Towards the end of June this year, being of troubled mind and weary body, I decided to take a trip home to draw strength from the soil in which my umbilical cord is buried, so to speak. And so I set off home. For those who don’t know, “home” for me is Jos; since it is the city of my birth and the bulk of my life adventures. The journey was a long and bumpy road trip filled with self-doubt, a stressed bladder and drowsiness. Eventually I was welcomed into the bosom of my family with no mishaps. The process of drawing strength consisted, for the most part, of me moping around my sister’s house, eating, watching TV and coercing her children into playing with me every now and again. Continue reading
I flash back quickly to that day.
We had gone on a road trip, and ended up in a little hotel in a quiet area, small city on the outskirts of a big town. The heat was doing our heads in and the constant airconditioning provided by the hotel was pure bliss. Nothing like vaseline, or body lotion of any kind had touched my skin in weeks. But of course, such skin-peace was ill-fated; soon I began to feel dried out, and it was embarassing going out because I had only packed short things but those short things showed off my white, scaly skin.
He woke me up one morning and asked if I wanted to come run errands with him. I said no, because 7am was an ungodly hour for me on holiday. So I slept, stretched languidly across the crisp white sheets, rolling cat-like from time to time, flirting with the idea of waking up, but never quite sealing the deal. Some minutes before 11 I decided I was ripe enough for a bath, and unhurriedly went about cleaning myself. When I was done, I made the bed because I could already hear him say, when he would eventually come back, “You can’t make bed?” and I chuckled a little because I already knew him that well. I settled in to watch Big Bang Theory, and was laughing softly when his call came in. How was I doing, what should he bring back to our lair for my breakfast, small talk. Looking down at my reptilian skin later, I texted him to buy me a little tub of vaseline, and even after I pleaded and he argued that he wouldn’t just randomly come across vaseline sellers where he was, we sort of left the topic open-ended.
I threatened him with the classic, “You think you are doing me, you are doing yourself because when we go out I’ll embarrass you with my whiteness” and I smiled as I typed that, because I wished we were in the same place so I could watch him laugh, and soak up the twinkle in his eyes until it passed…
He came back bearing food, which was great enough. Until he pulled out a tiny tub of vaseline. It was a brand I hated, but I really hadn’t expected him to buy any at all. I jumped up and down in excitement, pinned him to the wall and made kissy faces at him while he tried to push me off.
“Are you this cheap, you shoulda just told me all it took is vaseline. Jeez, I wouldn’t have wasted all this time and effort.”
I come back from my reverie and focus my gaze on the tub of vaseline. I’d thrown it in a seldomly used handbag, and there it was…
And I guess, really, I miss you.
So I’m sat at the old plantation (aka office) today, when I hear my phone ring. I peep the caller ID without breaking eye contact with the old man before me, because old people are all sorts of annoying when they feel in the least bit abandoned. It is a strange number, one of those that makes you wonder if there’s a new network in town you have not heard of. I don’t know what makes me pick up the call, but I do.
He: Hello… Joy? How are you?
Me: I’m fine…?
He: Why did you just push me aside, ehn? In fact, I’m so angry with you.
Me: *scanning the mental voice recognition database, finding no match* Err… Why, what did I ever do to you?
He: Why would you just forget about me… Do you even know who’s on the line?
Me: No, I don’t.
He: Can you imagine. It’s Great. Continue reading
My eyes dimmed again. It was a generous, uncoordinated mix of hunger, fatigue, and the little subdued angers of the day.
Too bad I couldn’t lose my temper on the job, or just walk away from my desk whenever I needed a break. Looking up, I notice a customer I’ve never seen before. He is a Hausa older man, dressed quietly in a white baban riga. He comes up to me with a complaint and somehow, I make small talk. I am smiling when he leaves; he has asked for and gotten my number. For official purposes, you understand.
The next day there is more anger and stress throbbing just behind my eyes. A couple people have taken me for granted and I hate it.
I don’t even know why I turn my head to the left, but I do. He is sitting there, patiently waiting. He’s focused on the TV watching until the chair in front of my desk empties. I’m not sure why, but I suddenly feel a quickening of my pulse. I’m nervous… uncomfortable, almost. I greet him when he takes the chair and he is all smiles. My eyes widen because now there’s someone else in the second chair in front of my desk. He has made no move, but I’m sure he’s about to say… something.
I don’t like queues.
He says it whilst holding my gaze steadily, confident smile lighting up his face.
I… I’m sorry?
I blink rapidly as I ask this. I’m not sure, what queue?
I hope the queue isn’t long, I don’t like queues.
I know now that he means the number of men… other men vying for my attention. Because he’s officially in the running now.
This time I’m struck dumb. Once again I’m grateful for melanin. If I didn’t have any, I’d be red right now, from the neck to the very edge of my receding hairline.
To dispel my doubts (I have none) he adds, when are we meeting later?
I laugh, because it is a cocky question and I don’t want to get into the what-makes-you-so-sure-there-will-be-a-meeting of it all. Too many times, I’ve had that argument. But they never listen, men.
He says he will call me around five, when I must be done from work. I say OK and watch him leave, with a flourish of his white agbada, the cadence of his voice laden with international exposure still ringing in my ears.
He’s a lovely man, confident in his level of life experience. He has a great smile, a hint of a great sense of humour, and strikes me as one of those people who is rich in a casual way.
But he is somebody’s daddy.
