Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Saint or Insanity?!

So the mushy day of the mysterious St. Valentine is over. Clear your eyes. Yes! You and you, and you over there wondering what the hell it is you did last saturday.

I’m really indifferent about the Val’s and all that soppy love wan-tin-tin. Mscheww. I really don’t care. And no, I’m not sad or lonely…or in denial for Pete’s sakes!

There was something peculiar about Val’s this year, maybe it’s because it fell on a Saturday…or because people were actually happy to be distracted by it…something to take their minds off credit crunch and pay cuts and all, who knows?
But really, Val’s was really different in Lagos this year.

Even on Friday at work, I heard ‘there’s a delivery for so so so and so at the reception’ like a hundred times. Cakes, red roses, white roses, chocolates. I ate gladly (noo o! not the roses, I just smelled those ones and gave my fake smiles and congratulations) but frankly, I thought t’was just show-off o! Because, all these adult lovers should have taken full advantage of the day falling on a Saturday and just kept their peace! Instead of sending loud KEEP OFF MY BOYFRIEND/GIRLFRIEND !!! messages to fellow colleagues.

I woke up on Saturday morning to find my inbox full. Some of the messages from family…and some guys who wanted to try their luck with invitations to Bambuddha, Planet One, movies etc , wtf?! Don’t they gerrit? I’m not a fan of St. Valentine! The only invitation I woulda accepted would be to the White House or Turks and Caicos…to be alone for the weekend…or forever sef!

I walk downstairs to buy cereal from my neighbor’s shop in my red flip-flops that she sees me wear every single day and she goes, ‘Ehhh oo! As per lovers’ day, me sef I have already ironed my red hollandias, lemme go and ask my husband how far’ … I just ignored her. Old timer will not keep her mouth shut and just give me cornflakes.

Then my neighbor Ara, whom I used to jog with every morning (before I got a job on ‘the island’ and she got herself pregnant simultaneously) comes over and calls me outta my bathroom like there was some emergency, only to ask me ‘how Val’s go be?’ …shit. I wanted to slap her…but I just considered her bomboy…and the fact that she’s almost a married woman…and that I was naked.

It was ‘water-leaf soup day’ (which by the way was the most exciting thing about Val’s day for me) and I dressed in black and blue to go to the market, another neighbor, a timer as well, accosts me on my way to find out why ‘I’m not wearing red and where I’m going and blah blah blah’. Nonsense old woman!

I walk to the bus stop and I tell you, there’s not a single person who didn’t have a touch of red, I thought to myself, ‘I must have missed the dress code to ‘The Cupid’s Ball for Retarded People…even the village women selling garri and okra by the road were in red… I wonder who or what was responsible for this massive awareness…we should use these media to communicate to them the need for family planning, causes of HIV, breast and cervical cancer, tuberculosis and a host of other deadly avoidable diseases.

I waited almost 20 minutes for a bus, eventually I got one for twice the normal fare. There was a plastic red rose beside the steering wheel…maybe that’s what I was paying extra for, God only knows.

So so many ‘About-to-wed’ rides everywhere, some pastors/prophets must have promised these couples marital super glue for getting married on Valentine’s Day. Lol.

Omo come see market!!! Stupid plastic and ceramic roses everywhere, cheap I-LOVE-YOU cards and frames and stuff scattered on mats…people scrambling to pick the best of the worst, I just jejely squeezed my way through, wondering what St. Valentine would think of the madness.

‘Buy your plantain ships, buy one chop two, special Valamtime promotion! Na me dey fry am, na me dey sell am, special Valamtime thing!!! Ships here, Ships here!!! Aunty buy o!’ he he he he.

‘Lofas’ Day special, buy two shaki get one ponmo fisi! Na true, take am cook Fal soup! Sister! Sister!! Buy shaki, roundabout, tongue, yansh, leg, ifun, anytin, get ponmo free’ Yee pa!

I walk to my snail customer’s stall and she looks up and smiles and says, ’Happy Fal’s auntie’, I almost walked away, but I thought ‘my water-leaf soup cannot work without the snails’, so I just smile back and buy my stuff.

