When I was in Lagos this February, I went to see a movie with my Friend of Many Years.
We’d met in camp during NYSC orientation in Nkwerre, Imo state. I believe it was the luxurious sound of my voice and my amazing speech on parade ground that made her
fall madly in love with me agree to talk to me later in the OBS studio (yep, i was a DJ in my former life). I left camp after 5 days so s he did not have a chance to toast me properly I did not get a chance to stare continuously at those sparkling white teeth. I didn’t see her after the time we had to report to the NYSC secretariat for posting and all that Jazz.
3 years later, we’re catching up after the movie her church has just shown. There’s a bit of traffic in Surulere and so we get the chance to talk a little more. She’s telling me about her Job- she works at an Insurance Company, it’s exciting. Her Boyfriend came to visit and now I’m staring jealously at his 6-pack. it will take me years to get there.
It’s the same guy from Owerri who had refused to stop chasing her despite her decided lack of interest. I tell her “I told you so!” to which she responded with a playful cuff to my head. I smile when I remember those long conversations in December of 2013, those times when we narrowly missed hanging out in Owerri because of erratic bus schedules; Those conversations about God and getting baptised and actually becoming serious about life. My mind flashes back to when she gave me makeup tutorials when I was writing the Sotonye series. I did not pay her a dime! Now I feel sorry that I haven’t kept in touch nearly as much as I should have 🙁
Many times I’ve promised to do something for her or to help out with something or to teach her guitar. Mostly I fail at those things. But she forgives 😀
I”m starting to think I don’t know anybody who forgives like my Friend Of Many Years
My assigned driver, Oga Joseph returns to pick us up after the movie. We drop her off on her street. I say a cheery goodbye like I won’t miss her for another 5 years.
“bros, I no go lie you…that girl is a very nice girl”
I thought it was a very odd way to resume a conversation. Joseph had just finished relieving himself in a darkened corner of Karimu street. He braked sharply to reduce the impact from the deep potholes that showed up in his headlights.
“I don stay for this lagos pass 15 years. I dey enter everywhere for night because of this my work and I go tell you say that girl is very nice.”
“why do you say that, Joseph?”
“ah ahn…see as she allow you dey look picture for her phone freely. Which girl for lagos go gree?”
“Actually I know quite a lot of people like that…” I began to say when he cut me off
“bros forget that one. For lagos here? She give you her phone make you hold am? see as she even dey answer your question. You go ask ‘who is this’ and she day answer you?? ha!! that girl is a nice girl I’m telling you”
Joseph swerved sharply to avoid smashing into one of the Molues that jumped into our lane without signalling.
“your father!” he yelled. “if you no sabi drive na for night you wan come learn?? Ode Oloshi”
I was startled at the transformation from calm, observant character judge to a heckler. Just as quickly as the scowl arrested his face- his “normal” face returned. It was then i remembered he had admitted to downing two bottles of star before driving.
“e be like say I go collect this key from your hand, Joseph” I warned him when he showed no remorse for drink-driving.
“oga leave that one. I no fit enter lagos road like that o! I gas take like 2 bottle clear my eye”
“abeg tomorrow when you day carry me just fashee that bottle beg. I no want wahala”
We stopped for a little bit at a traffic light. Joseph stared straight ahead in silence. And before 1 minute was up, he said
“oga, that girl is a very nice girl. See as we day with am reach 2 hours, her phone no ring even one time. If na all these girls now, na so all their boyfriend go day call. Small thing them go answer call talk say “I’m in a meeting with my pastor” meanwhile na other boyfriend o!! the thing wey we dey see as taxi driver ehn…people think say we be mumu but we get eye well well. I’m telling you, that girl is a nice girl. ”
Thank you Joseph. I know she’s nice. That’s why I followed her to church.
Happy birthday, Odot