Chasing Happiness


My eyes sting, if I don’t stop moving I’ll unleash a flood. In other news, I don’t bloody care. I squeeze them shut tightly and let my chest expand with deep breaths. This thing happening to me, well, describing it is beyond words.

My heels refuse to touch the floor as I choose instead to bounce on the balls of my feet. I am a ballerina pirouetting across the room. My limbs are out of control and fly unmolested. I suspect that my hips are gyrating or rebelling by doing the opposite. I spin around until everything blurs. Then a scream escapes from my lips without any warning. It rings like bells, sweet like dark chocolate, and bright as a summer day. I stop spinning and place a hand on my racing heart, willing it to return to normal. My lips refuse to take their proper form but remain stretched from ear to ear.

I look up to the ceiling until my vision settles. The whole room is thrumming, the walls vibrate to the music; colors burst out in a riot even as the air shimmers.

I don’t always feel this way. Sometimes my heart races for a different reason. I’ll find myself curled up like a fetus in the womb, the cold would rise from my bones and a roar of turbulent waves will fill my ears.

I turn up the music louder and the alte highlife sounds have me moving like a penguin. My voice strains to hit all the right notes without success and I make a mess of the lyrics. I try out the zanku dance and throw in dabs for good measure. The truth is I’m a terrible dancer.

The other day I was with my friends. I remember fondly that we said and did tons of fun, important bonding stuff that I cannot fully recall. Still, I can confess that there were no dragons in my tummy, no crippling doubts about being loved and accepted, and no fear for what the next moment would bring. My heart was swollen with appreciation because I belonged and was loved simply for existing.

There was another time at work when we were focused on our individual tasks. Suddenly I noticed a lull in the usual office din – phones ringing, voices trying to drown out each other, keyboards going tap-tap-tap, slurping of drinks, and feet rushing in every direction. As I looked around, I felt my skin tingling as if the universe itself was watching and participating in the stillness. I couldn’t bear to ruin the mood by calling the attention of the others to it. So I sat there, feasting on the view and appreciating a moment that I would in later years regurgitate time and time again.

Those are the kind of days that I look forward to. When I’m alive and aware, not stuck in my head challenging every decision that I take or missing out on things because I’m too scared to try, and too scared to live.

I walk into the kitchen still bobbing like a bottle in a pond. Where’s the knife? I wonder. I search for a little while and eventually I find it at the bottom of the dirty pile of dishes stacked in the sink. Gross! I wash it clean. It is new, shiny, and sharp.

The intro of Fireboy DML’s – Gbas Gbos rents the air and I nearly drop the knife on my foot out of excitement. This is not how I had planned for this to end.

I place the knife carefully on the counter and reach for the pen and paper I’d brought into the kitchen earlier in the day. I breathe deeply, gather my thoughts, and begin to write. I make sure to keep my writing bold and legible.

I straighten up after I’m done and set the paper aside. As I start to reach for the knife, the kettle whistles, right on cue. Humming, I move over to the stove to turn it off. In a moment I take a sip from my steaming cup of tea. I add a generous amount of lemon juice and stir it in.

I grab the knife in one hand and stretch out my other hand all the while thinking if I should make a small cut or a big cut. Just as the knife is about to make the cut, the doorbell rings.

I place the tea on the kitchen counter and reach for the knife again. I can’t put it off any longer or I’ll lose my nerve. I’ve not come this far to turn back.

This life shoves a variety of flavors at you at every turn. Not every one of them is agreeable to your taste. Dead is a man that misses out on the flavors. I’m not dead – yet.

No! No! No!

“Uju! Uju! I’m home. Where are you this woman?” I hear my sister call from the hallway.

I was so close. So close. I hear footsteps behind me and feel beads of sweat run down my face.

“Uju o! Babe how far? You didn’t hear me calling your name? Obviously, you can’t with all this racket going on.”

I turn around as Amaka moves into the kitchen in that easy way of hers like she’s floating. She turns off the music and I feel trapped. I still can’t believe I didn’t do it. It’s too late now.

Amaka eyes me suspiciously as my silence stretches. I try to hide the knife that is still in my hand but the movement catches her eyes.

“What are you doing with a knife, Uju?” She asks suspiciously.

“Nothing” I quickly retort.

She eyes me some more, “You weren’t trying to…” She trails off.

A nervous laugh bubbles out of my mouth and my eyes dart to the side to avoid her gaze.

I hear her gasps loudly and I swiftly turn my head to look at her. She was looking past my shoulder. How did she get so close? She can see the note I left on the counter. Oh no!.

“It’s not what you think,” I say. I drop the knife and edge towards the door.

The hurt in her eyes pins me just as I’m about to make my sweet escape.

“Uju why?” She asks as she picks up the paper.

I cringe when she starts to read it out loud.

“Dear Amaka, I hope you’ll find a place in your heart to forgive me. Love, Uju.” She crumples up the paper and throws it at me.

“Where did you think you’d have ended up if you had done it? I can’t believe this! I can’t believe you would do this. You know how much I worked and yet you didn’t think twice before trying to do it again. Amaka, why are you so ungrateful? Why do you think about only yourself? What would I have told the rest of the family when they ask me what happened to….”

“I’m sorry, Uju.” I wring my fingers.

“Are you sorry? Are you? Because that was what you said the last time.”

I see red spots appear on her beautiful cheeks. She must wish to throw the knife at me because her eyes focuses on it.

“The cake is for everybody!” she yells. “How e take dey do you ehn! You alone ate all the cake the last time and now, you can’t even wait for tomorrow when the rest of the family arrives before gobbling this one up?”

I pout and start to grumble, “Amaka it’s all your fault for baking cakes that are divine.”

Amaka launches herself at me intent on wreaking havoc on my person, and I run out of the kitchen laughing hard.

“I’ll kill you today,” she screams.

I spend the rest of the day with warmth in my chest, food in my tum-tum, and light in my eyes, that is after Amaka stopped trying to kill me. I understand that I can only live one day at a time, and I have learned to treasure days like this – the happy days.

I put the music back on and this time Amaka joins me to groove. She’s worse than I am at dancing. I tell her this and earn myself a slap for my trouble.

Thank you for reading. Please leave a comment below.

Photo credit: Pinterest

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9 thoughts on “Chasing Happiness

  1. Priscy you have a beautiful mind , and you are a great writer

    On Tue, Dec 14, 2021 at 5:33 AM Waking Dreams Unmasked wrote:

    > Rigozo posted: ” Rigozo My eyes sting, if I don’t stop moving I’ll unleash > a flood. In other news, I don’t bloody. I squeeze them shut tightly and let > my chest expand with deep breaths. This thing happening to me, well, > describing it is beyond words. My heels refus” >


  2. Chasing that grand idea of happiness will usually always make us blind to the mundane joys that really add up to constitute the grand.
    Ironically, the more we ignore the mundane, the more illusive becomes the grand.
    True happiness comes in small doses.
    Very nice!!!


  3. The pursuit of that grand idea of happiness will always blind and lead us to take for granted the mundane things that really add up to constitute the grand.

    Ironically, the more we become blind to the mundane, the more illusive becomes the grand.


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