About the VGMAs

Sooo, about the VGMAs…

Well, everything you see here is my personal opinion, and you might agree, you might not agree, but whatever. Let’s get into it…

So I haven’t really been watching the annual awards ceremony over the past couple of years, but I got to see it this time, and somehow, it was kinda okay for me.

The performances are what I’ll talk about. Most of them didn’t go down well with me at all, considering the live band. A number of major hits sounded really average when the artists came on stage to perform them. I think it’s something they should endeavor to work on…

Adomaa!! She’s a great performer, and even though my initial thought was that she’d do ‘Tempo’ from her EP, she definitely did a great job with ‘Traffic Jam’. Problem? The reception of the audience. Clearly, a lot of people weren’t really down with the whole jazzy vibe, and on Twitter, quite a number of folks thought lowly of her, practically pointing out an inferiority to what Efya did, as well as some bashing her use of pidgin.

Seriously? That’s not cool. That chic is definitely a great talent, and I for one, liked what she delivered.

Then Efya. She was excellent too. But I saw quite a few peeps mad at the fact that she didn’t sing one of her own songs, but ‘Obianuju’. Even though she made a cover of the song quite a while back. And the fact that she released her album not too long ago kinda fueled that anger. Well, I’m not gonna speak on that. I believe she killed it. That’s all. Lol.

Wasn’t too impressed with most of the rappers who came to perform, except for Sarkodie. I mean, I’m not a big fan of his (not that I dislike him or anything), but let’s face it: the guy’s artistry levels are off the roof. Performance-wise, he did a great job, and we better put some more respeck on his name!

But…

The best performance of the night is undisputed. Joe Mettle and Overflow Inc!!

I mean, they just came and slayed! Totally! And it’s no surprise, really, when you consider how musicians of their caliber constantly do live shows. So working with a band is effortless. They set the bar so high, and nobody else caught up to them. They deserve all the plaudits that come their way.

So concerning the awards and other happenings, well, some awards went out to the wrong people, in my eyes. But hey, it happens all the time. Even in the Grammys. I’d have chosen Tori Kelly (bae extraordinaire *sigh*) over Meghan for Best New Artist, and I’d definitely give Album of the Year to Kendrick. So maybe my annoyance at ‘Yԑ wᴐ krom’, ‘Aporsor’ thems winning awards is unnecessary.

Besides, I didn’t vote, so lemme be silent.

But of course, many were well deserved. From Bisa Kdei to Kofi Kinaata, they all deserved what they got. And of course, E.L. himself! He totally merited that Artist of the Year award, no doubt. If he didn’t get anything, I’d go on a personal demonstration! Haha! Just kidding…

GH Twitter, though… chale…

GH Twitter, you guys had the celebrities engaging in the art of explaining. After some people raging about Sarkodie probably ‘flexing’ the awards he got, he had to tell us he was backstage, preparing. I think it was pretty obvious, Sark. And we’re glad you did a good job.

And of course, the now infamous ‘pioneer’ statement by Bisa Kdei. Ha! I’m sure if he hadn’t won those two awards after that, he’d have had to make an official statement. Squad made him apologize by force! But then, I certainly didn’t agree with the use of that word. If anything at all, he’s helped revive the love for highlife, and he deserves a lot of credit for that. But pioneer??? Nah. Not a correct term to endear yourself with. Good thing he rectified that.

The biggest question of the night for me, though, was simple.

Wetin Pappy Kojo do you people?

Like seriously, after we realized he wasn’t gonna win an award, trailer jamming paaa nie! From Lapaz Teen Choice Awards to Mr. & Mrs. SHS, it was relentless. And I still don’t get why he was targeted like that. Did he make a statement before the awards night or something? Ahhh well…

And that little rant from Irene Logan? Ummm… I didn’t get it. Like, honey, you’re awesome and all, but… forget it.

I hope next year’s VGMA will be improved. And for the gospel genre… I hope the musicians there step their game up. Because I personally was nowhere near impressed with the nominees. Not hating on them, I just wasn’t impressed… well, except for Preachers.

Once again, congratulations to all the winners, as well as the nominees.

I Wanna Tell You

There’s so much I wish I could tell you.

