So!

Now is a great time to refresh your memory on the story so far with Forgot to Forget You formerly known as Do You Remember Me (see what I kinda did there with the memory thing? Oknevermind) and to make it even easier for you I’ve put it on Wattpad!

That way you don’t have to navigate from chapter to chapter! Just turn the page and read on😁

We’re on a kind of secret countdown now guys and I’ll have good things for you soon!

Thanks for always reading.

xox,

Indigo Radio 

http://my.w.tt/UiNb/DrUXxoOkZE

A Broadcast Announcement

Morning Song


I wrote this song a few days ago with my 40th Birthday about to roll up.

It’s for my new collection of Internet songs The Book of Good Spells by my fictional band The Juju Beads. This collection is supposed to be like a hymn book to positive vibes.

When I was writing it I was thinking about those horror flicks where the protagonist just needs to survive the night to win the movie. I was thinking of what a relief that first glimpse of dawn always felt like.

Something kind of cool happened though. After I wrote my last post I realized my subconscious may have tricked me into expressing my feelings about where I am in my life right now.

I’m leaving some dark days behind and I don’t even know how I made it but I’m here. There are regrets of course but I’ve learned over time that regret leads to downward spirals and hope is what keeps a heart afloat.

I feel like a survivor somehow and Morning Song is about choosing to survive.

Hope you like it 🙂



Morning Song 

– The Juju Beads

 

(Easy Delicious)
Look out world we made it

The dark’s already faded

Pull in a breath – release it

We’re glad the night is done

 

At least until the next one

But please don’t think of that now

The daylight’s for the hopeful ones

Who wait all night for dawn

 

This song’s for the morning

This song’s for the light

Cos blessed are the ones who sing

Against the silence of the Night

 

And who knows maybe this time

If we don’t shut our eyes

The things that hunt us will subside

And the night will pass us by

 

Look out world we made it

The dark’s already faded

Pull in a breath – release it

We’re glad the night is done

 

At least until the next one

But please don’t think of that now

The daylight’s for the hopeful ones

Who pray until the dawn

 

And if you find your eyes a little grainy – don’t sleep

And if you count the cost, the loss of living – don’t weep

 

Look out world we made it

The dark’s already faded

Pull in a breath – release it

We’re glad the night is done

 

At least until the next one

But please don’t think of that now

The daylight’s for the hopeful ones

The daylight’s for the sun

Bye/Hi


I had to write tonight of course.

 

Not to make excuses for not writing before now but to personally mark this night. The last night of my thirties.

 

I don’t want to be lengthy or political or poetic or anything. I just need to say some personal things that I hope I  remember later.

 

My thirties – now that I look back on them – were surprisingly like a second adolescence. A lot of insecurities and doubts. A constant struggle with my self image and my inability to accept a life that really wasn’t how I imagined it would be while I was still in my real teens.

 

As tomorrow approaches along with my 40th year mark, I’m rethinking a few things.
These days I feel like if there were things I couldn’t accept about myself or my life these last 10 years – maybe it’s because I could stand to be more broad minded. And less judgmental. And maybe that’s something I can work on over the next ten years (granted I get them, of course).

 

On my 30th birthday I told everyone that would listen how unbothered I was to be leaving my 20s and how I was saying goodbye to uncertainties and hello to the new confident thirty something me. It was all bluffing of course.

 

I was terrified. I had no job, my then relationship had reached a stalemate and I was soon leaving the country I’d lived in for almost a decade to try my luck back home. I was made of fear and I was even more scared to acknowledge it.

 

If I had to pin point a difference between then and now I’d say at least now I get that fear comes with the territory. Now I can admit to it and that’s ok as long as I don’t necessarily give in to it.

 

Bluffing is ok too. It’s just one more way of trying to get from A to B. Sometimes I fake it till I make it or I don’t make it and then I try another way.

 

Other thoughts.

 

I have a little girl who will turn 5 this year and she’s amazing.

 

Amazing.

 

My hair has gone a bit silver in front and it’s actually pretty.

 

I found out this year that I have high blood pressure and that’s been the push I needed to start being more conscious of how I treat my body and mind every day.

 

Changing my life habits and making healthier ones – bruh…. such a battle and I lose more times than I win. But it’s a good battle and the few wins are worth every single loss so there’s that.

 

My life partner is my best friend. Even when we squabble. He’s been my safe place and I’ve needed one.

 

I really need to make more of an effort to spend time with my folks and siblings. For real, introvert or not, I need to do better.

 

My other battle – the battle with my self and my fear when it comes to writing – still rages which is good because fighting is better than dead.

 

But winning is nicest of all so over the next decade I’ll work on that too.

 

This wasn’t supposed to be long. I still surprise myself. I’m just getting to know myself.

 

So yeah… it’s Saturday 7/7/17, 9:27pm and I have a deadline I need to meet for Sunday so I’m going to stop here.

 

This 39 going on 40 moment was brought to you by my ever reliable mental gymnast friend, Procrastination.

