Damaged Goods

You are sweating profusely in a properly ventilated room, you have your back against the wall — in this case, it’s both literally and figuratively. You start to hyperventilate but you try to keep it on the low.

You are angry. You are tired. People are a handful, you think to yourself.

‘’Kachiwi, I did not mean it that way though.’’ Your friend says. Her voice sounds like grinding machine to your ears. You’d rather be alone but she won’t leave. She is adamant.

You are tired you can’t speak much. Your partner of 2 years just called it quits, a few hours before you find out your best friend is getting married and you had no idea!

‘’You are always too busy with work!’’ she tells you. You are stunned because you are swamped and your boss is driving you nuts. You have been trying to reach out but apparently, you had been ‘ostracized’ by your friends INCLUDING the so-called best friend.

‘‘Please, leave, will you? Let’s do this some other time, ok? I am fine.’’ You stutter a bit but you stand your ground regardless.

‘’So what’s the deal with him?’’ she asks as she turns the doorknob.

You shrug. She opens the door and leaves quietly.

You slump on the cold tiled floor and you weep. Crying comes easy but what to cry about was the problem.

You are not weeping over your partner who left because your trust issues drove him out like a rat being chased by a famished cat. A wedding ceremony is the least of your worries so you are not exactly upset with your friend.

You really wish you could talk to someone but even your father is somewhere still searching for purpose in a glass of alcohol.

You are hurt and in pain but you don’t blame him neither do you blame your ex and half-sister who eloped together a couple of years back or your mother who felt a couple of strangers were better at raising you than she was.

You shut your eyes yet you can recall vividly the day your cousin put you out in the rain because she felt you had overstayed your welcome.

You are still overwhelmed by this, it hurts like yesterday because she was your buddy back in the day. You made sacrifices and just thought maybe, it would not hurt her to help when you are in need but no, the universe does not work that way.

The soreness is deep-rooted but it’s too complex for even you to comprehend.

It’s hard to keep up with any kind of relationship because you are always expecting a stab in the back.

You are grating your jaws hard as you squeeze the hem of your asymmetrical beige coloured chiffon. You try to forget all the hurt that has brought you right here.

Your phone rings, you reluctantly reach out for it and the caller ID reads, ‘Ekanem’. You let out a deep sigh. She has been super nice to you these past few weeks but you have been resolute.

You purposefully do not want to let her in because you cannot stomach another disappointment/betrayal. You have had enough…You drop the phone and bury your face in your hands and as usual, the tears are free falling.

For you, life is like a battlefield…love, friendships, family, everything.

Are you like Kachiwi? Living a life ingrained in paranoia with trust issues louder than a school bell after school hours because life has dealt you several blows.

You feel you did not get a fair deal out of life-from family, love to opportunities.

You think you are ‘damaged goods’…

You are insecure, overanxious and mistrustful but to mention a few. You always think the next person wants to set you ablaze. You have been betrayed and deceived too much that recognizing real becomes tasking.

Even when you do, you ditch it like a hot plate because you do not understand how to deal with love and care from a sincere heart.

I am not an expert in these things but I know for sure, that life is never exactly fair to anybody. You think some people have it all together? Perfect lives and all? You’d be shocked.

Some just know how to play the part or are better at nursing their wounds silently.

You are not damaged goods. No matter how bad you think your life is and because people have hurt and betrayed you does not mean there would not be people or someone who is willing to stick their neck out for you.

You are not damaged goods. You are traumatized by the hurt you have had to go through.

You are not damaged goods. You have not just received love in the same magnitude at which you give.

You are not damaged goods. You just were not selected for the job like millions of others.

You are not damaged goods. You are from a dysfunctional home and it’s not your fault.

You are not damaged goods. You are just broke.

You are not damaged goods. You see that friend, who kicked you to the curb when you were at your lowest does not understand the concept of loyalty.

You are not damaged goods. You see that situation you found yourself in, you may have orchestrated it, you may not have, regardless, it’s called life.

I reiterate I am not an expert but I put it to you today, albeit your mountain of problems (illnesses included) — You are not damaged goods. Choose to rise above your pain, we all have our battles and for as long as we are alive, we must keep fighting.

The Line Between Love And Hate Is Thinner Than You Know

There’s a thin line between love and hate’

‘No permanent friends; No permanent enemies’

or is it the other way round?

Well, that’s by the way. The above phrases mean one very obvious thing. Nothing in life is permanent. There’s always change either in the beginning or end.

Picture this, there are friends we have known for years probably grew up together and then we become older and realise we did not really know them or they were never exactly who we thought they were.

We not only grew apart we stopped being friends — abruptly.

How about lovers who become sworn enemies in the twinkle of an eye?

As always, I have learned from my life experiences that some people can never be in your life forever. No matter how hard you fight and it’s totally okay.

Infact, the earlier you accept this, the better.

Sometimes, I wonder which is tougher — losing someone physically or emotionally.

What baffles me most is the way life works, it takes a milli-second to destroy a tie/ bond but it could take years to build one.

So, you are friends with a certain person and overlook their excesses on a regular or it could even be the other way round and either of you refuse to come to terms with the fact that you are going overboard.

