Series

The Abortion Series

Abortion.

When I was younger and less God conscious, my stance on this was categorical. If I ever found myself pregnant and unmarried, I would quietly pay the doctor a visit and end the matter there and then. I wouldn’t tell anyone so as not to give them the opportunity to try and convince me otherwise…or judge me. No one would know about it, not even the father of the child. Life would carry on and I might feel a little bad initially but I’d get over it.

Now that I’m older, I realise it’s not that simple…mentally, emotionally and physically.

Now that I’m more God conscious, I better understand the spiritual gravity of the action.

Fundamentally, I am anti-abortion but I understand why it’s an option for many.  There are many reasons why people choose to have abortions, some seemingly frivolous and others, arguably justifiable. Nowadays, I’d like to think that if I was ever faced with the option, it wouldn’t be an option but every now and again I stumble on a scenario that makes me question my stance.  I can only pray that if I ever have to make a choice, God helping me, I’ll do right by Him and by association, me.

I’ve been thinking about this incessantly for the last 48hours and have decided to do another series. The first story is in the pipeline and I aim to publish it tomorrow *fingers crossed.* How many stories will make up the series? Will it be a collection of shorts or a sustained piece?  You’ll find out when I do!

Stay tuned!!!

xxx

Waila

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Monologue Series: The Future of My Past

I didn’t care how many guys I’d slept with till I met and married Dele, making him an object of ridicule in all of Lagos. I warned him though, I told him everything. I told him about the many politicians and elite business men that had peeked through my curtains. I told him about the many wealthy bachelors that had bought me cars, designer gear and even a flat in Lekki, in exchange for you know what. I told him about the time the vice-president’s wife sent thugs to beat me up because someone told her they saw me with her husband in the Louboutin store in Paris. I told him everything. Of all the things I said, the only thing that seemed to register was that I’d left that life behind. He didn’t care that I’d sold my body for money, didn’t care that I’d slept with married men. All he cared about was the me I’d become, the now, the future.

I was stunned when he asked me to marry him. I’d made my peace with being unmarried for the rest of my life, I didn’t think any man could, would marry me. His sister was in hysterics when she heard about us. His entire family thought he’d taken leave of his senses. They were convinced he was under a spell, cast by me of course. I resent the way they treat me, like slime from a grotty sewer…but I don’t blame them, I’d never have let my son or brother marry a girl like me. The first time he proposed, I said no and didn’t say yes till he’d asked seven times. That’s my Dele, stubborn as a mule. When he makes his mind up there’s no changing it. That final time, I realised just how resolute his love for me is. I said yes.

I shouldn’t have. I shouldn’t have married him. I was foolish to think I could get away from my past. Every time we attend a function, it mocks me. The men I’ve sold my body to follow me around like flies following shit. I can’t escape them. How could he not mind knowing that half the room has been serviced by yours truly?! They smile at him knowingly and sneer at me with their upturned noses. The more daring ones verbally taunt him. Trust my Dele not to react. Sometimes I wonder if he’s human. The other day we were having dinner at Four Points when that obnoxious twerp Kola Kuti walked in with his entourage of pot-bellied loafers. I never could stand the guy but while others paid Dollars, he paid Pounds. I put up with his crap long enough to furnish my flat and earn a brand new Range Rover. As soon as he saw us, he came over and winking at Dele said “iyawo e o’dun gan.” I would have slapped him had Dele let go of my arm. I was so mad I could have killed Dele. What kind of man doesn’t react when another tells him his wife is a good lay?! The kind of man that would proudly marry an ex-prostitute I guess.

I screamed at him for the best part of the journey home. How could he let Kunle get away with insulting us both? I called him a coward, a chicken, a spineless excuse for a human being. I regretted the words shortly after they passed through my lips. His eyes glazed over and for the first time since we met, I didn’t feel safe sitting next to him.

“When I decided to marry you Kemi, I knew what I was letting myself in for. The jibes, the sniggers, the looks…I knew they were part of the package. If I decide to beat up everyone that dares insult us, it’s all I’ll be doing for the rest of my life. Besides, I refuse to let them get the better of me, of us. I’m sick of having this conversation. I’m over your past Kemi, when will you be too?”

