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. Read more ›
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.
It was her birthday, but she wasn’t excited about it.
Somehow, this neighbour of hers with whom she’d only recently begun talking had convinced her to go hang out with him. She guessed it was ok, he seemed funny and he’d definitely drop her off home since he lived a few houses down from her. She smiled sweetly as he pushed his head against hers for another selfie. They were currently in a club, after downing a few bottles each at a popular joint in the heart of town. He pulled her up when his song began to play, and she had to admit, his enthusiasm was infectious. They danced and sweated and drank and laughed until everything became a blur.
They left the club around 3.30am and drove back to the neighbourhood in relaxed, companionable silence. He stopped at his house and offered her some more beers from his personal warehouse. She went in with him. They sat on the couch drinking super-chilled bottles of Snapp, and making fun of the actors in the Nollywood flick on tv.
So where’s your wife sef, in all this, she asked finally. She’d scanned the walls and there was no sign of wedding photos or a wife anywhere.
Hmm, he said, taking a swig from his bottle. She could tell he was stalling, trying to decide whether or not to tell her the truth.
I have a girlfriend, but she’s not here… actually, our parents are hell-bent on marrying us off. There’ll be a family introduction soon.
Ah, that’s nice. She wasn’t surprised, everyone carried more baggage than the cargo hold of a commercial airplane these days.
They continued talking, the gist flowing easily between them. She looked towards him to catch what he’d just said, and suddenly his face was right there. They kissed and it was the most natural thing to have happened. She turned back to the TV, and it was a few minutes before they faced each other again and really kissed. A deep reconnoitre of a kiss that told her; he was a bad boy. He was a very experienced bad boy who had no shame and no regrets. He dragged the breath from her throat and busied his hands with her breasts. He guided her hand to his crotch and her eyes flicked open, a moan of appreciation escaping jaggedly from between her lips, losing itself inside his mouth. He stopped suddenly, laughed and sheepishly said, gosh I have to go pee.
The minute he got up, she drained her bottle, shook her head roughly and grabbed her keys from his centre table. She crept to his front door and let herself out, then set off at a fast trot to her flat.
She was trying to find the key for her screen door when she thought she heard someone coming. Shit! She hastened her search, fit the key in the lock and let herself in. She slammed and locked the door in the nick of time like the classic inappropriately dressed blonde in every horror movie ever.
She heard him walking around the side of the house.
Hey, what’s wrong, I went into the bathroom and you ran away?! What’s going on. His voice was soft and low, to avoid attracting attention from the neighbours.
Why did you leave?
The moonlight and security light from a neighbouring flat allowed her see him frowning at her in concern.
Because… she shrugged limply.
Ok, open the door.
No, I’m not opening this door!
Because if I do, we’re going to fuck.
She could see his breath catch in his throat, watched him swallow and scratch his head.
Well… so let’s fuck, then!
But you’re committed to someone. I can’t deal with all that.
She didn’t know if it was all that beer finally kicking in, or the effects of the full moon but she felt a familiar mood descend on her and she smiled, wickedly.
She stood directly in front of him, only the sturdy mosquito netting between them. Slowly, she pulled her dress off over her head, and flung it away.
Fuck! He was prowling around outside now, like a dog inches away from his lunch.
Come closer, he rasped, coming to a stop in front of her.
She unclasped her bra and dropped it on the floor, pushing her swollen breasts against the net. He stuck out his tongue and flicked it against her nipples. She pushed her head back and laughed at his very evident frustration. Are you still wearing your panties? He asked.
In answer, she stepped out of her panties, held them up for him to see, then let them drop to the floor. She stepped into a slice of moonlight so that he could see her naked.
Good night, she said, unlocking her front door.
Come back, he hissed. He wanted to yell but couldn’t, because it was late and he didn’t want to be mistaken for a thief or something.
So he stood there paralysed as she went into her house and locked the door behind her. He stood there a while, hoping she’d reappear and yell, sike!
No such luck.
He walked back to his house, glad there was ice in his fridge. He’d need an extra cold shower to survive till morning.
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. Read more ›
I open my eyes and squint, caught in the shard of violent sunlight sneaking in through the curtain. I wonder, as I often do, what actually woke me up. Like, at what point did my subconscious jerk awake, and why?
I heard my neighbour open a door, heard footsteps and waited for more information so I’d know if it was the husband or the wife. This house is eerily quiet, so quiet I once heard the husband pee, every uneven second of it, up until the shaky fart just before the flush.
I hear the crude sound of a broom dragging along the concrete floor of the compound and I know it’s the wife this time. She’s out for her morning sweep. I wonder why she bothers. The weather is dry and not at all windy. Added to that, we’ve no trees shedding leaves in or around the compound, what the hell does she feel she needs to sweep every damn morning?
It’s like she needs to pretend to her husband and all concerned that she’s a good, hard-working, well brought up woman, or some such shit.
My main issue with her sweeping is the fact that she sweeps the same area every day. Yet, when I come out on the way to work, there’s this same strip of green plastic sitting on the floor; what does she sweep up every fucking day?!
I listen to her absently, as she performs her punishment straight out of Hades; doing the same thing and making no difference and wonder…
I wonder if she has trouble conceiving. I feel she’s doing something wrong as far as sex with her husband is concerned. I think to myself how maybe he’s sexually frustrated, and she’s plain frustrated because she keeps shagging the guy but fails to get pregnant.
And how would she get pregnant with these sweeping patterns, I ask you.
I stretch luxuriously when the sweeping sounds stop, and mentally prepare myself to get ready for the day. When I rush out of my door right in the nick of time, as usual, I sidestep the green plastic in its usual place and sigh deeply.
Who am I to judge this poor woman, I think, hastening my step so I don’t get to work late. After all, aren’t we all like her, going through the motions, with that one aspect of our lives we’re not willing to change?