Can We Just Live?

You know how I wrote this post of mums and boyfriends about two years ago and it was a joking sturvs and I thought we were really all just playing? Well! turns out the pressure is real! What! Look, if you’re not in your mid-twenties yet you had better join some of us search for the anti-aging serum oh. Let us just stop the hands of time together.

The pressure is real oh! Notice how I said that twice? Yes, that’s how real the pressure is. I would say it  100 times but I feel like you’re smart, you get it. This pressure is not the light one your mother gives you. Those my in-law bants that she throws in when she feels like you’re pouring too much milk into your coffee or even the jokes about what she’ll be giving out as party favors at your engagement. It is not even the little jokes when male friends come home. Like hehe hehe ‘is he the one?’ type questions.

No oh! This is strangers, who have absolutely no business telling you how to live your life telling you how to live your damn life! Can you tell I’m pained? Okay not really, I mean someone had to write this, I am not angry or anything. I am not even crying. These? These are not tears….It’s just a reaction to the onions my sister is cutting in the kitchen at home. I am not home you say? Is it your eyes? Can a girl not have allergic reaction again? My friend my friend allow me get back to the story.

Aha! So as I was saying.It’s even worse when you look younger than you actually are not that I’m complaining, everyone and their grandmother think it’s okay to give you advice.

“When you meet a man…”

“As for Ghanaian men…”

“As a woman…”

You. will. hear. this. at. every. turn. You cannot even breathe at this point for fear that some auntie will say “all this air you’re breathing you should have been breathing in your husband’s house”. At social events, when people ask what you do, you will now have to start calculating because “as a woman you must not let men know that you have accomplished xyz, let them get to know you and then you can start to reveal your accomplishments.”

“Men don’t like these things.”

“These things scare men.”

Deep down you’re thinking it cannot be true. That the men in your generation know better, that they too want a woman who can bring something to the table. You believe that those weak-livered men who are threatened by an accomplished woman do not exist in your generation. You’re happy in these beliefs, smirking secretly at the aunty who is busy spewing ‘nonsense’ at you in the name of wisdom. Until you meet that one guy, who is your age by the way and is very concerned that your plans do not have a man at the forefront. So…who will make sure the children have been bathed? Who will make sure that there is breakfast on the table when he’s leaving home and dinner is ready by the time he gets home? He’s a big man U no.

The worst part is, this is just the tip of the iceberg. This does not begin to cover the horrible amount of pressure girls go through because they have reached a certain age and nobody ‘put a ring on it’. This is not even their final form! This does not cover the expiry date jokes that they make for bants or the sermons you will hear that basically tell you “a woman may have a job, but her real place is in the kitchen”.

I said I am not crying!! These? They are not tears oh…something just fell in my eye.

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Somniloquy II

and III? 

When I put Somniloquy up, I promised a sequel. I also said there were many ways this could go and tomorrow at 10 am, I’m going to put up an alternate ending written by @OfficiallyKJR. I won’t spoil it for you, all I can say is the two pieces are very different. That being said, I hope this more than makes up for the two week wait 🙂

****************

One look at Bree’s face and Nathan knew he was screwed. Her lamp was on the floor, shattered, and rather than freak out like he thought she would she was glaring at him. Before he could ask what had happened, Bree was grabbing pillows and a duvet. For a second he thought she was going to smother him. She instead walked towards the door with them, presumably to spend the night in their guest room. Hopping out of bed, he walked toward her, intending to get some clue as to what had happened. Before he could get to her she was out the door and all he could do was watch the door slam in his face in her wake. Trust Bree to punish me for something I must have done in my sleep he thought, and got back under the covers with a groan. For a moment he contemplated going after her, to find out what had happened but his instincts told him it was a bad idea. When Bree was upset it was better to give her time on her own to calm down before making whatever case you had. From across the room he could virtually hear the wheels of her brain turning. Going over whatever heinous crime he must have committed in his sleep over and over. He tried to remember what he had been dreaming about before Bree startled him awake but nothing came to him.

