Posted in TALL TALES


Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom.

Psalm 90:12 New Living Translation (NLT)

My name is Mario, and I am thirty years old. I think I have a disease; science just doesn’t have a name for it yet.

My name is Mario and I am thirty years old.

Self discovery Mario

My name is Mario and I am thirty years old.

I close the diary with much more force than I intended. Who am I kidding? My diary would be as boring as my life. Just look at the way I started.

I open it and try again.

Dear Diary,

My name is Mario and I am thirty years old. We need to find a name for you.

I suppress a sigh of frustration. I suppose I could permit myself to be happy considering the fact that I slept all through, okay for the greater part, my literature classes in secondary school, and I never got beyond 12 in my essays. The total mark was 30. Appalling, to say the least. On the brighter side I was consistent; the only other mark I got was 12 and a half. I close the diary – more like a hard cover note – again. Maybe I could start a blog. Or maybe not. Back in the university, I borrowed a course, English Composition and Writing. You wouldn’t believe it; I was the only one in the class that failed that course. I had 29 marks out of 100. Apart from my F, the only non-A/B grade was a C, and that C was 58 marks. I scored 9 out of 40 in my tests, and 20 out of 60 in my exams. Apparently, my writing really sucks. I bury my face in my diary.

I must not cry. My only New Year Resolution this year. I have been doing that a lot already. No, Mario, you will not cry. But my tear ducts are winning the argument. The first fat teardrop lands elegantly on my knuckles, and the next on the nail of my thumb, the next one forms a steady rivulet on my hard-cover-note-turned-diary. No, Mario you need to stop this. My nose joins in. My sobs wrack my whole body. Mario, please you need to stop this. You have broken your New Year Resolution. As I did yesterday, and the day before that, and the day before that day, and the day before the day before that day and so on. In fact, I cried on New Year’s day. I feel a headache coming. I put my hand into the pocket of my shorts and pull out a sachet of pain killers. I take two tablets and chew them. I am too lazy to move for a glass of water so I settle in my chair and decide to take a nap. I really don’t want to deal with anything at the moment because the truth is I really can’t. I can’t. I need to sleep.

But I won’t because somebody is knocking at the door. I hiss in anger. I can’t even mope in peace. I snuggle deeper into my chair and I wish the visitor away. The knocks stop after a few minutes. I heave a sigh of relief. That was quite easy. A sudden bang has me leaping out of my chair. I place my hand on my chest. What was that?

‘I. Know. You. Are. In. There!’

Three quick bangs. I march to the door, unlock it and yank it open with the most murderous glare I can muster. My friend Abigail struts in, handbag hanging on the crook of her left elbow, left fingers splayed and phone dangling dangerously between her right thumb and index finger. I shut the door with a huff of annoyance. I don’t want to talk to anybody right now.

I drop into the nearest chair. She takes the one opposite me. She ignores, more like doesn’t notice, the waves of anger I am radiating. We are separated by this center piece rug and a tiny glass table, with a vase of artificial flowers. I tuck in my legs and sit cross-legged.She drops her bag but her left hand is still hovering. I take a deep breath. What now? She stretches her left hand and stops right under my nose. We scream together.

‘He finally came around!’ I pull her in for a hug. ‘Yes!’, she says, ‘I couldn’t just stop crying. I am so excited!’ I stop abruptly. ‘Does he know about the date?’ She smiles sheepishly. ‘Yes, we are working with it’. I squeal in delight. ‘This is the best news ever’ Her phone rings. She turns towards me. ‘That’s Dotun. We have dinner this evening. I have to go and prepare.’ ‘Of course.’ I lean in for another hug.

‘I planned to stay a while, but… ‘, she shrugs without completing her sentence. She wags her finger in my face. ‘Don’t get into any more trouble’. We both laugh as she lets herself out. And there goes my sleep. I sigh in exasperation. The diary catches my attention again. Maybe I can do this. I pick up the pen. 

It feels like I have been unconscious all these years. Like I just woke up from sleep and found out that I am thirty. I am thirty! What have I been doing with my life? And what is this feeling? 

I drop the pen as I read through what I have written. I suddenly can’t breathe. I am gasping for air as I clutch my chest. Tears spring to my eyes as I let out an ear-piercing wail. What is this feeling? It leaves a hole in my chest. A burning hole. It hurts so badly. Tears prick my eyes. Great. I think I should forget about the New Year Resolution already because I am doing a rather bad job of keeping it. I drag myself from the chair to the floor, tuck my legs into my chest and bury between my knees, using my crossed arms to support my forehead. And I let the tears fall freely.  When my head begins to pound again, I lie down on my side. My phone in the pocket of my shorts keeps poking me in the side. I pull it out and look at the screen. It is late afternoon and I have a number of text messages and some missed calls – calls I didn’t pick up deliberately. I don’t feel like responding to any, so I won’t read them. My finger mistakenly hits the ‘read option when a dialog box pops up on the screen of my phone notifying me of a new text.

Happy Thirtieth Birthday, Mario! 

I begin to cry again.



A world changer who tells the stories that deserve to be told. Fiction may sometimes be real.


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