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BN Prose: Living by Akan Nweke

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“I’ll be in Lagos soon. I’ll stay only a few days. I can’t wait to see you”, Tricia, my old friend says.

She lives in Abuja, and is just out of a two-year relationship with her boyfriend.

We’ll go to the mall. I’ll take you to dinner. It’ll be a blast. It’s been like… what… five years?”

A blast, I say, thinking as I get down to this business of marriage; surely single ‘blasting’ friends are important.

Connections are important. She’ll take a cab from the airport, bring a ‘few’ things.

“We live in a small flat”, I tell her. “So you have to sleep on the couch in the parlour, because Tony and I would be sleeping in our bed while the twins sleep on their cots… Not that you can sleep there”, making a half hearted attempt at humour, my nervousness slipping.

“Not to worry”, she says. “Can you believe we’re thirty already? We’ll talk, talk and talk. There’s so much to talk about.”

Uh huh, I say, thinking she’s always been interesting and she’s an Abuja babe. So, for sure, we’ll have lots to talk about.

Wednesday arrives. I put on my jeans and tie my braids in a pony tail and make room in the kid’s wardrobe. Tricia always was a clotheshorse.

There’s a knock on the door. I rush outside to the cab. There she is looking as chic as ever; flawless, fair skin, perfectly done weave parted down the side of her face and falling down in waves down her shoulder. She is wearing thin True Religion jeans and white gold jewellery.

We hug and shriek and gurgle all at once. It’s like ‘yesterday’ and what best friends we always were. We don’t dare mention that we had a terrible fight in the University and ended up not speaking to each other for several years.

“You look fabulous, I say. So hot.”

“So do you”, she says, her smoky eyes scanning my homely outfit. My C- section won’t let me wear my ‘skinnies’.

I carry two of her bags up the stairs and she carrying the smaller bag, murmuring that her ankle aches her when she carries heavy stuff. She is wearing four inch Louboutin shoes.

“Here we are”, I say, opening the door and leading the way into the flat. My nanny carries Tami out to meet us in the parlour. Timi, my son, is still asleep.

“Very nice”, she says, when she views my flat. “So cute”, she coos at Tami.

She proceeds to unpack several gorgeous outfits and hangs them in the closet space, pushing aside Tami and Timi’s few Sunday pieces. Her Clinique makeup and bottles take up the entire bathroom top. I am wondering what Tony would think.

Over juice we talk a while. She tells me about her former boyfriend, Ahmed. That she’s “out there now. I have to live.”

“Let me make semo for you and then we’ll watch Africa Magic”, I suggest, feeling already exhausted.

She looks horrified. She doesn’t eat “like that”. Nor should I. “Fat”, she repeats several times. She wants to eat out at Halchz, in the mall.

“Oh well, she’s paying”, I assure myself.

I call a taxi and at the restaurant, she floats from the car, rushing ahead while I fumble in my bag for the fare.

In a high-pitched American accent, Tricia orders Merlot and a delicious dinner. We talk about Abuja and her travels to London, Dubai and New York and she says offhandedly that Ahmed took her to Europe for the weekend many times.

She is interesting and informed on many levels. She then goes on about her need to find a new man. “Gotta live”, she says. The bill arrives on a steel tray. It sits.

“Well, it was a wonderful dinner”, I say.

She waves her bejewelled fingers. “When you visit in Abuja, I’ll reciprocate.”

“Reciprocate?”

She nods. “Yes, I have to teach you to live. Look at me, I learn, look, live.”

“Wow”

I pay the high bill on my almost empty debit card. I assure myself that this is once in a lifetime.

She talks about the few dates she snatched up since Ahmed. How depressing she found it. “They just aren’t ‘it’. Hausa guys know how to treat a woman; I’m not sure about these other guys.”

The following three days, she drags me to the cinema, a comedy show, the dainty shops that line Awolowo Road, and the Clinique shop where the bottles are replenished. She stays up all night watching E!. She loves Kim Kardashian’s buttock job. I’m exhausted.