I wanna tell you that though we’ve known each other for a while, and we don’t talk much, I think you’re a really special lady. That considering the time we’ve spent together has definitely given me a wonderful impression, even though there’s more to know…

I wanna tell you that it’s crazy how it is that it was only on that Wednesday morning I saw you on the streets and waved to you that I realized you’re one of the most beautiful girls I’ve met. I feel like an idiot for not realizing it sooner…

I wanna tell you that what I see on the outside is almost a perfect reflection of what’s on the inside. I see you’re not just a beautiful lady, but a beautiful lady with a beautiful soul. I see you love Jesus, and that’s so wonderful…

I wanna tell you that I remember the first time I heard you sing. My stomach got acrobatic when I heard that voice of yours. I’m not in the mood for crazy metaphors and all that, so I just wanna say that you astounded me…

I wanna tell you that you’re a wonderful being, and I am so happy to know a girl like you. But I wanna go deeper…

I wanna tell you that I wanna be more than just an acquaintance, but a real friend.

That I’d love if we could move beyond short comments and light convos to real talks about different stuff. From deep, mind-challenging conversations to silly chatter where we just laugh and ‘Trailer Jam’ each other regularly.

That I’d love if our bond grew stronger and our lives’ stories would become deeply intertwined, developing a relationship based on mutual respect and admiration for each other.

That I want to be that guy who becomes one of the reasons you thank God for the gift of life on a daily basis, and a major reason for that goofy smile of yours.

That I want to know you. The real you. Go beyond the picture I see and see what really lies underneath the surface. I know you’re flawed and all, and I wanna know it all and still feel the same way I feel about you, or even stronger.

I wanna tell you that I may well be falling for you, but I wanna take it one step at a time. Develop our bond. Talk with you more. Loosen up when I’m around you. Care for you. Learn to sacrifice.

I wanna tell you that I want you to…

Nah, forget it.

I already know what’s gonna happen if I open my mouth and say all this.

Another relationship gone horribly awkward, we can’t even talk to each other. Another deep feeling of regret. I don’t need all that.

So I’ll just keep quiet and let these feelings die a slow death…

Lemme Be A Lil’ Creative

So, in view of #WorldPoetryDay, here’s a poem I wrote and did at Pluzz FM a while ago…

I have been gifted with the gift to form alphabetical lines filled with phrases and clauses
Conceived from the womb of finesse, with the purpose of lifting heavy hearts,
Words with eyes wide open, ever ready to assist like Mesut Ozil, no intention of slacking,
Sentences that in years to come will be celebrated for standing head and shoulders tall above the rest – Per Mertesacker.
I’m a user of words.
Articles, nouns, adjectives and verbs, hand-in-hand, marching towards the promised land of impact,
Never intent on being a Lazarus at your ear’s door, longing for the crumbs of your attention,
But expecting to see those blue ticks.
Words staying on that William McDowell flow, withholding nothing as they carry the melodies my heart sings,
Whispers of the innermost being,
Musing over the cold-hearted manner in which we brush aside the things that really matter,
It’s like humanity is getting married to apathy, but I’m not accepting the banns like Sepp Blatter.
No, like the voice in the wilderness, I choose to be that alarm, waking you up to the reality of true standards,
No chance of a dilution, I keep the message as it is, just being frank, even though my last name isn’t Lampard,
Giving my everything as I make that pen squirt out exactly what’s on my mind,
A 100% minus zero, trust me, it’s something like paying tithes,
For those words rebuke the devourers of dreams and serve as hands that open heaven’s windows to let out the blessings of encouragement, hope, peace, justice and love.
From above.
Words made to be matchsticks, striking the hearts of many and setting them ablaze for a purpose much bigger than themselves and their senses,
Arrows pointing to the writing on the wall, nudging pleasure-drunken Belshazzars to take notice and turn from the feast of folly before them,
Words for the man drowning in the sea of misery, clutching unto straws with the thought that brittle, breakable stalks could successfully role play ropes,
Seeking satisfaction in sin, senselessly spinning in circles, O my goodness, your pleasure tank is on zero,
I bring you an answer to the question ‘Can this gaping hole in my being be filled up with anything other than God?’
No. Not possible.
You may have bought into the belief that everything about Him will only leave you bored to death and thus elected to move with frivolities, but the reality of the matter is that outside of Him, all is death,
It’s vital you see the light and realize that sin is wack.
Words for the boy and girl lost in the maze of expectations of society,
From the brother treated like Gadarene demoniacs for not conforming, leaving him feeling like Chris, coz everybody hates him,
To the sister embracing the world’s ways, living that Facebook life, liking her status as accepted by the world, thumbs up to the lies, living off whatever the news feeds her,
I tell them, there’s more to life than what meets the eye,
That there’s a Master up above to whom we must account when we finally take the dirt nap, and we cannot afford to be found before His throne,
Propped up by anything less than the merit of Heaven’s Ultimate Treasure.
I tell them of the One who chose to bear with polar Antarctic hearts,
Taking up the grizzly wrath on their behalf,
The One who was scarred, so we all could become Simbas.
Yes, I have been gifted with the gift to use words, to point to the Saviour of the world.