 

*peace sign*

First of all, I always knew I wanted to write. I remember as far back as being 6 or 7 and wanting to be an “Author” because I loved books and so authors were my heroes and of course I wanted to be one. I wanted to make people feel the way books made me feel.

And that’s actually still true for me, it’s just that movies and TV got tangled in it somehow too.

Growing up in a strict household, movies were one of the few things we were allowed to do (until 8pm on weekdays and 10 on weekends). I watched a LOT of them; just musicals at first but in greater variety as I grew older and somewhere along the line – I fell for them. Big time.

I remember a time in my teenage years when I lived at Video Clubs and there wasn’t an A, B or C list actor I couldn’t put a name or at least part of a filmography to. I loved imagery. I loved acting and stories that could only be told visually – LOVED it. But I was never able to admit it to myself till I was already in University registered for a Bsc in Broadcast Communications (my unconscious halfway point).

My parents weren’t too pleased when after my sophomore year I changed to Communication in Video and Film but I was deliriously happy! At last I got to go to film history classes (I still have my David Cook text which I refused to sell though it’s an older edition) and I got to handle Bolex cameras and celluloid film! I spliced and taped with my own hands and learned the wondrous joys of editing… I loved it so much that I thought I might actually want to be a director instead of an author.

Unluckily (or luckily) for me, I didn’t quite have the temperament for it. It takes a different kind of artistry and patience and personal force be it loud or silent to sit on the canvas chair. I took a couple of passes at it and on top of having the wrong temperament I  found in the end and to my surprise that it didn’t give me the bone deep satisfaction I got from a manuscript (or even a post like this) completed to my satisfaction.

It was fortunate for me that I had double majored in creative writing as well and also that the Video/Film course gave me enough experience with scriptwriting that I could now think of stories in terms of that format as well. That was actually a very important thing.

Reading scripts and practicing writing them taught me how a medium affects the way a story can be told and how prose, poetry, stage, screen, music and even comic book writing each offer their own unique opportunities for building a narrative.

I’d known that I loved visual story telling but I’d believed I could only do it by directing (which by the way I still low key want to do properly at least once before I die). It was a revelation for me to realize that there was so much more to it. There was writing and all the stuff that gets decided in pre-production. There was also editing and all the stuff that goes down during post-production. All of them were important, creative  aspects of telling the story.

With screenwriting, I felt like I was eating my cake and having it. I finally had the tools I needed to make a film using my first love and base strength – writing!

I’ve been working on it ever since and I’ll talk in another post about the actual experience of getting into it professionally after I graduated and came home to Nigeria (cross fingers that I get to it!!!).

These days, one of my favourite aspects of screenwriting is dialogue because you have to be so much more sensitive about it than in prose fiction. In a script (in prose too actually) you don’t want unnatural dialogue jarring people out of the story – but when you sit down to write it, you find that the way people actually speak is a slippery and fascinating thing.

Like in prose, dialogue is  an important way to move your narrative along as well as give uniqueness and life to your characters. Unlike in prose, dialogue is the only other way you have apart from action to develop your character and move your narrative. But you can never use too much. This was a tough lesson for me to learn. In film, there is SO much more said in silences – and when characters do speak there are rhythms and patterns to it.

Spoken language is a lot more dynamic than the written word.

When you write dialogue you it’s not just about filling your character’s mouth with information. When I write dialogue I think about what my character needs to express in that moment… then I kind of listen for it.
That’s the best way I can describe it and it’s such a rush when you hear it or catch it; a distinct,  living character’s voice.

Have I ever mentioned how I do random dialogues in my head when I’m driving alone?

And sometimes voice them?

No?

Anywho, it’s a craft I’m still learning but I’m grateful for the opportunities I get to practice which brings me to the other awesome part about screenwriting. Finally seeing what had previously only existed in the boundaries of your mind up on the screen.

Talk about a feel good moment.

If you have any questions for me about my personal experience writing for TV, I’ll be happy to answer! Just pop it in the comments!

x

 

 

 

A dose of escapism is is good for once in a while, just don’t forget to come back…

Magical Moonbeam

An Audio Doodle for Tony Ukpo’s Film “Random 11”

By The Juju Beads aka Easy Delicious

“Once upon a time there was a sad Princess
One day she caught a moonbeam in her hands
And the moonbeam asked her what she wanted
so she whispered in its ear…”

Magical Moonbeam 2x
Take me somewhere
Magical Moonbeam 2x
Somewhere out there
Sing me a song of 2x
Cats and Fiddles
Don’t let me think of 2x
Wolves and Riddles
On a night like this it’s clear my heart is anywhere but here So fly with me

Magical Moonbeam 2x
I’m so tired of
Running in Circles 2x
Rings of Roses
The world is broken 2x
Who can fix it
The bridge is falling
Fix it with sticks
On a night like this it’s clear my heart is anywhere but here So fly with me

Da da da da da 2x
Da da da da
Da da da da da 2x
Da da da da
Da da da da da 2x
Da da da da
Da da da da da 3x

 

You can get Random 11 here!

