A Love That Has No Place To Go by Idayat Jinadu


If I were a telescope in space, dedicated to capturing the unexplored dimensions of the universe, therefore adding a bulk of knowledge to what is already known, I imagine I would be happy. Because I wouldn’t know you. 


I can’t remember the exact moment that led me to astronomy. I am certain I already loved it when I read A Brief History Of Everything by Bill Bryson because I can remember quite still, how I imagined it was me that happened upon a massive star dying and saw how it birthed the supernova, like the fortunate person in A Brief History Of Everything. It was in the book I read about Betelgeuse, the red giant star, for the first time. I opened my mouth in wonder and slight consternation when I learned that our life-giving star, the Sun, was ordinary beside the brilliance of Betelgeuse and one could possibly fit a thousand Suns into it. Like me and all of you that I adore that can fit inside me and I suppose there are 1000 different ways to be in love with you. For every sun that could fit into the Betelgeuse, there is me wonderfully in love with you, hopelessly in love with you, wearily in love with you, abundantly in love with you,  angrily in love with you, hopefully in love with you…. Like that, the mighty Sun fills up the mightier Betelgeuse. 


My happiness would be bottomless if I got an offer to explore the space station. It would be a fantasy come true. From around 5:30 pm, 6 pm in my town, Ado Ekiti, the ISS becomes visible. It shines like a solitary star in the sky and I look at it filled with awe — it inspires my awe whenever I think that not only is it an original feat to get a station in space but that the shine of the station which makes it mimic a star is borrowed from the sun. So there is the station already brilliant by itself and this brilliance intensifies when the light from the sun reflects on it. I imagine I am the station and you are the sun or you are the station and I am the sun. Perhaps we can be both, our brilliance reflecting off one another. You’ll tell me everything that makes up your brilliance, I want to hear them. From your silly childhood mistakes to your incredible feats and regrettable moments as an adult. I’ll tell you mine too. I will tell you about the time curiosity pushed me to see what would happen if I used my dad’s shaving stick on my hair when I was little and home alone one afternoon after I came back from primary school. I will tell you the fear that spread through me when I realized that my hair had really left my scalp and there was no way I would be able to gum it back and to make matters worse, I only shaved the hair directly above my forehead. I will tell you how I thought it was a nice idea to pretend to sleep, pretend to wake up, pretend to touch my hair, scream pretentiously, and when my mother came running to ask what happened, I would tell her a rat crept up on me and ate my hair as I slept. I will tell you the plan fell on its face because my mom beat me with her dunlop slippers while asking how a rat got to my head to eat my hair. How could I have thought she would believe such nonsense? 


I wonder if you will find it funny. It is amusing to me. 


There was the time I got electrocuted in secondary school too. I was watching Barbie and The Diamond Castle with my friend, Precious, on a laptop plugged into electricity while the rain was falling, and suddenly there was lightning and before I could say a word, Precious and I got electrocuted. It was not funny then but I and Precious laugh about it now. I will show you the scar on my thigh from where the laptop burned me.


As I was saying about your brilliance: I know you are the best in everything, the greatest in what you do. Applies to me too. Our combination, our match, and our compatibility will shine as brilliantly as the solitary star that is the space station. 


Lately, I found out that NASA discovered a scorching star with its own planets. I guess this discovery will bring us affirmatively closer to the question of life in space, I mean, there’s bound to be life, no matter how minuscule, on one of those planets. Thinking about the planets and the possibility of life in one of them led my mind to the things I don’t know about you, the various lives in you. Do you like yam and garden egg too? My mom used to tell me a rainbow could drink a river dry and that if you traced a rainbow, you would find it in a river, drinking it dry. Did your mom tell you that too and if she did, did you take it hook, line, and sinker like I did? Do you know leke leke? Those white birds that fly in groups and did you run after them when you were little, waving your hands to them while chanting the song and hoping the white mark appeared on your fingernails? I did. You know, I was made to believe the white marks are natural and the birds didn’t cause them but is it just a mere coincidence that I stopped getting the white mark since I outgrew the excitement of waving at leke leke? And why does the white mark appear just after waving at leke leke? Begs a ponder, doesn’t it?


I want to know if you dated in secondary school and what it was like. I didn’t. I have never dated. Are we similar in that regard or are your former girlfriends as plenty as the sand or can they be counted on one hand? I am just curious about the similarities in our lives.


I don’t know what your favorite fruit is. Mine is guava. I love that fruit to death. My neighbors grew one behind their house and as a result, the branches extended over their fence and into our compound. A big part of my childhood was spent plucking guavas and devouring them. Goodness, I loved them! I still do. 


Did you swim in a river when you were little? Did you buy fish hooks to catch small catfish?


The thing is I want to love you while knowing all of these things. And even if I don’t know them, it is fine. 


I have a deep feeling and knowledge that you want to hear I Love You, you want it to be said to you. And I want to say it with so much passion, in any dimension you’d prefer. However, I can’t help but think hearing it from me will be like the frightening flash of lightning, I can see you dodging it. Or not. Who knows?


This version of myself loves you dearly and she insists on it. Her love for you is like water in your hands and she knows this, but unfortunately, the heart wants what it wants. 


Since the discovery of Pluto in 1930, it has yet to make a complete orbit around the sun — our Earth completes its orbit in 365 days, which is when we celebrate a new year, so Pluto is yet to make its complete orbit but it has been predicted that it will complete its orbit in 2178, 248 years after its discovery; new year won’t be happening in Pluto for a long, long time — and it makes one doubt and think what sort of planet it is. In fact, I read that astronomy no longer considers it as a planet with fundamental planet rights. If, like Pluto, my love is incapable of making a full rotation around you and therefore validated and recognized, what does that make it?


What is certain is I’m shedding this version of myself and I’m leaving behind unvalidated conquests and affections.


I doubt if your print on my heart will ever fade off though. I read somewhere that the footprint of Neil Armstrong is still on the moon, large and lifelike. Yours is like that in my heart. Perhaps time will fade it, perhaps time, with all its mystery, will strengthen it.


Author’s Bio:

Idayat Jinadu is a creative writer with published works in Black Ballad, Adventures From, Grown, The Spill, and elsewhere. She is an avid reader and her favorite book is Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry. She is a Master’s student of Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria.




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Pencilmarks and Scribbles Magazine was founded in 2017 by Clara Jack to be a home for African writers, asking them to come as they are and giving them room for growth. The publication aims to give back to the Nigerian Literary scene for the things it has given us.