It’s about an hour to midnight of May 1st. That’s when I pick up my laptop to write this. I’m not even sure how to craft it. There’s just so many thoughts running through my mind.
Twelve years. That’s how long I’ve known her. That’s how long we’ve been friends. Twelve years. And I still remember what drew her to me. Tomboyish. Crazy. Much fierce. Plenty focused. Very stubborn. Very confident. Sprinter. Energetic. Amazing dancer. Voice that can bring down heaven. LOL
She’s still all these and a little more. Well, a little less tomboy sha. She’s a lovely young woman now.
Today, I open the book of remembrance for this girl who has been solid beside me for twelve years.
1. I remember how I was young with a bad case of inferiority complex. I did not think of myself as pretty or talented. May said to me “inner beauty is what is most important. And that’s something you have.” My self-esteem was boosted by that simple truth.
2. May is the reason I started writing. It was the second year of our friendship. She had written something. A play, I think. And I told myself, May can do it, then I can do it too.
3. May was the one person I got into trouble with the most in school. The teacher was gonna punish me for something, May had to be involved somehow. Directly or indirectly. Don’t get it twisted. We served the punishments together. May was proof of ‘your best friend would be right beside you in jail saying ‘dang! We messed up!’”
4. May stuck up for me always. She has always protected me like her life depended on it. LOL. I kid you not. The number of times she came to my defense in secondary school? Countless. Even if I was wrong, she’d back me up in public then scold me in private.
5. May, my partner-in-sprints. I remember how by the end of our six years, we were the fastest sprinters in our house. We did all the sprints and relay races together. We really should go running sometime soon. Been forever.
6. May taught me that friendship is not a competition. It’s about balancing each other out, accommodating flaws, celebrating strengths…
7. May never ever let a boy come between us. Funny how that’s nearly always an issue between girls. But it was never something between us. Did we ever like the same guy at the same time? Probably not. I just know we never fought over a boy.
8. I remember when I had to go off to the university. That was the longest we were ever apart. It was crazy. When I lost touch with most people, May remained connected to my soul. A stubborn knot that would never loose.
9. When old friends complained they’d been abandoned, May simply waited for me. Like the watchmen would wait for the morning. And when I returned. We picked up where we left off. No drama. No serenre.
10. May has seen it all. My highs, my lows, my anger, my madness, everything. I remember the one major fight we had. I thought she said something hurtful about me behind my back and I did not speak to her for a long, long time. We made up. And that was the first and last time we ever had a fight that huge.
11. Ahh. May has never tired to listen to me talk. And if you know me well, then you know I LOVE to talk. Only a true friend will listen as attentively as she does.
12. May is my one in a million. My ride or die chic. My solid behind the scenes girl. My bird of the same feather. May is my best friend of twelve years. May is a year older today.
So for twelve years, you have been my friend. If we survived this far, then nothing can ever keep us apart. So yes, I posted on my blog about you as my birthday gift to you. And this better make you blush o. That your heart that you like to harden like akpu must melt today. Hehe. And like I told you, there’s nowhere else I’d rather be in the world than right beside you at the auditions today. Yes, I love you enough to do the craziest things with you and for you.
Happy birthday babe. Like you love to say “we’re growing old!”
For Efe May Okanigbe, Twelve years a friend…
When I grow up, I will own a private jet and it is not because I want to show off or because I want to feel like a superstar. It’s simply because just like food, shelter, cars and clothes, private jets are no longer a luxury but a necessity in Nigeria. Keep your hairnet on, hear me out first.
Two weeks ago, I had to travel to Zaria from Lagos. I could have gone by road, but given the length of time the trip would take, I decided to go by air. I had a few things I needed to accomplish in Zaria before I would return to Abuja and I had too little time. Now, Zaria has no airport so it meant I had to fly to Kaduna and then make a road trip of at most an hour to get to Zaria. Not a problem, I could manage that.
My brother booked me an Arik flight to Kaduna that was earlier than the Aero flight (I always fly Aero. They have consistently been good to me) and so, I got set for the trip. The flight was for 2:00pm. I hate waiting, especially at the airport; so if I can help it, I never get to the airport more than an hour to my departure. Anyways, that lovely day, I got to the airport at about 12:00pm and told myself it was only a two hour wait so I would be fine. I got to the check-in counter and the lady told me my flight had been moved to 5:00pm. Shoot! I almost passed out. I looked at her and she had on a straight ‘I don’t care how you feel’ look and said something about the airline sending out text messages to that effect. I sighed. If I’d gotten the text message, would I have shown up at the airport 5 hours before? Was the house in Lagos chasing me? Or did Lagos airport suddenly have free wi-fi?