Am I the slowest writer in the world?

Yes.

I probably am.

And I have the receipts to make that claim but thankfully I also have too much of a sense of shame to share them with you.

Either way, today as we officially enter the era of Trump *shudders*, I thought I should probably get off my behind and let you all know what I’ve been doing instead of updating DYRM 🙂

  1. Being a Mom and (believe me I use this term very loosely as I am extremely bad at it) a house wife. My baby has become a little person of 3 going on 4 full of observations and questions, not all of which I’m even qualified to answer. I have learned to sometimes just say, “yeah, I really don’t know” and I think (hope) she respects that?  She has strong ideas and an independent mindset which means she never accepts anything I tell her at face value and has sometimes in fact re-educated me. She’s so cool, I don’t even know where she comes from. Anyway, there’s that.
  2. Traffic. That’s right, traffic. This is where I spend a good portion of my week. When I’m not suppressing rage, this is also when I get some of my best ideas that I will never remember after I get where I’m going. My other places my best ideas come to me include respectively – on the toilet, in the shower, standing in line at supermarkets and just before I fall asleep.
  3. Kpop Twitter. I am actually afraid to say how much time I spend here because it could probably get me committed but on the plus side I can answer almost any question you have on KPop; what it is, how to pronounce Psy (it’s Sah -y), What is Gangnam Style exactly, what is a G Dragon – let me be your Kpop friend!
  4. Writing! Ah ha! Bet you thought this wouldn’t be on the list! Understandable considering I haven’t been updating. But I have been writing, just not for myself. I’ve been writing for television which is something I used to do fairly often before I struck out on my own and started this blog. I do it to pay bills but also because it’s a bit of a challenge adapting my style to working with other writers in a team and also just working in the area of the Nigerian TV story. I can’t tell you much about it right now except that what I’m working on is a new show for a Cable network. It’s only just being casted so production hasn’t even started. I’ll spill once it starts to air!
  5. Thinking deeply about the goals I want to accomplish as a writer. Who do I want to be? What do I want to write? Who am I writing for? What characters and stories resonate with me the most? And for my current personal project, DYRM, where I want it to go.
  6. Reading. Always reading. Forever reading. On wattpad, on webtoons, from my packed iBooks library, from manga repositories, on Asian Fanfics and an Archive of our Own, the story consumption pauses but never, ever, quite stops. I’ve always said that before a writer, I am a bookworm.

And that’s the majority of it. But none of it changes the fact that I am a very, very, very slow writer and I am awfully sorry for it.

Thanks for your patience so far and I really hope to be picking up where we left off sooner rather than later.

 

F2FU 9
Aesop’s Fables

As the work day drew to a close, my nerves predictably started to jangle.

I had a blind date.

And despite what I’d thought earlier about this being a good idea, I was no longer sure that I should have let it happen.

This was my second blind date in not such a long time and after the trauma the first one dealt on my self esteem, I didn’t know what to expect from this one and I wasn’t feeling too optimistic.

As I shut down my desktop I tried to tell myself that Derin wouldn’t play me. He was my friend and he wouldn’t set me up with a guy that wasn’t a legit prospect.

And he basically said no pressure so I needed to just set my self to enjoy a nice night out with someone that was most likely intelligent, worked an interesting job and was maybe even good looking.

At the thought of someone good looking my mind flashed back to Etomi and I sighed because, let me not lie, this had been happening a lot since Rib day.

I didn’t hope for someone of his unfair level of fineness… but, that said, let it be known that he had really ruined my standards. In my mind now there was fine – and Etomi fine.

And everyone fell short of Etomi fine.

Maybe this was what Akudo had meant when she said you just didn’t get over him.

Why did God even make specimen like him and dangle them in front of defenseless women who have zero chance of not falling for him from a distance and breaking their own hearts?

I realized that for the umpteenth time I was dwelling on my friend’s ex and I raised my hand and smacked my own cheek. “Stop it Gigi!” I muttered to myself, “let’s behave like a sensible, mature woman for once!”

So like a sensible, mature woman I switched off my work phone, snuck away from the office while my boss was caught up in a meeting with his boss and I drove my way to the assigned meeting place.

It was a tiny new restaurant in VI called Kitchen. Going there was the one thing that I was looking forward to since I’d been dying to try out their whole thing which was Mother’s cooking cuisine.

My hands were still sweating on my steering wheel by the time I parked, sha. I was early so I sat in the car for about 15 minutes redoing my make up and reciting mantras like, “you’re a sparkling, multifaceted diamond,” and “this isn’t going to suck!”

After one last just-in-case reapplication of deodorant I forced myself out of the car and marched into the dimly lit and still nearly empty restaurant.

Thirty minutes after sitting down with a stiff smile and well into my third tall glass of water with a slice of lemon – I began to wonder if I was about to be stood up.

I had checked my phone a million times just to make sure I hadn’t somehow tripped on a time stream and showed up too early. Or maybe even on the wrong day.

My hands started to sweat again because the waiters had started to give me pointed glances.