My guess is never.

Monologue Series: A Slice of Lime

“I think we should break up.”

“Huh? Where did that come from?!”

“I’ve been thinking about it for a while and I don’t think we’re right for each other.”

“Babe, how can you say that? Did I do something wrong? Tell me so I can fix it!”

“Darren, you’ve done nothing wrong. You’re perfect, you’re just not perfect for me.”

“Sorry, what does that mean? Are you saying I’m not good enough for you?!”

“Babe, you’re taking this the wrong way! I’m not saying you’re not good enough for me, all I’m saying is I don’t think we are a good match.”

“Explain it to me Amanda, tell me what’s so imperfect about us!”

“You’re a great guy and I really like you but you don’t, you know, set my heart on fire.”

“Well excuse me for not knowing I was supposed to give you heart burn.”

“Spare me the sarcasm! Look, it’s over, deal with it. I need more than this. I need excitement, someone who will sweep me off my feet, plant butterflies in my stomach. I want the magic Darren and I don’t have it with you.”

He stared at me like I’d sprouted horns. “You’re breaking up with me because you don’t think I’m exciting?! Forgive me for not sweeping you off your feet with fancy holidays, fast cars and champagne fuelled nights out!”

“Now you’re being ridiculous, that’s not what I mean and you know it! All I’m saying is my heart doesn’t skip a beat when I see you, I don’t get goose bumps when you hold me and I don’t feel like my world would crumble if you weren’t in it.”

“You really should stop reading M&Bs.”

Snatching his car keys off the coffee table, he silently made his way out of my flat…and my life. A part of me wanted to call him back, to tell him I was only joking…but I couldn’t. I needed more than he had to offer.  I needed to feel something beyond love and affection. I needed passion.

I have a list, he is the list. Great job, check! Home owner, check! Gentle, check!   Kind and generous, check! Thoughtful, check! Loves me to distraction, check! Romantic, check! Christian, check! He is everything I’ve prayed for. I just didn’t think the man of my dreams would bore me to tears. He is so good, too good. He’s never been drunk, never smoked, never partied, never had a girlfriend, never had sex and wait for it…he doesn’t know who Beyonce is! Come on, even the Pope knows Beyonce! I’m not saying I want a bad boy but he’s too straitlaced. I want someone with experience; been there, done that and had enough but with a little swagger left over. I know he’s a good man and will be a fantastic husband and father but what about passion, doesn’t that count for anything? All I’m asking for is a little something extra…like a glass of water with a slice of lime in it. It’s still water but with an added tang. Is that asking for too much?

Monologue Series: My Body, My Faith

I’d hoped a few kisses and a little groping would be enough but I overestimated my threshold for self control. I tried to stop but my body wasn’t having it. My heart was racing like sand in a hurricane, my senses, swept up to heights far beyond the reach of my conscience. I remembered Pastor’s sermon on celibacy. Does he think us singles are made or bricks and mortar? What are we supposed to do with our emotions and needs? Pastors, hypocrites the lot of them! After they’ve had their fun and bedded half the female population of the world they become born again, get married and start preaching abstinence. Whatever!

“What about God?” I asked the voice whispering in my head, “What does God know about sex? As his fingers found their way beyond the boundaries of my tank top, I knew it was now or never. If things went any further, I would be powerless to stop him. I remembered the last time we did this. I promised myself, promised God it wouldn’t happen again yet there I was, about to drop my skirt round my ankles and satisfy the lust of my flesh. Surely God would forgive me this time too? Besides, He’s all knowing so He knew this would happen, no? Yes, if I confess my sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive me. I asked if he had protection and when he nodded I made a mental note to repent and gave myself up to the moment.

