by Monilola Olayemi Ilupeju
Intuition has made a shelter in us. It told us the key hides under the checkered doormat. We look for it and come up empty-handed. Through the window with a brick will have to do. The shards of glass glitter in the air, get into our eyes, but we cannot look away.
It swims in us with the same stroke of a fetus in the womb. Or maybe it is the placenta: indispensable for a period of time, then disintegrating bit by bit until it falls out entirely, then grinded down into a pulver and sprinkled into green smoothies for stronger nails. With all senses blunted, we shuffle about, frantically searching for this crumb trail. We find it, finally. We follow it. It brings us to the front yard of our home. The lawn is overgrown, with weeds and wild flowers intertwining to become one. Did we lose it here?
Intuition is a god-given right, as real as death and taxes; passed down through the cracked palms of our ancestors, generation after generation, heaving, though the soft flutter of a pulse can still be found. Its faculty exists in stillness as much as in cacophony; in the individual as much as in the collective, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Untethered, sublime, absolute—isn’t that what she called us? Why didn’t we believe her?
It has just come to our attention that the compass malfunctioned 20 miles earlier and we may be at the wrong house, but for whatever reason we cannot find the will to turn around; the muscles in our neck have calcified, the veins too. Something is pulling us and a previously dormant heirloom vibrates under the surface, waiting for our frozen fingers to cut through the soil and excavate it, save it from eternal damnation, from ourselves. A vapor is seeping out of the ground and we cannot find the source, nor can we identify its contents. A file, a folder, the entire harddrive has corrupted: a menacing, pixelated upside-down smiley face sits on the screen, sneering at us, and we wonder what comes after corruption.
The unfortunate truth of the matter is that the things most detrimental to our spiritual and emotional growth often feel the most comfortable, most true. How then are we supposed to know what intuitive calls to answer, and which ones to silence? How then are we to decipher whether the things we look at exist in front of our eyelids or behind them?
We snap out of it and again find ourselves in the front yard. Rusty landmines are littered across the lawn in the formation of an endless spiral. We attempt to follow it, but as we go deeper and deeper into its nucleus, we are shaking and filled with terror, for we sense our bodies are transforming into something that can no longer be recognised. We stop in our tracks and eventually turn around, can again locate the fissures between our borders.
Upon closer inspection, we discover the landmines are engraved with different labels, with the names of perpetrators and systems of control, dates, states of emotion like misrecognition, envy, and neglect, physical symptoms like hot cheeks, bruises, orgasms, the bed that became an ocean—the list goes on and it is not a pretty one. The words dig into the surface of the metal like a fist that wont let go, the words become the metal itself. It isn’t until we exit the lawn that we wonder what these landmines are trying to prevent us from discovering or what would be forever changed once we did.
Bleeding, battered, delirious, we are coughed out of the mouth of the lawn. With eyes that have touched the sun, finally floating above the layer of fog, we see the fruitlessness of our journey and are saved. The landmines were all duds, though the ghosts of the words inscribed on their skin were not. But it’s much too late for that now.
We stop walking and take off our boots. Our feet are covered in oozing blisters that we kiss and cleanse with our tears. We stare at each other and then straight ahead, and my god it’s here, we are buzzing, everything is buzzing. Our crying becomes hysterical, joyful, enough to fill a thousand goblets. Free from searching for something never lost or to be found. A state of constant dissolution, where the edges of one seem to rapidly dissolve into that of another, that’s what we are, what this is! Transmuting, fusing, eternally ambivalent. Not meant to be consumed with a smile on your face, but you’ll be all the better for it, I promise. I promise it will be okay, even without the compass, without the map, without the key and without the eye. You aren’t going anywhere you haven’t already been.