The Monochrome Man

“I regard black and white as the lords of colours, they were here first. There was black, and then He said; “Let there be white“…”- Realwan Olanrewaju. From this part of the world, following your dreams might look like a very dumb thing to do, because we were mostly raised to understand that we needed to go to school, get good jobs and make money to earn a living, your dreams do not come into play at any point. But, at some point in our lives we realise we have something, a kind of fire burns within us and we feel the need to let what we have inside play out its purpose, so we can become extraordinary. For some, it makes them immortal, for others its just another silly mistake! Most people just kill that fire…

I met Realwan in 2016, through a friend Jerry in school (Federal University of Technology, Minna). Jerry and I were rounding up in school while Realwan was serving in Osun state or he was done and was working there, not exactly sure. All I knew about him on our first meeting, was that he read computer science, and he was into photography. I did a photoshoot with him shortly after, along with a friend of mine and it was off the hook. He specifically requested that it be a Village setting. We had to search through the interiors of an area they call New York, opposite our school’s Mini Campus till we found what we were looking for. From that, I gathered that he had something for the African roots!

Fast forward to last week when he called me and said he would be coming to Osogbo on Friday, 6th of April. Oh I forgot to mention, I now serve in Osun state too! I was happy and expecting to see him; Hanging out with an old friend would gimme a relief in this boring town anyways. I didn’t ask what he was coming to town for, I just figured he had old friends or clients he wanted to see, or something like that. Not until he came into town and I started seeing adverts of the launching of a new arts gallery in Osogbo, with Realwan as one of the artists exhibiting their works. I realised, my friend wasn’t just a photographer, he was also an artist, and many other things I might not even know yet!

I figured it was time to showcase my talent as an Ebira version of Owambe woman! Lol… There was a dress I just made and hadn’t launched yet, plus I was yet to showcase my talent as an upcoming make up artist, and gosh it had been a while since I actually dressed up like a model I used to be!

Saturday morning I got ready, slowly… I took my time just to make sure I looked exactly how I wanted to, my mission was to let them know that Realwan had People in this town, and I was representing a large number of them, the whole of FutMinna Alumni to be precise. When I got to the venue, they had already started, nice. The idea was to arrive late, as you all know na, Queen of the par-tay! Anyway I found my way to the front so I could witness everything first hand! Kings were present, cultural dancers, it was elite! The time came for the official launching and we all went in to see all the paintings, they were all amazing, but one thing was different; Every monochrome painting there, showed the depth of different Nigerian cultures or history, and those paintings belonged to my friend Realwan. You could see the uniqueness his works had, and in truth, back in the days, there were no colours, all we had was black and white and Realwan knew just how to mix them up to show how rich the Nigerian culture is.

This one below is the Ooni of Ife

Below is the Eyo

Below is an Edo Chief

The next one shows the a Hausa man playing their popular musical instrument

Below is Olori with the famous Yoruba hairstyle that we now refer to as Bantu Knots

Below is a painting of another Yoruba woman with the the hairstyle Shuku

These are just some of the pictures of Realwan’s paintings, you would have yo come to the Art gallery yourself to either see the rest or purchase any one you like. Trust me, visiting the Art Gallery will be worth it…

The Push

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I recently took down all my instagram posts, I felt my page had no specific purpose or message; hence, it was constituting a nuisance.

From my perspective though.
There comes a point in your life when you sit down, think and ask yourself; “what do I really want to do?” “What do I stand for?” “When I look at myself, in the mirror who do I see?” ”What do I want people to see when they look at me?”… When such questions loom before you, what are your answers? Are your answers firm? Do you have a definite path? How far have you gone?
Sometimes we believe showing everyone love and making them feel welcome in our lives regardless of the past, and making peace with the present is the best thing to do. On the contrary, it makes them believe that you are at that same point they left you, especially when you discuss old things with them, things that you were once comfortable with. But that is a big mistake, as we grow, we should let it show, right? That way, even though there are old people back in our lives they will have a level of respect for us.
Now at this point, I have come far, so far that I’m ready to take on anything life brings. Being a graduate is one thing, being a graduate with a skill is another thing, but being a graduate with a skill and a talent is mind-blowing. I believe I am well equipped to be wherever I want to be. I don’t know why it took me this long to realize that I was ready. Maybe I needed a push, or maybe I needed to be faced with a big challenge that would make me realize that I have so many abilities than I’m letting myself believe. Maybe that is the push! Whichever way, I am ready to take on life’s challenges; no matter how big it is because I am certain that God is ready for me!

