‘My Name is Love and I’m not Stupid’ IV (FAMILY)

Hello guys, here is a continuation from last week’s story.
Congratulations for making it to the last day of this amazing year 2014.
Accept my best wishes for the new year.
Cheers!

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As the black Mercedes S550 glided out of the car park heading to the stately mansion of the Onifade family, the passenger seating dejectedly at the back seat made ‘the Call’ that would later save his life.

*

Mrs Onifade

It was a well-fought battle between the shimmers of the sun and the window blinds in my bedroom as the blind kept out the almost glowing sunlight fighting to impose itself. The birds chimed to signal the dawn of a bright new day. I knew it was morning already but I couldn’t help wondering about the mechanism or science behind sleeping and waking up. It’s one of those things that God decided to dumbfound man with. You sleep and you wake up, well; that’s if He wills that you should be part of the day, because so many sleep and sleep to eternity. I have come to accept the conclusion that it is not your choice to make if you want to wake up. No my dear, believe me, it is not. It is the exclusive preserve of God.
The silence is so loud and I’m basking in its paradise but right now I need to pray. You know, thank God for the grace to make it to a new day. Just so you know I’m an avid God lover. I fan Him like my son fans his English football club, Arsenal.
I know it’s my closeness with Him that has seen me through this past last short four months of my life. Don’t start with the question of how I know this is the last months I’m spending on this round bubble wrap called earth, I just know.
Okay,  so before you say it’s not fair, I’ll tell you already. I woke up four months ago, went through my normal routines for the day until I received what I’ve termed ‘The Call’.
I come from a very privileged family and I happened to marry into one too. You know, there’s this thing about a family name especially the very famous and rich ones. It sets you apart, opens and closes doors for you, you become the subject of celebrity gist and rumours. The world is always watching,  waiting to see what next you can and or will do because it’s all about the family name. So you find yourself living under the shadow of the family name, well, some people don’t really care about it, they psych themselves to be free of the unpretentious burden of bearing the family name. To them, they are free and independent of the name but in reality,  this is so not true. The family name follows you like your shadow, always walking in step with you.
I did not marry Daniel (my Big-Dan as I used to call him) because of his family background, no way. You see, I’m one helpless romantic that is crazy about love. Hmmm…I know how odd that sounds especially to this generation where nobody gives a damn about love so long as they can hump into bed and have tons of sex and move on with their lives. My Big-Dan, Hmmm, I don’t want to talk about him now. I don’t want to start  crying.
Before you accuse me of holding back information from you, I’ll only say that he died in our own family private jet after it crashed into a rain forest in Brazil years back. So let’s leave it at that.
Wait, why I’m I telling you about my family again? Thought I was talking about ‘the Call’, well,  maybe I just wanted to tell you about the love of my life, my husband, Daniel Onifade. Technically he’s no longer my husband because he is dead now.
Okay! Back to ‘The Call’. I left the Country after the call, no; not into hiding neither was I in self denial. I just needed closure to deal with the reality that hit me. I will be different from that day on. You know this feeling you get when you receive a call from your best friend of 35 years who happens to be your personal physician and you are told, ” sorry dear, I have bad news, I’m supposed to come and tell you this face to face but right now I’m preparing to leave for the airport. I hope you understand. Are you alone? I’ll suggest you sit down if you are standing, ” and she ends the call with “I love you, please don’t do anything stupid until I come see you next week when I’m back from this conference. Dr. Toluwani will counsel you on what to do until I get back. Try and be calm, stay around your family and friends,  try not to think about it.”
The news left me dumbfounded. The irony of this few minutes is that she tries to make you comfortable, “…I’ll suggest you sit down…” before she slams you with the news that takes away your breath for almost 20 good seconds, so you have to force yourself to breath, try and stay calm if you can, banish the panic attack that springs up in hope of consuming you, shut down your brain from drowning in it and wait for the other news that will hit you. I have learned that there is no soft landing board, no devised good way for cushioning and breaking bad news because in the long run it will not deflect or reduce the effect or impact the news will have on a person. It is best delivered the way it is; steamy hot and nothing more pretentious. And she finally ends the call with”…I love you…”, well, cut out the friendship tag, she’s my doctor and it’s all sentimental bullshit (sorry for my choice of words). I’m terminally ill and I have just about two more months to live from the six months I was told by my friend-doctor. It’s sad. I have visited several hospitals outside the country to obtain a second opinion of the diagnosis but it’s still the same old news that I get.
My family, that’s my Son and my only surviving daughter has been in the dark about my health, I didn’t want to bother them because I thought I could find my way round this hideous thing eating me from my inside but now that the pains have increased and the many pain relievers have failed in their task of numbing it, I have made up my mind to share my pain with them. It will probably be healthy if they start preparing for my permanent leave of absence.
I have been researching on how best to help a family on the precipice of grief and it starts with letting them know how much you love and cherish them because they will forever remain your family no matter the differences you all share.
It’s this last good days you’ll want them to remember, it’s the gift of this awesome memories that you want them to keep. The verbal displays of affection.

