Good afternoon, true believers! I have great news. Your favorite radio show, Crux of The Matter (or ‘The Koko of The Gist’ like me and my twin Deoye likes to call it) is now on TV.
Crux of the Matter is a show that focuses on relationships and sex – in fact, hear from the beautiful host, Elsie Godwin herself:
‘Crux of the Matter’ Debuts This April on R2TV
‘Crux of the Matter’ talk show debuts on the 5th of April, 2017 on R2TV. Hosted by Elsie Godwin, the Relationship, Dating and Sex based talk show will objectively tackle various issues bordering on relationships between men and women with interesting guests.
Produced by Royal Roots Communication Limited and Mind-Mastik Media Collage, the show is a thought provoking and insightful program which dissects the aforementioned issues in the Nigerian and African context with a no holds barred approach.
“A lot of us would not come out to discuss sex openly in order not to be viewed as being morally bankrupt or accused of not conforming to societal norms,” says Elsie Godwin, the host of the show. “There is also a particular category of people who would rather discuss or give their opinions on such issues only on social media platforms, but act or speak contrary in reality,” she added.
According to Elsie, Crux of the Matter will neither be held back by those theatrical conventions, nor swayed by other people’s perceptions, criticisms or the so-called “societal norms” as regards relationship, dating and sex. Crux of the Matter will bring to the fore sensitive issues most of us would only want to deal with in our closets.
Elsie Godwin, who is a Relationship, Literature and Lifestyle blogger, is familiar with the topics as she also hosted the show on radio for one year before moving to TV.
“I am excited that the discussion is moving to TV after one year on radio. It gives me great joy to have these conversations in order to uplift and enlighten people.”
Guests on the show will include – but will not be limited to – Celebrities, Public Influencers, Relationship Consultants, Health Advocates, Bloggers and people with first-hand experience or knowledge of whatever topic is being discussed.
Crux of the Matter, designed to enlighten and entertain both the young and old, also aims to uphold the value of family, love and acceptance in the society.
Crux of the Matter airs every Wednesday on R2TV (GoTV Channel 112) at 9:30pm (WAT).
Watch the first montage below:
Youtube link – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JBGtDwlDnwY&feature=youtu.be
Make it Date.
I’m sure you know the effusive Ogechi Nwobia.
If you don’t, where have you been hiding?!
Anyway. She had a successful run publishing what I’m just finding out was the first ‘season’ of an ongoing series called Hunter’s Game. Intriguing title, no?
This is to inform you guys that Hunter’s Game will be continuing this Saturday the first of October on Ogechi’s blog here: Her Blog.
That made me laugh sef.
Now, a sneak peek into what to expect from Hunter’s Game II:
The sun had long since completed its return home by the time she took her evening run. Her trail was different tonight as she ran through the city for the first time. It had always been through the beach or some other trail close to home but this night, she took a different, longer trail, just for the fun of it. Her ears were plugged into her iPod, Eminem’s rap filling her ears and fueling her heart rate as she maintained a steady pace of 3:38.
After completing 6km, she commenced her return home, her pace dropping slightly to 3:50. In 30 minutes, she was back to her small cottage overlooking the Jibacoa beach. She peeled her soaked tank top and tights off her body and went into the bathroom for a cold shower just as she turned on the television in her room.
When she came out of the shower, she sat in front of the television, drying her short hair. She needed to cut it again. The hair grew way too fast. She suddenly noticed an item on the news bar:
“Breaking News. Passenger plane crashes in Nigeria, killing all 120 passengers aboard.”
“Holy shit!!” Ijeoma exclaimed.
She turned up the volume of the news and listened as the reporter provided updates of a plane crash that had taken place hours ago. It was 3am in Nigeria but quite clearly, no one was asleep. The airplane was one in the fleet of Miranda airlines owned by Chief Victor Ubong. At that time, the passenger manifest was being read. The journalist reported that 3 of Chief Ubong’s children had been on the flight, one them was the pilot, the other a flight attendant and the third one apparently hitching a ride. The black box had been found and investigations had commenced.
Ijeoma buried her face in her palms. This was completely shocking. Chief Ubong was well known to her. He had actually arranged the private jet that had taken her off to Cuba six months ago. How could such a thing happen to him? She briefly contemplated reaching out to him but changed her mind. They were not exactly tight buddies. He owed her a favour and had repaid it by ensuring her safe passage out of Nigeria. No need to get emotional over his loss.
She turned off the television and changed into something light for the night, then walked into her small kitchen and fixed herself a cocktail. There was so much madness going on in the world, she would rather remain oblivious to it all.
She took her drink back to her room then turned on her Netflix and relaxed in her bed.
Against the backdrop of the movie dialogue, Ijeoma heard a ping that signified a notification for her email. She paused the movie, picked her iPad and checked. The mail had come into a Gmail account she had not used in months.
Check the news. There was a crash. Someone just murdered my kids. Come home. I need your help.
The sender was V. Ubong. Ijeoma stared at the screen for a long time before taking another sip of her cocktail. She slowly typed out a response;
My condolences chief. But I’m retired. Never returning to Nigeria.
She sent the email and shut down the iPad before returning her attention to the big screen in front of her.
The mean *&@%^!
Keep it a date with her, stalk her everywhere. I assure you, she (and it) are entirely worth it!!
To have a feel of what you missed by not reading Hunter’s Game before now, click here:
Thank me later.
CLUELESS – EPISODE 2
Sharon arrived at Woworx Hotels and Suites with hope in her heart. She hoped that her looks and carriage might grant her some favor. In all honesty, that was all she could cling to at the moment. She had lost all means of identification during the robbery.
“Good evening.” She greeted the attendants at the reception.
The receptionist struck her keyboard with alacrity and welcomed Sharon with a smile. “Good evening, ma’am. What suite would you like?” she asked, sliding a brochure across the desk.
Sharon cleared her throat as she feigned taking interest in the brochure. She stared at the receptionist and then smiled. “I… I erm, I have a situation. I know you might have heard this before and I am hoping you haven’t.”
The receptionist stared at her companion and then back at Sharon. “Ma’am, what room would you like?”
