Growing up for Melody Joy , the saying” you only got one life, so live it to the fullest” was a norm . She did not really understand it but live her life to the fullest was exactly what she did or what she was still doing. She was not even sure anymore.
as she lay down on the toilet floor, too weak to stand up. Exhausted from throwing up all the concoction Jesse mixed for her consumption. She contemplates committing suicide. She ponders, what is there to live for. How did it get to this stage, she says aloud .she knew she was always confused, with everybody wanting different things from her.
Melody live your life, her friends told her. “Melody be mindful of what you do, don’t disgrace me”, her mum said. Which was she to follow? Was it not her life? Was it not her choice? So why couldn’t anybody mind their business? Why was everyone telling her what to do?
She always wanted to dance. She always knew that for sure. Her father wanted her to be a lawyer while her mother wanted her to bring honour to her family. She was torn between pleasing her parents and discovering herself so she could live her life and feel fulfilled. She picked the latter choice. It was her life and her decision after all.
LOVE OPENS HER UP
Her decision to live life emerged from her first experience with love. There is something about love that brings out clarity for people. You know when they say the eyes are the windows to your soul. And through it your soul can be seen. Your innermost desires can be peeped into by an outsider. Well Jesse was Melody’s eyes. Since she was not living her life, she became an outsider of her own life. She felt she needed the eyes that she could stare into, to gleams her soul. And she gave that responsibility to a fellow outsider like herself. She called him her love but really his name was Jesse Thomas.
Jesse Thomas was a Young, intelligent man from a wealthy family. He had everything a young person would wish for. Wealth, loving parents that are not scared of him trying and failing so he could learn from his mistakes and move on. Jesse had been to a university before UNILAG studying medicine. He stumbled through his five years there and only finished it because his mum told him to, then he could try any other discipline. So He did that and grew to understand what he liked and what he wanted to do. He wanted to own a dance studio where musical videos could be shot and a dance school at the side line. Mass communication was just a way for him to get into the system of the media so he could get the right connect.
He was in final year and his dance crew Royals, was in existence which had already made him feature in a lot of the reining musical dance videos back then
She met Jesse in her third year in the University of Lagos, where she was honouring her parents by studying law. Her parents were satisfied But, Melody Joy, an only child was lost and confused.
In that state of confusion, she was fulfilling her parent’s desires, ignoring hers. The first two years in the university was tasking but she did well and had no complaints from her parents.
It was a regular Thursday afternoon and she just finished from a law lecture. She did not want to go back to the hostel with her friend Mary who was a chatter box. She needed some time alone. She walked to the waiting shade close to the GTB bank on campus. She sat down avoiding a group of youths at the other side. She took out her phone to watch some dance videos on YouTube. She was so engrossed with her phone that she did not notice him standing right in front of her until a hand covered the screen of her phone.
“Hello I am Jesse, sorry that might have seemed rude, I was trying to get your attention And it seemed you were glued to your phone. She did not know if it was the confidence he exhibited or his manner of being politely rude. Melody just closed her mouth and swallowed her retort.
That was how they started talking and the group of young people she tried avoiding were his dance crew members. They were having a dance show some where not too far from campus and he walked up to her, so he could invite her.