Later that evening, I watch as my phone rings twice. I do not pick up.
Have a wonderful 2016. Pray fervently, love passionately, pretend that hurt is a thing of fiction, do not give anger a chance, and above all, overcome fear.
I realise this is coming years after the actual festival, but: I lost the initial review due to “technical hitches” so you must take this remake in good faith.
So, this year’s Aké Arts and Book Festival took place at the June 12th Cultural Centre in Abeokuta, Ogun State from 17 -21st November. It was attended by art lovers, writers, (published and blogging), and what I’ll call bold youth courageous enough to question the mundanity of things. It was a forum for discussion of literary, political, educational and somewhat taboo topics affecting the global community. It garnered a lot of support and attendance from across several continents, and was the perfect place to be geeky in a completely comfortable way. If you want to know more about Aké Festival, please go here http://www.akefestival.org or https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=JJlVzqX-ju0
The logical thing any (skinny) person will say is, if you’re unhappy with your weight then do something about it. Then the slow motion montage will begin to play with inspirational, heroic music going on in the background. You will see it like it always happens in the movies; young, fat, usually painfully plain girl with no visible skills or talent, suddenly fed up with being the butt (harhar) of mean jokes, takes a stand and decides to change, jogs up and down wearing different coloured t-shirts until she’s suddenly this curvy, lanky, sexy and talented thing. Continue reading
So it was the birthday on Wednesday, and I’ve decided to share some life tips, goals and general updates today. Yes, I’ve grown into a kind, wise and sensitive lady, I know this.
I’ve stared long and hard at my reflection and am pleased to report no wrinkles. There are a few things I insist on calling laugh lines, but no actual wrinkles for now.
Well, the bucket list of a couple years ago is still there, not that many items have been ticked off it. Many items on that list have become unnecessary to life as well. I’m still pondering the real need to draw up a revised bucket list.
I have decided to get a house plant which I’ve pre-named Larry. I have deep feelings of affection for Larry and have what I consider a super witty sign to hang around his stem; “Don’t feed the animals.” Of course, none of my neighbours and very few of my friends here will get it, but that’s a post for another day. It is my hope that when I do get Larry, I will remember to water him enough to keep the poor guy alive. The logic behind getting a plant is that I can be an old cat lady without the cats.
Recently, I acquired a pet when I discovered that a female Agama lizard hangs out around my back door to eat flies and other juicy insects. I’ve named her Sally, and usually hail her whenever I pass by. I discovered that she brings a couple of her friends around as well (apparently my pet lizard has a more active social life than I do). I call all of them Sally because I really can’t be arsed to identify and name the others.
Of course, there is the back/waist pain to contend with. I can’t quite recall the last time I had a bath with water out of a bucket that was on the floor. Nah, you gotta elevate the bucket. Reduce incidences of bending over completely and throwing out the old back. I do, after all live alone. Who will fly to my rescue if I’m prostate on the cold bathroom floor, rendered immotile by a malfunctioning spinal cord? Hopefully the mental exercises I do will actually begin to happen at some point, and that will ease out the creaks in my waist.
I’m glad I had a couple videos made of myself dancing my one dance (flexing and twisting my waist in snake like fashion) because these videos comfort me when I have sudden realisations of how old I actually am.
Also, I have pictures stored up somewhere depicting my body in various peak moments. What I’m trying to say is, there is nothing like a young body, no matter how hard plastic surgery tries. That being said, fingers crossed that Dr. Ray comes to Naij and offers HUGE discounts sometime soon.
Um… Lemme see, what else?
Right, love life.
Recently I saw a picture of a jumbled up ball of yarn with the caption “What the hell is happening?” right underneath. Yeah, that sums up that part. Sometimes I get out a really long piece of wool out of that jumble, but… no… wait… darn, it’s all tangled again. So… yeah. Work in progress.
Also I’ve come to observe over the last few months that all the cute guys are babies!!! How did this happen. It’s either Married or Underage, there are shockingly few In-betweens.
As for my hopes?
Well, maybe I should list them, to avoid rambling on. In no particular order:
– Buy a Larry
– Pay Sally and her guys more attention
– Maybe someday go jogging again. Yes, I said “again”, it actually used to happen in the old days, what do you guys really take me for, I’m so hurt by your judgement.
– Be a teensy bit more ballsy when it comes to putting myself out there in life.
– Stop being apologetic for being myself.
– Curse a tiny bit more, I hear it relieves stress and reflects an honest personality.
– Somehow stop people’s daddies from saying inappropriate things to me at work or chatting me pervily on Whatsapp. Curse you, Whatsapp, by the way. Just work on your privacy settings, plix!
– Err… etc, etc, because you guys never get enough of amebo *eyeing you pipu upandan*
As for what I did on the birthday? Oh, you know. Went to work, came back home, was asleep by like 9pm, slept this wonderful, like-a-log sleep straight till morning, so that was great.
Right. I have said too much.
I’m including that song because it tells me there’s hope; I can still be young and carefree and parry dan mehn, kimon!
I’m so grateful for my foolishness, and for those who love me; family (they don’t really have a choice :p), friends (those guys could walk away if they want but they’re still here. So touching 😥 ), and the well-wishers, most of whom I don’t know much about…
Anyways, God bless all of youse!
You guys know I’m not really that old, ba? 😦
Please invite me to your parties and sturvs, I’ll totally fit in.
Thanks in anticipation.