My Love Story…

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We all have this untold story hidden somewhere… Out of reach… Sometimes, forgotten! After so many experiences related to love and relationships, I have decided to share this… My love story… Here goes…

 

Let’s go back to the year 2005, where I held my WAEC and NECO results in my hand, shaking in front of my dad; I had failed chemistry in both and I didn’t know what was going to happen to me. Lol. My dad is a retired Army officer, makes decisions like a jagaban! Lol. His next words were cold but fair; “You will repeat SS3, there’s a school across the road, I will register you there so you can get home in time to study everyday.” And so that was the final decision o, only I had to resume in second term because the school fees na die, but that wasn’t an excuse because one; I was repeating and two; some days after that day I offended o, and my dad told me that if I didn’t make all my papers this time, he would marry me out! Lol! I was 16!!! Thinking about it now I know it was just an empty threat, my dad wouldn’t do that to me, but back then, mehn, I sit up ooo!

So I resumed at this school and the first few weeks were one kind… I felt out of place, something kept telling me; “Abeg you don’t belong here, you’ve finished secondary school na, kai, these people are your juniors!” But truth be told,I was small, in size, mind and even age. A couple of the students in my class were older than I was, so who was I deceiving? I decided to let myself blend in…

I had three female friends, they lived three streets away from me so…

So on this faithful day, I was handed agric science test scripts to share by our class teacher, so I started calling out names and handing over scripts to their owners. I shared everything except one; the owner wasn’t in class at the time. So I sat down to read the content; apart from the fact that the owner seemed to be writing as if he was scared of holding the pen too tight, I loved the way he answered the questions. I took note of one word he used; “Predispose”… I think the answer was talking about livestock and diseases, I can’t remember but I wrote the word down, hoping to look up the meaning later. Several minutes later, he came to me; ” Victoria said you shared the scripts, is mine with you?” While he talked I noticed he had a broken tooth in front, I nodded and handed it to him, he smiled as he collected it, and I thought his smile was cute.

From there o, we became friends, we would sit down and gist, laugh and sometimes, read together. Reading became fun, chemistry became interesting self. Like seriously, it was either chemistry or marriage na, so it had to be! Come and see me in chemistry class, especially practicals! I would just be answering questions; “DENSE WHITE LIQUID!” “PUNGENT SMELL!” “TURNS BLUE LITMUS PAPER RED!” Even further maths that I hated like mad, I was competing with one other guy like that; Kolade, also new then… Where is Kolade self….?
Anyways back to my story….

So after like a month, I was at home one evening, preparing dinner when my neighbour came in, she was more like a younger sister, also a junior at school, she came to the kitchen and told me she had a message for me. Message? From who? She said her class mate who also stays in the hostel told her that Senior Ehis said to give me. Okay oo! I collected the paper, Lo and Behold it was a love letter o, my very first love letter! That’s how tomato tin cut my finger as if no ooo we were fighting before! I still have that scar o, like its going to be there till God asks me what happened to the perfect skin I gave to you? Lol! I didn’t want to read the letter in the kitchen so I folded it, and went to drop it in my school bag, then I treated my hand and went back to the kitchen.

I later settled down to read it and it was the most amazing words I had read… And in the end, he wrote the last lines of Daniel Bedingfield’s song; “If you’re not the one.” You know that line na;

” ‘Cause I miss you, body and soul so strong that it takes my breath away. And I breathe you into my heart and pray for the strength to stand today ‘Cause I love you, whether it’s wrong or right, And though I can’t be with you tonight, You know my heart is by your side..”

