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.

 

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!)
F2FU 8

Loser

We’re just sad clowns,
tamed and scripted,
I’ve come too far,
I’m coming home,
I wanna go back
To when I was young.

– BIG BANG, Loser (kpoplyrics.net)

Can you die from awkwardness?

Because that’s what I felt like doing when Akudo had to elbow Derin aside just to get Etomi’s tall frame in the flat.

She paused when our eyes met, looked delighted then pounced on me.

As she squeezed me tightly, squealing my name (had she forgotten I was here?), I caught a whiff of vodka on her breath.

“Hahaha” I laughed nervously, “I see you started without us, Akudo! Can I talk to you for a second?”

“Hell no,” Akudo pulled away still grinning, “Keep it for the office, can’t you see I’m celebrating? It’s Etomi! Look!

I looked again and Etomi was watching Akudo with an amused half smile. It was somehow amazing to me that his mouth still did that slight quirk at the side thing. Then Derin cleared his throat and I snapped back to the matter on ground. Where was I? Ah, yes. Mortification and dread.

“Why is everyone just standing around? Derin made us barbecue, lets eat!” Akudo beamed.

“Gigi and I already ate,” Derin said with a distinctly sour tone. “If you and – your guest – are hungry, Patience can warm something for you.”

Akudo frowned, “But Derin, I said I was coming, couldn’t you guys have waited?”

“We did.” Derin said heavily.

“Um…” Etomi spoke up for the first time, his voice was deeper than I remembered it, a man’s voice now, “I’m actually not here to stay. Akudo and I met up for drinks because I’m traveling tomorrow,” he glanced between the couple who were failing to pretend not to glare at each other, “I just drove her home to make sure she was ok…?” he petered off when Derin turned to look at him with open dislike, “my Uber is already at your gate…”

“But you’ll be back in a few months, right?” Akudo said in a cutesy voice and I gaped at her because up until then I had seen my friend as a hardened gangster with a bad but endlessly entertaining mouth.

Etomi glanced again at Derin who was looking increasingly more agitated, “…Yes?”

“So allow us to see you off properly!” Akudo insisted while I watched them like film, “I told you this Merlot isn’t going to drink itself!”

“Akudo, I really have to go – ”

“Kudo, I think you’ve heard the man, he has to go,” Derin cut in then re-opened the front door that he was still standing beside and gave Etomi a pointed look, “unless you want some ribs to go, bruh?”

“I’m actually good, thanks.” Etomi held up his hands in a pronounced I’m-not-trying-to-trespass-on-your-territory gesture. He moved towards the door and paused in front of Derin. He was taller than him. I saw Derin’s look of annoyance and knew he noticed it too. “It was nice to finally meet you, Derin.”

Derin pursed his lips and I just knew he was thinking, how many times have you hooked up with my wife?

Etomi gave us one more glance, smiling at Akudo and nodding at me, before turning to go.

Derin shut the door a little more forcefully than was absolutely polite after him.

“You really had to be that rude to him?” Akudo snapped immediately, the cutesy expression replaced with a hard eyed one.

“Rude to him? I don’t even know who he is! How about you being rude to me by bringing him here without telling me?”

“How is that rude? Ok, I didn’t mention I was bringing him but it was kind of impromptu! Am I supposed to make an appointment to bring people to my own house again?”

“Akudo you were out drinking with some strange guy all night when you knew we were here waiting for you!”

“What strange guy? I’ve known Etomi for over a decade! If there’s any strange guy here, it’s you!” she suddenly turned to me, “Mobolaji tell him!”

Now they were both turned to where I stood clutching my handbag to my chest and trying to blend in with the wall.

Hahhh.

So they expected me to participate in this Real Wives of Lagos matter!

I straightened up from the wall suddenly extremely tired of both of them. I know I said the ribs were worth it but that was before Akudo played her Etomi hand, adding more stress than ever to the already messed up group dynamic, bringing up past traumas and shaking me up severely.

