Two-eighths Or Three-twelfths Of The Clock

(Apologies in advance for any errors or distortion in flow. These words will not be edited; such is the spirit of this piece.)


Lagos, Nigeria.

Typical day in this city that aims to sap the soul out of you. The ‘owners’ of the park call out their respective routes like they are reciting mantras, and the citizens stick to the corporate passenger cliché of suits and headsets. I step out in similar gear, but I still feel like an immigrant here, like a sheep in the big city. The lady who sits next to me in my office thinks that I had never heard of Jumia before I got here, and whenever she describes the sights and sounds of this city to me, there is always this “I’m sure you don’t have this in your place” tone in her voice. Her MTN-customer-service accent fails to mask the “h” factor attributed to people in these parts, but that’s a story for another day.

I look out of the bus window as a Toyota Matrix zooms past. I wonder when I’ll finally get behind the wheels of my own automobile, when talent and hardwork would finally pay off. Few weeks ago, a friend of mine called me up and narrated how he and his colleagues spent money worth my monthly salary on drinks in one night! I am happy for him, or at worst, positively jealous. Nevertheless, it’s a reminder of my place on the ladder; still a long way to go.

Intense traffic jams are the norm around here, and I soon get caught up in one. Punctuality and a waiting office query on the desk are in issue, but at least we will all get to our muster points of daily hustle, barring a major road mishap. I wish Life was that easy, yes, there are some who never make it, who never get past the poverty line. Of these I am scared; that I’ll end up being an also-ran, that God-given gifts and intellect will count for nothing in the end, that I’ll turn out to be just a number.

I think of my father, and how he has always been there for me in different ways, even now. I wonder if I’ll be that strong enough for my future kids, that patient enough, that loving and doting enough. I love children, but having a big heart has never been enough, and some nights I fear that I may not be a man my kids will be proud to call father. I am probably insecure, and needlessly too, but it’s a genuine source of worry nonetheless…..just like I worry about my art. There are days I feel that I am not good enough, afterall my talent is not exclusive. There are many other good writers out there, even better ones, and I shiver when I consider the fact that my pen may just get swallowed up in the pile. It’s not about the likes and comments and mentions, no, but I get scared that my time may be over before it has even begun.

The pressure on the windpipe from a knotted rope pales in comparison to the pressure faced from friends, from society, from family, from self, from Life. Sometimes I wish I wasn’t wired differently, that I was just an average John Doe. Intelligence is much stress as far as I am concerned, and when nothing major is happening around you, when you are faced with questions about your life’s trajectory every now and then, you can’t blame those who devise means to permanently shut their senses. I know, I should be grateful and shut up. Alright, i know what i’ll do; i’ll think of those who have bigger problems, or cook up tragic scenarios in my head, just to feel better. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t plan harming myself, as a matter of fact i think that being suicidal is getting too cliche these days….but that doesn’t mean that sometimes when slicing onions in the kitchen, I don’t toy with the idea of substituting with my left wrist.

I peep at my Blackberry Messenger’s recent updates. Dora, a close friend of mine, is getting married over the weekend, and she uploads photos of herself in cozy poses with her husband-to-be. I am really happy for her, and I hope to grace the occasion, but I scoff at myself when I think of my love life. It seems like I am still struggling with the rudiments of commitment, like I am going through an emotional fixation of sorts.

I am probably selective, I know, but I don’t think I am out of line when I constantly crave for someone whose intellect turns me on, whom I can have engaging conversations with, who knows the difference between “been”, “bean” and “being”. There is the angle of expecting too much and setting so high a bar for the ladies to deflect my own inadequacies, who knows? Harriet says I am selfish, Lana says I am negligent and insensitive, Ajoke thinks that PHCN’s electricity supply is gold when compared to my emotional consistency. They are probably right….or maybe they just don’t understand that when I decided to shut them out, it was for the best, that it was for them, that it was because I loved them too much to have them caught up in the mental battles I fight from time to time. But then, why do I dance around the doors of their hearts when I know my head is a war zone? Oh well, I don’t know, maybe it’s because of my sick need to give love and then take it away.

A vehicle beside us stops abruptly. From the groans and complaints of working-class citizens doomed to reporting late for work, I find out that the fuel tank had been next to empty, but the driver had chosen to manage. Manage! That is what many relationships are about nowadays; holding on to a lost cause because of the fear of being alone, refusing to pull out the plug even when the socket is no longer functioning. My heart is too big (or small as the case may be) to keep torturing the ones I love with a false presence, so I choose to disappear because I can only fall short for so long, and in time they will hate me for giving them nothing more than half of my heart. I am no career bachelor, but how long can these lovely ladies keep trying to figure out the maze that is myself, a maze that even I haven’t completely put together.