One fine day, one person becomes tired of trying and decides to move or stop putting as much effort as they should. Then, it goes from a once beautiful relationship to the kind that cats and dogs have.

Moments shared become nothing but memories that can never be brought back.

This also happens in relationships were both parties are romantically involved. It seems like the spark went from hundred to zero.

The situation is vice versa. There are people we meet for the first time and it’s a total turn-off sometimes for a trivial reason, other times for none.

As fate always has it sometimes you get to know this person on a more personal level because you have been placed on the same project together or something of that nature and you get to realise, ‘Oops! I judged wrongly!’ or ‘Why in Pete’s name haven’t I been relating with this person the whole time?’

Sometimes, it could be someone you have known for a long time who probably made bad choices and you had written that person off and then for some reason you get to be around that person often or he/she does something that really strikes you and you tell yourself, ‘She is not so bad afterall’.

Gradually, a spark is ignited or even rekindled. A bond is created with this person you probably could not stand. I have learned that life is a two-way street. You get what you give.

At times, we are too quick to judge and too swift to let people in so we end up making friends and enemies we should not have made in the first place.

In all that we do, we should not forget that change is constant and most importantly, life is transient.

Your ‘enemy’ today could be your best friend tomorrow and vice versa. It’s never that serious really…

ROWDY ISOLATION

Sigh. I hope this title totally sells the essence of this piece…

If you are in Nigeria and live in Lagos, you can fully grasp the true meaning of rowdiness but if you aren’t, well, you have probably visited or been to a market at some point. A market is usually rowdy anyway so it’s the perfect example.

Albeit how cheery and chummy one might be, at some point you need some kind of space strictly for you and your thoughts but like every other thing or rather most things in life, getting/having too much can be toxic.

Rowdy isolation? Yeah, back to that. Ever wondered how a seemingly happy person could just up and take his or her own life and you start asking why?

“Oh! She led such a beautiful life”

“Why would he possibly take his own life, he was 35 and things were looking up?”
Here’s what I learned in the past year that made me realize rowdy isolation is a thing.

If you have certain ‘privileges’ in life, people just can’t or rather refuse to relate to the fact that there’s a high chance you do not have it all together. You are tired of trying to pass the message but it feels like making an attempt to break through a brick wall with your fists. We all know how impossible that is.

What happens next?

There are friends/family you can hang with but you can’t share your problems with. Why? They can’t relate and you know the worse thing ever is being around people who are not even remotely relatable.

So you have ‘fun’ in your life, you are not exactly lonely but you can’t really say how you feel to the people around you because you may sound ungrateful and seem like an ‘Oliver Twist’.

Yeah. You live in your own house. Drive a car. Have a job. People think you have no business being sad or down so everytime you try to utter a word about your frustration(s), they don’t let you and then it sinks into your heart with the intensity of an iron rod flung down a lake.

A rod in water rusts over time so does the pain in your heart. It spreads like a disease. You edge closer and closer to depression. You go to work, meet with colleagues, share jokes et al. You chill with your friends and have a good time. You may even be the life of the party but there’s a weight in your chest that only you can feel and most nights, you cry yourself to sleep because the burden is overwhelming yet you can’t share.

A lot of us are living in rowdy isolation — a whole lot. For someone who is not in any way oblivious to rowdy isolation. Here are a few ways, I think we can avoid this situation.

Loyal Community
Like I say every single time, I am not one to care about family if loyalty is not involved. Loyalty is key and strangely, I think it’s underrated. Many people still do not get the concept of loyalty. It defies blood ties.

Know your tribe and stick with them like adhesive gum. People you trust and viceversa. People willing to make sacrifices for you without batting an eyelid. Life is easier that way, trust me. Real hommies, no faking. If you are surrounded with these kind of people. Sharing would be easy and more so, understanding.

2. Find Your Peace

Peace…peace. Your peace is key. It’s your prerogative. Do whatever you can to secure it. Terminate whatever or whoever it is that may be the likely cause of your frustration. Relationship, job, whatever. Life is way too short anyway.

3. Love Yours

Love you unapologetically. Your challenges do not define you. It’s only a phase. You know the beautiful thing about phases, they always make way for the next. They never last forever, nothing does actually.

4. Pray

This should be at the very top. Why worry when you can pray. Everytime worry creeps in, say a little prayer. I don’t know but it’s therapeutic for me. If that’s the right word. Oh! When you are really down, sometimes words elude you. Starting off with a prayer of gratitude can be quite helpful.

For me, I’d rather have two people in my life , I can easily share with than be in a crowded space full of people who I can’t speak to and who can’t hear me when I am distressed.

Look out for your friends especially the ones who are always the life of the party. Yeah, especially them.

On The Streets Of Gidi: Your Hands, Sir!

Your hands?(scratches head vigorously ) that title is surely not appropriate but what better title can you give this very annoying and irritating act perpetrated mostly by men in Lagos (Nigeria, as a whole)!

I am trying to be as angry as I can while writing this so I can relay these different scenarios exactly how they played out…

I can count on one hand the number of times I have left my house and not encountered one drama or another on the streets or in a bus since I moved to this uproarious city.

