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Disclaimer: This journal is a pure work of fiction. It, in no way depicts the life of the writer nor any person. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Are You Okay will follow the life of our protagonist (she still has no name), and her quest to fulfill ‘the list’, or at least some part of it. She will discover how not-so-straightforward life is, how plans unfurl in funny ways, how family can be the crowd you want to avoid and how love can be found and possibly lost within a short time.

Most importantly however, she will find out about herself. And I hope everyone following this journal will open him/herself to self-discovery too.

THE BEGINNING OF THE END

It is the most interesting of times…

I have been duped of the money I was given by my Dad as my poverty alleviation intervention, the guy I’ve been crushing on for a year was crushed by a truck driver and my only reaction was to laugh at the irony of how my crush got crushed, my clothes have become 3 boubous and 2 nighties because they were the only things I could fit in, I have approximately a football field of pimples playing hide and seek on my face, the world has run out of my favourite chocolate and …. Oh yes! Corona; the beginning of the end.

It is the worst of times.

The Year of Lefasefarel.
Welcome to my journal.

So during Eid, I usually assume the role of mai gashi at home. I am the Mallam Mai Suya. I organise the grills, get the beef, slice it into the layers, make the marinate and get to work. (The boys do their afterwards but it’s so basic).

I usually try to be as innovative as possible. My grills are good but last years was a bomb! Literally, it pops in your mouth; a surprisingly juicy mix of pepper, sweet and savory.

It was so nice that a neighbor of ours had a taste, excused himself and came back with ram thighs (I’m going to start charging for this ish).

Anyway, I decided; What’s the harm in oppressing my people online with some mouth watering pictures of what they can only see but not taste (food network always does that to me anyway). I have since gotten recipe requests but the hoarder that I am was unable to let go.
So here we are, finally, a blog post spilling the juice. I hope you try and give me feedback.

Ingredients

-Open fire (optional)Okay you can use a skillet, or double sided pan or conventional oven or an electric grill but know that the fume of open fire and the graze of smoke adds immeasurably to the taste. It’s a secret ingredient of mine 😉

-Beef Sliced into thin layers

-Onions

-Garlic

-Pepper (attarugu)

-Rosemary, celery, oregano, mint

-Paprika

-Little honey

-Curry, Ginger

-My moms yaji (special ingredient)

-Soy Sauce

-Vinegar

-Salt and Maggi

RECIPE

Pulse the onions, ginger and herbs and pour into a bowl. Add maggi, salt, paprika powder, vinegar, and soy sauce. Pour oil into mixture.

Put two spoons of honey. Sprinkle ginger and some curry. Chop celery, rosemary and oregano and mix everything.

Dip beef slices into bowl and press in the mixture. Let it marinate and keep aside. Do same for the rest and let the marinate seep in.

Marinated beef

Place beef evenly on grill over open fire and turn after every six minutes. Let it grill slowly for about thirty minutes.

So here. I feel like I just let a huge skeleton out of my closet so make it worth it by recreating this recipe and sharing your taste buds experience with pictures .

See you next time.

How do you react to physical illnesses? Do you ignore physical pain, tell your loved one to ‘man it up’ when he has a killer headache, decide to treat yourself when you have diabetes? Or do you go to the hospital and seek professional help.

Now how do you react to psychological diseases? Are you aware that mental illness do as much harm to you and your body as the physical and many physical pain are in fact, a manifestation of the pain that is lodged up in your brain seeking a way to get noticed and treated.

Mental health awareness, in developing countries especially, is just gaining momentum after wreaking harm for years unattended.

Recently in Nigeria there is an appalling surge in the number of suicide and suicidal attempts, murder of spouses, relatives and strangers, terrorism activities and other life threatening acts. Are you aware that over 70% of these acts can be attributed directly (as in the case of suicide) or indirectly (as in the case of terrorist attacks) on mental ill health.

Psychopaths, sociopaths, people with borderline personality disorders and other personality disorders walk, work and live among us (they might even be us), but the lack of awareness on the signs to watch out for and when to get help can make the disorders worse to the point of making them dangerous in the society.

Depression spreads it’s tentacles far and wide, more so because it has found a suitable environment for growth in Nigeria fed by lack of awareness, shunning, pressure, frustration stemming from work, home, marriage life, studies or standard of living.

