Friday, November 18

Friends With STIFENEB

If this was going to play out like a movie, it would play out like a very sad movie. Sad by genre and sad by predictability.

I watched them drown, though after thought. I didn’t need to reach out to catch them. I already knew. Indeed, you could say I had rehearsed each one for I knew them all by heart. And just the recall brought a smile to my face for the very first time.

The sinking feeling of finality had just given way to the rise of the desire of a new beginning.

It was OK, I thought to myself. I allowed myself to hope. Just briefly. It was OK, it had always been OK, and it was still going to be OK.

There would be no more us. Indeed, there had never been any us. They said we were more than friends, we knew we were more than friends. We wished we could be more than friends. We tried to be more than friends. But there were too many holds barred, way too many.

And each day, brought along the fresh bang of the gavel on this thing called us, and the verdict clearly said it all: there was no us. There never had been and there never would be!

Friends with benefits? Indeed. We were friends. There were benefits. The benefits of friendship. But there was no need to lie about it. There were also the benefits, the ones with a capital B. the ones we helped ourselves to, the ones we didn’t let the people who defined ‘us’ know about. The benefits we should have enjoyed if there had been an ‘us’, the benefits we decided to enjoy even though there was no ‘us’, and we were not going to stop. We couldn’t. How could we, when we were getting everything we wanted, beneficially too? No strings attached. Liars! Bloody liars! We lied to ourselves the entire time. No strings attached.

Yeah, tell that to my beating heart, as it synched rhythmically to yours. Tell that to my weak knees, as they wobbled each time u walked into the room; tell that to my lost breath, the oxygen supply I depleted each time you held my hand in yours. No strings attached? Oh, well I could agree, I suppose. Considering my new fate: I was wrapped in a ball of yarn and knotted up in a hundred places, with no way of getting out of it.

Until . . .

I was so tied up I started to choke. The oxygen depletion was no longer a fun game of how long can you hold your breath? I was dying, choking, perspiring profusely as I struggled to save myself. And that’s when I realised. I needed to save myself. This couldn’t go on. I was no longer going to be bound in these chains, suffocating in this box of . . . or serve indefinite jail time in this prison. I had to set myself free.

But I couldn’t leave you behind; there was no way I was going to let go, I was all twisted up in the game. Yet I just knew I had to save myself . . .

No shrink, no dreams, no divine interventions – although it was getting close to that - just a deep desire for freedom - and possibly the finer things of life. With or without You.

No US. No walking down the street arm in elbow, no tickling and sharing private jokes in the middle of a movie. No candlelit dinners ‘just because we could’, and certainly no stealing of the occasional kiss. No more benefits. Maybe, just maybe, no more friends.

No more simultaneous reference to my name and yours in the same sentence. And if asked, we would tell the world the truth. The truth we had let the cloud of emotion blind us to.

Onu'a and friends . . .

Wednesday, May 25

In Exchange for Fortitude

Writing blindly through tears, I might as well have been playing tap-dance on my keyboard with my fingers. For the first time in my life I wished I didn’t know my way around QWERTY by heart. I wished my fingers needed to search and find one key at a time. I wished I could snail this one away.

For the first time in my life I understood. For the first time in my life I bled inwardly. I tore at my soul in all the anguish and pain. For the first time in my life I listened and I heard. For the first time in my life I mourned.

I pulled at my hair. I wrung my fingers. I worried my hair. I clasped my head. I left my mouth open. I began to spasm. My thoughts contorted. My thinking dissipated. My mind. I knew if I didn’t hold back briefly I’d lose it. And end up mad.

This was it. This was the journey. This was how it happened in the movies. And I’d always been convinced that my own strength would carry me through, that I would have the fortitude to bear the loss. Where was this much talked-about fortitude? I wanted it, and I wanted it now.

I wanted it, not because i needed its aid to bear the loss. I wanted it because I was boiling raging mad. I wanted it to answer to me. How dare fortitude? How dare it? Who told you, fortitude, that I wanted or needed you? I did not want to bear any loss. With or without fortitude. I. DID. NOT.

I always imagined how cool, calm, collected I’d be. If it ever happened to me. I always imagined how I’d be the one to comfort others on behalf of all our losses. I imagined wrong. I didn’t want to be cool and calm. I didn’t want to be collected. I didn’t want to be comforted. I didn’t want to be anyone’s comfort.

