It was darkest at the time. He was not asleep. He never sleeps—a fact that I am still yet to accept and appreciate. I love to read. Especially when it was time to care for and protect the jar. Oh, the jar of pure joy and happiness! I read my favourite stories of ancient conquests and enigmatic tales aloud during my watch hour. I would not always read. I danced and sang in my hushed husky voice. I was always shy when I remembered that He was still watching. Regardless, there was something magical about every night’s watch. They were never the same.

Bittle was always there too. But asleep virtually all the time. I was not shy of Bittle. Today, she perched on the top of the monolithic glass pillar beside the jar. Lazuli peacefully rested there, as it basked in the direct moonlight, reflecting calming rays of blue around the room and on Bittle’s white fur. Today, Bittle sleepily stole glances at me with one eye, intermittently, and then went back to her comfortable routine, as I tried to dance my worries of the day away. I guess she noticed how much I was still recovering from today’s bout with the baker.

Being a homeless orphan in the village of Zova has its ruthless perks. It was pure elation, however, 36 moons ago, when I met the Wise Keeper of the Glass temple. I would not forget. With warm, kind eyes he gave me an offer to steward the Glass Temple which only reveals itself to the pure in heart and spirit. I did not understand all his many instructions. For some reason, he kept stressing that more important than any precious thing in the temple was to discover who the Creator was and to discover his immanence. I did not understand his words nor was I ready to trade my excitement for deep thought or understanding. And now, standing and contemplating the value of the magnificent jar, His knowledge or existence was the last thing my senses would consider.

Could the jar be the permanent end of the daily woes? Yes, there are other rooms and elements not fully explored but Lazuli is what I know. Lazuli would trade for a fortune. Bittle was wide awake and glaring at me, confused, with her wide eyes which glittered in the soft light, as I made my way up the glass pillar. It was strangely sturdy. She glided down from her spot on the translucent monolith, floating gracefully like the white flying cat that she was. Bittle, having landed soundlessly on my shoulder, started pawing my eyelids close and desperately reminding me that He wouldn’t be pleased. I was determined, and she gave up, softly disappearing into thin air like she always did when she knew she would not win.

I was now a foot’s reach from Lazuli. The slippery climb up the pillar was close to an end. I flung my hand to reach for the base. A split second after the fourth try, I was in awe of the momentary burst of myriad tints and shades of bright green and blue, as the jar of joy and happiness fell to my face. There it was again, elation at its peak. I let go and spread my arms to receive the precious jar. It connected with my forehead. I saw blue, bright red and painful blackness.

I jolted awake, immediately realizing the gravity of my transgression. My eyes were already tear-filled and a bit bloody. I broke down into uncontrollable tears and deep sorrow, cradling the five pieces of the jar in my lap and arms. I had done the unthinkable. He would not forgive. Between my sobs, I could faintly hear Bittle and a familiar voice. I could not place a finger on it yet, but it was there. He lifted me up and promised to fix Lazuli if I would only promise to know Him. Lazuli would never be perfect, and I accepted this fate. Many promises were made that day. The other rooms and precious things seem to appear more clearly now. They seem equally exciting. He said not to get overly attached. I understood.

Lazuli carries the scars of the repair. I carry the scar and the pain. Though I still steward the Glass temple, I do not walk alone—Bittle is always good company but His presence makes the difference. Wise Keeper, I understand His immanence.