Where do I even start? I am beginning to lose focus see how easy it is…a couple of my female friends have told me how men tried to touch them inappropriately in buses or in rowdy areas. The very first story I heard was in Calabar during the carnival, I was taken aback. I kept wondering what level of perversion would lead a man to try and stroke his crotch on an unsuspecting girl’s butt in public. Haba!

Another one said, she was in a bus from Ikeja to Oshodi at night, it was pretty tight and discomforting yet this fine young man tried to stroke her butt from behind in the pretext of trying to make himself comfortable! Chai!(bites fingers) 

When I first heard these stories, I won’t lie oh! I felt maybe they were a bit exaggerated or something… A man can’t be that horny na atleast not in a stuffy, cramped vehicle.

Then…

It happened to me…

First hand experience was in a BRT from Ojota to Ikorodu, one of those unfortunate days when I had to wait (standing) hours after a frenzied day at work and then I have no choice but to jump into the next available BRT that comes by whether I have to sit or not. I just want to get to the house.

That’s how yours truly stood, hands on the seat in front of me, laptop bag slung across my body and left hanging by the side. Hence, my small bum was not protected from these ever horny men (grimaces)

This ‘gentleman’ dressed neatly enough to easily pass for a responsible ‘somebody’ was right behind me, one hand on the BRT rail, one on his side. The BRT was packed full but what was my own I had small space to breathe in proper oxygen and I could at least lip-sync to one of my favourite tracks in 2016 that was blaring from the vehicle’s stereo; Miracle by Dice Ailes and Lil Kesh.

Back to my story, Oga probably thought my body was a miracle oh! The miracle that will cure his stress after a long day because I don’t understand…As the BRT jerked, I felt something hard on my bum bum, I shook my head, nah, it was a mistake. I over think things like they always say.

I stayed put, I felt it again and I just had to turn, the yeye man had a ‘I-don’t-even-know-what’s happening’ look but I could swear that where he was standing was not the same spot he was on when we boarded the BRT, I shifted forward, closer to the lady ahead of me, in fact too close for comfort but I would not have a strange man’s crotch rub my behind knowingly or unknowingly. Mba!

Seconds later, I feel it again and no I am not making it up, apaz, he had come closer too! Wow! I whirled and this time our eyes met and I gave him a stern look.

Irate, I changed the position of my laptop bag and ensured it covered scratch that shielded my dear bum, of course, he knew better than to come any closer.

I heaved a sigh of relief when I got off that BRT and I thought to myself, where did this one come from?

Fast forward to the later months of 2017, I was trying to cross the road (it takes me a century to get on the other side) . That fateful morning, I was just on the 5th year wondering why the drivers won’t just slow down so a sister can cross.

Oh well, one did as I was just about to cross and mutter my thanks, he stuck his coconut head (which probably has no water) out of his car and yelled, ”you go sweet to f*#k!”

I died! Ah! That one was strong! I just ran into the road without checking for an incoming vehicle. I was downright weak! These people tho’…I reiterate that they need to be schooled on sexual harassment. It’s not until you force her into your room and try to tear pant. 

I lumbered like a dejected child to my office thinking I had seen it all for the year. Certainly not!

A day after Christmas, I sat beside this middle aged man dressed in white Kaftan with a very fake American accent when he spoke my stomach churned but he was nice enough to wish me a Merry Christmas in arrears so I had to be on my best behavior.

I stretched my hand to buy water and he was too excited to be the middle man as he gently handed me the water and my balance. I told him thank you and gave him my million-watt smile. Mama raised me well right?

This particular bus was quite comfortable and spacious so no indiscriminate touching in the name of, ‘I am trying to adjust’ but would some of these men have sense?

Less than five minutes into our journey, I felt fingers on the side of my left breast. I forgot to mention that it was about 7:30pm and the vehicle was poorly lit.

I adjusted and I thought to myself he is probably dozing off, I try to peer at his face and man is wide awake! See me see wahala oh!

I felt since I had moved a bit, he would receive sense. No way! Do we still call these ones pervs? There must be another name in the dictionary…there must!

Man in white took his hands down to my lap, I had to speak out, 

‘Watch your hands!’ I said in the most courteous voice I could muster although he was undeserving still…

He looked at me and grunted. I shifted farther away from him. I was livid! The person next to me was a younger man so I had to be careful too (before they join forces and squeeze me like Eba)

 At this time, I was fuming, I had dropped my good girl garment and I was fully ready to cause a scene, then he taps me and whispers,

‘Can I have your number?’ Directing his weather beaten phone toward me.

Father Lord! 

‘No!!’ I shrieked. I still regret that I responded. He glanced at me, put his phone back in his pocket and folded his hands!! 

So he was well aware of where to keep his hands the whole time. Mscheew. He knew better than try to touch me again.

On a serious note, what’s with some of these men? Why can’t you keep your hands to yourself even in a public vehicle. Haba uncle! It’s a shame really.

Men like that will unabashedly touch a 5-year-old girl inappropriately and still feel it’s his right because he is a man and has needs. Well done!

Most men do need to get their act right. It’s not even funny. Stop making women feel it’s a ‘man thing’ when it’s actually a ‘you thing’. Please, keep your hands to yourself. 