I adjusted my handbag. “I think I’m just gonna go home.” I informed them politely and edged towards the door.

Immediately they both looked contrite.

“Gigi – wait – ” Derin started.

“Mobolaji, don’t – ” Akudo said at the same time.

I sped up my edging to a full out scamper, grabbed at the door handle and opened the door, terrified that they were going to stop me. Seriously, I needed to hang with my single friends more. Married friends were just too complicated.

Deep waters with murky depths.

“Thank you for the food.” I said feeling one fleeting moment of regret that I hadn’t packed any to go. I shook it off. This is the kind of thinking that got me here in the first place.

Even as I shut the door behind me I could hear them starting up again.

***

On the lift going down my heart continued to beat nervously even though I was pretty sure neither of them would come after me. The events of the evening had just been a bit overwhelming and I couldn’t help worrying about Akudo and Derin.

Akudo especially.

I’m no expert on relationships but – her behavior – wasn’t it somehow? And that was even before Etomi’s fine self (focus! Focus!) needlessly blasted in from the past.

Why did she behave so carelessly with Derin sometimes? Was she tired of him? Or was she trying to get a reaction from him? I’d seen that in a movie once where the wifey didn’t really believe her husband loved her because even though he was really sweet to her, he behaved the same way to everyone. So she started doing crazy things to see if he would get jealous and fight for her.

I always thought it was super obvious that Derin was crazy about Akudo but maybe from inside the relationship it didn’t look that way. Maybe she had a different criteria for feeling loved than I did? One that had nothing to do with sappy smiles, lovey dovey eyes and impossibly delicious ribs.

It was a conundrum that I wasn’t sure I could solve, even with the support of my vast research in the Universities of Silhouette, Avon, Harlequin and the Sibling Ivy League Colleges of Mills & Boons.

Honestly, I would have liked to just stop taking the panadol for their marital headache but, unfortunately for me, it wasn’t that easy to extricate myself from the matter. I had to wonder how I was going to handle my relationship with them from now on. Avoidance? It’s not like I could outright blank Akudo. Not to sound like a user but without her, I was finished at work.

I just had to go back to my old not so successful tactic of learning to tell her No.

If only I had a life. If only I had a girl crew that kept me busy with a whirl of normal social activities like get togethers and clubbing and things you had to sew aso-ebi for.

Or even better, if only I had a boyfriend.

The lift pinged as it reached the ground floor. The doors slid open and I’m not sure who was more surprised between myself and Etomi, when we found ourselves facing each other.

The lift doors closed on me before I was quite able to collect myself. I had to take a deep, bracing breath then push the ground floor button again (half of me praying that the lift was stuck just so I didn’t have to actually see him witness me behaving like an idiot).

The doors opened again and to my chagrin Etomi was still standing there looking a lot less surprised.

I stepped out quickly and it was like I’d also stepped back into my teenage years as I found myself standing there, utterly tongue tied with no recollection of any social skills utilizable for moments like this.

I think it’s ok to say hello, a voice from the hinterlands of my brain ventured.

“Hey,” he said before I could even open my mouth, “are they… alright, up there?”

For someone that had spent so much time in the States he was weirdly accentless, his deep tones simply smoothed over with clear but not over emphasized enunciation.

“Uhr,” I said eloquently with unintended “r” factor “I mean… they’re – um – fine…”

He kind of squinted at me as if trying to see the truth through me.

“They’ll be good by tomorrow,” I said pseudo lightly, “just the usual crazy married people stuff! Makes you wanna stay single forever!“ a thought suddenly occurred to me, “You’re not married are you?”

“I am.” he answered.

My stomach has never plunged so hard to the floor. I couldn’t even tell if it was heartbreak, embarrassment or an actual condition that I should probably go to a hospital about. I started to stutter.

“I’m kidding,” he said turning away from me (no doubt to hide that he was laughing at me) and scanning the parking lot. “Are you parked here?”