I didn’t want to sit in a church, squeezing someone’s hand. I didn’t want to hold a wet hanky in the other. I didn’t want to have bloodshot eyes. I didn’t want to wear Bvlgaris to cover them. I certainly didn’t want to be dressed in black Prada 12/13 for the occasion. I definitely didn’t want these black Louis Vuittons.

I didn’t want anything that meant I had to accept. I didn’t want my brain to process and store the knowledge. I wanted to wake up from a very terrible nightmare, drenched in sweat, grateful that it was just that – a nightmare.

I didn’t want to recollect. I didn’t want to hoard memories, precious few memories. I didn’t want to see the smile I’d ever see again. I didn’t want to hear the voice I’d never hear again. I didn’t want to laugh at the last joke I’d never find funny again. I didn’t want to wish for another trade by ‘banter’ that would never come. I didn’t want to lock up my favourite slippers and never wear them again.

I didn’t want to imagine our stroll down the beach. I didn’t want to imagine our getting two shots short of drunk in the bar. I didn’t want to imagine us staring out at the horizon, lunching in grand fashion. I didn’t want to wonder whether you’d prefer the blue dress to the red one. I didn’t want to imagine the first thing you’d say to me when you woke up the next morning.

I didn’t want to think of getting a new bridesmaid for my wedding. I didn’t want to imagine who would have been so valiant as to finally capture your heart, body and soul. I didn’t want to think about what your kids would have looked like. If they’d have had your nose or your eyes. If they’d have borrowed from your pages of mischief, daring, wit and kind heart. I didn’t want to think how great it would have been to be their godmother.

I didn’t want to dream of you in faraway places, with bright lights and streets made of gold. I didn’t want to dream of you smiling down on me. I didn’t want to dream of you looking like that halo was made just for you. I didn’t want to dream of you being happy and safe and warm.

I didn’t want to shed a tear that wasn’t shed with you. I didn’t want to shed a tear that was shed for you. 

I don’t want to shed a tear that isn’t shed with you. I don’t want to shed a tear that is shed for you.

I just want you back.

Onu’a mourns . . .

Thursday, May 5

ONU’A (acronymical drug) - O Narcissist, You Are

In the words of an infamous almost-woman once removed from the harsh realities of a world that speaks in a language so unreal even fantasy cannot comprehend, ‘Life is good . . .’

I dont know who did it. Who pulled the trigger. Who aimed so accurately, and fired the shot. I don’t know. If I did, this wouldn’t be in writing. But I do know how the story ended (past). Or ends (present). Pick a side. It will end (future, if you find the fence more relaxing) with me pausing for a second from brushing off the last remains of caffeine from the energy drink I had for dinner or pre-breakfast (pick a side), to form a Dwayne Johnson smile at my gooey-toothed reflection. And then sliding neatly under my big, fat duvet and saying good night or good pre-morning (pick a side) to the world. None of that matters, nothing but the smile on my not-so-sleepy face . . .

Waking up to a wonderful Saturday, I had nothing dramatic in mind. I had good plans, well laid-out plans, carefully thought-out plans. And all things were meant to work perfectly According To Plan. Even Plan B (which at the time was not in existence, was good). Wake up. Stretch. Get back in bed. Stretch again. Get out of bed. Drag big, fat duvet (it’s a lot cuter when I say with all those strings attached, innit?) all the way to not-less-than-three-metres in front of the television ( health and safety first, please) and spread myself, with nothing but the remote for company, my big, fat duvet (OK, I won’t say it again) surrounding me protectively and my lazy ass underneath me.

Halfway through my perfect routine and I heard the shot. It rang loud and clear. I didn’t hear it as much as I felt it. The pain. The cold air that rushed through the hole that had broken through me as the . . . OK, you finish that up. I don’t know, I still can’t figure out the exact point at which my Perfectly Planned Day disappeared - well, not technically. I realize now that it had begun to slide out from beneath me, rather politely I might add, and then slowly tiptoe away.

All I know is I looked up and it was gone, I searched everywhere ,frantically, desperately – and came up with nothing. Not a clue. Not a trail of bread crumbs to lead me to it. Nothing. Just . . . nothing.

Okay, You. Not Today. Not. Going. To. Happen. I thought back to all the events that had led up to that point. I slept. I woke up. I stretched. I mentally consulted my P.A. (if you dont have one, get one), we went through the day’s itinerary, and she’d been reliably on hand to remind me of all my appointments – with the bed, the duvet and the television. Retracing my steps wasn’t helping. I returned to the present.