 

Poetry Journey

In commemoration of World Poetry Day, I thought I’d briefly take some space on my blog to remember how the journey has been as a poet.

So I was never actually a fan of poetry before late 2013. Even though I was an English student back in CUC, I was more interested in prose. But after getting acquainted with the likes of Jefferson Bethke and David Bowden, I got really interested and decided to try out at it.

I wrote out a couple of poems, but I didn’t really like them. The first one I really liked, and eventually performed, was ‘Who He Is To Me’. First Saturday of the year 2014 is when I did it, and it was good.

Two years on, and I can say that I have become way better at my craft. I started out with a rather narrow-minded mindset, but with time, the box I crafted for myself has been tossed away. I remember deciding from the beginning that I only wanted to do explicitly Christian poems, with no creativity in them. That has changed. I write according to my worldview, which is ruled by the Scriptures, but I’m no longer under obligation to write stuff that would naturally appeal only to members of the body of Christ. Not every work of mine must be a 1 Corinthians 15.

Anyways, it’s been a good time being a part of the poetry fraternity. I’ve met quite a number of other peeps who are simply magnificent in what they do. I’ve watched the growth of the guys I started ThroneRoom Perspective with (Paul Folivi & Kobi Korankye), and they’re BOSSES!! (I know they’ll claim their work is basic. smh. The devil is the father of lies!) I’d love nothing more than to help the younger generation of poets learn the craft of poetry very well. Leave a legacy, so to speak.

I pay my respects to those who got me interested in spoken word poetry (Jefferson and David Bowden), the Christian poets who really stretched me in my quest to get better (Jackie & Preston Perry, Ezekiel Azonwu, Janette…ikz, Itohan Omolere, Joe Solomon, Canden Webb, Jamaica West) and the recent ones who really stretched me to go deeper (Bianca Phipps, Rudy Francisco, Carvens Lissiant, Joshua Bennett, Miles Hodges).

But my biggest respects go to my kinfolk, the Ghanaian poets who do their thing with excellence. Mutombo, RhymeSonny, Chief Moomen, Nana Asaase, Laud de Poet, 100%, Poetra Asantewa, and many others are an inspiration. Thank God for them.

So I’ll end this with 10 poems that have really impacted me at various stages of my poetic journey…

David Bowden – I Believe In Scripture

Magnificence! How he affirms his belief in the inerrant word of God is lovely!

David Bowden – I Am

Well well well!! This remains one of the best poems of all time. Not my opinion. Absolute truth!

GF Soldier – Exegesis of Jesus

Now this poem had me jumping about the first time I heard it! Whooo! This dude brought the heat!

