The Pendulum

You toss along the sheets, eyes brighter than they have been in a while, giggling through a lengthy scroll down your favourite Instagram feeds, all that sandwiched by a thirty-eight-minute long call to the woman whose heavy ring ringer was no match for your intense (albeit fleeting) puppy passions half a decade ago (she was 28, you were 18); you both catch up, laughing at your post-pubescent naivety, and she entertains a joke about how you still have the hots for her.

Supper (with spaghetti on the menu) tastes unusually good, and you go on a texting spree to the ones who still manage to love you, flawed and confused you…..because Life is too short to be difficult for no reason, to find home in dark mental rooms, to make yourself impervious to love.

You don’t know how long you will be around, or how much you even want to be around, but you’d like to think that you want to pass the time gulping all the little droplets of affection around you, absorbing all the individual doses of humanity, giving as much love as your infamously slippery heart can afford, dispensing with that mental sieve which tries to distinguish admiration from curiosity, just stopping short of a rare ‘Daddy I love you’ message. Mum is too far away in Dreamville to hear her phone beep, else you’d have loved to hear your baby sister attempt to sing in the first few words her 31-month-old tongue can afford…..

And night suddenly gives way to morning. The weekend goes through some mathematics, getting cancelled out by three alphabets, and what you have is a new week, with the attendant reluctance of your toes to touch the ground, the shivers that will run through four other mornings, your shackles disguised as work shoes and your chain in form of a neck tie beckoning gleefully. A grudging bath is followed by a scuffle between your skin and an office shirt, but it’s the economy and slaves must head to their plantations, so you clutch the door knob and step out……

To a morning which has got your bag feeling six times lighter than your chest. You cant place where the weight is coming from, but you begin to feel that Xanax and other anxiety pills wont be such a bad idea, and it all comes pouring in from there…..the plantation routine, phone numbers which have become mere digits with no emotions attached, the image of standing alone at a bus stop and feeling that your life could play out in similar fashion, memories of unachieved goals, procastinations, faded crushes forced to wilt by your shut-outs, fear of stagnation, daytime nightmares of the also-ran phenomenon. The previous evening’s rainbow has become a pitch black cloud, the commercial break has timed out, and you make a return to regular programming, where the only smiles are false ones…..

But how dare you? How dare you try to be happy? What were you thinking, that the shadows would just disappear? This is you, this is your existence, where days try to outdo themselves in a “which of us is darker? “ game show, and nights swear to strip you of any sort of warmth. The short periods of giggling have elapsed, and no number of Zikoko threads will bring back the thrill. You knew it was too good to be true when the smiles didn’t go away, you were anxious that you were being too happy, and true to expectation, the bliss didn’t last.

The friends you reached out to a few hours before are excitedly typing away responses, wondering what came over you to have occasioned such warmth…..but the thick cloak is back over you, and once again you wont respond, unable to process your thoughts properly, and you almost want to address one with the words “sorry for the text, wrong mood.” You anticipate everything; butt cheek french-kissing, office mails reminding you of your expendability and inadequacy, the increasing gulf between you and the colleagues who gossip in the city’s popular dialect, and you call on a Being in whom your belief alternates by the hour, not asking for much, not even for happiness, just enough mental strength to see out the day…..and you feel heavier instead of effecting a trade of yokes and burdens, but you’ve got to cut him some slack; it’s hard tending to you and 6,999,999,999 others, never mind the rhetoric of cheap sparrows and counted hairs.

The blues are here, the blues will stay, the blues are you.

Jerry Chi

Contributing Writer Mentally Aware Nigeria Initiative

Originally published at Mentally Aware Nigeria Initiative.