Really, my inner paranoid said, is this that big of a surprise? When have you ever had any luck with guys?

Maybe this was my punishment for not calling Akudo and telling her about the whole thing.

I’d thought seriously about checking in with her before leaving from the office. At least letting her know that Derin had called and what it had been about. Full disclosure and all that.

My inner paranoid wanted to just keep things open and non-shady so that they wouldn’t come back to haunt me in the future. I even picked up my phone to call but then an even more paranoid voice in my head asked me; if Derin calling me wasn’t anything – wouldn’t it become something the minute I called Akudo specifically to tell her about it?

What good could possibly come out of that?

At best, Akudo would talk me out of the whole date thing because if she didn’t organize it herself she would automatically dismiss it as bound to fail (and now it looked like she would have been right).

At worst I would literally be asking her to become suspicious about my relationship with her husband…

Not that there was anything to be suspicious about. If there was one person that could be over confident about her relationship, it was Akudo. But how humiliating would it be if she believed that I believed there was something worth being suspicious about between me and Derin?

I was over thinking it again, I know, but as I have emphasized before, this is my nature.

So, I’d decided to put the whole idea of telling her on hold for a while and get the date out of the way first.

I deeply regretted it now. I wanted to call her, let her help me laugh at the whole situation and maybe come join me so that I didn’t have to be disgraced in front of these waiters.

I was literally reaching for my phone when it rang.

Derin again.

“He’s coming, Gigi!” he said urgently into my ear as soon as I picked up, “Are you there already?”

“Kind of,” I said weakly.

“He got held up in an unexpected meeting and he couldn’t even call out till now. He asked me to tell you he’s so sorry and he’s on his way right now.”

“Ok,” I said.

“Have you been waiting long? “ Derin asked. There was flattering anxiety in his voice, “if you don’t want to do this anymore it’s completely cool, I can still call him and cancel. You don’t even have to worry yourself.”

“No, I’ll stay.” I insisted, “I always wanted to try this place out.”

“Are you sure, Gigi?” he asked.

“Of course!” I chirped.

Another half hour later and I was regretting once again.

I was still alone and (after the harsh discovery that my glasses of water and lemon slice were not free) I had found that my funds would only allow me to enjoy one glass of Chapman and the ambiance. The looks the waiters were giving me now were downright judgmental. I almost cried with relief when someone finally sat down opposite me but that emotion turned to shock when I saw it was Derin, post work with his tie loosened around his collar and his sleeves rolled up.

I eyed him suspiciously. “Uh… what happened to Aesop?”

Derin looked apologetic, “Flat tire.”

Well…

I was beginning to feel Aesop had more in common with his Greek name sake than just the name.

So I’d been stood up for a blind date that I didn’t even beg for.

If I ever agreed for one of these things again, ehn…

“Gigi this is all my fault, I’m sorry.”

I was actually inclined to agree with him on that so I said nothing choosing to simmer instead in delayed feelings of humiliation.

“I’m actually surprised… Aesop is one of my most reliable friends. I was going to make him Godfather to my first born… and if we ever get a first born…”

I looked up at him startled at this insinuation that there were also baby issues between him and Akudo.

I found him watching me sadly and it dismantled the resentment I’d been feeling towards him.

It also brought back my wariness. I did not want to hear this. I didn’t want to know a single thing more about their drama.

“Let’s just say you owe me and call it a night,” I suggested, “no need to rescind anybody’s Godfather rights. It’s not that deep.”

“I do owe you,” Derin said enthusiastically, “let me pay you back right now. You said you wanted to try the food here, right?”

I did but that was before the waiters had started judging me.

“Guy, I’m tired. Being stood up takes a lot out of a girl,” I said.

“Then order to go,” Derin countered me firmly. “Order anything. Order everything. I’m willing to go bankrupt here.”

I probably should have said no for pride’s sake but now my inner longa throat was awake. For goodness sake I’d sat in this restaurant for over an hour smelling their tantalizing Coconut Jolly and plantain fritters while showering my grumbling stomach with cold water. All this while my waiter watched me as if I was a food thief. My inner pettiness was awake too.

“Derin, are you sure?” I asked just to be nice, “the prices here are kind of…” I jerked my thumb upwards.

“Please Gigi,” he said looking genuinely offended. He picked up the menu and handed it to me. “Go crazy.”

So I did.

And oh I enjoyed the transformation in my waiter’s expression from “Wetin be dis” to “Ha, Oga Madam welcome O!” so, so gratifying…

Even when I would hesitate, Derin would look through his menu and be like, “but don’t you want to try this?” or “if you don’t want it, I do”

Before he was done we must have run up a bill in excess of eighty something K over his friend standing me up and my pride was over avenged. In fact I was starting to feel guilty despite myself as our takeaway boxes were wheeled towards us in batches.

Derin did not flinch at the bill. He barely looked at it before handing his card over to the waiter who took it from him like it was a holy object.

