Friday, 14 September 2007

Private Reading

Hi guys, thank you so much for reading so far. I have chapter 6 out but I have made that blog PRIVATE HERE. If you are interested in reading and will help me with feedback and comments then please leave your email adress as a comment and I will invite you to the private blog (of course Sisbee, LOAS, Mimi, Shopaholic, Princesa, JF and all others who read religiously, I would love to have your emails :) ). I am doing this so my work isn't stolen or copied as I eventually plan to publish. Hoped you liked the small taste you got. Thanks a lot :)

Monday, 10 September 2007

Chapter 5 Part 2

‘What to wear, what to wear’ I couldn’t find anything as I rummaged through my wardrobe. I had tried on several outfits, but I wasn’t feeling them and there was a huge pile of clothes on the floor.

The D-'night' had arrived. After a week of trying to get back into the rhythm of work, it was finally time for me and the girls to let our hair down and party like it was 1999. My parents were pretty easy going when it came to people staying over so all the girls came over to get ready. Ose and Obi would be sleeping over and both Mimi and Tife lived in Lekki, not too far away, so would go home together.

I couldn’t help staring at Mimi’s outfit. She was wearing a short colourful sheath dress with green heels.
‘Mimi, please don't stand within a 20 mile radius of me with this outfit you are wearing’ I jokingly told her, 'Or maybe its not so bad seeing as you will be able to light my way in the dark.'
‘I don’t know why I have so many haters’ she muttered to herself as she applied her mascara.
‘You look like the rainbow’ Obi joined in, ‘Maybe I can find a pot of gold!’ She started searching under Mimi’s dress making her squeal.
‘You guys need to get over my exquisite dress sense. Add some colour to your life.’
‘When did you become Virgin Cola’s walking advert’ Ose asked, giggling. She was dressed in black cropped leggings and a red v-neck tunic.
‘So where are we going’ I asked, trying to change the subject before Mimi got upset. She had a short fuse and I wasn’t willing to experience it.
‘We should call around and find out what’s happening.’
‘Jen from hell called. She said there was a party at Six degrees north.’
‘We go there ALL the time.’ Mimi said rolling her eyes.
‘Well we can go somewhere else first, then as the saying goes...’ she raised her hands up in the air like a conductor
‘All roads lead to Bacchus’ we chimed in falsetto.
You guys we have 30 minutes or popsie will give us a lecture about driving around late. And Obi you definitely are not walking out of my house in that hoochie mama top. The neckline was low and revealed her cleavage.
‘I have my jacket with me for just that’.
Tife was the conservative one of the lot. She had on jeans and a cute tee that said…I’m bringing sexy back.

I finally settled with the first outfit I had tried on, a cute short black and white print Ankara dress by yours truly.
‘Madam Virgin Cola, what color should I accessorize with?’
‘Yellow’ she replied, pleased with herself.
‘We will be the rainbow sisters’

We set out at 10pm. My mum and dad were downstairs watching the News and we all had to go past them one by one like we were in a parade.
‘You all look really nice’ my mum said, inspecting each one of our outfits ‘and what lovely colours Mimi, just like the rainbow.’ I knew my mums seriousness was a lie. She was just being silly but Tife didn’t know that.
‘Inspector gadget’ I whispered to Ose.
My dad never made any comments about what we wore out. I think most times he found them quite strange.
‘Stay in one venue, don’t drive around at night’
‘Yes daddy’, ‘Yes sir’, we replied, knowing that was impossible.

We decided to go to Newscafe first. Contrary to the name, it was really a bar at the Palms shopping mall in Lekki. The weather in Lagos is hot and humid all year round so it was nice outside in the evenings. We decided against one of the tables indoors since it looked crowded. As usual Mimi rushed of to say hi to a group of people she knew, she knew everyone. Tife went in to say hi to Ray while Ose, Obi and I took a table and ordered some drinks. We were strategically positioned and could see everyone who arrived or left the building.

After discussing the wedding for a bit, and mingling for a little while, Ose and I started getting bored, so we decided to play our Mula rating game, but to spice it up, Obi would choose a guy and would then secretly rate his Mulaliciousness based on the 1 to 10 scale then Ose and I would write our numbers down and whoever was further away from Obi’s number would have to have a shot. Obi hated drinking, so she was the designated driver for the night. Our first victim was just leaving. Ose and I studied him and tried to guess what Obi’s number would be. He wasn’t bad looking, average height. I wrote down 5.
‘Obi, reveal the scores’ I said in a show host's voice. She had written 4, I showed her my number and Ose did a victory dance while we ordered some shots. I downed my vodka and we kept playing. By the time we were half way I couldn’t even guess anymore. All we did was giggle if the guy was overly mulalicious and we were getting so far off Obi’s guesses. Ose had a permanent smile on her face and was giggling stupidly for no apparent reason. Tife and Mimi had joined us by then and were enjoying themselves immensely. They joined in the game too and were a little bit merry by the time we were ready to leave. It had gotten late and there were only a few people around.
‘Lets go where all roads lead. I feel like dancing’ I said, smiling stupidly
‘Yes lets’ Ose said ‘Lets, lets, lets’
‘Oh boy’ Obi said, ‘You guys are clowns, can’t even hold your own!’ She said, as we drove on to Bacchus.

