Midnight in Kigali.

McCoy
25 min readAug 13, 2023

Comments are welcome. I am @themccoyman on socials.

I have struggled to find the time to write to you. I have been flying, ziplining, shooting arrows and water guns. I have been quad biking in dirt. I have been sinning, on the third floor of this hotel, built on this hill, looking down at the rest of the city. I have been praying, at the depths of Lake Kivu, on some shaky speedboat. Between huffs and puffs however, I welcome you to Midnight in Kigali.

Kigali.

Every day na holiday!

Kigali is organized and serene. Although very hilly, the road network is well planned. The air is pure, the streets are clean and the streetlights work. There is no pollution — drivers do not blare horns, no one litters (there are bins on every street), and the straw in my Fanta is made of biodegradable paper. There is an unmistakable intentionality about the city, the way of life.

Rwanda is a third world African country, decimated by genocide as recently as 1994. It has had to rebuild everything. It criminalized tribalism, adopted a new official language, resettled so many citizens, healed, and now seems to be forging a path towards economic prosperity. The political scientists and economists, who know better than I do, have their critical theories, but I think Rwanda is succeeding.

The country’s greatest export used to be coffee beans; these days, it is tourism. There is a #VisitRwanda agenda, and everyone is in on it — from the professional airport officials to the courteous tour guide, to the orderly chef at the hotel, to the cheerful Kivu women who washed my feet. Everyone is friendly, committed to your comfort. From my perspective, they all seem calm and honest. They want your money, but you are also thrilled to give it.

My experience has hurt as much as it has thrilled. London did not annoy me as much. You go to other African cities and realize how excruciatingly inferior Lagos really is. You arrive at Muritala Muhammed International Airport, and you heave a sad sigh. It smells of sweat, piss, and mediocrity. You take your jacket off because instead of ACs, there are standing fans. People hassle you, to offer help with mundane things, for an undisclosed fee. Everyone is begging for money. Everyone. You must push your boxes for this long distance to the car park, there is wild grass and litter on your way. Welcome to Lagos, a lunatic will be with you shortly.

Lagos.

Iwo l’oma f’Eko le f’awa.

Rwanda’s calmness might confuse the average Lagosian. Kigali is anything but fast paced — the cars are not speeding; the traders are not keen. Kigali is not Lagos; it is Akure, if Akure worked. Rwandans seem content — people are working, but they are not desperate. It seems to me that this is the case because first, whatever they earn must be covering their essentials, and second, the government must be providing basic infrastructure.

Conversely, the average Lagosian is desperate. He believes he is “naturally” aspirational, ambitious. He confesses “I can never be poor in my life”. He does not understand that the desperation he feels is mostly caused by the scarcity and economic inequality around him. He has seen rich, and he has seen poor; there is a great difference between these two because of unemployment, inflation, and the government’s failure to provide basic amenities.

In other countries, poor people get a decent primary education, constant electricity, an efficient (and affordable) transport system, and some public stipend if they are indigent. There is social security. In Nigeria, poor people get nothing, whether material or immaterial. Not even basic human dignity or criminal justice. They live denigrated, disregarded, meaningless lives. In Nigeria, money is truly everything. It is how you will afford a date with the woman you love, car for reliable transport, a generator for power, essential nutrition for your baby, decent education for your children, healthcare for degenerative diseases, bail from the police. You are your own government, so you had better be good.

Beyond affording essentials, Nigerian desperation is a product of the unhealthy nexus between poverty, capitalism, and conspicuous consumption. Most people are poor, but they also see the many incredulously flattering things money can do. A wealthy man can get you locked up in prison; nepo babies speed past you in prohibitively expensive sport cars; fraudsters “shutdown” the restaurants and clubs; artistes hire the army as bodyguards; the President’s entourage has an entourage; your pastor flies private. Compared to the rest of the continent, Nigerians are absurdly extravagant. Rwanda seems very different, there is normalcy on the streets, modesty in the very air, wealth is nonobvious.

New Things.

I go get everything I need in my own timing.

