Tuesday, 21 February 2017

1000 WAYS TO FIND LOVE....IN A GYM 



"Sixteen...seventeen...eighteen...."

I squatted at each count by the instructor. My thighs hurt from the many months of being away from the the gym.

"...twenty two...twenty three..", his loud voice cut into my thoughts. I stopped to rest my legs.  His voice got louder and he prompted me with his eyes not to stop. If only he knew how my thighs hurt. I'd love to have big butt and tight legs but the cost seemed too much for me.

I felt my phone vibrate in my pocket and I reached for it. I saw my instructor frown at me and I frowned back at him. Free me jhor. It was my friend, Dike, calling and needed directions to where I was. 

"Ermmm...do you know Camp ground", I asked

"Yes!", he replied 

"Ok. From camp ground, drive pass either four or five streets on the left. I'm not really sure of the number of streets but look out for a cream house. You can't miss it".

I ended the call and went back to my routine. I had only three sets of twenty sit ups to complete my floor routine before cooling down with 30 minutes on the thread mill. I completed the sit ups with no fuss (sit ups happen to be my best work out. Not by choice though. The massive flabby tummy demanded it)

I felt my phone vibrate and it was my friend again. 

"Hey! Are you here?", I asked

"Babe, there are so many cream houses here. What number is it?", he asked

"It's 16 but I doubt you will be able to find this place by house number. There's a white range rover parked in front of this place. You can't miss it", I said. 

"Ok. This your direction sha. I'll look out for the white range"

In my nine months of using the gym, the car is always parked there. It never moves. I looked around for a free thread mill and there was none. I had a favorite opposite a mirror. Nothing beats working out and checking myself out in the large mirror but the cutest guy in the gym was using it. I often wondered why he used the gym. He looked good enough. It always felt he was always at the gym to mock the fat ones like me with his six packs. Mtchew.

My phone rang again and it was Dike

"Are you outside now?"

"I have no idea where I am. I've driven around the whole neighborhood and there's no range rover parked anywhere talk more of a white one", he said irritably.

"The white range rover is there unless you went to the wrong place. Look for it or ask anyone around for the gym. It's not a popular one but you might be lucky," I answered him irritably too. I heard my voice go slightly higher and some people turned to look at me. I ended the call before he could say anything else. 

I matched towards my thread mill to ask the fine boy when he plans to finish. He came to a halt just as I got to him and I heaved a sigh of relief. I took over from him and set it for 30 minutes. I plugged my ears and put MAD OVER YOU on repeat.

I was almost done when I realized Dike hasn't called. I hope no one kidnapped him. I quickly came off the thread mill and called him. 

"Dike, where you dey now?"

"I'm on my way home. We'll see some other time", he replied 

I lost it!

"What do you mean by you are on your way home? I gave you the right direction. How hard is it to drive through camp ground gate and look for a cream house after the fourth or fifth street with a white Range Rover parked in front of it. How hard is that? You just..." I went on and on. The gym fine boy tapped my shoulder and said

"I took the car to the car wash!"

What? Wide eyed, I ran to the balcony, looked downstairs where the car usually parked and it wasn't there. What? I turned around to find 'fine boy' smiling at me.

"Why didn't you tell me", I screamed at him drawing so much attention to us.

"Well, you didn't ask me", he replied 

"So did I ask you when you came to tell me about the car being at the car wash?", I asked too. I quickly packed up my things and in my anger, I forgot to request for an Uber before hurrying downstairs. 

I stood under the sun and tried requesting for one but there were no rides. Gosh! What do I do now. I paced up and down confused. 

A white range rover pulled over in front of me and the gym fine boy was the one driving.

"What?", I barked. 

"I could take you to where you are going,"he said 

I got in to the car without a word and I heard him say SPOILT CHILD under his breath. 

We shared our first kiss last week and it's the best I ever had. 




Tuesday, 14 June 2016

On On!!


DISCLAIMER:
This is not a funny story!

I've never been the type to shy away from physical activities. Besides ermmm...this thing...I'm open to anything physical - running, swimming, climbing, chewing gum - anything at all. I never shy away. It's always fun and even better when its done with a group of friends. 