“I understand you are wired to only ask the basic questions but I just got robbed.” Sharon replied. Her heart raced fast she watched the receptionist’s eye register contact with her companion who stepped away from them towards the back of the hotel. “It’s only normal that he has gone to get the manager.” Sharon added. “I would get the manager too if I were you, but all I am asking for is an opportunity to stay here till Monday morning and I’ll ensure you get your money with a good tip too.”
The receptionist smiled. “I am afraid, Ma’am, we do not offer such services here.” She said, maintaining a courteous smile.
Sharon watched the door open into the reception as the man who was the receptionist had now returned, but not without a woman, she believed was the Manager. Sharon firmed up for another round of appealing smiles. She grinned at the woman. “Good evening, Ma’am.” She greeted. “Are you the manager?”
The woman nodded. “How may we be of assistance?”
“I… I got robbed on my way here and I would like a favor.” Sharon replied. “Could I please get a room and I’ll pay my full bills on Monday morning once I get access to a bank.”
The manager smiled. “I am afraid we can’t help you if you do not pay the initial deposit as required.”
“It’s pretty late, ma’am. Are you going to kick a young lady who is new to Lagos to the streets?” Sharon asked, hoping she could appeal to the woman’s sentiments.
“I am sorry, Ma’am. Housing homeless people isn’t one of our social responsibilities. We can’t help you.” The manager replied and started looking through some documents on the receptionist’s desk.
Sharon gaped as she absorbed the insult. She had just been tagged homeless by a manager whose wages she was sure she could afford to triple in one breath. She had to make it through the weekend to Monday when she would have access to a bank one way or the other. She couldn’t afford to call her mother and grandmother who would enjoy nothing than to gloat at her misfortune… or maybe she was being unnecessarily proud. She needed help and if going back home was it, then it was valid to live to fight another day. Sharon wanted to fight this day. She had not come this far to chicken out. She took a deep breath as she stared at the exit and thought about what awaited her outside the safe walls of the hotel. She was scared. She turned away from the receptionists and looked ahead as she approached the door with a thumping chest. She had no idea where she was going and that worried her but she would find a way. She had to find a way.
Sharon slowed down on getting to the door, the onrushing man approaching her wouldn’t slow down. Someone had to be the ‘man’ and show some courtesy but since it wasn’t the one naturally moulded as a man, she would just play the role for him. He brushed against her shoulder as he made his way past her forcing her to shudder at his insensitivity.
“Sharon Ifesinachi Amadi.”
She stopped and turned to the man who had just rushed in past her. He smiled and walked back to her. Who could he be? She was sure she had never met him before. So how did he know her name and most importantly, why did he have to mention ‘Ifesinachi’?
“I knew it was you.” He said as he stood before her with a smile. “Whoa!”
Sharon blinked. The man spooked her with his familiar gaze. He was the only one who knew who both of them were and was having a ‘Whoa’ moment. She wasn’t.
“How…How have you been?” he asked.
She took a deep breath. “I don’t know who you are.” She said bluntly.
He nodded. “I am sure.” He started as he clutched his bag against his arm with a smile.
Sharon thought he was flushing carelessly, especially for a tall hunk with beards. She didn’t expect that from him.
“I sat behind you in primary school.” He said.
Primary School?! Christ! Who remembers anyone from their primary school?! Sharon took two steps backward as she stared at him trying to place a face. There was no way she could place his face. She didn’t even keep in touch with most of her classmates from high school; she definitely couldn’t remember the mister standing before her claiming to know her from way back in elementary school. “Okay…” she said, bulging her eyes at him, expecting some clarity.
He took the initiative. “I used to wear glasses. Really big frog-eyed glasses.”
“Now I see why I don’t remember you.” Sharon replied, getting into the conversation. “You don’t look like someone who could have been wearing those types of glasses.”
He nodded with a chuckle. “Oh sure, I wore them. But people say I have changed a lot. And… and you have too. You are now so beautiful. You used to be really beautiful then but now you—”
“—I get it! Now, I am stunning and it’s clear you used to have a crush on me.” She said abruptly, curbing his enthusiasm. “But, why did you have to call my name in full and how do you even remember the face?” she asked, folding her arms.
He smiled. “I have always known your name, so I guess it stuck and for the face, I… I have been your friend on Facebook for some years now.”
Sharon nodded slowly. “I don’t even know you are my friend on Facebook, how is that possible?”
“Well, I guess ladies like you just accept all requests, yeah?” he said with a grin. “Anyway, it was nice seeing you. I’ll see you around.” He said, turning towards the receptionist’s desk.
Sharon stared at him and then walked towards the exit. She stopped walking and turned to him in an instant. “Mr. Facebook friend!”
He turned to her. “Dapo. Dapo George.” He corrected.
She cleared her throat and joined him. “Dapo, I…I have a situation and I need your help.”
Mama stared at her phone as she had breakfast. She had not heard from Ifesinachi all night and it had her worried. Her daughter had told her not to worry about it but she couldn’t help it. Her granddaughter’s number had been switched off for way too long. She knew Sharon could be a deep sleeper on a good day but it’s not as though she had been travelling for too long, she had no reason to claim being jet lagged. She stared at Jane who had her breakfast quietly as she tapped on her tablet occasionally and sighed. “Have you heard from Ifesinachi yet?”
“No.” Jane replied, turning to Mama. “It’s Saturday, Mama and I am sure she is still in bed. That girl can sleep!”
Mama shook her head. “Jane, I am worried. She didn’t call us last night and her phone is switched off. What if she never got to the hotel?”
“Come on, Mama! What could possibly happen to her?”
Mama clattered her fork into her plate. “Many things! She could get kidnapped for a start. She could lose her way. She could even get killed, God forbid!”
“You seem to forget that this girl is twenty-five years old. At twenty-five, I was one year into my marriage and pregnant with her.” Jane replied.
“And so? Does that mean we should be so nonchalant about the fact that Ifesinachi might be in trouble?” Mama asked.
Jane exhaled. “She is not a kid anymore.” She replied, picking her tab.
“And how would you know that? You were barely around to see her grow up so you shouldn’t assume that she is all equipped because her age says so.” Mama retorted. “I am worried about her and if you are not worried about your own daughter because you are too engrossed to look up from that thing in your hand, then I believe you still don’t know a thing about motherhood.”
Jane took a gaze at her mother and rose to her feet. “I am meeting up with some friends at the salon, do you want to come?”
