‘Peter, you’re the most emotionally detached person I know.’ I paused in the middle of sipping my cold sprite and looked at her. On her chubby, one-dimpled face I could see what seemed like contempt and pity trade places. My eyebrows raised, my breath held and a sip of soda in my mouth. I swallowed my soda and as its soothing coolness washed my throat, I asked in the most humanly voice I could muster: ‘Really? But Why?’ My heavily beaded face overcome by phoney shock and surprise at the ‘revelation’. This expression thawed faster than it was formed on my face and its place was taken by a wicked, subtly nonchalant smile. ‘See?’ She uttered frustrated. ‘Maybe you’ve been told this countless times and I know you sort of enjoy it.’ Arching a Slay king eyebrow I asked ‘Do I?’ Clearly, she was getting all worked up and the funnier I found her reactions, the more furious she became. She just sat there across me, with her eyes full of rage that almost turned my ice-cold sprite into vapour. Before her eyes I was evil. The devil’s second cousin. From the mother’s side. Maternal second cousin, you know them.
‘Peter, you’re putting too much emotion and this is not good for business.’ I feign shock and disbelief at such an atrocious accusation. ‘How now? He didn’t have any money to pay us and I think we should just go slow on this and…’See what I am talking about? By now, he has white saliva on the corners of his mouth. It had been a long meeting and now this. ‘You’re too emotionally attached to people and things, man. Make up your mind, man. Business or relationships.’ Again, I sat there, my face expressionless, dead and blank. ‘Ni sawa.’ I said while perusing for the next item of discussion. It didn’t bother me an inch. And this is frustrating to the sayer. ‘Or tell us if you looking for a boyfriend.’ Us in this case was this solo asshole we are doing business with. For some reason, I couldn’t hold it back and burst out laughing. Maybe it was the thought of having a boyfriend that tickled me. I went ahead and told him how this guy ‘I was emotionally attached to’ was not my taste. ‘He does not have beard, I am more muscular than he can ever be. He cannot even pay our debt and nowadays nobody-not even gay people- date broke asses. He resembles my young brother. I mean, even if I was gay, not him. May be you. You wanna be my boyfriend?’ the disgust on his face, priceless! The joy in my heart, immeasurable! He hurled insults at me and we both laughed. He went on to say he’s serious I should be more focused on business than friendships. I did not object. He has a good soul but sometimes can say dumb shit. We all have such friends.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Have you ever described someone to someone and the latter someone said that you’re wrong in your description of that someone? And to resolve who knows them better, you resort to who has known him/her the longest? It gets interesting when you both have known the subject for more than a year and have both seen him/ her navigate through various vicissitudes of life and, you both can, with a significant degree of certainty, predict his/her reactions to the various circumstances and situations. Yet you cannot irrefutably agree on the person’s character.
Thing is, you both know the person independently from different seasons of their life.
People, like all living things, have seasons. Some seasons are longer than others. Some seasons with longer lasting effects than others. Some seasons are like being covered in ice on a desert. It thaws quickly and somehow rejuvenates you. Others are like getting a bucketful of molten lava poured onto you head to toe. Excruciatingly painful, and the scars never heal, if you manage to escape with your skin and sanity.
For example, if you meet me hungry I am impatient, irritable and jaded. I am a horrible person. Once I have filled my belly, I can listen to your nonsense and my levels of sarcasm recede to a point of non-existent. I am a good human. See? Two different seasons of my life: Before food, after food. On another extremity of seasons, find someone healing from a hellacious breakup, loss of a loved, betrayal or even loss of virginity to a married man. (I hear it is as bad).These awfully blistering seasons and events leave wounds that might take patch up and live again and the scars are always there with us.
That’s what makes us. Seasons of life. Through these seasons, some characteristics are buried, masked by other more conspicuous ones or dropped altogether. Some new more are acquired to see us through these more-often-than-not unpleasant times. They masked ones may resurface later. Or not. But we all have these undulations in our lives. Sometimes they tend to repeat themselves in an endless, infinite, loop where we have consistent inconsistencies in our behaviors and wonts. Provided you don’t go for a sex change, do not be worried about these changes.
So, as humans, we meet people and we characterize them depending on the season of life they’re in. Our judgement and subsequent categorization is purely predicated on the prevailing circumstances in their lives: He’s too quiet and secretive. She’s a party animal. He’s so emotionless (lol). She’s super secretive even her second name is classified. He’s a drunkard. She’s a hoe. He’s a lazy ass. She’s a proud bitch. On and on we ignorantly and insensitively categorize souls with stories untold.
You cannot tell someone’s story from just a facet of their life. If you truly want to know someone’s story, stick around long enough and you’ll understand. Understand their seasons, their journey, the options they had to choose from.
Now, some of us are natural, eternal assholes. We’re innately built for destruction and virtues like love, honor, loyalty and all other good virtues are foreign to us. We have no intention whatsoever to do or be good. We hate these pretentious good people. Nice is a brand of biscuit- which we don’t eat because, we’ll, who wants nice anyways? We trump on people to get what we want. We have no emotions except hungry, horny and sleepy. (If you don’t think those are legitimate emotions, go hug a transformer. They’re our emotions). For this category of us, our only remedy is God. I mean, He redeems all of us, right?
For others, we were good people until something happened that changed everything in us except our sex. (To some it messed up with that too). We cared. We loved. We saved money. We were vulnerable. We had emotions. We could cry (in the showers without making a sound, but we cried nonetheless). We took risks. We worked hard. Then the unforgiving axe of life fell on us, our dreams, and emotions and forced us to coil like a snail into our shells. We occasionally venture out –cautiously- only to recede back as soon as we smell any salt that could turn our now sore souls into a disgusting slimy weak paste of emotions.
As we seek to understand people, let us understand their seasons. Let us be merciful and gracious with them. Let us be sympathetic. This does not imply we should tolerate their BS as they walk on us because they lacked fatherly love. We are not their fathers. Or because their exes hurt them. We are not their either. We can resist (yes, resist) this abuse lovingly. We can pray for these people that they will find their way back to living again. We can tell them hard truths without giving ultimatums and irreducible minimums for our friendship.
This is to everyone who our paths crossed when I was not in my game. I am sorry. If I hurt you because I was hurt, I am sorry. If I ripped you off your money in a month like January, I am sorry it was a bad season but I don’t plan on repaying. Learn forgiveness too.