(I will kill this moment by saying in a very calm, very unashamed voice that even a huge bowl of my special Ijebu garri couldn’t change it, (those who understand, understand) and that is saying a lot, I admit with complete shame).

The following quote can be repeated in writing or verbally, only upon the signed, sealed and stamped permission of the owner of said quote (Yours Truly). (So this is what it would feel like to win a Nobel for Most Legendary Quote): “I am my own anti-depressant.”

And in this world of false advertising and expensive consultation and quack doctors and fake drugs that only solve your problem halfway and then become the problem, (pause and inhale deeply for dramatic effect), that is saying a lot. Hence the need for my copyrighted permission and only for a period of once-in-a- lifetime to use above potential ‘Nobellated’ quote.

And with that life-changing thought I got up and went. Literally. To the bookstore, where I got myself a nice book, came back home, back turned against the television (I was isolating all possible suspects of my current demise – until the autopsy report was ready), and read my way to the pursuit of happiness. No. Of course not. Let the book worms bury the book worms. Nothing against books. Books have taught me everything they know, but not everything I know. Quote me anywhere. That one’s for free.

Actually, I threw off my duvet, turned off the damn television (sounds so much cuter when I say its full name) and walked out my house in my favourite nightie (the one with the huge pockets and the cute diva, that reads, “Queen of My Bed” – perhaps I am beginning to see the root causes of my problem, in retrospect - and strolled past the guard on duty who was desperately trying on a let’s-just-play-cool-and-not-try-to-look-like-we-don’t-see-girls-in-seven-inches-above-the-knees-nighties-in-this-part-of-the-world-everyday look, and flunking pathetically, and out into the open air. Just like that. After three deep breaths of fresh air, the sun came out, stuck its tongue out at me, and literally slobbered all over my rehab mode. Like a bad case of celebrity, I retreated – so much for spontaneity.

Again, no. That didn’t even happen in my head. I was much too under-the-weather (please forgive the pun) for such happy thoughts.

Here’s how it went, and I promise, true story, I decided to deal with it, this ‘situation’ (to call it a mood swing would be labelling pneumonia a common cold). If I was truly my own medicine, I was going to have to prescribe myself to myself in the right dose. Of course, I wouldn’t want to overdo me - too much of a good thing, my MEter does have a Red Line. So out the door it was – only this time in knee-length shorts, two tanks and a blazer, and an earring on my left ear only (OK, maybe I was over doing it, but nobody said ‘I’ was perfect) and after a bath.

At that point I had no idea where I was going (sometimes doctors are clueless when they prescribe drugs, and therefore no apologies for not being an exception) and offered a silent prayer of thanks for the taxi.

Then I lost it. ‘I’ really did. The idiot deserved what he got. He made me repeat my desired destination three times. So I sloshed the remains of my half-empty (oh, please, whatever) bottle of Diet Duke all over the backseat of his cab, screamed a cuss at him and got out. I didn’t even slam the door (that would have been an anti-climaxing overdose). Said driver was too stunned to even consider parking properly and storming out of his car to barter words or hit me, or do whatever it is anyone would have done in retaliation under such circumstances, or perhaps too scared even. I heard the door slam as I walked away (just in case) to a safer spot and waited for another possible prey of a taxi to arrive (side effects, then?).

OK, I’ll admit, maybe I am starting to react to me – or the other way round I did repeat my desired destination once, the only sloshing (if that’s what it’s called) being my incisors and molars working out to the back and forth of the double herbal Mentos rhythm in my head, as opposed to the half-empty Diet Duke.* I did slam the door, though. Well, you would, wouldn’t you, if you were three minutes for a doctor’s appointment? Unless it was a dentist you had to see . . . teeth hurt just thinking about it. All of the above, True Story. Or not . . .figure it out.

I accidentally walked into a thrift store on my quest for MEdom and bought the most fabulous dark shirt ever - a Skull & Cross Bones smiley pointing a gun at a Happy Face smiley. Just kidding ( I am not one of those ‘adverse effects’ kinds of drugs). On my way to good health, really. I was doing a nice job (why do I feel plastic all of a sudden?). That was just Me starting to kick.

