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 “Calming my Restless Heart, or Something Similar”
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 “Zero Plus Zero Equals Blog Post”
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 “Fat Girl’s Guide”
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.
It was two weeks before her wedding and she was depressed as hell.
It was so hard putting up a smile, so hard concentrating on the last minute arrangements, so hard keeping it together.
It had all started the day she went to pick up her gown. They’d had to make some minor adjustments and fix a tear in the veil, so she went back to the shop to check if it was perfect and take it home with her.
She got into the changing room, put it on and stepped out, feeling every inch a bride to be. Staring at her reflection, she knew she’d made the right choice because the dress looked like it had been made for her, and crowning it all was the cathedral-style veil. Her smile cracked a little, and it was all she could do to keep the tears in until she was back in the changing room, safely hidden from the concerned shop girl’s eyes. It was difficult to cry quietly with a broken heart, but she had no choice because these tears couldn’t wait .
She cried, that kind of release where you’re conscious of nothing else, save how to get the writhing ball of hurt out your body, through your eyes.
She cried till her eyes were swollen shut.
She cried till her chest ached.
She cried till she was wheezing like one in the throes of an asthma attack.
She cried till she couldn’t breathe and the panic pushed all the blood to her head till it roared in her ears.
She realized that she was on the floor some minutes later, and hoped to God that she hadn’t torn the veil again. She carefully stepped out of the dress and hung the veil over the door. She felt miserable.
She had everything. Her friends and family were super psyched that her big day was coming up, and the excitement in her mom’s house was palpable. The man she was going to promise forever to? Honestly, she could never have imagined a better man on this earth. She loved him so much that when he proposed, her girlfriends had to beg her to cancel the thanksgiving mass she had planned. He was everything. The kind of man she knew would help her be the best person she could possibly become. The kind of man who loved and accepted her as she was. The connection between them was such that he seemed to know when she wanted space and when she needed his arms around her. He was a flawed mortal in all the perfect ways.
And she didn’t want to tell him what was eating at her inside, for fear she’d see that look of hurt helplessness in his eyes. Because there was nothing he could do to change things. Because this time, he couldn’t give her what she craved.
She wanted her dad to walk her down the aisle.
She wanted him to walk in on her getting her makeup done the morning of her wedding, and hear what affectionate, teasing thing he’d say to express how beautiful she looked.
She wanted to look up at him through her veil, and see the love and pride and poorly concealed tears glazing in his eyes as he handed her over to the love of her life.
She wanted him to assure her, as she tried to control the tears, “You’ll always be my little girl.”
She wanted to dance with him.
But she couldn’t.
And she’d never hear him say all those things.
Because he was dead. And nothing could bring him back.
This year, we “celebrate” twenty years of life without the head of our family. You can read more here.
May his soul continue to rest in peace.
May God continue to keep my family united in love, and may His favour help us hold on to laughter, even in the face of tears.
Once upon a very weird Christmas time, an uncle of mine came over, and took me and a couple of my siblings to the zoo. It was a cheesy stab at “family fun”, but it exposed me to…well, the zoo.
So after then, I would go to the zoo from time to time, stare at the animals, give them names in my head and imagine them doing rather Dr. Seuss-like things.
It was a great idea (on paper), because I got to be on my own, cultivate some kind of a personal habit, and just be on my own and think.
It worked only once. Second time I went, I was accosted by this young chap. Senegalese, abi from Niger Republic, I can’t for the life of me remember. He stuck to me like a cow tick in a well fed dog’s fur, and wouldn’t let go.
How I was so beautiful, he was sure I could sing because I had such a lovely voice… Dude sang a couple bars of a song from an album he was allegedly working to drop real soon.
My girlfriend’s bf was competing in that Maltina Dance All show one year, and we all went to cheer the guy on. Seemed like a legit enough thing to do. During a break, I moved away from the “pack” to make a phone call, turned, and there he was. This wet-eyed Igbo boy, offering me a hanky because I was sweating from the heat and excitement inside the hall.