There where lots of familiar faces at the lounge. I was trying to act like I wasn’t tipsy while saying hi to everyone. I gave up trying to look for a potential mate after scanning the room, I hadn’t seen anyone interesting and most of the others, I already knew. A friend of ours bought a round of drinks and I nursed mine, only taking a sip now and then. We had so much fun dancing…frankly, at that point, it wouldn’t have taken much for us to have fun. We were all a bit on the merry side and even Obi caught the dancing fever. I realised I needed the bathroom after all the drinks, so I left the group and made my way through the crowd. On my way back I tripped over some idiot who had for some reason bent over on the floor. I fell and twisted my ankle on my yellow heels. He was trying to apologise and help me up, while I was thinking of what best to do to regain my dignity.
‘I’m so sorry’ he said again, and his voice sounded so familiar.
I looked up and it was none other than Sexy Tade looking Mulaliciously ZERO. I became a bit flustered and tried to respond but my brain was already slow from the alcohol so I just kind of giggled. But suddenly I felt the most intense pain in my ankle and then burst into tears! He looked dumbfounded. I couldn’t believe it myself really. The combination from the shock of falling, to the humiliation to the pain must have done it.

‘Maybe you need some air, we should go out for a second’
I agreed because it seemed like a good idea and the music was starting to give me a headache so I hobbled out with him. We sat on the trunk of his car parked a little way from the entrance of the club and the whole time we walked there he must have apologized a billion times.

‘I’m so sorry, I didn’t even see you there’
‘If you apologise one more time, I might have to hit you or something. Seriously I’m okay now.’
‘So nothing hurts’ he asked
‘Just my ankle but its feels better’
‘Let me see’ his fingers grazed my leg just as I slapped his hand really hard.
I could see he was blushing ‘I’m sorry, that was inappropriate, I wasn’t really thinking’.
What a stud! That was all I was thinking. I knew the alcohol had made me less inhibited. There was no way I would be sitting on a stranger’s car under normal circumstances.
‘It’s okay.’ I said then I sat up with a sudden start as I remembered crazy Jen
‘Shouldn’t we go back in? Your girlfriend will be worried and my friends too.
‘My girlfriend?’ he looked confused.
‘Yes, your girlfriend...Jen’, I said slowly in case I was being incoherent.
‘Oh, she’s not my girlfriend. We are family friends’
‘Well I don’t think she knows the distinction because she implied that you were dating’
He lay back on the back window looking very relaxed. He was exuding sex appeal. Father almighty!
'What are you doing?'
‘You need to relax a little. Let your ankle rest for a bit’ he said patting the vacant space beside him.
I knew right then that he was a seasoned Casanova but I gave in and lay beside him.
‘Tell me something’
‘What’ I asked turning towards him. I couldn’t even believe I was being bold enough to flirt with the devil.
‘Anything..about yourself, your dreams, hobbies..anything’. So I told him about me, Zena my ambitions, what I liked and didn’t like. Alcohol made me very chatty. After a while, I realized I was talking too much so I asked him the same question
‘I think you are sexy’ he said looking at me with smoky eyes.
It would have been corny at any other time but it wasn’t.
Then he leaned over and kissed me slowly. I didn’t want him to stop… I had forgotten that I was out in public, I had somehow transcended to a place where there was only the two of us…until I heard a shrill shout.

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Chapter 5 Part 1

I'm so sorry for not updating in ages. Work caught up with me. But i'm here now. Please remember to leave feeback, positive or negative. Thank you.

The next two weeks went by excruciatingly slowly. There were several public holidays granted by the federal government for the public to ‘prepare’ for the elections which was good because the tension between political parties was quite high with reports of attacks on candidates and their supporters by the opposing political party. Voting was uneventful in my neighbourhood. I convinced my parents to perform their Civic responsibilities, the zest of youth was still burning in me and even their cynicism couldn’t put out the flames. Unfortunately it wasn’t so uneventful in other areas. There were several stories of ambush and stealing of ballot boxes and even no voting in some states. The first weekend was the gubernatorial elections and we had a four day stay at home weekend. It was quite annoying to be forced to stay home. My mum and I entertained ourselves with the West African Idols show in the living room upstairs while my father monitored the elections on NTA and Silverbird Television downstairs, boring us to death. The next Monday, Mr. Babatunde Fashola was declared as the winner of the elections for Lagos state.

