A Little Love Is Enough: A Review Of Omolara Agbaje’s Letters, Stamps, And Seals
…I walk into things,
Because I walk around half-blind,
As my only view of the world is from
Behind an ever-present layer of tears
Just waiting to drop.
— What’s your eye defect? (Page 17)
Being someone that frequently space-shifts between emotions and feelings, I do not always get to consume all books or forms of writing. This is because I have a feeling that is quite hard to satisfy and I always thirst for a new experience. So, when it comes to reading and I pick up a book to read, I always thirst for what the first content of the book will seem like; whether it is one that will pique my interest and satisfy my thirst for a new experience or I am just going to add it to the collection of books that will take a lifetime to finish reading. However, Letters, Stamps, and Seals by Omolara Agbaje did more than piquing my interest, it threw me down the memory lane (as it would also when you read it) and made me write a review and birth a poem out of it. And that you are reading this review is an attestation to that.
Letters, Stamps, and Seals is more than a dazzling blueprint that has not only succeeded in its attempt at helping readers navigate through the trauma that may come with heartbreaks (and mental health), Omolara Agbaje has told a story of how one’s body can fit in again in Old Regalia after trying out a new one, a new experience that leaves breadcrumbs of aches in one’s heart. She has written a book about unrequited love in the most tender way, which left me wondering, when reading through the pages, how the protagonist will live through those words (if he reads it). She has made each word carefully builds up into lines of love, each line into paragraphs of heartbreaks, and each paragraph into pages defining her recovering process in a completely different way.
In the third paragraph of The Beginning (Page 8), she had written there, “I remember being stuck in your school and somehow needing help. You were the only one I could call but I didn’t call you. I just couldn’t bring myself to, and I hate that it might get to that even outside my dreams. I know you won’t mind me calling you, but I can’t, you know. I won’t and I hate that. pfft!” In another part, Arrrrrrg (Page 14), she had written, “I need to talk to you: it’s almost driving me arrrrrrgh!… I wanted to tell you immediately. Then I thought about everything again. I usually have to give myself a pep talk not to just give in to calling you. This sucks!” As a reader, my admissible thought is about the consistent defiance the writer submitted herself to in order to get over her lover. And one would imagine if the writer, moving on with her life, will be willing to wholeheartedly thrust herself into such vast depth of love again.
But she did. Or preferably, she will do as she has also written about how she is unapologetic about the love she felt that didn’t work out. And how despite that, she will search for love all over again.
Let it be known
That I threw myself into the vast depth of turbulence
In search of love and beauty.
And I’ll do it all over again. — Page 7
Omolara Agbaje has written about “how the body remembers pain as if it’s not just a memory” and about how “morphing into other life forms as a form of therapy.” She has written about how a soul becomes “an apocalyptic ghost town” and how every “touch has a memory” it invokes when one’s lover leaves. She has written about how “lost love is not a real thing.” That “love is never lost. It always comes back, somehow. It always comes back.”
Beyond the unrequited love, Letters, Stamps, and Seals is also a travelogue as the writer has taken us through her explorations. The book has been written to contain letters and poems she addressed to her lover, and images that aren’t just memories, but of places where she belongs.
You can get your copy of Letters, Stamps, and Seals on getbook.omolaraagbaje.com.ng