I shouldn’t have. I felt sick, kill me now and end my misery kind of sick. What was I thinking?! I couldn’t breathe, the weight of the guilt was cutting off my air supply. I stared at my naked form sprawled on the sofa and for the first time understood how Eve must have felt when she first discovered she’d been roaming the garden in all her glory. I reached for the throw dangling from the arm of the sofa and wrapped myself in it. When he kissed me goodbye I feigned enthusiasm. I didn’t need him hanging around trying to find out what was wrong, I wanted him gone. Again I remembered Pastor’s sermon on celibacy, this time it made sense. I thought about how hard I’d been working on my relationship with God after the last time. I’d repented and knew God had forgiven me but couldn’t forgive myself. For months I was convinced everything that went wrong in my life was my punishment. I had just about gotten the hang of this celibacy thing. Why did I run into Babs at the gym?!

Dragging myself off the sofa, I made my way to the bathroom. Standing under the shower, I began to scrub myself clean. I scrubbed and scrubbed but the dirt wasn’t external. I stared longingly at the bottle of bleach standing next to the bathtub. Perhaps it would beach my blackened soul? I shook the thought out of my head. Wrapping myself in a towel, I turned off the shower and made my way into the bedroom where my white bed sheet stared mockingly at me. “So much for purity,” it smirked. I wept. Never again, I promised God, never again! I knelt and began to pour out my heart in prayer. I told him how frustrated I’d been, how hard I’d tried to stay away from Babs. For the next three days I fasted, prayed and ignored Babs’ calls, deleted his messages.

On the fourth day I was getting ready for bed when I heard my doorbell. “Ignore it,” a voice whispered in my ear. “It might be important,” another warned. I decided it might be important and opened the door to find Babs staring at me, confusion in his eyes. “Why have you been avoiding me Anita?”

“We shouldn’t have, I shouldn’t have.”

“You shouldn’t have done something that’s as natural as breathing? How many times will we go over this? I’m a Christian too you know. God hates promiscuity, but there’s nothing wrong with intimacy between two people who genuinely care about each other. You know I want to be with you, I want us to go the distance.”

“If it’s so right why do I feel so guilty? I can’t let it happen again, I just can’t! ”

“You can and you will! We both know you want this as much as I do, why fight it?!” Taking my face in his hands, he kissed me. My head forgot, my body remembered. “Did that feel wrong?”

“No,” I whispered. That was all the invitation he needed.

Monologue Series: Unrequited Love

          I watch him as he dresses up, one arm shoved into a sleeve of his crisply ironed white shirt and then the other. One button done up and then another and another till it’s all buttoned up. That’s how this mess started. A coffee here, a mojito there. Dinner with friends, dinner for two and before I knew it I was lacing his shoes, sending him off to work with a hug and a kiss. Friends with benefits, that’s what my friend Debbie calls it, this screwed up arrangement that’s turning me into a nervous wreck. Damn it! I don’t want to be his friend and he knows it. I love him and he loves me too. He’s never said it but I know he does. The way he looks into my eyes, cradles my head in his hands, tickles me till we collapse in a heap laughing, the number of times he’s told me how grateful he is to have me in his life… what else could all that mean? Damn that girl for breaking his heart!

           It couldn’t have been easy for him to discover that the girl he’d been planning to spend the rest of his life with was cheating on him. I would never do that to him though.  I thought he needed time, time to see that I’m not like her. I told myself to be patient and I have been, so much so that my friends think I’ve lost my mind. I think I have too. How long is a girl supposed to wait?! It’s been a year and I’m still waiting. How long does he need to get over his ex? Like seriously!

          I’m scared. Scared to ask him what this thing between us is. When people ask if I’m in a relationship I don’t know how to respond. What am I supposed to say, it’s complicated? Damn it Femi, what do you want from me?! In one breath you tell me I’m the most important person in your life and in the next, you say we’re just friends. What am I supposed to think? I can’t stand this anymore. I need to know where I stand. Do you care enough to commit or is this a strictly cum and go affair for you?

******************    

“What do you want from me Femi?” It took him so long to respond, I thought he didn’t hear me.

“What do you mean what do I want from you?”

“I didn’t speak Chinese. It’s a simple question, answer it. What do you want from me?”

“You women ask the strangest questions. Isn’t it obvious?”

