To say I am the least bit interested, is an understatement.
Today is the day the second son of Princess Diana of England, Prince Harry, is getting married. And not just to some rich spoilt princess from some obscure lineage. Harry is getting married to a divorcee with African ancestors. And she does not have any royalty whatsoever in her bloodline - Well, that's what the media has been feeding us all.
Apart from cheering the fact that Meghan Markle's mum is a single mother who raised her child alone, like I find myself doing, I don't think I paid all that news any attention up to this point. Thinking about it as I do my laundry right now, has me wondering that maybe something is wrong with me after all.
I freeze then wince, as JD screams again. I can tell when he's excited, or happy, angry or upset, by the tone of his screams. My four year old son is finally expressing himself, and as far as I am concerned, its a lot better to hear sound from him, than acute silence every day. This scream means excitement.
"Well done", I hear from behind. I fix a smile on my face before I turn around and return the greeting. My mum is an academic, and a workaholic. Today is Saturday yet, she had to put in some hours at one of her jobs. I don't mind, as I'm trying to be as invincible as possible.
"How was your day mum," I ask, as I try hard to keep the smile on my face.
"Hectic" she replies, grabbing a plate from the rack. "You are doing your laundry?"
"Yes mum" I reply. "It's easier to do that when JD comes to visit you."
"True." She agrees as she dishes some jollof rice onto the plate. "But you are missing the royal wedding. Is it not showing on DSTV?"
"Yes it is." I say, as I turn back to fiddle with the remaining clothes in the basket. I am hoping that she will be fooled into thinking I really need to sort them into categories.
"Have you eaten?" she asks. "The chicken stew is delicious. Have you tasted it yet?"
I knew what would come next. If I said No, she would insist I dish mine and come sit with her so we eat together. Of course, she would grill me about what I had been up to as regards work and what was exciting in my life recently.
And if I said Yes, she would insist I come to sit by her so that the food would digest very well then still ask the questions.
My mum is Professor Adetoni, one of the best psychology lecturers in the University of Lagos. I'm my mother's daughter, so I did the unexpected.
"Hello?" I said into my phone. "How far now? Hello, can you hear me?"
Then I walk out of the kitchen muttering "Network wahala".
I could feel her eyes boring into my back as I walk by. I won this time.
Hours later, on my way back to my apartment, I sigh in relief. I had escaped today but tomorrow would still be another opportunity for her to ask those questions. I don't understand why she won't just let me be.
It's been almost a year since I came back to Lagos with JD, and I have been trying my best to not think about anything in the past. The hurt has lessened, and I can actually think of Femi and his family without a storm building in my head now - that is tremendous progress for me. But my mum the shrink, wants to discuss it every time. I don't see the point of holding on to the pain, or memories, and I want to move on. That's part of the reason I got an apartment for myself and JD. It's something small, a studio, but being able to live alone for the first time in my life felt great. I also got a job as a customer success manager, for a firm outside the country. I enrolled JD in a school within walking distance to my apartment, and I signed up at a Co-Work location, close by.
When Femi had come to Lagos after five months of silence, to check on his son, I used that chance to fly to Abuja to pack all our stuff. What I could not cargo, I gave it to an orphanage home and flew back the next day.
I grinned for hours when he returned to an empty house and asked me what was going on. I am done with it all, that's what's going on.
I stop walking and take two deep breaths. As I try to think about something else, my phone rings.
"Hello Linda", I say into the phone as I open the gate to my apartment compound using one hand, while trying not to let go of my bag of luggage.
"You no dey watch the royal wedding (You are not watching the royal wedding)?" I ask, switching to Nigerian pidgin language in a beat.
Linda is one of the girlfriends that came to my rescue last year when I landed. She had refused to let me sit at home and mope, always coming by to take me out so that I could "receive fresh air" as she put it.
"When e no go put any money for my pocket (when it wont put any money in my pocket)", she replied. "Wetin I come dey find there? (What am I looking for there?)"
"My igbo sister! You too like money!" I exclaim. The igbo tribe of Nigeria are known for not missing a chance to make money anywhere, and Linda was no exception.
"Leave that one jare (Let that go)", she replied. "I get gist for you (I have small news to give you)".
"You do?" I repeat as I open my front door.
"Yes na" Linda exclaimed. "There is this party that we have been invited to, at ..."
"Hold it right there Linda," I interrupt her as I lug the laundry bag through the door and close it. "I am not going to any party with you o. You know I wont go with you. Abi the 'we' means you and someone else?"
"Its you and I o, and you have to go for this one." she replies. "You have been cooped up for too long."
"That's not true and you know it." I reply. "I have been an active member of the WordPress comm...."
"I am not talking about work-related events dearie." she interrupts me. "I mean fun fun events, like real parties and beach front dos and the likes. Oya tell me which one you have gone to in the last few months."
I sigh. "Linda you know I am still married technically."
"Save the sob story please." she interrupts me again. "I am not asking you to sign up to become a stripper here. Just attend this party with me. Have fun. Meet new people. Is that too much to ask?"
"Don't answer that." she adds.
"You are going down in a spiral and it's not good." She adds. "It pays you to relax and have fun especially on weekends when JD is with your mum."
I agree with her wholeheartedly. It's just that my idea of fun is different from hers. Linda is the soul of a party, and can drink many guys under the table. On the other hand, I barely know how to mingle except in Tech events. I did not really date before I got married, and eight years with a boring engineer can ruin your party mood totally, especially when you had very little to begin with.
A few minutes later I find myself booked as Linda's designated driver for the party. I sigh again as I sort the house. Between my shrink mum and Linda, I don't know who knows how to twirl me better.
Later on, as I munch some cookies, I google the Royal wedding. Trust my fellow Nigerians to come up with ways to affiliate with the event and make it Nigerian. There were plenty "aso-ebi" (traditional uniform wear) pictures, photoshopped wedding invitations and jokes all over the internet.
I find a short video of the couple, listening to the sermon. The love in Harry's eyes is beyond compare. It's as if he is the one getting the gold in the romance. Here is a royal prince, of one of the biggest, oldest dynasties in the world, getting married to an American divorcee from a dysfunctional family riddled with loads of drama, and he is staring at her and holding her hand like, Did she really say Yes? Am I dreaming?
I wish there were men like that in Africa.
Yes, I wont limit the scope to Nigeria because that may ensure that none is found at all.
If only wishes were horses...
(Photo credit: https://www.elle.com/culture/a20757227/royal-wedding-lip-bite-harry-meghan-amazing/)
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In Her EyesRomance
The first in the SiMoNe series, In Her Eyes is about Adeyemi, who has run away from her schizophrenic husband with her son in tow. She thought coming back to Lagos was her greatest hurdle but little did she know that to survive after the flight will...