You should travel, it broadens perspective. It is a shame to live limited by geography, culture, or language. And while you roll your eyes, understand that mine can see the elephant in the room, which is the high cost of travel. My trip was expensive. If I had not had enough of Lagos, if I had not lost my mind in June, I might have stalled.

While I sat at the bank to credit my travel agent, I did think, “David, this is crazy!”. Because who did I think I was, going on trips? I knew the expense would not hurt me, still I was afraid. I had only recently learnt how to spend money. I fear that I used to be miserly, perhaps because I do not have the security I now have. Or perhaps because I was always afraid of losing all I had, a worry characteristic of millennials from rollercoaster middle-class families. We ain’t got generational wealth, its only [3 years] that I’ve had these millions. I have seen money, and I have seen shege. The latter terrifies me, I do not trust the former. But learning to spend is good, we must not cheat ourselves. We must defeat the fear of financial insecurity that Nigeria beats into us. But can we?

I realized that my trip would never cost as little as it did in June. I realize that saving (in Naira) is a losing game, that it is no longer wise to postpone expenses. Inflation is insane in Nigeria; it seems that the average spender must get that automobile, gadget, or flight tickets, as soon as they can. It is a sad reality for young Nigerians — because of rising costs, our aspirations elude us. Before you get your dream job, you tell yourself that you will go on those dates in months, buy that car in two years. But in two years, that car costs more than you ever imagined. We are chasing our wants and they are faster, exponentially.

I was also worried about the many things that could go wrong and make the trip regrettable. Well, as of today, I do not regret my decision. My hotel is amazing. So are breakfast, the weather, and the people I travelled with. I will be taking more trips in the future. I realize that it is not that difficult to do so, and I do not need much — besides the right jeans, shoes and glasses; some dollars, a SIM card and a navigation app. I am conscious of my own mobility — I know what I would sell, and what would fit in my boxes. I have less commitment to Lekki Phase 1. I am 26 and unmarried, I have no home.

Unfortunately, not everyone will, but everyone should travel when they are young — without the burden of a family. And if they decide to have one, children should travel. I must add that to my list of “must dos”. I do not care what they do or become, my children must read books, play musical instruments and travel. Yes.

On Leaving the Ocean Alone.

Shekeleke give me one, better finger two.

Speaking of children, I did follow the OceanGate submarine scandal, and I did have a striking thought on the matter — that if I raised children who could ever say “leave the ocean alone” in the popular context of the time, I would have failed as a parent. I did think: rational thought and a solid value system are the ultimate receipts of good education. And what have you achieved if you do not educate your children properly?

I was flabbergasted by the brouhaha. *clears throat in professorial manner* While some tweeted that the ocean should be left alone, the fiber optic cables that support the very internet they use were laid on the ocean floor. If the white man never explored the depths of the ocean, there would be less forms of energy, less understanding of aquatic life, less knowledge about global warming, no internet, no globalization. I realize that while the white man encourages his offspring to question and explore, the black man urges his to run and hide. We often attribute bad parenting to bad behavior and antics, but what about defective thinking?

I am often surrounded by people who have convictions they can neither explain, defend nor question. Everything scientific is explainable, practicable; every discovery is documented in peer-reviewed publications, everything can be tested by anyone who has the requisite knowledge and tools. But you see, Juju is mysteriously shy. It neither reveals nor proves itself. Only in the nighttime, in rural areas populated by the poor and illiterate. I realise that to be governable by the elite amongst us, delusions must thrive. Nigerians must believe that the spiritual has great influence in the affairs of our country; we must believe that Nigerian mishaps are caused by the diabolical work of unseen forces that an individual must pray against, not the brazen incompetence of identifiable people in government.

I hope I raise children that ask why until they are old and grey. I hope I have some of the answers, I hope they find reliable ways to safely verify things for themselves. I hope I raise rational children who believe in science and coincidence, not the forced attribution to that which is unheard, unseen, and untested.

While others explore the ocean for science and commerce, my people go on about aquatic principalities and powers. I love you but you are not serious people.