Three hours, a bag of salted popcorn (do not take on an empty stomach, doctor said) and a bag of perfect shopping – well, just one What’s-So-Great-About-Today-? black-and-pink graffiti Tee with the answer: ‘Nothing’ written at the back ( it was certainly better than the Cross-Bones-At-War, no?). I couldn’t have said it better . . . except the ‘Nothing’ was crossed out and ‘Everything’ was swiped across it in bold yellow letters (I know, right? I can already hear it -the incessant ringing of the phone, calls for orders of I/ME) later.

So, Here, I am , I didn’t save the world, I didn’t donate to charity, I didn’t recycle my can of Diet Duke (just kidding), I didn’t adopt any kids, I didn’t even smile at anyone, but I managed someway, somehow, to get back to being Me. I can’t say for sure at what point I finally set in. I only knew that it was a jolly good day, and it was only going to get better. I couldn’t stop smiling. I just couldn’t. . . I did make sure to have a spare bottle of ME lying around somewhere (prevention is better than cure, after all).

And as at the time of this writing, I am still smiling – indulge my cynicism for a minute: I am not in love and I did not win the lottery. I don’t know how to stop smiling. I don’t even want to try. Call it what you will . . .

My name is Onu’a and I am my own anti-depressant!

* Diet Duke is not a real drink, please do not go to the grocery store to purchase. If found on the internet, remember this: for with Google, ‘nothing shall be impossible . . .’

Warning: Do not relate the contents of this blog to a certain time of the month or a premature menopausal disorder.

Here I am at what is now 2. 38 am and im smiling profusely, smiling like an idiot actually. I am all of a sudden delirious. Deliciously so.

Tuesday, November 23

Species of Emotions

There was hurt. There was pain. There was anger. And above all, there was hate. She’d only just begun to feel it but as yet couldn’t define it. Until she saw it mirrored in his very brown eyes. And she’d finally understood. This was hate. And this was what it felt like. She’d thought she’d known, until now. This was it. This was the end. His mouth hung open the very same way hers had 3 seconds ago. And attempted to shut in four different ways. But only succeeded in contortion and mild groanings; she couldn’t stop staring at the monster that used to be the man, the devil that used to be the darling. The beast that used to be her beau.

The long single tear trickled silently down her left cheek. The stamp of approval she’d been waiting for, but not expecting. Not in this way. The arrow that pointed the direction her new life would take. She could see that he’d understood, interpreted it perfectly. His still open mouth couldn’t find the words, couldn’t form the words. She saw his anguish and it blackened her hate further. He was lucky. She was grateful the words couldn’t make it past the lump in his throat. If they had, they’d . . . all she could see through the blindness of rage were claw marks, drawn in blood across the hate, marring them and driving her further to madness.

That was the only way she could describe what the hate would become, what it was already becoming because her imagination had grown and created. Time died. Earth disappeared. It was just the two of them. Emotions had never spoken so loudly and she’d never listened more intently. If words had come out. If those words had been ”I’m sorry” . . . She knew she’d have killed him. Or would have attempted to. That was the only way she’d have been able to see again. So she didn’t even give him the chance to hang himself, he was going to live through the bad name for the rest of his life. By this time the tear had sunk to her chin and was snaking its way down her throat. She felt it form a partner, felt it reach out in its loneliness and beg for companionship. She couldn’t let that happen. She had a message to deliver.

She stared into those very brown eyes and watched in delicious agony as he raced from pillar to post in turmoil. She read it all: the apology, the self loathing, the wish to take it all back, and above all the need for forgiveness. Then she blinked once and all the emotion disappeared, and left her feeling bereft. But just before it fully set in its shape around her, she blinked it away. Just once. And so quickly it could have been an illusion. Then she let him see. The blank stare. The emptiness. She took it all and poured it out to him. She let him read it. She didn’t give him the chance to decipher completely - a little here, a little there - before he pieced it together and formed a defense with which to break her. She let him see the totality of the emptiness as she delivered. She gave him less than a heartbeat to figure it out. And when he did, she knew. First, he recoiled. Then, he sucked in air. He’d understood. It was loud and clear: From this day on, you are dead to me.

Her message had been delivered. She turned her back against him. And walked out the door with an air of finality.

Onu’a had just been wounded.

Friday, October 15

Prequel: It's About Time

Time of writing. 8.17 am. The crunchy sounds you might hear – Me, having flakes o’corn!