Preston & Jackie – The Fall

It took me a while to appreciate this, but this poem is SIIICCKK! Hard-hitting, and the Adam’s apple word play never, and I mean, NEVER gets old…

Kwame Write & Yaw Twum – I Am Poem

This was one of the first Ghanaian poems I got to hear, and then, I didn’t pay much attention coz it wasn’t a Christian poem. But now I really appreciate it. Classic to me…

Javon Johnson – Building

So, this guy captured my attention and admiration big time with the passion he portrayed in this. You can feel the pain in his words. Art that conveys emotions in such a raw manner…

Bianca Phipps – Heartbreaker Poem

It’s in watching this lady that I really got challenged to go beyond surface level. The imagery still astounds me…

Rudy Francisco- My Honest Poem

…And then there was Rudy! Another amazing artist by all standards…

Dzyadzorm – Stay

The fact that I can put this poem on repeat as much as I do ‘Misconceptions 3’ is enough to show how much I love this poem. Dzyadzorm made a wonderful piece of art in this…

Poetra Asantewa – When A Soulmate Becomes A Checkmate

Poetra is amazing. I heard quite a lot of hype about her, and this poem right here totally justified it. I found it breathtaking…

And an honourable mention I couldn’t overlook…

Elidior the Poet – Bedwetting

This poem caught my attention in a really big way. How he tells a story of a bedwetter and adds a twist very few would have imagined makes this a great poem. Very, very intelligently done…

Shout out to all poets! May we continue to make wonderful art for years to come!

Clean-Up

So I posted this on the regular T.R.P. Thursday broadcast, and I’d like to share it here too. For all those times you wanted to spit ether on someone who irritated you…

A fiery furnace of fury is aflame deep in my chest,
As I see the haughty, self-righteous, demeaning sentences she sent in the text.
Words thrown like daggers, ripping through pores and slashing veins,
Snarky heartlessness the major ingredient in serving me this visual bile acid,
I can’t believe she said these things to me. So malicious. So vindictive. So hurtful…
But you know what?
If she is throwing stones, then I’m about to rock her really hard!
And so my fingers get to work,
Vigorously shifting and joining alphabets together for the purpose of inflicting pain,
Phrasal whips fashioned to leave indelible stripes on her being,
I’m done with my response within a minute,
Ready to fight a bonfire with a forest fire.
But just as my thumb prepares to become the catalyst that would launch this fatal air strike,
I pause.
Ponder.
Wait.
Her statements are horrible all right, the reason I am seeing red,
But does it truly warrant this sudden rush of blood to the head?
Is it worth it?
Silence.
I tell Backspace to mop up the poison my rage pushed me to create,
Then I toss the phone aside and simply walk away…

I Am Not Letting Go

I don’t know what made me write this. I honestly don’t. But I thought it looks good enough to put over here, so…

I know you’re tired.
This isn’t what we had bargained for when we started out on this road,
Excitement pushed us forward, but to get to this point was never our goal,
We knew we both had flaws.
We knew we are two separate beings with different mentalities and points of view,
But we never thought our differences would clash so badly and make us rude
To each other.
We started out with smiles, laughs, the sweetest of words and compliments,
But nowadays it’s all disagreements, conflicts, disputes and arguments.
I know you’re tired.
And honestly, so am I.
But… you say want out, looking for this relationship’s exit sign.
You really think this is going nowhere, and that we’re wasting each other’s time?
Well…
I’m not letting go.
Listen, this goes deeper than the fact that my heart skips beats whenever I see your smile,
It’s way more than the burn in my chest whenever you’re around,
Baby, this love is a decision, a choice that I made,
To set my affections and dedication on no other girl and never to play games,
This is real.
I know it’s hard, and I’m tired of our petty fights,
But this tunnel vision sees only you at the end, you are the light,
I know I wanna raise a family and grow old with you,
I know God had us in mind when He said one flesh will become of the two,
I know we can straighten things out once we place this gift back at the feet of the One who rules,
I know things can turn out for the better, this love will not be consumed.
So baby girl, before heaven and earth, I promise you, as surely as Christ is the Owner of my soul,
No matter what, I love you, and I am not letting go.

Insecurity Rambling

I’m scared. More scared than I really would want to admit.

To love is to be vulnerable, and to be vulnerable is a risk, but a beautiful thing.

A weapon in the hands of another, that could either destroy you or protect you.

Unfortunately, all I see is the danger and the damage that could occur if I take that road.

I mean, I know.

I’m not perfect, I have my faults, my flaws and some attitudes that really have to change,

But…

What if I’m just a stopgap for her?

What if in her eyes, I’m nothing but a stepping stone to a greater kind of guy?

