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Another Year

Dear Jennifer,

I have stumbled my whole life, unsure of myself. Waking up to the same question. Who am I? What is my purpose? What do I have to share, for the sake of posterity. I am probably too young to be bothered about that. I wake up every with my face in a grimace, my mouth tastes like rust and metal, other times it tastes like soured beans and rotten fish, in my head fuzzy memories of the previous days activity and with promises and plans of the previous day stored in a recycle bin somewhere in my head, to be forgotten and permanently deleted after seven days. The mere thought of that brings a wide smile to my face and drives another hole into my heart. I reluctantly get myself out of bed, making plans to do big things today. Take a refreshing bath, wash the stink out of my mouth, read a chapter of my legal method, write a mind blowing draft. Yes, my to do list is ready. The first thing there is, take a bath. Right. I am not sure of your opinion about me. I want to think that you see me as very resourceful, but I hope you see me for what I truly am.

“Jenny your phone is ringing!” my baby brother squeaked, my phone in his hand. I can hear his quick steps behind me, I smile wondering who it could be, a name already in my head. I take the phone from him, disappointed by the caller id. I enter my room, with hopes of making it quick. It was quick alright. I hung up three minutes later. My legs felt a little tired, I should lie down and stretch them. Big day ahead, I dont need any part of my body weak. I turn my data on, I better check my mail, just incase my prose has been shortlisted for the anthology. My countenance fell, no reply from them.

They are probably still reading other outstanding piece by better writers. I mean they can not possibly be through in one month and two days, I thought. Yeah, it’s logical. Notification from my WhatsApp, Telegram, Facebook and some pesty sites floods my phone. I will reply them quickly while I rest my legs. Jenny, I still think about you, I always do. I care so much about your opinion of me, I really do.

‘In addy babe.’ I smile, my adorable boyfriend, I thought. My birthday is still in four days. ‘I love you.’ I reply, unsure of the words I just typed. It doesn’t matter, I may not feel it, but at least I know it. I reply a couple other texts before closing my eyes, letting them take a break from so much light. I close my eyes and dream of things I could achieve, things so great that, it seemed so impossible to be birthed into reality. But I still dream it, crave it, add even more greater things to it. Once I painted an image of my self on a big stage. Wearing really shinny clothes. The were very small, putting my cleavage and the top of my perfectly rounded breast, which were very different from my brown small, slightly drooping breast’s reality, out on display, my gold thigh, all the way to my barely covered buttocks, were also out on display. I was dancing with the rest of my crew on the extremely large stage, a microphone in my hand,

I moved from one end of the stage to the other, with such composure and flair that I have never known. A very wide smile on my face, roars from the crowd creating an invisible shield around me, making me invincible to pain, failure and defeat. My eyes had this glow. Probably a glow that is supposed to remind me that this, all that, was all but a dream. And of a truth, it really was a dream. I was probably ten, then. Now, I still have dreams, where I walk on a stage, rapping a song, which I don’t remember the lyrics, but with more clothes on. As I grew older, my dreams changed, it slowly moved from ecstatic to horrifying. But it’s okay. I think. Any dream is better than none. The vibration of my phone forces me to open my eyes. A text from MTN network. Well at least the texted to check up on me. I had no one to do that. I gasp lazily on seeing the time. Exactly, 13:07pm. Bummer, I thought stretching my limbs lazily, my lips wide in a yawn, my bed creaking. Probably in relief or annoyance. I definitely can’t read now. I’ll do that tomorrow, I will take my bathe later. In the mean time let me watch some television and burn off some steam.

That was yesterday. This is today, I rolled off the bed. I cant help but smile. By now I am drawing my conclusions. Lies. I drew my conclusion a long time ago. Jennifer, I did not want to tell you this, but I just had to, because this is the last letter I would be writing to you. The day you told me, you wish to be somebody else, somebody better than me. It broke me. It made me feel unwanted, ugly, even. It made me doubt the truism of the statement, “you are so beautiful,” men compliment us. You didn’t see the beauty and now I cant see it either. I want to be mad at you for trying to kill me, a month to my birthday, last year. But I see no reason to be mad. I had failed you. I have never been there for you and worse of all, I am not as pretty as you deserve. I had to admit, when I felt the cold razor blade against the skin of my wrist that cold afternoon, I was very scared. Not of dying though. You’ve killed me plenty of times to make me immune to death. I was scared of the pain, that single act would unleash. I may be used to the emotional and psychological pain you inflict me with, but physical pain is one thing I have never known. As if in synch with my thought, you let the blades fall to the ground. You take me out of the room and stop at the balcony. The cool afternoon breeze, void of heat, hit my face, making me think of the simple things I would miss. The cool wind, watching the colourful blend of colour of clouds by the maker on the sky, the sound of laughter during family time, the look that makes my knees weak from my boyfriend, the taste of yam porridge and pepper soup, I would miss all that and probably even more. Jenny, I didn’t want to die then. But you were in such a hurry to end things, to end me.

