Love In Lagos
Today I have the privilege of welcoming a guest blogger. Been a while I had those around here!
Well, today’s blogger is not a guest actually. She is one of the winners of the first installment of the Creatweet Contest and is actually my sister.
Yeah. You’re allowed to be jealous.
So after much cajoling and threatening, she decides to share a story with me – and I have decided to share on here.
So do enjoy…
I hurry along the sidewalk, deftly dodging potholes and human traffic. Somehow, I missed my alarm ring this morning and I left home 20 minutes late. In Lagos, a minute can make a huge difference. Face down, I curse under my breath. I am walking face down to keep the raindrops from stinging my face. I hold up my wrist to glance at my watch – and then realize I forgot it at home. I also forgot my earrings, my umbrella. And now I am getting soaked. Lagos weather is just unpredictable!
Aargh! I’m late for work, for sure.
Still muttering to myself, I reach into my handbag and pull out my BlackBerry to check the time. All this whilst still navigating my way on the sidewalk.
7.53am, it shows.
“Ewo! ” I exclaim. I quickly put the phone back into my handbag, pick up my pace and bump straight into a blue wall.
“Hey. Are you late, or is it the rain?” a voice comes from within the wall.
Then I realize it isn’t a wall but a blue shirt. I look up into the kindest eyes I’d ever seen. His lips are parted in a lopsided smile which reveal very nicely set dentition.
Then I see the beret. My eyes dart down to where my open palm is still resting on his chest, and I see, sewn onto the blue shirt MATHIAS, UWEM. E. and then below it, NPF115….
I don’t even wait to finish reading the number. NPF! Nigerian Police Force! Mtschew!!
“No” I reply curtly, quickly withdrawing my hand. He catches it in mid-air. He opens his mouth as if to say something, then closes it and lets my hand go. I walk away quickly, thinking about how I had just lost some valuable minutes of time that I did not have.
I reach up to wipe raindrops from my face and catch a whiff of his perfume on my hand. I hold my hand to my nose for a moment. But what was he even doing in the Police Force? Why can’t he be a banker or advertising executive or something else! Is a policeman supposed to be that decent and attractive? Nigerian policeman fa?! How I loath the lot of them! And then, this one falls out of the sky! Hian!
I get to work, thankfully, my boss hasn’t arrived and I quickly settle down and my morning encounter is quickly forgotten.
I get home, knackered, and go straight to bed.
Next morning, I’m in time and so I’m not walking as fast as I was yesterday. My earphones are in my ears and I’m listening to Adele’s Someone Like You.
Someone taps my shoulder. I turn. Him again!
“Good morning. This knight would like to know what it would take to win the friendship of this fair lady.” He says, smiling.
I pinch myself to be sure I’m not dreaming. Perfect diction. Witty humor. Good looking. I manage a weak smile.
“I’m Uwem. Do you mind if I walk you down the road? I’ve got a few minutes to spare.”
“Okay.” My voice is barely a whisper.
No, he is not a street policeman. He works in the control room for the police emergency helpline. He prefers to walk to his office because it is good exercise and he draws inspiration from everyday happenings on the street. I’m listening and nodding and smiling.
We are now at the Ijeh Barracks gate. I stop.
“Em, I’m taking a keke marwa from here,” I say.
“Oh. Is your office in the Dolphin Estate?”
“Yes it is.”
“I’ve actually seen you before yesterday.”
I laugh uneasily.
“Are you serious? Where?”
“Right here. On Tuesday. You were helping two little children cross the road and I mistakenly splashed muddy water on you as I drove past. I can’t forget the dirty look you gave me.” He chuckles self-consciously.
“Jesus! That was you?! I remember!”
Yeah. I’m still sorry. I didn’t mean to.”
“Hey, you’re going to be late like yesterday if you don’t go now. Meanwhile, ’’ he pulls a folded piece of paper from his breast pocket. “Take a look at this later, please, and tell me what you think. I’d love to see you again. Bye.”
He walks away quickly and I get into the keke marwa, still clutching the folded sheet of paper. I get to work and luckily, I’m still the first to arrive. I quickly unfold the paper.
My face stares back at me!
In my hand is a most detailed pencil sketch of my face. Am I that beautiful; I wonder, touching my own face gently? Wow! I stare and stare. And stare some more. Smiling, I run my fingers over the surface of the paper. My index finger stops at the nape of ‘my’ neck, where something is written faintly in tiny handwriting.
I move to the window and raise the blinds to see properly.
“Mathias U.E 08049876543 Please, call me.”
I reach into my bag for my phone and dial the number, my heart beating fast.
“Hello, Uwem.” I say nervously.
“Onyinye! You called!” he answers excitedly.
“H-How did you know it was me?”
“ I just knew. I’m so happy you called. Did you like it?”
“Yes, I liked it very much.”
“What time do you get off work? Can I call you?”
“ 5pm. Yes, you can.”
“Wonderful. I will. Take care of yourself, then. Bye.”
Three weeks later, we were sitting at Rhapsody at the Ikeja City Mall having dinner and talking about English Literature. It was a beautiful evening and it was just beginning to get dark. It was a beautiful sight from up there with the lights coming on around the city.
I looked at my handsome escort and gently placed a hand on his wrist. “Uwem, I…”
His lips stopped mine in mid sentence.
Love in Lagos.
Her name is Nneka Ezealor-Oladimeji, she is married with two amazing kids. Wonderful children.
She’s on twitter too, follow her @neker17.
And then haunt her till she takes this seriously…
Please. Have a great rest-of-the-week.
- Another Day in Lagos (tobilobaoladunjoye.wordpress.com)