It is times like these that remind me every day. Each night when we have to buy our Kenkey from different sellers, because you like your bolus very light and soft to touch, and I like mine heavy with a single grain of maize lingering in the cooked dough. Each night, like tonight, I am reminded in too many ways, that I am not like you. I like extra onions with my pepper, you don’t. I like my pepper salty, you don’t. I like my tiny Keta school boys, with a few crispy shrimps sprinkled on my pepper. You prefer a large piece of Red Fish or Tilapia or Kpanla with its gaping mouth begging you to chomp it down in your loud and uncanny eating ways. You will eat noisily, like a newly weaned piglet. Then, nearing the end of your meal, you will crack the fish bones as if you were striking bars on a xylophone. As for you dierr… I just don’t know!
You don’t mind gulping down the fermented milk from Amina’s Burkina and then letting out silent farts in my room till my acrobatic attempts to let in fresh air through the windows attract your unjustified wrath. I am proud to declare that I have never so much as belched in your presence. You often deride my strict adherence to propriety. Do you remember the week before my birthday last year, when I had caught a very bad flu? Remember when I refused your handkerchief and asked for tissue to blow my nose? You remember, surely. No? Well, you dryly reminded me that the pioneer of personal hygiene was knocked down by a borla-car. Ah! Ah! Ah!
Why can you not be like me? Eh? Why? Why?!
Why don’t you call to find out if I’ve gotten home safely after our little smooches in your stuffy bedroom? Don’t you fear God’s wrath might strike me dead before I get home? What if the trotro runs into a tree? Or some drunk driver is used as a vessel of God’s righteous indignation to mangle my body into unrecognisable pieces? What if some sakawa spiritualists ambush me on that dark and narrow meandering footpath that leads to my house? What if they slit my throat and take out my tongue, or cut my chest and take out my heart? Who else will whisper ‘medofo pa’ as softly as I do, which other heart will beat rhythmically for you like mine does? Eh? Who?
I always trumpet my adolescent warnings to taxi-drivers to get you home safe. And when they speed off in anger after snatching the fare from my fingers, I wave contently at you in the clearing mist from their screeching back tyres. I wait for a few minutes and then I call you to find out if you’ve gotten home. I do this all the time. All the time! I do, don’t I? Yes, all the time. So why can’t you learn from me and do same? Eh? Why? Why?!
Why do I always have to be the one calling to say ‘Good Morning’ and ‘Good Night’? Are ten pesewas too much to spare from the airtime I get you every day? Or do you just find these greetings too formal for your boyfriend? Well, you can just say ‘Hi babe’ and ‘Sleep tight babe’, can you not?
Oh, I forget- you’re not sentimental. You hate all that mush. “The sentiments don’t matter, loyalty and truth are the most important things in a relationship,” you say. Loyalty eh? Loyalty to whom? Yourself, evidently. And truth? Ah yes, another thing- truth.
You sit there and preach truth because you know you practise it much, much, much better than I do. Of all the things you do, I’ll grant you that. You stay true- true to yourself. You stay true to yourself while I painfully alter my genes to please you. While I constantly fight the need to stay true to who I really am, you waltz through this relationship staying true to yourself and doing everything within your power not to change for me. A bit of me dies every day just so all of you can live freely. You slay me afresh every day and use my blood to wash away the selfishness from which you never repent. Me: Your sacrificial lamb.
There is too much to write, too many emotions to be contained in nouns and verbs and adjectives. My condition is simple. I am tired. I am lonely. I chuckle out my sorrow. I smirk out my resentment. I bite my lower lip to keep me from yelling at you. I clench my fists and push them deep into my pockets till my trousers sag below my buttocks. I am an angry boyfriend. I am a sad boyfriend. I am a pitiful boyfriend.
I wish you would love like me. I wish you would understand like the way I do, what it means to love someone; what it means to give yourself out for the joy of the one you love. I wish you were like me. I wish you would love some of the things I love and hate some of the things I hate. I wish you would share in my interests. I wish we had more in common than our religious love for Kenkey. Even in that, you are not like me; Even in that.