“If it was I wouldn’t be asking. You say you want us to be friends yet you spend your nights tucked between my thighs. What am I supposed to think?!”

“You think what I tell you…that I want us to be friends”

“Then why the hell are you boning me! Is that what friends do, have sex with each other?”

“I’ve got to be at work in half an hour, I don’t have time for this Abs. You know the score.”

“Like hell I don’t! You’re a friend who cares about me, thinks I’m special, thinks you’re a better man for having me in your life, takes me out on romantic dinners and surprises me with thoughtful present, touches me like your life depends on it and goes to asleep in my arms…is that the score?

“I’m not ready to be in a relationship. The last time…”

“Damn the last time!” I screamed cutting him off mid sentence. “Yes she cheated on you but was two years ago Femi, you can’t punish me for another woman’s sins.”

“Who said anything about punishing you? I have to go Abi.”

“You can’t leave me confused. I can’t go on like this, it’s killing me. I need to know where I stand. I love you and you know it but do you love me? Is this thing going anywhere or is this it for you?”

Tearing his gaze from mine, he picked up his briefcase and silently headed for the bedroom door.

“Femi, I need to know,” I pleaded as he opened the door. He turned around and the instant our eyes met I realised how foolish I’d been. “I need to hear you say it. Say it so I can move on with my life,” I whispered, tears streaming down my face.

“This is all I’m offering Abi, I’ve always been clear about it. You can’t blame me if you allowed yourself hope for more. I care about you but I’m happy with what we have. It works perfectly for me.”

“What about me Femi? Doesn’t what I want matter? You can’t do this to me Femi, you can’t!” I sprung to my feet and latched onto his shirt collar. “When will you be ready? You have to be ready! I’ve waited a whole year, you can’t do this to me!”

“You don’t get to tell me what I can or can’t do. If this isn’t enough for you, make sure you’re not here when I get back.” Flinging me onto the bed, he adjusted his collar and walked out of the room, slamming the door behind him.

Monologue Series

There’s a guy you really like.  He says he likes you but isn’t ready to commit to a relationship. You hope he’ll change his mind, hope you can help change his mind. When he kisses you, you kiss him right back. He reminds you how much he cares about you and how wonderful a friends you are. You cling to hope, the hope that in time he’ll see sense and realise how lucky he is to be wanted by you. You get horizontal. Before you know it you’ve been on your back for a whole year and he’s still telling you how he needs to take his time before committing to a serious relationship. You’re now hopelessly in love with a man who won’t commit.  

******************    

You meet a guy. He’s a bad boy, all wrong for you and you know it but the attraction is palpable. There is no way on God’s green earth you would consider dating him but you can’t let him walk on by without leaving a little something behind. You tell him nothing can happen between you but you will him to disbelieve the words passing through your lips. When he touches you, there’s an explosion. You wanted it to happen and it carries on happening but you know you will never commit to him. All you’re after is someone to scratch that itch and as soon he does, you let him go. You go to church on Sunday, repent and take up your cross of celibacy…until the next one comes along.

******************

He is perfect for you; you couldn’t have created a better man if you created him yourself. He ticks all the boxes, is everything you thought you wanted in a man. Now that he’s standing in front of you, you’re not so sure anymore. He is boring, too straitlaced, swaggerless. You’re not saying you want a bad boy but you want someone with…experience. A reformed bad boy. Been there, done that and had enough of it but has some residual sparkle in his eyes, a little swagger left over in his step. He still ticks all the boxes but has a little something extra you didn’t know you wanted…till now. You know you’ve found a good man but do you hold onto him or let him go hoping someone more ‘exciting’ will come along someday?

******************

You’ve been around and everyone knows it. It was fun while it lasted but you’re ready to settle down. You’ve thrown out the black book, cleaned up your act but your reputation precedes you. No one wants their brother to date you, their son to marry you. The big boys know you and they sure as hell won’t marry you. You find yourself a good guy, untouched by the rumours that circulate the ton. You give him an overview of your past and tell him how you’ve seen the light. He believes in second chances, believes that people change. He gets to know the new you and falls in love with you. By the time the details get to him, he’s well and truly sprung. He stands by you, marries you. To him you’re a princess but to the rest of the world you’re the skank that got lucky. It really pisses you off and you wish people would stop judging you based on who you once were. You now fully understand what the term ‘mud sticks’ mean.  