The lack of empathy makes it that much harder for patients to reach out and the stigma makes it worse when it comes to seeking help. But no one has ever stigmatized people for seeking help with cancer, so why is cancer of the mind any different?

What we need to understand is that mental diseases are diseases like any. What we need people to know is that having them is okay and seeking help is an act of courage. What we need from people is to research, know about the importance of mental health and what to watch out for, know the many different personalities and disorders, observe the people around them and give them a should when they need it.

Because your mental well-being means so much more than you think. It means the world.

The relationship between myself and I is a love-hate one. I love myself, I absolutely do but there’s this lady, her name is ‘I’, she resides somewhere- I’m not sure where but I think it’s either my brain, my mind or my body. Sometimes I think ‘I’ is my shadow but then she lingers even after I can see no visible shadow. ‘I’ is more than the physical or tangible, in fact the fact that she’s not tangible makes her more powerful.

‘I’ is annoying, she annoys me to no end because she is too dauntless and daring and adventurous and she lands me in trouble all the time. Are you looking for bad advice cookie? That’s ‘I’. And she nags so much I find it hard to ward her off so to make her keep shut and have her off my case, I just go along with it… bad decision.

I want to lose weight so I try to cut down on food portions and avoid ‘bad’ food and even when I see a super juicy and cheesy chunk of junk, I direct my mind away by myself, but not ‘I’, ‘I’ redirects me. She comes with this super therapeutic voice and goes ‘do you really want to do this to yourself Hafsah? Do you really not want to indulge in this piece of edible luxury? You only live once you know’ and she is sooo good like an expert siren, I usually end up trailing her demands.

And later when I’m drowning in the guilt of it, she sits cross-legged on a plush chair by the side of the grey cube room that’s my mind and smirks to herself. She’s usually writing on a notepad- that’s one thing myself and ‘I’ have in common- and I think she’s scoring herself. By now it will probably read: ‘myself’ 7- 10834893 ‘I’.

‘I’ doesn’t like letting go of people so even when I have a crush on a guy and I want to move on, ‘I’ pushes me to just check his Instagram page one more time for updates, ‘It helps with the healing process’ she says. But she’s lying because I end up stalking him for three more hours….unhealthily.

‘I’ is (am) a hoarder. Like when she tells me I need stuff I don’t need. She’s like ‘Hafsah we are going to need this in the future, keep it’ and the future comes, and it goes and we never need it but we’ve kept it.

And she even hoards memories, some good ones- I must give her credit- but she hoards even the unnecessary, bad ones and that makes her hold grudges like an expert in the field of grudge keeping (there’s a pun lying here somewhere).

For example there’s a family gathering yeah? And I see that cousin and I’m approaching her because I want to catch up and… ‘I’ actually stops me. She says ‘remember when you were 4 years 7 months 1 week old and this cousin flicked a lit up match at you and it burned your arm? You still want to talk to her after THAT?!!! And the memory comes back anew, I feel the pain of the matchstick sizzle on my arm and I make a 360 turn away from the cousin. ‘I’, you are here on banned from interfering with my family life ever again.

When I learn a new song (which is usually some few lines), I don’t like letting ‘I’ know. Because when she gets hold of those lines, God in Heavens! It takes the whole spirit of the Earth to make her stop endlessly chanting them like a breathing mantra. And it annoys me because it’s stuck in my head every moment! But ‘I’ enjoys it. She just loves tormenting me.

You think you have naysayers? Mine resides within! This lady is my worse critic. Everything I do is subject to judgement. I can’t try to look pretty in front of the mirror, ‘I’ will start dissing me. And if so help me God I try to dance or worse sing, ‘I’ contorts her face like she’s smelling poop and grimaces, I’ll have to shamefully stop. That’s why I don’t like taking pictures because ‘I’ calls each of them ugly save one or two. Because of that, I may take 100 pictures and two days later, I’ll delete the lot to one or two. The ones approved by ‘I’. I hate her guts.

I know you are thinking I should let go of her and I’ve thought about it but even as I’m typing this right now, she’s in here laughing her heads off (wickedly) because she knows she’s here to stay. She knows she’ll outlive me, because I know that house, my mind will breathe and exists even after my body gives up the ghost.