Anyways, I went through the check-in processes and took a seat in the departure lounge. I slept, woke up, read Sally’s E-book (which is really awesome btw. Sally writes the best stories. No wash. Follow her @moskedapages), slept some more and soon it was 5:00pm. Oh, might I add at this point that network sucked at the airport. I could neither make nor receive phone calls and BBM and Whatsapp were totally out of the question. All I could do was send text messages. And even those were delivered selectively. Plus the text message they supposedly sent out came in only a few minutes to 2:00pm. Sigh.
Oh well. I congratulated myself on the remarkable feat I’d accomplished- waiting at the airport for 5 hours without dying. Like I said, I hate waiting particularly when the wait is indefinite. I’d barely finished congratulating myself when they announced that the flight was moved to 6:30pm. Lawd! At this time, I was weak. Too weak to throw a fit. So I just sat and watched as people tried to start a fight with the officials. My dad had sent a driver to Kaduna airport to pick me up. When I saw the way things were going, I contacted him and told him to send the driver back. No point keeping someone waiting there indefinitely. Plus I’d met a family friend who was on the same flight and who was also going to continue to Zaria.
We didn’t start boarding till 7:00pm, didn’t get into Kaduna till about 8:30pm and somehow I didn’t get home till about 10:00pm. And when I got home, here’s what I had to say to myself. “If I had calmed down and jejely taken a bus, shebi I for reach house before 10:00pm?” Na wetin oyinbo people dey call ‘more haste, less speed’ na him be this one.
It’s important for me to mention also that no flight at the Arik terminal that day was on schedule. At least not from the moment that I got there. I spent a total of 7 hours waiting for that flight and all their flights within that period were delayed.
Then only this week, my younger brother had to make the same trip and again we bought him the same Arik ticket. (We never learn abi?) He needed to go back on Monday and apparently that was the best flight option available. Arik moved the flight from 3:00pm to 2:00pm and eventually cancelled it. I think they said the Kaduna airport was shut down. He was asked to come the following day. Today, it rained and he had a few other logistics issues. The flight was for 2:00pm and he ended up getting to the airport just at about 2:00pm. They said they were done checking in and after much talk, they charged him N3,000 to get on the flight.
Here’s where it gets interesting. The flight was not on schedule! They charged him 3,000 extra for a flight that wasn’t even on ground yet! He eventually left Lagos at about 4:00pm and called me about an hour later to say they were in Jos. It was not even a direct flight. So imagine. Seeing that he was late and the flight was late too, shouldn’t the two “latenesses” have cancelled each other out? Apparently not.
When I complained about Arik and kept praising Aero, a friend of mine told me it was because Aero had not shown me pepper before. I got to hear stories of 7 hour flight delays and 3 hour flight delays by my beloved Aero contractors and I was just weak.
So you see why I will own a private jet when I grow up? It’s not effizy, only a necessity. Apparently, I can’t trust Nigerian airlines to take me to my destinations in time and in safety so I might as well buy my own private so I do not miss important meetings when I grow up. And I know I will have lots of important meetings.
Yes, I’ll also like to have a private jet so I can fly my family to wherever it is they want to go to and not have to worry about them missing important occasions.
P.S, I learnt an important lesson of recent about using images even from google, that’s why there’s no image for this post. I haven’t bought my private jet yet otherwise I’d have posed with it and put the picture up. Beht soon enough sha
I don’t even know where to start. I’m having one of those waves of sadness that have become a part of my every day. Different waves. Sadness, hurt, anger and then back to sadness. Sometimes I forget to feel and I go about my routine. Then I remember and the waves come crashing over me again.
I remember when we first met. It was at Ifeoma’s wedding. You instantly made a strong impression. You had too much energy, just like me. Yoppy, playful, happy, fun, exciting. The last born mischief syndrome ran in your blood so well. So yeah, we got along really well. I remember how you took Kachi and I to a stream to swim and my mum was totally freaked out. Everyone asked her to calm down, you were a really good swimmer so we were in a safe hands.
You gave me the very first cellphone I ever used. It was a tiny motorola but I was so excited to have it! I remember how we talked every other day after I returned to Zaria. You were that really cool cousin that I was always running my mouth to. I remember how your friends kept wondering who the girl was that you’d spend over an hour talking to on the phone all the time.
I remember how lots of time went by and somehow we drifted apart. I lost my phone and lost your contact so we were out of touch for a few years but you never left my heart for a minute. I remember finding your number and surprising you with a call on your birthday and you were totally shocked. I kept grinning like a monkey even though you couldn’t see me. The joy and gratitude you carried in your voice made me happy too.