When you contemplated jumping off the balcony, I froze. It was a long way down, with slim chances of us seeing another sunny day, and serious pain and damages was assured. When you winced, I was relieved, because I knew then. You wouldn’t do it. For now. We postponed it, like we postpone every other thing. Well, the rest of the day went by and nothing was achieved. I am sure you suspected it too. Like I always do, I failed you again. Don’t get upset by my question, but I’ve got to ask, how are you able to counsel other people, help most of them overcome their depression, and show them the ray of light in their dark times, but you are unable to help me? Unable to help us.

Permit me to say you are more of a coward that the strong girl, you portray? It’s a pity you managed to fool them, I mean its so clear that you are drowning and yet no one can see it. No one at all. You talk big talks of how one should always be content in their own skin, while you want out of your own skin. Hypocrisy. You tell them to never see suicide as an option, but I hear you every time thinking about it. Scheming. Plotting, on a quick painless way to exit this world. I want to tell you that I hate you, but that would only be making me a liar. Well, tonight is my turn to cook and guess what I would be cooking? Yam and Okra sauce. I know you would smile, I am sure you love it as much as I do or even more.

The days walked by slowly, our birthday drawing close. I want to celebrate it, buy you a gift, treat ourselves. But you wouldn’t like that. You never did. You say, you’d only celebrate yourself when you’ve achieved something. I want to think that we are too young to be concerned about achievement. What’s the rush? I could not help but giggle at the joke. It is personal, you might not get it. But I’ll tell you either way. What’s the rush, we still have our lives ahead of us? When we might die tomorrow, if you decide. It’s so funny, gosh. Its also funny, whenever you whine about not having friends. What do you expect when you push everyone away? Even me too. But I am stuck with you and there is nothing either of us can do about it. I can’t really write much again, the letter is getting lengthier than I expected. I have a lot of laundry to do, I don’t want you to hate me for being dirty. Tomorrow is our day, Jenny.

The excitement from yesterday is all but a pleasant memory which is now beginning to fade. Waking up this morning to mummy kissing our forehead with such gentility, that made my forehead feel so fragile. I should be used to it though, being treated like a very fragile egg, that could break even by a gentle touch. I have always been treated that way, like a precious, frail cargo. I hate it but I also love it. My previous excitement, is almost completely gone and in its place is fear. A fear that has always accompanied me, through every stage of my life. A fear that has sworn to never leave my side and has never for once broken that promise.

Jenny, when I woke up, all the questions you ask me every year flooded my head. I still haven’t figured out an answer yet. Does that still make me a failure? Do you still consider me a failure? I know we haven’t achieved anything yet, if you would allow it, we will have plenty of time to build a legacy together. I know you don’t regard your birthday as anything special, but I’d still wish you.

Happy birthday, Jennifer, I wish you so many good things that I am yet to figure out. And I hope we get to achieve the dreams we have and the dreams we are yet to weave. Most importantly, I pray that we find light in the unending darkness that has veiled us. One day we will make daddy proud of us. Even if we don’t win for ourselves, we will win for daddy’s sake. It took a lot of effort, but we have come too far to turn back. With the limited resources you have given me, Jenny, I will see us through to the very end. Unfortunately, I have nothing to give you, all I can do is promise to always be with you and support you, till the very end. I love you, Jennifer, it took a lot of effort and struggle for me to accept you, but I do now and I will never turn my back on you. On us. May the stars align for us, may the greens come forth for our sake, may the locust avoid our farm and may light peer through the darkness. Happy birthday to you, Jennifer. Happy birthday to us.

Yours sincerely,

Jennifer U.

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