nigeria

Travel Chronicles

I met a boy once.
His name was Alex.
Okay I didn't necessarily meet that boy named Alex , I sat two seats and an aisle away from a boy named Alex.

So I sat two seats and an aisle away from a boy named Alex on a flight from Los Angeles to Paris. No I don't go on fancy vacations because I can't afford it, Paris was a stop over. I know his name is Alex because I heard him introduce himself to the lady who sat next to him. Alex wore glasses and had a stripped cardigan on which matched his socks. Both stripped but different colours. Alex had light brown hair with streaks of blonde. And also a beautiful smile. He was super nice to the old lady who sat beside him. Not technically beside beside because there was an empty chair between them. From the conversation, Alex talked about how beautiful Tahiti had been when he visited. I just listened and stole glances when I could because the lady besides me wasn't much of a conversationalist. I mean I smiled and said hi but didn't get a response. I met Alex's glance twice or thrice, I can't really remember. I'm sure he won't remember the girl in a grey cardigan with blue twists. And there's a greater possibility that he was just looking over my head or pass me.
We would never find out.
So I took got off that plane with my hand luggage and an unrealistic funny short story on how I fell in love on a 12 hours flight. I would tell this story to my friend while at the airport and almost miss my flight back to Lagos.

Months later I would be reminded of Alex when I sat next to a girl at the airport in Ethiopia waiting on our connecting flight. No I don't go on fancy vacations because I can't afford it, Ethiopia was a stop over too. She had a 3b/c afro which I thought was beautiful and I couldn't stop admiring her piercings. We shared a smile and confusion on whether the next flight boarding was ours or not. While sitting there , I noticed she had a bag of things, looked like souvenirs to me from where she had visited.
I would stand next to this same girl at LAX waiting to pick up our luggage. While I waited for my two boxes which of course one was filled with food stuffs ( a Nigerian that travels without food stuffs is that a Nigerian?) , she picked up her over sized camp bag and left. I stared at the fully grown tree tattooed on her ankle, silently wishing her good luck with whatever growth she had or wanted in life.
I should have asked her for her name.

I am grateful for French air hostesses who mispronounce your surname but escort you to board your almost missed flight.
I am grateful for different stop overs that make me feel like a seasoned traveller even though I have only two stamps from two different countries on my passport.
I am grateful for friends that keep you company with the aid of airport WiFi.
I should start collecting souvenirs , even from stop overs.
I should have taken a picture of that beautiful sunrise I saw from an airport window.
I should tell strangers that they are beautiful.
I should ask for names.
So I am grateful for Alex and the girl with the tree tattoo on her ankle.
It feels good to write again.

– for Alex and the girl with the tree tattoo on her ankle.

One Day

Nne m, I’m restless 

I want to tell your stories, I want to tell our stories

My pen is blunt and my tongue heavy

But these stories will be told

Truths reveled , sworn secrets exposed 

All hell will be let loose

Promise me one thing Nne

That when your truth is reveled, my truth reveled 

That I can still sit by your feet and rest my head on your laps 

Rub my back til I fall asleep and call me nne m

Dera’s Sister , Part I

It was very simple.

Every Sunday evening, Dera would come to get me from Ogechi’s house. On our way back she would stop to talk to Sam. I was to wait patiently like the good sister that I was until they were done talking. When she was done she would signal by saying “Ngwa Amaka let’s go” . Just by Issa’s kiosk opposite our house she would buy me sweets. And if anyone was to ask why we took long, I played a little after Dera came to get me.

It was very simple and that was how we had always done it until one fateful day …
This people should do and finish now, I though to myself. I was tired of slapping the mosquitoes that perched on my leg and I was hungry. If I had knew, I would had eaten the rice that Aunty Janet offered me

“Amaka, you no go eat rice”

“Aunty no thank you. I’m not that hungry”

The fact was , I was hungry but I refused the food. Mama was going to make ofe nsala this evening and I needed all the space in my tummy. Even though I wasn’t suppose to eat outside the house, I usually ate at Ogechi’s house. I would eat and pretend like I didn’t but Dera knew. She knew that I ate outside but she never told.

So I here I was , sitting on the pavement watching a group of ants on the wall and slapping mosquitoes that perched on my leg. I usually wondered what they discussed about. What did he tell her that made her smile so wide and be in such a happy mood. After their meetings she hardly got angry at me. She didn’t shout at me if I didn’t mop the bathroom floor after my bath. She didn’t give me mean stares when I spoke while she was speaking . She didn’t send me out when I walked in on her changing .

Even though these moments were short lived, I would willing sit on that pavement for an hour if it meant Dera would be nice to me for a whole day or two.

Dera was seven years my senior and I had come at a time when she didn’t want a toddler following her around. Mama used to make her take me everywhere with her. When she was going to a friend’s house, when she was sent on an errand; I wanted to come along

“Dera nekwa nwanne gi anya , look after your sister” Mama would always tell her

Murmuring she would give me a mean stare and it was left for me to walk fast in order to keep up with her. If we visited any of her friends I was supposed to stay in a corner and mind my business and not disgrace her. I remember one time she took me or was forced to take me along to her friend’s house. They spoke about things I didn’t understand. I know for one thing they don’t like their teachers. That part I understood because I didn’t like my Basic Science teacher too. But I didn’t know why whenever a boy’s name was mentioned one of them would start to smile and sound really funny.  Even though I didn’t enjoy their conversations I still tagged along because I felt it would make Dera like me. And for eight years all I wanted was for Dera to like me.

“Why do I always have to look after her” she would complain sometimes “She can be annoying ”

“Shut up, she’s your small sister or e maro, you don’t know ” Mama would tell her

So if it meant sitting and waiting so Dera would like me, I’ll sit and wait.

“Stop it!.. No!.. Stop it! ”

I looked up to see Dera running towards me.

Words We Wrote at Night #4

I want to loathe you

I want to bleed and paint you a picture of the misery you made me feel

Feel this pain ten times

But my weakness has become my strength

I look at you and silently pray for you

That it will be well with you

Nna m , believe me

What I feel for you is far from hate but it certainly isn’t love

– forgiveness
📷 : Diego IG: @diqueku

It’s not just photography, it’s art

Grey

I’m lying down next to a man
He don’t love me no more
He thinks about her when he’s eating my food
He talks about her with his head on my laps
Į maa na,  he whispers her name in his sleep
I fall asleep to the sound of my man calling for another
He looks at me every morning
Those eyes..
I’m searching but I end up lost
Nne, this night I will lie next to a man
He don’t love me no more