Today I AROSE. And it just feels right saying it that way. Because I actually did. Early. It feels surreal – is that it? Where’s a dictionary when you don’t need one? The air. Freshhh. It was almost like I was in Triangle in a Squared Circle Yoga Type Mode. Perfect! Chalk one up for me. Like I’d been doing this everyday and it just came naturally. . . until of course, several days and sleepless nights which in future would become my, er, my Mr Hyde (if that’s the evil one).

But for now, this 7am thing didn’t look so heavy-handed. Especially considering I’d tossed and turned and . . . finally lolled off to sleep - you surely were not expecting me to follow up with ‘blew the house down’, coz if you were, that’s (awwww!) all cute and poetic but your nose belongs in another story, sorry - at some ungodly hour that was unworthy of my prized early rising. Hence the word, AROSE.

So, feeling all spiked up and Bhuddish with myself, I plunked me into the bathroom (ah, ah, ah, no more Shower Hour tales, I have learned the hard way). It could always be this way, all I had to do was chant the 7am mantra (I could tweet (sigh! Rolling the eyes!) Madonna, – don’t get it tweeted, Pete, it’s still the worst thing since Big Brother - she must still have her Bhudda notes somewhere, or at the very least I’d search the length and breath of google). OMG! I just realized I’ve been mis-spelling 'Bhudda'. My apologies, Great One. So you could just mentally replace ‘dd’ with ‘h’. I practically have to expel the ‘ha’ to remember to write it right (there’s an English word for what I just did) so it’s OK if you don’t get it the first two tries. Like me.

Anyways, as I was saying, I could get used to this! Or maybe it’s just all in the spirit of Day One On The Job.

So dressed in high spirits, black pumps, dark blue jeans, a yellow (yes, yellow; bright, for that matter. I’m in my It’s-Time-To-Step(but this is more of Jump for me)–Out-Of-My-Comfort-Zone-And-Take-The-Plunge phase)shirt, waist coat (I’m cringing, don’t know if that’s the word oh, but the last time I referred to it as ’monkey jack(et)’, Ndomo reported me to 1993 and let’s just summarize it as an experience-in-order-to-believe, er, experience. The extent of the tantrum a dead-and-buried (at least that’s what I thought until It exploded) decade-and-a-half year-old could throw! And on top of that It threatened to sue for Exhumation and Disruption Of The Peace Of The Dead and Buried! Still cringing!) and a blue neckpiece by Treasure (Eyza owes me for free publicity but she won’t read this so IK . . . you know what, forget it), in no particular order(sigh! Still talking about my outfit. You needn’t always get carried away by my sub-thoughtlings, like now), I did the rounds.

Meet-and-great. And of course in the spirit of the World Cup, I hailed the Germans. Don’t take it too P. This wasn’t ass-kissing rehearsal. I had just become souled out to RedBlackYellow&White (with such amazing colors, it’s astonishing how Hitler could still be racist, or maybe it wasn’t that then. I hate history). I’d become souled out to you too if you thrashed the Queen out England (pardon my Portuguese) and sewed Maradona’s pants onto his ( I presume hairy) butt – or butt onto his pants, order is of no importance! Seeing a 5-footer run around loose, nude and butt-naked (in this case, I can’t get them to mean the very same thing in my head), long dark hair flailing in the wind (amongst several other unmentionables) has never been on - and will never make it alive to (take pun as you may) - My Bucket List! SHUDDER!!! Forget grammar, “NYAMA!”

Where was I? Oh yes, the part where I was going to adopt ‘Guten Morgen’ as my ‘good morning’ and ‘Hail Hitler’ as my ‘how far?’ On second thoughts, that would be major ass-kissing. So, ‘nehi nehi’ (RTE again, that’s Indian, did you miss the no-German-ass-kissing line? Must I confess that I don't know ‘NO’ in German?).

So, I’m writing this and pretending I don’t know how to edit anything that comes out of my head through my fingers and onto my screen, which let’s face it, I don’t, while I await The Most Bearded Man I’ve Ever Seen In Real Life (I said real life so Osama doesn’t count, know-all!). Besides he’d slump Osama for creativity: red, brown and blond beard hairs(truly German) vs plain, boring, black. I am BORED. I know!