And I can’t mute her because in between it all, she drops the most amazing writing and story ideas. She’s my perfectly ever-engaging muse. That’s where our love relationship comes in. I love her for the endless supply of stories she provides. Ever wondered why my stories are usually sadistic? Well….

And she’s my gossip partner, who else will I laugh about my boss with? Most times when you see me laughing to myself, it’s myself and I sharing an inside joke. And she spins the most romantic stories when she’s on her monthly’s. And she can be sweet in a mean way. She comes up plenty horrible ways to get back at people many of which I thankfully forcefully dismiss.

‘I’ is (am) a creative fellow, sometimes mean but usually to me and generally, there’s not a single dull moment between ‘I’ and myself.

TAKEN

By Jesutofunmi Fekoya. 


Rukkaya adjusted, looking for a comfortable position. It was hard to find one with the ropes tightly binding her wrists and legs. For several days, she had been kept in that foul smelling house with the same cloth they had taken her with. 
The day another girl was brought, Rukkaya’s once forgotten plans to escape were revived. The girl looked like a seven year old and yet she had suffered much. Her eyes were swollen and her face was covered in bruises. She was thrown to the floor and left there. 
When Rukkaya asked her to help release her bonds, she didn’t expect much. But the young girl still had fire in her. Groaning in pain, she sat up and crawled towards her. It took several hours to untie her, hours which felt like days to Rukkaya. Finally, the ropes were off, just in time because one of her captors entered. Like a bullet, the little girl pounced on the man, taking him unaware. He tripped and something slid towards Rukkaya, bringing her out of her shock. 
A smile spread on her face as she picked up the gun and trained it on him. Smiling, she pulled the trigger. 

You know how western people have white people problems (reason why a person will leave his 40billion naira inheritance to a bloody cat), well I have Nigerian problems

Top off the list; Electricity and sco pa tu maana!!!!! Where did you people get that phrase from? Don’t you think it’s enough? The poor thing is exhausted, come on. Can’t we just find a trend, use it for 4 days and dump?

Now electricity,  I panic when light stays on for 12hours, I pray the lights go off because I feel the longer they stay on, the more the chances of them staying off equally as long. Now that is saying something.

Then there’s lack of access to an essential commodity, chargerrrr, good charger. Good earpiece. Is that me asking for too much?

You’ll buy charger and after 5 hours it has started draining your battery life and sending the electricity back to ‘NEPA’. That’s betrayal!

So charger is misbehaving and electricity is having a permanent bout of depression. The only way to not be affected is to get a solar panel fixed, get a generator and an inverter and you’ll still suffer if you have no power bank.

Nigerian mentality is something else. A topic I have to research on first because it is wide and not-so-bad when you look at it. I mean is it bad that the answer to a question is almost always a question and choosing to not understand people and acting like it’s fine is norm?

In Nigeria raising your voice at others is the answer to 80% of your life problems.

Know when to switch from calm to razz

From civilised to agbero

From nice to rude. Can you do that? Then you’ll be fine.

In some situations and with some people, it is a life survival tool to exhibit madness when need be or else they for real drive you mad. Let’s take Lagos for example.

Simple things are considered big. 

As a lady, just pick up an umbrella when the sun is glaring so that your skin will avoid the harshness of the weather and go out; the looks you’ll receive! Who is this one forming for? 

Or even sunshades in some places.

Who said Kano?

Everything is considered vanity or extravagance in Nigeria. Even the most mundane things like stepping out nice, caring for your skin, hair etc.

Do you go out for date nights or eat in restaurants? How could you? Can’t you cook at home. It’s your hard-earned money and you should enjoy it but don’t eat in a restaurant because that’s extravagance (shoot me)

You are speaking good English? You are in trouble! You are just forming. Why would you even pronounce the words well isn’t that a crime?

BN has a car so NY must get it because BN can never surpass NY. There’s a certain group that requires material qualification for validation e.g a certain type of IPhone or Super wax every other day or different gold sets every event or else you don’t get to join the gang! Whose gratification are you seeking?

The most unimportant things are deemed very important and kids walking around barefoot on the streets? Well… it’s tradition now.

