Little by little, I am unlearning tardiness, having seen how much 'African-timing' has stalled my individual progress. But over time, I have come to know that showing up punctually is not the only skill to be learnt in mastering time; there is a gift of tact that comes with knowing when to round-off; of making a graceful exit in ones daily encounters.
Sometimes I take for granted that sixth sense, that inner perception that announces to me quietly that a matter has come to an end. It tells me when I have outstayed my welcome; It whispers to me that this love is going unrequited; it comes with this knowing that dawns on me that I have just arrived in a place where I haven't been invited.
It's the sixth sense that tells me to end the call and quit yammering on the phone because I have lost the audience of the other person at the end of the line. It tells me when the joke is over-flogged.
But at times some of us are so full of "faith" that we keep pressing, hoping to effect a change and in our faithful pursuit, we make a fool of ourselves.
I have come to know that there is a sheer line between doggedness and desperation; between the persistence of faith and the acts of foolishness. Sometimes I get drunk on my own sense of self-acceptance that I assume that I would never suffer rejection. But I learn daily that not everyone would find me beautiful; not everyone would find me clever or fun to be with (and obviously their opinion doesn't count).
I have learnt that desperation makes a puny out of you; that punctuality in arrival isn't enough. There's a beauty in wrapping up tactfully, in closing a chapter without tearing the pages of the book; of walking away from that door that has chosen not to open and saving your knuckles the perpetual pain of knocking. There's a grace in slipping away quietly, without dramas, without creating scenes.
Arriving on time is beautiful but learning to exit is even more graceful.