Everybody gets horny at some point but they don’t take to buses to feel people up like beef on a butcher’s table. Advise yourself please.

If your hands are restless, play candy crush…if you can’t play candy crush, close your eyes and sleep! That’s much better anyway…
Image Source: Ask.Naija

On The Streets Of Gidi: The Fall

I have had a crazy year, I must say.

Life in Lagos hasn’t been much fun either but of course, what is fun? The hustle continues…

Speaking of the hustle, one of those evenings on my way back from work when I am usually so tired, it seems I have been carrying stacks of wood on my head all day long, I tripped and fell…hard (and not for a dark skinned hunk).

Hard. So hard. Maybe I am exaggerating a bit here but I did fall hard. ‘Legs wide open’ hard. 

This happened somewhere around computer village in Ikeja. An elderly man who was walking right beside me, helped me up.

I wanted to cry not because I was hurt but because I was embarrassed – I had fallen hard in public. Somehow, I stilled myself and lumbered towards the yellow rickety  bus I was to board.

I wasn’t  over the fact that my back had kissed the ground in public. I kept replaying the scene in my head even as the bus coughed like a man with a bad case of tuberculosis, then I asked myself, why I was beating myself over a non issue? Something that was bound to happen to anybody & to think that I was worried about the number of people that watched me fall when in reality they were just trying to get back home after a hectic day.

Despite the fact that I felt a sharp pain every time I bent my knee, I learned another lesson that fateful day.

I fell just like we sometimes do in life – you fall, fail, get out of line and when you realize how badly you have fallen instead of focusing on getting back up. You focus on all the negative energy oozing from every angle.

Who is laughing because you did not get that promotion? Who is doing a victory dance because you couldn’t get ahead in your business? Who got a second car while you are still jumping buses? Who cares? Nobody!

I don’t support mediocrity but it really doesn’t pay to dwell on your misfortunes and give misery a chance to take over your life completely. Easier said than done yeah? Those we refer to as ‘strong’ that’s how they go by…that’s one of their survival tactic. They do not dwell on setbacks.

It doesn’t matter how many people watched you fall. Most important thing is the lesson you learn from that encounter and how willing you are to be better or do better😀

 

 

Photo Credit: Observer.com

Short Story: UpHEELval

heel

“How work?” Mama Esosa calls out to me as I hop by her shop. Yes!hop.I’ll get back to that.

I glare at her, grunt and continue hopping. I always patronise Mama Esosa to and from work most times so we were quite friendly with each other but today I am in no mood for pleasantries.

She hasn’t wronged me or anything. She just asked a question I did not want to hear or rather, if she knew the whole gist, I bet she won’t be asking me that for a while. I hold my six-inch pump in my right hand, tired of hopping which was obviously a very foolish thing to be doing- I just realize.

I bend over and take the other shoe off angrily. I feel like flinging them far, far away but for some reason I don’t. The heel of the shoe that has cost me my job had broke in half. How dare it!After all the trouble. Tough luck huh?Confused?Oh well, I am getting to that.

I resumed work on Friday morning hopeful, happy and most especially, comfortable in my flat shoes – my usual any day,any time. When my irrepressible immediate boss sauntered towards my desk, giving me her usual cocky look.

“Odewani” She drawled, picking on the sleeves of her lilac coloured chiffon gown as she stood in front of me trying really hard to make me seem unimportant. Typically, I barely looked up, I pretended to be very focused on the system in front of me as I typed away rapidly responding to e-mails.

I worked as a customer service representative at a highly reckoned fashion house/event planning organisation .

“We are expecting a really important client on Monday” Agatha blurted, rubbing her fore-finger and thumb together. “Very important” She stressed.

“Okay?” I asked impatiently,still typing.

She rapped her slender fingers on my table to get my attention, long enough for me to notice her teal coloured nails. I looked up.

She continued, satisfied that she had gotten my attention.“Which means you have to be up on your toes ,you obviously know the responsibilities that come with your role here,don’t you?”

“I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t” I replied gruffly. I knew that was rude but I couldn’t help it.

Thankfully,she didn’t quite catch the tone or pretended not to.
“Sure?”

Are you kidding me???I thought to myself but I said this aloud ,” Yes, I do” I tried to sound as meek as I could. “I strive to be at my best every time”.

She wore the “Oh-really” kind of smile. I felt like smacking it off her face.

“Maybe..maybe not” She mumbled

“Maybe not?” I inquired abandoning my system, fully focused on her.

Now,she had a smirk on.Witch!

“Maybe not” Agatha reiterated.

I gave her a bewildered look. She chortled. She was definitely enjoying this.

“Well..We have a problem with your dress sense.”She stated matter-of-factly,regarding me.

I shifted my chair backwards and took a look at my denim shirt and knee-length printed shorts.

To be candid, I did think I looked too hot-to-handle, I even saw guys toppling over when I stepped out of my house(in my mind’s eye anyway) but seriously I looked very good for a Friday night out with le boo(if wishes were horses tho…) but come, what’s this girl saying?

I caught her just as she sneered at me.
“Wani” She shortened my name sweetly like a buddy would. Phony!!!!!

“Your shoes”

I raised my feet and glare at my coffee brown loafers.