It’s time make ‘the Call’.

*
David
 
 I had just finished a meeting with my board of directors when he called to say in the most distraught voice I have heard, “Bishop I am dying, it is finished, she is gone”.
A brief silence followed as I tried to make sense of his rushed words.
“Where are you?” I asked as I quickly made up my mind to go see him.
“I am heading home.” He replied.
“Okay; take it easy, I’ll be there as soon as I can.” I said as I summoned my driver.
Sitting at the back seat of the blue 2014 Range Rover Sport that was gifted me by my beautiful fiancé, Tosin on my birthday, I wondered what would have happened, who would have died?
Since I did not bother to ask him during the call, many probabilities ran through my mind. Unable to settle for any of the many crazy thoughts that my head was processing, I gave up. Even in my intermittent state of mind I prayed that Mrs. Onifade was not dead because she has been the only person in all of the scenarios that played in my head that I could think of. Mother and son were so close.
This however is not to overlook the other important figures in his life, his pretty sister, Ayobami who is a famous career economist working with the world bank and his always smiling with a dimple fiancé, a highly respected public relations manager and consultant. They both mean the world to him but by my own ratings I’ll rate them below his stunningly beautiful mum. She just returned from her holiday trip abroad where she went on an impromptu world tour. That’s what you do when you are staggering rich. Wake up one morning and decide to tour the world. Spoil yourself. This is not to mention the fact that she suddenly resigned as a Justice of the Court of Appeal. She did take everyone by surprise there but like she said, “It’s her life to live”.  
I remember the first time I met her, I can never forget it.
I was sitting on the porch with Tito when her official car drove in. She alighted and walked towards us. Tito stood up, gave her a hug and took in her brief case after they engaged in a playful banter obviously forgetting about me. I did not deem it proper to break the banter between mother and son so I did not greet her then. I still don’t know what came over me that day, maybe I had left my manners at home because maintaining my seat I uttered, “good evening ma’am, welcome”. Standing over me with her very imposing figure and with a sudden darkening of her eyes,  she thundered, “will you stand up and greet, you disrespectful youngman”. I didn’t know when I scrambled to my feet with my head bowed and prostrated in greeting. She looked at me, sighed  and went inside the house muttering some words under her breath.
God! I’m not a kid so why would I be afraid of this woman.
She was a woman of authority. She had that effect on people.
Tito got back, saw how tensed I was and asked what had transpired between his mum and I. I told him, he laughed and said jocularly, “sorry, but next time you will know how to greet your elders”.
I took my leave suddenly, coming up with an excuse that I needed to get something for Tosin at the food store which Tito knew was a lie but he didn’t stop me from leaving. I stayed away from his house for about two months before I finally summoned up courage to stop by the house.
Well, believe me, I prostrated in greeting to her Lordship before she had the chance of scolding me.
“Hey, young man, stop calling me ma’am. My Name is Funmi, just Funmi or if you can’t call me that then Mrs Onifade will do just fine” She said in a very avuncular manner that made me wonder maybe this is surreal.
Oh! She smiled too.
Tito walked in and made the introductions but I could not relate the personality of this Mrs Onifade and the tall, imposing authoritarian I had met about two months back. She is a very easy going woman.

The car drove to a stop as I stepped out hurriedly into the imposing structure that housed the Onifade family.  