Mama looked away.
“Alright, have a good day.” Jane replied. “It could get really boring around here without Sharon. We should start getting used to it and maybe we could finally bond as mother and daughter.” She added, heading out of the dining room.
“Jane, is there something you are not telling me?” Mama asked.
Jane turned to her with a smile. “What could I possibly not be telling you?” she asked and walked out.
Dapo kicked his foot against the wall as he tried to stop himself from falling asleep. He turned towards Sharon who was sleeping pretty in his bed; the bed he had a paid a fortune for while he sat in a chair by the window. He shook his head as he thought about how he had believed her story of being robbed and having no place to go. She had always been the smart mouth from primary school, winning debates with words; he wasn’t surprised she had worked her way to getting him to give up his bed for her. It was only for last night, he had promised himself. He would set her off on her way as soon as she opened her eyes. He had no idea what she would have been doing in the hotel that night with nowhere to go, but it was none of his business.
He tapped on his laptop and stared at what had driven him to the hotel the previous night. He had a job to deliver to a client by Monday and he was far behind. He had no idea of how to get around the project and the dude he typically contracted for it had gone AWOL. He hoped for some peace in his house but it was not habitable, hence, he took the easy way out and avoided the constant drama that plagued him at home.
“How long have I been asleep for?”
He turned to Sharon who was stretching her arms out. “Long enough to be on your way.” He replied, placing his laptop on the table. “Would you like me to run you some hot water?”
She nodded. “Yes, please.” She replied and watched him walk across the room towards the bathroom. “Dapo, can I please get a shirt?”
“I… I am sure my shirts would not fit.” He said. “Why don’t you just get one from the mall downstairs?”
“Is being a complete gentleman against your rules?” she asked, getting off the bed. “Plus, I don’t have any money on me, remember?”
He nodded. “I should have something that fits.” He replied, thinking about the financial implication of getting a new top from the mall.
“Thank you. Can I use your phone?” she asked.
He pointed to the phone on the table and stepped into the bathroom. He watched her as she dialled on the phone. She turned towards his direction, prompting him to look away.
“Hello, Mama.” Sharon said, as she stared at Dapo’s laptop screen. She took a seat in the chair, crossing her legs. “I am fine, I had a great night.” She started. “Lagos is just great! I had the best night ever, Mama. You should see my suite, exquisite stuff.”
Dapo shook his head as he listened to her lies. He was surer than ever that she had lied to him about being robbed. She was so comfortable deceiving whoever was on the other end of the line about a fantasy night when all she had succeeded in doing the previous night was scamming a gentleman into giving up his bed. It was not like she had put a gun to his head coercing him off his bed, he was willing to give up the space for some company but she had been a terrible roommate the previous night. As soon as they arrived in the room and she said her thank you for the umpteenth time, she crashed into the bed and only just woke up this morning.
“Thank you.” Sharon said, placing the phone on the table. “Sorry about that. If I didn’t tell my grandmother something soothing, she’d be flying down here to save me.”
Dapo returned into the room. “Don’t you need saving? You are in a room with a man you barely know, you should be scared.” He guffawed, trying to sound intimidating. He was anything but intimidating. If anything, he was intimidated by people…and especially by his fiancée, Jadesola. She was the reason he had to leave home and sleep in the hotel to get work done. She was his nightmare and still the reason for his smile. It was intriguing to see how anyone could be both personas in one person. For now, Jadesola wasn’t here and he had to bully someone. “You should be scared.” He reiterated.
Sharon chuckled. “You don’t scare me, Dapo.” She replied. “I am a walking STD disburser and I have got nothing to lose.” She added. “So, jokes on you.”
“No, jokes on you.” He said with a laugh. “I have not said I wanted to sleep with you and if you think every guy you get holed up in a room with wants to sleep with you, then you have a problem with your mentality.”
Sharon could feel her heartbeat racing fast. She was getting scared.
Dapo took his seat on the bed. “That STD trick doesn’t work for a serial killer or why did you think I gave up my room?”
“Serial killers have motives and you don’t have any reason to kill me.” She replied. “They usually have a vendetta of a sort or a weird mission they hope to carry out or crusade or something.”
He chuckled. He could hear the fear in her tone. “You are beginning to take this thing too serious.” He said, reeling in the excitement of getting her frightened. “You should go and shower so you can be on your way.” He said, pulling his laptop towards him.
“I have no place to go. I have no access to money and I need you to help me.” Sharon replied.
He turned to her. “You don’t have to keep lying.”
“I was robbed on my way from the airport, okay? I don’t have to lie about that. It’s my first time in Lagos and I don’t know where to go.” She replied.
He cleared his throat. “You have never been to Lagos?”
“No. I am here for personal reasons and I just have to make it through the weekend so I can go to a bank on Monday and withdraw some money over the counter. The guys who robbed me took everything from me. I am stranded.” She said. “If I go back to Abuja because of this incident, I would have failed…again.”
He took a deep breath. “What’s your story?”
Mama stepped away from the window as soon as Jane’s car pulled up in the driveway. She had thought about going back to the east in the few hours she had spent alone at home. She was worried about what she’d find back there. A good number of her friends had passed on. Jane made her feel lonely; that was a feeling she didn’t have with Sharon.
“Mama, shouldn’t you be upstairs?” Jane asked, sinking into a chair. “I will call the stewards to get your drugs.”
“Why don’t you get my drugs, Jane?” Mama said, taking a seat opposite her. “Did it occur to you that I might have been extremely bored all day?”
Jane nodded. “I know and I am sorry Sharon is not here but there is nothing we can do, she chose to go to Lagos and even chose not to call us, we have to start getting used to her absence around here.”
“She called me.” Mama replied.
Jane blinked. “She didn’t call me.”
Mama shrugged. “Is that a surprise?” she asked.
“No, Mom. But if my daughter is calling you before she calls me, that is not fair.” Jane replied.
“Or maybe that is because I have been more of a mother to her.” Mama replied.
Jane scoffed. “You are trying to make up for your sins. Don’t use my daughter as your cleanse, okay?”
“Jane, what do you want?” Mama said. “I might have made mistakes with you but that is no reason for you to put Ifesinachi through the same cycle. Be there for her. Show up for her. You don’t get these memories twice.”