Tradition and culture have become signs of lack of civilization but being savage is soooo cool, just say something utterly stupid, immature and rude on twitter and oh how savage! (In my french accent)

Extravagance is a necessity. Let’s take our marriages for example…. you get the picture.

Having ambition is considered a curse and very so often, ambitious people in reality derail from the line, they lose focus, they get greedy, they crash because their main ambition was always money and fame not impact and productivity. But some actually just want to give in their best so with a crystal mindset, they push and strive against all odds (which are plenty) and they make it.

Reading and gathering knowledge is a skill for and criteria when it comes to getting a life partner, and only for that purpose. It’s a tool for showing off. Who am I to judge?

And of course vicarious achievements work well with our weather. My great grand uncles former gardeners ex-girlfriends cousin sister will be feeling herself in the village when my step Aunts brother-in-law becomes governor, because all na we.

Maybe it’s because my Dad is not ‘rich’ but I can never claim his wealth or achievements. Nor will I carve that of my husband and hang them on my neck like a locket. I’ll be my own person thank you very much.

Because of the diversity of cultures and traditions, we have diversity in everything including mannerisms. What’s odd in your place might be very normal in mine hence we tend to judge unfairly. Giving benefit of doubt is a sin and understanding, a much greater one.

My Nigeria has many problems, our leaders are ghosts, some teachers can’t write well and sometimes the Water Board can’t provide is with water for days not because we haven’t paid our bills but because the Water Board haven’t paid their electricity bills.

But will I substitute this country for any? Nah! I’m good.

I started making money for myself when I was in the University. My sisters and I used part of our scholarship, went to the markets and bought some gowns and skirts unlike the ones you’d find in Kano. I was very bad at marketing then (still learning) so my friends usually did all the marketing for me. 

Before then my sister was selling pepper and garin danwake. She was even taking them to shops. 

The profit wasn’t much. But it was something. I didn’t realise it at that time but it was the experience and orientation that mattered most and the responsibility that comes with sourcing your own income.

What I’ve always hated most in my life was asking for things especially money, not even from my Dad. As students sometimes it just doesn’t cut it. The pocket money doesn’t even cover the basics atimes and we want some stuff other than the basics for example my friend is getting married, I want to buy her asoebi on my own.

 Read through these five ways you can earn as a student, choose one that’s best for you, share with others and drop suggestions (What’s more, little or no capital is needed):

1, Craft- Anything involving hands and creativity. This is for people who can think outside of the box. Can you think up something unique and creative and make them with your hands with very little capital? E.g fancy ankara notebooks with blings for students or fancy decorated pens or totes or school bags (ankara or not) because Ankara and blings are in vogue. I know some siblings that craft coconuts shells into necklaces of different shapes. As a student you can think up something that other students may find appealing at little cost and sell them.

Are you clever with your hands when it comes to drawing or henna tattoos or plaiting hair? Can you design veils or clothes by yourself? The list is endless because the possibilities are endless. What do students need, give them.

2, Selling Phone Accessories- Phone accessories do bring in money. Everyday chargers get bad, ear pieces spoil, new phone cases are needed and batteries get weak. You could stock them up and sell right in the hostel, advertise on your timeline on Instagram and Whatsapp status. Unique phone cases are available on Ali Express at a good price and students will rush it.

3, Selling Clothings and accessories – You can sell clothings that are in demand or in vogue be it apparel, veils etc. Jewelries,bags and shoes for both men and women of affordable price also make a good market. You could always sell materials for both men and women.

4, Selling Perfume-  Perfume is a surprisingly good venture for students. I know of a student who is about to open a perfume shop and he started from buying one. If you want perfumes on wholesale I could always hook you up. Sell to those Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, colleagues and social media followers.

5, Freelance Writing/ Graphic designing- (Zero capital needed) Are you talented in writing? Then you shouldn’t just write. I started making money as a freelance writer as a student and it was the best thing that happened to me. It helped me a lot. You could apply on Elancer and Problogger but hardly do Nigerians ever make the cut. They always assign the jobs to themselves. Better option is to actively follow blogs and magazines and send them emails with sample write-ups. You might never know which one will send a positive reply.

If you are a web or graphic designer as a student you could offer your services to businesses. Plenty want a website , they just don’t know where to get one. Or you could design logos and flyers for them.