“Thanks to you I’m going to have good lunch boxes at work for the next month,” I told him, “I can’t believe you let us order this much… I feel like I’m cheating you somehow…”

“That’s because you haven’t yet realized my insidious, underlying motive…” Derin said signing the receipt that had been handed to him decisively.

“Hah?” I asked bluntly. I mean there was a limit to how guilty I was feeling O.

“Would you consider giving it another try?” Derin was now pinning me with a level gaze.

“What?” I asked because he couldn’t possibly mean –

“The boyfriend search. It doesn’t have to be Aesop. I have other good friends.”

My mouth was still oily from the bribe I had devoured but I started to frown. “But Derin – why are you giving yourself assignment that has no credit?” I asked, “are you seriously telling me that you spent this kind of money just so I could continue going on your blind dates?”

Derin frowned too looking a little hurt, “No-oo… I spent this kind of money because we were having fun…”

I looked skeptical.

“Honestly! I came here because I couldn’t just tell you that Aesop wasn’t coming over the phone when you’d already been waiting for him –  I know I said I was making it up to you and partly I am – but I was also just enjoying myself… I thought you were too…”

Of course I was. And it was really tacky of me to question the meal after I’d eaten it but… I just felt like I wasn’t getting the full picture here.

Looking across the table now at Derin who was frowning down at his napkin as he twisted and untwisted it like a scolded kid I wondered if maybe there wasn’t a fuller picture than this. Maybe this was just what it was and I was lucky to have a cool guy friend who thought it was fun to hook me up on dates with his buddies and also occasionally buy me lavish dinners. Maybe I should look at it like having an older, wealthy brother.

Maybe I should find my inner graciousness and stop looking a gift horse in the mouth.

“Don’t mind me Derin,” I finally said, “I’m just feeling guilty because – you know there’s no way I can return the favour…”

The cheer began to cautiously creep back into his expression.

“What favour? And don’t feel guilty,” he said, “I’m the dummy who tried to turn a nice time into a bribe. You can just pretend I never said that…”

“I’m not going to pretend O!” I quickly stopped him, “I appreciate what you’re doing – helping me meet someone – especially since you’re not acting like I’m some object of pity” I added recalling Foluso’s expression at work earlier.

“Why would I?” Derin asked looking lost, “You’re letting me match make you with my friends… you’re doing me a favor.”

I preened a little on this take on things. I had to remember to explain it to Foluso this way.

“Thank you, Derin” I said feeling a little embarrassed to be saying it so late.

“No need to -” Derin’s face froze as his gaze caught on something behind me, “…son of a b*tch!” I saw him say just under his breath as his expression darkened.

“What?” I asked alarmed and twisted round in my seat. Then it was my turn to freeze.

My heart sped up as I watched the familiar tall, striking figure of Etomi walking into the restaurant, led by the establishment’s Maitre d’ and ushering a woman in a slinky camisole and palazzo pants in front of him by the small of her back.

I was damn well close to having a heart attack until they both sat and I was able to catch the woman’s profile.

It wasn’t Akudo.

I literally slumped in my seat.

“That a**hole said he was travelling!” I heard Derin mutter and I looked up to see him glaring at Etomi’s table.

Fear caught me that they would see us so I picked up the drinks menu which our flustered waiter had left behind and used it as an impromptu cover, “Guy,” I whispered urgently at Derin who was still glaring, “let’s fade!”

Derin gave me a distracted look, then one that was more truculent. “Why?” he demanded.

“Because you’ve already paid!” I answered in what I hoped was a reasonable tone.

Derin’s glance just narrowed suspiciously. “Are you hiding?”

I was. I didn’t even know why.

“I’m not hiding – I just don’t want him to see me,” I muttered from behind the drinks menu.

“Why, though?” Derin asked then his frown deepened, “wait – have you guys… met since then? Did he do anyth -”

“No and NO!” I hissed, “He just makes me uncomfortable – and it’s obviously the same for you! Let’s just leave before we end up in a confrontation!”

“He doesn’t make me uncomfortable, he pisses me off!” Derin grumbled but, to my relief, he was already dropping a tip on the table and getting up. I grabbed my bag and as many takeaway bags as I could handle then hustled out of there without a backward glance hoping that he would follow without too much commotion.

Outside I breathed a sigh of relief and started to head to my car only to be stopped by Derin’s hand at my elbow. I turned to look at him in surprise.

“Gigi, can we go somewhere else?” he asked.

“Why?” I asked baldly. I wanted to go home.

“I’m irritated and I don’t want to be alone.” he said. And he looked it. His face was stiff with disapproval and his whole demeanor was tense. I sighed internally and said goodbye to the food coma I’d been secretly looking forward to.

“Where do you want to go?” I asked.

Half an hour later we were at a cigar bar on Awolowo Rd. that I’d followed him in my car to. We sat at the bar and I immediately asked him, “You’re not going to drink, right?” Because I didn’t plan on being a designated driver.

He gave me a smile that did not reflect in his eyes. “Sorry” he said and ordered a neat scotch. I tried not to feel resentful as I ordered a virgin cocktail and after they came we sat sipping our orders in silence.