Clack-Clack-Clack-Clack! Ow! After four tries. My teeth hurt . . . My jaws hurt. . . Don't look at me like that. I just thought I'd give it a try. It seemed to work for Donkey all the way to Far, Far Away, at least until Shrek gave him The Look. So I guess it didn't work. So . . . . (a lot of that lately. Boredom has really hit. I can feel the twitch, I’m starting to itch) Punishment: I’ll just settle for an earful of my neighbour’s radio (which would become our little source of Coffee Break Comedy – you wouldn’t believe the unadulterated opinions of Nigerians about our shoddy leaders, politics and everything in between). Sin: Since I’m the only one on the planet who wants nothing to do with Steve Jobs.

And this is only 7.47am. I drum my fingers on my desk. Hum wordlessly. Any sign of life, number of legs regardless (I'm not in a position to be judgemental and picky), against the pristine white would make BFF right about now. No Paris-Hilton-like interviews necessary. This is when I should be rounding off Jennifer Galiardo’s dance routine and heading upstairs for a shower. In my former life. Or frowning and turning my back on the Sun. In the life before that. But NO, there are more interesting things happening before me. Name one? Can you count the number of black dots on a blank screen? You may call me Edima Bored (Middle Name: IS).

AH-HAH! Light bulb! Facebook! Nah (with drooping shoulders), FB no longer serves as the antidote to boredom. NEPA has taken their light. Man, I miss my x-office! 24 hours light-speed internet. I used to check my emails before they even arrived, I was way ahead in my Sorority Life, I could shoe-shop endlessly or just add the newest Vince Camuto’s to my wishlisht (deep, threatrical, longing sigh). I used to discover a new site every single day, I could host that BBC tech-internet-show thingy. And then there was Limwire. Oh, for the days when I used to put Silverbird out of business, with an empty Search Box (synonym for Internet ‘blank cheque’) and ‘ENTER’, at least in my jurisdiction. Listen to me, moaning and whining. Just like a girl on a first date with a hot, new guy, whining about my X. Talk about breaking all the rules. Dr Phil would have a Phit! My chest aches. Not the usual dull pain-when-i-move-at-certain-angles-since-last-week hurt. More like a constant bang-bang, like my heart thumping against my ribcage. Like Jerry’s puny heart pounding when he’s been drowned in soy sauce, buried between 2 slices of white bread and (this close) to Tom’s mouth! And all this chest drama when I’m not in love. Sigh!

Bored. Waiting. Bored. Waiting. Bored.

But it just occurred to me that I had come prepared like a good scouts girl, girl scout, whatever. Prepared to write about my first day at work. I just didn’t expect to fill 4 pages of fool’s cap sheets with big ugly writing by 8.23!!! Perhaps I should pray, thank God for my day – and oh shit( I did not just say that loud) I forgot – or nearly forgot my brother’s birthday. I’ve never been so excited about making a phone call to remind the rest of the family to remember a certain fat boy born this day, years ago.

Yaaay, lunch time! The most horrible sound ever to come out of anything's mouth would come to be the symbol for, "It is 13 hundred hours, go feed your aching bellies, on the double. Quick march." Did I say my day was boring? Well, I went lunching with a certain colleague whose name I deign to mention until - well, let’s just say pause for extra drama! For starters (no pun, I promise), lunch was . . . think of the biggest, bestest birthday present you ever imagined, wrapped up in this HUGE box and handed to you, and you were so sure it was exactly the one thing you’d always dreamed you'd have on your next birthday, and you spent hours unwrapping the box in anticipation only to find NOTHING. Or, you actually found something and then discovered right in the very middle of your excitement pre-hugging-the-gift-tight-post-opening-your-mouth-in-joyous-exclamation that it was just a dream (and you have your you-truly-know-how-to-kill-a-person’s-dream alarm clock, to thank for that). Take that, and it’s not even close to beginning to describe my disappointment. But in the spirit of God-knows-what, I put up a brave front, smiled and waved - and settled in for the disaster of the start to my working career!

Talk about the Official JJC of the Year. Red Carpet Welcome? In your face! Left-over toothpick, spines of a poor fish that had been sawed in half, thoroughly dissected and left on the floor for me to almost step on, and odds and ends of someone’s obviously smaller-than-the-spoon mouth! Gross! I crossed my arms as I suffered through my new colleagues' lunch break. Not in defiance, I promise. There was just nowhere dirty enough for me to rest my definitely bio-degradable arms. Of course, I didn’t have any lunch unless a plastic bottle of Teem adjectified as 'sweaty' qualifies. Which it does. Bottled. Cocked. Green. My sentence in Benue had not been for nothing, after all. By the time I made the hot trek back to the office, I was saying things, feeling things and thinking things that would make the Webster’s dictionary look realllllly tiny.