*  
AYOBAMI  

“Okay mum, anything for you”. I ended the call with “I love right back” as I giggled.
Cool! So my mum sneaked back home from her world tour. This is one surprise I’m looking forward to. I just hope she got me the Chanel jumpsuit I asked her to. She is always full of surprises; my mum. She surprised us all when she suddenly told us she was resigning her job as a Justice of the Court of Appeal four months ago. Then the world tour. Hmmm! My mum of life.
She really needed to take that break. She had gone through so much pain in years past, losing her husband and Ruth, her first born child within the space of one year.
That was more than traumatising.
I remember how she would cry herself to sleep most nights oblivious that we were aware of her pain.
We all did hurt too.
She is a very strong woman, she played the strong grieving woman and mother just to help us through that dark phase in our lives.
She blamed herself for the death of Ruth, she said she wasn’t a good role model for a mother but this I know is wrong. She has been the perfect role model for I and my brother who literally worships her. The mere fact that she did not see Ruth’s suicide coming does not make her any less a mother. I must confess though that mother and daughter did have a frosty relationship, Ruth was insouciant but she loved her anyways.
I still remember it like yesterday. It was a Saturday evening and as it has been the family tradition, we all dined together in the dinning room. “Tito go, call your sister for dinner” dad said. I will never forget the shrill scream that came from her room that evening. Dad was in James Bond mode, climbing the stairs three at a time, taking flight to her room and asking what was wrong. Mum ran out of the kitchen to see what happened. For some reason I don’t know, I was stuck on my seat not knowing what to do. Then I heard her scream; my mum.
It was total pandemonium and shock.
My sister, their daughter had just been discovered hanging from the ceiling fan in her room. Every thing happened in a haze.
The police came, took the corpse to the morgue after asking my dazed parents a series of questions and saying how sorry they were.
Tito who saw her first was taken aside and talked to by one kind police woman who later spoke with me too.
After the incident, Tito and I started having weekly sessions with our family psychiatrist. Dad and mum insisted on it and I must confess it did help.
According to her suicide note, “she was raped by her boyfriend and two of his friends.”  She said “she felt like a dirty pig, she could not bear the trauma or stigma and above all she was a big disgrace to her family.” We all mourned her. She was a part of a whole gone too soon.
The useless rapist of a boyfriend who happened to be a federal minister’s son was arrested along side his despicable friends.
We were still moving on from this when we received ‘The Call’.
It was as if death had taken residence in our family. How could dad be dead? Where is our God. I remember mum saying, “This God is not making sense again”, as she  wailed. This was more than deja vù, more than we could bare as a family.
The most amazing thing that got to me was that in this dark phase, my mum was strong. Yes! She cried but she cared more about our ability to pull through all the pain emotionally and psychologically. She became our rock. Pointing us to God who according to our sage mother “knows the reason for all things and still remains God no matter what happens even when it doesn’t make sense. All things works together for good for those that love the Lord.” To her it was an era to build and grow in faith.

She looked at the clutter of papers and files on her table trying to make sense of what her secretary is paid to do if she could not organize her table.  She really needs to talk to her if she intends to keep her job. This slothful nature is getting out of hand.
*

To be Continued!

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My Name is Love and I’m not Stupid III (FAMILY)

Hello Guys! Compliments of the Season!
Here is the 3rd edition of ‘My Name is Love and I’m not Stupid’.
I hope you enjoy as you take a Read!
Looking forward to reading all your Comments and do well to share the post, after all it’s a season of sharing…Lol!
God bless You!
Adios!

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I sat on  my ‘power chair’ (it’s what I call my executive office seat; to me it has always represented the position of authority and power I have over my employees and a smoke screen of who I am to my equals…), I sat  across him and I saw the pain in his eyes which he made no attempt to mask by his macho nature. The tears that threatened to break loose the flood gates.
I heard the pain in his usually deep sonorous,  sensual  voice and I saw that look of unbelief and betrayal and regret written all over his once charming and handsome face.
I knew I had hit him below the belt the moment I had uttered the words “sorry, I just don’t love you no more”. I knew I had lost him.
I watched my prince charming  lose his charm.

“Ife mi, why?
What did I do wrong that we can’t talk about?
How did we get to this point that you could be so mean to burn me with these carefully picked acidic words.
What happened to all our plans for the future?”
I looked on stoically,  refusing to give in to the many screaming thoughts in my small head to take back my words.
Just then, I saw the flood gate of tears open as tears rolled down his tender cheeks. I knew I had to do something before I lost it, I promised myself never to cry in front of him.
I stood up; walked to my window, looked at the skyline view and I told him once more the only word I could come up with, “I’m sorry…”.