6, Blogging/Vlogging- Lifestyle blogging or vlogging (Youtube videos), travel blogging, Students blog (e.g Your life in ABU) believe me many in the same situation as you will troop in to read especially if you give them useful information they can relate with.

You could also have a food blog or vlog, makeup, fashion, or anything that interests you. With time, blogging opens up a source of income for you in unexpected ways.

7, Selling Makeup and Cosmetics- Make up products and cosmetics are always in demand. The trick is to sell things that get finished easily like cosmetics as opposed to things that can be used for a long period of time. That way, demand is always there.

8, Advertise- You have no capital? you cannot do things that need no capital? You are even confused on a choice of business? But you can see everyone doing one sort of business or the other? Contact them (preferably family members), offer to advertise for them, agree on a referral fee and start. Post on your social media platforms and get referral fee for each product sold through you. It’s as easy as that.

9, Edibles- Some utilize their weekends by making small chops and snacks, smoothies, milk shakes, chicken wings and nuggets, cakes for birthdays etc. They already have an established market and when it’s weekend, they sell.

So are you a student tired of being constantly broke? Get a light thing to do which doesn’t require too much effort and time and good luck.

I know some unbelievers of jinxing may come for me but I strongly believe that what you say, may end up having a strong effect in your later life.

That being said, I am sick and tired and fed up and … of the phrase ‘men are scum’. We get it, men do bad stuff, unthinkably horrid stuff, men are not perfect, men suck sometimes but so do women. Bottomline; men , women, kids, whatever =humans and humans, try as you may to think otherwise, can never be perfect. Got it? Great. 

Now that out of the way, let’s talk about the generalization part. No single species or group of people are all the same. They can never be all bad or all good. We are all guilty of stereotyping (I’m unproudly guilty) but come on some just get old, e.g men are scum.

Some bad things are bound to happen, we can’t escape them, it’s life, but some things- we call them upon ourselves. When you sing praises of men are scum like a life devotion or a strength mantra it gets to and does funny things to your head. You get to see the worse in every man no matter how seemingly good he may be. You tend to ignore the great qualities. You tend to judge every situation unfairly against the man without hearing the other side. You tend to be stuck up and blind. You tend to see what you wish to see and honestly, that’s not life. I mean where’s the fun? In fact you attach too much importance to that when many things are very much more important e.g personal growth. And if you are unwilling to see the good in a person, then there’s nothing the person can do that can change your mind. 

And then if eventually as fate will have it you fall into Femi’s trap, we are doomed on the social media circles because it’s about to be a month’s dedication on motivational speech men are scum epistles. You don’t move on because you can’t because men… men are scum!. 

This life is as it was meant to be and if your man is scum, he is and if he isn’t, he isn’t. Just because he is scum doesn’t mean they all are. He is. And when the next one comes, go with the flow, loosen up, enjoy the ride, because the other option is too dreary to be and because we may never know what is in stock.

Please stop the men are scum already. I know that they can do the most!!! I know some things some men do is Authubillah! I know it can be frustrating but do not jinx your life because of Jack.

My Dad is not scum, my brothers aren’t, majority of the men I know aren’t, my husband and kids are not (In Sha Allah) and they are all men!.

Luck or lack of it comes in different forms. Sometimes it comes in the form of a pretty lady you meet during your close friend’s wedding.

Zainab was the friendly and chatty but unimposing type. I didn’t appreciate her friendliness at first, but the more she spoke, the more I became acquainted with her humor, she had that kind of effect.

She did not only have an alluring personality she also looked like riches, it drew the ladies to her like a moth. Her father had to be someone, no questions asked.

I noticed she was different. She acted different, she dressed different (she wore no asoebi, in it’s place was a lace that could rival the brides) and she spoke different. I’ll ask Anisa, the bride where she knew her from, I mentally noted.

It wasn’t long before it was clear that Zainab was a resilient entrepreneur and even has blood relations with the Dangote’s, she had a picture of her with a group of women at Halima Dangote’s wedding as backing. She was a little perfect woman in her perfect world  and I could see a reflection of my awe and envy in the eyes of the other brides friends. 

