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Love In Lagos

 

Good morning.

 

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.”

 

“No wahala.”

 

“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.

 

 

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51 responses

  1. beautiful :’)

    December 11, 2013 at 7:39 am

  2. Lovely story

    December 11, 2013 at 7:56 am

    • Thank you Tops.

      I’ll make sure she gets that.

      December 11, 2013 at 8:31 am

  3. Nneka

    See how my brother is giving me a public flogging, ehn! (laughing hysterically). Well, well, well….I will get serious. Promise!

    Thank you Cecile and Topazo, your words mean a lot. A whole lot.

    December 11, 2013 at 8:04 am

    • You know it’s love right?

      Get serious o. New year.

      December 11, 2013 at 10:10 am

  4. oche

    lovely

    December 11, 2013 at 9:39 am

  5. OMA

    I just love that it is a police officer… because seriously they get so much grief in Nigeria (not entirely underserved) but I love that a more human side of them is shown because while cursing them under my breath, I forget that they are just like me and capable of hurt, love and the full spectrum of human emotion!

    Amazing piece is the short form of saying this long story i wrote above!

    December 11, 2013 at 10:13 am

    • We appreciate! Thank you so much!

      Nneka, Nneka! How many times I call you?!

      You dey hear so?!

      December 11, 2013 at 10:17 am

  6. Nurain

    Fantastic story, beautifully written too.

    December 11, 2013 at 10:41 am

    • Thank you bro! She’s a genius!

      December 11, 2013 at 10:57 am

  7. Nneka

    @Oche: Bless you!

    @OMA: you get the point!You’re amazing, too! No one wants to love a police officer.
    @Nurain: I’m honored. Thank you!
    @Seun: I’m thinking of a perfect revenge! Hehehe!

    December 11, 2013 at 11:19 am

  8. Awwwww, Nexon! Now you’ll have me looking for a blue (well, black) wall to bump into this morning. I didn’t know you had the romantic streak in you. Awwwww!
    I love it. The way you capture the immediate scene, makes us almost see through your eyes. And I like the pace too, relaxed but not sluggish.
    Seun, I’ll hound her, leave it to me.
    Now, back to plotting my encounter with a black, gun-totting wall…

    December 11, 2013 at 11:21 am

  9. beautiful piece Nneka..well done.

    And God please don’t let me bump into a blue wall….this one is fiction biko.

    December 11, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    • Wetin do blue wall o?!

      Thank you…on behalf of Nneka!

      December 11, 2013 at 1:27 pm

  10. Oh No!! Why now???????? Just when I was enjoying the story.

    December 11, 2013 at 1:31 pm

    • We’re sorry. We stop when the story says ‘stop’.

      She’s just brilliant, isn’t she?

      Thank you!

      December 11, 2013 at 3:08 pm

  11. Nicely done.
    Like Oma pointed out, its good to see a different side to the bad guys in black. i think the Change in uniform is also helping out, life a redefinition of some sorts. i abhor the Nigerian police force and totally understand the stereotyping, but the truth is that there will always be exceptions to the rule.

    I think if we had a little faith in our Police Force, then we can start to change them & our resultant fate.

    Nneka nicely done. Don’t deny us this blessing.

    December 11, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    • Thank you for your insight, bruv. Well said!

      December 11, 2013 at 3:08 pm

  12. Nneka

    @Zeenike: Ghen! Ghen ghen!!! Please share with us the story when you do bump into that wall whether blue, black, khaki or even camouflage. Hehehe. Thanks, sis. You fanned the coals from the beginning, and Seun poured the petrol. So there!

    December 11, 2013 at 2:39 pm

  13. Shadrach

    Well done nwannem! The profundity of the simplicity of this story is just beautiful; I’m totally biased towards simple, easy-on-the-intellect stories against complicated, crack-your-brain types and this was executed excellently. Am I gushing? Don’t blame me, my sister writes like a fairy tale character (and speaks French!) so I can’t help it.
    The way you addressed a social issue both effectively and subtly speaks volumes of the quality of your mind.

    Well done!

    December 11, 2013 at 4:18 pm

    • Yeah. She is amazing isn’t she?

      December 11, 2013 at 4:48 pm

  14. Bolanle

    Amazing!

