Growing up in Lagos, there is a certain tune that will forever be linked to ice cream in my mind, ice cream and nescafe. It’s a latin pop tune that makes you want to dance even when your feet are iroko roots in centuries old mud.
The song announces a young man pushing a cart with glass on the four sides, stacks of ice cream cones as well as some already filled cones with white and pink dollops of ice cream waiting to be gobbled up by greedy children.
I have never tasted this ice cream, or been tempted to. I am not a fan of overly sweet things like ice cream (cold stone chocolate ice cream is the exception to this rule), even when I grew up and could afford to buy as many ice cream cones as I wanted, I never did.
But when I would hear the tune, I’d stand up and dance. My house was at an intersection of a busy street and a popular route for these ice cream trucks, I spent many minutes dancing, especially on Saturdays when two or three trucks would park near my house and wait for customers.
They also camped there during school holidays, those long, lazy days in August take on a golden sheen in my mind’s eye now, the days I spent dancing and peeling egwusi and wishing fiercely to be grown up. What did I know then kwanu? This was until I turned eight and got too self-conscious to dance.
I don’t know now why I remembered the tune, was it because I was happy and my feet wanted to fly even though it had been years since they did. So I asked him if he knew the song, hummed the opening bars and he smiled and said “It’s Lambada”.
I went to Youtube, found the video and could barely hold tears in as I watched the video. I had a sudden memory, me in my grandmother’s parlour dancing to the song on the Television and my grandma was clapping. I couldn’t have been more than four.
I was raised to be polite in spite of the contrariness that is perhaps my life’s essence. So when he offered me a PureBliss wafer, I accepted even though I only think there are two biscuits fit for human consumption – McVities Shortbread and McVities Digestive (Definitely not the crap that’s made in Nigeria, that one no join).
One of my earliest memories is of me in Nursery 2A, brows scrunched together in anger, two biscuits wrapped in a tiny, cute nylon were on the table and I was crushing the biscuits to powder with my water bottle filled with Ribena. My parents had dared to put another biscuit for me that wasn’t digestive and they would find the biscuit powder in my bag when I returned from school. My parents still tease me about being their most expensive child, I still owe them that private jet.
I ate the wafers and decided I liked it a little bit, I wasn’t going to get addicted to it like nearly everyone else but it was… Nice. I liked how creamy it was and I could understand why people liked it that much.
A few days later, I wanted a can of Malta Guinness and he bought one PureBliss to go with it, the blue one (I don’t know what flavour). I didn’t start eating the wafer until I’d nearly finished the malt because I wasn’t really happy about the biscuit and I couldn’t reject it. So I took the first wafer and took a small swallow of malt to wash it down and something in my head exploded,
I sat quietly and finished the wafers and the malt while every cell in my body, my entire soul and spirit were dancing to Lambada. When he told me the name of the song, I was so grateful that I told him i owed him a favour, anything he wanted, even if it was half of my kingdom which comprises of my laptop Cressida, Ashley, Esmeralda and my new phone which doesn’t have a name yet.
I didn’t tell him about my joyful discovery though, I already owed him a huge favour. Wisdom is profitable to direct, right? I haven’t been able to stop thinking about the wafers; and maybe, of him.