After two whole jazz tracks had gone by in his sullen silence he finally turned to me. “Why do you think he’s still here?” he asked.

“Derin…” I began.

“Am I being unreasonable?” he cut me off, “I shouldn’t be suspicious?”

“Of course not!” I reassured him a little faintly. Dear God, I thought, get me out of this…!

“They dated before right?” he asked his eyes drilled into me as if he knew I wanted to escape, “When? For how long?”

“Dude,” I said nervously, “why are you being like this? You know I wasn’t really friends with Akudo till she came back to Nigeria. I barely knew her in secondary school…” I said evasively.

“But she said you both know him,”

“Ehn, we went to the same school but that doesn’t mean we were friends!” I defended.

“So why does he make you uncomfortable? What happened between you three?”

This was getting too much for me. In truth, nothing happened between us three. Something happened between them two but that was really not my gist to share and I resented being the one given the third  degree over it.

“Derin, I think I’m going to go” I said getting off my bar stool, “you should call an Uber to take you home when you’re done.”

Suddenly my arm was being gripped and Derin hung his head in front of me. “Sorry… don’t go, Gigi… Please.”

I paused reluctantly.

“You’re kind of being a dick,” I told him.

“I know and I’m sorry. I’ll stop. please just stay with me for a bit more?”

I hesitated. “You can’t get drunk!” I gave my condition.

“I won’t have anything after this drink,” he promised me earnestly.

“And – ” this one was harder to say, “I think maybe if you have questions about Etomi… you should talk about them with your wife…”

Derin raised sad eyes to me, “I was being  inappropriate, I’m really sorry Gigi. The last thing I wanted to do was make you uncomfortable.”

“Well… yeah… you did…” I huffed.

“I won’t do it again.” he said resolutely, “please sit.”

I heaved a weighty sigh and climbed back on to my stool. Derin watched me with a small grin. “You were really gonna walk out on me!”

“See you,” I sniffed half jokingly, facing my drink, “don’t try me in this place… just because you bought me jolly…”

“Ok, listen but can I just ask you one thing…” he said suddenly shifting closer.

“Derin – ” I started, leaning away warily.

“It has nothing to do with Akudo… it’s about you… and that guy…”

That shut me up and I eyed him with trepidation though I actually had nothing to hide.

Why does he make you uncomfortable?”

Ok, except that.

But that’s just for the sake of my pride. Who wants anyone to know that they’re still dying for their secondary school crush it was beyond embarrassing.

“Maybe uncomfortable was a strong term…” I hedged while I mentally searched for a good lie that would put an end to this line of questioning and save my pride, “it’s like I said – even though we went to the same school I don’t know him like that so it’s a bit awkward between us,” I finished weakly.

“Dude – you hid behind a menu,”

I really did. Why did I even do that? What was wrong with me?

“I was taken by surprise, ok?” I said fanning myself with a flyer from the bar counter and not meeting his over curious gaze.

“Ok,” he said, “I’ll let it go for now. But if you ever want to give me the real gist, i’m here for you.”

“There is no real gist,” I groaned sensing that this might become a reoccurring examination.

He let it go after that and his good mood seemed to return. We spent the rest of his scotch on light banter and gossip about his friends but it was still a work night and I was tired. After a while I could actually feel myself begin to droop.

My relief was profound when he finally called for the bill. I offered to pay for our drinks out of courtesy. He gave me a worried look and whispered the price in my ear and I surreptitiously returned my ATM card from whence it had come.

Outside he walked me to my car and lingered, watching me with what I can only describe as a fond smile.

“I’ll definitely get you a boyfriend,” He said suddenly, “But after that I’m going to miss this.”

“What? Sketchy parking lots?” I yawned deliberately misunderstanding him to keep the tone light.

“Hanging out with you like this,” he said, “just gisting.”

“Why would that change just because I have a boyfriend?” I asked.

He shrugged with one shoulder. “You’ll have him by then.”

“And? I’ll have friends too.”

“I dunno,” he said lips curling again in that warm way, “if he’s anything like me… he’d be jealous about you hanging out with other guys,”

I squinted at him thinking that was probably a correct assessment of his relationship with my friend. “Ok, then don’t get me that kind,” I told him.

His smile widened.

“Give me a list of what you like” he suggested, “I’ll find the perfect one.”

“You’re taking this so seriously,” I observed still confused at it all.

“Yup,” he agreed then glanced at me, “want to know why?”

I nodded enthusiastically. I knew there was something and I was dying to know what I was missing.

“Hold out you hand,” he said.

I stared at him as if I suddenly didn’t hear English.

“Hold out your hand,” he insisted, “and close your eyes.”

“Why?” I asked with open suspicion.

“Do you want to know or not?” he asked folding his arms in front of him.

I wanted to know.

I held out my hand and let my eyes fall closed.

For a moment there was nothing.

Then I felt his big hand engulf mine. I was starting to frown at the fact that there was nothing in it when warmth touched my lips and hesitated.

I turned into a jpeg. I could not move to save my own life.