Stay single? Nah. Life is crazy in itself, and moments of passionate company won’t hurt. I mean it whenever I say “I miss you (insert female name)” and “I want to wake up next to you”, but what I don’t know is what we will be doing between sunrise and bedtime. If you could spend a day in my head (I dont advise you to even if you’re able), you would know what I am talking about. I have an idea; lets draw up a pre-intimacy agreement setting out terms and conditions of the relationship, like pre-nuptials exist for marriages. Sorry, my head works like that.

Traffic doesn’t get any lighter. People begin to alight from the bus, electing to use their feet for the rest of the journey. I wish same could be applicable to Life, you know, just get off the train when stagnation sets in. There are days I just want the planets to exist as cities, so I can take a vacation to Mars or Uranus when the stress from Earth is too much to bear.

Sure enough, there is too much personal information here, but I want to purge, and purge I will. Then again, I do not know how not to be honest. I am piss poor at faking things…..which is why I get unresponsive now and then. I don’t know how to tell people about my serial nightmares and dark mental clouds when they ask me how my night went, or how to say “I am fine” when I am not. Besides, I feel that I shouldn’t bug them with my issues when they have theirs to sort out.

Maybe I am not yet ready for the world, maybe I am yet to come to terms with Life’s pace, but don’t blame me. I am only good at being young,  I am so scared of getting older, and even though it’s only one-quarter (or two eighths, or three-twelfths) of the clock when I add things up on the calendar, I can’t help but yearn for a brief recess from Life’s sessions.


18 responses to “Two-eighths Or Three-twelfths Of The Clock

  1. There’s no vacation from life’s sessions. Nice piece of uncoordinated thoughts. Seems ur head is a market place.

  2. I like the “no flow” flow of the piece, you captured what goes on in most people’s head with an almost picture perfect precision. This is how life is for most of us, but move on…we must .
    Thanks for this Jerry

  3. So much, in your head. But, it’s a good thing you could pen it down, I bet you’d have a little relief.

    Some of us are way too ‘uptight’ to share our deepest feelings, fears, pains…even to pen it down.

    One thing, I’m glad you’re true to yourself, and for being you!

  4. My God….
    In as much as I’m very upset with you, I just can’t see your writeup and ignore.
    Because they are always out of this planet called earth.
    Your dripping pen is something I always look forward to.
    The way you tell the true tale of life’s struggle and hassle is something almost everyone can relate well with.
    I for one can say, you are telling the story of my life. With little differences of course, but same track.

  5. I love it when you pull the veil off your pen and and spurt out the ink. The result is a beautiful imperfection– messy and true to the heart. That’s what survives when all other forms of literature die. See Ralph Waldo Emerson for reference. Thanks for sharing your insecurities. It’s not everyday you get the chance to go into Chi’s head.

  6. “I don’t know how to tell people about my serial nightmares and dark mental clouds when they ask me how my night went”. This piece touches me

  7. Penning down thoughts while stuck in lasgidi traffic isn’t the easiest thing to pull off, but I must add that, it could also be the inspiration one needs to critically evaluate one’s life. Having said that, Jerry, u are not alone, for a great number of us go through life’s crisis… It rains on all men, but hope is the umbrella that keeps us from getting soaked and in total despair. Hang in there… you will definitely get to the 1st rung(or is it the last, depending on where we re counting from, the top sha) of your ladder… Cheers

  8. Great one bro, pictured the everyday life and struggle of young men and women with the world and society at large ,what goes on in the mind and head of every individual trying to climb to the ladder of stability

  9. *stunned*
    I don’t even know what to comment.
    Hold on Bro, hold on, that pinnacle of success, we will get there.

  10. A nice piece filled with uncoordinated thoughts. I think life should be lived one day at a time and ww should make most of what we have because sometimes we plan how our lives should be without realizing that we are not implementing or working towards our plans

  11. Jerry writes well, and he knows that already. Only a good writer would be able to pour out these complex emotions in words, and express them so beautifully too. I like the way he related common daily occurrences with definitive life moments. Nigeria’s got talents!

  12. Uncoordinated coordinated thoughts.
    Like I told a friend sometime ago ; being human is extremely hard. You no longer have a choice but to live and when you die, if you are Nigerian, they force you to become an ancestor and throw kolanuts for you to eat. There is just no taking a break from living.

  13. The thing with commenting on a piece of this level of depth is that the content speaks and reverberates, even after the last full stop; like a figment—or figments—of the reader’s life.

    Your simply don’t know how best to respond, with the myriads of provoking thoughts.

    This hits close to home bruvv.

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