Bala Bulu and Why It Is Finished.

If na presidential, senatorial.

My people, before our very eyes, this presidency rigged itself into office. It is imperative that this is stated, reiterated. The 2023 elections were not free and fair, it was the greatest injustice of my lifetime. Election results were read from an unknown, unverifiable source. A winner was declared by 4AM while the nation slept. An inauguration has been conducted while results are still being challenged and since then, the government has been desperate for legitimacy.

The few of us who still speak from our senses and conscience will now be gaslighted until we accept quiet. Attempts to call out the illegitimacy of the government will be referred to as unpatriotic, treasonable even. The country will now be synonymized with the presidency. Those who wish Nigeria well must congratulate this mandate thief and work with him. They must wish Nigeria well regardless. Regardless. But do we all realize how dangerous this is? That anyone can rig elections, and seize power early enough to neutralize judicial intervention?

The government will now continue to make certain decisions that agbado experts will refer to as “bold”, “better for the country in the long run”. I do not know why anyone believes that a government that seizes power illegitimately will be interested in improving the lives of citizens. I am puzzled by those who support policies that have instantly hardened the lives of the average Nigerian. On the basis that, apparently, by the books, it is good economics. As if this ruminant federal government is motivated by good economics, not sheer, uncomplicated thievery. They say, “things will improve in the long run!” as if we have not heard that nonsense too many times, as if this was not the exact ploy used in 2015, as if things have ever improved. Nigerian things may worsen over a short time, but no, they never actually recover in the long run.

But the insidious, far-reaching effect of the agbado presidency is the endorsement of impunity. Nigeria’s greatest problem is impunity — simply, in every sector of government and every sphere of public life, there are no real, indiscriminate consequences for bad behavior. It is why elections are rigged in such brazen banner, it is why that minister borrowed an airplane to launch an airline, it is why people steal parts of bridges and rail tracks.

There is no consequence, and no real opposition. The opposition parties are muffled, the press has been gagged, the country’s greatest lawyers are cutting checks, the technocrats have been hired (or are tactically positioning for hiring). This country will descend to unprecedented lows. I do not speak of the fall of the naira, or the rise of prices, but the audacity of a civilian to shoot another in the street and get away with it.

We must now wait to see the outcome of Peter Obi’s challenge at the Tribunal. This outcome decides plenty — if we do not get evident justice, we must close the country and sell it for parts. If it turns out that the justices of our courts are as compromised as many say, we may have reached irredeemable depths.

Nigerian Objectivity.

I stand on what I know. Come make I tell you the things I know.

It is interesting however — that the momentousness of the issues I have identified, fueled by my lifelong belief in, and calls for, equality, justice and good governance, may be shunned by a silly “don’t mind him, he is an Obidient”. Like one of my role models did. As if the choice for a presidential candidate is like that of a premier league club — Peter Obi is Manchester City, who I must support every season. As if one man with a track record of success and curiously clean hands is not objectively superior to an old, ill, and senile ex-convict, whose party ruined the country, whose very identity is questionable.

There is a dubious, insidious distrust that is characteristic of Nigerian discourse. *another professorial cough* We do not believe in objectivity — we are rarely objective and we do not believe that others ever are. We always suspect that others have a hidden, personal agenda for every argument they make, every position they support. We find simple, ordinary reasons for why they do what they do — ”she’s Igbo”, “he’s elitist”, “he’s a lawyer”, “she’s sponsored”, “they are Gen Z”. We do not believe that others give objective judgments.

I recall my Twitter thread on the repressive grading system of the Nigerian Law School. Using a student’s lowest score to determine their final grade is ridiculous, and although I was aware of the system before I enrolled, I had thought and hoped, for good reason, that it would change. I still do. I had condemned the Nigerian Law School, in Midnight in Abuja, before I saw my results. I have always written about the arduousness, oppression, and mediocrity within Nigerian institutions, and I have always stressed that I hold my opinions regardless of my personal performance.