    December 11, 2013 at 4:32 pm

  15. Ugonma Ezealor

    Awesome! But why would u choose to wrap up such an interesting piece that way? Just when I thought the story had started. Phew! For a moment, I thought my device was playing games n wouldn’t load d whole story.
    Jisike nwanne m. This would put food on ur table n mine too.

    December 11, 2013 at 7:43 pm

  16. Damilola Niyi-Bams

    Wow,Nneka did u actually write this???Am so so proud of you dearie..Awesome love story it is..But come is this the end of the story??Love u much girl

    December 11, 2013 at 8:21 pm

    • Whoa.

      Thanks. And yes, she wrote it!

      Isn’t she like…cool?

      December 11, 2013 at 8:29 pm

  17. Woow. This is sooo much of a great write up. All I have to say is keep it up, Sis Nneka

    December 11, 2013 at 8:25 pm

    • Yeah?

      I told her o. Been telling her. I’m glad other people are.

      Thank you.

      December 11, 2013 at 8:28 pm

  18. Nneka

    @Sylvia! I laughed real hard at your comment o! Fiction could just become reality, you know! *winks*
    @chiedozie: thank you, nwannem! But that’s where the story ends. Thank you for reading.
    @Meka: You are simply awesome! You spoke my mind. That’s exactly. What was going on in my head as I wrote.
    @Bolanle: I’m amazing because you are! Thank you, dear.
    @ShadrachSaddih: what more can I say? You nailed it! Magana ya kare!

    December 11, 2013 at 8:30 pm

  19. Nneka

    @Ugonma: my very own darling cousin has given me a gold star?! Wow! I’m walking on sunshine! Thanks, cuz!
    @Mrs Niyi-Bams: Your words mean so much to me, dear! Thank you! Thank you so very much!
    @James: You’re awesome too! Bless your dear heart.
    @Seun: kai! I’m still speechless! You’re the best brother in the entire universe!

    December 11, 2013 at 10:10 pm

    • What can I say? I have a fantastic sister!

      December 12, 2013 at 5:37 am

  20. Otaigbe Bosede

    This is really a beautiful piece, by a Nigerian, my friend and sister and not to forget an ABUSITE. Weldone my dear and keep making us proud. Expecting more of these!!!

    December 12, 2013 at 2:47 am

    • Amen!

      She will deliver or else…

      December 12, 2013 at 5:36 am

  21. olufunke B.

    Waow..so dis my sis sabi write like dis?..ehen!!!(plotting haunting schemes in my head)..so wat haf u being doin?…glad I read dis piece early in d morin o(after morin devotion o taa)I jst started laffin…well done dearie n plzzzzz MOREeeeee!

    December 12, 2013 at 6:03 am

    • Tell her o!

      And please – those haunting schemes MUST NOT go to waste!

      Thank you.

      December 12, 2013 at 7:13 am

  22. Maria Ahmed

    Aww.my sister.great great great!bt i wanted the story to go on.very beautiful peace!We want more

    December 12, 2013 at 12:17 pm

  23. Nneka

    Maria, Bose and Funke!!! I’m speechless and smiling from ear to ear. Wow! I promise to keep this up. You are the best sisters ever!

    December 12, 2013 at 1:48 pm

  24. Lilian

    Amazing Nneka! You are a talented writer. Please keep it coming..**hugs**

    December 12, 2013 at 7:30 pm

  25. Nneka

    Thanks, Lilly! Bless your dear heart.

    December 12, 2013 at 9:07 pm

  26. Rijo

    Great read…waiting for the sequel

    December 12, 2013 at 9:36 pm

  27. Nneka

    El-Rij!! I am so pleased you read this. Thanks, big brother! As for the sequel…….hmm maybe, just maybe.

    December 12, 2013 at 11:18 pm

  28. I think i love her writing even more than yours Seun LOL….and that’s saying alot.

    December 15, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    • She is better than me – so…

      Thank you Wendy.

      December 15, 2013 at 1:07 pm

  29. isaac Ola aka fbi

    Wow, this is lovely, Nneka am amaze u wrote this, very beautiful story. Love in Lasgidi.

    December 16, 2013 at 10:05 am

  30. Pingback: Love In Lagos | Neker'sNib

  31. Just browsed my way to this…and I’m glad i did! Great_Story an inspiring piece!

    February 6, 2014 at 6:21 am

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