******************

 Hey guys!

You’ve just met four characters in a four part semi-fictional series I’ll be developing for this blog. Thanks to blogging, it’s been ages since I wrote anything resembling a short story. I’ve challenged myself to write four monologues centred on the four characters I’ve just introduced you to. I can’t believe I’m publicly committing to doing this giving that I know many of you will hold me to it. I’m a little bored of my recent posts so I thought I’d try and shake things up with this series.

Stay tuned!!!

xXx

Waila

p.s.

I asolutely LOVE the painting I used. It is copyright of the artist and was taken from the broadway gallery’s website www.broadwaygallerynyc.com

What Would You Do If…Your Partner Was Unfaithful

Infidelity is not a new phenomenon. It existed in biblical times and it’s done a pretty good job of staying relevant.  Every day I open a newspaper, there’s one more politician that’s been caught cheating on their partner and one more pop star caught frolicking with their backing dancer. I speak to people I know and someone’s uncle’s been cheating on his wife while someone else’s mother’s been cheating on her husband. Someone is always cheating on someone and I pray fervently to God that my name will never be someone.

The women I’ve asked about infidelity are more likely to be analytical about it, conjuring different scenarios and factors that would affect their decisions. I’ve met some women who have accepted that men will always cheat and as a result have resigned themselves to the inevitability of marrying a cheating man.  The average man on the other hand, is much less forgiving about the prospect of his woman cheating. Every time I’ve consulted a man on the issue, the speed and passion with which they’ve declared the hypothetical marriage over, has been consistent.  

My heart literally (and I mean that) aches when I imagine my partner cheating and I beg heaven every day, that it will never be my reality.  I wouldn’t know what to do. If he was my boyfriend I would most likely end the relationship in a heartbeat but if he was my husband would I divorce him? Would I forgive him? How would I know he wouldn’t do it again? What if he wasn’t even sorry he did it in the first place, would I fight for my marriage for the sake of any children we might have?

The scenarios are plenty and questions even more so.

So tell me, what would you do if you discovered your partner/boyfriend/husband was cheating on you? Would there be any factors that would make you more tolerant of his/her action?

I’d really like to know.

xxx

Waila Caan

Tales From My Motherland: Always Convert

I think in sterling. It’s the currency I get paid in and settle my bills in. Other currencies mean nothing to me, not unless I convert them to sterling. Whenever I cross the borders of the United Kingdom, I commission my mental calculator. It’s the only way I know whether or not I’m getting a good deal.

“How much do you charge to shape eyebrows?”

“Waxing, razor or tweezing?”

“Razor.”

“Aunty it is N1,500.”

250. 500. 750. 1000. £4. 250. 500. £2. £6. Marginally cheaper than the £7 I grudgingly pay at my local salon when I can’t be bothered to trek to Upton Park. I decided £6 was a small price to pay to trim the bush masquerading as my eyebrows.

Oya, come and shape it for me.”

…………………………………………..

“Julie Julie! How much will you charge me for twists? Not too tiny, medium sized.”

“Aunty na N10,000 you go pay.”

250. 500. 750. 1000. £4. Multiply that by 10. £40. In London, yes, but in Abuja?!

You be thief?!As I dey here so, if you shake me, that kind money no fit fall commot for my body. I beg call better money make we start.”

I ended up paying £20.

…………………………………………..

“My friend, this big bottle of Dettol, how much?”

“Madam na N3,000.”

250. 500. 750. 1000. £4. Multiply that by 3. £12. *dead* WHAT?!

Na gold you melt pour for inside bottle?! Una like to make person vex for this market. Which kind price be that?!

Madam na so we dey sell am. The price don go up e don reach three months now.

“You ,’ I said pointing a finger at the trader, “YOU, you fit buy Dettol for N3,000?”

“But madam, no be me wan buy am,” he giggled.