The woman selling vegetables was something else this Saturday o! She looked like that witch Gaetana from ‘Second Chance’ abi what’s the name of that Mexican soap again? Red wrapper, red lipstic, red beaded earrings and even red eye shadow, I thought to myself, ‘ki lon shele?’. There was no way in the world I was going to buy water-leaf from this woman, I walked round the market and I didn’t see water-leaf, like a prodigal daughter, I came back. The woman gave me extra 300 naira change, when I gave it back, she said ‘ Auntie no vex, na my husband I dey think, na Val’s dey shack me’ and she smiled. I coulda sworn she painted her teeth red as well.

It appeared the snail woman thought I had forgotten to collect my snails, after paying 2k! who on earth forgets that sorta thing?! I heard her shouting ‘Auntie! Auntie! Shey Falantine lo je ke gbagbe igbin yin ni?’ (is it Valentine that made you forget your snail?). I was irritated, she still hadn’t removed the shells, which was the reason why I had left it with her before.

The journey back was terrible, mad hold-up, double transport fare, the conductor kept hissing and asking no one in particular, ’shey Falamtime lo fa gbogbo eleyi ni?’ (Is it Valentine's Day that caused this one?) I tried to stop myself from laughing.

I have never celebrated Val’s day (except mandatorily –at college once and twice in church), last year, I picked February 14th to take my Oracle Certification while half the world was engulfed in sin and the other half was doing whatever they were doing ‘legally’. If the government made the day a public holiday, I may be more siked about it, but until then, I don’t see anything special about it. I mean, even my parents went out together, my mother forming that she was ill that she needed to go to the clinic, only for them to come back with ice cream and pizza. Mscheww, agbayas.

Val’s has come and gone, some people have broken up because of what happened on Saturday, some girls will end up with unwanted pregnancies or worse still HIV and some kinds of STDs, some men will end up with reduced or no savings, while some people’s love will grow and wax stronger after this year’s Valentine’s Day. As for me, I remain the same.

Let’s look for something better to hype now, like my sister STANDTALL!!!

Friday, February 13, 2009

I killed her on the 13th.

Hi blogville.

So friday the thirteenth is here again. I remember my post on this 'special' day of the week a while back.
But I discovered something recently that makes me believe that the day is might really be jinxed.

I was still fresh in blogville when i put up the I killed her post, but recently, I came across my school report card and found out that everything happened on a Friday the 13th. Maybe the myth is true, maybe it isn't. But the thing that changed my life in more ways than one happened on this day. I believe. So, I've decided to share the post again.

Friday, May 2, 2008
I killed her...

I was going on 7 (or was i going on 8 at that time????, the memories get more and more hazy)
A few years earlier, we'd just moved to a more secure neigbhourhood. Everyone (i mean my sister and brother) liked their new schools, except me. The kids were mean, the lunch was terrible and the toilet was an eyesore. I was a smart kid, and they hated me even more.
I had no friends, i always thought it was because i hadn't gotten my school uniform yet so they didn't see me as one of them...yet. Not long after i started this new school, we had a 'newer'-comer in our class. I remember vividly how she looked on her first day, just like me, she had one of those aunty-give-me-cake gowns, church shoes and her hair was tied up in rubber thread.
'Class this is 'Anthonia', welcome her' then the bunch of mean kids mumbled something and she got the empty seat on my bench...misery loves company. I remember this day vividly, i don't care how many pranks my mind plays on me. I made a friend that day. She was born in July, just like me. We were the same size, same height, same complexion. We only had different faces. We'd sometimes lie that we were sisters. The kids at school weren't so mean anymore, and if they were, we didn't care.

It didn't take long for me to discover how incredibly smart Anthonia was. Together, we'd decide who we wanted to come first and second on the tests and exams. We never really competed for first and second positions in our class, my parents didn't mind when i came second and she came first (and neither did her's) , better her than someone else. I remember she didn't have a father. I remember telling her we could share mine, and we did.

We were funny kids, stars of the teaching-staff room. I remember there was a fish tank in that office. Every afternoon at lunch break, we'd go in there and feed the fish, it was a goldfish. We'd crack jokes everytime about how we wanted to taste the fish and all. Anthonia knew how to laugh. I remember her laughter, it was deep, shrill, intense, always with tears in her eyes. We had no worries, never threw tantrums. We had fun.