I was blown away! Lol. Believe it or not that’s how our friendship scattered o. Lmao! Since that day me and Ehis could not stand and talk again, or even sit together self. We were SHY! We stuck to letters instead, it’s in letter we’ll say; “I saw you in school today! You didn’t even say hi to me…” Kai! At some point we had to get it together and just talk, we didn’t talk much face to face anymore but we talked. Most times all we did was smile at each other and wave, our waving self, sometimes it was like we were waving at the ground! It was during WAEC we actually started talking almost like before again, maybe because the end of school was near. I remember then I was always reading, I used to read so much that I wouldn’t have time to go make my hair, so I would just pack it into a bun and go to school, and my hair was long, so some of the girls love to comb it out and play with it at school. I became a book worm that year sha…

The last time I saw Ehis was on our graduation day, I think I came out as the best student and he came to say congrats, it was brief, and he disappeared, I looked for him everywhere but he had left, I guess he had to leave on time; his house was quite far…
After school we kept it going, strictly calls and texts. After a few years we lost contact, I couldn’t reach him anymore, I was in school, he was in school, we used to talk through his mum’s or dad’s phone so….

I think in 2009 I found his brother on Facebook, asked him for his brothers number and then we started talking again, then I made him join Facebook. Now at this point we both were having our share of youthful exuberance, and to my surprise, Ehis was an all round explorer while I was still so naïve… He even started writing songs at a point. Lol. Wrote some lines for me back then.

After a while we got back to our lives again, then in 2014, we started talking again. We actually planned to hang out but things didn’t go as planned so we had to cancel. Then on and off we continued talking, years passed, we kept growing up till date…

Now the thing is, I have fallen in love a couple of times, but these days, love comes with expectations abeg! And its so overwhelming at times that we just want to leave it all behind and run away…

But that time, that one time, love was free of charge, love was giving, love was true, love was pure and untouched, love was shy, love was sweet, love was thrilling, and even though we didn’t really know if it was love we felt back then, the truth is that’s what has kept us as friends till date, even if we haven’t seen each other for 12years!
Now I’m just thinking of how we used to share gala, how I used to sit and gist with him till he was ready to break his fast at 3pm and then we would go buy snacks together, I would watch him put his palms together, close his eyes and pray then cut half of his gala and drink half of his coke! Lol.

We were kids, but till tomorrow, I cherish those times o! My first love…

This is my own version o, and I wrote it after I received his version from him, anyway, my hand is paining me, I’ll post his own another day. Thanks for your cooperation!

PTSD

Walking down the road I think about all that has happened to me, I keep wondering when all this would end. I’d had to move out of my former crib because I couldn’t afford the rent anymore, and more so, everyone I knew was acting weird around me, saying I needed to see a doctor, I was acting all strange and shit! I stop for a brief moment to stare at some children jumping around happily down the other street, I smile ironically; life is a bitch anyways, one minute you’re up and the next you’re struggling to be on your feet. A chilly air slices through my hair, I pull on my hood, shove my hands in my pockets and walk on, kicking a small stone along the way. My stomach rumbles, damn I am hungry! I pull out a naira note from my pocket, its a hundred, lucky me, must’ve been the left over from the money some nice man gave me some days ago… Great! I have been subjected to alms too. I get to the bend, ahhh nice… “Buns!” I call out; “Bunsss! Ah! If you dey sell market you no go put ear down?” The guy turns around and walks towards me, drops the mini showglass and opens it; “How much own you want?” I look down at him, his face all sweaty and blackened from the heat of the scotching sun, his forehead had thick, deep undulating lines that looked like those from the bars of a WiFi network. Anyhow, in a corner of my mind, I wish I could trade places with him, at least he had a source of income; “Gimme fifty naira own, abeg look for soft one o!” He obliges, I pay him, get my balance and walk past him, digging into my brunch. I sit on a bench outside a locked up shop nearby, finish up my snack and mope for a while and then I lie down and dose off.
I wake up on the side of the road, all tied up, quite a number of people staring down at me. They start mumbling as I blink, stuffs I cant make out; “Whats going on?” I ask; “Why am I tied up?