I let the A/C fan away my flames of upset as I observed from my seat the way my co-workers challenged one another over a game of Solitaire (the very intellectual piece of property that leeches itself onto every Microsoft OS as a personal thank-you gift from The Bill Himself). And shook my head. 1.30pm. 5.30 was such a world away. I searched for a tiny bit of space on my sheet and began the draw-and-chant song: small circle, small circle, biiiig circle (the head and eyes), greet mummy, greet daddy, saaaay hello (nose, then mouth) . . . etc. The song that ends up with a teddy bear made up of circles and sixes, and a tail, remember?!

In summary, I went to work smelling Unforgiveably of Sean John and drunk with High Spirits, and came home sober and reeking edibly of 'If you Like Woody by Kors, You’ll Like Firewood By Cafeteria' . . .

Time of completed writing: Some Ungodly Hour. The perambulating you might hear – Me, “blowing the house down” to make it to work. Any time.

My name is Onu’a and I love my job!

Thursday, October 7

Time For The Crime

I jumped off my toilet seat. Oh shit! Oh shit! I had fallen asleep doing a 2nd round of “NO 2”. I shut my eyes tight as I pulled back my semi-transparent pink window strip. And opened them to see the dreaded bright glow of the sun signifying daylight! Full daylight. 6.30-ish! Oh, even bigger shit! I dashed across the bed and grabbed my Samsung dual. SIX THIRTY-SIX! SHIT with capital block letters! Late, late, late. Who says a girl can’t do a bath and a brush in 4 mins? I could feel the grim determination deep within my chest. 6.45 tops I’d be outta here!

Brushing off water with my mini towel (I hate small towels, they take time which I didn’t have and they got wet before you got dry which meant a double rub-off which meant extra time which I didn’t have enough of right then. Mother Darling had thrown away my previous bigger one, “these things cost N500 ONLY, you know”). I stared at myself in the mirror. Phew! My nicely tonged hair had gone all spiky on me. All I needed was gel at the sides and my Mohawk was ready for the cameras. Who said short hair wasn’t easy? Who said short hair wasn’t cheap? Name of Stylist: Too much Sleep. (note to self: apart from the fact that easy+cheap+sleep = Something Else, what’s wrong with my last three sentences?)

I picked up my Samsung dual again. 6.48! I screamed. Painfully. In full time agony! I hadn’t even worn my bra. What to wear? What to wear? Oh big shit! I hate time! I hate clocks! And above all I hate my job for waking me up at this ungodly hour (which on any normal day is the ungodly 5.15 am – 5.00 too early, 5.30 too late. Because exercise took 30mins and for some reason that betrays a hidden love for the F-word, I could never just be done with the clean-up-and-dress-up process in 15mins. Real bitch, considering I wasn’t holding any celebrity status or any other status quo that demanded such pause for cause-and-effect routines. Not yet anyways.)
Something red and something blue. A red dress top shirt thing and blue jeans. My new (finally!) ankle gladiatiors (cost a fortune, were a lil’ too tight but damn! they looked good. Plus, they were a much needed replacement for my white Aldos which were fast becoming a tattoo on my feet). Picked up my bag, stuffed my phones, my bible (gotta have God on the job) and out the door.

Double oh shit! Laptop bag! I doubled back up the stairs 5 at a time (which didn’t work coz I had to pause and pant and that didn’t help. Time. Next time two a time.) Time! I unplugged my laptop and shoved everything – lappy, USB, charger, earplugs( it was death for a day without them), charger again, USB again, extra earplugs (just in case) – in the bag and of course, couldn’t zip the bag. And therefore had to use both hands to hold the unzipped laptop bag which meant sigh! I dropped the bag – the laptop bag – hoisted my handbag across my left shoulder( for some reason, I’ve never been able to successfully hang a bag on my right side), wrapped my Pashmina around my shoulders ( my office officially boasted an A/C that emitted drafts akin to the frosts of St. Petersburg.), and grabbed my lappy bag with both hands(that took an extra 3mins and by mental calculation and the fact that I couldn’t hear Adot snore as loudly as before, it was 6.57). But there was no way I was leaving my laptop behind.( Not even for one silent look of “late again” with steamy eyes that peered at me as I walked past one or two of them ‘rette-puffing Nazis that would reply my cheerful I’m-late-what’s-the-worst-that -could-happen “morning” with an even more cheerful late-as-usual “morning”. After all I’d still pay the dreaded price of bumping into them and suffer from forced How Long Can You Hold Your Breath practice sessions. Tho’ you wouldn’t catch me complaining out loud. I could now do 40 full seconds and strut past in 4-inch heels with head held high and still speak all at the same time. Who said smoking was bad for “fill in the blank space”?

