By Sunday, your pastor would announce the theme of the month. August is the month of….dash, dash, dash; and even though you are mentally alive and robustly intelligent, too intelligent and widely read to believe every word from the lush rhetorics of the preacher man, against your judgement, you would believe and you would hug your neighbour, the old woman seated beside you and say, Happy new month, and to the teenage boy by the other side you’d say, Welcome to the new month….Welcome.
But no matter what the theme of the month would be, You would still be awkward, your smile, still crooked and your nose would still flare up when you laugh. Your laughter would still remain big and loud and untamed. You would always stutter when you speak of things you are ardent and impassioned about. Your gait, forever shy.
Some things do not wash away with time. Twenty six years and four months old and you still talk in your sleep. Still made of softness and tender kindness. Your words are still gentle, even though you told him off mercilessly last week, the time he made a joke too crass and insensitive.
By this time last year, you had racking cough that made people around you shift uncomfortably and they asked, what drug are you taking? and some offered bitter kola, some offered honey and some offered “sorry” muttered under their breath and you tried hard not to cough often even though you felt it tickling and crawling in your throat. This time let year, you had resumed at your new place of work and you wore your makeup too loud like an armoury, daring their puritanism.
Now it’s the eight month again and many things have occurred. You have met people, some whom you have made a playhouse out of, an amusement park you come to frolic in. You summon them when your body could use a good laugh because the drudgery of work has made days and weeks go by with your face wound tight like a clock. But you are too wise to make a home out of these people. Only mad people and beggars and stranded people live in amusement parks. When night falls, you leave them and wander homewards.
You have met those who made a home out of you and it is a feeling you are yet to comprehend. The responsibility to shelter another’s feeling is as strange to you as calculus. Is it not you that your mother was sceptical about giving precious jewelries to, or assigning very serious errands? For the jewelries, you would always give them away and for the errands you were so, so forgetful. How dare someone make an abiding place out of someone so flighty? How dare them?
And you yourself learn never make homes out of people. They are too dynamic, too shifty to make a static, steady place out of. This is your home, this body that God made with sharp, yet tender curves, like he was a child by the sea shore, playing with clay. This your body your parents made on an August evening in 1989, with Don Williams singing, “I’d be faithful to you” in the background. This is where you return after you have wandered in and out of places and people. For you are all you have when the world hurts you, when there is no one to baby you.
It is the eighth month and you are full of wishes. You are soft and your heart brims over with compassion. You wish you left more than you stayed. You wish you did not play the kindness card when you ought to have been firmer.
It is the eighth month and your tongue has perfected the act of enchanting people with words. The other day you said to him, If someone would love me half the way I love you, I would be so wealthy. What can you not do with this type of ?
You are not made of tough stuff. Come to terms with that. You were made with the rhythms of country music. And it is time to find a tongue that is kind and tender amidst a world rough and brutish. Hands that would hold you and not snap. Shoulders that do not thaw to coldness.
It is the eight month. There is still so much you can do before the harmattan breeze of December begins to blow. There is hope for you amid this Buharinomics.
This is August. Welcome.