They exchange curious looks for some seconds and mumble some more;

Can someone explain to me what I have done to deserve this? Or better still untie me? What’s all this nonsense about?” I raise my voice as I get impatient. A car parks beside the scene and a young man alights and walks towards us;

Whats going on here?” he demands as he reaches us.

Who be you?” An old man in the crowd retorts.

Sir, my name is Doctor David Ike, I was driving by and saw the crowd and thought to stop and see if its something I can help with.”

The old man pushes through the crowd and walks towards him, leaning heavily on his walking stick.

Na this girl wey we see just dey do somehow this afternoon, small time she enter road just dey talk dey shout like say she dey follow person fight, na me tell boys for area make them go catch am come before she go enter market, because that one na final!” he explains.

What? What did he just say? Thats not true!” I explain; “Last I remember was trying to take a short nap on a bench in front of a shop! How can you say that? Do I look or sound like a mad person to you?

“Na by that one?” a lady shouts from the crowd; “them no dey write madness for face o! na small small e dey start!”

I close my eyes so tight I could feel my eye balls bulging from the back of my lids, hot tears run down my face, God, what is happening to me? The young man speaks up; “If you all would allow me, I would like to take her to my hospital to run a few checkups and know what to do next.”

The old man assesses him for a while before answering; “Na which kind doctor you be self?” he asks.

The young man smiles as he draws out his card from his jacket; “I’m a psychiatrist.” He replies.

Backslash!” the old man calls out;

Sir!” A boy answers and walks forward, he appears to be a teenager. The old man collects the card and hands it to the boy; “Na wetin dey this card my pikin? tell me.

The boy reads through and hands it back to the old man; “Na doctor wey dey treat mad people him be papa!” he replies.

The old man collects the card; “Okay. You fit carry her go, but me go keep this one with me incase anything happen, we go know where to come find you, abi how you see am?”

The young man smiles again; “Oh thats okay sir, no problem at all.” He gestures towards the boys; “Please help me untie her, thank you.”

I watch with wet eyes as they untie me; “Thank you, thank you.” I keep saying with a shaky voice, I get up and walk with Doctor David, once inside the car, I burst into tears, harsh racking sobs, he gets in behind the wheels, hands me a handkerchief and starts driving while I just cry.

Wow! This hospital is mighty. Under different circumstances, I would love to apply here. We walk past the reception as nurses greet; Good afternoon sir! Good afternoon sir! then look at me strangely, I pull on my hood and shove my hands in my pockets again and look straight ahead; what an irony indeed! I used to work in a hospital some time ago! Finally, we get to his office, he gestures to a chair and I pull it out and sit; “Thank you sir.” I mutter, I try to straighten my clothes and dust them, then re-straighten them again, anything to occupy my idle hands.

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“So, what can I call you miss?” his question jolts me out of my meaningless chore;

“Errr, my name is Simi.” I answer as I look up at him slowly.

He smiles once our eyes meet; “Okay miss Simi, tell me about yourself.”

I pause a little and then I start talking, I tell him everything, from my first job to the flight and to the point he saw me all tied up. He takes down notes as I talk, when I’m done, he looks up at me for a while, the he asks; “Earlier today, before you woke up where I met you, can you remember hearing voices? Anything like that at all?”

There’s a pang of pain in my head as the question hits me, but I show no sign of feeling it; “Yes I did, I heard voices, I’ve been hearing voices for a while now, but I always think they’re all dreams.”

He nods as he takes down notes; “I’m going to keep you hear for a while miss Simi, do you have any family you would like to contact?” I shake my head slowly; “Okay, come with me then.” He gets up and gestures for me to follow, I get up and walk with him. We go up the stairs and into an empty room, theres a bed in one corner, cameras around, a window on one end and all other stuffs that I take in in one glance. “Make yourself comfortable please, I’ll be back shortly, I need to make my rounds, I hope you understand.”

I nod as he explains; “Of course, take your time.” He walks out and shuts the door.

I walk to the bed and lie down, I feel my muscles relax as I close my eyes and breathe slowly, eventually, I’ll be fine, I have to be fine! I try to encourage myself. “Really?” I jerk up and open my eyes, breathing heavily, I look around, I could’ve sworn I heard someone speak. Anyway, there’s no one here with me, and this is a really safe place, I think I should take a good nap now, oh my, I really need it after all that went down earlier.
“You’re so pathetic Simi!” I stir in my sleep; “No I’m not.”

