Of Shocks and Happenings by Joy Chime

I actually saw her o.

But I had gotten to the foot of the pedestrian bridge when she called my name. I rolled my eyes to Morocco and back, and exhaled heavily as I imagined what was to come. Then I turned.

The moment I saw her, I widened my eyes in a look of surprise as fake as the black of my mother’s hair.

”Charity!”, I exclaimed. ”My goodness!”

”You. Is this how life is? We both live in this Lagos and you could not even call or visit me. Nawa o”, she intoned.

Me to myself: And you could not nyen nyen nyen blah blah. Lookat dis human version of spoilt ogbono.

Me to her: ”Haba, you know it’s not like that na. How are you? You look wonderful as always.”

She scoffed. ”So if you didn’t see me, you would not ask abi? I’m kuku fine o. Hmm! Your cheeks are coming out o! But you’re still skinny sha.”

Me to myself: See now, shebi you would have just claimed amnesia when she called you? Instead, you’re enduring this mumu talk that is making your brain contract.

Me to her: ”Hehehe… My cheeks are not coming out o. You’ve not seen me in a long while, that’s why you think so.”

She took several snapshots with her eyes of my appearance from feet to head: fuschia pink sandals, grey shorts, pink top, no make-up, small brown bag.

I could see her mentally compare the shots to hers, and find mine wanting. She couldn’t really hide the smirk of satisfaction on her dolled-up face.

”Na so. Anyway, it’s even good I saw you. I’m getting married!” She said in a singsong voice.

The shock on my face was supposed to be part of the script, but it was genuine.

Me to myself: Oh maaan… I hope the unlucky fellow is not anyone I know.

Me to her: ”Wow! That’s great, congratulations! When is it?”

”It’s next month. I’d like you to be on my bridal train.”

I couldn’t decide which was more shocking: the news of her upcoming wedding, or the statement that she wanted me to be on her bridal train.

Before I could respond, she said, “I’m going to see my mother-in-law. Let’s talk on the phone. Do you have my number?”

”Ehm… Actually, I changed phones and sim cards. I don’t know this number by heart yet.”

”Okay, take my own. Make sure you call me o.”

I nodded in agreement. Ah ahn, of course I would call her.

She hugged me and hurried into a bus. I watched her settle in a seat as the bus left and wondered if she would demand that I fix a weave on to cover my dreadlocks to join the train.

I glanced at her number on my phone.

Then I started singing under my breath.
“… So Joro baby, take my number (take my number),
You know you can call me later (call me later)…”

“Call ko, callapo ni.”

I swept, packed the number, and dumped it in my phone’s waste bin. Then I texted my boyfriend, ”Sumn jus apun righ now. Hiz so hamazing.”

Disclaimer: Only flecks and dots of this story are true.

Creative works (literature, art and culture) emerging from Nigeria.

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