‘All these business women be intimidating us with their big life’ Our friend Amma said after we had snapped over 50 glorious pictures on Zainab’s IPhone XS Max. I nudged her with my elbow. Amma is the I-say-whatever-is-on-my-mind-and-i-don’t-care-what-you-think type. 

‘It’s true now’. She said as she munched on a cake. ‘Which business do you even do like this. Because I feel it in my veins that I will soon become rich too. Let’s gist rich girl to potential rich girl’.

Zainab threw her head back and laughed heartily. She wasn’t at all pompous or offended by Amma’s innocently careless words.

‘I see it too honestly. You have the look of a great entrepreneur in your eyes. Always searching for new opportunities’. 

What Amma? The makings of a great entrepreneur as untactical as she was? Call me Bill Gates. 

Amma turned and smirked at me. She had already started playing rich. Not one to be left behind especially since there’s a prospect that the secret to Zainab’s riches were about to be leaked and I could also have a chance to connect with this Dangote blooded woman, I also scouted closer and opened my ears.

‘I deal with everything a woman may need ranging from lingerie, to kitchen stuff, to adornment, to furniture to clothings, to beddings… just say woman and I’m here. Sometimes I venture into houses, cars and electronics’.

I looked her over. She didn’t look stressed out at all. She looked like ‘yar hutu, a typical spoilt child who cannot do a days work to save her life. 

‘How do you manage all that?’ Aisha asked. Zainab’s audience had multiplied to 5 and I hadn’t even noticed.

‘I have connections on both ends, the sellers and the buyers. You think I source for all those goods myself?’ She said with a small smile, scanned our eyes to make sure we were fitfully entranced, then continued, this time dropping big names that usually ended with Dangote, Dantata, Indimi, Dankabo, Chachangi and Azman.

‘Anty…. is a dealer for Prestige products while Uncle…. has a huge shop filled with the latest Super Waxes, Anty…. is into cosmetics , Brother… has a car company, …. is into real estate ‘. Names and money rolled off her lips like they meant nothing.  In my mind all could think was I want to be like you when I grow up.

‘So what I do is called drop-shipping. I advertise for them, get a buyer, send them the money, hold my commission and have the product delivered to the buyer, ’. Easy peasy. 

‘Wow!’ I breathed out. No wonder!  ‘So you are like the marketer, advertiser and middle man all in one?’.

‘Exactly. It will fit you’.  She said while regarding me. I practically glowed, I knew I had a sleeping entrepreneurial streak in me. Wakey wakey.

‘So if you are interested I could hook you up with them. I could deal directly with you but I honestly am so busy with what’s on my plate. I’ll just give you their numbers and vice versa, you see what they sell, negotiate your commission and you advertise. They usually don’t care how much you add to the price as long as you sell’.

‘Sign me up!’ Aisha said with a raised hand. Aisha is over ambitious, I bet she can sell a house in a few days just so she can have money and belong to the riches crew.

‘I’m definitely interested’ Ibtisam declared.  I rolled my eyes. Ibtisam is only interested because she can have contacts of men from big families, she is currently actively husband hunting. Which may not be such a bad idea. 

So that was how 7 of us got into drop-shipping with Zainab, kin of the Dantatas.

I was so excited. Especially when I started communicating with the big named, big business people who always spoke busily like you were interrupting a million dollar sale so you have to round off quickly with whatever you were saying. 

The first I spoke to Muhammad Tijjani Dantata, my insides became a puddle. His tush tone and polished British English just flew away with me. I was calling him husband in my head.

I got my first customers the first week. Everything went according to plan. Shoes,bags, makeup stuff were delivered within a few days of transaction and I got some money from it. I didn’t even spend a kobo. I just took my profit, sent the money and the goods were delivered. I started aiming higher especially since Aisha just sold a TV.

Soon, we were all actively seeking bigger things, bigger commission. Aisha was negotiating a car sale, I couldn’t be left behind. My brother-in-law wanted to buy a new car, he had finally decided to change his tired looking car and my sister suggested my services. See me, my family members have moved from mocking to patronizing me. Money is good.

Then my boss wanted to get a house for his newest bride -to-be and he fell in love with houses up for sale. And that was how I was head locked in a car and house deal. Ecstasy had nothing on my happiness.