Toh, feeling a large drop of sweat on the cusp of splashing dramatically into my eye, I accepted the hanky and pushed aside thoughts of how weird it all was. And that was how I accepted a major stalker into my life.
There is nothing I didn’t do to shake off that guy, but even at that, it took a few months.
This one time, I was innocently walking from the house to the junction to get a keke. Suddenly I catch sight of a guy and girl standing outside a shop. The girl goes, “Ah, see this fine geh!” and in no time, the guy is coming up after me. Long story short (I never learn, I know this) I give him my number because it’s embarrassing; he has my bag and won’t let go, so passionate is his pleading.
That guy once gave me thirty – something missed calls and like four text messages ranging from “Why won’t you pick up, hope you’re ok” to “I’m very disappointed in you, why would you treat me like this, I’m never calling you again “.
Then he left some more missed calls.
What about when they fixed traffic lights at this roundabout in town here? There I was one bright Saturday morning, perched rather youthfully on a bike, heading to the tailor’s. Now, the light turned red so I was there o, only for me to hear, “Hello, baby, long time.” A slimy smile accompanied this fond greeting, after which the MAN in question proceeded to tell me how I was “his colour”. Mehn, I was Ray Charles to that guy and his teeth until that light changed and I moved on with normal life.
Right from secondary school, there was the (older) guy who’d show up in the mornings with cards and other related love-practices.
Same thing in Uni. The only time I was safe was when I hid in a particular corner of the library…
NYSC camp? Oh God. It was annoying, because I couldn’t be rude to the ones I didn’t like just so I could hang out with the interesting ones, like I would have wanted to 😦
Only last weekend, I asked an electrician to come fix a faulty outlet in my house. Now, I hate having handymen around because, small talk. I will never get the hang of talking for the sake of it, and to strangers, no less. So I hid somewhere with a Charles Dickens and waited for the guy to finish, abegs. I should mention that right when he came in, I was holding a half – finished pure water sachet in my hand. I asked if I should get him some water and your man smoothly took the one in my hand, wordlessly putting the edge I’d been drinking from to his mouth, like a promise… the chills, guys. The chills!
Anyway, your guy finished and I paid him off only for him to ask, just before I closed the gate:
“So… you living in this area, ba?”
I was all like, hell nah, nicca, and closed the gate behind him.
So far, I’m still waiting for the type I see in Nollywood; that will sweep into my life, wash away my financial and material sins, expose my skin to the best creams and polish me, generally. And all this without thinking to ask for any kind of gratification in return.
In the meantime, though, this one guy said he loves me and he buys me pens from time to time…
That counts, no? 😦
So I went out with someone this week.
Let me make it clear, please.
It was not a date.
It was NOT a date.
It was not a DATE.
He brought up the idea of us hanging out and I said Ok because, meat. Quite frankly, you can kidnap me with meat. Or is it still kidnap if I willingly hop into the car with you, clutching the container of yummy saliva-wave inducing dead animal… I think my ability to hear or focus is hindered drastically when I’m eating meat that I really enjoy. But that theory has not been proved.
Continue reading “Of Mandibles and Other Romantic Things”
Here are some tips about best friends I wrote down a while ago:
-Keep the amebo flowing. Gossip is the grease that oils the cogs of the world. It is not to be underestimated.
– Though distance separates you, communication is key.
– When you deliver your gist, be sure to make it media-rich. Include images, web links, audio, video footage, bloody powerpoint slides if you can. Continue reading “Keeping Your BFF”
I am in a bus headed for Asaba. There’s a skinny fair guy sitting next to me who’s been making small talk with the third person at the back, an elderly lady. I’ve come to realize that my girlfriend lied; Asaba is apparently further away than the four hours she promised, and it’s in no way going to be a smooth ride, if the present rough road is anything to go by.
I’m trying to sleep to eat up the kilometres, but there is really nowhere to rest my head. I glance towards my skinny neighbour and access his profile. Glasses, very little facial hair. I quite suddenly want to grab his head and kiss him. It’s not my fault. I love to kiss but this single life won’t let me prosper…
Continue reading “Instant Flash: Bracelet”