by Lady Kay
It is a work in progress on reincarnation, the bonds twins share, and romance..
|I am the Dreamer, you are my dream,
You stroll through my mind your face unseen.
My breathless wish for your soft touch,
I yearn for your embrace I need you so much.
Like a thief in the night you stole my heart,
You mould thoughts in my mind like sensual art.
Hours go by and you are still on my mind,
I am unable to concentrate on distractions I find.
I can see you clearly from within my minds eye,
Your sparkling eye's shining like a bright summer sky.
You touch my soul and bleed into my dreams,
I am drunk on love, intoxicated by you it seems.
My beautiful dream you have invaded my soul,
I need to inhale you to make me whole.
Just give me wings but for a time,
I'll dream a world where you are mine.
The Cosmic Dreamer.
“Good night jor.” Nifemi typed on her BBM to her best friend Nicky. “I am off to bed..It is about to rain, and I don’t want the rain to go to waste.” This last statement ended with a grin emoji.
As Nifemi slapped the leather casing on her phone shut on the screen of her blackberry classic phone, she stood up from her dressing table which had a huge mirror hoisted, her beauty products on a counter top, and a dainty red velvet seat which she had been sitting on while applying her moisturiser, she gave a long, tired yawn as she walked to her four poster bed.
The bed looked inviting, and with windows thrown open, the breeze that comes with an August rain wafted into the room.
She lay on her bed, switched off the only source of light at this time in the room which was her bedside lamp, and waited to hear the soothing sounds of rain on the roof. It came..like a bubbling temper. Pat, pat, pat.. Increasing in intensity. Reaching a stabilised crescendo.
“And thro' sheaves slit open
To lightning and rafters
I cannot quite make out overhead
Great water drops are dribbling
Falling like orange or mango”
These lines from J.P Clark’s night rain played in her head as she closed her eyes and let Morpheus, the Greek god of sleep envelope her.
It was the same dream. The one that had been occurring like a recurring decimal for the past six or so months since she turned 25 in February. Only this time, she was not Nifemi. She knew it was her, but she was not in her own dark skin, 5’6ft slender frame, almond shaped eyes, long retouched hair, and a straight nose that made people constantly ask her if she was Hausa.
She was formless..sitting on a park bench of sorts, watching children play, and feeling the warmth of the sunshine when he walked towards her.
He always looked the same. This dream man. Tall, about 6ft if her guess was correct. Not muscular like a body builder but firm muscled. He was mixed race or Fulani. As dreams go, she couldn’t ask him his ethnicity. He had that spotless, ripe plantain colour that women try to achieve using all manners of creams. His brows were thick and arched. His lashes, full and long. Aquiline face, a straighter nose than hers and the shape of lips that come with being mixed race.
“Baby, the boli seller had run out so I got you some apples. I know how you are about drinking chemically made fruit juices, so fresh fruit wins”
“know, know, I said. Your name should be Noah. Not Eric.”
We both laughed as though it was a common joke between us and he sat beside me on the bench watching the world. Anyone who saw us will know these two were in love.
Slowly Nifemi woke up. The darned alarm clock! Interrupting her dream. She slowly opened her eyes. Wanted to go deeper under the covers but she knew she had a lot to do today. It was a Saturday and while others who had Mon-Fri jobs rested, Saturday was a peak day for her.
One of her mother’s friends daughter Tania was getting married today and she was in charge of her makeup, as well as that of her chief bridesmaid. Her best two assistants will fix the other girls on the bridal train up but even if they were as good as she was, Tania had insisted no one touch her face but she. It did not help too that Ma’mi told all her close paddies even before Nifemi accepted the contract, “Ma worry ara e. Nifemi ma she fun e. “ So, even if she had marked it on her calendar to relax that weekend by going to a spa on Victoria Island, or watch a movie, it rarely ever happened. Her mother’s puppy face always made her give in. Just like it happened last week as she walked into the sitting room from the adjoining corner-piece apartment which served as her office, make-up studio, and cosmetics shop.
“Good evening ma.”
”Omo Olu abi, ba wo ni? How was your day?”
“Tiring, but fine ma.”
Not taking too much interest in what my mother is watching as I just want to shower, have a light meal, and sleep, I would be at the stairs on my way to my room when she will say; Ehen, My dear, shey you know Chief Bolanle?
That stops me in my tracks.