Jane nodded. “I won’t dispute that but I would make progress if you could also step out of the way.”
“Inasmuch as I want to go back home, I won’t be running away because my daughter doesn’t want me around my granddaughter.”
“Technically, your granddaughter is gone. She lives in Lagos now.” Jane replied.
Mama stared at her. “Sharon didn’t call me from her phone. I am worried.”
Jane shrugged. “I wouldn’t read much meaning to that.”
“Why not, Jane?” Mama asked. “Why couldn’t we reach Sharon on her phone and now she’s calling from another phone?”
“Maybe she needed to switch her lines. Fresh start. Mom, we don’t need this discussion.” Jane said, rising to her feet. “I am going to rest.”
“What did you do, Jane?”
Jane exhaled sharply. “Mama, do you want me to confirm what you already know? Yes, I had Sharon robbed.” She replied.
Sharon smiled at Dapo as she held out two tops before him. “What do you think of these? I think this colour is pretty loud.”
“I am just here to pay.” He replied with a shrug. “And you are going to pay me back too.” He added quickly.
Sharon managed a giggle. “By Monday, you’ll have your money back.” She replied. “So, what do you intend to do about your job?”
Dapo shrugged. “I don’t know yet, but I am not you who can just quit her job because she is unhappy and thinks her purpose is elsewhere.”
“Now you are using my words against me, that’s really low, Dapo.” Sharon replied.
He immersed his fingers in his forehead. “I am sorry. I didn’t mean it to come out that way.”
“Of course. Nobody ever means what they say.” She replied. “Anyway, I would let it slide. Now, how do you intend to meet the Monday deadline?”
“If you would let me sleep in my bed for a while, maybe I would have enough strength to pull an all-nighter.” He replied, as they walked over to the cashier.
“Good day.” The lady at the counter greeted.
Sharon handed her the bag and turned to Dapo. “What if I help you? I could do some while you do the rest. I have a little knowledge of Architecture.”
He shook his head as he thought about his truth. He had evaded that when she asked him about his story. He had gone on to tell her how much he had to do under little time but couldn’t come around being honest with her. Maybe it was time for him to take advantage of the fact that she could actually help out. She was an Architect and he could use the help. “That’s the problem.” He said.
“What problem?” Sharon asked.
He swallowed. “I am a fraud.”
So she is working on a new series and she asked me to share here for your reading pleasure. So.
Without further ado – here’s Clueless Episode One. Enjoy!
CLUELESS – EPISODE 1
Sharon woke up on her new year feeling a little less clueless than the last one. It was not as though she had everything all figured out this year…the truth is, she never had anything figured out and that did make her quite the ‘most-clueless-25-year-old-of-the-year’. She slipped into her slippers that always sat pretty by her bedside; that was one thing she could always rely on to be there for her. She took in the calm breeze that sieved into the room through the window and smiled. It was going to be a good day. She could feel it in her bones. It was a new year for her and it was going to be the start of new things in her life; this she knew…or better still, she hoped for.
“Happy birthday, Princess!” Her Mother and Grandmother chorused in unison as they flung the bedroom door open.
She smiled at the loveliest women she had known all her life; she had indeed met many women and if she were to choose the women who would play a role in her life again, it would be her mother and her grandmother. Her Grandmother practically raised her from when she was five. Her parents were diplomats who worked for the Government in different countries as ambassadors; so she barely knew them. On her twentieth birthday, her mother had resigned to spend ‘some time with family’. Such good timing. Her father, on the other hand, had taken up another job which took him farther away than when he was a diplomat. Technically, her grandmother was the only parent she knew. Still, she loved her mother. She was a workaholic whose success inspired her. This was not because of the wealth she had amassed down the years but because she found fulfillment in what she did. But who wouldn’t find fulfillment in traveling the world in a private jet?
Sharon was searching for fulfillment. She was not sure it was in her Architecture Degree and it definitely wasn’t in sleeping and waking up in her parents’ Asokoro mansion until she found someone to marry and whisk her away from that life. She had decided to do something different that year and when her father made the ‘King Herod mistake’ of telling her to ask for anything she wanted for her 25th birthday, she played the prodigal son’s script and requested to leave home and start her life elsewhere. Today was the day she had waited for, she was going to start her life all over…in Lagos.
Mama watched her granddaughter pack her bags with so much enthusiasm. She was on the fifth bag and wasn’t looking to stop. She was cleaning out her wardrobe, squeaky clean. Maybe Ifesinachi, as she loved to call her, was right about never coming back. Sharon never liked being called Ifesinachi and that made Mama love the name more. She had given her the name during her christening as it was one very dear to her. The name had been passed in their family. Sharon Ifesinachi Amadi was not going to be the exception.
“You still have to come back, you know?” Mama started, breaking the silence between them. Sharon had found joy in cleaning out her closet while the older woman was becoming bored with everything around her…maybe even the air she did breathe. She found purpose in Sharon – she had spent the last twenty years watching her grow from a girl into a woman. She had not changed much. As beautiful and adventurous as ever; By God, she loved Sharon as though she had carried her in her own womb. She was sad to see her leave and was afraid that her life would be purposeless without her. Sharon was not only her granddaughter, she was her closest friend. Both women spent time at the salon together, fixing their hair and gossiping about other women in their lane. They went to the mall together, picking out groceries and checking out the cute men in the stores. They went to church together and carried on with their petty talk about pastors’ wives and their ‘hats’. Mama was not going to be fine without Sharon. She didn’t even have this bond with her own daughter!
“Mama, I don’t want to come back here.” Sharon replied as she folded a gown. She settled the cloth into her box and stared at her grandmother whose evergreen smile had started to fade since the day she told her that she was leaving. It came as a rude shock to the one woman she had told all her secrets but she had managed to keep this one away from her. Mama was one person who had a hold on her; she knew telling her about her plans could only mean that she wasn’t serious about ever getting to know Lagos. She had read about the town. She had seen pictures. She was fascinated by it; but she had never been there. Since her twenty-fifth year on earth was all about new beginnings, there was no better place to start over.
“How could you be so insensitive?” Mama asked as a tear broke down her left eye. She had promised herself that she wouldn’t attack Sharon for wanting to leave but now she couldn’t help it. She had to play the blackmail card. “Who is going to do your ponytail? Who is going to go with me to the mall? Who is going to write letters with me to your grandfather? Who is going to play with me?” she continued as the tears flowed freely, now from both eyes. “Who are you going to tell about a new boy? And maybe your first job? Who is going to cry with me?” She asked.