I plunked into the back seat after my “plenty kaya”, breathed in deeply and gasped at the car clock that was NEVER wrong. Even if it was, the voice of that Annoying News Reader stopped my “Please, please don’t let it be 7 yet!” prayer. SEVEN OH TWO! And choked almost immediately. I needn’t worry about Death at the Exhalation of the Nazis For The Crime of Extreme Lateness To Work. Suleiman’s B.O. (translation? Seriously?) would get me first.

Can I say shit one last time?

Wednesday, October 6

Nigeria - Five & Nought

If I were 50 years old, still living with my parents, unmarried and no kids, job-hopping, bed-hopping and unable to pay at least for my B&B, I’d check myself into a mental facility. Voluntarily - and request the new brain disease to be named after me, and asked not be checked-out until the end of life, because apparently there would be no cure for me.

If I were 50 years old and as at this point, MJ(rest his soul) had nothing on me by way of skin colourations and the trauma of leaving a 4-year old with a colouring book full of beautiful penciled drawings and nothing but black and white crayons, I’d check myself into an Inferiority Complex Anonymous Rehab Centre.

If I were 50 years old and on my birthday, my family members tried to kill me by blowing up my mortgaged car, it’d finally dawn on me that there was something truly and terribly wrong with me and that nobody really wanted me around or cared about me – in fact they hated my guts – and I’d do everything humanly possible to make amends by checking myself into the church and bleeding my eyes out in prayer.

I am half of 50 and am not yet a woman. I’d bag a Ph.D in post-teenage issues, snag an award for holding on to the last shreds of tomboyish behaviour and win the Doctors’ Guild Research Award for Best Guinea Pig for the Studies In Transformation to Womanhood.

I am half of 50, and I work a 7-5 job, that can’t pay me half a year’s worth of rent at a go, can’t feed me for half a month and can’t let me go shopping in Mango’s, House of Farrah or even Swatch. Unless of course my shopping is adjectized by “window”.

When I am 50, I will sit my kids at Christmas and in one of those moments when we’ve just had a good laugh and there really is nothing to fill the space, I’ll recall the good ol’ days and recount them to my kids thus: did you know that once upon a time in Nigeria, there was such a thing called NEPA(what you call PHCN) and we never had regular light? And they’d exclaim with eyeballs about to pop, NOOO WAY!

When I am 50, I’d be retired by choice and concentrate fully on my job as Honourable Mrs Somebody, celebrating my second term in office, with an after-work party. I would shut my eyes as I blew out 50 candles and instead of making a wish, I’d offer a silent prayer of thanks to God for the fairness of the election that brought me into this office.

When I am 50, my first child would be ready for college, I wouldn’t have to worry about knowing someone that knows someone that knows someone. His JAMB score would have, by default, (of course, he inherited my IQ and then some) qualified him for on-the-spot admission, and I wouldn’t have to worry about brown-enveloping the VC, his P.A. and his P.A.’s messenger for that to happen. His educational fund, it would then occur to me, about 60% of it, would have to be put to better use. I would only have to worry about just which of the universities to send him to. You might not consider it a tough job, but when there’s a World’s Top 100 Universities List in front of you, and at least 25 of the 40 spots belonging to Nigeria are staring you in the face, each struggling to outshine the other with scholarship offers, what to do?

When I am 50, and too much vodka & cranberry juice have washed away indelible bits of consciousness and common sense, I’ll stagger down the hallway to my room, forgetting to lock my door (Aisha left it half-open on her way out, consumed only by her own stupor) and wake up to find my door blown wide open by the railing North East wind, and my Super Double HD 65’ screen still in place, my laptop still in sleep mode and everything else exactly as I left it.

When I am 50, and I roll my eyes at hubby insisting on catching the news highlights before I settle in to the newest animation, we’d be just in time to catch Munita Rajpal or her younger replacement reporting that, “ . . . for the first time ever, an African nation has been declared the most desirable nation on earth to live in . . . after the break we’ll find out why . . .”