I write to tell you that I am always situating myself between the distinct and the unclear.
I write to tell you that I have been irresponsible, that I have allowed innumerable lives to enter mine.
I write to tell you that I lay on a bed in Calabar but my body—all of its substrata were split along different paths, in different dimensions, in different times, levitating in all of these angles.
I write to tell you of how I have deposited myself: to be present in a place, no matter how mildly, is an historical event, an unannullable truth. So when you visit, collect pieces of me from every road I have taken, every air I have exhaled, every hand I have shaken, every wink I have exchanged, every spoon I have lifted to my lips.
I write to tell you of the mental maps I have made—always with people as the dividing lines: how in the dark I trace the shapes of those who turned away from me, whose names did not make it into my journal, who refused me a conversation: in their eyes all my kilometers unjourneyed.
I write to tell you of a woman that waved at me from a window in Umuahia—how all I saw were the thin in her lips and the length of her lashes; how I loved her in full, in all of the world’s possible completeness but only in that instant; how Frost’s road untaken can veer off several tangents.
I write to tell you how I counted the miles before the bend at Ugep, of how there is a large stretch of young palms—youth’s defiant effervescence: to be so young, so vibrant, so uncertain, so willing yet so vulnerable.
I write to tell you of an old woman I met in Benin—how she was so fragile, with not a fear left in the world. Yet to be so ripe, so ready for the harvester now that the ear of the corn is full.
I write to tell you that if Nigeria is an open sore then, perhaps, healing it is a worthy resolve.
But now, I write to tell you of what I have feared from the beginning: it is a long road, writer.
*Photograph by Yagazie Emezi