I had heard tales of perfect relationships. I had done my research on the best way to prepare myself for the perfect communion. I had seen others in practice, the timing and manner in which they made use of fabled ingredients to create a perfect thing. In my naivety, I thought I knew it all. I dared to think, and believe, that seeing and researching, watching and knowing the methods, made me a master of art. In my hunger for a relationship that my heart would so savour that I’d even taste it on my tongue, I set out to create a masterpiece.
I prepared myself like a surgeon about to delve into the inner machinations of human anatomy. I scrubbed my hands clean, disposing of the dirt of previous activities, cleansing myself of the stench of the past. It would be a shame to taint this new beginning with the dirty baggage of previous ends, leftovers of previous dinings. I made to know the rules of what I was trying to create, muttering to myself the fabled ingredients of previous relationships I had witnessed. I had seen the prototypes, read the books, heard the tales of miracles. It was time to make mine.
The heat of the flames drove the water out of my body, forming beads on my forehead that raced down to sizzle beside the flames. I would wipe my brow as I continued, sticking stubbornly to the fire even as it made me a shriveled prune. It was necessary; the purification of gold is through even hotter flames. I could handle just this. I went to work, still muttering my ingredients to myself as I moved around my workplace. I treated each ingredient with love, no matter how tiny it seemed. One cannot expect to feel love even on their tongue when one has no love within. After carefully preparing each ingredient, washing away their past like I had done mine, I was ready. I turned all the ingredients into my cauldron and waited. I learnt to be patient, the tales of perfect creations I had heard centred on this. There exists no reason to stir before it is ready lest you burn it all. I had used all the recipes and followed through with the proper methods. All that had to be done was the waiting; I deserved magic.
The aroma that rose from my cauldron stirred my heart like a mother’s singing stirs her unborn child to kick. My masterpiece was ready. I looked into my cauldron and gazed lovingly upon the beauty that lay within. My heart was frantic and refused to stay still, my palms sweaty in anticipation, my tongue ready to taste the love of another. I leaned in closer to have a taste of my creation, a love of my own design. I had followed all the laws and nature owed me a masterpiece. As my tongue drew closer to home, where my heart at the moment lay, my excitement rose; I was finally here.
The hardness of my love struck my tongue harshly. The undone nature of my creation singeing my taste buds. I had been deceived. The beauty of my creation was but a farce; she was without substance. I felt like I had unwrapped a Milkose candy and found nothing but air. She was adorned with the best of jewels- green and orange, brown and yellow – her reddish tinged orange surface all inviting. Yet, my love was undone, harsh and without substance. My heart sank through my diaphragm and my tongue stung with the heat of disappointment. My masterpiece, my love, my jollof was a failure. I had followed the rules and been met with failure, my love was not meant to be. It would be a while till I make another attempt. My hunger would die and nature and its laws are to blame.