There I was, two years after leaving Law School, working at the biggest law firm in West Africa, pondering a bigger job offer, waiting on Cambridge. And some dolts were going on about how I had only spoken up because I was disappointed to lose my first-class streak. I was calling for an institution I had already left to do better, for future generations. I thought my intentions were obvious. But wondrously, in uniquely Nigerian fashion, they were interpreted as only wanting better for myself.

I was furious, but only at first. First, the aforementioned dolts do not know me. Second, I did ponder on the suspicions that have trailed others, and the Nigerian perspective to things. We do not believe in the objectivity of others because they are rarely objective. Indeed, in a society lacking in good values or a commitment to principles, people rarely ever do things for selfless, utilitarian reasons. The majority demonstrate strong bias for their gender, tribe, religion, family. Indeed, there is a “me and my family” viewpoint to everything. Indeed, definitions are loaded, stats are altered and there is always agenda.

Indeed, people complain about the government until they access opportunities, hold positions. A colleague who would have Sanwo-Olu’s head in Q1 2020 for banning motorbikes now supports him, a whole massacre later. Why? Some appointment. Indeed, the popular activists are often amoral, paid actors. No, Omojuwa is not making those mediocre Medium posts because he cares about Nigeria. It is giving 48th media aide.

In the end, the objectivity of the average Nigerian remains questionable, and typical Nigerian suspicion is valid.

These Logical Men.

Feelings are fickle, you fit use my love manipulate me.

Speaking of the word “objective”, is it not a shame that it is sometimes gendered? As a by-product of patriarchy, neutral words are harmfully gendered to present a gender in a certain way. I think about how “virtuous” is never used for men, perhaps because only women are generally expected to be virtuous. The words “virgin” or “slut” bring a woman to mind. But it is particularly enraging when words that qualify reasoning, such as “objective”, “logical”, or “rational” are gendered.

First, it annoys me that these three words are used incorrectly. Primarily, “logical” means “according to the rules of logic or formal argument”. It also means “characterized by or capable of clear, sound reasoning”. To be objective is to not be influenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering or representing facts. A fact is a thing that is known or proved to be true. An opinion, on the other hand, is a view or judgment formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge. Fact and opinion are somewhat opposite in meaning. We know facts, we believe opinions. If a thing is a fact, it would be undoubtedly and verifiably true. No matter how convinced you are, (except he trumps a series of objective and infallible criteria, agreed upon by every football fan in the world) to say that Messi is better than Ronaldo is not a fact, it is your opinion. But Messi is better though, js. You would think that everyone with the internet can easily verify the meaning of these words. Yet, every day, in every comment section, there is a Nigerian man telling a woman to “be logical” or “face facts” in a context that questions the meaning of the word.

Are men more logical than women? I do not know for sure, but I have not found any reason to believe so. I have keenly listened to arguments in public, I have patiently read long debates on social media, to see for myself. I rush to every mention of “be logical” to meet a genius, dick-swinging Plato lecturing an inferior, teary bimbo, but I do not find answers. How could men be more logical? Is it in differing brain structure? Is it in testosterone?

A variant of “let’s be logical” is of course “let’s put emotions aside”. They seem to mean the same to most people. To many, logic and emotion are opposite, mutually exclusive. It is interesting to suggest that when we put emotions aside, logic is all that will be left. Or that human beings are computers — we are somehow capable of perfect logic, without emotion, sensitivities, or context. Some say that women are more emotional than men, and that this necessarily means that they are less logical. Are women more emotional? Would that be a product of nature or nurture?

Assuming (without conceding) that women happen to more emotional, it must be a product of nurture. It must surely be because men are raised to mask the emotions that make us seem weak (to other men). It is not that naturally, men do not cry (surely, they do not have less liquid in their tear ducts), it is that boys are expressly told to “man up” and not cry. And no, the trend of telling men to express their emotions healthily is not “feminizing”. It is important that more men express themselves healthily because men express themselves anyway. In extreme cases, by ultimately killing women and/or themselves.