As she propels herself, to get her weak body from the toilet floor, that faithful day with Jesse seemed so ordinary. If there was only a sign to warn her that it was a change initiator day. She stares at her reflexion in the mirror above the wash hand basin and wonders how did she get here? Was Jesse a bad life coach? Did he not help her break the spell of shyness? Didn’t he help her be confident enough to break out of the captivity of people living her life for her? Jesse taught her how to live life and she lived it to the fullest. So why is she feeling like dying when she is still breathing. Why does everything seem so hopeless, why does she feel old, sick weak and tired. Like its time for her to die and leave this earth. She is just twenty seven. She is still in her youth, her prime. Is there a life after this? She ponders. “If there is, is it better than this miserable life I am living?” she thinks aloud “I want to die she cries out as she slumps back to the floor. She had managed to get herself to rise up with the aid of the wash hand basin and she had looked at her reflection in the mirror. She had seen the pain and frustration in her eyes, for the first time she had decided to look into her eyes, the window to her soul and she got the gleams of everything. But the pain and frustration went down with her as she slumped back to the floor. In her tears she kept on shouting” I want to die, I want to die. Let me just leave this earth, let me die”
The concert was on fire that night. Melody had never seen anything like that and the attention that Jesse gave her made it all the more special for her. She was with them back stage and he joked around with all the ladies that came around him but held her hand and introduced her to everyone. When it was his crews turn to dance he told a friend to take her to her reserved seat which was at the front roll of the stage. The concert was properly hyped. Jesse pulled all the strings of connections together to get a lot of important people to come. Almost everyone knew he danced but no one knew he could organise a concert this big and he wanted people to see his art and his leadership skills, especially the prominent people.
As Melody sat feeling ecstatic, she watched as Jesse moved to the rhythm of the music and how the dance crew climaxed to a point that she was mesmerised by the wonders they were doing with dance. As the dance came to an end, she found herself on her feet clapping with the rest of the audience.
Hanging around after the concert were some groupies and the dance crew. Jesse was busy talking to the few prominent guests that were still around. Melody was hanging somewhere at the back of the crowd feeling out of place and alone. Jesse came around and was heading her way when some group of ladies stopped him for a chat. Without taking his eyes from Melody’s side he quietly excuse himself from their presence and purposefully walked towards Melody
“Hey”, what are you doing here all alone? He asked. I thought you were busy? She replied. “That doesn’t answer my question. Nigerians, you people would answer a question with another question”, he joked. “When would you people change?” he asked. She looked away from him towards the ladies that were hanging nearby trying to ease drop into their conversation.”I think some ladies would like to talk to you”. He looked towards the direction she was facing and sighed. “They are just interested in the fame and nothing else”. But you, he turned back to face her, looked into her eyes with such intensity. You are another case all together, he said still gazing into her eyes with the same intensity.” I want to take you out”. She smiled and asked, “I thought you already did. I mean you bringing me to your concert and all”. He laughed and said no I just wanted to show you what I do and why I do it. But a real date is needed. So here we go, Jesse and Melody on their first real date, he joked. He took her hand and pulled her to his side. Funniest thing is she was not scared. This strange guy, whom all the girls wanted, was interested in her.
Their first official date was in a top roof restaurant opposite custodian house at Sabo-Yabba. As they were seated, Jesse noticed she was feeling uncomfortable so he held her hands and smiled at her. Do you like this place or you want to watch a movie? I mean I could take you there it’s just I really want to get to know you and watching a movie with you might just be getting in the way.” No I like it here. I am not one of those girls that love movies “she says.
Jesse looked surprised, really? And he reached out his other hand to capture her second hand. “Well, miss what do you like? What are your hobbies?” Melody backed up a bit, for she felt the intensity of his stare boring into her .This movement made Jesse release her hands . As he adjusted he signalled the waiter to bring the menu .while that was going on, Melody was pondering on his questions. She knew there were a lot of things she did that were not her hobbies but apart from watching dance clips she really did not have an answer for him and she was panicking .wont he think I am weird, she thought .
The waiter was at their table now. Jesse looked at her and smiled, “what would you like to eat dear “?”I don’t know just pick something nice for me”. “, she says shyly .
Okay, wait you don’t like food too? “No I just don’t know what I want right now that is it.”
The waiter attempts to talk but Jesse read his body language faster and excuses him.
He goes back to staring into her eyes and says nothing for a while. You dint answer my first question, what are your hobbies. She keeps quiet.”Come on just say it” he presses. I” don’t think I have any hobbies “. “What do you enjoy doing?” he asked.
Melody averts his eyes, too shy to hold his stare .he puts his hand on her hands and says, “I don’t know you Melody but I like you and you don’t know me but try to trust me .so just talk.”
This made her look up at him. “Okay but promise me you won’t laugh.”