“sorry? Is that all you have to say?

I have given this relationship five years of my life and all you can say to me right now is sorry?

I have compromised,  given up on so many important things in my life just so our relationship will survive and grow but this is all what I get, sorry.”
He suddenly stops ranting and total quiet envelopes the office.

“Please sunshine, don’t leave me now. Please stay with me.
How do I live without you, it’s impossible and you know it. You are the air I breath, without you I’m nothing.
I don’t even know where to start from without you. Please stay with me, I beg you.”
As composed as he tried to be and sound I could still hear the crack in his voice.
Shaking my head I turn to him with tears in my eyes and I said it again “Bolatito I’m sorry. I know you are stronger than  this; you will make it through. You can still live again, live without me. You may never be the same but you will get used to it eventually.”

He looked at her vacoucsly, not believing what was happening to him; to them.
This was not the loving and caring woman he had been in love with for the past five years. Something was wrong somewhere and he was determined to find out what it was.

“I’m not letting you go sunshine; we are destined to be together and so it must be. Don’t even imagine or think for a second that I’m going to let you walk out of my life. No! Don’t.”

She felt anger erupt from her inside that she hadn’t known was there rise to her chest as she gave him a deadpan look and screamed, ” Tito get the fuck out of my office and out of my God forsaken life. Damn It! We are not destined for anything, in fact there’s no such thing as ‘destiny and love’ so quit with all the drama already”.

She was visibly shaking with rage as she ordered him out of her spacious office.
If he was ever shocked before now, he was now taken-aback at her outburst and use of words and her effrontery to order him out of her office.
Somewhere deep inside of him he knew he had lost her but for some strange reasons he was in self-denial,  choosing not to believe all that has happened in the short space of time this morning.
His eyes gleamed from shock and the many shaded tears that willed itself to a halt.
He gave her a hard stare searching for the sweet beautiful soul he once knew but she was nowhere to be found in the image that stood imperiously before him.
He strode to the door without a backward glance at his sunshine; well maybe she was now his moonshine.
Now alone in her office she broke down and cried so hard that she shook from her inside out.
Tosin opened the door without knocking. She happened to be her best friend right from childhood where they grew up in the same affluent neighbourhood and went to the same school. They referred to each other as friends of life.
She spotted her friend slumped on the turkish rug in her office crying her heart out. The spasm of the pain that radiated from her was so heartbreaking that she couldn’t help but shed her own few tears as she joined her on the ground, hugging and muttering words of comfort to her.
“I see you told him off”. She said.
She rocked her in her arms until she calmed down. Tired and exhausted from the emotional drain, she knew she needed to talk to someone and thanked God that Tosin was here. She always knew all the right things to say in any situation. She was more or less her rock when ever she hit rock bottom which was not that often.
Tosin took her hand and led her to the sofa and went to make them black coffee just like they both loved it.
“So tell me everything that happened”. She said as she sat beside her.

“I don’t want to talk about it”. She replied as she sipped her coffee. “Okay! “So how did he take it?”
“Don’t you think that’s a dumb question to ask?”. She answered hot-tempered.
“Hey babe, calm down already. I told you to tell him the…”
“The truth?
Is that it? Tell him the truth he won’t be able to live with, the truth that will kill him?
I love him and I want it to end on that note.
I am protecting him. Get that in to your thick skull and let things be the way it is.
Do you know what telling him the truth will do to him?
He keeps talking of destiny and love but he doesn’t even know that destiny has nothing to do with love. They are both in a class of their own.
He doesn’t need to know the truth. He is better off without it.”

“Hmmm…you are so stubborn you know. So you are protecting him abi, but he is also in pains right now. He is in love with you to bear your burden with you.”
“That’s what happens when you are crazy in love with someone, you get to get some heavy weight shared or taken off your shoulder altogether. The person is supposed to be there for you to share in your pain and in your joy.
So babe, stop this selfish love display of yours. It’s not helping either of you right now”. Tosin opined.
As far as she was concerned, Tosin had always been a love addict, acting as if it was the only thing she lived for. She had a steady stream of guys fall at her feet in the name of love but at the end of the day she always came crying to her how they all  failed to love her, regaling her with tales of how they broke her heart but in all of these she kept believing in the so-called love. She was now madly in love with the very famous multi talented Lagos socialite and enterprising entrepreneur David a.k.a ‘Bishop’. She just hoped they will head to the altar already, at least this has been her longest and most peaceful relationship so far.