What if the proclamation that she loves and adores me is all just vocal candy covering the tolerance inside?

What if she only said yes coz I’d probably be a good holdover till she finally meets her pre-conceived Mr. Right?

What if she tells me one day that it’s over, now that she’s found herself a man she believes is so much better than I?

I doubt I could deal with the pain that’ll come in hand with this reality,

Coz if my heart is like a skeleton, too many bones have been broken & crushed badly.

The young man once so trusting of a beautiful future with the woman of his dreams,

Is now an Alcatraz: locked up, bound behind walls of insecurity and terror at the probability of getting hurt.

Again.

Fear, indeed, is a paralyzer: I can’t move myself to look through the telescope of faith.

Been reminded that there are people who will truly love you with no intention to hurt you,

Free advice, but it’s like I see a heavy price tag, coz I don’t wanna buy it.

Better to be safe than sorry, goes the old adage,

But for how long?

These gates can’t stay locked forever.

I was made to love and be loved, I can’t defuse this tendency my Designer wired in me,

Yet every flashback… every remembrance… every painful memory…

Lord, save me from myself.

Famous Girlfriend

Bernard knocked on the door. A lazy-sounding “Come in” followed.

He opened the door to find his girlfriend Phoebe laid out on the sofa, clearly in her vintage ‘sloth’ mood. Faded blouse with shorts on, she hardly resembled the popular person she had become in the space of a year. He shook his head in amusement. “Sloth mode?”

She grinned. “Sloth mode,” putting the laptop that was on her knees on the table next to her. “Just getting up to date on Regular Show.”

A look of feigned boredom came upon his face. “You’re never gonna get bored of Mordecai and Rigby, are you?”

“Absolutely not! Hahahaha! Come on, baby, sit down. Like I said, I need you around.”

Bernard went over and took his seat beside her as she sat up. “Okay, so what is it that you can’t tell Mordecai or Rigby or… what’s the name of Rigby’s girlfriend again?”

“Eileen. I still don’t get how they got together. He sooooo does not deserve her. Anyways, Danny had to go for a group study, and Mummy is at work, so I needed someone to talk to. In person. Something’s been on my mind since yesterday.”

Bernard sat up. “I’m listening, Pheebs.”

Phoebe took a brief moment to sigh, then started.

“So Benny, you already know how things have been for me for a year now. I… am now a celebrity. So to speak. Hmm. I knew I always wanted to be a musician since I was a child, and looking up to the likes of Whitney and Mariah, I definitely would set my heights high. As I sit here right now, I still find it amazing how I met Mr. De-Graft. I mean, I don’t doubt for one moment that God set it up. He’s such a good man, and the way he helped my career take off is something I can’t forget anytime soon. It’s been amazing, Ben, I won’t lie about that. The album has been a success, people love it! I’m still surprised that it was accepted so quickly. Not forgetting the UK tour we ended just last month. I am absolutely grateful.

“The thing that’s been on my mind, though… the whole fame aspect has been… sobering, I should say?”

Bernard sat back. “Why do you say that?”

She leaned forward, propping her elbows upon her laps. “Benny, I kinda had this whole misconception about being famous and popular and all. I thought it was so satisfying to have many people know you, admire you, adore you and all that. I mean, we’ve been told that numbers aren’t that important, but I still thought having large number of followers on the social media thing would feel good. Over the past couple of months, though, I’ve seen that it really isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

“So my followers on Twitter went from 322 to about 450,000. I get a lot of retweets whenever I tweet something that comes to mind, and a lot of replies about how they love my music and all that. Taking selfies and giving out autographs… constant. If we stepped out right now, I’ll have to do at least one of these. I’m not complaining; I get that it’s part of the whole celebrity whatever, and I love my fans. I’m just coming to the realization that it’s hardly soul-satisfying.”

Bernard nodded. “I get it. Let it out, honey.”

She sighed again. “Bernard, all I thought was so untrue. It’s nice alright, but it’s not what I thought it would be. People know about me, but pretty much none of them actually know me. Like, the little facts. My likes, dislikes, those sort of things. It’s like I’m coming to the realization that being known on the surface hardly is enough. I was made to be known on an intimate level. Retweets and Facebook shares just won’t cut it.