Me: “Chief Bolanle ma?”
Ma’mi: Ehn, Chief Bola now.. The one who owns the catering outfit. She was the caterer in charge of your father’s five year remembrance last year”
Me: “Okay, yes I remember her now.”
Ma’mi: “Her son that schooled in the U.K has graduated o. He’s now a big boy. Working with Chevron”
Me: Eiya, that’s nice. I’m happy for her.
Ma’mi: He is getting married to one Oyinbo girl that he met while he was in school. She’s only 22years old.
She emphasises the “Oyinbo” like white people are a plague , and on 22years old so I am reminded that I am “chasing money” and not concerned about finding a husband to marry me. Sometimes I think my mother is a closet racist.
Ma’mi: Oh, ke? We send our children abroad to get quality education, they come back with a degree and a wife.
I smile a small smile, yet say nothing. Any words from my mouth at this moment will encourage her to delve into a sermon of how young people forget their roots and so on.
“Anyway, the wedding is in November. A harmattan wedding. Since we are in August, I promised her you will handle the beauty aspect for the bride, her mum, and bridal train” Come and look at the invitation card.
The look on my face at this moment will turn anyone to stone, like Medusa’s head. I grudgingly walk down the stairs, sit with her on the sofa as she reaches for the gold embossed wedding card.
She tries soften the look on my face. She knows I utterly detest being given jobs without my consent or on my price terms. I am secretly hoping this one will not be an “Ore mi” thing and I will have to suck up being paid half what I charged for because of Chief Molade or whatever her name is.
“Nifemi, omo mi, look at the card. Oga oo. This small boy of that day here is getting married. See where the reception is taking place. Eko Hotel! Very classy.
Before I open my mouth to speak, my mother has transliterated the sour look on my face.
“ Oko mi jor, I have promised them..and they are going to pay more than you normally charge. Do it for your mother. You want me to cover my face in shame? How will I call Chief and tell her now that my own daughter refused ehn?”
Now she is looking at me with puppy eyes and for a moment I can imagine how proud she must be of me. Loosing a father before graduation, yet coming out with an Second class degree upper in Business Administration from the prestigious University of Lagos. Turning the corner-piece of our old Dolphin Estate home; The one good thing my gambling father left us into a small successful business since no white collar job came and basically being a “good girl”, not like our next door neighbour Iya Shakirat’s daughter who had no job but could afford to go to Dubai to buy things for her mother to sell. It was an open secret how they afford all they have. Shakirat, now a namesake of the famous singer known as Shakira had decided toughing it was not her style. Living in a rented apartment in Dophin paid for by one of her many “sugar daddies”, she was a “hot” item on the Island. Trading herself for money and making millions courtesy all the “sara” her mother did, constant drumming and singing from their house, coupled with the numerous number of animals- The sounds of the poor, innocent, bleating goats, that will make perfect “asun” and pepper soup were sometimes heard when led into vehicles to the bar-beach for sacrifices almost fort-nightly. I even hear she has bought a piece of land in the Lekki Peninsula area and will soon start building.
She came into my studio once Shakirat.
“Hi, I would love a classy look for a wedding I am attending”
She dropped a name I was supposed to decipher was a “who is who” in Nigeria but I did not give a rat’s ass. Even if it was Aliko Dangote’s party.
“You should come for the party if you are not busy. One of my friends will definitely give an arm and leg to take you to dinner afterwards. You are so pretty you know..”
She said all this between punching her Blackberry Passport with her hawk-like like fingernails, and looking up at me with her perfectly bleached to the bone face.
“No, I’ll pass” I said, I have lots of work to do.
“Your loss. You could be opening a huge studio in less than six months at Ikoyi you know. Money makes the world go round.”
She said this with a small chuckle I wondered if she just heard the phrase or was trying to impress me with her newly acquired accent. It wasn’t American or British, it was something more of the way radio on air personalities in Nigeria speak these days. Neither here, nor there. Fascinating, yet irritating. But, of business of mine was it? So long she paid for her face beat, which she did, and handsomely too! I guess the babe really wanted me to fall at the sight of crisp Dollar, Euro, Pounds and Naira notes all jumbled together.
“Do you accept Dollars?” The white walker asked?
“No. Naira or POS. You can pay when checking out”
“Ma’mi, I will do the job. But please let me know before you accept anything on my behalf. I have plans too sometimes you know? After all, you want me to get you a son-in-law, so you can have grandchildren abi? If I sit at the office all day, will he just walk in?”