Sharon looked away as Mama’s nostalgia got to her. She hated seeing tears fall from her eyes but her grandmother knew how to melt her heart and she did it effortlessly too. She ran into Mama’s arms and hugged her tight. “It’s okay, Mama.” She whispered softly as she stroked her hair.
“No, it’s not.” Mama replied as she pulled away from the hug. “Stay.”
Sharon shook her head. “I want to go away…far away.”
Mama smiled. “Lagos is not so far.”
“Traffic makes it far.” Sharon said.
Mama chuckled. “Traffic in the air?”
“You have been to Lagos before, Mama. The traffic is not a myth. You’ll get tired before you find me.” Sharon replied.
Mama took a deep breath. “I am not going to be able to make you stay. But can I come and play with your kids once you start having them?”
“You’ll have to kill me first.” Jane Amadi said as she joined them in the room, her eyes firmly fixed to her tab as she typed on it. Her daughter and mother were not going to be thrilled to have her around but she was Sharon’s mother and didn’t enjoy her mother playing that role. “I’ll just send this mail.” She said to herself as she pushed the send option. She dropped her tab on the side table and pulled out one of the folded gowns from the box. “If you take all your clothes with you, which one would you wear when you come home for weekends?” she asked, staring at Sharon.
“It seems you didn’t get the full part of the memo, Ifesinachi is not coming back.” Mama said, yanking the gown from her daughter and tucking it into the box.
“It’s Sharon.” Sharon corrected. Mama grinned back at her. She knew it was pointless correcting her grandmother but still she would try. Someday, she had to call her Sharon. Was she ashamed of her roots? No. Or maybe she was just overtly colonized and loved her foreign name. Why couldn’t Mama understand that?
“Is it true that you wouldn’t be coming home for weekends?” Jane asked her daughter.
Sharon chuckled. “Of course. I am not going to a boarding house where I get to come home on weekends.”
“Don’t get married without telling us.” Mama said, rising to her feet. “I have to go and take my drugs now.”
Sharon blinked. Mama took the drugs whenever she wanted to sleep for hours. “Mama, aren’t you coming with me to the airport?” she asked, her voice trembling.
“No. I can’t. Do you want me crying my eyes out there?” she asked. “My heart can only take so much. I can’t watch you leave.” She added and then stopped at the door. “Have a good life, Sharon. I’d probably be dead before you are back.”
Sharon swallowed. “Mama.” She mouthed softly as she watched Mama walk out of the room.
“I guess this is a sign that Lagos isn’t for you.” Her mother said, picking her tab from the side table. “I don’t know what your father was thinking when he gave you that option.” She continued as she focused on her tab. “You’ll be back in no time, I’m sure.” She added.
“I am not so sure.” Sharon replied.
Jane smiled. “A mother knows these things, Sharon. We always do.”
Sharon couldn’t wait for seven p.m. Her flight was for seven p.m and that meant she still had another couple of hours in Abuja before heading to the airport. Was she nervous about her new adventure? Yes. But it was one worth taking. She had studied Architecture just to get a degree and several attempts at stability in a firm had proved abortive; not like she couldn’t have stayed but she knew she wasn’t made for it. But what was she made for? That, she had no clue about and that was what the journey to Lagos was all about…rediscovering herself. She hoped to find something there. Hopefully something much bigger than her.
Luckily, she had few friends in the Nation’s Capital city. They were just buddies she downed Vodka over some fish with. No attachments. She had no need to say her goodbyes. It was not as though they added value to her. They only enjoyed maxing out her credit card; she had no problem with that. Money was not a problem. She wanted something much more than money. Of course, that’s easy for a girl who has had a lot of money…try telling that to a broke man.
She absorbed her empty bedroom and exhaled. Her bags had been carried downstairs by the stewards. She would try again to have a conversation with Mama who was making a fuss about her going away. She drummed lightly on the door and waited for Mama to tell her to come in. No response. Maybe Mama was right about using those pills after all. Still, she would check. She turned the door knob and stared at Mama sitting in her chair with the Television on. She walked over to her and took her seat at her feet. “My ponytail, please.”
Mama scoffed. “It’s Brazilian weave, child.”
“It can do a pony, Mama.” Sharon protested. “Please.”
Mama nodded and started to weave the pony as she hummed to one of her favorite tunes. “Remember when we used to think your Mom was uptight?” she said, starting a conversation.
“I still think she is.” Sharon replied with a laugh. Her mother went about the house in tailored skirts and chiffon tops and her tab as she controlled her other businesses. Sharon often did wonder what lightning of conscience struck her mother and forced her back to Abuja five years ago. She loved her but didn’t miss having her around because she never had the feeling of what it was to have her around.
“I think you are going to be just like your mother if you go to Lagos.” Mama continued. “You are going to start wearing those silly skirts and white shirts and maybe a ribbon around your hair.” Mama scoffed. “A ribbon. Maybe polka dotted.”
Sharon rolled her eyes. Her Grandmother was not going to stop. It was so typical of her to go on and on about a topic until she had the last say. Sharon’s chest thumped. She was beginning to reconsider her trip after all. Grandma did tell her that her daughter, Jane, used to be so free spirited until she met her husband in Lagos; both decided to create a dynasty that would outlive them and unfortunately they forgot how to live. Lagos made them. And eventually, the Government asked for their contribution nationally which rewarded them with appointments that further enriched them with better connections. Sharon loved life. She loved Friday night fun and she had heard Lagos was better in that aspect. She was going to see that for herself and draw a conclusion. She wanted to go horseback riding and listen to good Jazz music while she figured her life out. That was her great Lagos plan!
“Your Lagos plan is quite dumb!” Mama said as though she had read her thoughts. “Everything you want there is here.”
“I want a fresh start.” She said, turning towards Mama sharply. “I love you so much and I am going to miss you but don’t make me feel bad for my choices. I want this. I don’t know what I am going to meet on the other side, but I want to try something out for me. I just want to do something different.”
“What is it?” Mama asked calmly.
Sharon shrugged. “I don’t know.”
