You call up this girl that you like. She knows you like her so you won’t pretend about it. She’s mellow, wears a smile that beams like sunflowers. She carries the personality of a fresh tantalizing aroma that draws you to her. And she’s into Neo Soul music, a genre that you started paying attention to about a year ago. Yo’, she likes India.Arie (Notice how her name is written? India dot Arie) and Alicia Keys.
The first time you cared to pay attention to India.Arie’s music was six years ago when your guitar instructor played a combination of some easy looking chords that gave off a soothing aura you couldn’t take your eyes off his fingers as they trotted on the fretboard. You asked him to play it again and he did. He said with a smile in his eyes, “This is India.Arie.” He showed you how to play those chords.
You practiced those chords in the morning, afternoon and at night. It became your mission to get it right. You became like a football player who shows up for practice every day to perfect their art of entertaining using the ball. You kept rehearsing until you nearly got the sound right. You played it for your instructor and in his eyes and by the expressions on his face, you saw the sign of approval. You got the chord progression right. Then you switch to other chord movements and picking techniques because you didn’t want to be a one-style guitarist.
When this girl you’re smitten tells you she likes India.Arie, you remember those days when you moved your fingers along those strings to practice those chords. You remember the glee of sound that came out of your guitar’s sound box. It left you feeling nostalgic.
You click on the YouTube App on your phone to search for none other than who? India.Arie. You listen to all her songs, over and over. It’s on replay and nonstop. You recognize that sound you practiced six years ago. It’s the song, Video. India is singing about self-love and being comfortable in your skin and who you are. It’s an uplifting tune, one that makes you feel beautiful.
If you’re not feeling good about yourself or your spirit is down or you feel ugly, if you feel like the image you see in the mirror should be looking better than what you’re seeing, Video is for you. If your physical appearance and any imperfections on your body bothers you, if the scars on your bod and the acne on your face tear your confidence, listen to the lyrics of Video. If an unthoughtful person has left you feeling worthless, if you’re depressed or suicidal, find Video. It’s a song which would largely appeal more to women. But that shouldn’t stop any man from listening to it too. It is powerful.
When she told you she liked Alicia Key’s Holy War, you learned to play those chords too. It’s one of those songs that makes you reflect on what’s right and wrong with this world we live in. Alicia asks, “What if sex was holy and war was obscene?” Because it seems like there is so much condemnation regarding sex and yet war seem to receive a muted reaction.
Your earliest memory of Alicia Keys was when you were a teenager. My Boo, a song she did with Usher rocked the airways during your high school days. You remember pulling out a page off a newspaper that had the lyrics to that song and sticking it in a counter book that had a collection of lyrics of many of your favourite songs. It had 50 Cent’s 21 Questions, Marc Anthony’s I Need You and Enrique’s Hero. It had Jojo’s Leave (Get Out). It was your music bank before the internet exploded. That book with all your lyrics of songs from your early teens was later stolen by God knows who. You were so hurt it felt as though someone struck your trapezius muscle with a sucker blow. It didn’t help that Alicia was your celebrity crush. Her voice and piano playing always melted your soul.
Where were we? Ah, the call you made to the girl you’re smitten with.
By the way, she is part of a team that’s doing some futuristic stuff that’ll revolutionize the transport system of this planet. She told you about the Hyperloop, a mode of transportation that Elon Musk’s people are working on. She’s somewhere in the equation of that project. The idea of the Hyperloop is that there’ll be these vehicles that’ll move at ultra-fast speeds through specially designed vacuum channels. These vehicles will be so fast that by the time you snap your fingers, you would’ve reached your destination. That’s some insane stuff.
Her phone rings.
She picks up. Eight minutes into the call, you hear a beep and before you can work it out, the call drops. You’d run out of credit. Your head drops. That’s the worst time anyone should run out of airtime. Not when you’re speaking to the girl you like. But shit happens. A low account balance on your mobile phone shouldn’t deter you from finding other ways of speaking to the one you like or love or fancy or [plug in a word of your choice.]
You switch to doing a WhatsApp call. It was her idea. She knows how to find solutions to what needs to be done. Your network is so poor you can hardly hold a consistent conversation without asking, “Can you hear me?” You are bothered by the connection issue. You silently say some cuss words to your telephone network. You ask her if you guys shouldn’t probably put the call off to another time. You are ready to pull the plug. But she’s more optimistic than you are. She has more foresight into things and God blessed her with tonnes of patience. She says the call can continue. So to take your mind off the terrible network quality, you pick up your guitar, tell her you’re going to do something for her and start picking the strings.
At this point, she’s giggling. You don’t want to read much into those giggles. She could be laughing at how amateur your guitar skills are or she might be impressed by what you’re doing. She plays guitar too. It didn’t matter what she thought anyway. And for over 20 minutes, the sound of your guitar became the background music to your conversation.
You tell her, “This is going to make a good blog article.” She agrees and adds, “Or it could become a poem.” And you both explode into a titter.