Fat as a Cow…

So he started singing a song I had never heard before.

“It was my mother’s favourite song,” he explained as he continued to sing the song about Samson and his downfall.

“How come it was her favourite song yet I never heard it?” I asked.

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Sugar Daddy Gone Rogue.

In many ways, I am my father’s child.
 
I have his memory, the dense net that lets nothing slide through. The jumbled weave of stories and pictures where he can extract a fifty-five-year-old memory without blinking. I would take my father’s stories over any history book.
But he’d forget where he kept his keys if he doesn’t leave them on the dining table.
 
I have been known to look for my glasses while they were on my face. In my defence, Omoyemen joined me to look for the glasses.
 
My mother is the one who remembers the recent stuff, the one we give sensitive documents to keep. She has often walked into a room and brought out in a minute what my father and I might have been searching for, for nearly an hour.
 
When my father dropped me off near Barracks bus stop this afternoon, I was lucky to have remembered in time to go back to him and collect the money he was supposed to give me. I suspect I only remembered because it was money and I was flat out of cash.
 
I walked back to the narrow street he had driven into, where he was trying to find a space to park before going in for a wedding reception at BAHM Anglican Church. He saw me and remembered the money, I know this because he started scowling.
 
My earliest memories of my father are nearly thirty years old, with one look I can tell if it is wise to ask him to give me a piece of his oporoko or if I should keep quiet and escape without getting konked on the head. Many times I disregard the konk warning signal and press on for the due reward.
 
Daddy rarely smiles when handing out money, even he’s just giving you cash that he would get back from you when he uses the ATM. So I smiled at him as I approached him, I thought the frown on his face was cute, one of the constant things about him. And after nearly thirty years, I know it coats a smile.
 
“I forgot to collect the cash.”
“Why would you forget?” he said and the scowl deepened. He rolled his massive eyes as he brought out his wallet and gave me the two thousand naira I had asked for.
“Thank you.” I said with a naughty smile and he made a turn into another narrow street.
 
As I walked back to Funsho Williams Avenue (former Western Avenue), I heard footsteps approaching me with great force. I turned back to see the handsome older man who’d been standing with a young man while I was talking to my dad.
 
I had noticed him staring at me as I approached Daddy, I’d pegged him at his early fifties, his beard was all grey and his hair was an even mix of black and grey.
“Good afternoon,” he said, his voice was a pleasant baritone, not quite Barry White but you couldn’t mistake him for a woman on the phone.
I didn’t have to look up to see his face properly, he was slightly taller than me, 5”9 at most but he was fine!
 
“My name is EHGYEDHX and I have to tell you that you’re beautiful.”
It was a few minutes before 2pm and the sun was acting as if it was on a personal vendetta focused on the inhabitants of Lagos, I did not have the energy to stand and talk to handsome men with grey stubble regardless of how delicious they seemed.
“Ok,” I said.
He exhaled and smiled.
 
“What is your name?” he asked.
“Ada,” I answered, even though I wouldn’t answer if you called me Ada on the road and I don’t know your voice. Too many years of discovering I wasn’t the Ada being called has ruined Ada for me.
“I saw you with him, watched how he frowned before giving you that two thousand naira and how he drove off without affection. You deserve better.”
 
“Really?”
“I know this; you shouldn’t be treated like that. You’re beautiful and you have kind eyes.”
“You have lines; I’d give you that. I’m happy with him like that.” I said.
“Ada, give me the chance to change your perspective, to make you see how a man treats a treasure like you.”
 
I burst into laughter, threw my head back and laughed with my stomach shaking from mirth.
 
“Oga that’s my father, biological father. My actual daddy and not my Sugar Daddy. If you had looked at us closely, you would have seen the resemblance.”
“I’m sorry,” he sputtered.
“It’s ok.” I said and began to walk away.
“Can I at least get your number?” he called to me.
 
I shook my head and kept walking.
 
 

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Mama lit a fire.

My grandmother had called my father ‘Uncle Eze’, as long as I can remember but I thought nothing of it, didn’t my own mother call me Mommy when she wanted me to do something I wouldn’t do normally? Maybe like my mommy, she too used it to move the immovable force Mbaise children tend to be.

 
A few days ago, I was teasing my dad about something. In the past, teasing him like that used to be the sure way to negotiate for more pocket money or getting a major boost to the “anything for the girls” ministry. Sadly, I am grown-up and independent *hot tears* and that teasing does not yield monetary results but the routine has been set and the man likes it (he’ll deny it if you ask him)
 
Uncle Eze” I said as I patted his shoulder and I suddenly wondered why he was uncle to his mother, I knew it wasn’t a reincarnation story. What could it be? I asked myself.
“Why did Mama call you Uncle Eze?”
“You’re the one who told her to call me uncle” he replied.
Mua Adaeze?” I gasped and he chuckled.
One day she was calling me nwa and you said ‘why are you calling my daddy nwa?’”
 
I burst into laughter, I was a slightly imperious child and assertive too. Most times, the stories of the quirky things I said back then always seem to be of a different person.
What did she say?” I asked, still laughing.
She asked you what she should call your daddy” he continued, he was smiling then but his eyes showed his thoughts were in that room in the past with his mother and his young daughter.
You told her- ‘call him uncle’ and she agreed.” he was smirking now.
Just like that?”
“Just like that,” He confirmed.
 
As I told Paul this story this afternoon, while I sat across the table from him with chocolate ice cream warming my blood and icing my tongue, it hit me that my grandma had been laying the foundation for a lesson she wanted me to learn- that my voice mattered regardless of how small I was at the time, that I would be listened to and my ideas considered, and if they are superior- they would be adopted.
 
And the funniest thing is- she didn’t need a fancy speech or to join a million-woman march, or to get a Harvard degree in gender studies to teach me these things.
Sometimes, the biggest fires were simply because two stones rubbed together at the right time
 

The Voices…

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 →

Artful Dodger.

Feeding the three picky eaters she had given birth to, always required plenty thought, trickery and cunning and if all failed, her weapon of last resort- fried plantains and scrambled eggs would get them to finish the food, leave two or three slices on the plate, or eat the fried eggs and four slices of plantain respectively in order of their births. Continue reading →

Break The Cycle

“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.

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Having Fear For Breakfast.

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 →