“You are really clueless, Ifesinachi.” Mama said with a soft laugh. “But it’s alright. You are daring, I have to give you that. So I am sure you are going to figure things out.” She added. “I hope it’s not when you are forty.”
Sharon chuckled. “I hope it’s a little earlier than that. Maybe thirty nine?” she asked with an eyebrow raised.
Mama nodded. “Thirty nine sounds just right. And, I hope you meet a man that you won’t end things with you six months after.”
“It’s three months.” Sharon replied with a smug look. “Three months tops.”
Mama smiled. “I don’t understand how anyone dates for three months and ends things.”
“Mama, we are not talking about my love life.” Sharon replied. “Let’s just leave my love life out of everything.”
“You don’t even have one!” Mama retorted and then took a deep breath. “Alright, let’s get you set for your rediscovery mission.” Mama continued as she finished the ponytail. “You look absolutely beautiful.”
“I am absolutely beautiful.” Sharon replied.
Mama nodded. “You are vain and clueless about a new life you are about to start. What a combo!”
Sharon laughed. Her Grandmother had quite the sense of humour. It was quite a marvel why she never passed any of those traits to her own daughter who, on the other hand, was stoic and could hardly force a laugh…except of course, it was something cynical.
“You are going to do just great, Ifesinachi.” Mama said.
Sharon exhaled. “Thanks, Grandma!” she replied, hugging her. “Now would you please come with me to the airport?”
“No. I have seen too many goodbyes.” Mama replied and planted a kiss on her granddaughter’s forehead. “Now, run along.”
There’s always that airline that cancels on you the last minute! Sharon stared at her wristwatch as she wondered why she had not further exercised her rights as an only child to ask for the private jet. Well, that would be overdoing it. She tapped her feet nervously as she watched the hour mark approach eight. The new flight had been rescheduled for nine pm. She was sitting in the airport alone as Mama had made good on her threat not to go with her to the airport. She knew her mother wouldn’t be coming with her anyway, so she didn’t ask. She had more important things to do. Quite frankly, she couldn’t guilt trip anyone for not coming with her to the airport. She wanted to start her new adventure alone and this was the right way to start. She looked around her and hoped for something familiar. There was the want for something that filled her soul; it was the want that had made her leave Abuja. She wanted to be something more than what she was. The same girl she had been in the last years stressed her. She had a routine. Wake up, eat, take a drive to the mall, receive monthly allowances from her faraway father, take Mama to the salon, weekend getaways, date and break up with men, party till she was stoned, the list was endless. She quit every job she got after six months and eventually decided that Architecture was not for her. It was not as though she hated Architecture, maybe if her father didn’t think she could do better as an Architect than an Artist, she could have found some more joy. Maybe if she started off elsewhere without much, she’d understand what it was to have a drive and own a dream. Yes, that was it. She wanted a dream of her own.
Two hours later, Sharon was standing on Lagos soil. She pushed the trolley carrying her bags out of the airport. She was approached by several taxi drivers and eventually had to go with one who promised her a space bus which could accommodate all her baggage. “Woworx Hotel and Suites” she said with a smile. It was the most successful hotel business in Nigeria, and she was sure that even though she had not booked a reservation, she would have a suite to sleep in regardless of the time. She settled into the back seat and pulled out her phone, she sent a message to her grandmother and mother informing them of her safe arrival to Lagos. She would send the next message on arrival at the hotel, that way, her folks could rest easy.
“Ma’am.” The driver started.
She looked up from her phone into the rear mirror. “Yes?”
“I would like to take a leak, please.”
She exhaled. “Of course.” She replied as the car pulled up by the side walk. She focused on her phone as the driver went to the back of the vehicle. She looked around and absorbed the city she was going to live in for the next year. It looked beautiful from her view. She tapped on her phone and checked for the direction to the hotel. From her navigation system, they were only ten minutes away from the hotel. She couldn’t wait to get into her room, take a shower and sleep. She had plans for the next day. It was a Saturday and she was going to attend a music fest and on Sunday, she’d just sleep in and make calls to a realtor. By Monday, she would be sleeping in her own apartment. The plan was sleek. The driver’s door opened simultaneously with her door and the passenger’s door. Her heart raced fast. She was joined by the driver and two other men. Everything was happening so fast. This was looking dangerous.
“Can we have your phone?” The driver said. “Do it fast.” He added.
She assessed the situation as a gun was pointed at her head. “Sir, what is going on?” she asked, trying to remain calm.
The man who was in the passenger’s seat laughed. “What did you think this is? A party? You are getting robbed.”
As the man by her side cocked the gun, she immediately passed the phone to him. “Y…Yes, Sir.” She said, stuttering.
The driver started the car. “Get out.” He said.
She blinked. “Wh–what?” she said, without thinking. She swallowed as the driver’s cold eyes met hers.
The man who had settled in beside her didn’t do much talking. He grabbed her by the hand and tossed her out of the car into the road. She watched the door of the space bus close and the car speed off raising dust in her face.
She looked around her. She had no idea where she was and no clue on how to get to her intended destination. Her handbag was taken from her along with her phone and the luggage in the trunk. “Savages!” she hurled as she picked herself up from the floor, examining the bruise to her hand from the fall. Thankfully, it was just a scratch.
Maybe her mother and Grandma were right after all. Maybe she would be going back to Abuja sooner than she thought. She ran her fingers through her hair as a thought resonated through her mind. The thought that she would never be able to figure out what she truly wanted from life. Maybe she was silly for even thinking Lagos held the answers to her questions. Much ado about it! She walked back and forth, trying to get a grasp of the situation and eventually took her seat on the sidewalk. Lagos hasn’t especially been welcoming.
She looked into the city ahead of her and cried.
Rape and the Man Child
Close your eyes.
Or don’t. You need them open to read this after all.
You’re fourteen. You know about girls – well; you’ve seen movies, read James Hadley Chase and Danielle Steele among others. You have elder brothers who always have an errand for you to run whenever their female friends are around – and they are around a lot. You know to disappear when Daddy starts touching Mummy one kind. You know your way around girls as long as you’re not touching them. You’ve never actually seen a porn movie, but of all your friends you’re the only one – so you say you have. You’re curious – but not exactly in a hurry.
