I’m so sorry for you to go through this. There’s no easy way to say this so I’ll spit it out or rather write it out. I imagine you have one of those confused smiles on right now. God, I really wish it hadn’t come this.
I’m in love with a woman.
It really shouldn’t be so hard to believe. She’s in everything I do, she fills every breath I take and to be honest, I have loved her for much longer than I have loved you. She has had my whole life to worm her presence into my every step, making it a dance. She has caused so much commotion that her name is constantly a song on my lips. Her every move affects me, even when I try to ignore her, she plants her lips on me and changes my life. By God and man, I love her so much.
I tried to tell you of my love for her in secondary school, you laughed and ignored her like she was an imaginary friend. When we met again in the university, you kissed her name off my lips but she was the one I dreamt of when I fell asleep.
You’ve always hated her, said she was stingy with the bread called opportunity. You often cried out that the stench of corruption followed her around. You mocked her smile because her mouth was full of pot holes instead of perfectly tarred roads. You laughed at her because her lights were more often off than on.
You looked away from her scars that were called poverty. You enjoyed when other men and women came to her with sweet cake filled with poisonous policies. You complained that the crude oil which resided in her dimples was receding.
You went to visit other men and women when fiery militant ants climbed all over her face claiming that her dimples as theirs. You liked to look her breasts though. Some call them the Idanre Hills, but I only remember the beautiful memories we made as we fondled them together.
Hundreds of strands called ethnic groups are dotted throughout her hair. You hated how sometimes they got entangled and made her look ugly and hated even more when one strand tried to slip away. You always said they pissed you off, especially that strand which had a distinct perfumed scent.
Sometimes I take a ride with her, and I love the sounds she makes. Screams of “Sabo!”, “Yaba!’”, “Dress for your brother!”, “Conductor, change!” or “Okada, no fall me down o!”. I also love her aromas, whether it’s the fart that comes from her belly’s unprocessed waste or the sweet smell of rain that encases the breath from her mouth.
Even as much as I love her, I cannot possibly deny her madness. I am not blind to her afflictions. She is in the throes of a sickness and I cannot possibly leave her. I have tried to, you know I have. I often pack my bags and say I’m giving up but I just can’t. It’s not easy to love her, Tunji. Each time I don’t leave, I almost do.
I know you are tired of her. I can tell. Please don’t ask me if I love you. You know I do but you also know that a million times more, I love her. She’s my imperfect lover. She’s the oxygen I breathe and I will keep breathing her in no matter how much poison fills my lungs. She’s my Iife.
You are finally done. You asked me to come with you, to leave this crazy lover that another named Nigeria. You tell me that we will go somewhere better but nowhere is better than here! You might disagree, but here’s the thing. Tunji, my darling, she calls to me. My body yearns to rub against her skin. I dream of her customs and beliefs. Even when others lure me away, her arches and curves entice me to come back and lie in her arms.
I can hear your thoughts right now. You wonder why I want to stay with the woman with bleeding arms, smelling armpits, potholes for teeth, poverty as a tattoo and sunken dimples. The woman who makes strange noises, who let the strands of her hair strangle her, whose lights are almost always off instead of on. The one whose face has been scratched by the pens of politicians.
I can’t leave her to keep suffering. I must stay. I must stay to cull her bleeding, and wash her to give her a new scent. I must stay to fill her potholes with tar, to wipe off the marks of poverty etched in her skin and refill her depleted dimples. I must stay to rejoice in her sounds of delight and straighten out the tangled strands of her hair. I choose to stay to clothe her nakedness in the most beautiful robes.
I have been making vows to her since I was a child and so have you. I told her I would love her till the day I die, that I would travel every inch of her beautiful body, that I would obey her call and serve her with love, strength and faith.
I intend to keep those vows. My question now is: do you?
A woman in love.