The weekend after, the Presidential elections took place and once again ordered to stay home for a three day weekend.

Apart from eating, sleeping and exercising, I had a lot of time on my hands and since I decided to start dating again, it seemed like a good idea to be proactive about it. Being stuck at home, the first thing that came to my mind was to join dating websites. A year ago, Emily, a friend from University had gotten married to a very sweet guy she met online and they were having a baby. Internet dating couldn’t be all that bad right? WRONG. I locked myself up in the study upstairs, logged on to and searched for the top dating websites. The results came up

Top 5 Online Dating Sites

1. eHarmony
2. Dating Direct
3. MatchMaker
5. FriendFinder

I signed up to all five as Foxygirl and joined Hi5 and Facebook, two networking websites. Lara, a friend from Nysc met her current boyfriend on Hi5. I was going for overkill.

The process of signing up was hilarious. For eharmony I had to describe myself on a scale of 1 to 7 using Stylish, Beautiful, Shapely, Overweight, Fit, Sexy. I out 7 for all of them. I also had to answer several questions relating to my personality and what Kind of qualities I was looking for in a partner. Smoker? No, Religion? Christian, Children? No, Height? 5”8 and above, Education? went on and on. It was a similar sign up process for all the other sites.

When I eventually got through the maze of questions and answers, I was disappointed to find out that most of the sites had no matches for me. So I decided to check out the profiles of others who had signed up in Lagos. To my horror, some of the profiles read


well,i will like to meet some that is well behave, that is as the ability of keeping a relationship. some who as got the understanding of what it takes to make love. well to my own personal underatanding. i belive love speaks not the distance but the heart. i dont care if my lover is far away from me .it can only take me time to see and get her ,but if she is very serious and relly want me i will make her the queen of my heart.


Marital status-married For me marriage is ruled out
I have Children?-two daughters
I want children?-No
My education-M.Sc; MCIT(UK);PhD
Profession-Sea Port manager
My income-Low
Drink alcohol?-Very, very rare(3rice a year/less)
Music- Jazz, Blues, Country, R & BFavourite artists: Nat-King Cole, Tito Puente, Mighty Sparow, Kenny G, Don Williams
People that attract me in order of preference: Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces, Libra, Taurus, Sagitarius Leo, Gemini,
Colour Combination:-red,white, blue,purple, black


I am very handsome and i am equally looking for a very beautyful american lady between the age of 28/34 i will appericiate whoever gets intouch with me for a long term relationship.


My name is willie a men of 28 years of age i am single looking for a real and serious relationship,I am honest Godly and sincere and i will like me opposite sex to be an ardent church attender someone that beleives in God, i dont work i am a permanenet sunday school teacher in my father's church but will like to meet a woman to spend the rest of my life with someone who is very honest loving caring sincere and intelligent.....

What a waste of two precious hours of my life. I would never have it back. What a choice! I would rather shoot myself. Most of the men there were hungry leeches looking to prey on foreign women who would marry them and make them citizens of their country…even if it was Iceland. They would renounce their Nigerian citizenship with the drop of a hat. Certainly none of them were of dating caliber.

I spent the rest of the weekend reading some books on dating which my mother had purchased and I had refused to read. Seeing as I was bored I decided to pick up a few tips. She seemed happy to see that I was reading them and my father found the fact that there were books on dating hilarious.

Why didn’t I have this when I started dating’ he laughed out.
‘Dating my foot, I don’t remember going on any dates’ my mum replied.
‘What do you mean, I took you to my fathers farm’ at this point he was nearly rolling on the floor.
My mum couldn’t help but laugh at what she called his nonsense.

I didn’t know how else to be proactive except to wait for our night out the following week to see if I would meet any interesting guys. I wasn’t looking forward to joining the dating scene. Starting afresh and having to get to know someone from scratch again seemed daunting which is why I hadn’t bothered. I knew I would have to kiss many frogs to find a suitable prince and that didn’t sound very appealing. I wished I could just have discussion with God face to face. I would tell him that I wanted to meet a tall dark handsome guy who would actually walk up to me and tell me a code that God had personally given him, which I already knew of course and that would be it. Who was I kidding?... God wanted me to do some work too.