Over the years, my sister succeeded in making me jealous of her just by posting pictures of herself on one hill or another. I wished that someday, I would be able to do so - stand on a hill, open my cream colored 32 and feel fly. It don't matter how one got there. And as God answers prayers, my wish finally came through.

Do you know that Christmas day feeling you had as a child? That type that leaves you awake all night wondering when day would break? That was the same feeling in my heart knowing that my longtime dream was just a few hours away. I got ready hours before time and hurried my sister to do same. My back pack had everything I needed - selfie stick, my phone and sunscreen! Dazall! Who needs water? I'm too fit to need water.


People came out in hundreds - oyibo, blacky, young, old, in between - we were many. I jumped up and down severally, squatted, stretched as a form of warm up. I was ready to climb...and take pictures! Haha! The 'ribbon' was cut and the event declared open and the rule was simple - follow the trail. What is my business with trail?

I was among the first people to march out. They all had long, thick sticks. I didn't know what the sticks were for. Maybe for snakes? Abeg o. Let snake not bite me just because I want to hike. It was a long walk to the foot of the hill and then the real deal started. I trudged on like mum gave birth to me hiking. I think I was like thirty steps or less on the mountain when I realized I was on all fours and couldn't move. People ahead of me used their sticks to grip the ground. Foolish me didn't have any and no one left a stick lying around for me just like God left a ram for Abraham.




I just couldn't move. My joints were stuck. I looked behind me to find a crowd of not smiling onlookers.I forced myself to move and getting to a place that looked like a bed, I thought to sit but lying seemed better so I gladly did. I heaved for air....water! Water...water...water...stupid me packed everything but the most needed one. I could feel my spirit leave my body and I clawed at the wind like a native doctor cooking up a spell to raise the dead.  No one cared as they walked past me. Who send me message? I gasped for air in heaves! Water! Water! I packed everything but water. I closed my eyes and said a silent prayer to God.

"Dear God, I know I will die here today. Please make whoever will tell my story on facebook tell it beautifully. May he or she take beautiful pictures..."

And then a guardian angel appeared bearing a flask of water. The angel was really old with his head filled with "was-white", almost brown hair. He then smiled at me with the dirtiest set of teeth, his clothes were dirty but then he's an angel. He handed me his flask of life and asked me to drink and I thought how far away his voice sounded. 

I took what he was offering and I took several swigs of it and lay back down on the rock, using my bag as a pillow. He then asked that I lay on my side. I didn't argue with him. Angels usually know best. I felt better after sometime, and just as expected everyone besides my angel had gone their way leaving me to figure out my trail. The only way to go was up the hill...or down, if i decided to roll myself off the hill to my death. He summoned me to move on while he followed me.



I pushed myself to move; not like I had a choice anyway. It was either that or I live in the mountains and become a hunter.I could not understand the trail but thankfully, I had my angel with me. He kept urging and pushing me to move on. Whenever I got stuck, he would place his frail hands on my well rounded ass to give me a lift. Hmmm...anything to get me out of this bush!

After what seemed like miles of roaming, we finally reached promise land. I sat on the floor and my angel sat with me giving me support. I offered a silent prayer to God asking Him to bless the old angel....and from nowhere, my sister charged at us with a stick.

"Get away from my sister! Get away from my sister you mad man!"

Eh????!!! Mad what?! I watched wide eyed as the old man took to his heels. Mad what?!

"...I've been looking everywhere for you. Where have you been? I was scared you might be lost! Where did you meet that mad man that goes around touching peoples butts whenever we hike...?"


...to be continued, after I pick up my jaw!

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

B A C K I N T I M E

Let's go back in time when watching movie was limited. Haha. When people ask me now why I love watching stuff now, I'd usually smile and tell them I'm making up for lost time. 

My parents had six intelligent children (oh yes!), but intelligence without hard work was just intelligence. So we grew up knowing there was time for everything. Time to read, to play, to cry, to joke, to farm....to watch a movie!

We all knew that Saturday mornings; after cleaning the whole house, washing our pile of dirty clothes, washing loads of plates and pots, weeding, picking palm fruits, cutting grass for the goats...whatever chore that came along...and a massive shower, was movie time. Hehe! Everyone had a chore and had to finish before we could file to the parlor for movie time. No one could be left out. My people of God, no team work and team bond beat that. Haha!