In Notes on Cinema 02, I observed that men feel emotion as strongly as women. However, when women display emotion, or any motivation men do not understand, it is called emotion. Meanwhile, historically, when men act brashly on ragingly clear emotion, it is called something else. A man loses his temper and inflicts pain, he calls it “discipline”. A man feels small, so he begins a war, he calls it “ambition”. A man feels insulted, so he challenges another man to a fatal duel, he calls it “honour”. A man says arrant nonsense on the internet, and he calls it “logic”.

I fear that in these contexts, “logical” is often attributed to whatever the man is saying. Often, an argument is not said to be logical because it inherently is, it is so because a calm man is presenting it to an annoyed woman. I worry that “let’s be logical” often means “agree with me, I have a penis!”. I reckon that public discourse can be painfully difficult because there are many people (mostly men) who convince themselves that they are indisputable geniuses, who should never submit to people they consider inferior (mostly women).

My Restraint and Repression.

Na your fault. E be like say you no know say na your fault.

We should all be less “logical”. So let me tell you a little about my emotions. In Midnight in London, I told you about losing people because I returned to indifference. I also said I was thankful for closure; for open and honest conversations. What I do not tell you is that closure rarely happens. I do not tell anyone about the times I have been left exhausted and enraged, and how much of a burden it is to exercise restraint, to never really say the unclad truths in my head. I turn around and leave hurtful or disrespectful situations quietly, but oh, I often have a lot to say. And the words haunt me.

On a Saturday morning in August 2022, in a chat with a housemate, he memorably said, “I have never seen you angry, I would one day like to see what you do when you are.” I had lived with this person for a year and at many points, I had been furious. He had been misled because even at the peak of my fury, I only ever sent messages to the WhatsApp group, beginning sentences with “I don’t appreciate…”, “I am not sure why…” Like a fucking diplomat.

In Midnight in London, I told you that I suddenly changed houses. I did not tell you why I had to. Today, when I think of the word “bastard”, a certain former housemate comes to mind — the typical domestic terror who is incurably loud, wondrously unaware, disobeys the rules, increases the shared bills, and disregards boundaries. I would warn him, and he would disrespectfully continue. And I would warn again. For 12 months. It was a horrid experience, not because of his many wrongs, but because I never reacted proportionally. For reasons I now despise, I was considered, composed, restrained. I always reached for moral superiority, but at what cost?

You see, at some point in my 20s, I learnt to be civil, dignified. Because I believe that certain depths are beneath me. Because I hate to see how far I can go. Because I am terrified of the pitch darkness within me; I know that I have the patience, tact and determination to completely destroy a person, the articulation to say the most visceral things. Most of my adult life, I have always exercised restraint. I have always smiled, warned, sighed. I have only ever yelled at my closest friends, and a few obtuse service providers. The arguments I have considered worth having have been those with people I love, who I wish to reconcile with.

And when I fall out with people, I have always done nothing. I do not take revenge or gossip. I am McCoy, removing myself from situations is enough. Others do their little things: they rally — assemble my friends to one side and my enemies to another. You must know those who, after doing the nastiest things to you, go on to immediately wash the feet of others. They go on to posture; to desperately gather goodwill, support. Hehe, Gazites. As if they are not enough, on their own, to stand opposite you. As if wrong and right are determined by support. As if they need the comfort of others to convince themselves that they are good people, deserving of love, regardless of their sick, narcissistic behavior. As if to isolate you. Hmph, pathetic.

Although I am deft at recounting my life’s experiences and describing the behavior of others, I never vilify anyone.

Snakes and Ladders.

If you think this song about your girl, then it is. It is what it is.

You know me. I never write about it, but if I write about it, it is finished.

I did believe that this woman and I had something special. Special, not whole, defined, or perfect. We would go on, complimenting each other, sharing music, making jokes about everything — from memes on the internet to getting married. We were constrained by time and space, so I did insist on friendship. I did not want to offer hope to her, to myself. I would say aloud to myself that I was a practical man, and our many gestures would not lead anywhere; there were women in my area code, and I did not want the hurt of trying and inevitably failing.