She had promised herself never to succumb to the idiosyncrasies of love until she had met Tito five years back.
It was like lightning the way she fell for him.
He was very funny and witty at the same time, he made her laugh until tears begged for release. He was also not afraid nor felt inferior to her because of how knowledgeable she was. He was in a class of his own. He also came from a wealthy family but that never reflected in the way and manner he related to people unlike some her colleagues who always took pleasure in putting down people they felt did not belong to their social class. He managed one of his family’s many subsidiary oil firms.
Yes! She might have fallen in love with the most down to earth, most handsome and charming man in the world but she was so afraid of losing herself in love for she believed that loving someone to the degree of losing oneself was and is still unhealthy.
She wasn’t willing to tell him the truth because according to her, she loved him so much to let him learn of what has happened to her.

In her books, it is wrong to tell someone you love with so much passion your secret, it will eventually become a burden to him as it is to you. So why  burden the person when you are supposed to make him happy.

Once he learns of your secret he cannot unlearn it.

It is wickedness to even think of allowing him bear the burden that might eventually kill him emotionally or otherwise.
It is better not to learn of a thing at all than to learn and choke on the truth.

The truth should be kept compartmentalized in a box somewhere in your head, far beyond the reach of the world, maybe until the world gets to know about it.
The truth is a jigsaw-puzzle that is the property of a single soul, not to be shared like chocolate bars to the people or person you love.

To her, she was protecting him.

To her, this was the only way to love him.

The years spent together meant nothing if the truth is known; better to cherish those years in pain and heartache than to throw away the memorable intimate moments they both shared in the last five years.

Yes! This is the best thing to do.

This is the price of love.

It is called sacrifice.

*         *           *            *                *
To be continued next to week

Graphic design credit: Gbadebo, Ayodele Solomon

My Name is Love and I’m not Stupid II

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People keep saying “It’s all about trust…”, and this makes me wonder what life would be like if the word trust was not discovered or ever brought to the fore.
My heart is heavy.  I’m depressed and downcast; well you know how I feel right now as I’m writing this piece so you might as well use any other word to qualify the way I feel.
Life people say is “unfair”, others say “It’s a bitch”; but one thing is sure, life is governed by certain principles and one of them is ‘trust’.

Trust is what underlines who and what people believe in, it is similar to ‘faith and hope’. It is the fuel that keeps people going, it tends to bring out the best in them.

Let’s not be too carried away though, trust, like any other thing can be taken advantage of, thus, it can be broken. The bad thing about trust is that once it is broken, it is very difficult to regain.
Like a friend of mine puts it, “It’s like virginity, once broken you never get it back”. I don’t exactly agree with him though, but it can be very difficult to regain a broken trust.

This five letter word is the foundation of every relationship, be it physical,  emotional,  spiritual, or financial cum business relationship. It is the backbone of agreements and contracts, it sometimes may be used to define the true character of a person or an organization, and thus, it should be treated with utmost care and without any thought of compromise or prejudice.
Try as much as possible not to commit yourself to anything you know you may not be able to fulfil or accomplish, for in doing otherwise, you would have succeeded in altering your personality;  you will probably be labelled a sham and an unworthy piece of the human species.

Have you ever wondered why God trusted the man Job so much that He was willing to bet His integrity on him? Well, that was ‘trust’. How about when He sent His only son to die for mankind? How sure was He that Jesus would not succumb to the temptation of Satan by going for glory rather than fulfilling purpose and destiny? It was still ‘trust’. So you see that even God built his relationship on trust not to talk of man who is mere mortal.
I have been around for a long, long time now and I have seen how people take each other for granted.
They make fools of each other because the essential ingredient of ‘trust’ was missing. I have severally been in the middle of many relationships where all you hear is ‘love is what keeps us going everyday’, yet these folks don’t even trust each other to build their lives.
Lies take the order for the day and deceit pays their bills!
I have seen them cry and hate themselves because they choose not to trust but  lie in the name of love.
Trust is everything and everything is trust. If you want to make the best out of life, learn to be trustworthy.
It is your key to conquer and keep me.
Sorry for taking your precious time by blabbing and trying to put together a piece of my inconsequential thoughts.
Till I come your way again ‘my name is Love and I’m not stupid’!

