Days [excerpt] – Akanbi Odunayo Rhoda Zoe
December 9, 2020
Musings From Floating Fingers
These are times when you stop counting the number of months you spent holed up in your small room; scribbling words that seem to continuously flow from your fingertips on good days
and on other days, seem to vanish like the wind,
running errands, cooking food you never eat,
staring through the window as your fingers draw shapes on dusty frames.
as you wonder when the gates would be opened wide enough for you to go in and resume the life you’re used to
where you bury your brown hair in books you don’t enjoy
and force a smile on your face at every wave (since that girl in glasses said you always look sad and moody, as though “sad and moody” are ugly words that shouldn’t be associated with humans),
and cancel dates and hangouts with friends
only to stare at the ceiling and wonder when last the only fan rolling like a tired soul, in your hostel room of twelve girls was cleaned,
or pretend to be sick when the tall boy with full beard or the charming one with full dark hair who you once fantasized making out with;
running your slim fingers through the dark forest on his head,
lingers around your hostel gate for half an hour
hoping that your sickness/shyness would disappear at the mention of shawarma, (you tell yourself to see if he’d try flowers instead. you need colour not food/junk)
but you snort and tell him you can’t move your limbs.
Yet you wave a little too fast when he sees you the next morning on your way to lunch
and you’d tell him that you’re late for class,
only to disappear round the corner the moment he checks his wrist watch.
These are times when you know your life is just like that clock propped like a bored child against the wall with faded paint.
So, you continue to scribble words on blank pages only to drop them along with your half eaten biscuit in the bin, folded and crumpled like wrinkles,
to listen to songs that mirror your pain
and keep pushing your friends away,
for you believe your depression is infectious;
a lie you tell yourself to make you sleep at night.
Coffee and Pancakes
When the boy next door asked me on a date
to a grill down the road at a street I didn’t quite hear
for the creaking sound of a blue rickety bus blurred his words.
I said yes, for I was enthralled by his eyes
as his intense gaze from his balcony made me grip the rails tighter.
When he held my cold hands on that afternoon in December
towards the door of the grill that lay on the road
where the creaking sounds of rickety buses takes the seat of power,
I shook my head and said I wanted to go home.
But the vivid hurt in his eyes tugged at the compassionate strings of my heart
so I squeezed his hands a little tight and laughed nervously as I explained that it was a joke.
So, I sat down on the fancy wooden chair in the grill, poking lazily at an over spiced chicken as his words disappeared along with the fumes of the rickety buses
And I stared out of the window towards that coffee shop that lay peacefully on
the other side of the road
and let my nostrils inhale the soothing scent of freshly made coffee
steaming from the cup of a random girl in white braids reminiscing on lost love.
I continued to stare outside the window as the grill and the boy whose eyes I fell in love with, vanished from my view along with the sound of the rickety buses running down the road
as I inhaled the smell of coffee and pancakes placed in a white glassware
with cubes of sugar and tin milk flanking the saucer.
I SEE LOVE IN MY MIRROR
For long have I seen the rippling waves and running tides of the oceans
through the eyes of the wild teenager with feet buried in soft sand.
All these while, I have felt the loving and romantic gaze of the moon sending shivers of ecstasy through the skin of lovers I never know.
For long have I watched the burning gaze of love and watch it singe even the fiercest of lovers through the eyes of another.
Nights upon nights have I peered curiously at the hazy figure my mirror daily showed to me.
I see love, staring back at me in my mirror
with a gentle smile on her face
and a guard in her pen
teaching me to love myself.