...And then Ogbonna, the video machine prefect, with the blessing and permission of my daddy, would head to my parents room to carry out the video machine. It was a special machine from London. It even had a bag. Very special! Ojiugoeze and I had a puff in front of the TV as our albinistic eyes didn't see much. We'd all sit so meek and humble like lambs waiting for the special Saturday movie - Princess Diana's Wedding. The routine worked and every Saturday was Princess Diana time. I gushed over her excessively long dress, the chariots...walahi being a princess is beautiful o. We watched it joyously and awwwwwed where necessary.

And then one Saturday, we had something else to watch. Wow! It was a beautiful movie, but at this moment I can't remember the title. My eyes were opened to the reality of movies other than Princess Diana's Wedding. Wow! I nearly kissed my dad for the change. 

From then on, every Saturday was something different. Then one day, it was reeeally different. People started kissing in the movie! Ha! How do you react to a kissing scene with your parents right in the room? I looked at the ceiling and counted to ten. By the time I looked back to the TV, the kissing was over. Thank God! Thankfully, there was no more kiss kiss.

Then another Saturday came along and we followed our routine. It wasn't Princess Diana's Wedding, thankfully! It was one on family togetherness and stuff like that. It started well. Then the kissing started. These oyibo people sef! Pity me na! My parents are here na! I stared at the ceiling for some seconds and guaged when the kissing would stop. I then looked at the screen and the kissing had advanced, with tongue. I shut my eyes and turned on my puff, facing my parents. I just wanted them to know that I wasn't watching the forbidden scene.
I listened to hear the voices showing the scene had ended and all I heard was Nnenna humming to a song I didn't know. It gladdened my heart knowing I was not the only one fidgeting. I got off my puff and walked to the shelf at the corner of the sitting room. It held mum's must precious glass wares. It's always locked. I peeped through the glass like I was looking for hidden treasure, all the while using the glass as a mirror to see the kissing status. Clothes were being taken off and through the corner of my eyes, I saw mum staring at me like I were a thief about to make away with her most expensive belongings. I summoned courage and walked back to my seat. I was not the only child there after all....

...Kissing turned to more kissing and I thought to myself that the things I saw weren't right. What happened to going to the bed or covering themselves with a duvet? But here they stood at the head of the stairs doing...doing...GOSH!

"Ora, there are dirty plates to wash", my mum's voice cut into my thought. I found my mouth agape and my head tilted to a side. It took me a while to take in what she said. Plates! but the movie has not ended. I turned on my puff to find I was the only one in the sitting room besides my parents. Betrayaaaal! Hahaha!

Mum repeated herself angrily and I ran out in shame to find the others keeping busy with one thing or the other. Okwuchukwu took to weeding the farm, the boys left to fetch food for the goats, Egoonu washed all the rags while Nnenna sat at the dining area going through stacks of books. Her concentration amazed me and she did not like books much. I guess everyone chose the punishment they could bear.

Knowing that I washed plates in the morning, my heart was at peace. I stood wondering what I could choose as my own punishment. Maybe I could watch the 9 o'clock news with dad just to show how sorry I was for watching people kiss and stuff...

..."are you done with the plates?", mum charged towards me swinging a huge cane. I ran out grabbing the washing pot. I filled it up with water and detergent though I was sure there were no plates but who was I kidding? Mum changed her mind about flogging me. Instead, she fished out all the extra dirty plates in the kitchen - black pots, dusty broken plates that nobody used, baskets, rusted spoons, pans - anything she could lay her hands on. By the time she was done, I wished she flogged me a million times. By the time I was finished, I was almost in tears. My feet were muddy from splashes of water on Nsukka red soil and my waist felt like it shifted a notch from too much lifting and bending. The kitchen could not contain all the plates I washed. Mum should have just killed me! Mtscheeeeeew!

When another Saturday came, we silently changed our routine without being asked. After the morning chores, we filed to the dining area and read our books like good children. Since the long vacation just started, one would wonder what we were reading for.

Another Saturday came and it was Princess Diana's Wedding all over again.


Thursday, 14 January 2016

In Memorial

One would think that time would make the pain less or fill the hollow. It's same and I miss you always


Still remember mum's scream
As neighbors lifted you
And I stood at the corner numb
And something kept blinding me I couldn't quite see clearly.



