A Penny For Your Truth


The truth scares the bejesus out of most people and that is why it is problematic to accept. I’ve learnt it the hard way. You can’t really know everything about a person. It’s not only because they may lie, pretend, hide or omit certain things. It could be that it’s on a need-to-know-basis, like in spy movies; sometimes you just can’t see it. You are looking at them but you’re not seeing them for who they really are. I usually don’t arrive at the heart of things all philosophical like Yoda but yeah, that’s how it is tonight as I go through everything that has happened.

It was the weekend I went with my friends, China and Kay, to see a play that my cousin Tari produced down at the theatre. Everybody loves the man, he’s the local super star. I managed to swipe free tickets from him – promoted him to favorite cousin extraordinaire. The play was going so well and I was chugging down drinks like no man’s business. Until I had to go, real bad. That kind of thing ever happened to you, when the show gets to the interesting part and you’re keen on savoring every bit of it but your bladder gets other ideas? I made funny noises and got out of my seat faster than you could say plantain chips.
As I was about to get down to business in one of the stalls I heard voices coming into the restroom. Ah! There’s no privacy in public. I tried to tune them out by focusing on the scruffs on my boots.

“Hey! Hey! Cut that out and listen” one of the voices piped loudly. The voice was husky, as if the owner smoked a pack a day. You know the fear that grips you when it feels like you’ve unknowingly wandered into a horror movie set? That was how I felt.
“Did you see the crowd out there? I told you Tari’s a good-for-nothing swine but he’s the reason why the company is doing so well. He may act like he’s got his shit together but that idiot deserves to have nails shoved into his eyes” Husky mouths off.

I really am in a horror movie. Tari? My cousin? Someone turned on the tap. I couldn’t hear much of what was said until it was turned off.

“Only thing his worthless ass is good for is wiping the floor” another voice said. The voice was different, squeaky like old bed springs. Squeaky sniffed as she talked “He tried to feel me up the other day while I was sorting out the costumes. Said he could get me to play the lead female. I’ve heard the other girls talking. They say a lot. I turned him down. I guess that’s why he dropped me before opening night” She said it slowly and the words fell heavy and cold.

How many Taris were in the play? I was reeling. I wanted to go out there and tell them to shut up. My Tari? No! Husky and Squeaky kept using colorful words to describe him. It was awful. They left and I wanted to follow but I still had my business to take care of. My momma said to me one time, “The truth is a wild card, when it steps into the building it can get real ugly.” This was after she gave me a major ass whopping for playing in the rain, even though I wasn’t supposed to and it made me sick with the flu for days. Tough love? I’m stubborn. That’s my truth, at least the one I’m aware of, which is why I still hop about in the rain. I refused to believe what I heard about him. Skies! It was really hard to deal with. It still is. You know trust is a fragile thing. If you go stomping on it be prepared to watch it shatter into a billion pieces. Try putting it back together. Good luck! You’ll need it.

Tonight I sprawl on a thin mattress up on the roof and absently swat the mosquitoes that feast on me like I’m jollof rice on a Sunday. My safe space. You can find me up here every other night looking the epitome of relaxed and without a care in the world. When it comes down to it, out here in the open, I’m reminded that I’m part of the phenomenon that is this colossal universe – though a tiny speck I may be – and that is freaking awesome and creepy at the same time. It’s creepy because a whole lot of things out there can influence the outcome of events, and I would be forced to react to this outcome. In fact not reacting is a reaction. And it works the other way around. Do you get what I’m saying? We are all inevitably woven into the fabric of the world, locked in a children’s game of tag. So it turned out that Husky and Squeaky left me with a bag of snakes to deal with and ever since I’ve been stuck on that night searching for answers.

The clouds hide the moon for a bit and I look as the lights that scatter all over town shine intensely. I imagine what most folks will be up to right now and it’s funny what I come up with. Maybe truths and what makes them true is easy. It could be that Tari is nothing like what I heard them say that unfortunate night, he probably puts up an act because of the line of work he is in. Also consider that earth is Midgard and I can prove it if I find Bifrost, the Rainbow Bridge.
If I say the the truth can only be explained with things that can be seen but not felt, I should be ready to face the controversies as they twerk forward in their numbers. A lot of folks will want to know where sixth sense and instinct comes to play because there are people out there who have this awareness. I on the other hand did not get any misogynistic bastard vibes from my cousin, and I’ve never seen him be anything but polite and charming.

I’ve known the bloke my whole life. Again there’s only so much you know about the people in your life. I know China to be shy and reserved but that’s because she’s been dealing with her step sister’s nonsense for so long she’s become non confrontational. Tries to fix everything. My girl is the nicest person I know but when she brings down the thunder, you’ll quake in your pants. Kay – Kayode is just crazy. You’ll understand what I’m saying if you spend a few minutes with him. He’s a nerd through and through, with a mouth that gets him in trouble all the time. He also raps. Weird I know. We love to read, it’s our first love. We also cry whenever we watch the Titanic, especially Kay. If you ask me I’ll say I know all there is to know about my friends. They are my ride or die. But lately I’ve let myself get distracted by all the things I don’t know about them. It is not cool.

I’m going to switch to Dumbledor. He said: “The truth is a beautiful and terrible thing, and should therefore be treated with caution” He also said, “One cannot have enough socks” so yeah, you should probably listen to him. Life is hard, if not we won’t need each other to get through all the crazy. Life is also good, I know because there is evidence of it all around me. I don’t get a lot of things; like how we say war brings peace or to love is to hurt or quantum physics. I do know that a lot of what we do is basic, not so complicated. In philosophy some have argued that truth is grounded in belief. I believe in God. I believe in karma – what goes around comes around, to bite you in the derrière. They are my truth because I believe.

Clearly, who you say you are and who people say you are defines you. But in the end you decide what you make of yourself. So when I pay more attention to myself, and choose for myself, and believe in the choices that I make, it will transform into my truth. Whatever ‘it’ may be. Others will eventually see this one way or another and come to their own conclusion. This is why I still have to figure Tari out. I love him but I can’t live with not knowing. The first step is to condition my heart and mind to be ready to face the truth, that is what I’m working on; which is the hardest part to deal with. The next step is to find the truth.

What’s your truth?

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