Everyday after school, we'd walk down a few blocks to my house where her mum usually picked her up after work. While we waited for four o'clock for NTA to come up, we'd play all sorts of games, I remember it was she who taught me how to skip, and she was my hero when it came to 'ten-ten', she always won when we played 'catcher' and whenever we got tired, we'd sit in the house and watch VOLTRON- defender of the universe or Power Rangers till her mother came, sometimes, she'd sleep over.

I remember we loved to drink garri. We did it everyday, with groundnut. They called us Woomie-Epa and Toni-Epa.

Joker-Jellies were in vouge. My mother got us each a pair, one blue pair and one pink pair. (We pioneered that foot wear in my neighbourhood.) It was hard for us to choose, they were both beautiful. I took the blue anyways but when we ran errands, we'd exchange right legs so we'd each have a blue leg and a pink leg. It pissed my mother off all the time, but we'd still do it when she wasn't looking.

It was the end of the school year and her mother told me they were moving again. I had no idea what it meant at that time so i remember NOT remembering.

We'd tied at first position that term. I remember we weren't too excited, we'd already gotten used to it. I remember the walk home that friday afternoon, the Jumat service going on in the mosque about two blocks away. We always stopped for a while to watch them bow and chant, this day was no different, i recall. There were always arabs and other 'onyibos' there on fridays, Anthonia and i liked to stare at them.

We got home that afternoon and decided on a game of 'catcher'. I was a lazy child, i always turned the game of 'catcher' into another game of 'hide-and-seek' whenever it was my turn to be chased, I remember that was why she'd never let me catch her. I got tired of chasing and i wanted garri and groundnut as usual. We walked towards the gate together, i remember the shop where the groundnut was sold, right opposite my house. I remember shoving her that day, and'i've caught you!', 'i've caught you', 'go and buy the groundnut and come and catch me back'. Mad at my sudden victory, she raced towards the shop, backing the road and screaming at me. I remember that road, it wasn't a busy one.
As i closed my eyes and stood there thinking of which 'hole' to go and hide this time,i heard the tires sreeching (i still hear them now). I opened my eyes and stood there paralysed, i couldn't see Anthonia, people had gathered around the front of uncle Jimi's car, i keep thinking that if there had been less people there that day, i'd still have Anthonia. I heard the shouts and screams of the women (i still hear them now), still i couldn't move. I remember Uncle Jimi lifting her to the car, then i saw her face, she looked strange, there were tears in hey eyes, almost as if she was laughing. I knew it took the last bit of strength in her, but Anthonia kicked off my blue foot of Joker-Jelly, like she knew i'd get in trouble for it. Still, i couldn't move, i didn't care about it or any other thing at that moment. I just stood there, still, minutes after the Uncle Jimi drove off.
I remember it was my Aunt who came and picked me up from the gate. I remember i didn't talk for days. I remember not drinking garri or eating groundnut for a while.
I remember nobody talked about Anthonia ever again. I know they all think i can't remember. But i see that day everyday. I see her everyday. And sometimes, i talk to her, i know it's only me in the dialouge, but still, it feels good.
I have NEVER opened my mouth to talk about Anthonia to my mum or anyone (maybe i never will), I always write about it and then tear up the paper. I can't tear this up, I know she deserves to be remembered.
I don't know if she survived, if they moved or if i'll ever see her again. A part of me tells me I am me today because she happened to me ( i never would have mastered my 13-15 times table if it wasn't for her)
I never played 'catcher' or 'hide-and-seek' ever ever again. I hate those games.
I love my friend Anthonia, she's like my super-ego now,
I love the memory of her,
her laughter,
her tears,
and the Joker-jellies.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The real deal; two truths, one lie.

So, it’s time to say what’s true and what’s false.
First, I must confess that I’m really disappointed that not very many of you can vouch for ability to stay celibate abi what’s the word again???

No. 1 is a lie, I don’t have three blogs…they’re actually four. Tricky.

No. 2 is true, sometimes I have fantasies of ménage a trois or ménage a cinq (lol), and I certainly don’t want all four others to be men…variety is the spice of life. In my fantasies!!! FineboyAgbero, exschoolnerd etc, don’t start getting any crazy ideas.

No.3 is so true, I haven't gotten some in a long while, I plan to do something about it ASAP, that’s why I’m updating o, so it doesn’t turn into two lies and one truth. He he he.

That aside, I’ll like to make a toast to Chari and Buttercup!!! For seeing what was there all along!!!

I’ll be back soon…