I would tell my friend, however, all about the situation. For years, I would go on about her brilliance, our problems; I would show him the birthday gifts.

So, when I later discovered that he was onto her, that they had built their own thing, whatever it is, I was rattled. And for months, I hated my feeling, I questioned it. Was I jealous? Did I fail? Was it regret? No. I had made the decisions myself, and resolved to stand behind them. It would later come to me though — this strange feeling that only the dearest of people could inflict on me was betrayal.

First, I thought she betrayed us. I had thought that I was special. On many calls, in many texts and notes, she had told me just that. There is of course, a certain impressiveness in expressing specificity, not randomness, in one’s desires. But I was easily replaceable after all, not by some other man in the world, but by the next best thing — my closest friend. I had thought that she wanted me, because of my unique qualities. Had I been cloned? Was there another David McCoy?

More importantly, I thought he betrayed me. Oh, I had told him everything. I had hoped that he was empathizing, not scheming. I thought it was a violation to use all that information, to take advantage of an unfortunate circumstance, to take that which should be beyond you. You know, as a friend.

I felt these things strongly, but I did nothing. What was I to do that would not reek of childish entitlement? What did I want from the situation that was necessarily practicable, good? Choices had been made. And so, we all endured a year of distance, awkwardness. Until recently. Until June when I realized that I could no longer see my friend’s IG stories. I imagine that this discovery was late, I had not been checking. But it was instantly triggering still. I was curious. This was targeted, what did I do? I had not replied to anything, I was not causing any trouble, I was not saying anything whatsoever. Why was @themccoyman searched for and excluded?

But we both know why, don’t we?

Guilt, my guy. A complicated feeling that can, in some cases, make you despise the person that (unintentionally) provokes it. If you did nothing wrong, why do you feel guilt? Perhaps it is because of those many years together; of great achievements and good conversations. Years that are now behind us, solely because you broke trust, exploited access. Perhaps it is because you are all over history, you are in that hilarious video of me thanking that woman for that birthday gift. Perhaps because years before, I had emphasized how irritating it is for male friends to take turns with women — eww, there are billions of them in the world. Perhaps it is because for too long, I said and did nothing. Or because only weeks before, when we all feared the worst, I left my work to ceaselessly call your phone. Guilt is why you would not show up to the hangouts, it is why you visited me to “clear the air” over imaginary Twitter subs.

So, I “soft-blocked” you everywhere, my friend. To set you free. Do as you wish, enjoy, I will not be looking. But this is real, McCoy really wrote this. In your pretentious way, do your best to trivialize, ridicule — some paradoxical comment here, a joke there. Maybe no comment at all, or something about having better to do, or how God blesses you still. But these words, as true as they are, will still be here.

You see, the articles “a” and “the” are different — the former is indefinite and the latter, definite. So, while there might be “a lie”, there is only ever “the truth”. One truth. Which in this case is that you had a good friendship, that your jealousy and dishonesty ruined. And when people ask about us, you would need to lie. Lie that it did not happen like this, lie about what I said or did. Lie that this is about her, not us, or principle. You would need to say anything, to avoid the suggestion that you are some kind of snake. You will find solace amid those who, for their own small, convenient reasons, already despise me.

But I wonder how it all ends, brother. Would it be worth it? Forever, you would need to convince yourself that it was, that we were never all that, that you somehow won. But no matter what, where two are gathered, I will be there in spirit, as the wounded elephant in the room, stretching my nailed hands. If I cannot have solace, I will have gratitude. I was, after all, the plug.

Empathy and Communion.

Won ti ge Asake l’eti lo!

I am past my heartbreak. And I find that no matter how enraged, exploited and exhausted I feel, I go again, with enough love for others, and the will to treat them kindly, fairly. I do not know if I am good, I only endeavor to be self-aware and empathetic. Always, I seriously consider the possibility that I am wrong, and I try to see everything from the perspective of others. I try, I do not know how well I do. You tell me.

