Yinka Elujoba

Let the elders now swear if they weren’t once young and foolish. 

It was at a time when our bodies were finally becoming aware of the earth, of our hearts. We had always known of love’s existence: that nebulous, elemental force; that storm; but we had never been caught within its tentacles. So that when love finally raged like a wave we drowned hard, both of us, swallowed in its seas. So that everywhere I went I saw your face in everything—on the road from Egbe to Ikotun, I thought I saw your face disappear into the market behind a meatseller’s stall. So that when I walked to Council and knocked on your door it was Mrs. T’s face that appeared instead of yours. So that the first time my heart tasted the exhilaration of a chase, of notoriety, of rebellion, it was when she said “Young man! will you disappear before I count up to three.”

Let the elders now swear if they weren’t once young and foolish. 

Love blossoms in revolt against a common enemy: yet in the end we didn’t have to face our enemy, we faced ourselves. How could we have survived?
It was always there in the wind, on the long walk home towards your house from school, hand in hand, discussing foolish things that plague young love. The first kiss, small and round, inexperienced yet delicious, forever situated before the rest.

Let the elders now swear if they weren’t once young and foolish.

One day on the long walk home, your father's car passing beside us. He stopped and ordered us both to get in. I forget what rank he had then in the army—a Major? a Colonel?

"I'm sending my daughter to England," he said easily, as if the world would ever remain the same after his pronouncement. "Cherish the last days you have with her."

We got off the car together, heads sunken, hearts unaware of the true weight of what lay ahead.

Years have passed. Everything has changed. I do not even remember your face. Now, another woman, another life, another love. Even after all that has been taken away, at brief moments, between sleep and wakefulness, the sweet anxiety of everything returns—memories as light as feather, yet as heavy as tombstones. What nothing can take away—what I still possess—is this simple thrill of being a Man in love.

Let the elders now swear if they weren't once young and foolish...

08:28am on 07, June 2019


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