“Mmhmm”She muttered “Those are totally wrong”

See me see wahala!!!

“Err..Agatha .I don’t understand oh”

“You do know how madam is about the way we look as ,you know, ambassadors of this organization”

I was tongue-tied. Does this control freak have any idea how much this pair cost me?!

She kept looking me over as she spoke like I was dressed like a tramp. Maka gini?

Finally,I slowly moved my lips and asked almost in a whisper.
“So?”

“All these flat shoes you wear to work eh..Do not accentuate your outfit half the time,Wani”She said breathlessly .

“Why am I just hearing this?”I could not help but ask even though I totally disagreed.

She shrugged.“See ehn..On Monday just don’t put on flats alright at least.”

“Okay”I answer flatly, I couldn’t wait to get rid of her.

Ah!!She doesn’t give up easily. She went on,“I would gladly lend you any of my stilettos if you do not have any”

I open my mouth and stare .

“I mean any of your choice….”

I had reached my breaking point. I lunged and slap her across her cheek so hard she fell over. I imagined that. What I really did was nod.

“We need to make an impression. This client is quite thorough and fact is Mabel needs to seal this deal” She rattled on smugly as though she had just let me in on an info only she had been privy to.

I cleared my throat noisily.“Tall shoes on Monday. Noted.”

“Are you being sarcastic,Wani?”

Obviously, dummy.

“Of course not”I feigned a smile which lingered strictly on one corner of my mouth.

“Good. Do as you have been told” She said dismissively. I eyed her as she noiselessly walked off on her snake-skin shoes. Killer shoes, I must agree.

I sighed deeply. I did have a pair of shoe that was six inch high. Just one. I purchased them grudgingly for my sister’s wedding. I never tried them on again after that Saturday.

I just could not deal with anything an inch above the ground. I couldn’t.

Maybe I should not be working in a fashion house after all not even as a cleaner.
“Mscheeeeeeeew!”I hissed loudly

“Hey girl!What’s up with you?” Uzor my doe-eyed lover (he wasn’t aware though) asked as he walked in and right up to my desk, bending over. He was the head of digital marketing and he was so cool.

Uzor was also drop-dead gorgeous and breathing for me was quite difficult around him.

“Oh!it’s just Agatha-i-know-too-much”
He chuckled knowingly.

“What is it this time?”He asked stroking his well-groomed beard. The butterflies in my stomach did an award-winning somersault.

“Tall shoes!”I exclaimed

“Tall shoes?”He looked surprised.

I related the entire scenario to him.

He laughed out loud. I laughed too. His laughter was infectious. Maybe it was just me.

“Should not be a problem now. You are a chic.Which girl doesn’t wear “tall shoes”?He inquired, puzzled.

“This one!!”

“Oh really?”

“Yes really!!”

“Any particular reason?”He smiled,making me forget the color of the bracelet on my wrist.

“Makes me uncomfy that’s all”

“Ah!Oya!Let’s see, what would you do on your wedding day?” He asked and folded his arms.

I blinked twice. It had never crossed my mind and with the state of my love life presently that was decades away but hol’up !! Was Uzor trying to say something? Common hunk! Spill!!

“Till then..Abi is it compulsory?”

He guffawed.

Boy! Did I want to kiss him!

“Obviously not”

I grinned sheepishly.

“Catch you later,Wani” He winked at me and stepped into his office.

Normally, I’d spend hours replaying the conversation between Uzor and I. In fact the entire scenario but now I had issues to tackle. Heel issues. Tall issues.

As incorrigible as Agatha was she did have a point, if so and so was a very important client that madam was eager to seal a deal with, Madam would want everything to be in order especially her staff . She was a perfectionist. I might not get to meet with whoever it was personally,  because Madam and Agatha will be more than ready to mollycoddle the client but I did not want to take any chances.

A day on a six inch heel won’t hurt, I lied to myself.

The weekend rolled away faster than I had expected leaving me a bit nostalgic with the thoughts of the long hours on my bed. I finally laid hands on my grey coloured six inch shoe.

By Monday, I wasn’t feeling so confident when I got to work, to worsen matters I was running late and I totally forgot to take a pair of flats along with me. I steadied myself as I lumbered to my desk.

My jean clung tighter to my body than usual. Had I added a few more calories in just a few hours or was it the stupid shoes?

“This had better be worth it” I muttered to myself.

I sat heavily on my chair and hastily took them off. At least I could do with a little freedom while at my desk, no one would be looking anyway-until it was necessary.

Madam would come out to welcome her supposed ‘fat wallet’ clients. She did not need any representative for that. Thank goodness.

I worked for some time and then my mobile rang. I answered without checking the caller ID.

“Helleeeeewwww” I slurred

“Come to my office right away”

Ah!Madam!

“Hello ma!okay ma..yes ma!” I fumbled as I tried to compose myself. I quickly slid my phone in my jean pocket and shifted my chair as I fought with my ‘tall shoes’. I raced to madam’s office. I stared at my hands in disgust, I had not carried my notepad and pen(which was a necessity when summoned by madam ).

I turned back to my desk and snatched the notepad and pen, I was backing the main entrance as I wheeled round and bumped right into this petite lady. I had no idea that she was right behind me.