I needed a moment to recover from his “joke.” I pointed in the general direction of my car.

He nodded vaguely then just stood there. Have I mentioned that he was all in black? Black, open neck, dress shirt on his wide shouldered frame, black slacks hugging lean hips and tapering down long legs, finished off with large, understatedly beautiful, black shoes – I’m not more materialistic than the average Nigerian but it would be remiss of me not to mention that he smelled like money.

I began to feel self conscious about Peggy, my sweet but admittedly old Nissan so instead of heading towards her I stood there shiftily.

“So…” I said then came up blank. I tried again. “S – so…”

“Lemme walk you to your car.” he said as if he hadn’t heard me and started walking off immediately forcing me to stumble after him in a mild panic.

“What happened to your Uber?” I asked.

“My Uber was an exaggeration.” Etomi said not slowing his stride, “Which one are you?”

I pointed reluctantly at my Nissan and he stopped beside it scanning the building’s underground parking lot as if we were a pop star and her body guard. I stared at him with bemusement till his his heavily lidded gaze came back to me. “Will you be ok going home?” he asked in a disappointingly perfunctory tone.

“I’m the local here,” I said, “I should be asking you.”

He did that thing where very little in his face moves but you get the distinct impression he’s smirking, “I think I can get back to my hotel ok.”

“I could give you a ride if you want…” the words escaped me before I could hyper examine them. Dammit Gigi, a ride? In Peggy? Peggy whose passenger seat is currently buried in a mess of flyers, forgotten documents, that musty shawl that hasn’t been back in the house in over a month and an empty take away container of an indeterminate age? That Peggy? I felt deja vu as my armpits began to prickle with sweat. Please say no, I thought.

“I actually called the Uber after I got downstairs…” he said and I sagged a little with relief.

“Ok!” I said. Now that we’d established how each of us was getting home it crossed my mind that I should just go while I was still somehow ahead. I really wanted to get home so I could start texting Maminat or Dienye (the Kdrama recluse) about him. Both of them knew about my great One That Got Away story. They would understand why this random encounter with him was such a big deal to me and how tragic it was that I was so unprepared for it.

But then if I left, it would be over.

It was a miracle that I was even seeing him again. Was being able to gossip about him comfortably with my friends really worth shortening the experience? Who knew what stars had aligned, what butterfly had fluttered it’s wings in an alternative timeline, what former life I’d sacrificed heroically – to bring me this moment.

I needed to screw up my courage and embrace it because it was time to admit to myself that yes – I had once, like everyone else, had a gigantic crush on this man – and that I regretted denying him all those years ago – regretted cutting the mystery between us short before I could even find out what it was about…

I knew of course that all of it happened a long time ago and I swear I’ve moved on – he really wasn’t the reason I’d never had a boy friend since. I’ve already acknowledged my responsibility for that as I have realized over time that I’m a natural self saboteur when it comes to relationships.

I wasn’t looking for anything crazy like him suddenly asking me out again.

Especially with all the weirdness still hanging between him and my friend.

No, all I wanted at that moment was to enjoy the unexpected experience of having the breath taking man that Etomi had become – all to myself.

Also extending this would give me even more material to share with Maminat and Dienye later.

With this in my mind I took a deep breath. “It’s really cool to see you again…” I said a little too fast.

Etomi indiscreetly checked his chrome wrist watch, “Hm?” he said distractedly.

“I said -,” I began louder.

His phone made a sound and he retrieved it from his pocket, glancing at the lit screen. His face relaxed with what looked like relief. “My car is here,” he said then, “what were you saying?”

I opened my mouth then shut it again shaking my head. “Nothing!” I forced a smile, “Thanks for walking me to my car.”

He murmured a dismissal.

“Have a safe flight tomorrow,” I added.

“Thanks,” he said with a quick smile that didn’t quite reach his eyes. “Tell Akudo I’ll be in touch.”

“Ok,” I said weakly then I watched him walk away.