But I sometimes wish I were extremely different. Do you ever wish that you lacked empathy? Imagine that you never worried about the consequences of your actions on others. Imagine that you always believed yourself to be right. It must be liberating to not give a fuck. I worry about my actions all the time. I wonder if I am polite enough, dignified enough, morally superior. I wonder if my arguments are correct; I ponder the counters to my premises, and the counters to those counters. I return to delete things. I wonder about others — if and how they see me. I worry about the impression I make — I hate to be misquoted, misunderstood. So, my great insecurities are never material or physical, but mental. Am I right? Am I justified, faultless? The problem with me is that I want to be a good person, and I want everyone to agree that I am. It is an insane losing game.

I have increasingly become reliant on others, not just with moral validation, but also with mundane assistance. Adulthood has demanded that I build a support system comprising of the people I call family and friends. I was not always like this, and the disappointment I often face with others makes me consider extreme alternatives. I would make a cold, isolated, self-serving villain.

But the truth remains that I prefer love, and there are so many beautiful things we can do with the right people. I explained once that young people working stressful jobs in difficult cities can enrich their lives if they simply commit to regularly meeting with their favorite people. During my difficult spells this year, I committed myself to shopping and “hanging out”. I text people and ask to go somewhere fun with them, often those who seem to have a strong, radiating will to live. You know, those who seem hopeful, up to something. The idea was that if I gave myself things to look forward to, and positive energy to tap from, it could get me through yet another day, week, month.

Communion is powerful, and we can do exhilarating things when everyone shows up and looks out for everyone else. But I suppose we live in very individual times. And pride is the devil.

But there is only one David McCoy.

If dem wan turn Goliath, I be David for life.

I am him, the David McCoy. I say that aloud sometimes. Since the last time I wrote to you, I have been troubled by my recurring identity crisis. In the next midnight episode, when the current phase of my life is finally over, I will tell you all about it, how it left me startled and unsure. I have been plagued by doubt, rattled; faced with urgent, consequential decisions. I have been rated in London and berated in Lagos. I have stopped to ask myself who I am and what I want. I have questioned my motivations, abilities, profession, talent, direction.

I do abruptly say “there is only one David McCoy”. And as you may think, it is a brag. There is just me, unmistakably. It is I who does not stutter on the biggest of stages, it is I who has made you read 25 minutes of text about my life, it is I who sees tonic solfa. It is I who makes everything beautiful. It is I who looks like this, talks like that, types like this. No matter how hard the pretentious and sly try, I cannot be replicated after all. But I suppose uniqueness is in itself not unique. We are all different, in colorful and amazing ways. This is why we are beautiful when we come together.

But it also a little sad — that there is only one David McCoy. Because sometimes I wish there was more than one. Maybe I could speak to them, ask questions that no one else would understand. I am often desperate for a reference — another person who is living thesame life, with thesame interests, nurturing thesame talents, facing thesame choices. I have no role models, there is no charted path for me. The dilemmas that plague my life are awfully unique, nobody can relate.

You must be familiar with my spells by now. Admittedly, I do lose my mind from time to time. I have these spells now and then — of overwhelming sadness, hollowness, confusion. I do my best to function, hold it all in, never break in public. I hold until I implode or exhale. Then I go again. I recall that years ago, while I explained my mental troubles to a friend, she summarily said “Is it not you, McCoy? You will be fine”. And I was disappointed at the time. I had heard the same lines from others but I still thought it was a cold thing to say.

But am I always fine? It does seem that I always win in the end. There is no version of any story where in the end, I do not win. If I have not won, the story has not ended. Even this story. So at this point, with a paragraph left, you expect some thrilling denouement. At this point, I often conclude with some motivation, punchline, quotable. I do not have any today however.

Am I fine in the end? I realize that there is no end, and I think this is the point of the midnight series. Life just continues, this is just another story. I have told many and I will tell more. There is no great realization or achievement. Life is not linear, or some crescendo. It goes on — I experience ups and downs like everyone else. There is no summary or climax, no adjective will singularly do justice. My life is neither good nor bad, it is simply mine. And that is all that matters.

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