The warmth – full lips touching mine – pushed gently against my mouth, trailed side ways, brushing erogenous nerve ends on its way, then disappeared.

I didn’t even dare open my eyes. I stood there with my hand jutting out even after he let go.

I heard him say something just under his breath that sounded like ‘sorry’ and then heard him walk slowly away.

My eyes opened of their own accord only after the sound of his BMW jeep filled the parking lot. My mouth fell open too as I watched his car pull out of his space and then drive out of the parking lot and away.

Wait…

Wait… what..?

..wtf…

****

Woman with Pencils in Hair

So.

There were a couple of things I expected to happen over the next couple of days;

I expected work to be annoying and exhausting.

I expected avoiding Akudo to make it even more stressful.

I expected Maminat to buy a tree and become (for the time being) convinced that horticulture is actually a religion and for Dienye to continue to hibernate leaving me with no resources to fend off Akudo if she was determined to hang with me after work.

I expected I would have to therefore lie a lot and end up spending my evenings swapping bureaucracy war stories with my Aunt, sweating in the living room while waiting for the bedroom ACs (which the Generator just barely carried) to cool our rooms enough for us to turn in for the night.

What I didn’t expect was to be plagued.

By Derin.

Trying to get me a boyfriend.

I mean… It’s not that I thought he wasn’t serious when he suggested it that first time. I just thought he wasn’t serious, serious!

But then a few dour days after the disastrous Rib Night, I got a call at work. I was so surprised to see his name on my phone that I stopped everything I was doing and just stared at it.

Foluso peered over at me from his desk. “Sis – are we ok?” he asked dryly making me look up at him with what, I’m afraid, must have looked a lot like guilt.

When I didn’t say anything one of his brows quirked up. “You no go answer?” he asked suspiciously referring to my still ringing phone and that made it officially past when I could have not answered and it wouldn’t have looked all that weird even without an explanation.

“I’m answering,” I said and tapped the green button jerkily. Foluso snatched up the open bag of plantain chips on his desk and positioned himself to watch me take the call. I didn’t want to turn and block him and make myself look even more suspicious so I cleared my expression and raised the phone to my ear.

“Hey!” I said breezily and with a huge emphasis on not calling him by name, “This is a surprise! What’s up?”

“Gigiiii!” Derin chirped happily into my ear, “Are you busy? Akudo says it’s usually okay to call you anytime. Must be nice.”

I laughed weakly at this inference that my job was a seat warming appointment, “I don’t know about all that but I’m free to talk now. Anything?” I asked.

“What are you doing after work today.”

I felt my face freeze a little and the sound of Foluso crunching plantain chips in the background suddenly heightened. “Uhhh – ,” I said while my mind feverishly worked to find a response that sounded friendly, impersonal and like I wasn’t being asked out, “Regretting life choices, how about you?” I finally choked out.

Derin laughed for a good 10 seconds and I felt myself smile and relax, weak as always to people who found me funny.

“It’s a good thing I called then,” he finally said, “you’ll be happy to hear that I’ve been diligently working on providing you with some brilliant options!” he sounded smug and I was confused.

“Are you – are you selling me stocks?” I asked, “D’you have some kind of inside track on the market?” I added hopefully.

“Er – no,” Derin said sounding confused too, “I’m hooking you up like I promised.”

“With… insurance?” I asked because honestly that conversation had clean evaporated from my mind.

“A boyfriend, Gigi, remember?” he said sounding a little concerned.

I must have looked aghast because suddenly Foluso was leaning on my desk beside me, studying my face and crunching very loudly indeed in my ear.

Sh**, I thought. He couldn’t have… could he?

“Remember how I said I wanted to help you get a boyfriend? Your friend wasn’t too enthusiastic about helping but since I already said I would, I didn’t want to disappoint you,” he continued.

“Derin, you didn’t have to do all that!” I fake laughed and Foluso’s eyes flew wide. D-E-R-I-N? he mouthed with exaggerated slowness and I swore mentally at my costly slip up.

“Of course I did,” Derin said sounding mildly self conscious, “You’re my friend… and one of the coolest chicks I know… I want you to be happy…”

I truly couldn’t come up with any response to that awkwardly phrased and sweetly, obliviously, mysogynistic affection….. especially with newscaster Foluso literally wedged up in my grill.

“Not that I think you need a guy to be happy or anything like that,” he suddenly added and the lazy ass feminist in me sighed with relief at not having to do the talk, “If anything… I think any of my friends would be lucky to get you… so if you actually don’t want me to do this, you can just shut me up now…”

“Well – ,”

Watch carefully. This is how I always eff myself over.

“Did you already set something up?” I asked.

He laughed a tad nervously, “… kind of… but it’s cool, I can just – “

“I can go,” I cut him off telling myself it was no big deal. What was I doing this evening besides sitting in traffic? Today wasn’t even my day for checking if Dienye was alive on the behalf of her parents. “Just text me where to be.”

“Gigi you don’t have to…” he began to demur.

