From My Phone to Shandy by Ikenna Francis @biggie1o2
2012 was not an ordinary year for me. Though my financial status remained the same, the greater part of me found true happiness. And in the most unlikely place: my mobile phone. Funny, isn’t it? The essential use of a phone is primarily to make business calls and also to keep in touch with family and friends. But mine was far beyond that. I knew my phone and my phone knew me too. We shared some kind of happiness and special feelings; it was a great companion that was never out of sight, because it was the window through which I saw and found joy. In one sentence I would say, 2012 was the year I fell in love with my phone, for it became the harbinger of happiness for me.
It all started from the start of the year during the national fuel subsidy strike. That ten-day strike changed my life positively beyond my imagination. It was not the normal regular work schedule of dashing out so early in the morning and returning home late with so little left for my personal life. The early to bed, early to rise syndrome wasn’t at play. During that period, I had plenty of time to play with, and I dedicated most of my time to my phone since it’s the one close ‘pal’ I already had. I could wake up late and also stay up all night making calls, chatting and pinging. There was a group on my BBM (BlackBerry Messenger) of which I was a member – more like a passive member since it was created four months before I started contributing. Now I had the time to contribute and involve myself fully, thanks to the fuel subsidy strike.
Within the BBM Group environment, it didn’t take me too long before I found a turning point in my personal life; the one person that made every day of 2012 worth living for. Remotely, she transmitted all the joy and happiness I needed through the phone. In the group, she was addressed as Shandy, and as time went by, and the feelings developed, I re-christened her ‘Shandy Nora’. Now, she is my ‘Shandy Love’ because she has given me a mixture of beer with lemonade or ginger beer and with so much love in it (That’s where the Shandy came from). She brought with her true, unpolluted love. I call it ‘virgin love’.
Though she was thousands of miles away, her love was never diluted nor did it reduce in substance. Her love always kept me so inspired in the morning and left me so drunk at night. We start our day together, work during the day together and end our nights together. And all these happened through the phone. Her presence in my daily life was physical kind of; just like I can see, feel, perceive and touch her. I remember vividly one of my late night note to her: ‘Most of the time, consciously or unconsciously, I do turn by my sides and look around me, always hoping to find you next to me because I always feel your presence all around me. Like you are starring and admiring what I do at every point in time with smiles all over your face baby’. On days when we spend the night together through the phone, I always wake up every morning with one song on my lips and that’s Bob Marley & The Wailers’ ‘Is this love’. That was when I knew I was endlessly falling in love with Shandy. But I couldn’t help it because I felt like a prisoner who had been sentenced to serve a jail term in Shandy’s love prison. Ironically, it was more like we spent our daily life together seeing each other, but the surprising truth is that we have not spent more than thirty minutes of our physical time together. I blame that on my ever busy work schedule and her lack of full autonomy (she lives with her parents in far away Yenagoa, Bayelsa State).
On that fateful day, we sat at one of the eateries along Allen Avenue, Ikeja, Lagos. And that was in the last week of July when she came around for her Uncle’s wedding. Sitting face-to-face with each other was like starring at my destiny in its eyes. I was able to see not just her beautiful face and physique but also her adorable smiles which made her dimples so visible and attractive. I kept telling her that “I am so attracted to your dimples”, which left her with all smiles as our discussion went on. She gave me a pre-condition that she had just thirty minutes to spend with me and she never blinked on that. She later explained why and I saw reasons with her. Those thirty minutes are forever etched in my heart and I relive every moment of it like it’s just happening every time it comes to my head. I always look forward to the next episode. It may have been so brief but it still remains one of the very best moments I experienced last year.
The moment which made me realize Shandy’s massive impact on me and how obsessed and hypnotized I was for her, was the latter part of the year when my MTN SIM got damaged and I was at the MTN office at Bode Thomas Surulere, Lagos for a Welcome Back pack. The lady asked me which three numbers I do call frequently. I quickly mentioned Shandy’s two mobile numbers because I was pretty sure of those. Where the drama began was finding the third number that I also call frequently, and to my greatest surprise, there was none I mentioned that was correct. I kept scratching my head in search of a number to make it three; my mum, my brother, close friends and my colleagues at work. No luck. I went as far as calling out my ex-girlfriend’s number which I used to dial frequently, but it couldn’t solve the issue at hand. I had to go through this process because I showed up at the MTN office without any form of identity. Giving them three frequently dialed numbers was the only option I was given in order to waive the ID card requirement. I had no choice than to head back home and get my ID. On my way home, I was asking myself “what is really happening? Does this mean I cannot remember any other number I call frequently or what?” I was so astonished and could not find a word to define my state of mind at that moment. I kept on tapping my head and asking myself: “what’s happening? Francis is this really you?” That was the sentence I kept repeating on my way home. And then a reply would echo in my head: ‘Not to worry, you are only obsessed and being possessed by an angel named Shandy’.
It was not an all rosy from the start. There were moments when I felt I was facing the brick wall. In my thoughts and imagination, I could not see beyond the wall. She would ignore everything that concerns me sometimes, like I was not created by God. At a point, I felt like giving up because being in love with a person’s shadow and not the person itself is no affair at all. Rather, it felt like being in a state of madness. Her lack of full autonomy hurts me so dearly, coupled with perceived lack of trust she has or her been too scared to fully come out of her shell. Only if she could listen closely to every word of Lionel Richie’s ‘How Long’ (from his ‘Renaissance’ album). Then, I believe, she would understand clearly how deeply I feel for her. I stayed even when I thought it was dead because I could not have given up on something I really wanted. It’s difficult to wait, but more difficult to regret when you lose out completely.
So, all I could do was to keep an eye on the goal, though I blinked so many times but never lost concentration. Those were my trial periods. Just like the Bible says, I walked through the wilderness. I was tempted, I did stumble, but I never fell. Patience was my keyword, I was patiently waiting like American Rapper, Curtis ’50cent’ Jackson. I kept on believing and hoping. And everything started falling into place.
If I have spent the greater of part of the previous year in imagination and thoughts of her and always doing some role plays of we having a good time together being in love with so much happiness in it, that’s fiction; and in turn it brings joy and creates a happy feeling inside of me in my current state which is life.
Then how can I make a choice? I choose both because the fiction creates images in motion which in turn leaves my current state of life in happiness. In some situations in life, you cannot separate the two. They truly touch, connect and embrace each other. It’s funny but amazing and so loving how I have lived the greater part of my life in 2012 through the telephone.
One fateful afternoon, 1st of January, 2013 to be precise, she unexpectedly gave me a new year gift; she said those words that means everything to me. My last words on this piece: she’s the one thing that means everything to me, surely the same wordings of Michael Bolton’s song, ‘The One Thing’. I’m loving every minute.
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