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Of Love, Roses and Thorns

It has been a long time I talked about Love- I paused a long time ago. It was about me, my sisters, and introductions to Love. I spoke of my dear friend who enjoyed stories of my love/lusty youthful adventures- from high school, our friendship continued in university. He fell in love, and I was commissioned to make a commemorative painting. Using their faces, I painted a girl dressed in traditional attire, dancing to the beats from the drum played by Nkem, the drummer. He is no longer here with us, my dear friend. May his soul rest in peace, amen. I will not talk about Nkem today.

Today I must write a continuation- about joys, love and some bitterness.

I have been distracted for so long. Growing older implied advancing status- as a brother, a partner, an artist, a person of prestige. Love and ambition go well together. We either fan the flames or douse the fire! Should I be writing this- a story that will outlive us? The trajectory of love has led to many struggles with a personal weakness- trying to save others without thinking of myself.

The scars are plenty. The heart has screamed often- who can save me?!

I found love in unexpected places, yet I kept running. There have been emotional turbulences. I travelled much- distance never helped. Love has changed often. I searched for it in spaces of pleasure, around things that bring me happiness. That’s how I get it right.

The test of the bond happens when we have sex. Do we go away still looking for something else, or do we feel rested and in a comfortable place? ‘And they were naked and were not ashamed- Genesis 2:25, the Bible. One’s partner should make you feel good about yourself. Then you will go on, trying to improve.

As I said, the story is developing, the conclusion is not yet. The things in-between will happen to test the bond. Life will happen. We will grow in our careers, maybe become parents, have failures, and hopefully more successes. Life’s hills and valleys will see us holding on to one another. The soul’s anchor will keep one steadfast on the path to find a strong partner – who knows, who helps, who inspires through the dark days.

One must focus on the little things. Love is a big word. Let’s continue in patience and understanding. I write these words to you. We hold our destinies in our hands. Together we can make it a beautiful picture.

I look through all the pictures- we are a delight to look upon. ‘Together we rock’ (that’s the title of one of my paintings)

Recently the artiste MC Chido commissioned me to make the album cover for his latest collection of songs called Love, Etc. (Love, Etc is an album on Spotify, Amazon, Apple) Do check out the songs. Listen to your heart, make your love songs. Be strong in love against all odds. The time to hold on is forever.

Long ago, I sat at lunch in my auntie’s kitchen. Her husband was there also. Mrs Okaro told me this about marriage- Onye choo inu nwanyi, o were ndidi kwaa akwa (He that wants to marry a woman must wear patience as clothes). Patience is for both of us. Can we really begin to talk about our love life knowing full well that it is a continuing, enduring story? They are actions that keep affirming that we have found an immeasurable treasure. Listen. Yes, to one another. Love your voice, but wait for its echo in the other. The proof is in daily affirmative actions. We mustn’t get distracted by the mountain of things to do, by the noise outside. We are beautiful together.

There are many songs out there. We write ours. It is not so much about what they said- it is what we make it. We will go off-script. We will stay fluid. There is no problem if we understand that we are in charge. Because we also wrote the script. They say what they will.

Again and again, one must try again to stay in it. This 4 letter word is small, like a sigh, a gust of wind. We amplify it with our actions. Hold the wind in your heart, let the sighs reverberate, repeat the sound. The song is of holding the wind, of singing together. There are many stories. They are all modified by love. When we find it, we must nurture and keep it. We must guard it. Don’t be afraid of love, Love. It makes life more meaningful. Je t’aimes. Beaucoup!

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