Cheeky monkey.

“That other size nko, 750ml, how much?”

“That one na N1,500.”

“Chineke! £6 for that small bottle?!” Sigh. “Oya bring that one but na N1,200 I go pay o.”

Wetin man go do? I was desperate.  

…………………………………………..

“Do you do hot food?”

“Yes, we do Panini’s and toasted sandwiches.” The waiter handed me a menu.

House Special Panini, N2,000. 250, 500, 750…£8 for a Panini. Everytime I pay £3.89 for one at Starbucks, I curse Tesco for being so far away from my Office. I flung the menu.

“Madam, you’re not ordering?”

Not on your life mate, not on your life.

My friends couldn’t stop laughing at me. I didn’t care. No one, NO ONE was going to cheat me in Lagos.

Nonsense!

Tales From My Motherland: Don’t You Just Love Family?!

Everytime I visit Nigeria, I meet a family member I’ve never met before. This time around I met my cousin EverReady, whose mother is my mother’s second cousin. Fortunately for him, his parents didn’t name him EverReady, I did.

On my first day in Lagos, I was awakened by the scent of EverReady’s cologne. He was dressed in jeans, a t-shirt and leather slippers. I wondered where he was going but I’d only known him a few hours so I decided to mind my business. He didn’t go anywhere, he was home all day.

On day two, I woke up to find EverReady dressed like P-Diddy (or whatever he calls himself these days) on his way to the Grammys. His grey and white striped shirt was starched to stiffness and tucked into a pair of black trousers, held in place by a handsome looking belt. The black leather shoes that imprisoned his feet were polished to mirror. This one wants to confuse all the girls in his office, I thought to myself. I wondered where he worked but didn’t ask. I barely knew the guy, cousin or not. We exchanged polite good mornings and then he proceeded to roam around the house all day, moving from room to room like a ticket inspector hunting down fare dodgers.

Day three. I woke up and headed for the living room. I opened the door to find EverReady in a pair of jeans, a dazzle-the-chicks shirt and the black shoes he had worn the day before. I had to say something.

“If you know you’re not going anywhere today, I beg you, go and change.”

“Why?” he asked, obviously confused.

“Who are you trying to convince that you have things to do? Every day you dress up like a betta person and then sit at home watching movies. If you know you’re not going anywhere, off your cloth and stop oppressing me!”

 He burst out laughing. I fell in like with him.

My family were the best thing about being in Lagos.

KFC smothered Efiko with constant displays of affection and Efiko pretended KFC was the most repulsive creature to ever grace the face of the earth.

I harassed Efiko every time I walked past the dining table where she sat furiously tapping away on her keyboard, notes scattered all around her. ‘Are you the first person to go to school? I beg stand up from there jo, efiko!’ ‘I’m not an efiko!’ she would protest, eyes still glued to her notes.

EverReady provoked CousinR every time she questioned his kitchen etiquette. ‘You’re not happy I help you in this kitchen. When you go to your husband’s house will he help you?!’ CousinR, the gentlest soul you’ll ever meet, always lacked a fitting retort. ‘Erm erm…you’re not serious! It’s not your fault!’ she would squeal in her high pitched voice.

Efiko and I relentlessly teased KFC about his expanding waistline. We would have left him alone if like me, he humbly accepted his reality and vowed to go on a 40 day fast. ‘I’m not fat,’ he would object, ‘I just have big bones and plenty of muscle.’

I teased my Uncle T mercilessly when he dragged KFC and EverReady out for an early morning walk only to come home and devour a huge mound of semovita and banga soup for breakfast. ‘I play tennis at least twice a week,’ he defended himself, palm oil dripping from the corners of his mouth.

I felt loved every time CousinR called home from work to check if I wanted or needed anything.

‘I’m in Shoprite, do you want a pizza?’

‘No thanks Cuz.’

‘Burger?’

‘No, thank you.’  

‘Nandos?’

‘Nah, I’m okay.’

‘Ice-cream? You can keep it in the freezer for later?’

I gave in. Isn’t she a sweetheart?!