Her face paled instantly. ”I am so sorry, so sorry” I pleaded.

Not a word from her. She stared at me in disdain. Then her eyes left my face to my feet, I followed suit and Ye gads! my foot had been on hers the whole time and I was not even aware.

I was ashamed and remember, I wore my ‘tall’ shoes. I opened my mouth and before I could say shoes, Madam and Agatha came bustling in from the other door.

“Mrs Daniels dear, I was not aware you’d be here this early” Madam gushed.

Mrs Daniels finally tore her gaze away from my face to Madam’s.

“Who is this?” She asked coolly, pointing at me but facing Madam and Agatha.

“She is one of my staff”

Mrs Daniels nodded and walked off and out of the office! I was in trouble!!

Madam hurried after her as Agnes wagged a finger at me and was hot on her heels.

Fifteen minutes later, I was still frozen to the spot, I heard Madam saunter back in, Agatha still behind her like a lap dog.

“What happened?” She queried, I could see she was trying hard not to strangle me at that moment.

I explained myself.

“Why did you even bother with shoes? You should have stuck to your flats” Agnes spoke up before Madam.

I stared at her in total disbelief. I ignored her and turned to Madam.

“I am so sorry ma..I really am. There won’t be a next time”

“Certainly” Madam nodded “You said, you were not aware that she had walked in?”

“Yes ma” I replied quickly. My palms were sweaty.

She threw her hands in the air and snapped, ”Then what are you doing here?”

“Ma?”

She hissed, “Odewani, right?”

“Yes ma”

Madam fiddled with her phone for a few seconds and looked back at me.

“Please leave now. Come back tomorrow to meet with HR”

“I should leave??” I had to be sure.

She gave me a warning stare.

“Don’t worry. I will take care of her. Just keep trying Mrs Daniels” Agatha spoke up as usual never wanting to be left out.  Madam hissed again and walked to her office.

Wait! Did I just lose my job because of a pair of shoes or was it negligence caused by these same shoes or was it something else?

Agatha’s shrill voice stopped my train of thoughts.

“You should not be here when I get back though”

I refused to believe it.

“Have I been fired?”

If only you asked fewer questions..Just come and meet with HR tomorrow”

I could have Madam scream and shout at me but not this girl. I shut down the system and grabbed my bag and walked past her without uttering a word.

I staggered out of the premises. Hot breeze slapped my cheeks, it felt more like, hey! welcome to the labour market.

Maybe Madam might have a rethink..just maybe. I could recall the fate of the last person that was asked to meet with HR.

SNAP! At first, I thought it was my ankle that gave way, tired of being saddled with the burden of carrying my ‘tall’ shoes and heavy heart but I was wrong, my ‘tall’ shoes still had a lot of surprises for me.

The heel of one half of the pair had broken.

I was at my wits end at that point and I did the only thing I could – I laughed.

meruwa rolling his truck of water stopped and stared at me for a while before going on. I paid no mind to him. I just laughed.

I took the shoe with the broken heel off as  I continued laughing. I was about to cross to the other side of the road when I felt a warm hand on my arm. I turned, it was Uzor.

He looked worried. It felt good to know he was a bit concerned.

“Wani, Agatha said you sent away one of Madam’s top clients and she kicked you out”

“Oh really” I replied nonchalantly.

His lovely brown eyes stared at me pitifully.

“Are you okay?”

I roared. I was so pissed at Agatha, myself and the shoes. I just kept laughing.

“What’s funny?” He asked, irritated.

I forgot about not breathing in his presence, butterflies, everything and held both his shoulders.

Boy! I just had an upHEELval day!”

 

 

 

Image source: Google

On The Streets Of Gidi : The Big City

‘Ojota! Ojota’ Comot for here oh! After here na park o! ‘ The bus driver shouted gruffly, for the umpteenth time.

I gently nudged the man beside me, he looked up and smiled. I heaved a sigh of relief inwardly. He looked gentle thankfully.
‘Is this Ojota?’ I asked almost in a whisper

‘Yes!’ He replied without any hesitation.’I will alight here too but let him park properly’.

‘Thank You’ I said breathlessly. I sat tensed as the driver swerved the bus into what seemed like a park or rather a sort of haven for homeless buses.

‘Is this really worth it?’ I thought to myself.

Okay. Quick intro. I am a crossriverian popularly tagged ‘Calabar’ by the Westerners & Easterners and the most part of my life, so far has been spent in Calabar, Cross River.

This was my first time as an adult on the streets of Lagos..Lasgidi..Gidi and yes! I was already feeling giddy even before I had stepped out of the bus.

The bus stopped abruptly, I turned to my helper and he gave me a slight nod, that was my cue, I got down from the bus swiftly and headed straight to the back of the bus where my brown bag lovingly awaited me.

‘Where are you going?’ My helper asked. 

‘Ikorodu. Please, where can I get a bus?’ I inquired as tightened my denim jacket properly around my waist.

‘Just take the pedestrian bridge’ He pointed to a bridge occupied by so many people that seemed to be in a frenzy as they moved swiftly back and forth with so much energy that could make an airplane take-off quite effortlessly.