Monday, 6 August 2007

Chapter 4, Part 2

'Don’t look now,' I said to Ose and Tife as their backs were turned to the entrance.
‘What?’ Tife said and turned immediately.
‘Gosh Tife!’ I hissed, ‘I said don’t look’.
‘Sorrrryyyy’, she hissed back as we all turned to smile at Jennifer.
‘Hey you guys,’ she smiled as she dragged the poor boy across the room. ‘How come I wasn’t invited to this little party?’
Gosh where was Obi when you needed her. She would have had a good retort.
‘It was impromptu; we just kind of bumped into each other,’ Tife lied
There was an uncomfortable silence as she let us bask in our curiosity.
‘Won’t you introduce us?’ Ose asked finally
‘Oh sorry!’ She said and giggled looking back at Tade like she had completely forgotten he was there.
‘Well this is Tade’ she said smugly as she introduced us round the table and we all shook hands. The boy was smoking hot. All six feet five inches of his delectable self. I could hear India Arie singing brown skin in the back of my mind. I didn’t let my hand linger in his for too long, the electricity could have blown a fuse in my brain.
He smiled at me and dammit, he had the cutest dimple on his right cheek. Thoughts were racing through my mind. First, what the hell was wrong with the guy and did he have a license to be that fine? I made a mental note to consult the authorities that dealt with such issues.
With the pleasantries over, she waltzed to the counter with Tade.
‘Did you see his dimple?' I asked the other girls who were just as mesmerized.
‘This is what happens when you get engaged, suddenly fine ass men start popping up everywhere trying to tempt you.’ Ose said grumpily.
‘He is very delicious, I’m sure those lips taste just like candy’ Tife sighed.
‘Stop drooling, I’m going to call both of your boo’s right now!’ Mimi said laughing. ‘But he is a fine piece of work! I can’t deny it.’
‘What’s he doing with Jen from Hell?’ I asked bewildered.
‘Opposites attract abi?’ Mimi said ‘Or maybe its Jazz, anything is possible with that girl. She’s so competitive and aggressive!’
‘I guess. So any update Zee? You saw the way she and those other girls were talking about you at Ose’s engagement.’ Tife asked.
‘I don’t even care what she thinks. She claims she’s blunt but she’s actually just rude.’ I said.
‘I mean it’s not like you don’t have admirers. But I see you outside with your stony face. You are unapproachable so most of the guys have given up. We all know the story but you have to move on. Its been almost a year now’ she said looking concerned.
‘I’m very happy being single’
‘Yes of course,' Mimi said. She didn’t really sound genuine but I let it go.
‘But I’ve been thinking and maybe I’m ready to see what’s out there’. I added.
They all looked up at me with contained excitement.
‘So where are we going to start?’
‘What’s this ‘we’ business?’ I asked
‘Well we could go clubbing, you might meet someone there and we haven’t gone out in a long time.’ Mimi said with glee.
‘Great’, I said a bit cautiously. I didn’t want them to get too excited.
‘Oh and I know someone who has been dying to meet you’. He is friends with Joe. He saw you at my birthday party asked about you, but I told him you weren’t dating. Maybe he’s still available’. Mimi was getting way too excited.
‘No thanks, no hook ups for me. I’m not a pity case. I can find my own man myself.’
‘See this is the problem with you. You are not open-minded. How are you going to meet people when you refuse to let down your guard and see the possibilities.’
‘Mimi, one thing at a time, lets go out first. I’ll let you know if I need hooking up.’
‘As you wish. But he’s a really nice guy.’
'Thank you madam Mimi.'
‘So when are we going out?’ Tife asked
‘Well I think it’s a rap for the next two weeks. There are rumors of no movement during the elections so it’ll have to be after that.’ Ose replied.
'Really, Ose, no movement at all?' Tife asked surprised.
‘Where have you been? I think till after a certain time but its best to just stay home to be on the safe side.’
‘Thugs on both sides have been causing trouble all around town and they said free and fair elections.’ I added.
‘It’s definitely not going to be free and fair,’ Mimi said.
‘Did you all manage to register?’ I asked
‘Yes.’ everyone said in unison.
'Who will you vote for?'
'I didn’t watch any of the debates but I’ll vote for Jimmy Agbaje...he seems the calmest' Ose said.
‘Oh wow! It could be deceptive you know, I’m voting for Fashola’ Mimi said.
‘So am I’ Tife said.
‘Because my dad is voting for him, so he must have a good idea about him,’ Tife said feeling very proud of herself.
‘Because I like his jingle FA FA FA FA FASHOLLLAAAAA. Lagos e no go spoil, e go better, ego better eeeee’
‘Seeing as the papers are mostly propaganda we don’t know what news is real or fake. I can’t base my judgment on what I read or hear’ Ose said.
‘Yeah it’s a tough one for me. I need more information; no one is really saying what they are going to do.’ I agreed.
‘What do you mean, in FA FA FA FA FASHOLA, the song continues...plenty water…’
‘Mimi pleaasseeee!’ We all said laughing. She was driving us nuts with her crackling voice.
‘Okay so we will see how it goes then in two weeks we paint the town red?’
‘Yes! Exciting, Zee is on the prowl again.’ Tife said.
‘Well I must say I thank God for you. I thought you were never going to snap out of it.’ Mimi said. I know you were hurt, but you can’t hold onto that forever. Its like you are using it as an excuse to avoid guys.
‘Yeah maybe, it just been easier that way. At least I know I’m not getting any bullshit.’
‘Its better to have loved and lost than not to love at all.’
I’ll keep that in mind Mimi. How is Joe?
‘He’s fine’ she said without really catching my eyes. I guessed something was amiss but I didn’t drag the issue. She would tell us when she was ready.
‘Can you believe Rita broke up with her boyfriend?’ she said, changing the topic.
‘The one from when we did NYSC? She did? But she was at Ose’s party last week.’ ‘Yes Zee, after you left, they were arguing a bit in a corner and then she stood up in front of everyone, told him that she was sick and tired of waiting for him to propose then walked out on him. He chased her out and tried to grab her but her drink spilled all over him but the gist is that she actually emptied the drink on his head on purpose.’
‘She would never do that’ I said muffling my laugh with my hand. ‘That’s crazy’
‘I know right, I wasn’t there at the time but I was shocked when I heard.’ Ose said.
'Ose you and are causing discord among couples.' We talked for a bit longer then called for the bill.