There’s a woman you have a crush on – you and almost every male in the neighborhood, weight and size regardless. She’s almost three times your age but it doesn’t matter. She’s that hot.
But you tell yourself it’s just a childish crush. Besides, she’s friends with your mother. You go to her house on errands sometimes and she smiles at you. Touches your head; your hair. Smiles at you some more.
But you tell yourself it doesn’t matter. She’s friends with your mother.
And then one day, everything changes.
There was something about auntie that afternoon that made you hot and bothered. She was nicer than usual, her hand lingered just a bit longer than usual on your chest; thigh – but it didn’t matter. When she asked if you wanted something to drink you nodded and when you saw the bottle, instead of protesting you saw a chance to impress her. So you poured 60 percent proof rum down your innocent throat, bringing involuntary tears to your eyes.
But you didn’t cough. You became dull – almost lethargic, but you didn’t cough.
So when auntie started to throw your clothes off, caution was somewhere in the back of your throat steaming in rum. You pawed her just as eagerly – and when you saw her breasts – breasts that looked nothing like you imagined – you were ruined.
And thus went your innocence.
You fell asleep on auntie’s bed – but before you left that day you ate a big Sweet Sensation meal and had ‘sweet sensations’ with auntie two more times. When you walked home later that evening, your shoulders were square; your head was high. You had eaten something men three times your age wanted to but couldn’t.
As you neared your house, you saw your mum waiting and the smile that had lightened your features disappeared. Your face darkened as you remembered auntie’s warning; Don’t tell anybody.
What you did must have been wrong.
Who could you tell anyway? You’re the black sheep of the family. No matter what happened it was your fault; always. So you shut your mouth and kept going, acting like everything was okay. But every time you went to auntie’s house, something inside you got smaller and smaller and smaller…
Until you went away to boarding school.
Years later, you still cannot shake the feeling of guilt. Men cannot be raped after all, and since men think about sex every nine seconds you must have somehow enjoyed it.
You must have, right?
But if that was what it was, how come you feel shame every time you think about it? How come you still have not told anyone about it? Why do you find it difficult to be entirely intimate with someone – with anyone? You think back on it; and while it wasn’t too bad as far sexual experiences go, you hate(d) that you didn’t have any choice in the matter. Something was taken from you without your consent.
You were little better than the cap of a bottle; the nylon wrapping of a new book – something to be used and discarded. You were meat.
Now close your eyes and walk in those shoes for a while.
It saddens me when people say stuff like ‘men can’t be raped’. ‘Men like sex so much they take it whenever wherever and however they can get it’. These are examples of the kind of thinking that makes people become weird, strange and alone – because something happened to them and you help them think it’s their fault.
As ‘boring’ as the concept of virginity is made to seem nowadays, I would have liked to hold on to mine; at least a bit longer than I actually did. But that was a choice that was taken from me at a time I could do little about it – and that is something I cannot get past no matter how I try. I felt – I still feel taken advantage of by someone I liked and looked up to – in a manner of speaking. I’m still all fucked up about it. I’m afraid of being vulnerable.
I’m a man. And yet, the shame I feel every time I think about it is almost physical. At times I drift and realize I cannot form deep bonds with people because I’m afraid of being taken advantage of again. That’s why I write a lot of the things I write; somewhere in here there’s a little boy still running around trying to figure out why what happened to him happened.
In a manner of speaking, I’m still trying to find closure.
We get raped too. We get taken advantage of, lied to and used by people we thought the world of. It’s bad because when as a man you say; ‘I was raped’ some people think you’re joking, some think you’re crazy for hating it and some say ‘so? Are you not a man?’
To think some people still think there’s no such thing as rape.
Don’t get it confused. This is not meant to make light of women’s pain; neither is it trying to compete or compare my/our pain to theirs.
Men get raped too. And it hurts too.
When I hear the name Shane Black, first thing that comes to mind is Iron Man 3. Only reason(s) I liked that movie were 1) Another chance to see Downey Jr. do his thing, and 2) Ben Kingsley as The Mandarin.
Utter fan boy moment.
But then, the boy Shane has quite the resume – if you’ve been watching movies long before Hugh Jackman became an X Man, that is. Appearing in his first acting role in 1986 film Night Creeps (like there’s such a thing as Morning Freaks) and writing Lethal Weapon I & II, Last Boy Scout, Last Action Hero & The Long Kiss Goodnight (I would have said the boy has a thing for Ls if not for his several other works including directorial debut Kiss Kiss Bang Bang) among others.
But if I’m mad at Shane for IM3, I’m too willing to forgive him after this great movie.
I love Ryan Gosling. He’s an amazing actor with great range, he’s incredibly good looking and he dresses sharp. He’s like the modern day Paul Newman; never with a hair out of place. Watching him and Clooney in The Ides of March I was hard put to choose who was better eye candy.
Russell Crowe is another of my special guys – range; but I prefer the growling and scowling Crowe (leave Gladiator watch LA Confidential to get my point). Personal choice. I love dude.
Now, imagine these two guys in a movie. And not just any movie; a movie with enough twists and turns and naked women to rival a Chase novel.
Movie opens with a kid (Ty Simpkins; great kid) sneaking in his sleeping parents’ room and pulling a girlie mag from underneath the bed. Pay real close attention here and for the rest of the movie.
He opens the mag and stares at a naked girl with great breasts; she’s a porn star called Misty Mountains. Suddenly, through the window behind the kid we see a car careen off the highway and through the living room and down into the valley.
We follow Ty as he goes to investigate the crash – and a close up affords us the ID of the driver; Misty M, same girl kid was just looking at. The dying star, naked as she was for the most part of her life is lying on her back on a rock. She notices him, smiles through a bloodied mouth and asks; ‘how do you like my car?’ and then she coughs and dies. The boy is staring – but then, sirens start blaring and he takes off his pajama top and covers the naked woman.
For some reason, I teared up at that point.
Set in 1977 (fucking attention to detail; try not to miss a billboard advertising Jaws 2, a movie released in 1978 I don old!), the movie follows two hapless private eyes Crowe (Jackson Healy) and Gosling (Holland March) as they try to find a girl named Amelia who interestingly initially hired Crowe to dissuade anyone following her including Gosling. And that’s how the two as-unalike-as-two-snowflakes detectives meet.