The prices where very good. My commission was enough to get me second hand small car and the customers were happy.  My boss had gone to see the house with an agent, it was perfect.

I sent the deposits of the money, millions of naira and the car was on it’s way, my boss’s house was sold.

I called Amma and I swear I could smell her jealousy through the phone. It was my turn to smirk. She had ordered for her cousins entire kitchen utensils including some electronics. It was huge money but it wasn’t hefty millions of Naira worth of house.

My bother-in-law called me a week later.

‘Has your car arrived?’ I asked him excitedly. 

‘That’s what I wanted to ask. I’m yet to get it. They said 4 days max’.

‘Okay I’ll call them’ I said and rolled my eyes. He is such a nag.

I called the car dealers office. They said the rains had made them stall off the delivery from Lagos. But it’s on the way.

Barely 5 minutes later, Aisha called me. The car she had finished all negotiations and payments on 3 weeks ago is yet to come. Zainab is not picking her calls and she sounded like she was in tears. 

My heart skipped a beat. Worry not…breathe…false alarm. I tried Zainab’s number, she assured me that everything was under control and Aisha was unnecessarily panicking. I breathed. I knew there was no cause for alarm.

I called Aisha and told her what Zainab said. She was silent for a while.

‘Have you spoken to Amma?’ She asked.

‘No, what happened?’.

‘Her cousins wedding is in two weeks time and the kitchen stuff has not been delivered.’ Aisha said and sniffed.  I was momentarily blank, then confusion rolled in and fear eventually bubbled. 

I felt faint, like the ground I was on was paper thin and It could cave in right away. 

‘Ibtisam and Fatima have not received any response either’. Aisha’s words buzzed around my head.

Before I could say a word Aisha continued ‘I called Anisa and asked her if she could get through to Zainab and she said she had never seen her in her life. She said she thought Zainab came with you because you came in at the same time’.

She’s fraud Ummi, Zainab is fraud and we just entered one chance’. 

 It was too much, the phone was burning my fingers like her words had caught fire.

I threw the phone on the ground like it was the source of my confusion. I could hear it ring but I couldn’t move to answer it.

An hour later, maybe less, I picked the phone up still dazed. My boss had left 12 missed calls and a message. ‘The house you sold to me is currently occupied by people claiming to be the owners. CALL ME ASAP’. 

‘No!’ A whimper escaped from my throat. No this is impossible. I couldn’t even cry real tears, tears, it turns out are a privilege.

I sat huddled up in a corner, dialling Zainabs number, I knew the response I’ll receive ‘Number is currently switched off’. And I understood, there and then, I understood why people will want to take their own lives.

Some people are people’s people. They can be around people 20 hours a day and never get tired. They’d rather be with people longer than they will be with themselves. They are extroverts, social, and very confident and comfortable around people.

Some people cannot stand others. They’d rather be alone 20 hours in a day. In fact, they don’t even like people. They are very reserved and might not be confident around others. Socializing is a strenuous task for them.

Then there’s me. I can be around people, I can socialize, I can be with others 20 hours in a day but honestly, I’d rather not.

Sometimes I want people around, most times I want them away. And I know why.

It’s a different thing to chat or be on social media, I’m at home so no (much) problem. But for me to actually go out of my house! That is a mighty problem. I don’t go out except I can’t help it (Market, Hospital…. oh yes of course, work). Socializing and hanging out are major tasks even for a productive purpose.

When I share no common interests or point of view or discussion point with a person, then I can’t relate much with him. If I can’t relate much with a person, then there’s not a point being around the person. Now I might feel this way around people I can even converse with.

For me to want to be around a person then that means the person really gets me to a certain extent and I can be myself with the person at all times. I can handle otherwise (when I’m not comfortable with a person) but I’d rather not, so I’m always surprised when some people are comfortable with everyone and they can be with everyone and speak to everyone. How fam?

I don’t even like talking much except it’s about a novel or cartoon. I don’t like repeating stuff, if I say it once I’d rather not say it again.

I don’t like arguing with people’s opinions and beliefs.

I don’t like it when people think my normal conversation is a battle of intellect and so they start showing off their IQ when in fact I don’t even know if I have one.

Generally, except when I really see the need to (because of the person or topic), there’s little or no point to talking more than absolutely necessary. Ever.