I sat still, gwaping at my shadow. So plain, so simple, a lot much taller. And I wondered why. Why taller? Why plain? Why simple? Why so at ease? When the body itself is complicated, overwhelmed, hurt. I jerked up and started running. I ran so fast that I couldn’t find my shawdow anymore. But then my shadow had taken the next train back home, because the sun was out again. So I fell on my feet and wept for the absence of what I once ran away from. But was it all about the shadow or perhaps I wept for the absence of something greater!
My name Lara Michaels I’m a nigerian girl who fell in love with a biracial man.
It is a wet saturday afternoon in Lagos, the traffic was insane. I had an event on “How the society affects mental illness” at Terra kulture. The event was supposed to be by 4:30, its 4:15 and I’m here still stuck in traffic. Even if i stay not too far off here in Lekki. On a traffic free day its about 20 minutes to victoria island from Lekki. But today just wasn’t it. I left my apartment 3:30 so i could make it early but here I am stuck in lagos traffic, driving in my white beetle car. How my friends hate the car. Especially Olanna, she feels it makes me look poor and too ancient for a 26year old. I couldn’t care less, I loved collectables. I had bought the Peugeot bettle from a 90 year old man that lived across the street, it was quite new. He took good care of it.
Soon I arrived at the parking lot just in front of the event centre (TERRA KULTURE), I kept a stop to my car engine and called Olanna. Her phone rang but she didn’t pick up ” where could she be” I thought to myself. “Perhaps she’s in the event centre already, I should go in and check”. Olanna was supposed to come over to my apartment 2 hours earlier, we had planned on going to the event together. Since I waited and she didn’t show up and wasn’t picking her calls, I decided to come anyways. ” shit! I’m 30minutes late” I dashed out of my beautiful collectable and ran into event centre. Somehow I still got a little wet by the rain. On getting in, the stage play was just starting the hall was almost full.I searched for Olanna but couldn’t find her. So I saw an empty looking seat, I passed in between the audience seated. I had a gasping sound from the actors, got distracted and sat on a seat I supposed. Argh! What are you? Blind? The man I supposedly sat on raged. “I’m so very sorry was so distracted by the play” I replied, everyone turned around and all eyes was on me for a few seconds with mumblings in the background until OLANNA saved me. “Ppssss! Hey, girl over here” I followed the sound of her voice and saw Olanna waving her left hands for me to come over. I went over to her and we started with our small talks.
Lara Michaels: Girl! I was worried sick, I tried calling you several times. But your number wasn’t reachable.
Olanna: Well that’s because your stupid phone is the problem, tried calling it several times as well. But no the damn thing doesn’t read signals. You need to throw it away. Also I had a meeting with my fellow psychiatrist.
Lara Michaels: LANA! (“short for Olanna”) come on. Now you’re going to blame it on my phone. Really!
“Shhhhhhh!” A sound came behind from the man with a pipe stuck in his mouth. ” listen if you’re not interested in the play get out!” We both had an amusing expression worn on our faces, then we smiled at each other and focused on the play.
The play lasted for 30 minutes though I talked with Olanna halfway through it. It’s barely 5 minutes left. Yet I feel like I quite understood the play. It was about how the society affects mental illness through negligence and other menances. I had a more foggy interpretation truthfully. I hadn’t paid much attention. Soon the stage play was over and then, PHASE II started. It was time for poetry lovers and art lovers, to express their thoughts through poetry and art. The theatre was divided into two sections, the poetry lovers on the left and then the art lovers on the right. I love art, but poetry stole my heart. Perhaps it’s because it leaves me with pieces of puzzles. I stayed with poetry and would join art later. Unlike Olanna who liked art more and would claim she loves art because of a cute guy on dread that caught her eyes. So many poets came out expressing their works of art which was their mind. Some wore mask to hide their identities. There were rumours that among those beneath the mask where, celebrities, people in the government, famous authors, bloggers and writers. It was beautiful, different people with different background, and with similar thoughts. It was absolutely grandiose. I immediately wished I had a glass of wine as I watched the event. For me wine grapes are lovely but a Cabernet Sauvignon or Bordeaux wine will do. For some weird reasons Bordeaux clears my mind off side talks and I focus better. Weird isn’t it? Oh well soon enough you’ll learn more about my other super powers. So back to the story… The event was so grandiose until he spoke. Yes there’s a he, damn he’s annoying. I got up from where I was seated and was walking to the art session when I heard his voice caught my attention. It was precise, judgemental but I will admit it beautiful. The best poetry I heard that night. I somehow found myself back in my seat lust with his words. His words piercing and gentle. The accent, I couldn’t recognize. Perhaps Italian or French I couldn’t tell.
He’s poetry tells….
We stand so tall, we wear our garments called pride and our boots called confidence. And say Yes! I’m the king. I make the rules. I decide. What if this, what if that. And so there we are, left with an army to protect, to inspire to oblivion, but look at us. We’re lions, and we eat our cubs for breakfast, our lioness for diner and then we adorn ourselves with jewelleries made from their broken bones shattered by our teeth. Look at us, just look at us. We have soaked ourselves in the blood of those we once knew as family. Society this, society that. We Blame the society, but we forget that make the society . You,me, us. We all make up the society. It is time to actually do something. And let “what’s if” sleep.
