Ain’t No Sunshine In Bogobiri

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“Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone
It’s not warm when she’s away
Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone
And she’s always gone too long
Anytime she goes away.”

The absence of bright lights, the tiny walkways between tables, the music; Bogobiri is always pleasant on Thursday nights. There is a warmness in the room as dissimilar people with stories stringed together only by their presence in this space, come together to rid themselves of the bad energies from their offices, wait out the traffic, or express themselves in music and in poetry.

The instruments – drum and guitar – are subtle as every performer comes up to stir up an emotion most of the crowd can relate to. From the nostalgia of Nigerian 90’s music, the romance of 70’s RnB, or simply #UnifiedWokeness of spoken word; time only passes in Bogobiri during the day. Night, is just night.

I had just been laughing at a drunken dancer and his lady friend with the male friend I was there with when I heard his voice.

“Wonder this time where she’s gone
Wonder if she’s gone to stay
Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone
And this house just ain’t no home
Anytime she goes away”

I remember the sound of his voice. Not that I knew if it was soprano or tenor, but how it melted its way into my ears like oil, permeating my senses, engaging my being. I remember what he wore – a black buttoned down shirt and Ankara print pants. His face shone as I emptied the crowd until it was just the both of us in the room and he sang the words of Bill Withers to me. His smile was soothing, like those of a husband madly in love with his woman.

I remember everything about the experience – except what he looked like. I remember dropping my glass of Orijin and staring at him like I had just experienced what it felt like to be loved truly and desperately. I remember letting my guard down. I remember believing in all of the fantasies I had lost with the wisdom of maturity. I remember being lost. Then lusting.

And I know, I know, I know, I know,
I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know
I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know.”

I closed my eyes and wondered if soul music was called soul music because it held your soul in a trance. Then I imagined myself on stage right next to him, wearing a tube top red dress that flowed endlessly like running water – only because I look the sexiest in red – with a slit that split up and showed my right thigh. My locs grazing my back, mic in hand, and the both of us holding these musical notes together. Not that I could do so to save my life. It was the longest five minutes that ever was.

“Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone
Only darkness every day
Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone
And this house just ain’t no home
Anytime she goes away
Anytime she goes away”

I held up my phone and recorded a video of his mystic performance for reference sakes and waited.

After he was done singing and the applauds had quieted, I took a long sip of my drink and tried to regain my place in time and space. When I saw him heading out, I rushed out to meet him. I told him how his voice was great and I did so in the most embarrassingly incoherent way ever.

He was nicer than I imagined and he laughed freely. Coincidentally, he sang for the same church I attended and I wondered why I had never been that transfixed during worship or why I had never noticed him before this night. This Thursday night. I asked for his number on account that I was going to send him videos from his performance and he gave them to me and hugged me goodnight. I carried his scent home that night.

The next morning, I texted.

“You were great last night. I have nothing to say to you but I just needed to make contact.”

“It’s fine”, he said.

And that was the last time we ever spoke. Sometimes I’m smart enough to know that if you want a thing to retain its magic, you don’t make it a thing of common occurrence.

I sometimes imagine him singing to me on my wedding day. Maybe he’s the groom; maybe I’m marrying myself. But I fell in love with Ben at Bogobiri.

Ours was the truest, most beautiful love story that never was.

#MissysMidnightMemoirs

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Lawretta Egba is a professional writer, ghostwriter, editor, and poet. She is the founder of Cyno Group, a boutique content creation/content marketing firm meeting the varying content needs of individuals and businesses towards effective storytelling, problem-solving and economic growth. The company offers in-house ghostwriting, editing, and content writing services for large corporations, businesspeople and economic leaders. Lawretta’s articles have been featured on a plethora of platforms within Nigeria and the diaspora. Some of these include the Premier Pan-African media group reporting on African affairs – Face2Face Africa, Arianna Huffington’s Thrive Global, Exquisite Magazine, YNaija, and a host of others. She runs two blogs: lawrettawrites.com, where she reviews books, writes on mythology, peeks into transformational African topics, and analyzes matters of the human psyche; and newcommas.com, a brainchild created towards documenting everyday African stories. For info and inquiries, contact via: lawretta@cynogroup.com

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