*H

ey guys, do well to share this post and I’m looking forward to your Comments!

Cheers!

‘My Name is Love and I’m not stupid’

 Hello guys, sorry this is coming in rather late but I hope you will have fun as you read, comment and share this interesting series ‘My Name is Love and I’m not Stupid’. Take a read and thanks for sticking with Me!

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 So many things have happened ever since they both met. They felt they were floating in the clouds and that what they both felt for each other was too extraordinary to be true.

Yes! They called it ‘love’.

She says it was love at first sight; he says it was destiny that brought them together, thus, they were meant to be. They fiddled with their phones replying chats they both sent each other. She giggles when she sees his reply, he smiles when he sees hers. They were certainly oblivious of the people and goings-on around them.

This was paradise.

Their friends and onlookers labeled it ‘ love divine ‘.

I only looked on and hoped they would both snap out of this foolishness, it was all a sham as far as I was concerned. I have seen these drama one too many times to know it for what it really was. Someone was going to get hurt and would finally start calling me all sorts of names just because they fail to uncover the identity of the mischievous fellow they are dinning with – ‘Lust’!

He touched her and she glowed. It was total bliss. Her skin tingled with excitement each time she remembered his touch. It almost made her swoon. She gave in totally each time he touched her; this was what she wanted. Life couldn’t be more perfect than it was. He was her fantasy come true. She revelled in his attention.

She was lost in lust.

I will probably not understand what he means by ‘…bound in cascading beauty…’. For all I cared, he was bound in Lust. They held hands as they lay still, breathing heavily after engaging in a marathon race of intertwined bodies.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

He screamed a stream of curses at her; she called him a haughty good for nothing, bigoted fool. She felt the sting of the slap that landed on her face, leaving her beautiful fair cheek rufescent.

Shock and anger smeared her face. Was he an angel or the devil himself? She could not make up her mind which he was.

Ha! I smiled because I saw it coming. I knew this was bound to happen when they started with the whole lovey-dovey affair.

So he apologised; said he did not know what came over him, in fact he has never ever hit a Woman before ( I also know from experience that this is the one famous line people like him use to placate their partners in lust).

She looking at him on bended knees in front of her with tears streaming down his face and couldn’t help the tears that spilled from her eyes as she thought to herself how much she loved him. She wrapped her hands round his neck, cradling him like a baby and kissed him as she whispered her willingness to forgive him.

He promised never to raise his hands at her again. He confessed his love for her, how he will do anything for her just to make her happy; said he didn’t even mind catching a grenade for her and they both laughed and cried at the same time.

*

It was a while before he did hit her again! But today, he hit her in the presence of their friends because she celebrated a goal scored against his favourite English football club, Chelsea.

This time it wasn’t just shock for her alone but for their friends as well. How could a perfect day of watching soccer go from good to Bad!

It’s not funny so I’m not laughing this time. I just wish she would stop being foolish and see him for who and what he truly is and move on with her life.

What ever she thought they shared was a lie and ‘lust-pired’. Right now everybody is riddling me with questions of “how could this perfect union go wrong?”.

Oh! No; please don’t tell me she made up with him again barely forty-eight hours after that public humiliation. Gosh!

This one is a big lie. I am not responsible for this goings-on. She just has a veil over her eyes. This has nothing to do with me. I don’t break hearts. I don’t make people cry and don’t let people down. I am true and simple. I am kind and gentle. I compromise to make and accept peace. I don’t go all mushy-mushy because I am strong-willed, reasonable and responsible. I am understanding. I don’t go around hitting women to prove a point or because I am angry. I am not rude neither do I get easily angered. I keep no records of wrongs, I am the truth; Yes! The bitter truth. I will always trust, always protect, always hope and always persevere, but not in foolishness but in wisdom as it is the main thing needed to direct.

Hey! I’m talking to you.

Snap out of this madness before it’s too late, before it leaves a permanent scar in your life. Bury this unblissful bliss of yours. Make it your ‘yesterday’; a memory better left behind.

Learn to know me for who I am.

My Name is Love and I’m not Stupid.