We ran, Chika and I, to Mary Slessor Hall to call Nkechi. We ran all the way bare foot and in the most ridiculous sleep wear. She asked that we go home so she joins mum in the hospital. On our way home, Chika asked me to pray. She handed me a rosary and I wondered why she had two.



I prayed and prayed just like you taught but you left anyway. It was meant to be a really happy day but you left. It was Njideka Maduagwu's matriculation but you left anyway. Mum was meant to cook for a crowd. We were meant to dance all day but that meant nothing cos you left papa. 


I remember the first handful of wet brown sand thrown on your casket. It was so loud and I shook where I stood. Ada stood behind me and kept asking me not to fall apart. "Think of mum! Don't cry! Be strong for her..." She kept saying. Mum walked by and asked how I was doing. Her husband, her man, her person, confidant just got buried and she's worried about me.


We got by. 11 years we got by through happy and sad moments, with the strength you gave and love you imbibed. More people joined you. More people we love! I guess you've seen them all. 


I miss you, papa! I miss you so much it burns. I wish we took more pictures. I wish we talked more. I wish we had more time. I miss you every passing day. 

You are fondly remembered on the 11th year. May your soul rest in peace!


Ochiora 
15-1-2016

Monday, 31 August 2015

Ask again? Never!

"I was so angry yesterday, almost to the point of killing somebody."

Ah! 

"Imagine! Yesterday was no good day. God forgive me for calling what you created bad but it was really bad."

Hmmm! God you don hear am na!

"I was broke and salary wasn't showing anytime soon. I had already borrowed from almost everybody I know. Sometimes eh, I borrow from this person to pay that person..."

Ha! Rob-Peter-Pay-Paul syndrome! I'm never giving you any of my money.

"...so there was nobody else to borrow from. It was so bad that I couldn't fuel my car so the only choice I had was to take bus to and fro office. Even you sef kept complaining about money."

Hahaha! So you heard?


"It was pay day and money refused to drop. I didn't have a dime to eat or even transport myself home. The finance guy kept saying he'll pay soon but he never came through. Babe, it was not funny at all"

Ehyahhhh!


picture from dailygossip.ng
"Around 7pm, the stupid salary finally came and I managed to pay some of the people I was owing. Babe eh, that paying back really pained me eh cos when i was done, I was left with almost nothing. With that anger, I entered bus o. The bus that I took had no conductor, so it wasn't fast at all. The driver was doing everything - he'll call for passengers, stop to collect money, come down to open and close door - he was just annoying. When we got to Adeola Odeku, a shabby looking man joined us and took over the conductor role. Everyone was glad cos our journey became smoother!"

Okay. This is good, isn't it?

 "We got safely to Costain and the bus driver said he was going to Ikeja which was perfect for me and almost everyone in the bus including the conductor who, again, collected the fare from us. Hmmmm! Babe, immediately we got to Ojuelegba bridge, the conductor opened the door, jumped off the bus, off the bridge and disappeared under the bridge! Chineke!"

Hahaha! I hope my face was straight enough to hide that I loved the conductor!

"Babe, I had the same look on my face oh! Other passengers screamed in horror. The driver stopped abruptly and the car behind our bus barely missed us. The passengers increased their horror screams, me inclusive o! Ha! That car would have knocked us off the bridge. The driver spat so much Yoruba curses I got scared they might affect me. I pitied him eh! Why not? The stupid conductor just jumped away with all his night's worth. Ehyah!"

Hmmm!

"The story changed o as the driver stopped us jeje at the foot of the bridge and asked us to pay him his money."

Hahahaha! I love the driver too.

"See me o! He wasn't joking o!
'Pay me my money'
"he kept shouting. He said he did not know the conductor and that we, the passengers, were the foolish ones that decided to give a thief our money. He parked o and refused to move. We talked, screamed...for where!

"Nne eh, it was not funny at all at all! Why sit and argue with a driver whose house might be under the Ojuelegba bridge. I left them arguing and took another bus."

Nooo! Sidon there dey wait!