In the morning, I’m changing Timi’s diaper when she says I have to get my nails done. I say it’ll be dangerous because I may poke the twins in the buttock when I insert their suppository.

“You’re too fearful of everything. You have to live”, she replies.

Finally it’s the last day. After slipping into her heels, Tricia insists her ankles are aching her, so I carry her luggage downstairs. We hug. We cry. We promise to go to London together sometime and definitely we’ll call every day. What fun we had. She blows a kiss and we wave until the taxi disappears down the street.

Back at the flat, I put a pot of water on the cooker and pour semo powder in, turning it over so vigorously, sweat pours down my face. I wrap it up and put it in a cooler. For Tony when he returns. I live.

71 Comments

  1. Dam-Dam

    May 10, 2011 at 11:21 am

    Nice work, Akan!

  2. Tiki

    May 10, 2011 at 11:30 am

    I can’t be first…can I?

    • fokasibe

      May 10, 2011 at 12:33 pm

      No, you are absolutely NOT! Gotta live…..

  3. honey koko

    May 10, 2011 at 11:32 am

    The way women change after getting married. Her friend now seems like a stranger, altho dat friend is over the top.
    Very nice write up.

  4. Tiki

    May 10, 2011 at 11:36 am

    Wow, heavy stuff! does everyone have a friend like this? who always looks well put together while you look like something the cat dragged in backwards through the hedge? Who expects you to foot the bill, provide free meals and board, and then goes on to diss your life (or make snide comments)? I do…or did, until I told her where she could stick it, and that if her life was so glorious why was she always calling people up and inviting herelf over for a while, to share in the ‘boring lives?
    that said, this made for some very smooth reading…I was surprised to realise I had reached the end. Kudos, Akan! I’ll be discussin this over lunch with my girlfriend…and we shall be splitting the bill!

    • iREAD

      May 10, 2011 at 3:52 pm

      Nicely summarised. A very fluid read indeed.

  5. Sim

    May 10, 2011 at 11:39 am

    LOL! Nice one!
    “I live”, that got me.

  6. DIVAZU

    May 10, 2011 at 11:54 am

    LOL….yeah @honey koko, i know women change but thats life…for goodness sake who goes clubbing with 16 yr olds at 35…really even at 30 pa pa….life is a series of cycles go enjoy each one and move on to the next cycle with joy and contentment and even if u dint live a particular stage to its fullest it was probably for the best…..move on dont stay stuck in the past or try to be 16 forever a typical example is Micheal Jackson…we all know how that ended….enjoy life…embrace its different stages with gusto!!!!

    • Tomi

      May 11, 2011 at 8:50 am

      Thank you o – I don’t know why you would not expect someone to change after going through something as life changing as getting married or having children. What is the average age of people on this website?

    • james macpherson

      May 11, 2011 at 10:34 am

      @DIVAZU, well said and well written from a purposeful person,u are full of wisdom.

    • Kunmi

      May 11, 2011 at 11:34 am

      I love that…”life is in stages, enjoy each one”
      People need to understand that.
      🙂

  7. yehni

    May 10, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    A Simple, deep and touching story!
    There are so many ways to live and feel alive…..One can be married and still have fun…
    Friends like this must surely be avoid!

  8. fokasibe

    May 10, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    Beautiful work….I live!! Well done Akan…I’m soo impressed!!!

  9. mawuto

    May 10, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    divazu, genevieve goes clubbling at over 30……

    • Sarah

      May 10, 2011 at 5:08 pm

      Wow so Gene’s name still manages to creep into this….. and I’m sure she is content with her life and relationship statues, hence why she clubs at 32???

    • partyrider

      May 10, 2011 at 6:50 pm

      genny’s daughter is probably in school,shes home alone i guess most times,so clubbing in her situation is not an issue..u think she will still go clubbing when she gets married.nope!marriage comes with its special responsibilities esp as a woman.and the truth is as a married woman u can LIVE..it depends on the individual.if u are married with kids and still want to go clubbing all night and weekend to weekend then prepare to face want comes ur way..
      our lives have different phases that come with different responsibilities(and more responsibilities) and priorities.and marriage is a sacrifice!as a woman you are going to sacrifice ur life for husband,kids,inlaws and even ur husband’s cousins first son..
      i have married cousins who still LIVE and hold their families together,..
      Lets not misplace priorities cos we want to hold on to friendships that may end up ruining our lives..