“Ha really? And who are you to judge? Look at you, just think dear, you had a life, at least for a while, now what do you do? You shouldve died in that flight!”

I stir again; “Noooooo…” I mumble; “Go awaayyyy.” I sit up on the bed.

” You really think anybody wants to help you? No one will help you! Your landlord and the people who knew you, what did they do to help you? Nothing. Yes! Absolutely nothing! And this man, who claims to be a doctor, after hearing your story, instead of helping you with a job, he put you in a ward! Every one treats you like a mad person! Nobody understands you like I do! Don’t you see?”

My head seems to be floating now; “But who are you?” I ask dreamily.

There’s no need for that now, the most important thing is that I have a great plan, you need to get out of here and go to a place where nobody knows you and start your life afresh!”

I look around the room; “Great, it’s not like I can leave here without anyone noticing!”

Trust me, I have it all planned out, just walk to that window, and jump down, dont be scared, you’ll be safe, just do as I say and we’ll continue from there. Hurry before someone comes up!”

I get up and stagger to the window, get on the seal and look down, fear grips me and I hesitate;

Trust me, I gat this, I gat you.”

I close my eyes and lean forward, as my feet get ready to leave the seal, strong hands grab me from behind and in a split second I find myself looking into Doctor David’s eyes, and then I pass out.