I remember the last time we saw. It was at Chinedu’s wedding. We couldn’t talk much coz you were running around so much but we managed to exchange pins and keep in touch for a bit till my phone crashed. I remember all the facebook messages. You always called me your baby…
It’s not just that you left us but the manner in which you were snatched away that hurts like crazy. You were just 26 with so much to offer. Your departure hit us really hard. No one saw it coming at all.
Mum misses you, dad misses you, your siblings miss you, uncles and aunties, everyone! And I miss you. Ever so much! It’s interesting that the first time I met you was at a sibling’s wedding and the last time I saw you was also at a sibling’s wedding. Anyways, you’re gone now but I’m thankful that I had the opportunity to meet you and love you up close. You weren’t a cousin in name only. You were blood, you were family and you rocked!
Our sun has set at noon. But we know that all will be well with us in time. The waves are gonna keep crashing over me for a long time to come and I’m sure it’s same for everyone of us but little by little, one day after another, we’ll get through them.
For you, my precious cousin. You’ll forever be in my heart.
Good night Kay.
The first time I ever ate roasted yam, it was B’s idea. And I found that unusual. Here’s why. He’s the sophisticated kinda somebody. Cool, tush, fresh and formal. He eats with the standard fork and knife, unlike me that can eat anything with my hands. (Yes? Problem? I grew up in the north.) He mostly speaks clean fresh English, (I was stunned to hear him speak pidgin one day, then I got used to it.) I don’t think he even owns a pair of jeans (I’m ready to be tackled after you read this B. Hehe.) Anyways, you get the picture. He’s tush, I’m bush (But not all that bush o. Ehen.) Back to the point.
When he said lunch that day, I pictured a big or even medium sized restaurant, brightly lit, fully air-conditioned and with a smart-looking guard standing by the door to usher us in. (That was the sorta place we went to when we had our first lunch date.) So I was a little surprised when I found out that lunch was under a big umbrella, seated on a bench beside a make shift coal fire where yam and plantain were being roasted.
He promised me I would enjoy it and went ahead to “place our orders.” When the yam and fish came, I sat staring for a few seconds and I watched him rinse his hands and begin to eat. B was eating with his hands in public? My eyes found a way to stay in their sockets and I followed suit. One portion of the yam and I was smitten. The sauce was great, the yam nicely done and I think I licked my fingers at the end of it. So yes, roasted yam made perfect sense and after that day, I was hooked. A number of times, I went to his office and we had the yam together. Eventually, I located a “joint” close to my office and became a regular until my joint was shut down.
Now here’s the crux of the matter. A few weeks ago, the joint was re-opened but I was already hooked on indomie and egg, fried rice and chicken for lunch so I didn’t visit it. Then today, I’d stayed glued to my laptop for so long, nothing I was doing was making sense anymore so I decided to go for lunch. The roasted yam felt like a very good idea so I strolled to my joint. I got there, placed my order and milled around the “Producers” alongside other consumers waiting to be served.
I noticed a “fresh” babe seated a little way off, waiting for goodness alone knew what but I could not be bothered. Just as I was about to be served, “fresh babe” stood up and walked towards us.
“Where’s my yam?”
She spoke in this ajebo high pitched voice and I could not help but smile. Wetin ajebo dey find for our joint?
The girl serving told her to please be patient. Apparently she had forgotten about her and it wasn’t surprising. There were too many people standing around the serving point. “Fresh babe” walked back to her seat like a princess. Her seat turned out to be beside me. In a few minutes, her yam was brought to her served in a plate. I was eating my yam with relish and minding my own business when I heard her speak again.
“Please bring me a fork”
A fork? For wetin na? na spaghetti she wan chop? Shuo!
I think the service girl looked surprised too but she went on to get the fork. Who eats roasted yam at a joint with a fork? I’ve never seen! The sweetness of the yam lies in being able to manipulate the yam in the sauce properly and corner the thing into your mouth. Then you chew happily, lick your fingers and know that it has gone down well. How can a fork do that for you?
When the girl returned with the fork, fresh babe asked
“Mimi, are you sure you washed this fork?”
Oluwa o! Kilode? Shebi she would not just carry the yam inside take away pack and go ni? Which one was the police interrogation na?
Mimi replied in the affirmative and walked away. I shook my head and continued eating my food but I was already writing the post in my head. I was so burnt! (not that burnt like that sha but burnt enough to write.) If B in all his tushness would eat roasted yam under the umbrella with his hands, who was this madam? Please! My joint is not for tush people to come and form biko!
Roasted yam is best enjoyed eaten with the ordinary hand. When you’re done eating, you wash your hands and leave the joint and we will not judge. The only time we would judge is when like “fresh babe” you walk into our joint and decide to act all superior.
Infact, I’d like to write a memo for the National Assembly to pass a bill banning forks in all such joints. Who’s with me?