She lets out a grateful smile, all the wrinkles on her face come out in a happy show. My mother is someone you can call a beautiful African woman. Average height, not fat, but a bit heavy on the hips and bosom. At 65 she looks good. Maybe, having borne only one child at the age of 40 to my kind hearted but gambling father was the secret of her good looks. Who knows? She never exercised, except when she danced in church and a few social gatherings, ate whatever she felt like, had great eye-sight, still had all her hair; which she dyed black, kept in its God-given natural state, and adored her Revlon cosmetics. You can not sell her on any other beauty product. Trust me, I have tried.
It is either they don’t make them like “used to” during she and my late father’s “Owanbe” days where she was the belle of the party, or the make-up produced now by cosmetic lines look like scented mud. A grade two retired teacher who spoke excellently well in public but at home used all the Yoruba colloqualisms I know and some I have never heard before except on African Magic Yoruba, Mrs Folake Adeboyega, or Ma’ami as I fondly called her knew how to wrap me around her little finger. When I wanted to tease her though, I called her Mrs Yega. She hated the name but sometimes it tickled her. We both knew and understood these her little games, but I loved her dearly so I allowed it 99% of the time.
To everyone else, including her shop assistants at Dophin Estate Shopping Complex where she sold laces, a business she had done for years, with most of its profits going into paying my father’s debts when he retired from Chevron, coupled with an untouchable little trust I inherited when I turned twenty-one saw me through school, paid for my training in becoming a branded make-up artiste, and setting up my business, Glam Studio, she was called Iya Nifemi.
“It is because I want you to meet someone, that’s why I agreed. Do you know the very eligible bachelors you will meet and miss at this party if you choose to keep your business branded Tee shirt and black jeans on like your assistants?”
“Ma’mi, Its advertising”
“Advertising kor, advertising ni. Your work speaks for itself. In fact, I will send your tailor some material. Pick a style, and let them know what you want. No daughter of mine will attend a wedding of this magnitude looking like an omo-odo”
I almost start to argue, but I am tired. Way too tired.
“Yes ma” I say.
Tania looked gorgeous. You should have seen her before she was given the glam treatment. Her face was a wreck. Pimples sticking out, a budding moustache, lots of facial hair, obvious testimony she had disregarded my advice on moisturising and opted for a lightening facial cream. The trap many young brides fall into because they want to look “bright’ on their wedding day, is to opt for a quick skin lightening remedy because the erroneous belief is that “fairer is finer”. I never tire to tell my brides months before the D-day. Having a natural glow, flawless skin is unbeatable, and the best favour any woman can do herself is to pamper her skin. This way, whatever you wear: be it a cheap dress from Turkey, or a designer outfit from Paris, you will always shine through.
Thankfully, the wedding went without a hitch. The event centre on the second floor of Silver Bird Galleria at Victoria Island was modestly packed with almost all the guests clad in different stylish creations of the wedding Aso-Ebi. The colour code was turquoise blue and silver and even I have to admit that Nigerian weddings are a colourful affair. Be it a huge do, or a small, modest affair. My job was done after Tania changed into her second outfit that was a total contrast to the snow white wedding gown she wore to church. A beautiful turquoise blue artwork of a dress that was a cross between Grecian style and Nigerian. You see, wearing make-up is like wearing clothes. You pick outfits based on the occasion and how you feel. So, bridal makeup is a huge departure from everyday, work make-up.
It was 3.00pm and as I made my way out of the hall, my stomach in knots with the song “Baby Girl” by Benin-Nel Oliver strained through the speakers, I felt alone. Why was I single? Wasn’t I pretty enough? Strange as it sounds, at age 25 and 6months I have never been with a man. Bluntly speaking, my hymen is still intact. All through university, boys who wanted dates with me ended up being my buddies and no one except my bestie Nicky knows.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not a stuck-in-the mud, holy reverend sister who is holding on to her “honour”. No man has just not passed the threshold of the Friend Zone. I meet one fine dude and the moment we start talking, it gets to music and football, we’re like beer buddies. Despite being a make-up artiste, I am an avid football fan, been so since I was a teenager, encouraged by my betting father, and I still have today’s copy of Complete Sports on the passenger’s seat of my faithful Toyota Camry gifted to me by daddy when I just got admitted into university. The car was a bet he won; wins which did not happen very often. He taught me to drive, and boy, did I love driving! The freedom and independence of being able to ferry oneself from point A to point B, or just drive around the estate when I am stressed, is simply golden.