Raw Pain


I pulled up in front of the asylum, got out of the car and took a deep breath, wanting to feel and inhale the cool breeze but all I got was… Brains. I don’t know if it was for real or just my imaginations. But nontheless, I walked in, climbed up the stairs to fill in the visitors’ form. I haven’t been here in two years but I could still remember how she was when I brought her in, how shattering the whole experience had been. The nurse smiled at me, I didn’t smile back, couldn’t smile back, I just stared on and followed her to the room where she was… I opened the door slowly, and there she was, sitted on the bed, her back to us, her shoulders thin and slumped. My heart went out to her as I watched her, taking note of every little movement, every breath she took, I sighed with regret. I had run away, from everything, I had wanted to disappear if possible! But still, this was my life, she was all I had. I wish mum was here, but we can’t always have what we want now can we? She died of cancer six years back, she used to say that whatever happened to you was caused by you! Never blame anything on anyone. I think about it and laugh ironically sometimes; mum was a heavy smoker and drinker! Always got high and told us how our father dumped her at the alter, at other times she was loving and caring, the best mother we could ever ask for. She was also very glad that instead of one child, she ended up with twins, but honestly, I didn’t want to be here… Mum had kidney failure once and needed a transplant, I gladly donated one of mine hoping to die in the process but no, fate wouldn’t have that. At some point I wanted to meet our father, I don’t know what I would’ve done but what I do know is that whatever I had on my mind, wasn’t gon be pretty. I finally got some useful information about him, he was the branch manager at a cocacola bottling company in Lagos, fantastic. I decided to go there a few days later, of course I didn’t tell mum or my twin about it. I had my speech prepared, I was going to give him a big piece of my mind. But again, fate was ahead of me… From the main entrance I saw his Obituary, I walked into the main compound and it was everywhere. With a disappointed heart, I asked one of the workers what had happened to him, and he said the deceased, my father had been monitoring the supply of new stock when a crate of coke fell on his head, sending him to his death at the spot! Lucky bastard! Shortly after that was when mum had cancer of the lungs, we thought she would survive this too as she did the kidney failure but once again, fate was there and as usual, she was never on our side. At a point it looked like mum was mutating as her chest and one side of her neck became so black. She was in so much pain and Tanya, my twin would always break down and cry each time we went to see her in the hospital, but I would just stand and stare, wondering why we had to be so unfortunate. Why we always had to be the ones… One day mum said to me between coughs as she lay on her bed; “Tonia, you’re like me, you’re strong and witty. But you need to cry… Let go even if for once…” I had no answer for that, I just looked out the window as if I was supposed to find a reason out there… After her burial, I decided that our lives had to take a new turn, only for Tanya to fall in love with a man… Jeez seriously? As if that wasn’t the beginning of our woes… Love! Mum had made that crazy mistake once and see where it led her… See where it led us! I just watched it play out before me, she got married after some months and had a baby girl. Her husband, Maxwell loved her so much, I decided at a point that nothing could go wrong. My sister’s life was getting better so I could now blink and turn away… Or so I thought. I should have known fate would always come hungry for more… Maxwell had slumped, at the tennis court while playing with his friends. He had heart failure, died barely two hours later… No last words… Tanya was shattered, I did all I could, absolutely everything I could, to help her get her life back together. I became a nanny, for her and her baby Patricia, I hardly ever left her side. I gave her all the attention she needed, I lived my life for her… When ‘Tricia was two, Tanya decided to find a job, in no time she got one, as a waiter in a fastfood, there was no problem about who would take of Tricia, I was there. Within 3 months, Tanya learnt how to drive so she could start using the jeep maxwell left behind. I always told her, that the jeep didn’t match her kind of job, and we would both laugh at the joke! She wasn’t broke or anything of the sort, she just needed somewhere to go to everyday, meet people, talk, laugh and I understood perfectly. But I was fine the way I was, alone. The only person that complained about that was Tanya, but that’s how I wanted it to be… I was in the kitchen making breakfast that morning when she came to drop Tricia off. She’d left in a hurry because she was late, forgetting to give Tricia a goodbye kiss the little girl had grown used to. I was frying some chips so I couldn’t leave it at that moment, I walked over to the sink to do the dishes and looked out the window… And what I saw sent sparks of pain to my heart, Tracia had obviously run after her mum for her kiss, and Tanya was unaware of that. The little girl had dropped her teddy and squatted to pick it up and just then the jeep reversed, knocked her down, and smashed her pretty little head, I couldn’t scream, I ran out of my apartment and after Tanya as she drove off in a hurry. I started shouting and waving my hands until she saw me through the side mirror and slowed down till she stopped, I couldn’t talk, I just stood there, looking so lost and confused, my eyes wide open. Tanya got down and ran towards me, curious; “Tonia what is it? Why were you running like that?” She’d asked. I couldn’t speak, I just pointed and she looked, confused. Then she started walking back to the spot, to her baby, she started running and screaming… She knelt down and held her head as she screamed and cried, the little bump and gallop she’d felt while driving off was her baby’s skull… I walked back to where she was, following the wet trail Tricia’s smashed brain had made on the road till I was behind Tanya, listening to her racking sobs, watching as her shoulders shook violently, people had started to gather, I was grateful for that because I needed help holding Tanya down when she started acting funny. I had brought her here, checked on her everyday after that but each visit killed me inside. 

My sister was insane, all she did was hit her head repeatedly on the walls of her room, chew her blouse or scream. I couldn’t take it so I stopped coming, for the next two years I was a loner, I thought it was my turn, I thought fate would come for me, but the bitch never came back… Maybe I didn’t have what she wanted, or maybe she got bored. Yesterday, I was taking one of my long, aimless walks when I bumped into an old friend of ours, who travelled out and had us thinking he would never return. He’d wanted to know all that had happened in his absence and so I told him… And now we are here, in this place I so didn’t want to be in, for the first time in a long time I felt hot tears burning my eye lids as I watched Tanya. She was still, for what seemed like forever, didn’t move a muscle. I sniffed and let the tears roll down my cheek as I turned back to look at him; “That’s Tanya…”

The wait is over!

Hi everyone! So after a long while, I decided to get my blog up and running again. One reason is because I have ample time on my hands now, another is that I learnt a few things as time passed and I would love to explore with everybody,and then I missed you guys. Yeah true that! The comments and all…

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Well I recently became a certified fashion designer! How does that sound? Still new to me though. I can’t wait to explore all I’ve learnt so far, and I’ll be posting about my journey, every step of the way… Watch this space.

 

Before I go, lemme say I really do appreciate every one of you, some of you were devoted readers and I’m really grateful for that.
Till next time… Stay blessed!