I was still standing there after he’d exited though the side gate accompanied by effusive farewells from the security guys that routinely gave me a hard time every single time I came here. I stood there till I heard his Uber pull away.

Still clutching my hand bag, I thought about what had just passed between us. No matter how you looked at it, he had been distant. Kind of rude even.

Standing in the parking lot on my own I forced myself to accept that I was kind of hurt and embarrassed about it because – perhaps – maybe  – I’d been hoping for something.

I didn’t even know what, just – something.

I decided maybe I wasn’t going to share this one, particular story after all.

Maybe I would just think about it by myself and wonder why someone I had once been able to talk about nostril hairs with was such an impenetrable wall to me now.

Was I being too sensitive again? Was it my ego? Was is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder? Why did I even try to act like we were friends?

He was nothing to me.

Seriously. Thinking anything else just because he was gorgeous – wasn’t that just being delusional?

I concentrated fiercely on this thought as I finally unlocked Peggy and fell into her comfortable squalor. I hooked up my phone to the music player and pressed play. Big Bang’s Loser conveniently started to play and I shook my head at the irony and let it play anyway because – well, Big Bang is awesome, d’uh.

Etomi was nothing. The past is the past. That’s just the truth.

It stung though.

Like you wouldn’t believe.

***

It was already 2 am when my second anonymous message of the day arrived.

I was still awake because after leading us on with with stable electricity till about 12:30am, PHCN had unceremoniously taken their light and left me in the darkness with my old friends heat and the anopheles mosquitoes.

It was especially annoying because if they’d taken light earlier we would have had the Gen on and I wouldn’t have had to turn it off till 2am by which time my little guest room in my Aunt’s Lekki Phase 1 Duplex might have cooled off a bit.

It would have been loud (my window literally looked out at the Mikano monstrosity. Silent Gen my behind.) but what’s that compared to an air-conditioned night and waking up to phone batteries that are at least a quarter way charged. Once it is past midnight though, it is taboo to touch the Gen again.

Unless you were watching league football.

Or having a party.

Or a medical emergency.

The point is that once it’s past midnight, you’d best have a torch that has been charging while there was light. I’m not sure why these are the rules. I didn’t make them but I don’t break them either. The last person anyone wants to offend in this country is whatever god presides over back up power.

So I was twisting sweatily in my sheets because all this meant was I’d gotten home at just before 12 midnight, turned on my AC at about 12:15am and been plunged into darkness (because PHCN aka NEPA is dramatic and does not simply “cut off your power”) literally fifteen minutes later by that wicked company. It was HOT and I couldn’t even distract myself with watching MVs on my laptop or scrolling Bella Naija because naturally, I now had to ration my batteries.

I was surprised when I heard my whatsapp alert and I recognized the unknown number immediately from earlier since I’d tried so hard to identify it. Once again it was a single word message.

“Hey.”

I sighed. If all was right with the world and I’d woken up to this message after a cool night under my duvet I would have hissed and immediately deleted it. But I was having a rough time. So I answered.

“You again.”

The answer came immediately.

“Yes. Hehe!”

“Which part of don’t message me again did you not comprehend.”

There was a small pause. I felt an intensifying itch on my arm, slapped at it and then contemplated the tiny clot of blood and spindly legs in my palm with vengeful satisfaction.

“I comprehended it just fine” the response finally came.

“But after much thought” it continued.

“I decided to disregard it.”

I stared at my phone wondering where my possibly prepubescent Lothario was getting all his liver from. Was it the raging hormones of adolescence? I decided it was time to scare him straight.

“Look” I typed, “you know these things can be traced right?” I smiled smugly to myself and added, “And I have friends in IT”

“Don’t we all” came the cool and unshaken response.

Now I was the one who was getting scared.

“Meaning?” I typed.

“Those things can also be made extremely hard to trace.” they responded.

I didn’t like that. I didn’t like their confidence and it was dark and I was alone. I decided once again that the conversation was over.

