An Ode to the Men I’ve Loved-1
An Ode to the Men I’ve Loved-1: To the son of Uzochukwu – I will always look back on the day we met as pure magic.
I had walked into that place, looking tired and sweaty, not sure which demon advised me to wear that black sweater on black leggings on a hot day, but it got your attention.
To the one who told me “large thighs are sexy”.
I wanted small thighs you know. So I worked out excessively and wore long trousers to cover the thighs because I was ashamed of the fact that my thighs rubbed against each other when I walked. Until he said,
“I love how big your thighs are, they are sexy”.
To the male whose face I first called ‘beautiful’.
I had looked at your face countless times when you slept, and nothing made sense. Why will you choose me? I was not worth it, I did not look the part.
To the one who convinced me that black was beautiful.
I remember looking at my phone and doing a double-take when you said,
“You have the most beautiful face ever”
Again, nothing made sense.
I had left secondary school thinking I was the ugliest thing to have ever happened to Luminary secondary school. And then he said it and it stuck.
To the one in whose hands I learned vanity.
I would often watch him stand, facing the mirror, and saying to himself that he was handsome. He was not lying, he was one fine specimen of a man. Slowly, I learned this obsession with mirrors and selfie cameras, and I became vain as well. It seemed as though I had tapped into a goldmine. Every other person saw me, in the same way, I saw myself, and soon the male attention increased.
To the one who taught me pain.
I remember laughing to myself as tears fell from my eyes. I remember walking on the road aimlessly and wondering where I had gone wrong. I remember standing in the mirror and asking myself if I wasn’t beautiful enough. I remember going through her page all the time, comparing me to her. I remember my self-worth dropping, I remember losing all that vanity amidst tramadol and alcohol. I remember that I just wanted to sleep on some days.
I remember my sister sending me a recharge card because she wanted me to feel better. I remember listening to the lyrics of ‘you ruin me’ by The Veronicas and crying my eyes out. I became a poet of pain and darkness.
To the one who taught me that I could love
In your arms, I learned that you may never always receive love the way I give out. In your arms, I learned that sometimes, bad things will happen to you, and it was never because you were not good enough. With you, I learned that I was one amazing woman deserving of love. And even if I never thought I would ever love again, I did learn how to love wholesomely with you.
To the son of Uzochukwu
I still look at your pictures sometimes, that bright ass smile, those beautiful eyes, the Pepsi-sliced-beauty-spot on your face, and I wonder how much beauty exists in the world if all of that could be contained in one man.
Thank you, Uzo.
Written by Abigail Chukwu