Month: August 2012

A Time To Die: The One With No Title

I feel the moisture crawling down my neck, slowly making its way towards my spine. The air is still, the heat hovering, suffocating. A violent kick sends the duvet flying off the bed. Even before my brain is fully alert, I know she’s been in my room.  Why won’t the woman mind her damn business?! Reaching above my head, I flick the switch on the air conditioner. The low hum as it comes to life soothes my irritation. Eyes still shut, I rehearse the speech I’ll be giving that woman come the morning.

“Mum, I’ve told you to stop turning off my air conditioner. You may not like the cold but I do so please, for the zillionth time, leave it alone!”

“Your air conditioner, did you buy it with your money?”

“Whatever mum, it’s in my room so please, just leave it alone.”

“You can’t tell me what to do in my own house. If you’re tired of me, pack your load and go to your husband’s house. “

Here we go again.

“You are so unbelievably predictable! What does your turning off my a/c have to do with me getting married? Is the fact that I’m not married your only problem in life?”

“Yes, it is! How many of your mates are still living in their parents’ houses?”

“Do you think I like living here? Believe me, the minute my man appears I’m out of here.”

“That’s your problem, is it by magic he will appear? Instead of you to ask your friends how they found husbands you’re there waiting for him to appear.”

“Am I God?! Or am I supposed to parole the streets of Lagos begging men to marry me?”

“Has God not already created men?  If you like don’t pick one, be waiting for heaven to deliver him to you. “

“ I’m sick of this nonsense mummy, when he comes, he comes and if he doesn’t, he doesn’t  I’m not about to kill myself because I’m 35 and single. You are my mother for goodness sake, show some support!”

“Support your manlessness? Aren’t you ashamed? Your younger sister is married and you’re there chasing a career.”

“Well excuse me for wanting to make something of myself. It’s my fault for living in this house. It’s about time I got a place of my own where I don’t have to deal with this crap.”

“Over my dead body! You want to bring disgrace to this family? You will not turn into one of those wayward girl that are proud of being single. What kind of woman moves out of her father’s house before marriage?!”

“In that case feel free to drop dead. I’m getting a place of my own. I’m done tolerating your insults!”

“I should feel free to drop dead?! You are a stupid girl, that’s why you won’t find a husband. I blame your father, he is the one that sent you to England where they talk to their parents anyhow. Idiot…”

I’d had enough. Picking up my car keys I stormed out of the house, her insults trailing after me, hot tears burning my eyes.

Does she think I don’t want a husband and children? Does she think it doesn’t hurt knowing she’s ashamed of me?

I drove to the nearest estate agents to find myself a place to live and three hours and two viewings later, realised I was kidding myself. I couldn’t afford the extortionate rent on the Island, not comfortably anyway. Anger deflated, I made the journey back home and headed straight for her room. Annoying though she was, she didn’t deserve to be spoken to the way I’d done.  I could just lock my bedroom door before going to bed to keep her out of my room and give us one less thing to argue about.

“Mum, are you there?”

Knocking gently, I let myself into her room. She was there, slumped against the wardrobe, inhaler lying next to her lifeless body.

New Series Alert: A Time To Die

Life is unpredictable.One minute it all makes sense, the next, it’s like something out a soap opera.

I’ve got death on my mind and with good reason. People die all the time but never before have so many people closely linked to me been laid to rest. I’m not afraid to die neither am I afraid of people around me dying but that doesn’t negate the reality that the dead will be missed and those of us left behind have to learn to live without our loved ones…and with the myriad of complications that their loss potentially deals us.

We will all die someday, there’s no escaping it. Now more than ever, I am determined to live each day purposefully and make my relationships and my life count for something.

I encourage you to do the same.

And so a new series begins.

May the souls of the dead AND the living rest in perfect peace.

Stay tuned.

xxx

Waila

Nothing Left To Say

I sit and wait for hours. My eyes are heavy, weighed down by the forces of sleep. I yawn so frequently, my mouth is permanently ajar. The grandfather clock in the hallway chimes; Ding. Dong. Ding. It’s three am, the kids and I have to be up in four hours to get ready for school.

Dear Lord, please let him show up soon.

On cue, I hear his keys rattle as he attempts to open the front door. A part of me wants to punish him and leave him at the mercy of the merciless British winter. Willing my tired muscles to co-operate, I drag myself to the door and let him in.

Our eyes meet as the door swings open and I realise he’s really gone to town this time. I make a mental note to check our bank balance as I reach forward to help him in. My weary bones crumble under the pressure of his weight and I find myself lying on the ground, his ribs crushing my lungs.

When did he get so skinny?

A now familiar stench assaults my senses, interrupting my thoughts.

“You need to get off me Tim, I can’t breathe.”

