Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Living - Short Story

“I’ll be in Lagos soon. I’ll stay only a few days. I can’t wait to see you”, Tricia, my old friend says.
She lives in Abuja, and is just out of a two year relationship with her boyfriend.
“We’ll go to the mall. I’ll take you to dinner. It’ll be a blast. It’s been like... what... five years?”
“A blast”, I say, thinking as I get down to this business of marriage, surely single ‘blasting’ friends are important.
Connections are important. She’ll take a cab from the airport, bring a ‘few’ things.

“We live in a small flat”, I tell her. So you have to sleep on the couch in the parlour, because Tony and I would be sleeping in our bed while the twins sleep on their cots. Not that you can sleep there”, making a half hearted attempt at humour, my confidence slipping.
“Not to worry, she says. Can you believe we’re thirty already. We’ll talk, talk and talk.There’s so much to talk about.”
Uh huh, I say, thinking she’s always been interesting and she’s an Abuja babe. So for sure we’ll have lots to talk about.

Wednesday arrives. I put on my jeans and tie my braids in a pony tail and make room in the kid’s wardrobe. Tricia always was a clotheshorse.
There’s a knock on the door. I rush outside to the cab. There she is looking as chic as ever; flawless, fair skin, perfectly done weave parted down the side of her face and falling down in waves down her shoulder. She is wearing thin True Religion jeans and white gold jewellery.
We hug and shriek and gurgle all at once. It’s like ‘yesterday’ and what best friends we always were. We don’t dare mention that we had a terrible fight in the University and ended up not speaking to ourselves for several years.
“You look fabulous, I say. So hot.”
“So do you”, she says, her smoky eyes scanning my homely outfit. My C- section won’t let me wear my ‘skinnies’.

I carry two of her bags up the stairs and she carrying the smaller bag, murmuring that her ankle aches her when she carries heavy stuff. She is wearing four inch Louboutin shoes.
“Here we are, I say, opening the door and leading the way into the flat. My nanny carries Tami out to meet us in the parlour. Timi, my son, is still asleep.
“Very nice”, she says, when she views my flat. “So cute”, she coos at Tami.
She proceeds to unpack several gorgeous outfits and hangs them in the closet space, pushing aside Tami and Timi’s few Sunday pieces. Her Clinique makeup and bottles take up the entire bathroom top. I am wondering what Tony would think.

Over juice we talk a while. She tells me about her former boyfriend, Ahmed. That she’s “out there now. I have to live”
“Let me make semo for you and then we’ll watch Africa Magic”, I suggest, feeling already exhausted.
She looks horrified. She doesn’t eat  “like that”. Nor should I. “Fat”, she repeats several times. She wants to eat out at Halchz, in the mall.
“Oh well, she’s paying”, I assure myself.

I call a taxi and at the restaurant, she floats from the car, rushing ahead while I fumble in my bag for the fare.
In a high pitched American accent, Tricia orders Merlot and a delicious dinner. We talk about Abuja and her travels to London, Dubai and New York and she says offhandedly that Ahmed took her to Europe for the weekend many times.
She is interesting and informed on many levels. She then goes on about her need to find a new man. “Gotta live”, she says. The bill arrives on a steel tray. It sits.
“Well, it was a wonderful dinner”, I say.
She waves her bejewelled fingers. “When you visit in Abuja, I’ll reciprocate”
She nods. “Yes, I have to teach you to live. Look at me, I learn, look, live”
I pay the high bill on my already empty debit card. I assure myself that this is once in a lifetime.

She talks about the few dates she snatched up since Ahmed. How depressing she found it. “They just aren’t ‘it’. Hausa guys know how to treat a woman;  I’m not sure about these other guys.”
The following three days, she drags me to the cinema, a comedy show, the dainty shops that line Awolowo Road, and the Clinique shop where the bottles are replenished. She stays up all night watching E!. She loves Kim Kardashian’s buttock job. I’m exhausted.

In the morning, I’m changing Timi’s diaper when she says I have to get my nails done. I say  it’ll be dangerous because I may poke the twin’s in the buttock when I insert their suppository.
“You’re too fearful of everything. You have to live”, she replies.

Finally it’s the last day. After slipping into her heels, Tricia insists her ankles are aching her, so I carry her luggage downstairs. We hug. We cry. We promise to go to London together sometime and definitely we’ll call every day. What fun we had. She blows a kiss and we wave until the taxi disappears down the street.

Back at the flat, I put a pot of water on the cooker and pour semo powder in, turning it over so vigorously, sweat pours down my face. I wrap it up and put it in a warmer. For Tony when he returns. I live.

This story of mine was published on Bella Naija today. The plot was inspired by a piece by my 73 year old new writing mentor. Picture credits are Bella Naija's.


  1. Nice story.
    So 'you have to live' but on people's bills?
    All the hausa men cant make her account fat?
    I think she's just living a fake life!

    I also wonder how u let your single friend come stay in ur 'small apartment' knowing her kind of lifestyle. Oh well...

    And i think its rude for her to have taken over the entire bathroom space - its ur friend's matrimonial home not a hotel!

  2. Feisty, dear. This is a nice story. ...So warm, I like the way the narrative rolls like a soft carpet... Good job!

  3. above all else, i love the end and the point you made. brilliant.

  4. Very interesting story. The plot unfolds effortlessly. Love it!

  5. Nice story and to think there are really people like Tricia out there.

  6. Yea very nice story but u c....i ave been stalking this blog since last year...and ave been wondering what been happening wiv u since u published this...this is like my best blog so far and i hope to BABA GOD that u b given the more grace to spin more for us...u tell it like it is...so ma'am...we aren't happy wiv this ur personal decision to take a break...forgive me for not asking or checking if u were well enough to write..u c i kinda trust BABA GOD to care for u and choco..and mon amie...so no shaking...all we are saying give us more write ups..

  7. LOL LMAO what a story....

    There r kuku people like that!!!!

  8. Lmao...emmm, this babe form mugu small sha, no friend can come and disrupt my life like this and i wont have the mouth to speak up...u want to live life? do so on ur own account o, if i splurge on you it'll be because i want to...shikena

  9. I still can't believe it was you that wrote the story on Bellanaija knowing I read it a couple of weeks ago and wondered who the writer was, if you ever publish your book, will be your fan, I love your stories and you sure write GREAT!!! Keep up the good work, wow the story is so real, awon big girls, you really told it well


Leave a feisty comment