Thursday, 2 August 2007

Chapter 4, Part 1

The week went by quickly and the girls and I planned to meet on Friday evening after work. As I pulled up to a makeshift parking lot just outside Roberts Café, I looked at my rear view mirror and saw that a few of them had already arrived. A random guy who had christened himself the owner of the parking lot land was trying to direct my parking and this was after I had completed the task. He was still moving his hands in a rotating motion when I turned of the engine. As I stepped out and locked the doors, he greeted me profusely promising to take care of the car. This was of course not without a price. I saw Tife and Mimi waiting through the glass walls and waved to them but they were so deep in conversation that they didn’t notice me until I walked right up to them.

‘Hi guys!’ They both looked up, smiling. Tife got up to give me a hug. She was a head taller than I was and slender. She always said how she’d trade my figure for her height.
‘Have you been waiting long?’ I asked as I gave Mimi a hug.
‘Not really, Ose called, she’ll be a little late and Obi had to go home’. Mimi said. Mimi was mixed-race. She wore her hair in an afro and loved to dress…retro was the best name I could give it. Today she was wearing a short lycra dress with a yellow flower in her hair.
‘Yeah, she called me. It’s not very safe crossing the bridge to the mainland at night and she has stuff to do in the morning so she can’t sleep over’. I responded.
‘I don’t understand it. The crime has become so bad. Last week a colleague of mine was robbed at gun-point after the thieves smashed his windows in traffic’ Mimi said, shaking her head.
‘And no one is brave enough to fight them; some of them are just petty thieves’ Tife added.
‘I can’t because you don’t know if the boys are high on something. If they are desperate enough they might stab you or shoot you even’ Mimi replied.
‘I can’t help but to feel sorry for them because the country has failed them’ I said, trying to see it from the thieves’ point of view.
‘Please they are just thugs, no better than terrorists’
‘What other options do they have? The public education is rubbish because teachers are not paid well and schools are not maintained and then even if they do well and manage to get into university, their degrees mean nothing and they can’t find jobs.’
‘They can start small businesses or apply for lower skilled level jobs’
‘While people drive around in flashy cars and live in huge mansions…its not that easy to swallow’
‘So the solution is to prey on others?’
‘That’s the only option some of them see when they get desperate. Its not like things are cheap. They need to survive.’ Mimi and I could have gone on forever.
‘Well sitting on this table discussing it is not going to change anything, that’s what everyone ever does.’ Tife concluded.