He chuckles at this. “Alright I won’t laugh “. “Are you sure? , this one you are already laughing “.” hey I have a great sense of humour but you have my word I won’t laugh” he says .Alright, the only thing I like doing is watching dance videos. Jesse was surprised but masked his feelings. Do you dance? He asked. No, she replied.
Can you dance? He asked.
“I am not too sure” Melody replies. “Don’t you go for parties?
And at this she laughs out so loud. He joins in her laughter, even though he does not understand why she is laughing and laughing so hard.
No, I don’t go for parties I study law on a 4.6 CGPA. He looks at her with this serious expression.
So you like dance videos but you don’t know if you can dance? Would you like to know if you can dance? She looked at him puzzled. I am asking you, would you like to know if you can dance or not, he restates his question. Yes but how, she says. Let’s eat something light then he says.
That day Jesse saw something special in Melody he knew she was different not like any girl he had ever met. He also knew she needed help. He knew what it meant to just be in existence but not living. He did that for five years at University of Ibadon studying medicine because he thought that was what everybody expected from him. He would rescue her and make her find her purpose and desires. He took her to a dance studio that night where his crew were to battle another crew just for fun. After he made her watch he took her to a private area of the studio and told her to give a solo performance. At first she didn’t want to but she moved liked her life depended on it. When she was done members of his dance crew were all clapping she turned back and was shocked they were there. All Jesse said was “welcome to royals.
That was your audition. You were born to dance”.
Melody feeling betrayed, angry, deceived and scared to be made a laughing stock. Quietly walked away from him, where are you going? He asked. She said nothing, just picked up her bag and walked out of the studio. Jesse was shocked but he could not go after her as much as he wanted to. It was in front of his crew members and as their leader he had a reputation to maintain.
Melody ordered a bolt ride to drop her off at campus she got to her bed feeling so stupid. Why did she think she could trust him, why did she run out on him like that maybe all he did was just an innocent act and he really meant it? She was born to dance, he had said. But how can that be true. The only dance she ever did was in her room while she was growing up. The first time she entered for a dance competition, her father found out about it and did not even let her audition. He told her that she was not for dance. She should take her books serious. She cried and begged him but he did not answer. Another opportunity came along when she was thirteen to audition for a dance movie theatre role in Church. This time she did not let her father know about it before the audition. She went for the audition but too scared to make a move when it was her turn to perform.
She remembered that day like yesterday she froze on stage and ran out leaving the judges to call after her. She went home that day and never told anyone about it. She tried to erase it from her memories and stick to her father’s instruction.
Weeks went by and she did not hear anything from her famous Jesse. She tried to move into her normal routine but she could not believe that day was just a dream. On Thursday of the third week she was coming out from the library making a mental note from the term paper on her hands when she collided into a figure that was backing her. As usual my dream girl never looks at what is in front of her, he teased.
She was surprised to see him. Surprised? He asked. She tried side passing him but he grabbed her on both side. “No way are you running away from me this time”, he says. “I’m sorry”, she blots out. Wow, she can be apologetic, he teases. Sorry for what exactly princess? Running out on me or running out on your dreams? She gives him a blank expression. Sweetheart anyone with half a brain would know you love to dance. I can’t let anything come between me and a first class degree from law, she says. People passing were beginning to look at them strangely.
Jesse noticed this, take a walk with me please. I need to submit this term paper now she protests. What is the dead line? He asks. It’s not today because people like you make sure they submit at least a day before the deadline. Let’s do this, walk with me to my car, I will drop you at your faculty, submit your project and we would go on a drive round Lagos to discuss. “Why are you so interested in me?” she becomes defensive. I don’t know maybe I need a female dancer to complete my crew or I see you as someone that reminds me why I started dancing in the first instance. I don’t know but what I know is you got nothing to lose in coming with me. She sighs okay we would do it your way. He smiles after hearing those words, “thank you”
THE REAL EYE OPENNER
They did it his way and Melody learnt to trust, love and she discovered dance was it for her. She became a full fledge member of his dance crew. Jesse in turn made sure she graduated from University with a second class upper. Her parents were not happy with the decline in her grades but they did not know what was happening until it was too late. Jesse dance studio and School was in full operations and Melody didn’t attend law School. Her parents were on the verge of disowning her but Jesse’s parents persuaded otherwise. Their love and business was flourishing, you could even say perfect, but it was all an illusion. Their foundation being weak as a result of Melody’s over dependency nature on Jesse as a source of life and when he messed up, it was like her source had been killed. It began with Jesse’s infidelity. He cheated on her with a model and she turned to drug to cope with the pain.