Being in Lagos reminded me just how important family is.  In spite of all the migraines they induce, I love them, most of them, dearly. The same blood runs through our veins and that blood as they say, is thicker than water.

Tales From My Motherland: Touchdown

As I walked off the plane and into the airport terminal, I breathed in a familiar smell; heat. I don’t know about the sun that shines over the rest of the world but the Nigerian sun has a smell. “It’s the same sun,” I hear you say. In theory yes, but those of you that know, know what I’m talking about. A few other smells assaulted my nostrils; stale air, sweat, damp and bodies…loads of bodies. Deodorant don finish for market? I smiled as nostalgia embraced me. It smelled like a QC (Queen’s College) dormitory.  

There were kiosks everywhere, all selling epileptic looking chicken joints and leprous meat pies; the kind every parent warned would ‘purge you.’ The glass houses they were displayed in looked like they hadn’t been cleaned in months, if ever. In the distance a huge banner swayed to the rhythm of the breeze blowing from the ceiling fan above it; “Aqua Massage Before You Board.” To the right of the banner were two massage tables. Why anyone would want a massage at the airport, I know not.

Suitcases trickled onto the conveyor belt like drops of water from a dry tap.

“What is wrong with these people,” I heard a woman complain, “Do they think we want to sleep in this airport? They should free our luggage so we can go home.”

 “Madam we are doing our best. Una think say na machine dey carry the load commot from plane?!”

“Are you crazy?Who do you think you are talking to?! You are silly. If you like your job you had better shut up and go and learn how to talk to people.”

“Madam, you sef no sabi talk to person…”

And so the woman began to trade insults with a member of FAAN’s staff. “Customer is King,” many organisations preach. Not in Nigeria. “Respect yourself” is the gospel we subscribe to.

Madam, you wan use phone.” A young man shoved a battered looking mobile phone under my nose.

“No, thank you.”

You sure say you no wan phone the person wey suppose come carry you?”

I say I no want, na by force?” I responded, my tone laced with irritation. I’d been up since 4am and it was 9.30pm. My patience and tolerance were fast asleep.

No vex now, madam. Credit nko, you go buy?

 I stared at this young man desperate to get a few quid out of me. I reminded myself that all he was trying to do was make a living. I reminded myself of how much I despise ill-mannered people. I woke my conscience.

Oga, I no want credit and I no wan use phone. I take God beg you, I don tire, I no fit talk. I beg leave me.”

To my relief, he apologised and walked away.

Out of the corner of my eye I saw my cousin, KFC, approaching. Home at last…or so I thought before we got lost. My cousin, EverReady, who was driving doesn’t know his way around Lagos and his two co-pilots, KFC and Efiko, who claimed they did, didn’t. Apparently they got lost on their way to the airport too. We found ourselves heading towards Badagry, a town on the Border of Lagos. KFC and Efiko consulted Google maps on their Blackberrys for directions. Google maps, in Lagos? Gen gen.

Wait o.

Why are people running across the motorway? Do they want to die? Only in Lagos. Only in Lagos will a man stand and chat on his phone in the middle of the express. Only in Lagos do people drive with the flat of their palms permanently depressing their horns…hazard looming or not.

I’m about to change gear. Toot toot!

I’m about to turn left. Toot toot!

Yay, Rhythm 93.7 is playing that song I like! Toot toot!

Aha, ki lo n se were yi. O ri moto mi abi nkan se e ni?! Kuro jare, oloshi! Toot toot toot!

It’s a miracle I didn’t lose my hearing.

I tried not to worry about the trailers and tankers surrounding us, all looking like the wind of a mosquito’s sneeze would topple them. I was too tired to worry about the way people were driving, like they had taken leave of their sense. They changed lanes without indicating, crossed intersections without looking left or right. They made sure the centers of their cars were comfortably sitting on the white lines Governor Fashola painted to clearly demarcate one lane from another. Apparently, the lines are there to be straddled.

I slept and prayed that by the time I opened my eyes again, it would be to the sight of my Uncle T’s house, my home for the next ten days.

I thank God for answered prayers.