An hour later as he fell asleep, he still had not figured out what he had done to upset Bree so much. He woke up just in time to catch her having a bowl of cereal before work. Today it was he who studied her as she ate, watching those gorgeous eyes that had called out to him from across the room that night a little over three years before. Abruptly she dropped her spoon and looked up at him, her look more sad than angry. This was not a good sign.

“Who is Megan?” she suddenly asked.

For a moment Nathan was stunned into silence, wondering how Bree had known about Megan and then his dreams from the night before came flooding in.

He groaned inwardly and trying his best to control his facial expression he responded “just a girl I work with, what’s going on Bree?”

“Just a girl you work with?” Bree asked, her words dripping with anger.

Anger was good, Nathan thought, anger he could work with.

“A girl you work with that you’re dreaming about and professing your love to?” she continued.

Nathan frantically thought of a response. He knew that a lot hinged on his next statement.

“Is that what this is all about?” He asked. “You’re punishing me for something I said in my sleep? Something I have no control over?”

Bree turned around from dumping the rest of her cereal into the bin to look at him.

“Do not make me out to be crazy Nathan” she said, putting her bowl in the sink. “Obviously you must have been thinking about her to dream about her two nights in a row. I think I’m entitled to know what’s going on. Are you having an affair? Is that it? When were you going to tell me? Are you leaving me for her? Because I would really rather just know now. I would rather not find out a year from now that I’ve been wasting all this time. That my mother was right, that I should never have moved in with you. I would rather know now” she continued.

“Hey hey hey” Nathan said, cutting across the room to her. “Who said anything about anyone leaving? Are you having second thoughts about living together? Why haven’t you told me?” he asked, holding her arm.

“Stop changing the subject” Bree said, wrenching her arm away. “Who is Megan?”

“I told you, a girl I work with” Nathan replied.

“I’ve got to get to work” Bree said, storming out.

Nathan watched her go and then made himself some cereal. Miserably he finished his cereal, thoughts on the source of his misery, Megan. Being an expatriate, he hadn’t felt very welcome by any of the staff when he first started work at their telecommunications company. The company had by then just been sold to a huge multinational where he had been the number two guy. Taking this job had been his opportunity to move to the top. None of the staff except Megan had initially liked him very much, especially as he had to make the tough decision of axing staff that had been there in name only and contributed nothing of import to the company. Megan had been the only one in those first few days that spoke a word to him, the rest of the staff were cold, even if they were respectful, in their interactions with him. Soon he was eating lunch in the staff cafeteria with her, and even when the rest of the staff warmed up to him, lunch was their time together, where he could forget he was the boss and have a relaxed conversation. The more he spent time with her, the more he started to notice all that was lovely about her, although to be honest with himself he hadn’t thought he had feelings for her until the dreams started.

As he drove to work he thought of the mess he had found himself in and for the first time ever found himself dreading lunchtime with Megan. She knew him so well she would pick up that something was wrong right away but at the same time he couldn’t not have lunch with her. Save the one or two times he had been away on business trips, they had never had lunch without each other. In an office like theirs where everyone seemed to live for scandal, they would probably be the subjects of all kinds of speculation, making things worse.

Turning on his work PC, Bree’s face was the first thing that he saw. It had been ages since he even noticed her picture that he had used as his home screen, often distracted by all the emails he needed to answer before going on to the day’s business. Now with the risk of losing everything looming, he was reminded again of that night when they first met, her eyes seeming to hold him captive. The month long chase, the initial dates, and the decision to ask her to move in. Lost in this reverie, he didn’t hear Megan coming in until she playfully cleared her throat.

His heart skipped a beat when he looked up and saw her, memories of his dreams and the subsequent argument flooding his brain. She shut his door, looking excited.

“I know I should probably have waited till lunch time but I can’t make it today.” she said, sitting in the couch he kept in the corner of his office for visitors. “Remember that guy I was telling you about last week?”

‘The one who wouldn’t commit?’ Nathan was tempted to ask, remembering what Megan had told him the week before about the guy’s penchant for mind games but he kept quiet.

