Let me tell you about that time the children of my mother came to town. We had an event to attend together in Garki. A family outing. And they needed to be present. This is my sixth year in abuja-for four years I had Mr Banji with me in this town(we lived separately though) and for the last two years, I’ve lived without any family in this town. So you can imagine the anticipation when they announced they were going to be in town.
These boys are big boys in all ramifications. Lagos big boys (I should add that for effect😀). They asked me to get them a decent lodging in a fine hotel close to the venue of the family outing.
Now, the outing was taking place in the heart of Abuja in Garki. Garki/Maitama is the VGC of Lagos. Imagine lodging in an hotel in VGC? So, automatically, getting them an hotel close to my office was going to cost an arm and a leg. My maternal uncle and his wife were coming too. But they lodged in Garki eventually.
But for these boys, I was helping them to calculate how much they were going to spend even though they didn’t complain. So instead I said, why don’t you come and stay in my house?
After saying it, I became extremely worried to the point of fatigue. What will I give these boys to eat? How are we all going to sleep? I do not have an extra bed. I have not serviced my generator since Dad died two years ago. Why? He used to bring me 20L of fuel or at times, I would join his hilux on his way back and he would drive to the nearest fuel station to buy me fuel(that was the baby girl life I was living….sigh). So, I stopped using the gen. I forgot all about it.
Again, it was the period of extreme heat in Abuja. This is the most dreaded period for every inhabitant of this city especially pregnant women. But, I was sleeping like that-sometimes on the bare floor.
I had worked back to back in court that period and hardly had time to rest. The only thing I could do was to cook a pot of fried rice.
They called me in the morning from Lagos that they were on the way. I was out throughout the day but I left my keys behind. Still they weren’t around by the time I got back. Maternal uncle was already in town. He said he passed them at Lokoja and that they would soon arrive.
They eventually came around 7pm with big bags and tired faces. The younger one embraced me. We all filed in. The first thing the big one said was “I hope your gen is working?”. Just before they came, I had asked one guy to bring black market for me. I wasn’t sure the gen was going to work, I was just using faith. But the gen coughed and came to life. That gen saved me. To the boys, even if they didn’t have food to eat, the gen mattered more than anything else.
I asked them to enter the bedroom. They declined. “Do you think we are visitors?”. We are comfortable here. Before I knew it, they had turned my living room to a cozy bedroom. I gave them a duvet. One took my long chair and the other took the floor. My TV was on the loudest, tuned to sound city. They turned off the light. Every thing happened in the twinking of an eye😀😁😁
Me that I can say I have never even watched sound city before on my own tv. What do I even watch sef? BISCON TV, Bisi olatilo’s owambe station. I would never attend an owambe but I enjoy watching it.
“Is there food? Or we should go out and arrange for something?”, Lol. That was the big one again. He was speaking confidently as if he has lived in Abuja before and he knew where he could get food.
That was when I remembered the fried rice. They said okay when I mentioned the rice. I dished it for them with one meat each. It is still a sin to eat with two pieces of meat. Not on my watch. Their mother, Mrs Banji, gave us only one meat till we grew up.
Then, they asked me how we would get to Garki the next day. “Is it close to this place?”
“No. It’s very far and that’s where my office is. It’s very close to my office. I’ve arranged an Uber to take us there. I told him to come by 9am”.
“9am is too far o. Let him come by 8.30”, the big one said.
We all slept. I was in my room, on my bed. They were in their bedroom in my living room. The gen worked till the early hours of the next day. Even my neighbors knew that something different was happening in my apartment. Because after all the gens in the compound stopped working, mine was still alive. I woke up to switch it off after nepa restored light, walking gingerly so as not to step on the one on the floor. The room was very dark. I almost didn’t recognise my sitting room again.
The next morning, I dashed out to the ATM around 6am. I was thinking of what to get them for breakfast. Should I buy bread and beverage? Or akara and bread? I settled for the latter. They called me that I should start coming that they were already dressed. Me that I was still waiting for the akara to come out of red oil.
I sha got home eventually. I dressed hurriedly. They ate the food while I got dressed. I had a big pot of stew but “e no do me to cook anything”.
The Uber arrived and we went. We first went to pick maternal uncle and Aunt from their Garki hotel. We all squeezed ourselves inside the Toyota Camry. We got there before everyone. In their minds, they would have thought there would be hold up, reason why they said Uber should arrive 8.30. But the road was clean and free. This was their first time in Abuja.
At the event, they wined and dined. They met “police”-MyLord’s orderly, who wore his police uniform to the event. We all rode in his car after we discharged the Uber but I don’t know how they became so close, even closer than me wey sabi the guy pass dem.When it was time to go home, they asked me to go. They said they couldn’t come to Abuja without having a feel of the city. Why should they retire home when it was not dark yet? They told me they were going with police.
I was apprehensive but I left them and came home. I had this smirk on my face expecting them to call me that they were lost.
However, they said they were in Asokoro, Minister’s hill abi na Governor’s lodge. I said okay.
I kept checking the time. 8pm…9pm…they were still not here. I wasn’t worried.
Later when my phone rang, I grinned. I was expecting to hear “sis, we are lost o. How do we get to your house?”, But instead, what I heard was ” e wa bawa shi gate”. I did a double take.
I didn’t even notice they had gone with their bags in the morning. As I opened the gate, they came in with their big bags again, dragging it behind them. I couldn’t laugh. So all along, they had loaded their bags in the trunk of the Toyota without letting me know.
Their plan was to stay with maternal uncle so that they would travel together the next morning but uncle left from the venue.
The big one came in with a nylon of fries…fried yam and other things. I couldn’t laugh.
They sure had a feel of the city.
I took them to the park the next day. I was asking the driver if he would get to iyana ipaja and he didn’t answer me. That was how my second brother got angry and he began to threaten the driver 😀😁😁
“Why didn’t you answer her? Is it because she’s a woman? Do you know she’s our elder sister? I will deal with you on the way. What do you mean? Who do you think you are? Don’t you know you should respect women?”
The big one also joined.
“We will make sure we deal with you. You will never do this kind of thing again. Are you sick?..
They said all sorts. By now, the driver was begging them. Both of these boys were bigger in stature than this legelege driver. One of them can easily beat him up. Not to talk of two. The big one was going to sit in front and the other one just behind him. He knew he was in for it. They commanded him to apologise. He came to apologise to me. I waved him off(see levels na). I was feeling on top of the world.
These days when anybody annoys me, I’m imagining, measuring, sizing them up, comparing them to my brothers. If I imagine that my brothers can beat him up, I will walk away smiling imagining the blows they would do his head.