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I’m Just Going to Write XII

Larissa looks out onto the crowd of Orolara’s mourners. She fingers her wine glass filled with kombucha and rum. Swirls it around and rests it again on the pulpit.

“I’m numb,” she starts, looking down at her blank page. Her eyes meet Cadence’s in the crowd. “You’ll forgive me for my lack of tact, my lack of class, my lack of warmth. When I received the call, I had been swimming. I was soaking wet and I wanted nothing more than to return and drown myself in that pool that very moment. There are only two reasons why I haven’t: the community we’ve cultivated. And the failed attempt I’d made on my own life just this past year. Only Oro knew the full story.

“I’d met God and She told me that She would not let me die. That my work was not completed. And now I’m jealous, I’m angry, I’m ENRAGED, that She would let Oro leave, and leave me here to try to do life again without my best friend in the whole wide world. I’M ANGRY!” she screams.

“Don’t get me wrong,” she puffs, “We talk now. In some ways more deeply and more frequently than when she was alive.” She looks upon Oro’s mother, who’s face is streaming with tears. “But the physical presence, the aura she radiated, the hugs she gave, that smile. The juices and cakes and rum ice cream she made me… I will just have to take one breath at a time.”

She fingers the tightly-wound leather-bound blue journal next to hers on the podium, feeling nauseous.

“The day after she died, her journals arrived at my doorstep. I went through them one by one, page by page, word by word. Since that day, the only thing I have done outside of poring over her journals is drink, sleep and shit. Barely, if at all most days.”

“We didn’t deserve her. And we’re lucky she didn’t take more of us with her. We would’ve deserved that too.”

“I blame the Church for Oro’s passing,” she says, looking at the crucifix above the exit. The stained glass window art. The John 3:16 on the aisle floor. “I blame you politicians. I blame all of us. I blame myself.”

She takes a sip of her kombucha rum. She lights her spliff. Pulls. Looking right at Pastor Mike. She exhales. Allows her head back. Grasps the sides of the podium. Help me Oro. “We need more!” she screams. “We need more! We need more!”

Sobbing now, she wipes her eyes on her sleeve. “We need more. We need more love, more grace, more kindness, more JUSTICE! We need more leadership that gives a FUCK!” She steps away from the podium. She wants to fall to her knees and break things on the altar. But there’s nothing there to break. She turns her head back to the pews.

“My best friend was smarter than all of us combined and now she’s gone because we were incapable of giving more. The Church has made us incapable. The structure has made us incapable, and we, by and large have accepted it.” She’s shouting now. “How can we allow the death of such GENIUS?! How can we allow the proliferation of such WICKEDNESS?! This must stop! This must be a turning point. If you are here, and you know that you could have given more to Oro, or anyone else we’ve lost, stand up.” She waits.

She watches as Oro’s ex slowly rises from his seat, the sobs racking his body, shaking his shoulders.

“I blame you, and I blame us, even though I know we are all doing the best we can with what we have been given. I just can’t help but think, LOOK AT WHAT WE’VE LOST,” she extends her arm towards the thirty-by-forty blow up of Oro as more and more people stand up.

“Look at what we’ve lost,” she whispers. An Oxford graduate for God’s sake. An ivy league postdoc. She sat with legends and blew their minds. She stole the hearts of babes. She taught us how to heal ourselves. How do we let that go? How do we say goodbye to that?”

“Oro had big dreams. But it was not the dreams that killed her. It was our inability to give a fuck that killed her. That dried up her ability to care.

“They may call it a suicide, but I call it a collective sacrifice. We have killed our king. And we must pay. Living without her is not sufficient. We must do the work she called for. We must build the country she fought for. We must become the people she begged us to become. Right now.”

“I will not be ‘respectable’. I will be truthful. I will only make space for those of us who are committed to being truthful–to our own Liberation. That is the only thing that matters to me henceforth.”

“My rage is real, but it does not mean I do not love you, appreciate each of you for coming here to celebrate the life of my best friend. My rage has to be my love right now.”

I believe that the only thing qualifying any of us to celebrate her life is our commitment to seeing through her work. To ensuring that every child without a father, every child without a meal, every mother without medicine, every leader without goodness, must must must be saved. Must be carried forth. Must be taught the Word. Must must must, come together, with all of us, to create our Liberation. Must unite. Must find ourselves in each other. Must give more. Must care more. Must fulfill the promise of our Oro.”

She takes back the rest of the kombucha rum in one gulp. “It’s been a pleasure,” she says, walking off the stage, touching Oro’s image on her way to the back. She allows herself to crumble onto the prayer room floor, where she lays on her back, looking up blankly until she falls asleep.


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About Lolade

Lolade is a Gates Cambridge Scholar, starting her PhD in Sociology with the 2019 class. She recently graduated with her MA in African Studies [Sociology discipline] from Yale University where she researched ethnic identity formation among Nigerian immigrants in New York, Tokyo and Mumbai. She is the author of 'Market of Dreams' a radical poetry collection about love and freedom. She obsesses over indigenous textiles, cultural preservation and innovation, and intimately connecting the African Diaspora.

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