“He’s taking me for lunch at the really fancy restaurant just round the bend from here” Megan continued, beaming as she spoke. “Anyway, thought I should mention it because I’ll technically be missing our lunch date for the first time ever and I may be a little late back.”

Nathan forced himself to smile, in spite of the fact that his mind was all over the place, trying to think of a way he could tell her not to go without giving away his thoughts on the matter. He could pull the boss card, but he thought that would strain their friendship, and now was really not the time. From Megan’s previous accounts, this guy was really a douche, and he didn’t think he was good enough for Megan. His thoughts were interrupted when she said “earth to Nathan, what’s going on with you today?”

“Probably the fact that you’re ditching me for lunch with some guy but I’ll survive” he said. “Now go, some of us have work to do.”

When Megan finally left his office, Nathan tried to go back to work but his thoughts kept veering off on different tangents. One minute he was relieved he didn’t have to come up with an excuse for lunch, the next minute he was angry at Megan for letting this douche treat her like this. Other times he thought about Bree, not quite sure what all these feelings meant for the two of them. By lunch time he had worked himself up to a mixture of emotions he couldn’t quite place and without giving it much thought jumped into his car, intending to go crash the lunch date and check out this guy Megan was drooling over.

****************

“Have you got a reservation sir?” the woman asked him, but he was lost in watching Megan and her douche at a window table, laughing their heads off at some joke the guy had probably told her. Suddenly he flashed back to the night he met Bree. Granted, it wasn’t the same restaurant but it was her laugh that made him glance at the table where she had sat with her girls who were clearly drunk, initially irritated by how loud they were being until her eyes caught his, and he felt them pull him in. In that moment he didn’t know where things would lead, but he knew he had to get to know her and he had stopped at nothing until she agreed to that first date. Now he might have screwed it all up.

Nathan felt a tap on his shoulder and jumped, having momentarily forgotten where he was.

“I asked if you have a reservation sir?” the woman said.

“Forget it”, was all Nathan said before he rushed out to his car.

*********

“Is he in a meeting?” Bree asked Nathan’s personal assistant. “I just want to pop in for a quick minute.”

“Sorry Bree, he’s gone to lunch” Nathan’s P.A responded. “Would you like me to call him?”

“I see. No need, I just thought I’d pop by and say hi. Is Megan in?” Bree asked.

The uncomfortable look on the girl’s face before she said no told Bree all she needed to know. Keeping her cool, she thanked the girl and left, calling her office to take the rest of the day off. She needed to think, and her office was not the most conducive place for thinking.

**********

“What do you mean she’s not at work today? I know she came to work”, Nathan argued over the phone with the receptionist at Bree’s firm. He was quiet for a minute as he listened to her and then with an abrupt goodbye, hung up. He’d have to make it up to her later but right now he didn’t exactly have the luxury of time. Bree was a creature of habit and if he knew her at all, he couldn’t go back to the office like he originally planned.

***********

Bree swung in the hammock and flashed a perfunctory smile at the approaching waiter, expecting him to pass by her. She sat up when he stopped at her side, intending to set the cocktail down.

“I didn’t order that” she said.

“But that gentleman did” he replied, pointing his chin in the direction of said gentleman and setting the drink down.

Bree looked and saw Nathan on the other side of the room, fast approaching her. For once she wished she wasn’t so predictable.

“You found me” she said, stating the obvious.

“I did” Nathan replied. “Look Bree”, he begun, just as she said “I don’t think this is a good idea.”

“Just hear me out” Nathan said, joining her on the hammock. “I’m sorry. I messed up. I let myself get caught up and I didn’t even realize what was happening. Not that anything happened” he was quick to add. “But I shouldn’t have gotten that close.”

“You shouldn’t have” was all Bree said.

“I know and I’m sorry” he said. “It was just….she was the only one that would speak to me when I first started working there. Not that it excuses anything. Nothing ever happened.”

“So now what?” Bree asked.