  10. mawuto

    May 10, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    dat said, at a certain age, one should put down their clubbing shoes and attend more laid back functions. “My Opinion”

  11. Tyna

    May 10, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    wow …….. i lik

  12. Karimah

    May 10, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    Whaow… Me, I live and when I get married, I WOULD LIVE…
    Nice story. Couldn’t wait for the end.

  13. BC

    May 10, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    I really like. I try to avoid some old friends who still behave like we did back in secondary school. They have kids and all, but their constant desire for material things wears me out. I know that feeling. I live. I really like.

  14. Nonye

    May 10, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    I love that Tricia loves to “live” but next time she should live out of her pockets biko! warraahell?!

    • Yuds

      May 10, 2011 at 2:16 pm

      LOL! Seriously! Warraahell!

  15. winnergal

    May 10, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    Live and let live!

  16. bluebubbles

    May 10, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    This is a really nice write up.sometimes we married ladies forget to really live life.It could be hectic at times putting God,husband kids work,extended family,inlaws,friends,neighbours etc together and sometimes we forget to live.In the midst of all of these I never forget to make out time for myself.It could be the 1hr break at work when I take myself out for a fancy lunch or with my hubby when we leave the kids at home and just go out have fun and spend quality time together.And at times also when I have the cash I go out to trendy shops to get my hair done,buy nice make up and really get some nice clothes and I really appreciate how happy my man is when he sees me in these outfits and my nice hair and make up to with it and on most occassions he would say that this my look must not go uncelebrated to we go out and have a nice time.I think seeing me that way reminds him of the girl he married.So all in all,I dont forget to live the life as God gave.

    • Gbenga Awomodu

      May 10, 2011 at 3:20 pm

      Hi bluebubbles, Thank you for ‘living’. Your experience inspires me a great deal. Thanks for sharing. I’ll continue to live! 🙂

  17. the chikoo

    May 10, 2011 at 2:20 pm

    Nice write up!
    Believe me I understand,friends like Tricia just make u feel inadequate and I don’t like that.True friends should leave feeling happy and exicted not depressed and like someone said she should live out of her pocket BIKO!lol

  18. sandra

    May 10, 2011 at 3:16 pm

    I like the fact that the married woman was still able to connect with her friend and enjoy her presence without losing a sense of who she was and what life meant to her. We can LIVE in any circumstance in life. Married or single, female or male, young or old, rich or poor. Appreciatng the life you have regardless of what that looks like, is Living. Never feel dissatisfied, envious or ungrateful. The grass is never greener on the other side, and Now is all you really have.

  19. Gbenga Awomodu

    May 10, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    Thanks for this beautiful piece, Akan. It made for smooth reading. The last paragraph left me with several thoughts and feelings – how you wrapped up so much, heavy stuff, in those four sentences. Kudos!

  20. Heyjay

    May 10, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    Good One! Real & Akanate

  21. pynk

    May 10, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    I have noticed that a lot of Nigerian based women are out of touch with reality. there is a bit too much immersion in the E reality show lifestyles. Nothing wrong with living, but if you cant pay the damn bill? haba!

  22. The Diva

    May 10, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    Good one Akan!
    This brings to mind the sayings ‘live and let live’ and ‘the grass is always greener’ (well, at least till you get a better look!) Really lovely work.

  23. Deiz

    May 10, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    Nice one! So funny how some people live their lives and expect you to join them at your own “expense” at that. We should know when its time to let go of some friends or things, as the case may be.

  24. Sarah

    May 10, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    This is so realistic and well written.

  25. Kathryn Cage

    May 10, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    Yeah she ‘lives’ off men and friends, hopping up and down and not focused. I’m not married but i hate it when single babes visit their married friends and try to make them feel depressed that they’ve lost out on living. Who says d married one can’t get her groove back when she’s done nursing her babies! I live ko, meanwhile your friend is paying for lunch, yeye friend.