No response. Not even the drunken grunts that have become his sole method of communication.

“Tim, get off me!”

The silence accentuates the sound of his breathing and the steady rhythm tells me he has fallen asleep. Hands pressed against his heaving chest, I push as hard as I can. His eyes snap open.

“Please Tim, you need to get up,” I whisper, “The kids will be up soon, they can’t see you like this.”

After what seems like an eternity, he rolls off me and sits up, his back slamming shut the open front door.

I see the pain in his eyes and my heart breaks knowing I caused it.

“I’m so sorry Tim, so sorry. I hate myself for what I did. Please, don’t do this to yourself, I’m not worth it.”

He grunts in agreement.

“Please say something, the silence is killing me. We can’t go on like this. I’ve apologised, what else do you want me to do? Tell me and I’ll do it. Anything.”

Ignoring me, he pulls himself off the floor and staggers towards the stairs.  Jumping up, I grab his hand to steady him. I’m not prepared to be flung across the hallway. As I hit the ground with a thud, I stare at him in shock.

“Tim?!”

Making his way slowly towards me, he looks me straight in the eye and spits in my face.

For the first time since he found out, I see more than pain and betrayal in his eyes. The hatred, the revulsion is unmistakeable. In that moment I realise the consequence of my indiscretion. He will never forgive me.

It’s over. It ended the day he found out I’d had an affair.

Immigration & Identity

I read a Daily Mail article on Mo Farah this morning and I could tell from the tone, how proud the writer was to call Mo British. Despite being born to Somali parents and spending the first 8 years of his life in Somalia, if you took a poll today, I suspect that only a small minority of people in Great Britain would consider him a foreigner.

Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that he has set the record books blazing with his performance at the 10k men’s final and the olympic gold medal hanging round his neck.

Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that he has seemingly embraced the culture of the Nation (while remaining muslim) and chosen to put himself forward as a representative of Great Britain.

Sir Mo, the TV pundits have been calling him…and I wouldn’t be surprised to see his name on the next honours list. A great prospect for a man who couldn’t speak a word of English when he first touched down in London.

Like many immigrants, by his own admissions, he never felt accepted by British society and it wasn’t until he heard 80,000 people screaming his name in the Olympic stadium while he stood on a podium with the British anthem playing, that he finally felt accepted, like he belonged.

An immigrant myself, I know too well what not belonging feels like.

Twenty-eight years ago I was born in London to Nigerian parents who promptly shipped me back to Nigeria as soon as I was fit to travel.I spent the first 16 years of my life in Lagos after which my mother packed my bags and shipped me back to London. I have now lived in London for round about 12 years.

I go to Nigeria and much as I enjoy being there in spite of all the madness, I no longer feel like I belong there. In theory, it’s home but honestly, I feel like a square peg in a round hole. It no longer fits.

I come back to London and even though it’s been home for the last 12 years and I have built my life here, every now and again something happens that reminds me that happy though I am here, I’m not quite British.

I have become  a hybrid of two cultures.

I had a conversation with a British-Indian friend that made me realise I’m not the only one that feels this way. Even though he has never been to India, his parents have done a great job of keeping him connected to the culture, so much so that he shares my dilemma.

I’m curious to hear your thoughts on this. Are you a hybrid of two cultures and how do you deal with this? If you have dual nationality and had the opportunity to represent a country at an event, how would you decide which of your countries to represent?

xxx

Waila

The Arik Experience: Goodbye London, Hello Lagos!

39,000 feet above ground and bored as a scarecrow in a deserted field. The inflight entertainment is playing up so I can’t watch any of the movies on offer and thanks to my die hard resolve to wash my hair before leaving for the airport, I didn’t have enough time to download any movies to my iPad.

I’m on an Arik flight, first time ever. Snob that I am, I was apprehensive about trying out the new airline on the block but na condition make crayfish bend. My funds were not ripe enough for British Airways and as for that Virgin, don’t get me started on their extortionate fares.

I must admit, this plane is impressive. The seats in economy (promotion cometh!) have more leg room than I know what to do with. You long ones would be pleased.

Fot those of you that travel with all your worldly possessions, you’ll be pleased to know that be baggage allowance is 32kg. In this day and age, that’s stupendously generous. God bless them

The cabin crew were a lot scruffier than im used to seeing…not that i was bothered bt their appearance. Just a random observation. They are also as rude and abrupt as any others but unlike their colleagues on other airlines, lack the ability to be politely so. The ability to insult while grinning must be  added to their training syllabus. That said, Nigerians are demanding and can test the patience of a dead man. Our diva antics are out of this world ridiculous.

The plane was taxiing and a woman was still yapping away on her phone.