(Applaudes by the audience) My mouth was dry everything! The saliva gland had gone on the next train to Australia. The remains of the mashed potatoes I had for lunch in my teeth had eloped to Greenland with remains of the thyme soup I had with it. My mouth felt like a desert, but my mind was on the contrary was a fast moving train with chatters in it and noises everywhere. There were so many voices and for a second I couldn’t decern which to listen too. There was a noisy market in this train called my mind.
He was right the indigenous accent guy, soon the train ( my mind) starts to slow down.And I thought for a while about my aunt Josephine’s mental illness. If somehow I’m responsible for it. By not doing much. Maybe if I had checked up on her more often. Or made small talks with her. Perhaps made her take a walk or exercise, or write down her feelings in a book, or play mind games like chess. Made her do something to burn the negative energy. Perhaps she would have been sane. And she wouldn’t stare at the wall for hours like she now does. I Immediately felt an air of bitterness.
He was right, everything in his poetry was true. Except for the fact that he made himself sound so righteous. I was suddenly filled with hate for someone I praised a moment ago. What I hated the most was the effect he had on me. Nobody ever had such effect on me.
I moved over to the art session and met with Olanna. She was with the artist, the guy with a dread hair and caramel skin. He looked like the Jamaican Rastafarians. Lana giggling all the time, even at things that weren’t funny. What a slut. She’s not even interested in he’s artistic talks, she’s only doing it to fulfill her number tenth and number fifteen item on her “Sexket list” like she calls it ( a list for sex fantansies she would like to have, twenty two sexual ideas on the list I tell you). “No. 10 Have sex with an artist, No. 15 Have sex with a cute dread headed man ” so he fits two of her sexket list items properly. Poor guy. Perhaps he’s not innocent himself. He’s been gwaping at Lana like a hungry dog. I caught him staring at her boobs twice.Soon the event came to a close and people where seen together making small talks, laughing and gigglings.
Olanna Ugo: Hey girl, what’s up did you enjoy the poetry?
Lara Michaels: Ooh it was alright. Except for some guy in the mask. He’s poetry was good but still, he was damn judgemental.
Olanna Ugo: Well I’m not surprised they’re lots of ” I know it all “ in poetry. Meet my new handsome, intelligent friend “Joe Dandy” he’s an artist and he has really nice dreads ( she winked at me, but I already figured out about the sexket list situation) He’s from Haiti, so he’s French is quite good. Joe meet Lara my best friend she’s a physiotherapist .
Lara Michaels: Nice to meet you Joe.
Joe Dandy: My pleasure.madmollse
I left the two proposed love birds and I took a walk around the gallery. The paintings were direct and attractive to look at. The one that mostly fascinated me was that of people falling off a bus. “I know right! The painting has a deeper meaning and that’s probably what your soul finds”.
I know that voice anywhere, though the accent is more clearer. It’s the poetry guy! I turned to see the face of whom must have spoken. My God! He was gorgeous! Which only made me hate him more. He’s eyes were blue, or maybe green it was difficult to say. His lips were neatly craved. He’s fine blonde hair and his well chiseled nose. And then I noticed a scar on his chin.
Olanna : Ahh Victor! I see you’ve met my childhood friend Lara Michaels. Victor Schmidt meet the beautiful Lara Michaels. Remember her, you once admired her picture on my phone.
Victor Schmidt: Now I see why. You’re even prettier than in the photos.
Lara Michaels: Thanks Victor ( smiles)
Olanna Ugo: Victor is a friend and collegue. He is a renowned consultant doctor in psychiatry. He has worked in many hospitals across the globe. Helping the state of mental illness of individuals worldwide. By volunteering and treating individuals for free and influen…..( Lara cuts in)
Lara Michaels: I get it. I get it Lana.
Olanna: Okay! I’ll leave you guys to chat.
I gwaped at him for few seconds. “Are you a poet also! You must be French your accent is a little weird.” I said. He replied ” hmmn! You dont say. Not French actually, you’ll find out later”
Lara Michaels: I see, because I couldn’t quite get the accent during your poetry.
Victor Schmidt: Ahh! You figured me out already ( smiles)
Lara Michaels: Who wouldn’t. You poetry was beautiful, but not the best. The voice was so judgemental.
Victor Schmidt: hahaha( laughs) common on. I only said the truth. Apparently people don’t like the truth. I should know better. I’m a renowned psychiatrist remember.( he mentioned with his left eye brow raised, he was joking but I didn’t get the joke) Google me you’ll find my works everywhere.
Lara Michaels: You definitely think you know it all( chukkles)
Victor Schmidt: I do know a lot actually. I spent 12 years studying medicine. I did lots of night calls so I could shorten my residency of 5 years to 3 years. Which I did. I know a lot because I’m daring. I’m not scared to try. I think I see that in you as well. Keep up with that attitude and you’ll go places.