She wanted it. She was going to get it. It was only righteous. To deny someone of what they earnestly wanted, maybe even needed was sinful. It had to be. She was too pretty in white and those tights which hug those parts so close didn’t help. She eagerly sipped the mini glass of Kokoroko at intervals as if she had to maintain the redness of her lips already ripened by Sleek’s red. She wasn’t alone on that round little table where the window linked to the insides of the bar. Whoever made her laugh to her phone was doing a better job at making her night.
I’m not sure whether her laugh was growing louder or the numbness in my ears was wearing off. Who nudged me at the side?
“Chale you no go jam?” male laughter followed. “Make I buy more passion shots?!”
I lost sight of Red. Who was this guy? Oh, just Razz Kweku. Wait, that didn’t sound right. Razz Kweku is hardly generous. Trailing the elbow, it belonged to Ade. He was giving this white exchange student, heavy doses of his all-purpose ‘sharing-a-bed-with-you-tonight-or-nah’ vibes. From our chairs cozily placed close to each other on the bare road under the black sky, the plain conversations around me started to make sense again. Did I just space out or Red was real?
I checked. Oh yeah, she really wasn’t alone at the table. She had the stranger on the phone and two others—girls who couldn’t dim her shine. She glanced around. We shared the stare for the second. Those reds curled at one end in a smirk as she scanned the lively bustle. Leaving the glass of red on the table with the two straws sticky with Sleek, she meandered her curves through to the only path that leads out to the remaining half of the road not covered with furniture. The front of the Republic Bar and Grill. I was glad my seat partly blocked the path. Her lollipop-sweet smell hit my left cheek first and I wasn’t going to bend forward to allow the rest of her to slip behind me just yet. Not without gracing the back of my head with her softness. The perfect accident.
“Congratulations, Red, you played yourself!” I thought, even as she slowly squeezed between behind my low chair and that of whoever was behind me. I smiled. The perfume alluringly mysterious. I would be braver, turning around swiftly, ‘apologetically’, could mean my right cheek will be blessed as well. She skipped the rest of the way, I didn’t get to finish my thoughts. Walking along the road, heading towards Oxford Street in a saunter, and laughter into the once again handy phone, she was three steps away.
It was time to compete with the guy at the other end of the line. I couldn’t feel my hands but they helped me stand hard on my feet. “Owch! Ajei! Stop that, D—!“ I barely heard Ade finish that exclamation but I finished it with, “Chale I go call you, Ade! Stop talking about Ds” and a pat on his back, eyes still fixated on Red in sexy white, while I rose to my feet. The hot pursuit was on.
Almost out of earshot, I later recalled what seemed like Ade screaming at my stepping on his foot. White giggled with everything she had, it was a pretty sight from behind as if it merged perfectly with her strut. But then she still leaned on her left ear to that stranger’s voice. Closing the gap too quickly could take away points. The trick was to wait for the brief quiet down in the conversation and interject with the witty intro which would spark off the dialogue, totally pushing Mr PhoneCall into oblivion. This night was mine. This night was for the formidable Danso!

The Zone

I just stared. I liked the way he smiled intermittently when he spoke of his annoying little brother. I thought his gestures were cute and the way he hardly kept eye contact was teasing—what was he hiding? He spoke while scribbling what seemed like the outline of a nude lady on his notebook. His whispering stopped abruptly and so did his sketchy artwork. Something had broken the peace of my surreal experience. I didn’t realize I was smiling sheepishly until I turned swiftly to the left, seeing the crossed look on Dela’s face as if expecting me to say something. The rest of the class giggled.
Nudging me into a better sitting posture he whispered what I later came to know as an answer to the question Dela had asked. I was lost and this was not the first time. With an elaborate shrug, the lecturer moved on. I was mortified. maybe I should stop sitting next to him or shouldn’t have chose the same classes in the first place. What was I thinking?
Then I remembered my pen had a use. I picked it up, held it over my blank page and stared at the PowerPoint slides projected on the screen in front of the class. It was an hour into the class and everything looked so foreign that I almost forgot the class I was in. But hey! I couldn’t wait till it ended. After all Cyprian and I could hang out after this class since it was both our last for the day.
Mid semester zoomed in and I watched the components of my final grades play the downside of a roller-coaster. On the other hand we were closer friends now. That was important. But every thing changed when he asked me out. It was so sudden and out of the blue. I could not get a word in edgewise after his question. I was in my own panic world now and could only see his lips mouth out words as the walls of the restaurant closed in on me. speechless.
“I think you’re a great friend,” I replied with a smile. I sounded like a broken record making a last attempt on the last four beats of a song, “…and I don’t want us to mess up this special friendship.” He seemed crushed but his smile did not waver. I beamed with a much broader smile while my insides screamed at me, “You just friend-zoned your longest crush!” What had I done?