Air Hostess: “Madam! Please turn off your phone, we are about to takeoff!”
Woman: “Ha ha! You will give me the full gist when I come. What of that guy from before?”
Air Hostess: “Madam, turn off your phone!”
Woman: “I’m already on the plane, we will soon take off.”

Even my patience was tested. It took…

Sorry, I was just interrupted by the sound of the most ridiculous attempt at an American accent I’ve ever heard. I’m not a member of the “thou shall not speak fone” brigade but if thou must, thou must do it well.

…the air hostess raising her voice to deafening levels for the woman to obey. Terminating the call, she calmly addressed the hostess.

“It’s like something is wrong with you. Did someone annoy you before you came to work this evening?”

LMAO! Some human beings are just not normal.

The elderly man two seats to my right has spent the last half hour moaning about how sub standard the service on this flight is. He is especially upset that he was only given a tiny  glass of red wine.

“Why can’t they give us those little bottles other airlines give? Why are they rationing the thing, is it communion?! I need to get tipsy so I can sleep well.”

The woman next to him is irritated because the crew did the coffee round before serving the tea she was desperate for.

“I don’t know why they can’t serve the two together. Is it not two hands they have?”

If I had a pound for every time she has hissed in the last two hours, I’d have enough money to pay the £300 difference and hop on Mr Branson’s plane.

Another man in the association of moaners is upset because he doesn’t like the selection of movies on offer. “When I flew last weekend, it was the same set of movies, this weekend too, the same.”

The person behind me is snoring like he is propelling the engines of this plane. How is a girl supposed to get some sleep when no one will shut up?!

The food is WACK! My friend IB had told me stories about how nice the jollof rice on the flight is but this jollof wannabe I am eating is like poison. The bread roll is rock hard and this cheesecake isn’t worth a mention. The only edible thing is the salad. Sigh.

Arik have a reputation for taking African timing to another level but thankfully, my flight left on time. I’m grateful for small mercies.

Time to sleep. Don’t know what internet access will be like out there so I’m not holding my breath. Blogging while I’m there is highly unlikely…or maybe I’m just a lazy fart.

xxx
Waila

This, That and The Other

Hi Folks,

I cannot begin to tell you how eventful my life has been in the last two months. But for God and my faith, I can categorically say I wouldn’t still be standing. I have seen the grace and power of God at work in ways I’d only read of in books and I tell you, that stuff is real!

I was in Nigeria for a couple of weeks in July to see my darlings Stinkus and Yoda married off traditional style. Super exciting! The more difficult the test, the more precious the certificate so guys, get ready for your double platinum award. *wink*. Stinkus’ makeup was done by my other lover Stella of Stella’s Addiction! She did a fantastic job! So proud of my moin-moin! Need a make-up artist? Look no further!

There are few people in the world that can make me buy aso-ebi (native fabric) and tie gele (traditional head scarf) and Stinkus is one of them. Lol. I almost never like pictures of myself because I am not photogenic but I thought I’d give you a sneak peek of my back view…it’s more palatable. Lol. My dress was made by my friend Desola of Daisy’s Wardrobe. I love how talented my friends are!

In other news, as I told you all a few weeks ago, I have changed my name and yes, it IS legal. I’ve had all sorts of reactions to the news and the experience has helped distinguish (like I didn’t know them already) the people who REALLY know me on this planet. For the most part, it’s been positive. I am especially touched by those who don’t understand it but out of respect and trust (in my state of mind. lol), have accepted it regardless. As expected, the pill has been hardest for certain members of my family to swallow. Much as I love them, I make no apologies for the decision I have made. They may never understand it but I am okay with that.

Growing up, I always got in trouble with my teachers for scribbling my name on anything in sight. Tables, chairs, walls…nothing was exempt. In my final year at secondary school, I was at a prefects meeting and in typical fashion, was doodling my name all over my notebook when one of my colleagues interrupted with the words, “You’re really proud of your name aren’t you?”

She couldn’t have been more correct.

I was (and still am) very proud of the name. It represented who I was and given that my father is six feet underground and responsible for naming me, there was a sentimental attachment to it too. This is without doubt the most difficult thing I’ve had to do in my life to date so anyone that thinks I did this on a whim or for whatever other frivolous reason is sorely mistaken and doesn’t know me at all.

After my name change post, I got my first rude comment on this blog. It was funny actually. Made me feel like I’d finally been inducted into blogosphere proper.  I deleted it of course. I’m not opposed to people openly disagreeing with me but I draw the line at being insulted in such spectacular fashion. Something about being stupid, having slave mentality and wanting to be white and blah blah blah. See me see trouble?! Lol.

In other news, I flew Arik for the first time ever and it was an experience. Was apprehensive as I’m a BA girl through and through and didn’t know what to expect. I had different experiences on both legs of the flight and seeing as I didn’t have much to do mid air, documented them. Stay tuned.

xxx

Waila