While we ordered drinks we discussed the things we would need to assist Ose with.
‘We can’t do much for now’ I said, ‘I guess when we know what the dates are, and then we can plan the Bridal Shower and party favours.’
‘It has to be a surprise’ Tife said excitedly.
‘That’s if you don’t call her to invite her by mistake!’ I said referring to a time when we had planned a surprise birthday party for Mimi and Tife had sent her the e-vite. The surprise was totally ruined.
‘You guys will never let me forget’ she cringed.
We ordered drinks and discussed plans for the shower until we saw Ose walking briskly through the driveway.
‘Sorry I’m late. I had a deadline.’ She took the empty chair next to Tife. She worked at Glo as an assitant project manager and always had deadlines.
‘So what’s up?’ she said looking excited. I was starving so I looked around for the waiter.
‘Nothing girl. It’s all you. Have you set a date yet?'
‘We were thinking December when most people would be planning to take a vacation anyway’. Ose replied.
‘That gives us roughly nine months’ I said.
‘You think that’s a long time but the months will fly by’ Mimi said looking worried.
‘I trust Ose, she will have the whole plan locked down for each day for the next nine months.’ As I was saying that, Ose brought out a medium sized book with green fluffy fur on the cover and a pen to match.
‘You already know you are bridesmaids and Zena is the Chief bridesmaid. Olu’s sister who I only love sometimes because she can be such a brat is the fourth bridesmaid and the fifth is Yaa.’
‘Is that your Ghanaian friend from uni?’ Tife asked.
‘Yeah, I’ve given her enough notice and she can even go home before she returns to the UK.’
‘Gosh I’m so excited, I can’t wait to see her!’ I said. Yaa was the sweetest person I had ever met. She shared a flat with Ose and me until we graduated. I moved back home after my masters, Ose stayed to work for a few years before moving home and Yaa got a job in London.
The waiter finally made it to our table. If Obi was there she would have asked him if he was tired from his trek. I ordered the main course and my specialty, waffles and vanilla ice-cream for desert.
‘I’m really hungry’ I told the waiter, as I flashed my thirty-two ‘So please can they be quick?’ He nodded in confirmation. Somehow I knew that wouldn’t speed things up but it didn’t hurt to try.
While we waited Ose wrote down more things she needed to add to her 9-month plan.

• Wedding dress
• Bridesmaids’ dresses
• Choose hostesses
• Look for Venue
• Inform the church
• Choose a date in December
• Select Wedding Colours
• Asoebi….

The list was non-exhaustive and as our orders arrived, we decided to save the brainstorming for another day.
‘Ok, I’ll email the spreadsheet to you guys’
‘Wow thanks, can’t wait’ I laughed. I foresaw a bridezilla in the nearest future.
‘Oh yeah guys, by the way…the engagement isn’t at my house’
‘Oh where is it going to be?’
‘My uncle’s house. He is the oldest brother and since my granddad is dead we have to do it at his’. I knew where this was going.
‘It’s in GRA….’
‘Oh that’s not far now….’
‘In Benin-City’ she chuckled. Mimi and Tife looked at her incredulously. Mimi’s fork was frozen half-way in her open mouth.
‘And everyone is coming!’ she declared, smiling. I was laughing hysterically because the look on their faces was priceless.
‘You guys it's only three hours away by road and one hour by air!’
‘Air ke, I’m not flying anywhere with the way things have been going’ I said as the humour left my soul. I was petrified of flying and the current series of crashes had put the fear of God in me.
‘Scaredy cat. Aero has a very good reputation besides I heard the Lagos-Benin expressway is currently a death trap’ Tife said
‘I like the road just fine thanks. Its not that bad, just pot holes here and there’ I responded.
‘Pot-holes? More like massive craters. It’s even safer to fly I tell you.'
‘Its okay, I’ll meet you guys there.’

The conversation lulled as we dug into our food and just as we were getting our desert, Jennifer from hell walked in with her current boyfriend.

Monday, 30 July 2007

Chapter 3 Part 2

Mrs Briggs called to say she would be at the shop soon.
‘I should have left earlier’. I muttered to myself checking my watch again. The traffic to Lekki was crazy in the mornings. I skipped back and forth between the Good Morning Nigeria Show on Coolfm with Dan Foster and Rhythm 93.7 with the Wildchild. I never understood why they bothered with the traffic update on was always the same thing
‘Serious traffic for those of you on Eko Bridge coming towards the Island’
‘A broken down vehicle is obstructing traffic in Oworonshoki’
‘Osbourne, Kingsway, Falomo Bridge, slow but moving’
‘Road works on Ozumbe Mbadiwe’
All this with helicopter sounds in the background. I was always amazed by the speed with which they flew from Oworonshoki to Lekki. Super Helicopter!

My phone started ringing again and with dread I checked the caller ID. It was unknown, so it could only be one of two siblings calling me this early.
‘Hello Sis!’
‘What do you want?’
‘Is that any way to answer the phone? I was just calling to say hi.’
‘You never call just to say hi.’ I laughed, ‘Are you okay?’
‘Well sis, I am a bit cash strapped! I don’t even know how it happened. You know I’ve not asked you for money for a while. I just need 100 pounds till I get my pocket money’
‘My friend, what you need is a J-O-B! At twenty-three you should really not be expecting money from your parents.’
‘I know now, don’t you think it hurts my pride. I am a wounded man’ he said dramatically.
‘You are such a liar’
‘But for real, once I’m done with my masters, then I can focus on work abi you don’t want me to get a distinction?’
‘Please get one, because I can’t be fending for you the rest of my life. I don’t want you to have to come and live with me and my family.’
‘AMENNNN, so please when will I get it?’
‘I’ll send Micky to the bank today and learn to budget for your expenses instead of spending money on girls’ he had a reputation for being a Casanova and breaking all the young girls hearts.
‘Thanks sis. The credit on my card is finished. I’ll call you later so I can tell you about my new girlfriend. She’s one-third Chinese, one-third Brazilian and one-third Nigerian.’
‘How exotic, I can’t wait’, my voice was laced with sarcasm as I clicked off.