“That’s not cool at all” I typed, “Pls stop being a stalker. Bye.”

This time I blocked the number before deleting the conversation.

Then I was too nervous to try to sleep so I scrolled through BN and Instagram till my phone died.

When eventually, exhaustion took me out, I dreamed of the blind date I had with Alex Madukwe just that it was Etomi that was there and for some reason we had milkshakes.

He was sipping at his from a straw in a big old wine glass then something happened and he laughed so hard his milkshake shot straight out of his nose. Then he was suddenly Etomi  Eyakodevu who was still shorter than me.

And everything was ok.

Sorry for the Radio Silence…

I keep dragging this Radio/Broadcast metaphor, don’t I? Will I ever get tired of it? Who even knows?! Ah ha ha -ahem. Anyways.

Apologies for the sudden silence. Summer Holidays struck and (me being the blue chip Mom that I am) took me completely by surprise so I’m still reeling from having all the energy my daughter usually expends at school suddenly redirected towards me!

The first edition of the newsletter, The Indigo Radio Broadcast Club is currently in the works! It’s gonna contain the Finale of my channel 1 broadcast: I Am Abiku! I’m taking my time because I want it to be good and I mean to start off well.

In other news, there is now a Whatsapp version of the Broadcast Club on which I am airing channel 2’s series #DYRM. We are currently on episode 3 but will soon be caught up with – ah – the semi regular broadcast schedule of every Thursday. 

This is a special broadcast for me because you can only get on the list if I have your number and you get the episodes as messages from me and can respond directly to me about each one!! So personal!!!! 

If this is an arrangement you like you can always pop me a mail at indigoradiofm@gmail.com and I’ll go ahead and add you. I can assure you I will not be using your number for anything else as I am an introverted hermit.
I will also be opening up a new category on the blog called “Sessions” that will be about sharing the work of fellow online writers I admire.

But first – Summer School!!!

Hope you’re all having a great one. Enjoy this gorgeous summer bop from the continuously amazing Wonder Girls 🌞🌴🌴😁👯👯😁🌴🌴🌞

Indigo Radio xx

F2FU 5
The Thing with Akudo and Derin and Me….

At my job you don’t close for the day, you sneak out while your direct supervisor is using the bathroom… At least that’s what I did.

Today however, after stealthily grabbing my purse and giving Foluso the look, rather than making a break for it, I veered off towards the lift to the upstairs offices.

Akudo’s office was on the 4th floor of the 5 storey, Ikoyi based building which was an adequate representation of her position in the office hierarchy.

I knocked twice and poked my head around her door.

A yoga slim lady with luxurious, dark hair that fell in waves around her shoulders (the kind of weave my salary could only sigh and dream of) and beautiful, brown skin set off to lovely contrast by her monochromatic skirt suit looked up from her laptop and we exchanged a grimace acknowledging how hellish the day had been.

“Come in. Close the door.” she said and I quickly obeyed hoping there was gist.

“What’s up?” I asked plopping into her visitor’s chair.

“First of all – I hate people,” Akudo sighed, “and I hate this company and I hate this country and I want to loot CEO’s bank account and abscond to South Africa – ”

“It was that ugly?” I asked, my sympathy real. I had learned from watching her that there was more to being a higher up than fatter salaries and office window views.

“There was sweat, grown man tears and I swear to God, someone that had Ofada rice for breakfast farted…”

“I’m gonna stop you there…” I cut her off quickly.

“But incredible amounts of money have been spent, the worst is over and I don’t want to speak of this matter ever again so – should we do a girl’s night? Have you been to Nytrogen yet?”

I groaned.

“What? It’s dry?”

I gave her the short version of last night.

Akudo shook her head in disgust. “Mobolaji – this is why I can’t ever leave you alone! At your age someone could steal you from a public place.”

I winced. I hated when she called me by my full name like she was my Mom but somehow I’d never found the non-awkward time to tell her. “It’s not like I was alone,” I said instead.

