What Love Is

By Sharon Olanrewaju

I watched as you walked out on me (again) and I hated you; you wouldn’t listen to me, you never do. I remember ten years ago, I wanted to watch the cartoon station while you wanted the football station. I got angry because I knew you had never liked watching football, you only wanted to get on my nerves, wanted to feel like the big brother. I was angry and I fought back.
I changed the channel with the T.V button, you laughed and didn’t move as you changed it with the remote control. It grated on my nerves.

You laughed, you mocked me, I hated that and I kept changing the channel. You threatened to beat me but I thought, since it wouldn’t be the first time you’d beat me, how bad could it get?
I was about to know.

I was not surprised when you got up angrily, but it got strange when you went out to get a stick. A stick! Only daddy would use a stick to beat me. You used to hit me with your hands for heaven’s sake! But this time, you took the stick and beat me out of the compound. I don’t think I have ever cried again the way I did that day. I cried so much – I think wept will be a more appropriate word – I wanted mother to meet me crying so she would see my tears and have an idea of how much you beat me and then beat you too.

But hours passed, and mother didn’t come around so, I picked myself up, dusted my clothes and swore never to talk to you again. When mother came home, I’d ask her if you truly were my brother. Although I’d asked her many times before then and I knew she would simply smile, the kind of smile you give to kids that mean “you are a kid and you don’t know what you are saying”.
She would smile and tell me you were my brother and I would insist you weren’t and that I hated you because I really did hate you.
But the next day would come and it’d be a different story. Who would I play with? Who would I talk to? So I forget what happened and let bygones be bygones and then play with you.
You become my brother again.

We’re both older now and you are not that same boy. Whenever I insist on some things, like I did with the cartoon channel that day, you just let me have my way. It amazes me. We grew up together for Heaven’s sake! When did you start to change and I didn’t know?
I remember the day I was insulting and shouting at you and you asked me to stop but I refused to and then you walked away. I stood staring like a fool and I cried too, because I realized you were now becoming mature and I wasn’t. We grew up together, why would you leave me behind?! I cried because I knew you would soon have another girl in your life and you’ll act so matured toward her too. You’ll be her husband.

Even as I write this, you walked out on me but this time, I wasn’t shouting at you. I think you shouldn’t have walked out on me, I was only trying to explain something to you. I was hurt when you walked away but it’s no problem because I know you’ll soon come back and that’s because you told me earlier that you would want me to see an ‘interesting movie that will blow my mind away’ on your laptop. You will always come back. It’s either you come back or I come back.

Who else will laugh at my stupid and dumb jokes? Who would listen to the spoken word pieces at their early stages with all the mistakes and faults but Oluwatomisin? If a guy would not be who you are to me, then he doesn’t deserve to be called my husband.

So what is love? It is everything I’ve ever felt towards you. The anger, the hatred, the malice, the fights and quarrels, the hisses, the smiles, the love, the respect, the appreciation (Oh, I remember my last birthday, when you gave me money; I felt like your daughter or so)
So when I’m asked how I’m so sure I love you, I say I love you because I’ve felt more than love for you, I’ve felt everything.

Happy Birthday Oluwatomisin Olanrewaju.

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