'Na Zuwa be that?' Micky asked
'Yes, please remind me to send some money to him later'
'Oh oh, I wan ask for something, you for tell me now' he said.
'Sorry, next time. Or better yet, go to a cyber cafe.' I informed him.
'Ah Zee zeeee, you wicked oh'. I laughed, Micky was a real comedian.

I finally got to Zena Couture at 9.15. I always felt a sense of pride at what I had been able to achieve in a few short years since I moved back home. I smiled as I saw the large pink letters in italics on the front of the store…Zena…The shop wasn’t huge but it was my baby, located on the ground floor of a shopping complex off the Lekki Expressway. I had 3 tailors, 4 seamstresses and one receptionist.

The smile didn’t stay on for long. Mrs. Briggs had been waiting fifteen whole minutes. She was livid.
‘Young girl don’t you know that time is money?’ she asked. She sat there, still very sexy at forty-five. Many women would kill for her looks and she knew it. She had this aura of confidence around her and thought that everything revolved around her. I tried to think of what she might do with her time and could only picture Owambe’s, society functions and exotic holidays.
‘I’m really sorry ma’ the less words the better. I didn’t know what would incense her.
‘I have already tried on two of the outfits, they were okay’, she said grudgingly. Thank God for his mercies I whispered to myself.
‘Which is the last one?’ I asked, a forced smile on my lips.
‘The pink one’ she picked it up and walked towards the fitting room, ‘I’ll be right out, this one already looks like it won’t fit right’
‘Would you like anything to drink?’ I said with all the patience I could muster.
‘No, I’m in a hurry if you hadn’t noticed’.
In a few minutes she was out, looking like a goddess. I was sure she really was the queen of the coast. The dress fit her snugly accentuating her curves and highlighting her long legs. I said a quick prayer to God to let me look half as good as she did when I got older.
‘This is the first time I haven’t had any issues here’ she said smiling into the large mirror on the wall. I guess it makes up for the hours you kept me waiting. Let it not repeat itself.’
‘Sorry again, I’m glad you like them all. Should I pack them up?’
‘Please do’. She wrote out a check as one of the seamstresses packed up the dresses in a pink and silver gift box.
I heaved a sigh of relief as she walked out and made a mental note to reward the stewardess who made the outfits. It was a real feat that none of the dresses needed alterations.

I loved my job as a designer. I dealt with several customers who needed African outfits for weddings, work, parties or just everyday wear. Western designs were influencing the outfits when it came to the younger generation and the mix was very fashionable. Boob tubes in Ankara, a-line dresses in lace, wrap skirts on woodin. It was great that we were appreciating our own prints and maintaining a sense of identity.

Throughout the day I got calls from complete strangers, well not complete, but I couldn’t remember talking to them in years. They would call under the pretext of saying hello or catching up, then would change the subject to weddings then would confirm if Ose was engaged. After a while I called her.
‘Ose, the Nigerian grapevine never ceases to amaze me’
‘I must have had like a million calls today you know.' she said, sounding flustered.
‘People are so nosy. It’s beyond me!’
‘Remember Ramatu?’ she asked. I had no idea who she was.
‘Ramatu, from our first year at university. She called to congratulate me. I don’t even know where she got my number from. Can’t you remember how much she disliked me for telling her to move out of the flat? She was so nice on the phone. Like we have been buddies since forever. I was shocked to say the least.’
‘I remember her, the one who kept looking for a place and ended up staying with us for months and eating our food without helping with the cleaning or groceries or bills.
‘That’s the one’ she said then hissed. ‘Anyway, how’s work going?’
‘It’s alright...Mrs. Bomb didn’t explode today. The clothes fit her perfectly’
‘Thank God for that. I have a meeting so I have to go. I think the girls are meeting up at Roberts Café this Friday. We’ll talk about it later’

Thursday, 26 July 2007

Chapter 3 Part 1

This blog will now be updated Mondays and Thursdays with Part 1 and 2 of each chapter. Hope you are enjoying it so far. More feedback welcome :).

I was woken early the next morning by my mobile ringing loudly.
‘Hey Bessie.’ That was Ose’s nickname for best friend.
‘Don’t call me that jo, I have no best friend’ I responded.

