In case you did not read the first part of the story, THE SPIRITUAL NARRATIVE, CLICK HERE.
Sit back and enjoy the concluding part of THE SPIRITUAL NARRATIVE
It was his Brit Man Brown loafers Ada first saw. Her brother had one of those, the exact same thing. When she looked up at Tayo, she immediately wanted him to say something to her. Not because of the colour block thing he so well pulled off with brown shoes, blue pants and a yellow polo that clung to his lanky frame. The polo had small collars that he buttoned nicely.
Not any of that, not the face or the receding hairline that looked a part of the fine act. No, she was too deep to be looking at all that, though she knew she wasn’t. It was all that, and the calmness of his face. This type is never an alcoholic or a smoker or a drug addict, or a clubber. His pant did not sag. This type is always normal. ThE type visits Bookstands and looks seriously at books. This type is always deep. Her heart took a blow when he simply walked away. But it immediately took solace and added another star to Tayo. This type would not make passes at every fine lady. This type is deep. Yet he should have said something or looked at her a little more, some attention. She thought of a T.V show she watched the previous day.
It was on Nickelodeon. The girl actor said, ‘I am a girl named Carly’ and her friend replied ‘And I am a girl named Sam’ Then the first girl added ‘if you don’t believe we are girls, listen to us giggle.’ And the two girls started giggling loudly. Ada thought she should have giggled loudly. Thoughts of Tayo could not linger long in Ada’s head. It was a pleasant Saturday at the Cinema and she just got the book she wanted. She would spend the next week learning more about leadership from Jack Jonderd.
Just one week, no more, maybe less. By next Friday, she should have ticked off ‘read a leadership book’ from her ‘goals of the week’ checklist. She closed her eyes to catch her breath. Every time she thought about her checklist, her heart went racing wildly, like it could leap into her glorious destiny, but no anxiety. Jack said no anxiety. Close your eyes and think ‘what should I be doing now? It’s one step at a time.’ She should be seeing a movie.
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The book only reminded Tayo of his argument against motivational speakers. His failure to live life according to their clear-cut, fantasy-promising principles. Jack Jonderd said his was time-tested. The writer – spiritual narrative guy – claimed he spoke from the ‘musings of his muse’. He rolled his eyes as he said it like he could not help but succumb to the ‘muse’ fellow. Tayo watched and felt less than a human being. The same way he felt when another time management lesson or goal tracking strategy, proved un-do-able.
He felt less than a human. Less than the sharp guys that adorn book covers and the young go-getters on CNN African Voices and Forbes under 30 list. It is at such down times that the Cinema calls or the shopping mall dial his number. And they always get through to him. Maybe he would find his muse there. He would think this as he left the house. But the day, usually ended the same way. It would be a great movie, always is. Or a great shoe purchase, always is, he has a fine eye. But no muse. No achievement that is newsworthy, not even to himself.
Worse still, there are always young people with a close semblance to him at the Cinema and at the Mall. Shaggy heads, Mohawks, pencil jeans, Afros, high-tops, Brazilian hair. In clusters, looking like they knew exactly what they should be doing at that stage of life – having fun. Tayo would smile and laugh, and chat and tell jokes in the company of people he happened to meet. They’d narrate past football matches in the European champion’s league. What player is being bought? By what club? But he was never having fun.
Beneath the smiles and talks was a load of failed attempts to be a kind of person with an achievement, any achievement at all Spirituality held great promise. But -there was always a but – it was plainly too hard to be a Christian. A Christian was his mother saying ‘By God’s grace’ all the time. He failed there. Had to exclaim ‘damn’ or ‘what the flip’. He had to say ‘ peace man, safe’ to his friends.
Being a Christian would be inviting the many pretty damsels with long Brazilian hair and clean- cut eyebrows that he met at the Cinema and at the Mall, to church. He failed here too. He always talked about a movie and other things. After weeks of trying to invite damsels to church and being unable to resist the fear of the glare he imagined would result, he began to believe the shaggy-haired writer. Life was simple. Like the lovers he saw at the mall, life can be a warm embrace while munching popcorn, or scented cuddling while sipping a drink or eating multi-flavoured ice cream. It depends on what you believe. Yet the thought: ‘the Lord is good. He is so good’, haunted him and made him hold on partially. Till the good Lord arranged for him to meet Ada, at the Cinema.
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Every time Tayo told the story, he threw a broad smile in his wife’s direction and announced to his audience ‘She doesn’t like to hear this, she is jealous’. His wife, a light-skinned woman with perfect eyes would beat her eyelids at him. Usually, she would be seated in the front row or next to him at the dinner table. She would turn to the people sitting around her and say ‘Ada was a crush of his’. Her listeners smiled in return, but never really thought of what she said. They studied her expensive dress and jewellery and tried to guess what perfume she was wearing. Once, at a dinner in the Government house, the first lady replied her ‘Chanel?’ And she nodded ‘Yes.’
Though his narration changed from audience to audience, it was always titled: ‘What Ada taught me about the spiritual narrative and achievement’ and he ended thus: ‘Through Ada, I realized that the so-called spiritual narrative, is the reason why I live. It lies at the core of my essence and so I cannot separate it from myself. In it, I have the greatest sense of achievement. In it, I find my muse.’ His audience would clap vigorously, nodding their heads, cheering. Once he spoke at a youth convention, and the ten thousand people present kept clapping for fifteen minutes. He cried all that time and hoped Ada was there in the crowd. This was fifteen years after the good Lord arranged their meeting, at the Cinema.
Written by : Korede Nojo
COMING IN MARCH: LITTLE WHITE FLOWER. An intriguing love story
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