I begin my walk at the street that’s directly opposite ‘work’ and the Coca-Cola woman says ‘good morning’ with a huge smile on seeing me, it is the same smile that greets me when I come to buy Coca-Cola from her. I do not quite like that smile and how she brings out the Coca-Cola and gets the exact change to the two-headed naira note folded in my purse, while I am still saying ‘good morning’. Accepting an addiction to Coca-Cola is one thing but it is the nonchalance about predicting my choices that annoys me. Never mind that my brothers believe they can quote my thoughts on any subject or how friends I haven’t seen in years know to have dodo and Coca-Cola when I visit, I just do not like to think that I am predictable. Continue reading →
You left home at 6:49 in a rush because you were nineteen minutes late, but not before applying an extra coat of the indigo lipstick that makes little children wail when you smile at them. You tried to stop a bike but he looked at your lips and shook his head, his action made you grimace and decide to head to Kilo instead of the Lawanson you’d been aiming for. Finding your way to Kilo would involve two different keke rides or one keke and one okada, you chose the latter option even before you began. Continue reading →
I was hurrying to tell the doctors to stop prescribing a certain drug we had run out of when I saw her. Actually, it was the wrapper around her waist that stopped me, it was green with birds on it, my late grandmother had the same wrapper. Continue reading →
I’ve been in Benin-city for less than six hours and I’ve already heard the most outrageous (true) stories, laughed until my stomach clenched in protest and howled from every spectra of emotion from the things I’ve seen and heard.
I could write an essay, several actually; on what this city means to me. How the differing landscapes are as familiar as my name, or my ears receiving the flavour of Pidgin English makes my heart crackle and pop and how it is the language I’m most comfortable with, even though I first heard it after my seventeenth birthday. Perhaps it is the abundance of plantain and how you can get masses of it at prices that would shoot guilt daggers in you, or my favourite people calling this city home- especially that five year old girl who makes me believe in soul mates and past lives.
Maybe it’s the ease of conversation here, and the music with the words I don’t understand even if I twirl the rhythm around my fingers, as my mind uproots stories I am too lazy to sit in front of a computer and strike the keys that unlock the magic.
I should write “I love Benin-city”, but that is not wholly true; each time I scoop from the cauldron, the emotions are never the same. I’ll just write the truest thing- this town is where all my parts collide, where I am most capable of being me.
“I will NEVER call my son from his room to come and hand me the remote that’s next to me like my parents did.
#BreakTheCycle”- Chike Delic Obi.
So I saw Chike’s post on Facebook about breaking the cycle and a certain mocking comment “Don’t worry when the time comes” prompted this post.
Earlier today, I was browsing through the videos on my phone looking for redundant videos to delete. I have dozens of videos that were donated to my phone from WhatsApp groups and a certain friend in obodo Amelika who sends me every funny video he discovers and the unfunny, scary ones too. When I got to the December 2016 videos, the thumbnail of one of them brought back memories that had me chuckling even before I opened the video. Continue reading →
I was writing about going to ‘Mango village’ while I was in JSS1 with Glory (I can’t remember if Martha came with us or if she was supposed to be the sentry} but as I wrote, I remembered the story you are about to read and began to write it instead.
When I was in JSS1, I was a bony, big eyed bibliophile who had only one bucket, a green OK plast contraption that provided for all my needs which was only one- washing my body. I washed my clothes at the tap and formed a pouch with my house wear, as other girls did, for taking the clothes to the dormitory without needing a container for them. You didn’t need a bucket of water to flush the toilet, you simply needed a paper or leather (nylon) bag and a good throwing arm for flinging the products of your business far into the corn farms that framed the back of our dormitory. If you were not in the frame of mind to expose your tender buttocks to other girls and most importantly, the teachers in staff quarters who used the road a few meters across from Culverwell, you would brave the faecal landmines to have only the budding ears of corn and God as witnesses to your bowel unloading activities. Continue reading →