I was scarred from an incident I experienced during childhood when two of my favourite playmates came visiting. Teni was very spoilt and she always wanted to have her way. Ada and I would always give in to her demands because she made such a fuss. She got to pick out the best Barbie when we would role play at a tea party and she was always the princess in any play we acted out. We had gotten used to her but I could never forget one very special day. We had just finished a special tea party out of leaves and mud in the backyard. Suddenly, from nowhere, Teni turned to me and asked, ‘Zee who is your best friend’.
I saw the problem at hand but I didn’t want to hurt Ada’s feelings either so I came up with the best answer to make both parties happy.
‘Both of you are’.
There was intense rage in her eyes ‘What do you mean both of us are?’, she said slowly, ‘You can only have one best friend!’.
‘No I think its okay to have more than one Teni…’
‘No its not...its best friend…singular not plural’.
At this point I was tired of walking on eggshells, I was done. This girl was crazy.
‘Then I have none’ I said very loudly.
Before I knew it she hit the floor, wailing, screaming like I had killed her.
‘You can only have ONE, ONE, ONE’. I looked helplessly at Ada for help, she was just as dazed. The next thing our parents came running out to the back.
‘Teni darling, who did this to you’ her mom asked directing accusing looks my way’.
‘She hates me mummy, she said I’m not her friend’.
My mum was trying to calm her down too but Teni’s mum was already taking her in and left soon after.
As soon as they left ‘My mum and Ada’s said in unison. Good riddance to bad rubbish’.
Teni never came over again and she didn’t talk to me in school. I vowed never to have a best friend if it would cause so much trouble. What was wrong with just having friends?
‘Are you there? Did you hear what I said?’
‘Oh sorry’
‘A-D-D! I said are you okay?’
‘Yes I am, of course I am, why wouldn’t I be?’
‘Because I know you Bessie, you were off last night’
‘I’m sorry’ I said remorsefully ‘I didn’t mean to be that way, I am truly excited about this!’
‘Glad to hear it, you know I’ll always be here for you no matter what. It won’t happen with you like your mom says’ she continued ‘You won’t get so angry and bitter that you can’t ever love anyone and no one wants to be friends with you because you become such a sadist, so you end up living alone in a flat far far far away’ we said the end together and burst out laughing.
‘Last last, you’ll live on my street and we can have tea parties but that won’t happen because you will meet someone too then we can buy a house in the same estate and live happily ever after.’
I listened to her laugh, it was like a nightingale singing. If I laughed more like that would I be engaged?

Ose was more attractive than beautiful. Her presence lit up any room she walked into, she was the kind that got the party going. Hurricane was what I called her. I met her at university and immediately, we got on like Oprah and Gayle. She was outgoing, boisterous, fun and the perfect planner while I, on the other hand, was shy, spontaneous, nonchalant and disorganized. We made a perfect pair and rubbed off each other. Together we were a force to reckon with. Now she was making a life changing decision and I knew it could affect our relationship.

‘What if you start talking about diapers and stuff and I can’t relate?’
‘You’ll relate ‘cos you will be changing your God daughters diapers, trust me’
‘Please stop fretting jo, I’d even understand if it wasn’t the two mad jesters talking! Bessie, give me more credit than that now. The only way this friendship is over is if you kill me’
‘Ok ok’ I responded laughing. I looked at the time 7.00am.
‘Shoot I have to get ready for work. Mrs. Briggs has a fitting this morning!’
‘Wow how can you deal with Mrs. Bomb this early in the morning?’
‘God gives me the patience I need because he’s the only one stopping me from committing murder’.

My mum rushed into the room, ‘Why aren’t you dressed yet? Mrs. Briggs is already on her way. You better get there before her’.
‘That woman gives me a headache! Why is she so difficult?’
‘She pays well and brings a lot of customers so you really can’t complain.’
‘I can oh, she’s like the devil incarnate. Always making impossible demands’
‘My dear, the customer is always right’
‘Not when I’m the customer’ I said annoyed.
‘Not at the banks, at the mall, at the cinema or even restaurants. Every one frowns here, they are always thinking ‘na ma papa own?’ It’s so annoying, there is no culture of customer service. The other day a manager at some bar told our friend to leave if he couldn’t find a seat!’
‘It’s because we are not really spoilt for choice, that’s why they behave the way we do, besides Rome wasn’t built in a day, things are changing.’
‘Not fast enough’ I said as she walked out of the room.

As I was getting dressed, I received a text from Ose

Bessie you are the Chief Bridesmaid just in case you didn’t know already. Like DUH!

‘Thanks for asking’ I laughed.

Finally, I put on my make up then assessed myself in the mirror. I was rocking my favorite patchwork skirt by Peridot and Ruby with an orange low-cut tee. It was good to support other young designers. ‘Fierce, Sexy’ I said to my reflection then I tried to laugh like Ose and ended up in a heap on floor, laughing hard till tears came to my eyes. I stood up abruptly when I heard my mother scream ‘Nosazena, get going already!!!’