I watched for a while in awe as I lumbered towards the bridge dragging my bag behind me.

At the foot of the bridge, I was still wondering how I’d ever make it up. When I heard a voice behind that enabled me to make a rasp decision.

‘Madam, abeg carry yourself comot for road if you no wan waka, kilode?’ A woman with a heavy sack on her head hissed behind me, that was all the prompting I needed.

I struggled with my luggage, all the way up. Till date, I don’t know how I got through, but I did.

On the other side of the bridge, I found this really cute guy, he seemed to be waiting for a bus. He looked even meeker than my helper in the bus.

I had heard about how well-dressed men/women in Lagos, walked up to people and begged for money and all. I was trying hard not to appear like a potential beggar to the good-looking guy with lustre afro and perfect brown eyes that would remind you of well brewed coffee.

‘H..hi’ I called out, flipping my bangs in a sultry manner disregarding the fact that I was too tired to waste my time on such trivialities.

This is where my friend, Omoh would have sneered and said, ‘ You and Man’

Oh well.

‘Hey’ He looked up from his phone and took his earphones off.

 How in the world was he able to put those comfortably in his ears in this crazy place? I thought to myself.

‘Please, where do I get a bus to Ikorodu?’ I asked in the most pleasant voice I could muster, I still had to prove I wasn’t going to beg in the end.

He pointed a slender finger to a petrol station nearby, ‘over there, just get a bus to Ketu. Once you are at Ketu, getting to Ikorodu is no biggie’.

My expression changed instantly, ‘Ketu ke?’

Did my uncle miss that out?? 

He nodded. I had spent longer than I should have, so I thanked him and moved forward to board a Ketu bus or do folks heading to Ketu, board Kettles instead, a kettle-like looking shuttle, maybe?

After all, nothing was impossible in Lagos, anyway.

I got to the petrol station, panting like I had just completed 100 metres race, I was really fagged out and thanks to the ‘adorable’ network, I couldn’t reach my uncle.

By the way, my uncle is actually my uncle, like family- blood..brother to my mother and not that kind of uncle, just incase, you are wondering.

“Iko’du!Garage! Iko’du!’ A conductor yelled at the petrol station.

The yellow bus was so rickety, I wondered if the passengers were getting the right amount of Oxygen.

‘Madam picky! You should be in that bus’ An inner voice reminded me.

I moved towards the bus, ‘Ikorodu?’

‘N200’

‘Agric bus stop?’

The conductor glared at me, he was obviously getting irritated. 

‘Enter!’

I didn’t budge. ” Oga, I no sabi d place’

‘Enter’ He answered sharply as he opened the door to the passenger’s seat.

With my bag safely in the booth of the bus, I settled in to enjoy the ride, of course I didn’t.

This was Lagos & I hoped I’d be fully prepared for this hustle..

Amour Fou:Series 2-Episode 6

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    “Dede ,please I need two more plates .”Dede’s Aunt yelled from inside .
      Dede was hard at work,as usual,in his aunt’s restaurant. Washing dishes had never been one of his favourite chores but he had no choice.He sat on a low stool at the back of the restaurant. He wiped his brow with his right arm.
      A waitress came to the back and took  the two plates from him,deftly rinsed them and went back in as swiftly as she came.
“Dede!!!” A voice called out gleefully from behind.
It had to be Nuna,Dede thought.
He turned,there she was grinning from ear to ear.
“What’s up?”Dede inquired ,getting on his feet and cleaning his hands on a napkin.
“Nothing much.I am fine.”
“You ..uh..look it!”He confessed,looking her over.
  Nuna was on a navy  blue jean and a sleeveless red coloured chiffon that revealed most of her back .
“Really?”
He ignored the question.
“What’s the occasion?”
“Don’t I always look good?”She bragged.
   Dede snorted.
“Never said so but where are you going to and who is taking you?”.
“Err..Ngozi.You remember her?”
“Yeah”Dede acknowledged and made a face .
“What’s with the face?She is one of my best-friends you know “Nuna emphasized.
Dede shrugged.
“She is too full of herself.”
Nuna tittered.
“I know right..but she is a great girl.”
“Where is she taking you to?”Dede demanded
  Nuna’s face brightened.”Her cousin in Banking and Finance just rounded up sha..He and some of his friends arranged a little party …you know.”
Dede rubbed his temples
“I don’t like the whole idea..you,Ngozi and a couple of nameless guys.”
     Nuna gave him an icy stare.
“Dede !You do not have any right to tell me where to go oh!! For reminders, I did not come here to take any permission from you.
Dede pursed his lips and sighed.
“I’m sorry. I just care about you a lot.”
“It’s fine” She forced a smile .
    His phone beeped,he fished it out of his pocket, dragging a bunch of keys along.
He replaced the bunch of keys back in his pocket.
Both of them glared at the phone. It was a Whatsapp message from Lola.It read;
“Sweetie,Let’s meet up tomorrow instead..xx
  Nuna’s eyes widened.
“Ehen!You did not even tell me you had gone this far oh”
“Non..no.Not at all”Dede stuttered.
” Na so .You have sidelined me.”She sneered.
“You know..She is just a ..err..means to an end.”
   Nuna shrugged.”I am supposed to meet up with the girls halfway and its almost time.The money you promised me for the weekend na.”
“Oh yeah” He remembered,taking out his wallet from his back pocket.He handed over some money to Nuna.
She counted the money eagerly.
“Ah!3,500 naira!Dede!You too try!”She gave him a peck on his cheek .
“I like it when you do that,Nuna”. He held her with both his hands affectionately.She pulled away quickly.
“I am not ready Dede”
He nodded.”I am sorry.I really can’t wait for us to be t-together..”
“Me too” she mumbled.She ran a finger down Dede’s arm.”I have to go.I will call you after the party ”
“It’s alright”
He watched her as she hurried off.
“Nuna!Lola’s got nothing on you!”He said loud enough for her to hear. She twirled
,grinned and blew him a kiss.