“I know that and that’s why I will,” I said with rising confidence because a thought had just occurred to me. Actually, when you put aside the indignity of it all, this was a pretty fantastic idea, wasn’t it?

Who had better access to perfect and eligible guys than a former perfect and eligible guy? What if this guy was great? What if we even hit it off?

I patted my sensible bob self consciously. I really needed to invest in something just a tad more luxurious if I was serious about boy friend hunting and at that moment I was realizing for real that I kind of was.

“You’re such a champ, Gigi! Aesop is gonna love you!” Derin said.

Wait, what?

“What’s Aesop?” I asked nervously.

“Huh? Oh, that’s my guy,” Derin chuckled, “Don’t start getting scared because of the name, dude, he’s a good guy!”

I laughed hollowly because who tf names their kid Aesop? Is it even a real name? Wasn’t it just a thing about folk tales?

“So I’ll text you the deets,” Derin said.

“Uhhuh,” I answered Googling Aesop. Turned out he was a Greek story teller figure from the ancient of days who may or may not have existed. All sorts of theories out there. Maybe his folks were intellectuals. That wasn’t bad right? I began to calm down again.

“And Gigi?”

“Hm?” I answered still distracted with my research.

“Don’t be anxious or feel like you have to accept him or anything. I made it clear to him that he’s lucky to have this time with you. Just be yourself and decide if you want him after he falls for you.”

My mouth literally fell open.

“I’ll let you get back to – not being busy!” he laughed at his joke, “talk later, dude.”

“Later…” I echoed weakly.

Was it me or was that the sweetest thing ever? Serious question – I wasn’t sure if I wasn’t just too susceptible to guys being flattering because I wasn’t exactly used to it. Either way I was beaming and still holding my hung up phone.

“Just to be clear,” Folusho’s voice whispered into my consciousness, “Derin is Aunty Akudo’s husband – shey?”

I dropped my phone quickly, “Bros, please don’t start, I know you know I’m friends with both of them.”

“Ehn – that kind of family friend thing, I know, but – did he used to call you before?” Foluso continued to study me from his uncomfortably close distance.

“I don’t know!” I answered leaning away, “Maybe! Stop trying to insinuate things!”

“Insinuate what? That he’s your Sugar Daddy?” Foluso grinned widely, “Why are you flustered? It’s no big deal these days na!”

“First of all Foluso can you return to your desk and give me some breathing room?” I begged facing my desktop with determination, “Second of all – he’s not my anything so please don’t even say that again!”

Foluso sniffed and finally got up. “We all have O!” he said strolling back to his desk, “it’s the only way to survive in Lagos on these salaries.”

“Even you?” I couldn’t resist asking, my curiosity piqued.

“See you,” Foluso snorted, “Fine boy like me? Mummies are fighting over me on Banana Island O!”

I gaped at him not sure if he was serious.

“But I have to admit, Sister Bolaji,” Foluso casually swung his long skinny legs onto his side of our shared desk, “your own surprise me, sha,”

“How?” I asked despite myself.

“At least none of my Mummies is the wife of anybody I know – not to mention my boss – you get mind!” he gave me a thumbs up and I groaned.

“Guy, I’ve told you…”

” I gerrit, I gerrit,” Foluso showed me his palms and stemmed my denials, “I’m not gonna say anything…. I just ask that you keep me posted.”

I sighed gustily.

“Foluso, he’s literally setting me up on a date.” I told him. I watched with satisfaction as his smug expression faded.

“With… himself?” he asked hopefully.

“Odeh!” I snapped, “With his friend!”

“Chill, I’m just trying to understand,” he said in conciliatory tones, “are things that tough?”

“Shut up,” I said regretting my decision to clarify the situation. Maybe it would’ve been better if it had gotten around the office that people’s husbands were chasing me.

“You see now?” Foluso shook his head, “This is why I asked you to follow me to my church. Pastor Ejimofor specializes in unbinding women.”

“I wish you realized how wrong that sounds,” I muttered from behind my computer screen wondering how long he was going to be unbearable about this. If anything convinced me about my need for a boyfriend it was situations like this one.

There was a short suspicious silence. I glanced up to see Foluso watching me with visible sympathy.

“What,” I said.

He picked up an unopened packet from his desk and offered it to me.

“Plantain chips?” he asked, his obvious subtext being; it’s the least I can do.

Slowly, not taking my eyes off him, I picked up my ear buds, plugged them into my ears, pressed play on the headphone’s remote controller not forgetting to adjust the volume to very loud and submerged my brain in iKON’s .

Sweet Kpop…it always understood me.

***

 

Note: This is supposed to be a two chapter week so the next part of this should come before this week is over (and by that I mean hopefully tomorrow!)

Indigo Radio is on Wattpad!!

The platform invasion continues!

Now I have a station on Wattpad too so if you’re a part of that vibrant community, please drop by and show me love here!

And I found this ill art by (I believe) Sit Haiiro(SIT)… and mocked up a book cover for “I Am Abiku” which is the first story I’m re-publishing there!

I AM ABIKU cover

What do you think!?