with purple gloss.
Love will tell you that love is simple. She will tell you that she is not as stern as the world portrays her to be. She will tell you she is frightened when relationships end, when hearts are broken and promises are not kept. She will joke about your ex, the one who farted loudly and who told you he owned a Mustang although he did not own a car.
But Love is not one to be distracted, and so she would retrace her paths and tell you that material things are phonies, like heroin, that they heighten the thoughts of her, but are not in essence her.
“Do you understand me?” She would ask you now, and before you answer, you would move to the walls of your heart and towards the window blinds, pull them down until the room is faintly lit because you do not need anyone to know that you are rearing love in your heart.
Your best Friend Shola will call you weak and overly straddled by emotions. She would tell you that emotions are things for girls who get used, that feminists are women who put their rights before emotions and that you cannot have emotions.
“I understand” You say, and Love squeezes you warmly by the hand.
Love is in love with little notes; she will compliment the sticky notes you have beside your work Laptop, the inscriptions on your shirt. She will make really peach pancakes in your kitchen and make you doubt that she is only in your head.
“With Jide” She says “He was bored of you” And this happens in tales where there is a defining spark, a sole defining spark, now that you have found love again, douse this defining spark, may your entire relationship not be based on a sole factor. May it be broad; this is my creed for you.
May he love the folds on your neck, and the precision in your eyebrows, may he love your slurp and rounded breasts likewise. May he look at you tenderly, but not the kind of tenderness that masks flaws, not the kind that closes her eyes to things, because some day those eyes will certainly open, but the kind that acknowledges and loves nonetheless.
May he be flawed; so flawed, there are nights you would consider leaving because of his high pitched snores and when you tiptoe outside with your channel bag in hand, you would, in your steps, remember that we do not love because of all roundedness, we love for the absence of it. We love because there are vital parts missing, fissures that only love can fill.
And you would return, for there is nothing as powerful as the lesson one learns herself.
Know that you do not have to find yourself in his eyes, there is no need to look for you, you are not missing and peradventure for some reason you are, in these days I am with you, you would already find yourself. You would know the workings of your soul, the intricacies, so well that you would think it is you who has designed it, you would own the little office space that it is, and you would hang a “Trespass with love” sign on its oak door.
Still, you would be a strong woman, the sort the world calls a feminist, and you would be filled with love nonetheless, because the world needs to understand that Feminism and Love are not siblings whose association would be incestuous. The world needs to understand that they can comfortably be in the same place and you would teach them that, that you do not need a man to be complete, but you have a man. You are still complete and that is not, at all, a bad thing.
Say this lover is not a man, say I am sitting in the ivory tower of acceptable things and painting these pictures, say it I who got this mixed up and that you have found love elsewhere. I need you to love just the same and regardless of what society says, with the knowledge that there is no definite place, which I materialize.
Outside, you hear Shola’s car and you know Love will have to leave soon. You look at Love, poking at the sticky notes and reading a Beau Taplin one aloud; do not wait around your whole life for someone who completes you. A soul mate is not the whole picture; they are just the final piece.
And as Love gathers her things to leave, this is what she says:
You cannot give entirely what you do not have; you can borrow bits from the exasperating sex and other bits from the cold nights when your Lover is the only thing you have, but you cannot always borrow. For there are days when there is nothing left to be lent.
And so, have me, have me to satiate the deepest parts of you, there are voids in your heart cleft for me, let me in. Allow me envelope you, let me be the centre of your thoughts, let me paddle you, weave your hands into mine and allow me show you your hearts niceties.
Let me hold you through your darkest days, allow me teach you that you are never alone, that loneliness is in itself a gift, that you are completely fine on your own and that say Love happens, you deserve every bit of it you get. Let me be the foundation on which your heart is built, the mirror with which you see yourself, part the drapes to let me in as you let in the light every morning, only, never let me out.
Save a lot of love for yourself, do not dish out love to people at the expense of yours, wrap it in shiny papers and stack it in a corner of your heart like gifts for the holidays, in this vein, may every day be a holiday.
I need you to love yourself, in the dead of the Lagos night, stand to the mirror and say gently “I am complete. I am so complete” so that now that you have found love again the world will know, that somewhere beneath those stilettos and palazzos, there is a place for love, maybe little, maybe huge, but there is a place.
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