“That said, though, I have had some peeps who’ve become more than just fans. Joy and Jazzy have become amazing friends, and I thank God for them. And it’s not like I’ve got anything against the fans who may just be in love with what I offer. I’m not mad at all… I just now realize that fame is not a satisfier. At all.”

“Those fan groups though. They’ve got the propensity to wanna know the real Phoebe,” Bernard joked.

“Oh yeah! The Stans!” Phoebe laughed. “I’m still kinda stunned that I have those on Twitter. Let’s see about them. I’m only a year in. I checked up on a lot of them on other musician’s accounts. Most of them ain’t playing! I wonder what name they’ll pick for themselves. Like how Justin Bieber’s got Beliebers or whatever…”

“Phoebers! Or Phoebolics!” Bernard exclaimed.

A look of horror came upon her face. “Oh no, bro! Those are terrible names!”

They both laughed for a while. Then Phoebe took his hand.

“They can pick whatever name they want. As long as it doesn’t suck! But you know something? What I’m starting to appreciate are the ones closest to me. Like my parents. They’ve been a solid support since ‘Plugged In’ was released. Constantly keeping me grounded throughout the tour and everything. And Danny’s been a great support too. And sooo… have you.”

She smiled as she looked him in the eye.

“Bernard, all I’ve been talking about is wonderful. The shows, tours, interviews and what not. But I won’t lie, time spent with you is so much sweeter. You are such a wonderful guy and I thank God for you every day. You’ve been a wonderful addition to my life. Do you know just how much I treasure that afternoon we spent on the mattress on the grass, just being together and watching the sunset? That was intimate. And I still treasure the memory of it.”

Bernard’s heart was warmed. He squeezed her hand. “I’m glad you feel that way, Phoebe. I just want to make you happy, because you mean so much to me. I’m proud of how well you do your thing when you’re in the studio or on stage, but more than that, I cherish the sweet, beautiful girl I know backstage. I love you, Phoebe.”

She put her head on his shoulder and threw her arms around his waist. “I love you too, Bernard. I love you too.”

They were silent for a moment, just basking in each other’s presence. Then she softly said, “Baby boo, could you do me a favour?”

“Talk to me, girl.”

“Well, it’s a tiny list. First off, please continue to pray that all this doesn’t get to my head, and that I’ll not compromise. You know how the pressure gets in showing skin, and I don’t like it. I already have guys sending me tweets and IG comments about how hot I am. Last thing I need is to get them drooling over me in pics looking scantily clad. Also, that this lesson won’t depart from my head. That I’ll always remember that all the fame and stuff is no substitute for the people I love.”

“No problem, baby girl. Rest assured, I’ll be on my knees for you,” Bernard said confidently.

“Thank you, boy. And one last thing. Please think of another name for the Stans, coz those ones you mentioned are disgusting!” She let go of him and stood up.

He burst into laughter as he looked up at her. “You know, though, the dudes aren’t exactly kidding. You are a knee-weakener, babe. An absolute stunner.”

She looked down at him with a glare. “Not amusing, boo. Not amusing.” She took her laptop and sat next to him.

“On a serious note, though, Pheebs. I’ll be here every step of the way. I’ve got always got your back. Stay assured of that.”

She gave him a deadpan look. “Whatever,” then kissed him on the cheek. “Let’s get back to Regular Show. Mummy will be home in about an hour. Starting a new season, and I’m wondering what’s gonna happen with Mordecai now that he and CJ are on a break.”

“What about that ghost dude and his girlfriend? Whatever happened with them?”

