Laptop and Charger √
Powerbank and Charger √
Phone and Charger √
Power Extension √
I left the house before 07:30 headed for Faith Motorpark in Benin City with two things on my mind. First to send documents to my Area Manager and most importantly to charge my devices. We haven’t had electricity since Saturday evening when we had power for barely an hour for the whole day and the less said about the fuel situation, the better. Yesterday I had to go a great distance to charge my phone and since my phone is command center, allowing it stay off for a whole day is unthinkable.
While waiting for the driver I wanted, I watched TV to be precise… I watched Zee World. How do you guys watch that station?! How do you ‘does’ it? I watched for like an hour and half and I felt my IQ points steadily drop. The show was a little interesting but all those closeups drove me nuts! The weak attempt at drama almost made me froth in the mouth! People who watch that station have all my respect and hailings (as we say here)
The driver who doubled as courier is the same man I had used last week to send another set of documents and he was the same person who brought the forms I was sending back. We had established a cordial relationship.
“How family” I asked him this morning after handing him the documents.
“I never marry” was his reply.
I sat up and looked at him carefully, he looked to be in his early forties and it seemed strange that a man at age was still unmarried especially in this part of Nigeria.
“Why you never marry” I have never shied from asking intrusive questions, my parents have many stories of me asking disquieting questions as a child that caused some problems for them, especially when I asked a certain old man if he was Mr Ferguson- a man in my village who had lost his senses. I remember that the man seemed unkempt to me and maybe that made me wonder if he was the one. You see, there was another man from my village who had lost his senses in Lagos, His name was Vincent and he was called Agwo and he still had semi-lucid conversations with my dad. I have written about him before Memories of Agwo.
“Nothing” he laughed.
“Abi you dey wait for Miss Perfect” I replied.
“Nobody dey perfect na.”
“You nko, you don marry?” he asked.
“I am married to Jesus”
He threw his head back, hit his left thigh twice and laughed. “Who be your husband for this earth”.
“I am not married” I replied demurely.
“Fine girl like you?” I rolled my eyes and he laughed again.
“Why you never marry na?”
“I dey wait for God’s time”
“Me too dey wait for God’s time” he quickly replied.
He was driver/footballer who had played for Bendel Insurance, Sharks of Portharcourt and some other clubs.
“Have you been to Europe?” I asked.
“Three times but e no good for my body so my people banned me from going to Europe”
He showed me his Bendel Insurance identity card which carried a passport of a man who looked decades younger than him. His year of birth on the card read 1981 and the phrase ‘football age’ struck my mind.
“You be fine when you young o” I gushed… he really was.
“This girl, you too funny” was his reply.
He went on to tell me he’s a “halfcaste” with his mother from Ozalla in Enugu state (one of my besties is from Enugu and I was in Ozalla last April for her traditional wedding and I captured it in the aptly named Chronicles of Enugu) and his father from Abonema in Rivers state.
“You be Amaechi brother!”
“No! Amaechi na Ikwerre. Na them get Port Harcourt but we be riverine people, we bin dey use boat go village but they don build bridge now”.
You sabi swim” I asked.
“Like fish sef, you no sabi?”
“I go learn once and everybody for the full swimming pool fear because I be wan drown. They come warn me say make I no come their swimming pool again.” He laughed again, looking at me with a warm smile and I felt like Chris Rock or Bill Cosby before the rape allegations.
“I like you very much” he said suddenly and I looked at his face for signs of humour and found none.
“I know we just met each other but I believe God has a reason for bringing us together”. He continued
“What church do you attend” I asked, fully expecting to hear a name like ‘House of the Fire and Thunder Pentecostal Church’ or ‘Spiritual Bread and Wine Bible Church’.
“Catholic, you which church you dey go”
“I am an Anglican”.
“They baptised me in Anglican even my parents are Anglican, my mother still dey go Anglican church till now. Both of them are the same.”
“Wetin make you change to Catholic?”
“Na when I commot for house and I bin dey find Anglican Church near my side but I no see. So I come dey go the Catholic Church wey dey that side. You know say difference no dey between them just that Anglican priest dey marry and Catholic own no dey marry.”
I didn’t agree with him, the differences in the two denominations are far more and much deeper than that but I wasn’t about to get into an argument on an almost empty stomach. So I nodded attentively and smiled.
“Back to wetin I first talk, I like you”
A man passed us and mumbled something I didn’t quite catch, he replied in Igbo that he was trying to get me to say yes and the man gave him a thumbs up sign.
“He asked me when I take marry and I dey tell am say I dey try make you say yes.”
“So what do you think?” he asked.
“I just came to Benin, I no wan rush into anything just now.” I answered.
“E no matter whether you just come, wetin matter be say you don come now and we go fit start something beautiful”.
“I don’t believe in rushing into things. If you rush in… you will rush out.” I was smiling now, I had zero interest in dating him or anything like that.
“E no matter”. He persisted.
“It matters to me, I am not a child and do not like to go back and forth. If I have a commitment to someone, I like to keep it. Beside I go look foolish if I enter and after one month I go come say I no do again. At this my age I no suppose do that kind nonsense, even you sef need to study me so you sef no go run out because you no fit cope.”
He laughed again and I decided that I liked his laughter, it was uninhibited and easy. Yet another man came to the door, looked at us and nodded approvingly before going about his business.
“You see as them dey look us, they know me say I no get woman time.” I believed him because on Friday when I failed to come get my documents on time, he shouted at me so thoroughly that I pitied his wife.
“So what do you say” he continued.
“Give me time, make we see where this journey go take us”. This is my time tested answer, they always lose interest even if it takes years. He smiled, this smile was unreadable and stood up to start his journey to Onitsha where he would give my documents to my Area Manager.
As I type this; Unleash the Dragon is blaring from my earphones, my head is bobbing in all directions and my shoulders are moving as I type, I’m pretty sure that anyone watching my fingers fly over the keyboard would think I’m not really typing because I’m dancing… Wouldn’t they be shocked to see this?
I was still in the park at 11:52 when my boss called me to ask if I had paid for the documents (I did not) and I am still here by 14:31, still charging my phone and chatting with my aunt who is also my godmother and is in Tunis, still charging my powerbank and laptop because power hasn’t been consistent. I’d rather be here waiting for electricity because there’s hope that PHCN would shake body rather than go home where there’s no telling when they’d fix the fallen wires. I’m still unleashing the dragon and will be here for a while and that is how I spent the whole day at the motor park.
Playlist for writing this post
Unbelievable by Craig David
Unconditional Love by Donna Summers.
U Make Me Wanna by Blue
Under The Sea by Sebastian from the movie The Little Mermaid.
Unfaithful by Rihanna
Unleash the Dragon by Sisqo
Used To Love You by John Legend.
Until the End of Time by Tupac.
Uptown Girl by Billy Joel
Uptown Girl by Westlife.
Uwa Chia Chia by Sir Warrior and the Oriental Brothers.
PS: How’s work going? Pretty good, pretty slow but the main lesson I have learned in these two weeks is that corruption canNOT be eradicated here, it is bone deep! The things I have seen! Chukwu nna debe anyi!