My father told me stories of greasy afros and dusty feet, smooth leather shoes, quaking hips, beer foam and love.
His stories all started the same way, with crumpled banana peels and sweet-smelling fragrances. I learnt that there were two kinds of regret, the kind that stands by your shoulder and the kind that whispers when curtains defy the light.
He told me about winding paths and diverging roads, and earth soiled with impurity a light shade of grey. I learnt that the goal is not to live a life without regrets but to choose the kind that your arms can carry.
I think of him now as a photograph, balancing sharp blades at the foot of a grand tree. He hates pictures, so he doesn't smile, not with his lips. I learnt that plenty is in the heart of little and that we all stand on the edge of a dream.
There is virtue in knowing your place, and nothing matters more than family, he would say, again not with his lips, but with his eyes and his steady hands and his quiet indignation. You are more than one thing. You are fraying yarn. You are violet ink.
Jump when your feet are sore, allow the clouds to caress your wounds. Love like I have shown you to, dance with your soul naked, comb your afro till it is a perfect circle – a black sun that carries your face. Seek truth and bare your eyes in the shadow of a sand storm.
Find a vessel of flesh and hard rock, empty yourself into it, tend the slender flowers that grow at its sides and in the quiet of dark where night and morning meet, draw a circle under fading stars and hide your story in its centre.
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