Jesse did not notice on time and when he did he tried to get her away from the new group of friends that introduced her to it, by this time it was too late. She had become an addict. One of the times, he tried to clean her up by giving her a mixture to flush the drugs out of her system. This he did often, especially when they had a competition that required a drug test.
As Jesse enters the bathroom and sees Melody on the floor, he was shocked. She seemed unconscious. In a panics state he drives her to the hospital.
Melody was diagnosed with kidney failure. Months after the kidney transplant in which Jesse donated one of his kidneys, Melody enrols to a drug rehabilitation centre. Her doctor says she needs to understand why she started taking drug. So she relives the moment she caught Jesse having sex with Sandra, a model. She remembers feeling like trash that day, she thought she had everything, a career that she loved, wealth, and a wonderful partner.” yeah right wonderful and a cheat”, she thinks aloud . He thought her how to love how could he throw away everything he thought her by being unfaithful? He said it was the first and he was sorry it was a mistake. But she felt empty like her whole life was meaningless. It felt like the way she was before she met him but even worse. Worse because before she met him she did not know people could really live a life of meaning but he showed her and at the same time he robbed her of it. How else could she have handled her pain “Lord please if you really exist please help me”, she prays.
As Dr Kemi lets Melody return back to her room she ponders on the young lady’s problem, wonders why a young lady that has been certified free from substance abuse refuses to go back to the world to live. She creates excuses that she is not fully healed and she is scared of having a relapse and for that she decides to stay in the clinic. This seems like a case of no will to live, she thinks aloud.
Sometimes when we don’t learn how to live the right way challenges of life can make us stop living, we don’t die literarily. But we stop trying to live a life where we have goals, dreams and we try to achieve them. Melody relegated herself to just being in existence. The walls that were to confined her so she could stop the problem of addiction, she turned it to her home because she became lazy to live. Dr Kemi looks at her and asks. Melody do you love yourself? Melody looks at her baffled and replies,” Of corse yes, I do.” Then take yourself out for a treate”, Dr Kemi says. Melody panics, what if… Doctor Kemi interrupts her “you won’t have a relapse “I don’t feel like going out”, Melody says. Then what do you want? Sit here and let people like I, tell you, you are cured?
See my dear you are wasting here. Melody thinks for a while then asks,” How would I know if I love myself if the person that taught me how to love is not here?” Dr Kemi looks at her for a while , then asks “Jesse?” Melody nods her head. Do you still love him? Yes. Then why don’t you want to see him. He is not good for me. Why. He messed up. Okay let me ask you this question do you think your parents love you. I don’t know my father disowned me my mum tries to see me but. Dr Kemi cuts in, your parents gave you life provided for you sent you to university stayed even when you went away from what they wanted you to do. They still showed their alliance with you. Don’t you think they love you in a way? Melody looks at her and says, “Yes they do” Do you think you messed up by not obeying them and bringing shame to your father? yes I did , would you like them to forgive you , yes but..Dr Kemi interrupts her again just like you like them to forgive you don’t you think Jesse also needs to be forgiven. “But he does not deserve it”, Melody interrupts. and you deserve forgiveness from your parents? See Melody forgiveness is not for Jesse’s benefit but yours. You become free when you let go of a grudge caused by the hurt someone did to you. with time the wounds gradually heals up. You might be left with scars but it’s alright those would serve as reminders and trust me you can’t get the same type of scars twice. So you are saying I should forgive him. Yes exactly forgive him, forgive yourself and forgive your parents and anybody you think has ever hurt you. Let’s start from there first.