“Nope you were with that girl – which is worse…”

“Akudo – ” I started to protest.

“Yes, I know,” Akudo stretched tiredly in her chair, “You like her, I don’t get her, et cetera… but did she care when a complete stranger could have drugged you in her front?”

“Okay, maybe my retelling of events were a little dramatic…” I started to defend.

“Sweetie, let’s just continue agreeing to disagree where that chick is concerned.”

I sighed familiar with Akudo’s closed expression. That conversation was over. “At least I met someone nice,” I started off on a different tack.

Akudo didn’t look impressed. “Has he called you?”

Damn.

I didn’t need to answer, Akudo was already rolling her eyes, “Mobolaji…”

“He’ll call, jeez! It was just last night! Everybody knows if you call before three days you look desperate!”

“Sweetie, did you watch that He’s Just Not In to You DVD I loaned you?”

“Yes,” I said through gritted teeth, “you bitch…” I muttered under my breath

Akudo grinned complacently, “I know I am and I’m at peace with that…” she glanced at me, “look, forget about your fake guy and hang with me and Derin tonight,”

Derin was Akudo’s husband. And he was perfect. Almost Alex Madukwe perfect with the whole range of perfect husband qualities. Good family, wealthy and independent (he ran one of those Construction outfits that turned over old Ikoyi real estate), good looking in that – tall beefy way I talked about before. On top of that he was visibly in love with his wife.

On top of the top of that, he cooked.

Like it was a serious hobby for him and every time I came over to their house I had to fast from a day ahead because Derin would dote on me and feed me like an over anxious mother till I barely had the strength to push the buttons on their universal remote control so I could enjoy my food coma with a slice of Netflix. It was fantastic and I was willing to fight anyone that said one off color word about him in the damn streets!

Akudo and Derin used to be my dream couple. I swear, I loved them together so much that I wouldn’t have said no to adoption until the night I stayed too late at a dinner party and they convinced me to sleep over – and from the guest room I was in, I heard the muffled sound of them arguing (I couldn’t tell what it was about but I could swear I heard the word Crest over and over again, like maybe one of them finished the toothpaste and didn’t replace it?) and then a door slammed and there were sounds from the living room – then came the sound of stifled crying and the slow and profound horror of realizing it was Derin.

Everything was normal the next morning. Derin made me Eggs Benedict and Akudo gossiped about work and made us laugh. Thank God they didn’t realize I’d heard anything but God knows going over had never been quite as fantastic after that. I couldn’t shake off the idea that they didn’t like to be alone together and I had unknowingly become a buffer for them.

So now I thought of how to say no.

“Didn’t you want to go to Nytrogen?” I asked lightly.

“Now that I know it’s full of losers, I’m over it.”

“Listen! Whatsisname is not a loser!” I groaned annoyed that she kept picking on my toast. She always did that. Since we’d become friends, she’d never met a man that she thought was good enough for me. It sounds flattering but in practice it makes me feel like a scrub magnet.

“Derin’s been on a whole barbecue kick lately” Akudo suddenly said out of nowhere. “He had these ribs delivered to the house last weekend via Lebanese connection. He swore they’re the best to be found in this country. Then he mixed up something with honey and whiskey and all these spices and – the ribs have been marinading for days…” Akudo’s ruthless glance met mine. “Days…” she repeated.

I have to admit she had my full attention at that point.

“He’s grilling tonight and I don’t know who he thinks is going to eat all that meat,” she sighed her fingers toying loosely with the mouse on her table, “I guess I should get Patience to pack for the neighbors… also for my pastor and his wife… and the MD might like some…. and the department heads – ”

I didn’t know I’d moved until I was standing over her, my hands clutching hers, stilling its motion with the mouse.

“And me, Akudo… I’ll help you with the meat… after all what are friends for?”