“Now this” Nathan said, sliding out of the hammock and getting on one knee. As if on cue, Bree’s favorite song started to play in the background and for a moment she was distracted from what was happening, caught in the song. She spotted the ring in Nathan’s hand and snapped back to reality. The diamond was huge. It was like everything she had ever dreamed of. Then she remembered why they were there in the first place.

“Is this because you feel guilty about what happened? I don’t want a ring if it’s just a guilt offering. Clearly you have feelings for her, they’re not just going to disappear because you gave me a ring.” She said with a frown.

Nathan shook his head. “I have feelings for you. I’m sorry it took me so long to realize but I want to do this forever.

“And Megan?” Bree asked.

“There’s no Megan” Nathan said, “It’s you, it’s always been you. I don’t know what to say but nothing ever happened with her. I probably let myself get a little closer to her than I should have but it doesn’t change how I feel about you. I love you Bree, please marry me.”

Bree looked at him for a long moment, before saying “good thing you’re sticking around, there’s someone you need to meet. I’m pregnant” she said with a grin, raising his hand to her stomach.

***************

I Hope you enjoyed this! If you’re curious by nature like me, please come back tomorrow for the alternate ending! 🙂

Smile

You’re sitting at a window seat in the new coffee shop down the road. It was a good decision to come here after all; you think. It’s very quiet for a Saturday.  You turn away from the window to look around the room, glad for the unexpected solitude the lack of clientele gives you.
You look back outside and see what seems like the umpteenth couple to pass by in the 30 minutes you’ve been sitting there. They walk past hand in hand. She’s smiling. It’s such a broad smile. A real expression of happiness.
Suddenly it doesn’t seem like such a good idea to be sitting at the window.
You were happy once before.

Now your days are spent marking the hours till the day is over. You haven’t smiled in ages, sometimes you wonder if your mouth still remembers how.

Your mind drifts back to the last time. You turn your head a fraction to the left, not wanting to but unable to stop yourself from looking over at the spot where your life changed.

You can almost see yourself sitting at that table, laughing, happy. Digging into the chicken pasta Alfredo that was your usual fare whenever you came there.

Back when the coffee shop was an Italian restaurant of course.

Your favorite place to eat, the both of you.

You try to tear your eyes away, but it’s too late now.

The sequence plays out, almost like a movie.

One minute you’re laughing at some joke he’s told. You’re thinking about how good the pasta tastes, better than it’s been all week.

You look up and he’s slumped on the table.

“Get up,” you say, thinking it’s some macabre joke.

You wish it had been a joke.

Everything between then and the hospital is a blur. You can’t remember how the blanket you eventually found around your shoulders got there; or even how you got to the hospital. There’s a girl next to you, wearing the restaurant’s waitress uniform. You didn’t notice her before.

You can remember the pain though. The gut-wrenching pain. The pain that comes when the doctor comes to find you in the waiting room, somber.

You remember wondering whether it’s one of the things they get taught in school. The bad news look. The look that says it’s all gone to hell.

In your mind, you’re silently screaming.

You almost don’t hear him when he says “I’m afraid we lost him”.

You tuned him out after the first “I’m sorry”.

Those words jolt you back to reality.

They ask if there’s anyone you can call to be with you.

You take out your phone in a daze. Press 1 on your speed dial and it starts to ring. Your purse vibrates. Of course, you’ve got his phone. You must have grabbed it on your way to the hospital. That’s when it hits you. He’s never going to answer when you call. He’s gone, left you behind.

A ruptured aneurysm, the doctor says. You don’t know what that is. They’re hard to catch the doctor says. But you hardly hear him. You’re trying to remember the last thing you told him. You wish you could remember, but you can’t. You can’t even remember what the joke was. You can remember how good the pasta was, but you can’t remember his words. You start to laugh, you laugh so hard your shoulders are shaking. The doctor looks at you, alarmed. He can’t get away fast enough.

The sound of the door chime brings you back to the present.

You look up to see a large group trooping in. You sigh, your solitude is over.

You resign yourself to the thought of going back to your apartment, where your mother is waiting.

