Diary of an Ibadan Girl: Entry 8


Idris has been back for like a week and I only just saw him yesterday. Who would have thought that, me “Hyper Lee” of the “Hyperactivity kingdom” would be able to wait for six days before seeing you-know-who. With the way I’ve been telling myself that I was not going to eat or rest until I saw him. 

Initially, I was supposed to go to them Sekky’s house the day after she called me to inform me of his arrival. But this life ehn. Only God knows best sha because our plans are not always His.

That was how Mummy Ranti came to see Maami that morning o. Mummy Ranti is not exactly a friend nor a family member. She’s not from either sides of my parent’s and she is quite younger than them to be regarded as a friend. Let’s just say she’s one of those people one can’t push away because she could come in handy on some days. She sometimes helps with cooking on days when we have large company and during festivals. She also helps Maami with chores at periods while we are away at school and Maami needs to attend to things at her shop. She could really be great help but nkan kan noni o ba ese ajao je. Mummy Ranti can talk for Africa! She is one of those people who always had several tales of misfortune to tell anyone that was willing to listen. Mummy Ranti was the one that came to tell my mother about a party she went to, that they were serving puff-puff on top of rice instead of meat because the woman that was in charge of food arrangements ran away with the Maalu. 

She’s always full of Kati-Kati stories. 

So, when she arrived that early morning at our house, I knew it was going to be the usual rounds of endless unsolicited gist. What I wasn’t expecting was that, that usual unsolicited gist was going to ruin my own day. 

I was in the room getting ready to leave for Sekky’s house when I started hearing, “Ikunle abiamo o! Te ba ri Oku eeyan loju titi..”, I don’t even know the English word for Ikunle abiamo but what she was saying was that, we should come and see many dead people on the road. I barely paid attention because it was typical for Iya Ranti to be narrating such news. She would not only narrate the original version of whatever incident she was narrating, she would also add pepper, ginger and garlic for effect. It is now left for you, as a sane person, to pick out the part of the story that made sense to you. Mummy Ranti is an exaggerator extravaganza. I sha continued getting ready n’temi. 

When I finished, I went to Daddy’s room to steal out of his perfume. He kukuma doesn’t wear much of it. 

Then, I went to tell Maami that I was going to Sekinat’s house and that I may be gone for the better part of the day. As I carried my bag like this, pe, let me come and be going bayii, that was how Mummy Ranti just said, “Aunty Morenike, E ma Gba express leni o. Shey e gbo nipa accident to shele lona express laaro yii? Mo sheshe nso fun mummy yin ni”, “Don’t commute along that express road today o. Have you heard about the motor accident that happened along the express road this morning? I was just telling your mother”. 

Ooto ma ni. Aye e a da, Iya ranti. Oshey to tie ran mi leti”, “True. God bless you, Mama Ranti. Thank you for reminding me”. Maami then said to me, “Morenike, bawo lo Shey fe rin irin e leni bayii? O mo pe o gbodo gba express o. To ba de je pe wa lo ri Sekky ore e lojo imi. Abi?”, “Morenike, how do you want to do your waka-waka today? You know you can’t take that express route o. Unless you would go and see Sekky at another time o”

Thing is, Sekky’s house is located at Sanyo. To get there, one would have to take the express road. Express road and express route only. 

E je kin bi Sekinat na. Pe bawo lo shey je”, “Let me ask Sekinat about the situation of things”, I told her.

By that time, Maami was already giving me the, “you’d better go and off cloth” look. That was when I picked my phone and dialed Sekky’s line. 

“Babe, how far? Won ni accident shele ni express, shey looto ni?”, “They said an accident occurred along the express road, is it true?”, I asked Sekky. 

“Yeah o. One car wanted to overtake a trailer. Bi iyen shey gba soun niyen. But there were no casualties sha (this is infact contrary to what Newscaster Mummy Ranti had said earlier). Just that there’s a little traffic along the road. You know today is a Saturday. I heard it’s clearing up now though. You still dey come?”, Sekky asked.

I had intentionally put my phone on speakerphone all this while so Maami could hear our conversation. I looked at my mother’s face and I realized I had already lost the battle. She was going to take Iya Ranti’s word over Sekky’s regardless of whatever was said. In her mind, I was going to go and die along that road ni like that. 

“I’d let you know, sweetie”, I said to Sekky as I went back to my room while in my head, I continued to slap Mummy Ranti’s face over and over with an imaginary shovel. She was the one that brought bloody gist into our house early in the morning and put apprehension into my mother’s mind. I was so mad at her. 

And as if that was not enough delay, Mother Nature decided to strike the next day when I had made plans again to go out. I got my period and I suffered the usual rounds of excruciating pain that came along with it every month. Whether or not I took my drugs, the first two days are always the worst. This time, it was even terrible as I ended up fainting on the morning of day two. My mother was just saying, “To ba wa fe bimo nko?”, “What will happen if you’re now giving birth?”. Shebi, we’ll sha wait and see first, I said in my mind. It was kuku not my fault. 

Anyway sha, I’m thinking of selling my Fallopian tubes. Because me I’m tired. 

That was how I was sha left bedridden for the next 3 days after Iya Ranti’s incident. 

The devil is a liar. 

Finally, God said it was going to be yesterday and no bloody gist nor menstrual cramps could stand in the way. 

I hadn’t realized how nervous I really was until I got to their house. I was just looking like a fool when I finally saw him. He looked so different than I had last seen him. Obviously. Because, it’s been years. When I saw him, I wasn’t sure whether I was supposed to call him by name or add booda. I was just looking and blushing. 

Sekky, my idiot friend kept teasing me publicly. She just kept dropping subtle hints that were undeniably meant for her brother to figure out. At a point, she said, “Morenike, iyawo wa. Bawo wa ni bayii?”, “Morenike, our wife. How far?”. It made me feel hella uncomfortable. 

That one too was just looking at me like something else. It was obvious he was quite nervous too but he handled it way better than I did. At first, he said “Oh my God. You’re so grown” Obviously, uncle. Was I supposed to stay small? 

Then after we had talked for a while, he asked me to walk with him to the car that he wanted to get something. 

Hay God! I wanted to die when he took my hand in his. How could any of this even be happening? 

When we got to the car, we actually sat there as if they had chased us out of the house. We talked for so long that everything started getting comfortable all over again and I realized there was no way in this world spending time with Idris was ever going to be uncool. 

Then, his phone rang. He didn’t want to pick it at first, but then I told him it was fine. That he could. I should have just allowed him to do as he wished jejely. The conversation he had on the phone lasted for about 10 mins and I could figure from the tidbits that the other caller was female. 

Then, when the call ended, he said, “So sorry about that. That was my girlfriend”. 

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