The Split of The Sky
In this note and the picture and the title, there's a connection somewhere. I hope you find it.
A man’s voice sneaks in from behind. He’s narrating his journey in the public service to a woman. The woman sounds uninterested because she only throws in sighs or “ohs” but I don’t know. There are things you can’t know until you put a face to it. But the man’s voice is hoarse and sounds like a voice that’s witnessed everything about the falling up and down of Nigeria’s history. His voice does not bother me but it reminds me of why I am here. Here, at the public library in Ibadan where I came to work but the stifling silence has transported me into the depth of myself. Now, things are coming to me. And one of them is that it’s been a while since I wrote here. I’ve not been the same.
Life has been calm, gentle and to be entirely bare, smooth. But there are things that make moments strange. As someone who spends most of his alone time indoors, not sad or happy, it shocks me when I find myself being happy for days. For how much I crave happiness, I have never thought a day would come when I’d question the presence of happiness. I have never thought I’d be bothered about being unbothered. I have not been doing much. I mean excessively much because every day I wake up, capitalism thrusts a needle into my body to sip my blood. But really, it’s just been work and me. Nothing big or small. But I’m happy. And contented. And I’m asking myself why that is a problem.
And when the other comes, it seems eternal.
Something that has just been constant is how less creative I have become. I find it slightly hard to read or creatively write. There is writing and there is writing – I have read quite well to know what is what. I have been writing, as work requires, but I have not been writing. There are stories flashing in my head but I push them out. One thing I do effortlessly well now is pushing ideas away. I prefer to sleep than reading or writing or watching a movie. Am I bothered? Yes. Am I really bothered? No.
What I have realised is that I can never be the same. I struggle every day to be happy and when the happiness really comes, it shocks me. I am trying not to personalise this because I don’t want to put myself on the scale of others but that’s how we mostly are. And it’s a problem because good things, like happiness, are fleeting. They are not exactly fleeting but because we don’t allow ourselves to enjoy the moment, it slips away. And when the other comes, it seems eternal.
I don’t know why I am writing this. I have quite been intentional about what I put on here but I don’t know what this is about. I wanted to describe how calm and silent this place is and how it feels distant as if it doesn’t exist inside Ibadan, a city that is too fast and chaotic for me. I wanted to narrate how I got here and what Abimbola told me about it and how I got lost the first time I came here but I don’t have the proper words to paint the pictures. I’d have loved to tell you about the rusty stench inside the library and the paint peels on the asbestos or how old the library attendant is, his hair soft like cotton, frail to a huge wind blow. But I don’t have the words. So I’d leave you with this, unsure whether it makes sense or not. Writing is a very difficult thing to do.
But I think I have a message, and here it is: It is okay if you’re doing nothing at the moment. In the chain of life, there is always time to relax and time to work or do something. But humans do not want to relax. We always want to have a response when we're asked what we are currently working on. There seems to be no time but there is time. There is time for everything. And you can't force things to happen. And you should also know that whatever you do, no matter how small it seems, matters. Nothing is small sha but I understand we all have personal definitions of big or small. Just know you can't do everything at once.
So yeah, that’s my message. I will attach two screenshots from a message I got from a stranger, a white person even.