Akudo smiled at me and I cursed the foodie within me that had been starved today on rubbery moin moin and softish soda crackers.

Oh well… it’s not like they fought everyday.

All I had to do was keep smiling and eat their damned but but sure to be heavenly ribs.

*****

I drove a tried but true 2010 Nisan Tida that belonged to the Aunt I lived with. She was my Dad’s senior sister and a happily retired civil servant.

As old cars went, the Nissan wasn’t flashy and had its fair share of Okada encounter bumps and dents – but in my eyes it was a glorious and victorious chariot, my right to drive it one of the best rewards I’d gotten for getting a good job in Lagos.

The AC worked, it gave good mileage on petrol, hardly ever broke down and though it didn’t have a USB slot, Blue tooth or a phone charger, I was still able to find a contraption at Computer village that let me rig it up so I could listen to Kpop playlists from my phone while I drove.

You see why I considered my commute sacred?

I meant to buy the car off my Aunt if she would agree to a payment plan. I really hoped she did because I’d already named her Peggy.

Akudo still had one meeting left so I headed to her huge flat in VI ahead of her singing at the top of my voice and being bad a** as I drove because that’s just what you did after a day like today.

At the imposing gates to Akudo’s block of luxury flats, I had to lower the volume and put down my window so their security guard could show me who was boss by pretending not to recognize me and wasting as much of my time as possible. I didn’t care. Ribs were waiting.

Eventually Patience let me into the spacious, central AC’d and hard wood floored comfort of the apartment and I headed straight to the kitchen from where I could hear cheerful whistling.

I stood awhile in the entry way (no door, the huge kitchen was separated from the dining area by granite counters and the dining area flowed into the living room with the ceiling to floor windows) watching Derin working in his happy place.

It looked like he’d pulled the ribs out of the oven to re-baste them with the concoction Akudo had mentioned. It smelled like paradise and my stomach loudly announced my presence and appreciation.

Derin looked up and grinned at me, “Are we safe?” his trying too hard Nigerian accent clipped by it’s underlying east coast, US tones betrayed his dual citizenship background.

“Don’t judge me,” I said coming over to the island counter to sniff appreciatively at the concoction. I could smell the whisky. “You already know how it is with me and your cooking.”

“Well, unfortunately you still have to wait because these babies are going back in for now.”

I grabbed the bottle of roasted groundnuts that sat conveniently in front of me. “I can wait.”

“We’re having baked potatoes too with sour cream, chives and bacon bits!”

“Mmmmm!!” I chimed in enthusiastically earning another pleased grin from Derin.

“It’s so nice to have a fandom! What’s that thing you call your Koreans pop stars again?”

“Idols?”

“No the other thing – when you’re talking to them…”

I clutched my hands together and gazed at him adoringly, “Op-pa!”I pouted. And he sniggered, then;

“When did Akudo say she was getting home?”

That came out of left field. “Soonish?” I said meaning I had no idea.

He understood and some of the pleasure faded from his expression. My heart sank. It was always so much fun with them except that I lived in perpetual fear of the day that one of them would want to confide in me about their marriage and then I wouldn’t be able to look the other one in the eye again.

“It’s just – ” I struggled for a way to make an excuse without seeming like I was making an excuse, “today was horrible! And Akudo and the other HODs -”

His phone suddenly rang and he struggled to take off the kitchen gloves he was wearing so he could answer before it hung up.

“Hey! Babe?” He answered brightly holding up an apologetic “one moment please” finger to me. I shook my head and smiled, trying not to let my relief show.

“Yeah, she’s here already. I heard her stomach from outside the door” I rolled my eyes while they chuckled at my expense, unscrewing the top off the bottle of groundnuts I’d captured so I could subdue anymore gastric rebelliousness.

“Ummm… lemme check…” he suddenly moved away and stepped into their pantry. The conversation became muffled and I munched contentedly on the roasted groundnuts wondering if they were this delicious because I was so hungry or because he also got them through his Lebanese connection.