When Jesse got the call that Melody wanted to see him, he was surprised but thankful. His new girlfriend Juliet did not want him to go but he knew this was something he had to do if he truly wanted to move on in his life. He explained this to her and it made it easier for her to trust him with his decision.
Dr Kemi had told Melody to forgive, it was not an easy tax but she had to do it and the only way that came to her was to go to the one person she had been told forgives without difficulties. Growing up She heard about God. But these past few months she really knew what it meant to have a personal relationship with the God of love. For he loved the world that He gave his only begotten son and the only thing He demanded was for her to believe so she may not die but live . Truly live. Yes we do have one life and that’s in Christ Jesus. And she had begun her journey towards learning and growing to live one life. And the first was to forgive so she could let go of all the baggage pulling her down. She was a little nervous in seeing Jesse but it had been two years already it’s about time she buries the hatchet.
AS he enters her room she recognise that smile and those eyes and she was about to go down memory lane, the good ones but she caution herself.” “Hello princess” he says little shyly.”Jesse Thomas, do I sense shyness? The Jesse I knew was a guy with confidence”. She teased him
He laughs hard, “yes I use to be but I guess things happens “. He looks at her with those same intensive eyes. Never lose your stand of confidence it’s important, she says to him. So how has life been for you? She changes the topic. It’s okay the studio is doing well I use some of the royalty cash you got to buy ten percent of the company shares under your name since we are expanding . I thought you would like something like that. He seemed not too sure of his decision again. Yes I like it thanks for the thoughtful business plan. You were always good at that. His phone rings. He looks at the screen and hesitates to pick up the call. “No go ahead you can pick up your call”, she urges him.” No I don’t think it’s necessary”. “Okay”, she says as he puts the phone on vibration and puts it on the table before him. So Jesse what were you expecting when I said I wanted to see you, she asks. “I don’t know really I just know I wanted to apologise for everything”, he says. she smiles it’s not your fault for most of it anyways and I am not angry I was hurt I won’t lie but I am healing and I know I would be okay. I guess it’s time I leave this place the world is waiting for me to start living again she says. “What are your plans?”He asks. Not really sure yet but first I think I need to take my doctors advice and take myself on an outing I think the beach would do, she says .do you want me to come along with you, he asks. No Jesse I think you need to get back to your girlfriend. She is probably worried you are not picking up her calls. He looks a bit embarrassed. She touches his hand and says look Jesse I know you have a girlfriend and its fine I wish you the best with her. No matter what happens we are still friends and hey I own ten percent of your company so that counts for a lot she jokes. He looks at her and says I know I am suppose to be satisfied with that just friends but what if I want more I mean I never wanted to leave you Melody . She drew back sharply,” I don’t know about that you are already in a relationship and I am not ready to get into a relationship”, she says. He looks at her face as if he is searching for some hidden answers. Okay Melody friends until you are ready for a relationship. She tries to cut him short but he continues, “I know I am with someone right now and even she sense she never got me completely and yes you might feel you might never be ready for a relationship again but I am willing to wait Melody. This time I am really with you even if it is at a distance any how you want me to be I would wait.” I love you Melody and I have never stopped, he says. she tries to interrupt him again but he goes on “I don’t expect you to love me back or say anything or understand me or even believe me I am just saying it for the records”.
Walking down the beach Melody takes in the beauty of the sea, its waves, how it rises and falls. She sees the wonders of God’s creation and it makes her wonder on how amazing her life has been even with the challenges. After Jesse left, her parents came visiting. she was surprise but she guess heavenly timing was at work. She got to settle with her parents. As she stretched her hands wide open walking to the sea shore and the breeze blows on her face leaving trickles of sand on her face she is at peace. Knowing that this life she has, she has to live it to the fullest despite the challenges, disappointments, pain, joy, sweetness, and everything life has to offer. Melody Joy has only one life and she is living it to the fullest. And yes, Melody Joy loves herself.