You came to the coffee shop to be away from her. You’re tired of having to explain that grieving your dead fiance a year later is only natural. Your mother’s extended visit which was a blessing in the beginning, when remembering to do normal things like eat was a hassle, has now become a pain. Still, you’re grateful. You at least had her to lean on in the worst of it. You pick up your cup of coffee with a sigh, intending to gulp it down and leave before the group settles in and the chatter becomes unbearable.

You look up and lock eyes with one of them, a guy.

He’s looking at you so intently, and he breaks into a smile.

Before you know it, your lips are moving.

Your mouth remembers after all, you smile.

You take a sip of your coffee and set your cup down.

Maybe you’ll stay a while.A_time_for_a_cup_of_coffee

of moms and boyfriends

Of mums and boyfriends….and why single girls over 21 should join the kpa kpa kpa movement.

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Rather than write the paper which is due in 2 days that I’m nowhere near through with, I decided to write this post which I promised on twitter on the 29th of November. Why? Well inspiration for me to write is often hard to come by although when I do I enjoy it tremendously. I often find myself writing elaborate stories in my head and never actually putting them down on paper.

Anyways, in this coming month – being my birth month and all- (yes, I turn 21 again!) I will be putting out more than my usual 1 post every 3 or so months. Which means I will post no less than 3 posts this month. I know people tend to do the whole 1 post a day thing and I would have loved to. However, I know myself, and I know how laziness aka writer’s block can catch me for long stretches of time. Which is why in order not set you (my lovely readers) up for disappointment I am making the modest estimate of 3. If it is more, glory hallelujah. If not, well I only promised 3… 😀

On to today’s post!

Before I go into all of that though, I just thought I should mention this. Just so you know, there is no grand sale of guys where I can just look through a great selection of boys at a discount and pick the one I fancy, with the option of returning him to the store within 30 days if I find he’s not to my satisfaction. Believe me I would know. So to all my loving friends out there, there’s no one. I’ll tell you when there is.

You know how they tell you when you are growing up all the pressure that comes with growing up? Well they weren’t lying. In the past few months, conversations with my friends back home have been nothing short of hilarious with all the mounting pressure for them to ‘produce’ a boyfriend. Not like they have a gun to their head……yet…but I believe it’s getting there.

Thankfully I have the greatest-mum-ever™ who will never give me pressure be it direct or indirect (yes this is a directed message to my mum who’s going to read this at some point) but some of my friends have already started to feel the heat.

Imagine my friend’s surprise when she told her mum she was going for a wedding and her mum’s response was “you’re always going for weddings when will you do yours?” You see what had happened was…she doesn’t even have a boyfriend!! Oh and best part is the question was NOT rhetorical, she had to give an estimate.

Another friend got sent the picture of a huge cooker. When she ventured to mention how huge the cooker was, the straight faced reply was “yes, big enough to cook for my in-laws and grandchildren”. In-laws and grandchildren who are merely theoretical at this point because my friend really does not have a boyfriend at this point.

Did I mention that there are boxes full of magic mugs in my garage? Imported by my mom (who I love with all my heart)? And did I also mention that the mugs are apparently for my engagement and my sisters’ engagements regardless of the fact that none of us at this point have a boyfriend (unless my sisters do and I don’t know)? Let’s just say my mum could probably host an engagement party for any of us tomorrow if we told her about it tonight.

Also, a friend of mine recently came into possession of a book titled “How to prepare for the wedding”, kindly gifted to her by her mother. I would think step 1 would be to find the groom and then buy the book but what do I know?

These are merely a handful of the things that are going on behind the scenes in the homes of those single girls that have turned 21 a few too many times. Weirdly though, the pressure doesn’t only come from the mums. If I were prone to feeling pressured, all the times my friends have asked me if I’ve found someone yet in the two short months I’ve been here would surely have done me in by now.

In closing, I would like to leave you with this totally random but hilarious conversation.

 

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A.T.N.A = All Talk No Action

PS: Apart from the magic mugs scenario, one other is mine but I won’t say which. Take a shot at guessing why don’t you? Oh and if I’ve told you this story before you’re out of the race please, no telling!

Have a great month everyone!