“You remember the year right? And Portuguese not Chilean!” Derin wandered out of the pantry again holding an empty wine bottle, “Because you made the same mistake last time – I mean, sometimes I wonder if you’re listening to me!” he said sounding mildly miffed. I stared off into the distance and crunched wildly.

“No, it’s – ” I felt him glance quickly at me and away, “Don’t worry. It’s actually no big deal. Just get what you can find and come home” there was another short pause then, “Yeah. I love you. See you…”

He joined me at the counter and I pretended to have forgotten he was there. “Hey!” I said.

“Akudo is going to be a while…” he said carefully picking up the tray of ribs and turning to fit it into the oven, “want to play games?”

Derin was an avid gamer. He had all the platforms, Playstation, XBox, Wii – you name it, he’d killed on it. He had a group of friends he played with online and he wore this star trekky earpiece through which they talked nerd while they played. He did it to de-stress he said and I got that because I have more than the average amount of games on my phone myself. I don’t nerd shame.

And then one day, while I watched as he single handedly shot up an entire newly discovered planet while trying not to be killed by its horde of robot overlords, we had discovered that I had a vicious competitive streak and from then on, gaming became a thing we did.

I liked video games but I’d always preferred things that had puzzles which when solved rewarded you with luscious graphics and happy music. Or at least had cute animals. But for some reason whenever I got dragged into playing one of those hypertension causing shooter games I found myself transformed and before I knew it I was screaming orders like a seasoned General on the front lines and cursing harder than a woman in labour at her baby daddy telling her to breath.

Derin thought it was hilarious. I felt it was an adequate way to distract my lonely friend till his wife got home.

With ribs in the oven and the heat adjusted he turned back to me, cleaning his hands with a kitchen towel. “Left for Dead?”he asked hopefully.

I grimaced, “Boy you wish! I’m not trying to have nightmares because of that demonic game. We’re playing Call of Duty!”

“Wuss,” he grinned as he passed me on his way out to the living room.

“Na you know,” I answered trailing behind him and wondering just how many times I would have to die and resurrect before Akudo got home.

*****

 

FYI: All the chapters for this story can be found HERE on Channel Two with the most recent chapter at the top.

There should have been a post today –

And I’m real sorry that there wasn’t! I’ve had to push forward the next instalment for #dyrm because I’m helping plan an event this week and it’s ended up taking up way more of my time than I expected it to 😦

Expect news of a posting schedule for both stories by next week as well as some light restructuring of the blog to make it easier to navigate!

Thank you so much for putting up with me while I try to get this right.

Your humbled writer,

Indigo Radio
Ps. As a way of saying sorry how about some lovely KPop? These teenage siblings are called Akdong Musician or AkMu for short and their genre is funk/jazz/folk.

They just released a half album (don’t ask I still don’t know) called “Spring” which is actually literally a breath of fresh air.

I like to use their title track “How People Move” to get me going on extra tough mornings.

Kpop

I’m just going to get it out of the way right now.

One of the first things you should probably know about me, before anything else like why I write or my fave genres or what I’m reading or watching, etc, is that I’m a little obsessed with Korean Pop music. And it’s not a phase because this has been going on for almost 6 years now. In fact in the interest of full disclosure you should know I ran a blog about Korean Pop music before I started this one and the only reason I stopped some years back was because I became too biased towards certain groups and became unable to comment objectively on the scene.

I’m telling you now so you won’t be surprised when Kpop – er – pops up in my posts. Because it will. And frequently. It will even feature in the story broadcasting on Channel 2 #doyourememberme.

Now that you know, you won’t be hit with confusion or disorientation when I suddenly start talking about why I believe Kwon Jiyong aka G-Dragon is a Rock God and a creative genius or when I start to angst about the difficulty of dividing my heart between my faves as a VIP, a Blackjack and most recently an iKONIC. Don’t worry about not understanding now. Because you will.

Okay. So just wanted to put that out there.