Lara Michaels: Trust me I have gone places for a 26 year old. You keep up your judgemental “I know it all” attitude. And you’ll loose your job.
Victor Schmidt: ( laughs out loud) I can’t loose my job. I’m a consultant in addiction psychiatry.
Lara Michaels: So… How does that change the fact that you’ll soon be jobless.
Victor Schmidt: ( chukkles) Psychiatrists that specialize in addiction psychiatry are rare all over the world, it’s difficult to loose you job as one. But if you do as a consultant you can get another job within 2 days. But then how would you have known that. Since you’re so naive and young. Little girl!
Lara Michaels: “oh no! He didn’t”. ( I said facing Olanna). Did you hear what he just called me ” little girl”. ( Olanna made a face, smacking her lips together)
Victor Schmidt: No offense but you’re actually little in size. You should be around 5’3. You’re like a cute little gummy bear. ( chukkles). Grr! Grr!(His phone rings) Olanna sweetheart my wife’s calling, I have to go now.
Olanna Ugo: ( clears throat) Okay Victor, say hello to Sara.
I turned to Olanna, ” did you hear what he called me, he’s so rude! I’m going after him” Olanna replied ” I’m so sorry babe he seemed rudeb but he was probably having a bad day, but you were rude too and I’m not just saying this because he’s a friend. But babe, let it go”
I was still there standing, thinking of my next move. I was so offended, I wanted to get back at him, so badly. So I went after him. ” Hey ” Gringo “ (“ gringo” it’s a mexican slang for a white man or woman).
Victor Schmidt: Did you just call me “gringo“. Listen little girl I don’t have time for thi….( Lara cuts in)
Lara Michaels: How dare you call me little and naive. You have no idea what I’ve been through. Because of your white previledge and coming from a rich and stable country you don’t know what it is to survive. All you Europeans are only good at being so judgemental. So you all think you’re perfect. Well listen Gringo you don’t know half of the shit I’ve survived as “naive and little as I am” ( she said suspending her two hands in the air to illustrate her sarcasm for the phrase “naive little girl”.)
Victor stood and gwaked at her, until she jerked him with her thin sharp voice. ” ooh so youll just stare and say nothig” she said.
Victor Schmidt: I’m a little irked and confused. You don’t know me, look at you judging me due to my skin tone and my nationality. You don’t know the amount of pain I consume everyday. Some of us, don’t stay angry and judge people by what we see on the surface we actually do something. Congratulations you just became the president of the judgemental team. You know what Lara. Exercise burn some negative energy because you clearly have a lot to let out. If you’d excuse me I have a sick wife and mother to take care of..
Victor dashed out of the muson centre and hopped into his van.I stood at the aisle watching him go. I suddenly felt some form of paralysis and speech defect till he left. I wanted to call him back to say ” I’m sorry, I over reacted” or “ I didn’t know you had this going on” or hug him. I wanted to say or do something but I couldn’t my mouth was so dry and my sense of speech was suddenly dead. My muscles felt like a machine that needed to be reacharged , because I couldn’t move them. I watched him drive off. Then I felt a tap. I looked around but everyone was doing their business. The tap was no one, it was my inner self waking me up.
I walked gently to where Olanna was, still flirting with the artist. And I asked her “what happened to his wife and mother? I didn’t know they were both sick. I was a jerk!
Olanna Ugo: I told you to leave it be, Victor is a strong man. He has a lot going he can’t stand unneccesary drama. It’s not everytime you have to make a point Lara. Sometimes you need to just stay quite because you never know where the next person is coming from. ( The artist guy chipped in ” yea, Olanna is so right. You’re so smart sweetheart “.)
I looked at him(Joe the artist ) and rolled my eyes in disgust. Ooh please he just saying that so he could get a chance with her. Men… I thought to myself.
Lara Michaels: Please Olanna, tell me all about him. What happened to his wife and mother. Okay let’s talk over drinks.
Olanna nodded her head in acceptance and we both went for a drink at ” bogobiri bar” in ikoyi about 15 minutes drive from Victoria island. We walked in my Peugeot and I drove out of TERRA KULTURE. I spent the whole 15 minutes listening to Olanna talking about Joe ( the artist guy ) and what they talked about, how they had so much in common. How he’s such an environmentalist. How he only use’s healthy, environmental friendly products for his arts. It was a horrible 15 minutes drive it felt like 3 hours, listening to how awesome and clean Joe had painted himself. Once when she asked what do you think. I said ” well he’s an artist a really good one actually ” but it was said sarcastically but she was blind to the sacarsm and kept talking or perhaps she decided to ignore it and bury herself in the illusion of “Joe the artist” the perfect match and so she could fulfil her sexket list number 10 and 15. Though my thoughts drifted from time to time, thoughts about Victor. What exactly he’s life is like. What could be wrong with his wife and mother. ..
Word of the day: Grandiose
If youre indeed curious about Victor Schmidt’s life as I was. Check back 3 days time for chapter 2…. Feel free to hit the like button and leave your comments below 💞💞