The movie offers an interesting plot (very similar to Chase’s novel A Whiff of Money), something as simple as a disappeared girl leading to corruption in really high places, at least as far as 1977 Detroit is concerned.
Angourie Rice is a show-stealer here as Gosling’s March’s young daughter Holly. From the first time you meet her; she’s on her way into the house and bumps into Crowe who just beat up her father, you can’t help but love her. She looks Crowe in the eye and asks, “What do you do?” I really can’t remember his response but her next line is; “How much would you charge to beat up my friend Janet?” She stole my heart.
She’s reason enough to watch the movie over and over.
March is a drunk but she loves him – as evidenced when she sees Healy again and glares at him. “You beat up my dad!” she says accusingly and the self-conscious Healy mumbles a response. A family tragedy set March on a drinking and smoking bend; he’s all but given up on life. Kim Basinger, looking unusually clean here (I suspect she’s gone under the needle recently) comes in a I-love-Detroit to death US Department of Justice official who wants to hire the guys to do what they were going to do anyway; find her daughter. There’s a scene in which she has her checkbook out and she’s scribbling Ten Thousand Dollars to hire the guys. March blabs and says “This kind of job costs a lot…something like five thousand dollars.” The sharp woman quickly tears up the check and writes another one, this time with five thousand dollars.
Too mush talking at times is wahala.
It’s the chemistry between the unlikely lead characters that load up the movie and make it so much fun. March is the mouth; charming as only Gosling can be, wearing the sharpest of 1977 suits and shirts, flirting with ladies and interrogating mermaids in in-house pools. Healy is the muscle; roughening up a reluctant hotel lobby attendant and saying; “We can do this the easy way – (grabs attendant’s tie and slams his head into the desk)…well, that was the easy way…”
Of course, you know the guy just has to blab after that.
The Nice Guys is a great movie; right balance of humor, action and emotion to just make your girl hold you a bit tighter afterwards.
And if you saw the movie with your guy…well.
It is with pleasure I share with you today an APP designed to save lives.
Really. My friends over at GEM MEDIA have put together the Cupid App, a revolutionary relationship APP which has something embedded in it, something designed to intervene in the sudden upsurge of domestic violence cases in our world today. Allow me share the press release though:
CUPID APP – A REVOLUTIONARY RELATIONSHIP APP AND POTENTIAL LIFESAVER
In February 2016, Oyelowo Ayediran was reportedly stabbed to death by his wife, Yewande Ayediran, a lawyer, in Ibadan when she heard her husband had a son outside wedlock.
In May 2016, Ronke Bewaji Shonde, a woman in her mid-30s was allegedly beaten to death by her husband, Lekan. Ronke lived with her husband and 2 kids in Egbeda, Lagos state and that was where the violent episode reportedly occurred.
On May 26th, 2016, 46 year old Roselyn, a mother of five was found dead with her throat slit open in her Oshodi apartment. Information had it that her husband, Jafar had serially assaulted his wife and on countless occasions, accusing her of infidelity despite the fact that Roselyn had been the bread winner of the family for over ten years.
Although there’s insufficient data on the rate of domestic violence in Nigeria, recent figures from the Domestic and Health Survey showed that domestic violence cuts across all socio-economic and cultural backgrounds. 28% of all women, almost a third of all women in Nigeria have experienced physical violence. In a country of 160 million with a female population of about 70 million, this puts at least 23 million women at risk! It should be noted that these are only reported cases.
A lot more go unreported.
The men too go through their share, and theirs hardly ever go reported because of ego issues and so on.
On children, the effects include poor concentration in school, aggression, disobedience, pessimism about the future, dropping out from school, depression, early marriages to escape the family home and much more. There is an increased risk of children becoming victims of abuse themselves and a strong likelihood that this will become a continuing cycle of violence for the next generation.
Also, marriage appears to be an endangered institution today. While there are insufficient figures here in Nigeria, 40% of marriages end within 15 years.The younger a person marries, the more likely it is that they will get divorced. Adults without full formal education and who have a low household income are more likely to be divorced as well. Christian couples are not exceptions either as they are just as likely to get divorced as their secular counterparts.
It is with these concerns in mind that gem MEDIA, through our non-profit arm – the gem INITIATIVE – recently launched the Cupid app to help couples stay connected and foster lasting relationships. The Cupid app is a one-of-its-kind mobile application that gives couples access to creative, poetic ready-to-send text messages that would help them express their innermost feelings easier.
It’s a proudly Nigerian app and the first of its kind as well because enables couples send creative pre-loaded messages not just in English, but in Pidgin English and various Nigerian languages.
One of the most valuable features of the Cupid app is a functionality called Abby’s Line. While the Cupid app looks like just any other relationship app, it’s also a potentially lifesaving domestic violence alert system in disguise because the Abby’s Line has a ‘Help’ button that gives users the ability to send free, pre-loaded text messages that alert the user’s chosen trusted contacts and local authorities about a violent or potentially violent situation with their abuser.
This was done to give some measure of privacy and protection to women who are by and large, the ones on the receiving end of domestic violence due to the stigma attached to the issue. However, anyone can use the Cupid App as a silent help at hand to quickly get out of trouble.
We are collaborating with the Office of the Public Defender, Lagos State Ministry of Justice, and the Domestic Violence Response Team in respect of issues relating to domestic violence. In future, we hope to expand in order to handle cases of child abuse as well. We also need Non-Governmental Organizations in matters of domestic violence, churches, financial institutions and other relevant bodies to partner with us in ensuring that women are adequately protected from the ills of domestic abuse. More than ever before, there is an urgent need to participate in putting an end to cases of women subjected to violence in their homes and relationships without recourse.
Strong marriages and healthy relationships are associated with economic growth, reduced poverty, lower crime rates and an overall progressive society. With the Cupid App and Abby’s Line, we can ensure that relationships become stronger, see to it that fatalities are reduced and hopefully eradicated as we shine the light on domestic abuse and refuse to be silent bystanders; in line with one of our mission to contribute positively to a healthier society.
Personally, I think this is a huge step in the right direction for Gem Media. I mean, intervention in this issue is so needed and I am confident that a tool like this will very well save more than one life.
So share with your friends, download the APP (Abby’s Line is free to use) and subscribe for the other functions too! Please, help this get as far as possible – who knows whose life you’ll save?