  26. akudo

    May 10, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    this is a really nice story and it clearly explains the disparity between married women and their single friends. friends like tricia are the reason why some married women prefer to stay away from their unmarried friends. tricia came and spent her friends money, promising to reciporcate when she comes to abuja, question is, when will she ever get to go to abuja, with a husband and twins???? it would have been nice if tricia had come from abuja with her papparazzi and spent money on her friend at least to make her think that single life is the best, instead of almost draining her friend’s credit card. nice one, i really enjoyed it though…….

  27. El Bee

    May 10, 2011 at 5:47 pm

    So I don’t know why I was I thinking at the beginning that she would end up sleeping with the husband! lol I watch too many movies, don’t blame me.

    Very well written! I love that I could totally picture every scene. Great job!

    • esssss

      May 10, 2011 at 8:00 pm

      hahahahaha…we had d same thoughts running through lool

  28. Lola

    May 10, 2011 at 6:22 pm

    my life….
    I’m in my final year in d university and i’m already envisaging the next stage/phase of my life after sch. realy, life is in phases, when a phase is missed, u can’t catch up with it again.
    nice story. kudos to u akan.

  29. talker

    May 10, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    FYI – Kim Kardashian didnt get a buttocks job oh…her behind is REAL

    • THE AMAKA

      May 11, 2011 at 3:16 am

      she got fat taken from other parts of her body and put into her butt. she did not aquire that butt naturally, although it is made out of natural substances.

    • Berry Feistypen

      May 11, 2011 at 1:11 pm

      If I took all the fat in my tummy and put it in my behind, would I have cheated or??

      Redistribution of assets?? If only we all had the luxury…..

    • Miss Face

      May 11, 2011 at 3:44 pm

      Reddistribution of assets! Mehnnn…. how did u come up with that one biko? Me, I live. Coming to bella naija is part of it, takes a whole load of stress off my chest.

    • Alero

      May 12, 2011 at 4:09 pm

      HEHEHHEHHEHEEHHEHE!U GUYS WONT KILL ME ON BN!REDISTRIBUTION OF ASSETS! BEST COMMENT EVER!

  30. Naz

    May 10, 2011 at 6:53 pm

    hahahahah I enjoyed this story so much! at the end, whateva ur situation….. just LIVE 🙂

  31. Purpleicious Babe

    May 10, 2011 at 6:55 pm

    I like d story. I agree with bluebubbles comment. Life moves in stages, I guess making the most of each moment by engaging in worthwhile activities. That me living.

  32. Tyto

    May 10, 2011 at 8:47 pm

    Very lovely write up……Impressing indeed.

  33. kaydee

    May 10, 2011 at 8:47 pm

    story of my life.my single friends think im boring and antisocial cos im married with a kid,but wont hesitate to want to sleep over and eat the food i sweat to cook,without batting an eyelid.

  34. ronke

    May 10, 2011 at 8:58 pm

    why does this sound so similar to an episode of desperate housewives? hmmm…..

    • Atoke

      May 11, 2011 at 12:17 pm

      Sisteh!!! u read my mind. It was well written but it sounds so much like Lynette and the Vanessa William’s character!

  35. Labby

    May 10, 2011 at 11:59 pm

    @El bee…my thoughts too exactly.
    Nice nice write up Akan,..being women, we have to keep trying to live life regardless of our responsibilities!