“Fives and Celia? Hmmm……. They never really showed what happened with them. I guess we’ll just have to find out…”

The Beautiful Picture

Here’s a poem I wrote yesterday. It’s actually a real thing that happened to me. A long time ago…

It was 1800 GMT, and the western horizon was a canvas of aesthetic perfection,
A sight that made the hairs on the back of my neck give a standing ovation for the Artist with the master brush strokes,
A starter, gearing me up for the beautiful picture that awaited me as I locked the car and walked towards the church building.
7 days away on a business trip, but thank God I was back.
I could not wait to see them. How I’d missed them!
I entered the church, and the first person I saw, was her.
The lady of my life.
And then I saw her too.
Our beautiful union’s firstfruits. Arrow number one in the quiver.
Standing right in front of her mother.
A portrait that portrayed the sweetest gift God could ever give me upon this earth.
A family of my own.
A shrill four year old voice was Beethoven to my ears as she rushed towards me with excitement,
A light I’d missed for a week shone upon my sight again as my lady smiled,
How I’d missed them!
I took up my little girl in my arms, and walked towards the one whose image she bore,
Heart pumping as I was still enraptured by the beautiful aura about her that made me notice her the first day we ever met.
After all these years, I still had weak knees whenever we got close.
Baby girl toyed with my wedding seal as I got a kiss from a rose.
“I’ve missed you.”
“I’ve missed even more, love.”
Left arm around her waist, eyes locked on hers in a loving gaze,
It was such a beautiful scene…
… And then I woke up.

No More

Selorm wiped her eyes one more time as she sniffed, somehow surprised that her tear glands could still work. These past two months had seen her shed tears on the daily, as she struggled to get over what had happened.

She was the first born of two children born to Benjamin Brese and Emefa Dogbey. Benjamin, after the birth of the second child, Mawuli, finally got what he had been fighting to get for a long time. An American visa. She had just turned three when he bid the family farewell, with passionate promises of how he would come back for them and how wonderful a life they would have in New York.

Promises that were yet to be fulfilled as she stood on the chair in her room. He had never gotten back in touch with them.

With time, their mother accepted the reality that the father of her two children had run out on them and took on the task of being a single mother. If there was anything Selorm and Mawuli would ever say with confidence, it was that their mother worked her head off. To her, rest was almost like a curse word. She refused to let off one minute for slacking; the future of her children was far too important to do that.

Her hardworking attitude was highly commendable, no doubt. But it came with the disadvantage of not spending as much intimate time with the children as she should have. She was out of the house by 6 am, and came back home around 10 pm, so the connection between them was not as strong as one would’ve expected.

And as Selorm and Mawuli grew up, disagreements were sure to be a part of their life, but they sometimes took the normal ‘sibling rivalry’ beef too far, with petty little disagreements often turning into huge fights. It was a miracle that the only time fists flew was one Friday evening, just as their mother walked in.

“SELORM! MAWULI! WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU TWO!” she bellowed in their local dialect. “DO YOU WANT TO KILL EACH OTHER??”

That night, a long stern discussion about respecting and loving each other followed, with Emefa making the two promise to settle differences amicably.

Six months later, Emefa spoke to Selorm, who was now 21, as they were standing outside their house. “Selorm, please, remember what I told you about dealing with your brother. You two are all you have. Excuse me to say, you can change friends easily. But you can never change your sibling. Never. At least, you two don’t fight as much. But please, don’t get nasty with him. You have quite a sharp temper. Keep it in check.” She rubbed her chest, muttering about it hurting as she entered the house.

It turned out that chest pain was a symptom of something very serious. The next morning, the two entered the room to find her unconscious. Rushing her to the hospital, the doctors delivered a nasty blow.

Emefa had suffered a heart attack early that morning and didn’t survive.

The two youngsters were devastated. They had grown indifferent to not having their father around, but losing their mother at this point in time was just too painful. For the next fortnight, the siblings were inconsolable, particularly Mawuli, who had shared one heck of a bond with her. As they were joined by one of their aunts in the home, who did a pretty satisfactory job stepping in for their departed mother, the pain slowly subsided, and it seemed like the contention that often rose between them had passed on along with her.

The way they had stuck together all throughout the period of their mother’s funeral seemed to suggest their fights were now six feet deep.

Within six months, however, Selorm’s self-centered attitude – which in reality was the major catalyst for many of their face-offs – began to show up once more, and Mawuli was not very enthused, as usual.

One Saturday morning, their aunt gave them a list of chores to do, then stepped out to do some shopping. As Mawuli mopped the veranda, he noticed that Selorm was not washing the cups, plates and cutlery like she was supposed to. He went to knock on her door, already guessing that she had gone back to her room. “Selorm, the things in the sink ooo!”