Phone in hand and choosing to take the stairs to the top floor where the cinemas are located I look through the movie channel on my Blackberry Messenger List. As I check the newly released and yet to be released flicks, an Instant message pops up.
Nickynotminaj: Babe ow far?
Glam studio: I’m alright.
Nickynotminaj: Still at the event?
Glam studio: Nah. Going to the cinema upstairs. Wanna catch a movie before calling it a day homie.
Nickynotminaj: Look up
Glam studio: Up where?
“Up here”, she says.
“Hey, why did you have to send me a message a BBM. You could have called or something. For a moment there you made me feel like I was being stalked. And wipe that grin off your face. Geez!”
“Tell me you’re happy to see me jor, and stop whining” she says.
Nicky and I have been best friends since secondary school and she was like the sister I never had. She was just about my height but had a shade of being light skinned that looked like hot palm oil on the verge of being completely bleached. I liked to tell her she had missed being an albino by a hair’s breath. Freckles on her face, yellow haired and a dress size 12 body. Looks wise, we were completely opposites. Despite being an “Omo Nna”, she spoke fluent Yoruba.
We hugged briefly and chatted up to the ticket counters. I could smell the sweet scent of fresh popcorn and we blended into the small crowd of kids holding their sweets, boys and girls out for the weekend, and mothers clutching their toddlers. All the young guys around seemed to have one female companion or the other.
“So how did the wedding go”? Nicky asked.
“It went well. I had to leave when they began playing those dreadful wedding tunes” Plus, I needed some air and wanted to see a movie.
“You mean the ones that make you cry? Eiya.. Was it John Legend’s “All Of Me”?
Worse. The ever green Benin-Oliver’s song.”
“Poor you” was all she said. Nicky knew better than anyone that as much as I loved my job and every other thing else that may not be tagged feminine like football, I was a big softie at heart and weddings made me cry. Add love lyrics, the birth of a baby, a couple of movies like “Shakespeare In love”, “Seven Pounds” to that list and I became a wailing baby.
“Soon, you’ll be bride. Love will find you” She says patting my shoulder gently. Now let’s get ourselves a movie ticket and talk about creating some rock prices cosmetics, making money off them, while our prince charming are taking their sweet time to locate us.
We finally decide on Uzodinma Iweala’s “Beasts Of No Nation” that was almost starting. Grabbing two packs of popcorn and giggling over a hilarious hairdo we saw, we made our way to the theatre. As usual, the seats in front were unoccupied but the back rows quite full. Picking a spot, we sat beside a fellow bachelorette who was with an assuming beau.
The movie was truly enjoyable only if you could ignore kissing and necking sounds coming from the farthest rows up, and concentrate. It was almost 6.00pm by the time we decided to leave the galleria. I was going to drop off Nicky who was also on her way home before heading to Dolphin Estate. She lived nearby in a rented one berdroom-flat apartment which was just 5 minutes away. We were walking towards my car in the car park, she still sober from the travails experienced by Abraham Attah’s character, Agu and I lost in thought deliberating on the man in my dreams when Nicky interrupts my thoughts.
“Have you told Ma’ami”? Her shrill voice cuts cuts in.
I do not need a alfa to tell me she is referring to my thoughts.
“No I have not” I say
She stops walking. We are a feet away from the car.
“You know why. She will most likely put me on a three-day dry fast, with the intention of getting rid of an oyibo spiritual husband who is blocking the way for a husband to locate me.”
I walk to the door of my car trying not pursue the subject when she says, “It might be spiritual you know.
With my hand on the door handle, my answer is a bit too fierce, but softens a second later.
“No it is not spiritual”.
“How do you know this Nifemi? Is there something you are not telling me?”
“Here on planet earth or what? I don’t understand you”
“I mean, he is here. Right behind you.. and he’s walking down right now to what I presume is his car”
She turns around to see him walking with a steady, determined gait to his car. My fingers are frozen on the door knob as he raises his eyes and his gaze catches mine.
Oh my God! It can’t be. It is impossible. I was looking at Eric, The tall, handsome glass of milkshake of a man who I know. Only in my dreams.