  36. Mary007

    May 11, 2011 at 1:21 am

    I enjoyed reading this, the fake life of many Lagos and Abuja so called happening or big girls. I only hope she did not pay the bill the other days. I had a discussion with a friend recently about how some ladies in Lagos would make you feel ackward if you are perceived as not happening and look down on you. I simply told her it’s all up to her she needs to value herself and not wait for any of these so called happening fake girls who wear fake designer handbags, fake gold and wait for their pay masters and the married ones who are forever competing with all their fakeness. To the real ladies out there learn from this

  37. Eva

    May 11, 2011 at 2:30 am

    Sounds very familiar-i’m not married bt hav a ‘very gud’ frnd who lives in Abj and makes me feel inadequate weneva she visits me @ Enugu. All she does is shop and visit salons, rejects my food sayin they r fattening-evn tho she’s fatter than i am, eats out and mks me pay d bills and kps sayin ‘i’l spoil u wen u visit, complains dt Enugu is dead and dt my life is boring. er visits wear me out bt weneva she leaves-i pat maslf and say-I’V GOT A BETA LIFE!

  38. Bums

    May 11, 2011 at 2:44 am

    that cannot be the end jo ah ah i was expecting more, it was a very good read, lol @ el bee i tell ya i too was expecting her to do some stuff with her friends hubby lol durty minds hehe…
    Yup the single friend is living a fake life go get a damn job n pay your bills instead of waiting on men, i really dont appreciate when women do that…
    awwww @bluebubbles you are soo cute n ur hubby is the best enjoy k muah

  39. Veronica

    May 11, 2011 at 3:59 am

    In my opinion, neither woman is “living”. One has lost all semblence of her former self after getting married and one is just over the top and feels entilted to having someone pay her way. Last I checked, being broke and having someone pay the bill is not “living”. Nonetheless, I think the point of the story is to cause women to examine their own lives. I am married with a child and I struggle daily to retain a sense of who I was before marriage and children…and I find myself resentful that in marriage a woman has to lose self to keep a man.

  40. C.Boss

    May 11, 2011 at 8:43 am

    this is so nice. she shuld really live off her own pocket.Lmao @warahell. Luvly Prose Akan

  41. dewowo

    May 11, 2011 at 9:36 am

    thumbs up bluebubbles & Veronica, a responsible woman will not fly on people’s wing. Pay bills sometimes when u go out EVEN with ur husband/boyfriend/friends this single act speaks volumes about u. Personally, i avoid friends like Tricia who’ll zap me both financially and emotionally!
    the puzzle here is – Tricia is a “mobile babe” always on the move. she left a guys house to be with Akan, left Akan’s house for a guys house….so shall it be, world without end!

  42. bluebubbles

    May 11, 2011 at 10:05 am

    Veronica it actually depends on the type of person u were before u got married.If u wer the party type u dont expect that to continue.with ur new responsiblities u have to cut some excesses but that doesnt mean u shud forget to live.I used to feel that way too when I had my first child.I didnt control my diet and I went from a size 10 to size 14 and sometimes I was also resentful when I saw my single friends but little did I know that deep inside their condemnation of me they actually wished they had a stable home with a husband and kid just like me.They just hide behind their envy by putting you down and making u feel like second class.Just when I made up my mind to actually get back to shape and live baby no2 came and I said to myself that this time around im actually going to rock so immediately after I put to bed I started working out with a sit up bench I didnt let my responsibilities overwhelm me.I went shopping for nice trendy clothes and learnt to rock them with heels and despite all the times I feel down I never forget to smile and laugh to my hearts content because I knw some people will give both kidneys to be in my shoes.A wife,mother and most of all,I am ME.

  43. bambam

    May 11, 2011 at 10:27 am

    all I can say is: ” to thine own self, be true”.

  44. jezz

    May 11, 2011 at 11:27 am

    Couldn’t agree more even though, I wasn’t sure where the article was headed as it came to an abrupt end. And this story sooo reminds me of Lynette and Renee of Desperate Housewives 7.
    Abeg, that Tricia is a fake as chic, don’t feel intimidated, I’m sure she’s secretly wishing she had a man and kids like you….. I can’t tell a classy gal from afar even when she’s dressed in rags…

  45. jezz

    May 11, 2011 at 11:28 am

    *fake – chic
    *I can tell a classy gal

  46. Kunmi

    May 11, 2011 at 11:31 am

    HAHAHA :). I LOVE. Not very sure I can handle someone like her though…seems like a lot of work… and money. 🙂