"Wahala no finish for there o! I continued my journey smoothly till I got to Fadeyi where the conductor asked for his money. I confidently groped through my bag but then it hit me - 
'Hey! That evil conductor no give me my change o! Which kine...'
I muttered to myself and kept turning backwards in my seat, looking through the rear glass, maybe in the hope that the conductor that owed me would come strolling past us with an evil grin.
'Madam, no be today nyash begin dey for back o and no be today e get centre parting. We don dey hear this your kine tori tey tey! Gimme my money jhor!' 
"The conductor barked.

"I kept quiet hoping that someone would come to my rescue and pay for me. Babe, nobody answered me o! Lagosians are wicked! And the silly conductor didn't stop nagging.
'Conductor, what is it? Is it because of just a hundred Naira that you are making noise telling me about nyash and...' 
me too provoke but the man no gree.

'Madam, stop speaking grammar and give me my money', he
replied with so much annoyance.

'Oya, stop me for ATM make I withdraw money give you...'
'Hahahahaha! This woman is not serious at all o!'
Oyibo eh, that bus was still moving when that man pushed me off it. I swear! And that was after he rained curses on me and my entire family from generation to generation. I really hope his curses are not already affecting my son because he has been vomiting since last night. But, the story no end for there o!"
When will this story finally end? Phew!

"I walked into the nearest bank to withdraw money and could not find my ATM card."

Ah!

"It was then that I realised that I left it under my keyboard. Oyibo, I trekked o! From Fadeyi to Palmgrove. See my leg na..."

Nothing is wrong with your leg jhor!

"...it nearly broke from all the trekking. At Palmgrove, I stood in front of an orange seller with the hope to catch my breath before asking her for fifty Naira to complete my journey home when one alaye (tout) then walked towards me and asked that I pay him. For what?! He was obviously drunk or high on the smell of his toilet or something like that, so I moved away from him. He followed me saying that where I stood wasn't mine and as such I should pay him. I did not know when I landed a very hot slap across his face!"

Ah!
 
picture from royaltimes.net
"And immediately I did, all my anger got replaced with fear and I quickly hid behind a man that was going his own way. The alaye hit his chest and swore that he would bury me alive. Fortunately, people came to my rescue. They abused him for being a woman beater. Shame on you, they all screamed and then I heard someone say that the alaye tore my skirt"


Ah ah! When!

"I turned my skirt around and a huge tear gaped at me. It must have been when that conductor threw me off the bus. Which means that I had been showing the whole world my huge, no longer white grandma panties. The fear that I once felt got replaced by anger again and I hurriedly begged the orange seller for fifty Naira with the promise that I would return it the next day. She did and asked me not to worry returning and I walked away with my undies exposed amidst 'peles' and 'ehyas'!



On getting home, you would not believe the sight that greeted me..."

What again?!

"...my husband sat in the sitting room watching TV wearing only boxers..."

Awww! How nice! Romance all night!

"...and my silly house-help sat adjacent him wearing a night wear that is short and see through."

Ah!

"I pursued her into her room and my husband asked why I was treating her badly. See me o! Today, I am sending her over to a tailor to make uniforms for her that she would wear anytime she's out of her room. Inside her room, she can go naked if she wants. Because this my husband would always look for a reason to cheat. What nonsense!"

Hahahaha! Too much information, ma'm!

"Oyibo, you would think that the story ended as I climbed into my bed to rest but it didn't."

Does she want to tell me about her dreams? Na wa o!

"My mum called me in the middle of the night to tell me that her distant inlaw died and I need to send some money to her so she could 'donate' towards the burial rites. See me o!"

Awww! How thoughtful of your mum!

"All these people in the village! All they know how to do is die! They keep dying. All my salary I've spent on burying dead villagers! Imagine...!"


Hahahaha. It is only acute hardship that would make someone think of money before saying ehyah when someone dies. Lol! 

"Happy birthday jare!"

"Oh! Thank you ma!"

The only crime I committed towards this woman for her to give me this kind of story was that on my birthday, I was so excited and I did what I would usually not do. I asked her a simple question;
How was your night?

That was it o! And this woman that had not said more than ten words to me since I started working here decided to give me her life story. Now I'm at a dilemma cos how do you tell someone that gave you this kinda gist that you won't give her birthday small chops?

Happy new month!