Read more

Amour Fou:Series 2:Episode 5

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   “I have missed you so much ,Lola”.Rogers admitted,placing his right hand in hers.
“You hardly ever return my calls or messages .I thought we had gone past this.”
“Err..You know how school can be and all.I barely even have time for myself.”Lola claimed and tucked a loosely held brain behind her ear.
       Rogers turned away tapping a finger on the wheel of his car,they both sat in his car parked a few houses away from Lola’s.
He turned and faced her,”Lola,I need you to be sincere with me.Are you seeing someone else?”
Lola pursed her lips.
“Well..No,I guess”She sputtered
“You guess?”
“Look!Rogers!I am not!It’s just that you are choking me.”
He leaned back and glared at her.
“Choking you?Seriously?!”
“Calm down Rog.I need space …I need time”She retorted ,shifting uncomfortably on the passenger’s seat.
“Space?!”He repeated indignantly.”I am done with my defense and all.I should be home now with my folks planning for the next step but I stayed a while just so I could see you.It’s been a month since I last saw you!Jeez!I miss you!I thought we had an understanding!
Lola shrugged.”I thought so t…..”
   There was a beep on Lola’s phone.She stared at the phone on her laps and picked it up feverishly and continued gazing like one in a trance.
“Really?”She mumbled to herself  pleased,unmindful of Rogers.
‘Hey!Is everything okay?!”Rogers nudged her.
      She looked up as she rubbed her thighs nervously.
“Yeaaah!yeah!”
“Are you su…?!”
“I got to go Rogie.I will see you tomorrow most definitely in fact I will call you or text .Or just buzz on whatsapp.”She babbled.
Call me?You?…and what’s up with the pet names today?”Rogers demanded amused.
She leaned over and gave him a peck on his left cheek.
“Trust me!I will call you” She said this and was out of the car instantly.
     Rogers sat in his car ,a bit dazed,his first thought was to go after her but he decided against it,shook his head and drove off.

“Hello”Lola whispered over the phone eagerly.She was back in her room and Rogers had been completely forgotten.
“Hello”Dede answered on the other end,uneasy.
“I got your message and I must tell you, I was thrilled.I mean,I am .”
“Oh okay”
“Can we meet like now or later today?”
“Busy at the moment.Tomorrow evening?”
“Perfect!Perfect!!”Lola replied gleefully.
“Mmn..yeah”.
“And Dede,I am so glad you decided to give us a chance.You made my day..my month..my entire year!”She professed,hardly able to contain herself.
“I don’t know what to say!Thanks.I have got to go”.Dede responded abruptly and ended the call.
     Lola punched the air.
“He isn’t so stuck up after all!phew!”She mumbled to herself turning round to sit on her bed.
“Goodness!!!!!” She shrieked as she faced Amelia,her friend,colleague and roommate.”When did you get in?”
Amelia shrugged, taking off her shoes.
“You were obviously  carried away.”She remarked with an air of disgust.
“What’s your own?Why you dey carry face?!”
“Carry face?!I don’t understand you,this girl.Rogers has been sending me messages on BBM ,pleading with me to talk to you to accept to go on a date with him before he leaves.”Amelia chided.
Lola sighed and sat on the bed promptly.
“Rogers”
“Yes Rogers!!Little did I know that you were here drooling over one boy that barely has time for you”
“You are in denial, Amelia.We are getting along real fine.”Lola affirmed angrily.
“You are making a fool of yourself!! The guy no de even send u and him no even reach.Use ur head ,girl!!”
“Listen to yourself!Simply because,he is not some ‘fly’ guy like Rogers.I am making a fool of myself??”
“You don’t just get it”
“Nope!I don’t think I want to.I’ll do everything to keep Dede happy and make us stay together for as long as possible-to your chagrin!Ah!I thought you were my friend.”
   Amelia shook her head.”Looooola!!You sounded like a love-sick zombie over the phone.”
“Amelia,joor!please!”Lola pleaded raising a hand.
“I thought I knew you!”
“Apparently, you don’t!” Lola fumed and folded her hands across her chest.
     Amelia drew her lower lip between her teeth, eyed Lola,picked up her bag,wore a pair of slippers .
“At least have the decency to tell Rogers.Save the poor guy the stress.”
“Why don’t you tell him yourself,since it happens to be that you have become his puppy” Lola taunted.
Amelia glared at her one more time and stormed out of the room.

Image source: Miraimages