  47. Oyakhire

    May 11, 2011 at 11:36 am

    Great Akan! Only God knows how much thought and revision went into this AWESOME 5min read…

  48. Chinny

    May 11, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    Very well-written….I’ve read it multiple times!
    Wow- this is my first time commenting on Bella Naija–I’ve always wanted to but never had the courage. Well done Bella-Naija, definitely love the site…serves as a nice break when i need to take a 5min time-out at work:)
    With regards to the article, the friend from Abuja isn’t a true friend. There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to go out with your friend who’s married with kids- but at least pay for 50% of the bill and at least carry your own luggage (she had a C-section for Christ sake).
    I live in Toronto and have a number of good friends with kids and we have a great time when we go out, however I make sure everything I plan will work well for them (i.e affordability, time commitments etc). We do nice fun things like get a mani & pedi, go out to lunch/the clubs once in a while:) However, I don’t expect us to go to the most expensive clubs/restaurants. I ensure it is somewhere everyone (including me- the unmarried one) can easily and comfortably afford:)

  49. anitttta

    May 11, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    i gotta say tho, the married friend cld have just said the bill was too high or ask her friend to split the bill with her? (isnt that wat friendship is all about) or was she trying to prove somethg to her friend by paying all the way and draining her account? Well, as for me, i am not married bt have such friends, i always tell them before every outing that ‘this one na OYO” Or clearly tell them “abeg make we answer our father name”, but if i can pay for it all conveniently then so be it.

    The story conveys a clear message…Be true to yourself and your friends………Live and let live!!

    P.S who needs this kind of friend anyway, just cut them out of your life.

  50. Aibee

    May 11, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    I’d rather be the married woman than Ahmed’s ex fronm Abuja. Wharrahell?

  51. Anotherify

    May 11, 2011 at 9:23 pm

    Thumbs up,jare! It’s not just the single women trying to put down their married friends.It’s women in general. I had a “friend” who kept trying to condenm the choices I made for my kids, even though I’m more experienced (she’s got ONE son age 14months and 2 nannies while I’ve TWO kids ages 5 and 1 years and NO nanny). She would say stuff like ” Why do you keep buying SA huggies instead of my baby’s UK huggies?” I didnt have the heart to point out to her that (a) it actually was the other way round (b)it doesnt matter if it’s made in the deepest recesses of Oworonshoki so long as it serves its purpose (c) if it’s so repulsive then stop sending your nanny in the midnight to borrow the very same SA Huggies.

    One day, I finally broke when she had the nerve to say “What?! Cerelac!? God forbid! I make my baby’s sorghum/millet by myself with bottled water every day from scratch!” I told her ,with a saccharine smile, “And how many Nobel Awards has he won since then?” . She never spoke to me again. Good riddance to bad dustbin!!!

    Erm,what was the topic again?

  52. Ayomide TruthHunter

    May 12, 2011 at 6:53 am

    Brilliant, Akan. Love how the wife tolerates her friend without feeling the need to treat her with contempt (telling herself, “She too shall pass” — one imagines how much that attitude must have helped her get though!). And I love how the two simple words, “I live”, show how she’s quite calmly chosen her own definition of “live.” Beautiful work.

  53. fisayo talabi

    May 12, 2011 at 8:51 am

    i actually love the story. you know everyone expects that a story has to teach the public a lesson, but i totally prefer when you pick out the message yourself, from the work. to me, its about being who you are, and loving the life you are in, and not having to pretend just to accomodate someone else. lovely work.

  54. nonny

    May 12, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    i love dis!!!i cant stop laughing…its strange how chicks turned mothers feel so mature and their single friends now look childish, carlous n unfulfilled..i think we all have a life but still need to get a “life” finally..”Haut or cold”..what matters most is that u live ur life 4 GOD no matter what!

  55. Segun Adekoye

    February 26, 2012 at 12:16 am

    I’ve read two stories here on BN. One by Gbenga Awomodu and the other by Akan Etuk and i must say that they are great write ups. I appreciate.

  56. Nwanyi na aga aga

    December 18, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    Best story Ever on BN. i come to bellanaija read, rest and live

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