“Ohhhhh, ah! Don’t you think I already know? Leave me alone! I’ll go and wash them.”

Mawuli got irritated at her rude speech. He entered. “Selorm, I don’t like the way you responded. Ah, I was just reminding you…”

Five minutes later, and the tension between them was raised back to life as they shouted at each other and traded nasty insults at each other. Then things took a turn for the worse.

Mawuli, still in possession of the mop, raised it high and struck her on the arm. Incensed, she retaliated by grabbing a hairspray can and striking him twice on the forehead. Her counter seemed to do more damage, as both hits sent him tumbling to the ground, holding his forehead and grimacing in pain.

“Fool! How dare you hit me with that dirty mop! How stupid can you get, you useless good-for-nothing?”

Mawuli looked up as his sister, driven by a fit of fury, rained the nastiest of words upon him. At that point, he felt nothing but hate for his big sister. At that point, anywhere far from her would be heaven. He just wanted to get out of there.

“Selorm, I can’t stand you and your selfishness. You’re a terrible person, and I do not want to be anywhere near you. I hate you! I’m getting out of here!” With that, he sprung to his feet and stormed out of her room.

As she followed him, mocking him for running away, he took his money on the dining table and stormed through the front door. And as he went, Selorm yelled after him.

“YOU CAN DIE FOR ALL I FREAKING CARE!”

She slumped in one of the sofas nearby. What a stupid boy!

She remained there, still steaming for about an hour or two.

Then she heard her phone ring. She rushed to her room to answer the call. After hanging up, she noticed the screensaver.

It was her and Emefa.

She shook her head. “Oh Ma! Hmmm. If only you were here…”

Just then, a sharp flashback occurred. The last few words her mother had spoken to her.

You two are all you have…please, don’t get nasty with him…

An immediate twinge of guilt followed. Oh God! What have I done? She was right. I should’ve been more gentle with him. Oh God!

She quickly dialed his number.

Switched off.

She tried five more times. Same response.

Fine. I’ll wait for him to come home. Then I’ll apologize. I really have to watch myself now.

Midday came, and the aunt arrived from the market. No Mawuli.

Three o’ clock came, and still no Mawuli.

As she continued to try calling, her aunt, who was watching the TV, suddenly exclaimed, “Ei, Selorm, they say there’s been a terrible accident on the George Bush Motorway. A trotro colliding headfirst into a stationary truck. My goodness…… it seems there are no survivors ooo…”

Her heart skipped a beat.

About half an hour later, an unfamiliar number flashed on Selorm’s phone screen. She usually hated seeing ‘strange’ numbers call, but she answered. “Hello?”

“Um, hello, good evening, madam. Please, is this Selorm Brese?”

She got a little nervous. “Uh….y-y-yes?”

“Please, do you know any young man by name Mawuli Brese?”

The knots in her stomach grew tighter. She swallowed hard. A cold sweat broke out on her forehead. “Yes… h-h-h-h-he’s my y-y-younger brother.”

The male voice on the other side sighed reluctantly, as if he had no desire to say what he was about to say, yet had to say it. “I’m sorry, Ms. Brese, but it appears your brother was involved in a motor accident…”

+                                             +                                             +                                             +                                             +

Selorm shook her head as she placed the noose around her neck. The memories just would not go away. Emefa’s last words… their final fight… those terrible words she screamed at him before he left the house… the sight of his lifeless corpse in the 37 Military Hospital… they couldn’t stop reverberating around her cranium.

She closed her eyes as she felt the tough nature of the rope around her neck. Three months in, and she couldn’t be any lower than she already was. Nothing really mattered to her. Suddenly, she felt there was no reason to live. Pastors had spoken to her, family members and friends had done their best to console her, telling her to stay strong and not give up, but the guilt and grief had eaten away at her soul too deep. There was no fight left in her.

I’m sorry I disappointed you, Ma. And I’m sorry I insulted and cursed you so badly, Mawuli. I don’t wanna do this anymore. I’m calling it quits.

She hopped off the chair.

A guy with the gift of using words. Forever indebted to the One who gave him that gift.

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